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.