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Children’s Homily, Feast of Christ the King, 11/20/22: That’s Backwards![1], The Rev. Deborah White

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Today is called, “The Feast of Christ the King.” Who knows what a king is? (Give them a chance to answer). And what kinds of things do kings do? (Give them a chance to answer). Good. So, I am going to tell you a story about a king – and you are going to help me (and the grown-ups might need to help you) figure out what kind of a king he is. Whenever I tell you something the king does, I want you to figure out whether you think he is doing makes sense. So, when I say something and it seems like something a king would do, you yell, “Normal King.” If it seems like something a king wouldn’t do, yell “Backward King.” Emily is going to keep score for us to see what kind of a king my story is about. Got it? (Give them a chance to answer).

A long time ago, there lived a King. Most kings are usually born in a palace, but this king was born in a stable surrounded by donkeys, sheep, and cows. (Stop and point at kids and say, “Normal” or “Backward”?) It wasn't a very big beginning for a king. In fact, very few people even knew that a king had been born. Only a handful of shepherds and some professors from another country got the word that a king had been born. (Stop and point at kids and say, “Normal” or “Backward”?)

The infant king grew into a man. While most kings spent all of their time building up riches of silver, gold, and jewels, this king owned nothing at all. (Stop and point at kids and say, “Normal” or “Backward”?) He didn’t have any servants. Instead, he said he wanted to be a servant himself. He could often be found helping others. (Stop and point at kids and say, “Normal” or “Backward”?)

As time went on, people became very unhappy with their King because he never did stuff like riding into town on a big white horse the way other kings usually did. This king rode into town on the back of a donkey instead. (Stop and point at kids and say, “Normal” or “Backward”?) And he chose a bunch of smelly fishermen to be his friends! He also liked to eat with people that no one else wanted to eat with. (Stop and point at kids and say, “Normal” or “Backward?)

So, let’s see what the score is. Is he a normal or a backward king? (Let Emily tell you). That’s right. He is a backward king. So what do you think happened to this backward king? (Give them a chance to answer). Well, eventually the people decided that they had put up with this King long enough. They figured if he wouldn't act the way a king should act, then they didn't want Him to be their king. So they made a plan to have Him arrested and thrown into prison – and their plan worked. When the day came for his trial, the King stood before the people. Instead of shouting, "Hail to the King, Long live the King!" they shouted, "Crucify Him! He is not our king! Crucify Him - and they crucified the King. They nailed Him to a cross; they put a crown made of thorns on his head; they poked Him with sharp sticks and made fun of Him. What a way for a king to die! And after He was crucified, they took His body and put it in a borrowed tomb. This is a terrible story!

But wait - that isn't the end of the story. Remember, this king was different. He was backward! So when he died, instead of staying dead, he went backward and came to life again! He was a special, one-of-a-kind king – the kind of king who doesn’t want to be in charge, or boss people around, or take all their money. He was a king that just wanted to take care of other people. That’s why this King rose from the grave to live forever. Now, instead of being the Backward King, He is the King of Love - and we follow him as our example of how to love other people. That’s why today is called “The Feast of Christ the King” – to remind us that Jesus is the backward king – the king of love. And anyone who wants to can try to be like him and make the whole world a kingdom of love! What do you think of that? (Give them a chance to answer). Would you like to try to make this world a kingdom of love with Backward King Jesus? (Give them a chance to answer). Excellent! So what do we say in church when we agree? (Give them a chance to answer). That’s right: AMEN. Let’s say it together. (AMEN).

[1]Taken from Charles Kirkpatrick, “Christ the King Children’s sermon,” (2022), Sermons4Kids,

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