As the leaves begin to turn and the temperature slowly lowers from scorching to merely unreasonably warm we are reminded that summer never stays forever and fall comes eventually. With fall comes the changing of colors, the darkness at an earlier hour, and preparations for the end of the year and all that goes with it.
As Christians we are preparing for the end of our year; it comes a little earlier than the turning of the secular calendar. Christ the King Sunday is the final Sunday of the church year. It is followed by the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new year for Christians.
The church year is meant to reflect the course of history and to anticipate what is coming. In Advent we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ-child at Christmas and remember that we are preparing for Christ to come again. In Lent we consider our lives and how we are in need of change and healing in preparation for the agony of Good Friday and the glory of Easter Sunday. During the Easter season we revel in the good news of the resurrected Christ, and at Pentecost we sing praise the Holy Spirit who leads the church into the world.
Then, after the flurry of activity from December through May, comes Ordinary Time. For thirty-some-odd weeks we worship together, pray together, live together. At times it may feel boring, always the same. As June moves to July to August to September and into October there are a few festivals but none that are major. We see Christ at work but wonder if something momentus will ever come.
And then comes Christ the King. On this Sunday we celebrate the coming of Jesus in glory, the Messiah made manifest for all the world to see. We believe that this is where history is going – to the return of the Christ as head of the Kingdom of God. We look for and long for the kingdom to come in our lives and in our world. Christ the King Sunday looks forward to the time when God’s hopes and dreams for the world will be made real. So Christ the King marks a major festival of the church, the festival which celebrates where we are going.
On November 21, as we celebrate Christ the King, we will be partaking of communion together. This will be a change from our normal first-Sunday-of-the-month practice. My hope is that participating in the Sacrament in a special time will help make that Sunday memorable and hopeful for all the church and enable us to remember with hope where all this is going.
Until we get there, grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior.