May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be always acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord our strength and our redeemer.
Lately: Chris and I have been talking a lot about time.
And how time sometimes gets blurred.
How it’s not always in a linear line.
How eternity sometimes sweeps around and around.
We’ve talked about eternity before.
We know that eternity is not just in the future:
But includes all of time.
Yet it’s still hard for us to wrap our heads around.
Because too often, our modern minds force us to think in a linear fashion:
To think of stories and time on a continuum: a line.
As we’re taught to strive for the ultimate goal:
To finish to the end.
But real time:
Real time: is God’s time.
And God’s time is beginning, middle, end:
all of it wrapped up together.
And we catch a glimpse of it today.
Today is a strange day in the church.
Because today the lines seem blurred
Time is kind of blurred.
And everything seems to run together.
It’s Christ the King Sunday.
A special celebratory feast where we celebrate Christ the King.
Pope Pius the 11 th instituted Christ the King Sunday.
In order to celebrate the lordship of Christ in an increasingly secular world.
Pope Pius wanted people to remember that God’s power and majesty is radically
different from the reign of human monarchs or presidents.
Originally, Christ the King Sunday was celebrated on the last Sunday of October.
But when the Roman Catholics proposed the three year lectionary:
After the second Vatican council:
Christ the King was moved to the final Sunday of the liturgical year.
Which is today.
The last Sunday of the Church year.
The last Sunday before Advent:
Is the Sunday we particularly focus on Christ the King.
And it’s brilliant, really:
Because that’s part of why the lines get all blurred.
Where everything runs together: Even time.
It all runs together today.
Today: On the last Sunday of the Church year:
The story is no longer linear.
The last isn’t really the last.
And we’re reminded that next week’s beginning isn’t really the beginning.
Today: The story is blurred all together:
Where the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things merges and time
appears to stop:
if only for a moment.
Let’s see if I can explain what I mean.
Our lessons today show God’s intention to send a king who will set the world
Each of those lessons has a linear place in the larger Christian story.
And yet all together, they’re no longer linear.
The lines become blurred:
And they embody they fullness of time through the fullness of Christ.
Our first reading from Jeremiah speaks of the coming of Christ.
Jeremiah tells the people that a new and righteous shepherd will be sent by God.
This follows a common ancient near eastern metaphor of the king as shepherd.
And even further:
This idea that Kings nourish and protect their people.
In near Eastern texts: like Jeremiah:
such rulers were likened to the tree of life:
As if the king was the center and source of life for the nation.
This is why Jeremiah says that God will raise up for David a righteous branch:
A tree: growing through David’s line.
This reading from Jeremiah is an Advent reading.
A foretelling and prophecy of Jesus’ birth.
But here we are, on the last Sunday of the Church year:
Still in the season of Pentecost:
With the lines blurred.
But here we are:
Not in advent:
Not in Christmas:
But still in the season of Pentecost:
With the lines all blurred.
The Gospel reading from Luke,
Is perhaps the most fascinating as we think about the blurring of time and story.
This lesson enters the linear story near the end:
At the crucifixion.
As Jesus: “The King of the Jews”
hangs on the cross: executed next to two criminals.
It’s a Palm Sunday reading, about Good Friday.
And yet here we are:
On the last Sunday of the Church year.
Still in the season of Pentecost:
With white frontals, and vestments:
White: The color of the resurrection:
And we’re reading a passion reading from Holy Week.
Right next to Advent and Christmas readings.
Today the lines are blurred.
Today is not Palm Sunday.
It’s not Good Friday.
It’s not Advent.
It’s not Christmas.
It’s just the last Sunday after Pentecost.
Maybe that is exactly the point.
That Christ the King blurs the lines.
That Gods time is eternal.
It’s beginning, middle and end.
It’s Alpha and Omega.
It’s Advent, it’s Christmas, It’s Holy Week, It’s Easter.
Christ the King is King eternal.
And we see it all come together in the second lesson from Colossians.
Let’s hear it again:
He—as in Christ the King--
Is the image of the invisible God:
The first born of all creation.
For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created:
Things visible and invisible:
Whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers--
All things have been created through him and for him.
He himself is before all things:
And in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body: the church:
He is the beginning:
The firstborn from the dead:
So that he might come to have first place in everything.
For in him ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD WAS PLEASED TO DWELL:
And through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things:
Whether on earth or in heaven:
By making peace through the blood of the cross.
It should sound kind of familiar.
Kind of like the creed that we recite together every Sunday.
This ideal king—Christ--
Holds all things together:
Time, space, and story.
Through him all things were made.
Christ the King was present at creation:
And is reigning eternally:
Blurring all of the lines of time and story.
Christ is king when he reigns at the beginning of creation.
Christ is King when he reigns as the tree growing through David’s line.
Christ is King when he reigns in the womb of his mother.
And Christ is king when he reigns from the cross: Forgiving our sins, and hanging
between two criminals.
It wasn’t the cross that made Christ the king.
It wasn’t his crowning as King of the Jews.
Christ IS the King of Creation.
Christ IS the King in the manger.
Christ IS the King on the cross.
Christ IS the king resurrected.
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…
The fullness of all eternity:
Of all seasons,
Of all years.
And we catch that glimpse every time we gather.
The glimpse of the mystery of blurred stories and blurred time.
Because every Sunday is a mini-Easter:
Whether it’s the last Sunday after Pentecost:
Or Palm Sunday.
All of time is wrapped up together in Christ the King.
And Every time we come to the table:
We PROCLAIM Christ as king.
At the beginning, at the middle, at the end.
In the fullness of all time:
For all eternity.
And our lives:
Are no longer a series of linear events.
We are no longer a series of separate individuals.
Instead: our lives and ourselves are made full:
By Christ the king eternal.
Enjoy the weekly sermons at anytime.