For liturgical types out there, this coming Sunday is Christ the King, the final Sunday of the Church's year. In recent times, I have usually taken this Sunday off as a breathing space before the Advent rush. This year conforms to that pattern, so once agan it's a theme that I miss out on. In fact, I think the last time I consciously preached on it, was in Wrexham in 2001 (or maybe 2002) when I was a student! The Wrexham people were lovely, as I recall, and we had a good evening service on the theme (alas I've long since forgotten what I did in the morning!)
I know not everyone likes 'King' language, and some people talk of the 'commonwealth of heaven' rather than 'Kingdom of Heaven' but I think we can discard infants along with ablution fluid if we aren't careful. Just because human Kings (or Queens) are flawed doesn't make the concept inherently wrong (though if I wanted to be a bit pedantic, God tried to dissaude Israel from having a King before eventually giving in and saying 'OK'). Changing from'kingdom', which offends some republicans, to 'commonwealth,' which others assert has little to do with Cromwell and less to do with British Imperialism, doesn't I fear, overcome the tension.
Odd that we are all quite happy with the idea of the 'Prince of Peace' but not everyone with the 'King' when his reign is fulfilled...
Bit of a rambly post, not thought through, just a brain dump. That and I think I will be marking Christ the King in some way this weekend when I'm away. If nothing else it's an excuse to sing this rousing old hymn...
Sing we the King who is coming to reign,
glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain.
Life and salvation his empire shall bring,
joy to the nations when Jesus is King.
Come let us sing: Praise to our King,
Jesus our King, Jesus our King:
this is our song, who to Jesus belong:
Glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.
All then shall dwell in his marvellous light,
races long severed his love shall unite,
justice and truth from his sceptre shall spring,
wrong shall be ended when Jesus is King.
All shall be well in his kingdom of peace,
freedom shall flourish and wisdom increase,
foe shall be friend when his triumph we sing,
sword shall be sickle when Jesus is King.
Souls shall be saved from the burden of sin,
doubt shall not darken his witness within,
hell has no terrors, and death has no sting;
love is victorious when Jesus is King.
Kingdom of Christ, for your coming we pray,
hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day
when this new song your creation shall sing,
Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King.
Charles Silvester Horne (1865-1914)