For this Sunday, The Feast of Christ the King

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, now and for ever. Amen.

In churches such as mine which mark the traditional liturgical calendar, today November 26, is the last Sunday of the Church year. Next Sunday starts the cycle again with the first Sunday of Advent, which is a time we spend thinking about preparation for the coming of Jesus, or rather for 3 different arrivals of Him – in Bethlehem some 2020 years ago, at the end of time, and in this age, into the heart of everyone who opens him or herself to him. A new thing, a new beginning, a new advent.

The year continues through a path of thinking about (and celebrating) various moments in the earthly life of Jesus, through Easter, to His ascension, to the bestowing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Then (in the main) the focus changes to Jesus through the life of the Church, and of all of us.

But at the end of the year, it is all summed up in today, the feast of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In opposite years, we read the same events through different eyes, in different parts of the Bible, but cover the same ground. Over the year (and especially over two years) we pretty well get all the high points. The preacher is supposed to not go “off script(ture) into his own favorite topics except at great need.

I think it is a good system, where we use it.

________________________

Lately, I have been needing to acknowledge a lot of death. Not physical, no funerals (and yes, that is a slightly macabre joke, I am a funeral director). But a number of deaths of dreams, of thoughts, of things I believed true. Ending of plans, unfulfilled.
Knowing that they will never come to fruit.

I had intended to write about at least one of them, and I may yet. But not now. Instead, I saw this prayer, Proper 29 for the Sunday of Christ the King. It will be part of most Episcopal church services this morning.

And the way it speaks to me is that it recognizes the “true, but not YET true” nature of many of the good things we see. Many of the Good Things I have proclaimed for years, and whose death I am having to acknowledge. Today, we come to the end.

And yet this END, is a mark that Jesus is indeed King. And that He will indeed bring us together and heal our sin, heal our wounds; it is his goal, his purpose, and He WILL do it.

This ending, today, marks an ending in victory. And it also marks an ending in “not completely YET” – it leads us into the season of Advent – of preparing for, looking for, looking forward to, that next victory – in Jesus, in me, NOW, and beyond that, to His final victory over all things.

But it is a Good Day to remember that no matter what, Christ is victor; and that the light will grow, his advent is around the corner.

-Blessings!

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Old Files, and talking to myself

-cleaning up some old files on my computer.
One of the good things about seeing things I wrote a long time ago is that sometimes they apply back to me. Of course, a lot of it is junk, and should NOT rise again to the surface. But sometimes it is good for me to read again. This is one of those.

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“Why do we call it “FAST” when it makes the day so slow?”

I like words. And I have an unfortunate taste for stupid jokes, particularly when they turn on double meanings of words. Or homophones.

As such, this has been my response when someone brings up the idea of fasting as a spiritual discipline.

I actually did this decades ago, 1 day every week, and a longer 3 day once a month. Liquids only, but a little V8 juice seemed a good thing. Did that for a year or so when I was in school.

But whatever the virtues there might be, or the lack, it certainly gave me inspiriation for one of my worst word jokes.
But then 2 weeks ago, I pulled it out for a friend at Church (All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Stafford, TX), and he actually took the “why…” as a real question, which had a real answer. And was therefore worth finding out. I admire that. Over 40 years, and I had never done that. I suppose I was afraid it would ruin the joke, as if that were possible.

What he found was the relationship in proto-German to a similar word meaning remain still. I tried to morph it into a more modern “Make fast” as in “Fasten,” but my friend insisted that although that was partial, it was not primary. The earliest would be simply to REMAIN still.
And this opened up something for me, that relates to a previous post about this time of waiting between Ascension, and Pentecost. I called it a gap, with seeming abandonment.

This meaning of “fast” differed from mine in that to “hold fast” seems to refer to a state or condition. Static. To “remain fast” seems more like  a point in a process – like the pause before turning left across a busy street, or a right turn on red. The quite spot between movements of a symphony, the dramatic pause a speaker might use.

Or the Seventh day of Creation – when God “rested” (I wonder about the Hebrew – how the word “fast” might fit there?)

And also this time of waiting, wondering what is coming next. 

Anticipation, Nervous , perhaps even fearful (with or without cause).

But Something is about to start. A change is in the wind.

We are standing fast. 

 

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On Ascension and Abandonment. Gaps

You would think that after 40 years as an Episcopalian, I would pretty much have this “Liturgical Calendar” thing, the “Church Year” down. But after spending my first formative years as a Southern Baptist, I can still find a surprise or two.

As they say, even a blind squirrel finds SOME acorns.

Today, 25 May 2017 is the Feast of the Ascension. Continue reading

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On Baking Bread, Communion, the Holy and Profane

Bread making this morning.

In the deep past, I did this once or twice a month at home, and really enjoyed it. This time, it is for Communion Bread for a special event, which fills me with thoughts. Apparently, I would rather THINK about my work than actually do it. Continue reading

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Some Personal Thoughts on Suffering: 1

A friend of mine once asked for some Bible passages for a friend who was going through some rather serious difficulties. The following is taken from my response.

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Thoughts on Going Back to Church

OK. I’ve been wanting to write this, and ducking it all morning, probably for days. Perhaps longer.

“Start with the truth as it is, Eric, and only then into commentary, and on to thoughts about that truth, or what you wish to do with it. Start by what is”

Seems like sound advice. The sort of thing I might say. Continue reading

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