Make Christ King in Your Life
The world is ignoring Christ’s Kingship.
Every year we see hints of Christ being downplayed in the world, whether it be in symbolic gestures of removing religious symbols in secular establishments, or raising up of all other religious belief systems on par with Christ, as if Christ were but one of many choices in the cafeteria expression of belief. Even amongst our own lives, oftentimes we who love Christ fail to put Him on the throne over every single aspect, allowing sin to take the reigns every now and then. And this causes discord and pain.
Pope Pius XI was seeing this too, over a century ago. He was seeing the rise of industrialization of nations, and how the potential for worldly conflict was imminent. This was before the world wars, the rise of technology, and the furious pace in which society currently thrives.
As a response to this rise of the world’s secularism, Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast Day so that Christ’s Kingship will be higher over all governments and authorities:
“While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim His kingly dignity and power, (and) all the more universally affirm His rights.”
So the Feast Day of Christ the King (this weekend) speaks to that. This Sunday represents the last day of the liturgical year; it is the Church’s “New Year’s Eve.” It represents the final statement and purpose of our faith to a disbelieving world.
And that message is simply, Christ is King, let Him rule over you. Let Him be King in your life.
The Liturgical Texts
The readings and responses of the liturgical texts bring this out fully. It is a welcome idea to read the full texts of the liturgy in advance, so to have a handle of how the Church invites us to participate in this celebration. I am particularly interested in the music portions, as dictated by the antiphons, as well as the unique prayers of the priest.
The Introit (the Entrance Hymn, according to the Roman Gradual), reiterates Christ’s Kingship as proclaimed in Revelation 5:12 and 1:6.
How worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth, and wisdom and strength and honor. To him belong glory and power for ever and ever.
Examine each of these attributes. Power represents the ability to accomplish anything at will. Wealth represents having all means at one’s disposal. Wisdom means having the proper understanding and foresight on the fullness of the world’s situation. Strength means that it is uncompromising; that any forces that threaten to overtake Christ’s Kingship cannot be accomplished. And Honor will be on the lips of the faithful, continually thanking and worshiping Him, for ever, without end, declaring “His glory and power forever.”
Our response, noting that “the whole creation” is “set free from slavery”, is to “render [His] majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.” (Psalm 72:2) Indeed, heaven is our end goal of our lives. And heaven is not about us. It is fully about Him. It is about us worshiping Him forever. (And it will not be boring!)
The Collect proclaims that Christ’s Kingship… is a Kingship not of slavery, but of love and peace. Following Christ is not a drudgery, but it is a freedom like no other; we were made to worship Him, and only in doing so do we find our true joy.
The readings declare Christ’s Kingship in myriad situations, most notably in the Gospel, where Christ declares His Kingship before Pilate. More on that later.
The Offertory has the promise from Psalm 2:
“Ask me and I will give you the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.” (Psalm 2:8)
It is a bold promise that we oftentimes do not consider how the King of the Universe has such an authority, but there it is. Do we pray with such boldness? Do we recognize that God has our best intentions in mind? And even if this may not occur until we are on the other side of paradise, can we be patient to anticipate that which “eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, what God has ready for those who love Him”?
The Prayer over the offerings invites the congregation to intercede to the Father, that “your Son himself may bestow on all nations the gifts of unity and peace.” That we will be one. And that we will be fully at peace.
The highlight of the liturgy is Communion, when we as a body receive our Lord into our hearts, into our bodies, in a tangible, powerful way, through the Eucharist. Every part of the liturgy leads up to this powerful moment. It is the climactic moments of worship.
And what does the Church prescribe that we sing during these moments? This selection from Psalm 29:
“The Lord sits as King for ever. The Lord will bless his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:10-11)
As it is written, it will be done. Peace will reign, with Christ on the throne. We anticipate His blessings, and we await when true peace conquers all the sin in the world.
Thoughts For Today
What does this mean for us today?
It is hard for many of us to associate what it means for there to serve a King in the world. My Western environment has a different governmental makeup. We elect a new leader every number years, as well as other representatives that speak for us. We do not know what it means to have a King. And we are sometimes bombarded with stories of the conflicts of a person and their King (like “A Man For All Seasons.”)
In our own lives, we are also encouraged to rebel against authority. That fits within the patriotic DNA of the United States; we rebelled against the British, we made our own country. In the 60s, the counter-culture reigned triumphant and made lasting contributions to mainstream culture. Now many of these folks are in leadership positions today.
The door has been opened so wide that it is hard to close it. Case in point: any attempt for a faith-filled person to become president is almost always answered with cries of “Theocracy,” and the lie of The Handmaid’s Tale become a deafening response. So our country will not, perhaps never, be ready to explicitly declare Christ as King.
We have to remember the Gospel for this coming week, where Christ states that His is “not a kingdom of this world.” But rather, “all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.”
What are we to do? Listen to His voice. Pray. Listen. Read. Understand.
Just because you made a personal commitment to Christ at one time, whether it be during the Sacrament of Confirmation, or whether it be a personal response and prayer to a vibrant preaching, we have to renew this commitment every single day. We have to keep watch over areas in our own lives where we may be faltering, and do what we can to fix that.
I know for myself, that when I first gave my life to Christ, it seemed easy to follow Him in every area. But I was unaware of how deep and profound this commitment really is. I had not yet lived life to the extent that I have now. Every day brings a host of whole new experiences. Every experience brings new insight as to who I am and the community I am blessed to be around with.
We need God’s wisdom to be made evident as we experience life. We need to listen. And as we listen, as His Commands are brought forth, we are to obey. As we obey, we help fulfill his Kingship in our own circles, in our own families, workplaces, and communities.
I still remember the circumstances that caused me to begin this adventure for writing parodies, and many other doors that have opened since then. Had I not listened to His leading, my handiwork–whether it be my comedy songs, my worship sets, my writings or talks, or certain actions–would not have laid seeds in the hearts of others. And it’s still a battle to listen to Him, in the midst of all that is going on right now. But He is still King, and I still have to make room for Him to reign.
Are there areas in our lives where Christ has not become yet King? Have we declared Christ King only for one hour on Sundays, but not for the rest of the week? Have we declared Christ King in regards to desiring an answer to prayer, but not in other areas where we feel His presence is not needed?
We need to make a continual inventory of our own lives and find those areas where Christ needs to unseat whatever “god” is on our throne, and have Him rise again. Only then will we experience true peace.