Reign of Christ
Ordinary Time (Proper 29)
Last Sunday in Liturgical Year B
This is one of my favorite Sundays in the lectionary cycle, although I know many folks find the seriousness of the topic challenging. This week we examine the big picture, the essence of the coming Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. Maybe that’s why, at least here in the USA, the focus often turns to the warm feel-good of Thanksgiving or perhaps the commercial crassness of Black Friday. But the Gospel stories on this day are among the most powerful anywhere in the Bible. That’s worth our time and attention.
This week we deal with the interaction between Pontius Pilate and his prisoner, Jesus of Nazareth, as they debate (among other things) the essence of Truth. Here we are some two thousand years later and we’re still debating Truth, along with “fake news” and the ability of the powerful to do whatever they please. The biblical story is essentially a confrontation between two empires: the worldly one represented by the Roman proconsul Pilate and the empire/realm/reign of Jesus Christ.
Throughout much of Christianity this Sunday has traditionally been known as Christ the King Sunday, or some variation on that title. My own denomination, Community of Christ, now prefers Reign of Christ Sunday. In any event, it’s an appropriate and essential time to ponder not only “What is Truth?” but what is real and lasting and eternal. Empires built by human beings (with their armies, institutions, and monied interests) rise and fall. But the Reign of Christ is different. Invisible to some, incomprehensible to others. But real none the less.
Here’s a link to a previous ForeWords blog post on this week’s lectionary scriptures:
My most recent book, Speak to the Bones: How to Be a Prophetic People in a Time of Exile, is up on Amazon in both print and e-book formats: 161-page Book ; Kindle e-book. The ancient Hebrew prophets can serve as guides for modern-day prophetic communities to engage in actions for peace and social justice. Each of the 10 chapters includes questions for reflection and discussion, making this great for class use. My previous book What Was Paul Thinking? is also available on Amazon in both print and Kindle e-book editions.