Christ the King or Reign of Christ Sunday is a relatively new addition to the liturgical calendar. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as a response to the rise of dictatorships in Europe and a decline in church attendance. It was set as the last Sunday of the liturgical year, the Sunday before the first Sunday of Advent, in 1970. Protestant churches began celebrating it after the adoption of the Revised Common Lectionary in the 1980s. So for many Protestants, it’s not a particularly important holy day, especially for those that don’t follow a liturgical calendar as closely as many mainline churches. But I think it might speak to us in times like these when we are trying to figure out whom and how we should follow. When we are wondering what power and authority look like and how it should be exercised.
This year’s lectionary text for end of the liturgical year is Luke 23:33-43, Luke’s account of Jesus’s crucifixion. I’ll invite you to read the text carefully and ask why this scene in particular is appropriate for a day called Christ the King, Reign of Christ. What does it say about who Jesus is? How does it illuminate Jesus’s relationship to power? How, from the cross, does Jesus exercise authority? And does that relationship and exercise have any bearing on, or points of contact with, the world we live in beyond the church?
These are some of the questions that I’m wrestling with for this Sunday. And I know that many of you are still wrestling with the emotions and ramifications of last week’s election. Please know that you can call on me any time for conversation and prayer.
See you Sunday!
Grace and peace,