Thankfulness for Our King
A Reflection on Christ the King Sunday
This coming Sunday we as Methodists, along with many of our Christian sisters and brothers, will be celebrating Christ the King Sunday. The Revised Common Lectionary Gospel text for the day is Luke: 23:33-43. In this reading, Jesus hangs on a cross in between two convicted criminals. At first glance, this seems like a strange text to use to close out the 2019 Christian year. And even stranger in that it is offered as the reading for Christ the King or Reign of Christ Sunday!
And yet, perhaps it is a perfect text to read from the Divine perspective. It reminds us what kind of King we serve, and the level of humility with which we are asked to live our lives as followers of this King.
In the season of the Christian year, Christ the King Sunday is the last sabbath day of 2019. December 1st is the official launch of the new 2020 Christian year. From a theological perspective we replay the Easter season, but in this time of the year, there is no resurrection on the third day after the crucifixion. In this season, the Darkness of Saturday lasts until the midnight hour of December 24th. After this coming Sunday, we enter the wilderness of anticipation and expectation. We enter a season of faith.
Each Sunday in Advent, we will be singing O Come O Come Emmanuel, longing for the arrival of God with us. There will be no mention of Jesus in the orders of worship, and the name “Christ” will not reenter our vocabulary until December 25th. This is a time of reflecting on the ways we need God in our lives. It is a time to consider how the reality of God with us in every moment of our lives is the light we desperately rely upon. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder!
Next week we will offer thanksgivings for all we have received during the year; the graces God has extended that have brought us to the end of 2019. Perhaps you might reflect upon the gift that Christ offered by giving his life in ministry to us, so that we might come to know what it means to really live.
For some guided reflection during the coming week, I offer a scripture text and the poem it inspired from poet Malcolm Guite.
Christ The King (Click here to hear Malcom read his sonnet)
Our King is calling from the hungry furrows
Whilst we are cruising through the aisles of plenty,
Our hoardings screen us from the man of sorrows,
Our soundtracks drown his murmur: ‘I am thirsty’.
He stands in line to sign in as a stranger
And seek a welcome from the world he made,
We see him only as a threat, a danger,
He asks for clothes, we strip-search him instead.
And if he should fall sick then we take care
That he does not infect our private health,
We lock him in the prisons of our fear
Lest he unlock the prison of our wealth.
But still on Sunday we shall stand and sing
The praises of our hidden Lord and King.
Malcolm Guite: http://www.malcolmguite.com/
May you experience the Grace of Christ in your Thanksgiving celebration, and may that grace carry you through the wilderness seasons of your life!