Saturday, December 3, 2011


       The feast of Christ the King is the climax of the church year, but also a bridge to Advent. The image of the shepherd-king will appear in next week’s Psalm 80, which we also sang on October 2, invoked by a people in exile whose vineyard has been destroyed. (Recall that today’s 23rd Psalm was also our response on October 9.)  We all long for leaders who will shepherd us, leading by example and healing what is not whole. The key, as we have heard for the last three weeks, is to be alert for the return of the King, for he lives and moves among us even now. The sheep have recognized the person of Christ in those dispossessed; the goats have not. As we have seen these last weeks, walls must fall to bring about the kingdom. St. Paul lays out the scenario: Christ is raised first, then those who are faithful to him; and then every earthly concept of nationality and government will crumble. Finally, when death is destroyed, God will be all in all.
      The promise of the resurrection is well-conveyed in the hymn “We Will Rise Again,” with verses drawn from Isaiah.  Resurrection is also the theme of “Soon and Very Soon.” Our communion processional again this week will be “When We Eat This Bread”, this time with verses from “Shepherd Me, O God.” The African hymn “Jesu, Jesu,” which we also sing on Holy Thursday, reminds us where we find Christ. “You Are My All In All” expands on the concluding thought of our epistle. The closing hymn at the organ Masses, “The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns” is set to the early American hymn tune Morning Song and is a meditation on the King of kings whom we worship both in the fullness of time and in Bethlehem. At 10:00 we go out to a medley of spirituals, “Ride On, King Jesus” and “In That Great Gettin’-Up Morning.”