THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING

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This is a day of feasting.  This is the day of Christ “Pantokrator,” Christ the Ruler of All.  This is the final day of the Christian year, the last day of Kingdomtide; we set aside this day as a festival, celebrating the Rule of our Lord Jesus.  He shall reign for ever and ever; his Kingdom shall have no end!  And so this day may be a “last day” in a calendrical sense, but even the calendar itself continues to acknowledge his everlasting rule.  Because next Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent, the first Sunday for the season of his coming.  We celebrate not only his historic coming in lowliness, but his future coming in regal victory.  Kingdomtide triumphantly blends into Advent.  Indeed, how could it be otherwise?  All of history is completely, entirely, forever marked by the Reign of Jesus Christ, and his Kingdom shall have no end.

Opening Prayer

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords:  Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.  (BCP 236)

TEXT

Ephesians 1:15-23

For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.  I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

NIV

READ

God is gone up on high

With a triumphant noise,

The clarions of the sky

Proclaim th’ angelic joys!

Join all on earth, rejoice, and sing,

Glory ascribe to Glory’s King.

God in the flesh below,

For us He reigns above:

Let all the nations know

Our Jesu’s conquering love!

Join all on earth, rejoice and sing,

Glory ascribe to Glory’s King.

All Power to our great LORD

Is by His Father given,

By angel-hosts adored

He reigns supreme in Heaven:

Join all on earth, rejoice, and sing,

Glory ascribe to Glory’s King.

High on His holy seat

He bears the righteous sway,

His foes beneath His feet

Shall sink, and die away:

Join all on earth, rejoice, and sing,

Glory ascribe to Glory’s King.

His foes and ours are one,

Satan, the World, and Sin;

But He shall tread them down,

And bring His Kingdom in:

Join all on earth, rejoice, and sing,

Glory ascribe to Glory’s King.

Till all the earth renewed

In righteousness divine

With all the hosts of GOD

In one great chorus join,

Join all on earth, rejoice, and sing,

Glory ascribe to Glory’s King.

—Charles Wesley

Hymns for Ascension-Day #2

The kingdom of this world has become

the kingdom of our Lord

and of his Messiah,

and he will reign forever and ever!

—Revelation 11:15, NRSV

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