October Journal, Feast of Christ the King, Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. And so as I sat in our Berkeley chapel this morning listening to the sermon (framed by glorious hymns and thundering organ), I could see Christ the King on the throne of glory, beckoning and bleeding and blessing us all. He was great and became small, so Scripture and Song tell us, entering our world, taking on our flesh and with our flesh our sufferings. As I listened to our preacher, I gazed upon the tabernacle on the altar where Our Lord’s Real Presence is found in the elements of bread and wine. The King of all creation loves us so he comes among us, becomes one with us, if we desire his glory to live within us.

His glory shines within and without, in our hearts and in our universe, in the microscopic and the magnificent.

I’ve been stunned lately by the glories of the natural world – the light on the shimmering leaves of the olive tree outside my window,  the wild turkeys in the front garden with their brilliantly colored fanned feathers. The tiny birds that dart through the air in a delightful chase, the perky salamander that explores my garden and entrances my cat. The world is of infinite complexity, as scientists have discovered in the last few decades, studying through a high powered lens the double helix of the genome and its ability to change in infinitesimal ways, reflecting an Intelligent Designer after all, and an actively Intelligent Designer. Creation sings to its Creator, in the dappled sun lighting our days, the stars rolled out over the night sky, the moon with its curious dance around us as we circle the sun. Earth rolls through the universe, in a pattern of life and death, of the great and the small, of the high and the low, immanence and eminence. My cat with her long golden hair and giant eyes and loving heart. Her purr as she sits in my lap now listening to my heartbeat. Nothing is ordinary; nothing is average; nothing is less than extraordinary, however small or silent or sleeping. Or suffering.

Everything matters. Everything counts. My bishop of blessed memory often said, “Nothing is wasted.” Everything we do and think and believe and love enters our Book of Life, pages read by each one of us one day, words of self judgment that beget penitence, perhaps purgatory, and powerful peace as we enter the gates of the New Jerusalem.

My desk clock is ticking, a quiet chant marking my afternoon. Time, as mysterious as it is to those of us who are still living within its boundaries, offers more variety, for we know there will be no two seconds alike. Each minute is different in our past, present, and future. Our dance is freedom bound by time, but a dance of ongoing creativity and newness, no step choreographed. Our dance is unique to each one of us as well, expressing our own person made in the image of our Creator.

Christ is our King. We live in an age of democracy, our preacher explained. How do we celebrate monarchy? “My kingdom is not of this world,” Christ said in today’s gospel. So he has a kingdom, but one that stands apart from our earthly kingdom. Yet we know he will return in glorious majesty. We sang of his many crowns today, hymn #352, for he is the Lamb upon his throne. And the crowns reflect his many parts and titles and claims to our worship:

Crown Him with many crowns
The Lamb upon the throne
Hark How the heav'nly anthems drowns
All music but its own!
Awake, my soul And sing
Of Him Who died for thee
And hail Him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity

And so we crown Him the Son of God, the Lord of Life, the Son of Man, the Lord of Lords, the Lord of Heaven, as King of all. All earthly kings bow before Him. As we sing we tell the story of redemption and salvation. We sing with our tiny voices to our King of all.

Here we are, ordinary mortals, itty bitty souls in the pageant of the universe. Yet this King loves us so. He reaches to touch us and make us whole, holy. We reach to touch Him. We are healed and our tininess becomes starry and bright and beautiful. Love fills us with wonder and gratitude. Such gifts. Such splendor.

Our Anglican Province of Christ the King witnesses to this splendor, this resurrection daily, minute by minute, this re-creation of life in our lives and our children’s lives and their children’s lives. We are Christ the King’s children, the unborn and the born, the young and the old, each cherished by the Lord of Life whose Kingdom shall have no end.

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