Why Christ the King?     

Why Christ the King?     

Why Christ the King?

As a church denomination that follows the liturgical calendar, Lutherans celebrate what is called “Christ the King” Sunday the week before Advent starts.  While it sounds like a triumphant day, the readings for “Christ the King” Sunday often are from the crucifixion of Jesus, reminding us that Jesus is not the typical king who conquers through violence, but rather conquers death by giving his own life.  Although it taps into ancient Biblical themes of the divine authority of Jesus, the festival day itself is relatively recent in the life of the church.

Author Lesli White writes that the first Feast of Christ the King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and was to be celebrated throughout the universal church. This feast day was in response to the increasing denial of Christ as king and the rise of secularism throughout Europe. During this period, many Christians, including Catholics, doubted not only Christ’s authority, but also His existence. They were also denying the Church’s power to continue Christ’s authority.

This was also a time when dangerous dictatorships were emerging in Europe and beyond. As Pope Pius and other faithful Christians began to see the respect and reverence for Christ’s authority diminishing, this feast was put in place to reaffirm and refocus faith and respect in the kingship of Jesus.

Is such a re-focus on the authority of Christ still relevant for today?  Could the world benefit from more people living in humility following in the steps of Jesus as opposed to living as if their own desires were the highest authority in their lives?  Would more people be better off if instead of acting out of selfish gain, leaders submitted themselves to the path of mercy that is revealed in Christ?

Read more at https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/religious-observances/why-christians-celebrate-christ-the-king-sunday.

-Pastor Erik Goehner