I always wince a little when I hear the word “Lord” applied to Jesus. A “Lord” draws up images in my mind of a medieval chieftain, a bully demanding that everyone else grovel at his feet. Because many human beings would like others to grovel before them, they think that is also what God and Jesus would surely want.

It is like a bunch of ants realizing that human beings were smarter and more powerful than they, and calling us “queen,” as a form of flattery. They would “praise” us with pictures where we were lying on our side all day pumping out eggs. And just as they do with their ant queen, they would leave us regurgitated ant food as an offering.

What ants would not understand is that their picture of us as ant queens would hardly be flattering. Rather than letting us speak to them from a higher understanding, they would reduce us down to their own level. Their “religion” would really be all about themselves and what they want, projected back upon us.

We do Jesus no favors when we picture him as a king. Jesus spent his entire life refusing power and status. He spent his life trying to get us to value compassion over power, and demonstrating that a kindly peasant is infinitely closer to the Way than the most powerful king or lord. The church is only able to put a crown on Jesus now because he is not here to knock it off.