Father Manny Reflects: 3 Kings And America

What an amazing place our country is.

I’m never at a loss of just vastly diverse the U.S. truly is. We have so many differences between ourselves, yet, we are bound together as Americans. On our recent trip south, as far as Tennessee that is, I was caught up in the phenomenon of what I’ll call, “The 3 Kings.” Let me elaborate, if I may:

In Memphis, there is a very strong reference to the King, not just one, not two, but three kings. First, we have Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the great preacher, civil rights activist and martyr for the advancement of peace and equality. I so wanted to visit the Civil Rights Museum but it was closed the day we were in town. Dr. King remains one of my heroes and a man I would have been humbled to have met.

The second king…Elvis Presley. We took in Graceland and it was a veritable shrine to the King of Rock and Roll. I have to say, the décor of his home, all that avocado green, large lamps, shag carpet and heavy wooden furniture brought back my own memories of life in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. I was genuinely moved by his graveside, buried along side his parents, his still-born twin brother and his grandmother. There was a sense of reverence there in the Garden of Tranquility, an air of solitude befitting a much beloved public figure.

The third king: Jesus the Christ…and this is what confounded me, how all who love Jesus and wish to follow Him seem to have such diverse views and interpretations of Him. In parts of the south, where we were recently as well as here in the north Jesus is used as a voice for particular political opinions and views. Jesus serves as a spokesman for variant parties and is heralded as the one “who saves.” Jesus loves the blessed warrior while Jesus blesses the peacemaker. Jesus forgives while Jesus, for others, is vengeful and never forgets a wrong. I have to tell you…it really confuses and yes, it saddens me, too.

I’m not here to say who this Jesus we worship truly is. I share, in my preaching and in my ministry who I believe Jesus to be. Admittedly, I am not a biblical scholar nor have I done extensive study or research into the historical and scriptural figure of Jesus of Nazareth. All I can claim is my love for Him, my commitment to serve, honor and worship Him and always with an open mind to get to know and understand Jesus all the more.

And isn’t that what all of us wish and desire for ourselves and one another; that we all grow closer to Jesus the Redeemer and continue to develop our relationship with Him and one another? What a blessed joy it is to walk and journey together, as we draw ever closer to Jesus as we live out our faith and beliefs. Jesus Christ, our Most Holy Redeemer is the King of Kings and for me, the King that always comes first and foremost in my life.



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