Christ the King Sunday ‘Sets the Table’ for Thanksgiving Celebration
As we prepare for next week’s traditional Thanksgiving celebration, albeit in a much more restricted way because of the Covid crises, let us be reminded that there is another celebration that precedes Thanksgiving and sets the tone for the Christmas season.
I had forgotten, but fortunately Pam Domer reminded me this week, that Sunday is The Feast of Christ the King. What does that mean? Well, its roots are in the Catholic Church, and it began in 1925 when Pope Pius XI instituted the event with the intention that it be “celebrated throughout the universal church.” Turns out, his vision took hold because we continue to celebrate the occasion to this day, almost a century after it was first instituted.
At the time, the Pope was concerned about “the increasing denial of Christ as king and the rise of secularism throughout much of Europe.” It was a time when “many Christians began to doubt Christ’s authority and existence, as well as the Church’s power to continue Christ’s authority.” Unfortunately, those same doubts persist to this day, making the Pope’s declaration more important than ever.
Pius XI set forth three objectives in instituting the Feast: (1) that “world leaders would acknowledge the church’s right to freedom and immunity from the state;” (2) that “leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ;” and (3) that believers “would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, just as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, and bodies.”
The world has changed considerably during the past 95 years, making it unlikely that all world leaders would acknowledge and respect Christ, but there is still an expectation, especially in our country, that the church has a right to freedom and immunity from the state.
Unfortunately, distrust of world authority is arguably at an all-time high, and the rejection of Christ as our supreme leader continues in earnest. The question becomes, “is it too late to reverse this trend?” The answer is a definitive “No!”
As we reflect on Scripture, we are reminded of Jesus’ words from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 10, Verses 42-45, when he said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
If only our public officials would embrace this call. Some do, but many do not. Fortunately, we can live according to Christ’s kingship, which is one of humility and service.
We know that Christ is coming to judge all the nations. As we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, we take note of his love, grace, and mercy, which will endure forever. “Christ the King gives us true freedom — freedom in Him.” Reason to celebrate for sure!
Until we meet again, be blessed! – Pastor John