Feast of Christ The King – Sunday 22 November

 

St Matthew's Westminster, Weekly Newsletter 13th February 2015
W E E K L Y    N E W S L E T T E R   | 20th November 2015
Christ the King

The feast of Christ the King was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. It is commonly held that this was a response to the growing tyranny in Europe, but that is not the case. It was actually founded in reaction to Reformation Sunday, observed rather successfully by the Lutheran churches. But here it is now, on the last Sunday of the Church’s year, and for whatever reason it was instituted it now brings our church year to a close. And what is more, it is a feast that is observed by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, and all churches that share the Common Lectionary.

Some might feel uncomfortable with the notion of kingship, and fear that this feast perhaps smacks of religious imperialism. If Christ is the king, then does his church occupy a privileged position? If Christ is the king, is he in such an exalted place as to be inaccessible to those who do not regularly walk the corridors of palaces?

If Christ is the king, then what kind of king is he, and how does he exercise his authority? The notion of kingship was central to Christ’s mission. The synoptic gospel writers Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak with one voice in telling us that at the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus announced that the ‘kingdom of God’ was drawing near. But at the same time Jesus upended and undermined the established concept of kingship. The kingdoms of this world are characterised by power, glory, prestige; the kingdom Jesus was pointing towards is characterised by service and humility. Kings surround themselves with throngs of fawning courtiers – think of Louis XIV at Versailles, where the nobles were occupied in an endless round of meaningless ceremonies so that they would have no time to plot against the king. In contrast, Jesus surrounded himself with the poor and marginalized. He crossed social, moral, and religious boundaries by accepting women as disciples. His critics charged that he ate and drank with thieves and prostitutes. No lines for him, no barriers to communion. Jesus chooses the lowly, and rejected, as his companions.

In inviting us to enter into this kingdom Jesus opens the door onto a new world of possibility, where common assumptions are subverted, the least regarded are given the place of honour, wrongs are righted and the chains of inevitability are broken. This is where we encounter the kingdom of God, and discover who Christ the king is for our world today.

Fr Philip Chester – St. Matthews Anglican Church, Westminster

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Sunday 22 November 2015 brings the Church to the Celebration of ‘Christ The King’ at the close of the Church’s Liturgical Year – prior to ADVENT.

This morning (Saturday, 21 November) I presided at a Votive Mass for the Catholic Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple. The prayers for the Feast reminded us of the fact that Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she was to bear the successor of the Hebrew King David, Christ the Lord, who would one day reign as Christ The King.

In the ”Good Old Days’ at least in the U.K., Anglo-Catholics always celebrated a votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturdays – as a prelude to the Celebration of the weekly Sunday Mass of the Resurrection; connecting the Incarnation of Christ (through his human mother, Mary) with the weekly Feast of Christ Incarnate, crucified, risen and glorified, on Sunday.

Father Philip Chester (Vicar of the Anglican Church of Saint Matthew, Westminster) – around the corner from the R.C. Westminster Cathedral – here presents the background of this important Celebration of Christ as King, Lord of the Church and Redeemer of All.

Interestingly, in its devotion to the Mother of Christ, Saint Matthews, Westminster, is one of those enlightened Anglo-Catholic Churches that supports the Ordination of Women as priests and bishops in the Church of England – on the presumption that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, brought into being from the altar of her womb, the Son of God; in a priestly action   comparable to that of the priest, by the action of the Holy Spirit, presiding over the Presence of Christ in the Sacrament of the Mass.

Hail to Jesus, King of Glory, present in the Holy Sacrament of the altar.

Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand

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About kiwianglo

Retired Anglican priest, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. Ardent supporter of LGBT Community, and blogger on 'Thinking Anglicans UK' site. Theology: liberal, Anglo-Catholic & traditional. regarding each person as a unique expression of Christ, and therefore lovable.
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