Christ the King of the Universe

This past Sunday was the Feast of Christ the King. Even though it is Friday, I just can’t let it go by without saying something about it, because it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.

For a little context, it is the last week of the Liturgical Year. The Church calendar begins with Advent (which, this year, begins on December 2.)

I’ve followed along with the Liturgical seasons, and celebrated this feast for about eight years, ever since becoming Anglican. (I’ve since joined the Catholic Church.) I did not know until recently, however, that this feast is fairly new. Pope Pius XI instituted it in 1925 to combat the growing secularism pervading society. As people began to trust in themselves, governments, and institutions rather than in God, he wanted there to be a clear reminder that we already have a King, and he is King forever.

Photo by  Chris Karidis  on  Unsplash

As the visions during the night continued, I saw
one like a Son of man coming,
on the clouds of heaven;
when he reached the Ancient One
and was presented before him,
the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;
all peoples, nations, and languages serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that shall not be taken away,
his kingship shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7: 13-14

I like the reminder, right before Advent begins, that the King is on the throne. We are entering into a time of expectant waiting for the world to be made right. And, perhaps we are paying a bit more attention to the sorrow and suffering of this world juxtaposed against the mad consumerism and saccharine sweetness of the season.

Being that I am an American, my best knowledge of (at least good) kings comes from fiction. Aragorn is my idea of a good king: he’s brave and self-sacrificing, humble and good. But Tolkien did not make an allegory of him. Aragorn reflects parts of Christ, but he is also exiled and fearful of his own calling. He is a very good king, but he is still a man.

Jesus, in contrast, is not shying away from his throne. He is Ruler of the Universe, seated there for eternity, calling and protecting his flock, for he is the Shepherd-King.

There’s a lot of trouble in this world, and sometimes it feels as if it’s all going mad. I think it has felt that way to generations upon generations—this is nothing new. We cannot explain away suffering. It is not something to be understood, but entered into. It is by suffering with Christ that we are joined to him, and it is by carrying the burdens of our neighbor that we are joined to our neighbor. So, while it may feel as if the King is in exile, or shirking his duties, or being kept away by an unseeable foe, it is simply not the truth.

As we prepare our hearts for Advent, we can rest in the knowledge that there is a good King on the throne. He is Ruler of the Universe, and it is my job to make sure that he is Lord over me as well.

Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down.

Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard
For your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through,
and he is victorious.

Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again, and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
and the City shall be blessed.

Sing all ye people!
— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

p.s. Oh! If you’d like to listen to something else about the Feast of Christ the King, check out this “Abiding Together” podcast episode. In fact, it summed up so much about what I’m trying to do with Yet Untold, that you’d think we’ve been talking about it. :)