A Season for the King

We were late to church yesterday morning.
Lots of travel last week,
all of it good, fun, comforting, interesting.
But . . .
we were tired
and moving very s-l-o-w-l-y.
The sanctuary was full as we snuck in the back door,
so we sat in the balcony,
which provides an unusual view.
The large chandeliers that took on the look of a double crown in the photograph.

 It wasn’t until I looked at the photo 
that I saw that our view was remarkably apt
for this particular Sunday in the church calendar:
Christ the King Sunday,
the last one in the liturgical year.
Next Sunday is the first Sunday in Advent, 
the turning of a new calendar page.

But yesterday. . .
yesterday was a celebration of the Cosmic Christ,
the One who sits at the right hand of the Father,
the One who will come again in glory,
the One who intercedes for us,
who reigns on our behalf,
and the One for whom the stars sing.
 In the northern hemisphere,
this Sunday comes in the midst of Autumn,
the time of dying,
dying in full, vibrant color.
 It feels fitting to celebrate Christ as King
in this season of the year,
perhaps because it also feels a little bit upside-down.
Wouldn’t the bright pinks and purples of spring or summer
be better suited to this kind of recognition?
 Christ is surely King in any season of our years,
but somehow the Fall feels ‘right’ to me,
a good season to make special note of this truth.
After all, Jesus did not become the kind of king 
that people were anticipating.
He shattered every preconception, every expectation,
every dream that was built on the power structures of our world.
In ways that are deep and profound,
Jesus of Nazareth did not become
Christ the King until
after
the cross,
the empty tomb,
the ascension into the heavenly realms.
Is there any more backwards way to become
a person of royalty than his way?
The way of death,
and resurrection,
and ascension?
 So as the days get shorter,
and the hours of darkness grow;
as the leaves turn brilliant in their farewell address,
as the flowers dry on the stem
and the shadows lengthen on the lawn,
this is the time,
the perfect time,
to remember and to honor our King.
The One who was with God and who became a human person,
taking that long and winding downward journey,
living a more fully human life than any other ever has.
He died an ignominious death,
and by that death and the resurrection
which followed it,
brought us the gift of Full Life
in fellowship with the Triune God.
Only then, did he return to his rightful place
on the throne.
So YES, this season seems about right.
The season of dying in full, vibrant color.
 On this Sunday, we celebrate that the King is for us.
We remember the greatness of our God,
we acknowledge the Glory of a Savior
who is much grander, fuller, more all-compassing
than any Being we can imagine or dream.
Lord of the Harvest?
Surely so.
 Grand Creator of the universe in all its richness and variety?
Yes and amen. 
The One who is above all, around all,
through all and in all?
Yes, yes, yes and YES.

So we sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and
“Crown Him with Many Crowns,” and
“Creation Song,” and “Revelation Song,” and
any other hymn of praise that rises to our lips
as we recognize the Bigness of our God.

Next week, we celebrate the Littleness.
Isn’t that amazing?

Joining this with Laura Boggess and Jen Ferguson and the Sisterhood, with Cheryl Hyatt Smith and Ann Voskamp this week.
Doesn’t quite fit any of their themes exactly, but. . . this is what I’ve got.


   




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Comments

  1. And what you’ve got is so very good. Thank you, Diana.

  2. You are welcome, Holly. Thank YOU.

  3. You are such a great writer. And a lot of that is because you are such a great thinker. I’m so glad God made you.

  4. I just now left a comment on your blog and came back to this one! Thank you so much, Jennifer. You made my night. I am glad God made you, too, sweetie.

  5. How fun…. That we were thinking of each other at the same time? That’s pretty cool. Pray for me, Diana???? So nervous about this manuscript. I wish you lived in Iowa. xoxo

  6. Just sent you an email – am praying, will continue to do so. Follow your own good advice – lean into Jesus. Even saying that name over and over can do wonders for a bad case of the nerves!!

  7. Thank you…. You’re a Christmas gift. (((YOU)))).

  8. I didn’t get the email, Diana. Did you sent to gmail?

  9. Just re-sent it – it had gone to hotmail the first time.

  10. Glenda Childers says:

    “The King is for us” … such good news these days.

    I did not grow up in a liturgical church with the thoughtful celebration of the whole process. So, I learn so much from your beautiful writing, Diana.

