Christ the King / Reign of Christ
At the conclusion of the Christian year, the church gives thanks and praise for sovereignty of Christ, who is Lord of all creation and is coming again in glory to reign (see Revelation 1:4-8).
This festival was established in 1925 by decree of Pope Pius XI. Originally it took place on the last Sunday in October, just prior to All Saints’ Day. Now it is celebrated on the last Sunday of the Christian year, a week before the season of Advent begins.
Christ reigns supreme
An excerpt from the Companion to the Book of Common Worship (Geneva Press, 2003, 151)
The festival of Christ the King (or Reign of Christ) ends our marking of Ordinary Time after the Day of Pentecost, and moves us to the threshold of Advent, the season of hope for Christ’s coming again at the end of time.
The day centers on the crucified and risen Christ, whom God exalted to rule over the whole universe. The celebration of the lordship of Christ thus looks back to Ascension, Easter, and Transfiguration, and points ahead to the appearing in glory of the King of kings and Lord of lords. Christ reigns supreme. Christ’s truth judges falsehood. As the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, Christ is the center of the universe, the ruler of all history, the judge of all people. In Christ all things began, and in Christ all things will be fulfilled. In the end, Christ will triumph over the forces of evil.
Such concepts as these cluster around the affirmation that Christ is King or Christ reigns! As sovereign ruler, Christ calls us to a loyalty that transcends every earthly claim on the human heart. To Christ alone belongs the supreme allegiance in our lives. Christ calls us to stand with those who in every age confessed, “Jesus Christ is Lord!” In every generation, demagogues emerge to claim an allegiance that belongs only to God. But Christ alone has the right to claim our highest loyalty. The blood of martyrs, past and present, witnesses to this truth.
Behold the glory of the eternal Christ! From the beginning of time to its ending, Christ rules above all earthly powers!
Lectionary readings for Christ the King
Read the Revised Common Lectionary Scripture lessons for Christ the King:
Resources for Christ the King
PRAYERS FOR CHRIST THE KING
These prayers might be used in a variety of settings: Opening Prayers (at the beginning of worship) or concluding collects (after the Prayers of the People); for church websites or newsletters; or in personal, small group or family devotion.