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Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
What are we celebrating in our observance of the Reign of Christ? The very words suggest magnificence and great power – the grandeur of a king whose rule exceeds all others.
Then why this gospel text?
These last few moments of Jesus’ life seem, at first, to run counter to all we might value in the world, let alone a royal ruling over it all.
To be with Jesus in this moment on the cross – as we celebrate his reign – invites us to consider the ways use of the language of royalty and ruling risks missing the whole point of the gospels, because of the way “king” or “ruler” might connote a fixed sense of order, rather than a dynamic sense of God’s action on earth.
December 4, 2016, at 11 o’clock
Prelude and Fugue in D Minor
Dietrich Buxtehude (1637-1707)
Advent Anthem from Six Texts, Op. 79
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Benedictus Dominus Deus
(Morning Service in D Minor)
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Prelude, Fugue and Ciacona
Hymns: 69, 75, 76, 597