Planning for This Service
These lectionary readings present quite the juxtaposition for Reign of Christ/Christ the King Sunday, which is the concluding week of the Christian liturgical year. When we think of Christ’s lordship, the Colossians 1 passage is an obvious choice, as it speaks to the preeminence of Jesus and his Lordship over all creation. At the same time, Christ is one who was crucified like a standard criminal, offering forgiveness up until his final breath. Put together, these scripture readings paint an image of Christ as our crucified God who reconciles the whole world to himself through his death and Resurrection.
How interesting that these readings appear on the cusp of Advent and the U.S. observance of Thanksgiving! If you are thematically combining Reign of Christ with Thanksgiving, consider a food collection for a local food pantry. Tie the notion of plenitude associated with Thanksgiving to the ethics of Christ—a world in which there is always enough for all people. At a fitting moment in your service, offer a blessing for the food donations.
If you are not making an explicit connection to Thanksgiving, consider making a connection to Advent. Teach your congregation about the Reign of Christ being the final Sunday of the Christian year—namely that the crucified God who reconciles the world to himself is the same God who will come again in glory (Advent), and is the same God who will come as a humble infant in a manger (Advent & Christmas). This is teaching that you could work in to your sermon, at a Christian education class, or a post-service coffee hour discussion.
Written by guest writer, Nelson Cowan, Ph.D. Liturgical Studies: Boston University School of Theology.