Preparing to Preach or Not to Preach on Reign of Christ Sunday

cosmic christI usually have the presence of mind to book my vacation or some sort of continuing education event that takes me far away from the pulpit on Reign of Christ Sunday. Formerly known as “Christ the King Sunday” an attempt to move beyond exclusively male imagery for Christ (in whom there is no east nor west, male nor female) some church-folk have attempted to change the name of this festival to Reign of Christ Sunday. But merely changing the title fails to get  beyond the struggles I have with this festival of the church year!!!!

Born in an age that was birthing fascist regimes, this particular festival of the church clings to it’s christian imperialist past. Instituted in 1925, by Pope Pius XI,  (you can read the full proclamation here) the festival was designed to remind the world that Christ is the King of the World. The irony of proclaiming Christ as “King” when the life of Jesus of Nazareth positively denies “kingliness” seems lost on the church. The appropriateness of asserting Christ over the religions of the world lacks the kind of humility embodied by Jesus of Nazareth. So, this year I am not prepared to celebrate Christ the King or the Reign of Christ Sunday. Last year, we took a leaf out of Matthew Fox’s book and crafted our worship around the theme of the Quest for the Cosmic Christ.

Cosmic ChristYears ago, long before I ventured to seminary, Matthew Fox’s book Original Blessing opened me to the wonders of Creation Spirituality. So, I eagerly worked my way through his book The Coming of the Cosmic Christ. I confess that my first reading of Fox’s tome left me in the dust of my own lack of understanding of traditional Christology. But even back then, without the benefit of theological training, I sensed something of the MYSTERY that I had always trust Christ to BE. I have returned to Fox’s work many times over the years and over and over again I have discovered a WISDOM that moves me beyond the limitations of the historical Jesus toward a more holistic vision of Christ which like Fox I believe has the potential  to move us to a more wholistic relationship with Creation. I trust that the WISDOM of the Cosmic Christ can lead us into the Season of Advent so that we can be about the work of birthing the Cosmic Christ. (you can check out last year’s sermon on the Cosmic Christ hereThis year, we at Holy Cross will begin our quest for the Cosmic Christ by looking back to remember our treasured relationships with Jesus as we explore the relationship of Jesus, both our own personal Jesus and the historical Jesus, to our visions of the Cosmic Christ.

2 thoughts on “Preparing to Preach or Not to Preach on Reign of Christ Sunday

  1. I read as a news alert this morning that a group of assailants, armed with grenades and guns, have taken 150+ hostages at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, Mali … yet another dark moment in what seems like endless episodes of violence, hatred and murder, following on the heels of the recent attacks in Paris. So while the Church proclaims Christ the King Sunday, we hang as a backdrop humanity’s continuing struggle to get along with one another in what could be a world dominated by Peace and Love.
    John Shelby Spong’s weekly message for Nov.19, 2015 is titled “France, November 2015, the Struggle to be Human.” For me, that is about as good a starting point for a Sunday sermon as any I could think of, especially for November 22nd … and it begins with our need to step outside of the darkness that drives human beings to kill one another, and focuses – instead – on what it should mean to BE HUMAN in the 21st Century.
    “Being human is difficult. Becoming human is a life-long process. To be truly human is a gift.” – Abraham Heschel

    • Amidst the violence, I take comfort in the words that the gospel-storytellers pass on to us in their accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth: “Do not be afraid.” The violence of the Roman Empire struck terror into the hearts of those they conquered. Jesus lived in terrifying times and still insisted there was no need to be afraid. Words that we would do well to remember.
      Shalom, dawn

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