Christ the King Sunday

Christ the King Sunday

Beloved in Christ,

This coming Sunday is usually referred to as the Feast of Christ the King, or the Reign of Christ Sunday. It was designated as such in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, but it has been embraced ecumenically over the years. He established the feast to remind a Europe that was deeply divided in the aftermath of World War I, and where a frightening fascism was ascendant in many places, that our true identity is to be found in Jesus, and our deepest allegiance is to his reign of love, not to any earthly nation, ruler, or political party.

Boldly keeping this feast is as important today as it was in 1925. Our nation, and the world at large, is cut with deep and intersecting canyons of division and animosity. A frightening nationalism that clothes itself with the name of Jesus is ascendant in our national life. In my visitations week by week, I am frequently asked what Christians can do, say, or offer into a culture that has descended into competing factions, who trade shouts of scorn while competing for dominance, without any shared sense of identity and purpose across difference.

One witness we have to offer is that our truest, deepest, and most important identity is not given to us by the various constellations of political, racial, national, and other categories, but by the fact that we bear the very image of God. What matters most about each of us is that we share an identity as God's beloved children, an identity that is established irrevocably and confirmed by our baptism into Jesus.

To boldly and unapologetically acclaim Jesus as our king is not a matter of imposing a violent, dominant, patriarchal title onto Jesus. It's about subverting the whole idea of how identity is established, and how power and authority are normally exercised. Our king's power comes from giving, our king's dwelling is found among the desperately poor, pushed aside, lonely, forgotten, and small people and places. Our king's life is established forever by dying. We speak into a fractured culture not by choosing a side a vying for dominance, but by walking Jesus' third way, being possessed by the power of love, and pledging our ultimate allegiance to God's power, which alone can bring the healing, peace, and belonging we all so desperately crave.

I hope you'll share that good news without shame, apology, or fear. We know that claiming our true citizenship in the realm where Jesus reigns is the only way to find true and abundant life in a harsh and conflicted world, and the people with whom we serve are longing for the liberation and joy that only that good news can bring.

Grace and peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
X Bishop