6. Christ the King
Props: I took Teddy along for this talk, but the main prop is a simple chess set.
Hello boys and girls! I brought Teddy along today, and I thought we might tell him about the pieces in a chess set. WE won’t play a game – that would take too long – but we can talk about the pieces. I’d like you to help!
[Set Teddy to one side. Unpack the chess set, and place the white pieces correctly on a board. I includedTeddy in the discussion, but will omit those comments here. Many of the children had a rudimentary knowledge of chess.]
Now what are these small men called? Yes, pawns. We can think of them as the foot soldiers. They (mostly) move straight ahead one step at a time in a pretty boring way!
Now, these two on the outside? Yes castles, or rooks. We'll call them castles, because that’s what they look like, with their battlements around the top. On an open board, they can move any number of squares horizontally or vertically.
Now the next two? Yes they are horses, but they ar called something else. If I had a fancier chess set, this would be a horse with a man in armour sitting on it, carrying a spear or a sword. Yes, they are knights – and that is spelt with a K – a K-night; not a dark night: these are white!! And these pieces are very sprightly: they can jump over other pieces, two-and-one, two-and-one.
And the next two? That's a bit harder ... . If this were an Anglican church, we might have a visit sometimes from a very important man, probably in a long purple dress, and a strange hat on his head that looks like the top of this piece. He's called a ... bishop, yes that's right. And on an open board, they can move diagonally any number of squares.
This next one is ... the queen. She's a very powerful lady, and can move any number of squares in any direction.
And finally we have the king. He can only move one square in any direction.
Now children, I have two questions for you today. The first is, which is the most important piece on the board? The king? And why is that? Yes, because the purpose of the game is to capture the opponents king, and when the king is captured, the game is over.
Do you know we have a King in the church? And it's not Pastor Frank! Jesus is the King of the Church! When Mrs S and I were travelling Canada many years ago, we came to a Catholic church with the sign: ‘Church of Christ the King’. I thought Yes!! What a great name for a church. On the chess board, all the pieces move in different ways to protect the king. We don't have to protect our King Jesus like this, but we do find all sorts of different ways to serve him. Some people lead the singing, some people prepare the communion, some people visit the sick during the week, some people go overseas to be missionaries.
Now my second question ... Which is the most powerful piece on the chess board? Yes, it's the Queen. We’d like it to be the King, but it’s not. People outside the Church often find it difficult to view Jesus as a King. After all, they say, he never lived in a castle [wave the castles around]. And he didn't have an army to fight for him. [Point to the knights.] He came from a poor family, and was born in a stable ... What sort of King is that? Now we know that Jesus isn't the sort of King who comes by force; he is the King of love, and that is much better.
And finally, what is this on the chess King’s crown? Yes, it’s a cross. And that reminds us that Jesus died on the cross for us. He loved us so much that he gave his life for us. What a special King he is!