A Moment for Mission
“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness …, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” —Luke 1:78-79, NRSV
Today is Christ the King, or Reign of Christ, Sunday. On this final Sunday of the Christian year, we remember that the crucified Christ who reconciled the world to God on Easter is the same Christ who came as a humble infant in a manger on Christmas.
When Christians refer to Christ as “king,” we see him seated at the right hand of God, as opposed to the secular title of “King of the Jews” mockingly given at the Crucifixion.
Christ the King Sunday ushers us into Advent, which begins next week when we will also observe United Methodist Student Day. This special day calls the church to support students as they prepare for life in uniting faith with knowledge. The offering assists undergraduate and graduate students through scholarships.
“This scholarship,” said recipient Anna Wilson, “changed my life. It decreased our families’ financial burden for the cost of college. It showed me that The United Methodist Church cares about my education and that they will support me.”
Katrina Lewis agreed. “God used that money in my life,” she said, “to transform my college experience and allow me to pursue opportunities I never thought possible. I will always remember the generosity poured out to me by my church. A scholarship provides true hope and testimony to God’s generosity and goodness.”
As we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, we also look forward to observing United Methodist Student Day next week.
Show the children a crown and, if available, a velvet robe and a scepter.
Have you ever heard “Handel’s Messiah” by a famous composer named George Frideric Handel? Although one of the most familiar parts—the “Hallelujah Chorus”—was written about Jesus’ resurrection at Easter, choirs often sing it at Christmastime. One of the most familiar lines calls Jesus the “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
When we think of a king, we probably picture a powerful person wearing a jeweled crown and a royal robe and maybe holding a scepter, a fancy staff that shows the king is in charge.
Today we remember Jesus as Christ the King. He certainly didn’t look like the king of our imagination. Jesus wore a simple robe and sandals, and at his crucifixion, he wore a crown of thorns.
God sent Jesus into the world, not to rule over countries and powerful armies, but to be the king of our hearts and our lives.
Let’s pray: Thank you, God, for sending Jesus to be our king. As we sometimes sing, “Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, come in to stay, come into my heart, Lord Jesus.” Amen.
Loving God, by your tender mercy, may the dawn from on high break upon us, giving light to those who sit in darkness and guiding our feet into the way of peace. We love you. Amen.
From Discipleship: Ministries: Reign of Christ Almighty, Creator God, we humbly bring our gifts to you this day. On Calvary’s cross, your son redefined for the world what it meant to rule, what it meant to be a king. In his life, teaching and interacting with people, Jesus redefined what it means to give in a way that pleases God. May we in this season live and give in a way that reflects the reign over us and the one who lives within us. In the exalted name of Christ, we pray. Amen. (Luke 23:33-43)
We celebrate Christ the King, or Reign of Christ, Sunday on the First Sunday in Advent. It’s a time to remember that Christmas is about much more than a baby in a manger. It’s about the Sovereign Christ.
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:14-15), the apostle encouraged the early Christians to follow the commandments “until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.”
The theme of the Lordship of Christ is integral to the message of the entire New Testament and to the faithful practice of Christian worship. Marking the kingship of Christ makes a healthy transition that leads directly into Advent, the Christmas cycle and the remainder of the Christian year.
This year, as we listen to the “Hallelujah Chorus” in Handel’s “Messiah,” may we hear anew the line, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”