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Pair of kings and Holy Innocents

We know the story of the two kings. Christ Jesus who’s entire ontological compass and being is “Thou” centred. His centre of gravity is God alone. A vulnerable baby who strikes terror into the other king: Herod. His compass points in the opposite direction. His centre of gravity is “me.”

Herod was frightened. He tried to manipulate. He became infuriated. He destroyed.

Truth be told, I can relate to those feelings and actions. I have done all those things. I know that chain of events. I know them well—within my world. I don’t control armies; my area of control is not a kingdom, occupied or not; I have never had to defend my life; I have never had my children’s lives threatened. I hope I am never faced with such. But I have made terrible choices in my life: weak choices, unfaithful choices, choices made from fear. I have manipulated others. I have been infuriated, and I have struck out. Others have suffered because of my intentional actions. I have made all of those choices.

And all through this drama, Herod’s and mine, there is the true King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, the Christ Child: the silent presence of salvation.

But the feast of Holy Innocents is about those other children, the casualties of the human condition. Herod, consumed with his own selfishness, acts with grave consequences. I refuse to accept the deaths of those children were “all part of God’s plan.” They were the tragic implications of sin. Just like the tragedy of executed people at the hands of ISIS, or kidnapped children by Boko Haram, or missing First Nation women in Canada, or trafficked women and children in the sex trade. Their suffering is not part of God’s plan. Nor is the suffering of those who suffer neglect, bullying, exclusion, or any suffering because of the actions of others. God’s plan is the restoration of human beings to our true nature, our true goodness, in Christ Jesus.

As he remains silent to the cries of the Holy Innocents, so does he remain silent on Holy Saturday when he goes to the darkest place, where even Herod lies and he offers true life. That is why the stakes are so high for this Christian business of ours. It’s up to us to choose our king—the consequences for us all, and especially the innocent, could not be greater.

Gregor Sneddon

About Gregor Sneddon

Gregor Sneddon is a Presbyter in the Diocese of Ottawa and the Rector of St Matthew’s, Ottawa. He received an MA from the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies and is the founding Coordinator for Contemplative Outreach of Eastern Ontario. Gregor is a council member of the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission and serves on the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation. He is a husband, a dad, and enjoys being in the woods, a good dinner party and swinging the blues.
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