XLT (Exalt) is an exciting spiritual gathering for high school teens (and adults.) The evening includes praise and worship, a short teaching, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. XLT began in Atlanta under the leadership of veteran youth minister Paul George. Paul knew that teens needed to grow in understanding and appreciation for the Eucharist - and teens agreed! Soon there were hundreds of teens from around the city coming together for XLT. Now the wonderful concept has spread across the US to other cities.We began attending XLT, as a youth group function about six years ago, at a nearby parish. We quickly started having our own XLTs, which normally occur on the first Thursday of the month. This month the weather did not cooperate and so it was postponed until this week. We also, from time to time, continue to attend XLT at the nearby parish, as they do ours. So by joyful happenstance we had back to back adoration.
Of course differences in specifics make each enjoyably different. We tend to go toward highlighting the teaching moment and a period of silent reflection, they toward a longer period of adoration and traditional hymns during the adoration segment of the evening.
So in the longer period of adoration I found my mind wandering or perhaps more guided to the Kingship of Jesus, as I contemplated the Real Presence.
Now Kingship is rather a foreign concept in twenty-first century America. I believe that few modern Americans have real grasp of what kingship means (let alone the much deeper mystery of what Kingship [capital 'K"] means.)
Now in the Biblical histories it tells how the Israelites initially had no king. God appointed judges to act as his people's leader, while he retained their Kingship to himself.
The other lands of the time did have kings, even including the Romans. Eventually God relented , due to the pleading of his people and sent a prophet, Samuel to anoint Saul, who later became king. Saul displeased God, who then sent Samuel to Jesse of the tribe of Judah, where at God's command he anointed Jesse's youngest son David, who would one day be the most famous Old Testament king, and the ancestor of Jesus.
Now most moderns believe that kingship most often is passed from father to son. For much of history this was not true. While the kingship of England and France worked this way, more or less, for hundreds of years from the Middle Ages through to almost modern times, many countries elected their king from the noble classes.
So how is a king different from a president or any other political leader? It was not just a matter of being elected or appointed for life. Many dictators are appointed for life, even if they appoint themselves. How is a king different from a dictator?
The way that is relevant to our discussion is that for much of history the subjects of a king were bound by oaths or custom of loyalty the strength and nature which is almost unheard of in modern times. When someone swore fealty to his or her king they were swearing more than just to obey their leaders orders. They were swearing to follow their king, even when they didn't know where they were following. Even when they didn't understand what their king was doing.
This is the part that is difficult for the modern to understand. You mean they would like follow him unto death, even when they thought he was wrong or didn't know why he was doing what he was doing?
We have a problem with this because as educated twenty-first century citizens we feel we have the right to know what our leaders are doing and why. We feel we're just as good as they are and just as smart as they are. And so we might be.
On the other hand we can't say that about our King. We know He knows more than we do. We know He is better than us. So why do have such a hard time giving Him the same level of loyalty and obedience as our ancestors gave their earthly kings?