Christ the King

Sunday before Advent

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Christ the King

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Today is a wonderful day in the Liturgical Calendar, an opportunity for a very deliberate focus on Christ and the fact that he is our King. Sadly it is one of those feasts that most modern churches have neglected. In New Zealand it got supplanted by Aotearoa Sunday. I decided this year I had to change that. If we pay careful attention to the season we’re in, if we pause for a moment and recognize that next week we begin our advent celebrations and reflections, then you soon learn that this old tradition is actually wonderfully appropriate and can be tremendously meaningful.

Christ the King Sunday is observed on the last Sunday before Advent begins, it was set aside in ancient times as a day on which the Church should reflect on the fact that Jesus Christ is her King, our King, and that it is the birth of the eternal King that we celebrate during Advent, and that it is for Jesus as returning King that we will wait during advent.

In all honesty, I have some sympathy for why the church in many parts of the world chooses not to observe today as a celebration (I don’t think that it’s ok, but I can understand why); not all areas of the world have a king. We in the commonwealth were lucky to have had Queen Elizabeth II for so many years and we are currently looking to the coronation of King Charles III soon. But even we do not have any true conception of what it is like to live in a nation under an absolute sovereign. Queen Elizabeth II wielded immense influence, partly because she was so beloved and respected, but she was not an absolute ruler, but a beloved figure-head. Don’t get me wrong, her role and position were and are immensely important, but the British Monarchy are no longer absolute rulers with the power of life and death over their subjects.

Christ will be an absolute ruler with not only the power of life and death over his living subjects, but the authority to consign the eternal souls of his enemies to eternal damnation or a 2nd death. As equally divine and human, He will not make mistakes, we know He will rule with compassion, and mercy. Christians look forward to His return, but even we will likely find adjusting to the idea of an absolute sovereign will take some getting used too.

We are living in the end times, his return is not that far off. Today is a chance to start thinking about and getting our heads around the idea of Jesus as an absolute sovereign. As foreign as the image might be, today is the perfect opportunity to worship Jesus Christ as our King, to pray to him as our King and to reflect through the readings on him as our King, not merely a figure on a cross or a figurehead of a state or religion, but as the true son of God, the absolute sovereign of the entire world.