    I have always loved finding contrasts in Scripture. This largeness and littleness is going to be a good one.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  11. Amen, amen, amen!!!! No King but Jesus!!!! Love, love, love this, Diana. Thank you. xox

  12. Ro elliott says:

    Oh…you told this beautifully…so full of truth…all pointing our hearts to celebrate the coming of our KIng…and all He is…blessings to you~

  13. Not having grown up in a liturgical tradition, I’m still learning about things like Christ the King Sunday. Thank you for your reflection. The king is for me–and he is powerful and good! Much to celebrate.

  14. kingfisher says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful words. The idea that Christ was made King in an upside-down way, deserves much pondering. I LOVED your bright array of pics. Wishing I could get to know you better, would love to have you pray for me; but don’t know if you’d have time for more personal contact?

  15. Linda Chontos says:

    This is so beautiful Diana – so filled with rich wisdom. I have been praying about this dying to self in order to be all He created us to be. It is a difficult road to travel, but He is the one who broke the path for us. This pictures it so perfectly for me.

  16. Thank you, Linda, for stopping by and for writing such good words in this comment. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and the holidays ahead will be blessed.

  17. Thank you for stopping by, Linda, and gracing this place with your thoughtful words. May the celebrations of the month ahead be truly blessed for you and your family.

  18. I am always available through email or facebook and consider it a privilege to pray for others. Your gravatar does not tell me your name, so if you ask to be my friend on facebook, you may have to message me who you are.

  19. Always happy to see you here, Nancy. LOVED your gratitude post, but couldn’t tell you so because you turned off the comments. And of course, that is the one that Ann pointed her millions toward. I hope they all come, because that was a great piece.

  20. Thank you, Ro. It’s been hard for me to write lately – maybe too distracted? – and this one felt like molasses to get on the page. So I’m glad it spoke to you. I can surely never tell what will be used by God for others, but I’m learning to trust that there will always be someone to whom these words are personally directed.

  21. Thanks so much, Patricia – and thanks for the ‘share’ on Facebook, too. So glad you had such a great Thanksgiving time with your little ones!

  22. Thank you, Glenda, for your always kind and thoughtful words. I, too, love finding contrasts in scripture and this has always been the central one for me — immanence and transcendance, big and small.

  23. Diana, I didn’t find your e-mail address listed on this site. (And I’m not on Facebook.)

    mine is:

    kingfishercrossing

    at
    gmail
    dot
    com

    Marilee

  24. With each passing year I fall deeper and deeper in love with the liturgical calendar. It adds so many layers to our faith–invites a closer look at the mystery. I have never thought about the time of year for Christ the King Sunday quite like this, Diana, but it is so fitting as you describe it here. King of all the Harvest. Beautiful.

  25. Carol J. Garvin says:

    That’s a wonderful chandelier crown! Your eyes always find just the right application for your lens to capture. And YES to the big and the little of it all… I hadn’t thought of it quite like that, but you’re right. Blessings to you as we enter this brand new season.

  26. Same here, Laura. I love the calendar and have been trying remember when I first became aware of it. I think I was in my 30’s or so before it ever resonated with me very much. But there is such richness there! Thanks for leaving kind words, friend.

  27. Thank you, Carol. I love the contrast between the last and the first Sunday of the liturgical year and I was so surprised to see the crown effect in that photo!

  28. I am amazed at that perspective of the chandelier! Absolutely fitting for Christ the King. Holy, holy, holy!

  29. Amen. Thanks for coming by, Cheryl.

  30. Yes! It is absolutely amazing! As you know, I’m learning all about the church calendar through my friends here on the internet. H mentioned to me that last Sunday was Christ the King Sunday. I had no idea. And…I had skipped church that day. Go figure.

    Diana, is there a book you’d recommend that will teach me more about these special days of the church?

  31. Hey there, friend – nice to see you! I’ve just received Kimberlee Conway Ireton’s book on the calendar and I think it will be terrific. I read through a worship guide in a spiral binder as I began to learn about these things over 25 years ago. It has four authors, one of whom was Don Saliers from. . . Emory University? (Father of Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls fame) and lays out worship services for the various seasons and special Sundays. I’ve just looked at Kimberlee’s book and I think it would really be great for you to read – and she has a short bibliography in the back and I was reminded that L’Engle’s The Irrational Season is loosely structured around the church year.