Sunday, November 23, 2008
Christ the King
Anyone who thinks Southern California doesn’t have seasons isn’t paying attention. Our seasonal shifts may not be as dramatic as—say North Carolina or New York, but since I’m actually FROM here the autumn signs and symbols we see all around us this morning feel like fall to me! The trees with their brilliant orange and yellow leaves along with bright blue skies, cooler temperatures, shorter days and (perhaps the most locally telling of all the year-end-portents) – the banners advertising Rose Parade bleacher seating springing up all over town: signs of the season, Pasadena-style.
Another sign of the season—Episcopal-style—are the lessons appointed for this last Sunday after Pentecost: which is the last Sunday of our church year. Today, as we end one church year and look forward to a new year ahead, our focus is not yet on the birth of Jesus the baby; rather our lessons and hymns call us to consider the Reign of Christ the King.
Now there are any number of reasons the language of kingship can be problematic for us as 21st century Christians: the gender thing and the patriarchy problem for starters—not to mention the allergy we Americans have historically had to monarchies in general (with the notable exception of our seemingly insatiable appetite for the latest goings on in the British Royal Family.) But no matter how we try to work around it, claiming Christ the King— Christ AS King—is not only part of our historic tradition, I believe it is a critical aspect of our prophetic future.
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