Sunday, November 26, 2017
Christ the King. . . not a fan. . .
I always felt like the attempts to organize the end of the Church Year (think LW and its calendar of 3rd last, 2nd last, and the end or LBW and its Christ the King after Rome) were all being too neat and tidy. I can understand it and do appreciate the intention. But the whole thing is just off. It is off to get to the end of the Church Year and suddenly acknowledge Christ is the King when it is exactly that He is King from the very beginning, the incarnation, and all the way through.
It just seems like we are trying to fix the story so that Jesus Christ becomes King at the end of the sequence, the end of the story, as the result of a long process. As another has already noted, cleaverness sometimes confounds and confuses rather than clarifies. Here it is exactly that. It confounds and confuses Jesus' self-revelation and treats it as if each was merely a chapter in the story leading up to the great climax at the end. Furthermore, it is not even the end. . . yet. Instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI for the Roman Calendar, Christ the King was a convenient foil to Reformation Sunday (both observed at the end of October). In 1970 Rome moved it to the last Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Furthermore,coming right before Advent and its Palm Sunday entrance just agitates against the truth, fostering the idea that He is King at the end of His redemptive suffering and not King on His way to that suffering. Looking at this again, it makes me glad that those responsible for the LSB calendar avoided the temptation and ditched the popular but unsatisfactory label of Christ the King and that they also avoided the other attempts to give the end of one Church Year a big smash (Sunday of the Fulfillment, being just one of those names). Instead we got the rather pedestrian Last Sunday of the Church Year, which it is. And maybe we should just leave it at that.