“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”—Revelation 1:8
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the Church year. It is called “Christ the King Sunday” or as others call it “Reign of Christ Sunday”. It’s a relatively new “Feast Day” in the life of the church, first being celebrated in the 20th Century. This day serves as a bridge between the time of the church which culminates in several readings about the end of times, and then leads us to Advent as a time for new things and preparing for the birth and the second coming of Jesus.
The imagery isn’t easy to follow. Most of us have not lived under a king. If you’ve seen the musical Hamilton, the last king that did rule over the colonies isn’t portrayed in a very positive light. We’ve heard it often in Mark’s Gospel that the people wanted and/or expected the messiah to be a king like David. Jesus continually shows them that he is nothing like any king they have known or could ever know. He is relational in a way that no king would ever be.
It’s the verse above that helps me make sense of this day. Our church year is a cycle that we repeat over and over. We make the same moves year after year and I have a sense that, for the most part, many of you don’t pay that close attention to these changes. Maybe you notice that colors of the paraments on the altar change periodically. But we don’t often signal these changes in big ways.
As we move to Advent, we see one of those more obvious changes because we will light a candle each week on the Advent wreath. This will be different. When we move into Lent, we don’t say the word “Alleluia” during the season but you may or may not even notice that. In many ways the liturgical season can feel like my first experience of a Seattle winter. It was rainy and dreary almost everyday. One morning, there were crocuses peeking out of the ground. I said to someone, “How do they know to do that?” Nothing has changed. It’s still rainy and dreary!
Having grown up in the midwest, seasons are a little more pronounced. The snow has to melt and the ground has to thaw for spring flowers to break forth from the ground. The seasons do change whether we notice all the signs or not. You might miss a Sunday and the church will transform from green to blue and you have missed this Sunday where the paraments are white and we mark both an ending and a beginning.
Even if you miss it, the change still happens. We can also miss just how steady God is in our midst when our lives feel out of control and changes are coming too quickly. We need to be reminded in the midst of change that can be good or bad that the Lord God is “the Alpha and Omega, the one who is and who was and who is to come.” Sometimes we all need to take a deep breath, calm our breathing, and recognize that in Christ we have the One that we need, yesterday, today and tomorrow.