In 1925, Pope Pius XI established the Feast of Christ the King, also known as Christ the King Sunday, as a corrective to a major worldwide shift toward nationalism. This feast day is included in the Revised Common Lectionary and is celebrated by most mainline Protestant denominational groups.
O Christ, what can it mean for us To claim you as our king?
What royal face have you revealed Whose praise the Church would sing?
Aspiring not to glory’s height, To power, wealth, and fame,
You walked a diff’rent, lowly way, Another’s will your aim.
Though some would make their greatness felt And lord it over all,
You said the first must be the last And service be our call.
O Christ, in workplace, church, and home Let none to power cling;
For still, through us, you come to serve, A diff’rent kind of king.
O Christ, What Can It Mean For Us
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #431 Verses 1 & 3 Text by Delores Dufner
O Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, our world is full of examples of what makes a good king: ruthlessness, violence, vengeance, selfish ambition, and the accumulation of power. Even as we celebrate Christ the King Sunday, rightly claiming you as the center of the universe and center of our lives, we hypocritically bow down to many other kings: the King of Wealth, the King of Power, the King of Control. Help us to see these so-called “kings” for what they really are, feeble attempts to claim your crown in all times and places:
– In Afghanistan, where evidence of the murder of dozens of civilians by Australian special forces has been revealed;
– In Italy, France, India, the United States, Brazil, and other nations that have failed to control the spread of COVID-19 because of lack policies and selfish choices;
– In Ethiopia, where thousands of civilians are fleeing unrest in the Tigray region and entering Sudan on foot because of the violence and danger in their homes.
Pierce our hearts, O Christ, with your call to love and serve as you do, and remind us that true power lies in the repudiation of power, and true glory comes only through bowing low in service. Open our eyes to your work in our world:
– In Vietnam, where a rapid and coordinated response to COVID-19 has kept cases and death very low while supporting a strong economy;
– In Iraq, where the Yazidi community faithfully celebrate the naming of a new religious and spiritual leader for their people despite years of oppression by the Islamic State;
– In Saudi Arabia, where the first women’s football (soccer) league has been formed, reversing years of policies against the inclusion of women in sporting activities.
As we honor and praise you this day and every day, O Christ, purge us of our tendencies toward loyalty to the kings of power, wealth, and fame, and fill us with the servant leadership and servant love you embodied in your earthly ministry and continue to support in us for the sake of your beloved creation. We ask this in the name of the one who emptied himself so that we too might become children of God, serving all and loving all in your name. Amen.