Christ the King!
How the king rejoices in your strength, O LORD! He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
Today is Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday in the Christian Year (or Church Year or Liturgical Year). What began in Advent a year ago is now coming to a conclusion. We started out yearning for the coming of a king who would bring God's salvation and peace. Today, the coming of God's kingdom is celebrated throughout the world as Christians worship Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Psalm 21 speaks clearly into our celebration of Christ the King. Originally, it was a psalm of David that celebrated the victory or the coronation of an earthly king (perhaps David himself). Speaking to the Lord, David says, "You welcomed [the king] back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold upon his head" (21:3).
In this image of the crowning of the King of Israel, we see something of the future. We catch a glimpse of the day when Christ will be crowned as King of all creation, when every creature in heaven and on earth will bow before him (Phil. 2:9-11). In that day, God's peace will fill the earth. The wolf and the lamb will dwell together in harmony (Isa. 11:6). Wars will cease, and weapons of war will be turned into tools for farming (Isa. 2:4). God's justice will prevail throughout the world (Isa. 42:4).
We aren't there yet, are we? Yet, in anticipation of what is to come, and in recognition of the fact that Christ is King even today, we celebrate him and his reign. We do this with songs and prayers. And we do this by offering ourselves as his servants, living for him, not just today, but each and every day.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways do you experience Christ as King? How might the fact that Christ is King change the way you live each day? What aspects of the future kingdom do you long for today?
Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heav’nly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Thro’ all eternity.
Crown him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed o’er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife
For those he came to save;
His glories now we sing
Who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.
Crown him the Lord of peace,
Whose pow’r a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
And all be pray’r and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round his pierced feet
Fair flow’rs of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.
Crown him the Lord of love;
Behold his hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified:
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me:
Thy praise and glory shall not fail
"Crown Him With Many Crowns," by Matthew Bridges and Godfrey Thring, public domain.
Images sourced via Creative Commons.