Monday, November 26, 2012

A Season for the King

We were late to church yesterday morning.
Lots of travel last week,
all of it good, fun, comforting, interesting.
But . . .
we were tired
and moving very s-l-o-w-l-y.
The sanctuary was full as we snuck in the back door,
so we sat in the balcony,
which provides an unusual view.
The large chandeliers that took on the look of a double crown in the photograph.

 It wasn't until I looked at the photo 
that I saw that our view was remarkably apt
for this particular Sunday in the church calendar:
Christ the King Sunday,
the last one in the liturgical year.
Next Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent, 
the turning of a new calendar page.

But yesterday. . .
yesterday was a celebration of the Cosmic Christ,
the One who sits at the right hand of the Father,
the One who will come again in glory,
the One who intercedes for us,
who reigns on our behalf,
and the One for whom the stars sing.
 In the northern hemisphere,
this Sunday comes in the midst of Autumn,
the time of dying,
dying in full, vibrant color.
 It feels fitting to celebrate Christ as King
in this season of the year,
perhaps because it also feels a little bit upside-down.
Wouldn't the bright pinks and purples of spring or summer
be better suited to this kind of recognition?
 Christ is surely King in any season of our years,
but somehow the Fall feels 'right' to me,
a good season to make special note of this truth.
After all, Jesus did not become the kind of king 
that people were anticipating.
He shattered every preconception, every expectation,
every dream that was built on the power structures of our world.
In ways that are deep and profound,
Jesus of Nazareth did not become
Christ the King until
the cross,
the empty tomb,
the ascension into the heavenly realms.
Is there any more backwards way to become
a person of royalty than his way?
The way of death,
and resurrection,
and ascension?
 So as the days get shorter,
and the hours of darkness grow;
as the leaves turn brilliant in their farewell address,
as the flowers dry on the stem
and the shadows lengthen on the lawn,
this is the time,
the perfect time,
to remember and to honor our King.
The One who was with God and who became a human person,
taking that long and winding downward journey,
living a more fully human life than any other ever has.
He died an ignominious death,
and by that death and the resurrection
which followed it,
brought us the gift of Full Life
in fellowship with the Triune God.
Only then, did he return to his rightful place
on the throne.
So YES, this season seems about right.
The season of dying in full, vibrant color.
 On this Sunday, we celebrate that the King is for us.
We remember the greatness of our God,
we acknowledge the Glory of a Savior
who is much grander, fuller, more all-compassing
than any Being we can imagine or dream.
Lord of the Harvest?
Surely so.
 Grand Creator of the universe in all its richness and variety?
Yes and amen. 
The One who is above all, around all,
through all and in all?
Yes, yes, yes and YES.

So we sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy," and
"Crown Him with Many Crowns," and
"Creation Song," and "Revelation Song," and
any other hymn of praise that rises to our lips
as we recognize the Bigness of our God.

Next week, we celebrate the Littleness.
Isn't that amazing?

Joining this with Laura Boggess and Jen Ferguson and the Sisterhood, with Cheryl Hyatt Smith and Ann Voskamp this week.
Doesn't quite fit any of their themes exactly, but. . . this is what I've got.