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Sermon November 21 2021

Christ the King Sunday 2021

John 18:33-37


Today we celebrate Christ the King Sunday.  And today is also the final Sunday of the Church Year.  I have no doubt that you are aware that the church calendar is different from the Gregorian Calendar that we use to organize the year in our everyday lives. 

Rather than beginning with January 1, the church lectionary calendar begins with the Advent Season, which will start next Sunday on November 28, 2021.  And so today, we will end the lectionary year that we know as Year B and look forward to the New Year.  But as we do so, we will also look back and reflect upon the lessons we learned and the grace we received as Christ walked with us during this past year.  

For you see the entire lectionary year that we have journeyed through has been preparing us for this day.  One Pastor explained it this way.  The lectionary year is like a sports season that is played out over the course of many months to determine who would make it to the finals so a champion can be crowned. 

Not so long ago the players of the Atlanta Braves stormed out of their dugout to tackle the pitcher as they celebrated their World Series Championship win over the Houston Astros after the pitcher struck out the last batter.    

For us in the church, the church season has been played out, and now you might say that we are in the final inning of the last game.  And although you will not see anyone running from the pews to tackle the Pastor in celebration at the conclusion of the service, today is the championship day in the church year. 

And this may seem strange to you.  And you might be thinking to yourself, but what about Easter?  Or Christmas?  What about Pentecost, or Ash Wednesday?  And you would have a point because these are special days in the lectionary year.  But the way in which the lectionary calendar is designed leads us to this day, the final day in our church year. 

When we conclude our service today, we will have come full circle, and next Sunday we will start the whole process over again, as we turn to Year C of the Lectionary calendar. 

We will begin with the Season of Advent, where we will again prepare for the birth of the Christ Child.  Then we will celebrate His birth at Christmas and hear a story or two concerning His youth.  We will then recall His baptism at the River Jordan, His temptations in the wilderness, and the Calling of His twelve disciples. 

We will journey with Jesus up a mountain and celebrate the Transfiguration event, and then move down the mountain to walk with Jesus as He teaches and ministers to the people that He meets during His earthly ministry. 

We will then continue our hike with Jesus as He sets His face towards Jerusalem and participate in our yearly Lenten journey.  We will hear the story of suffering, sacrifice, and self-denial, as Jesus is betrayed, beaten, crucified, and laid in a tomb. 

We will experience the silence of Holy Saturday, and the disappointment and fear the disciples felt when they believed that their Lord and Master was gone forever.  We will then celebrate the miracle of the resurrection, as we shout out Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ Is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!   

We will recall the resurrection appearances and offered peace directly from Jesus Himself.  We will pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. And then we will move through the long Pentecost season which we have just completed where we are called to reflect upon the Kingdom of God in everyday life. 

And all this has been moving us towards the end of the lectionary year where we deal with death and eternal life, the communion of saints, and the return and reign of the Lord which we celebrate and look forward to today on Christ the King Sunday. 

As Christ explains today in our Gospel reading, “My kingdom is not from his world.” Jesus did not come to establish an earthly Kingdom.  Instead, Jesus came to restore our relationship with God and one another. 

My friends, as Christians we do not have a big shiny trophy to lift high on this championship day, but we have something much better.  The victory that we have today is the knowledge that Christ our King has claimed us as His own and that no power in this world can break that relationship. 

So instead of using our hands to lift high a trophy, we now can use our hands, our minds, our feet, and our hearts to raise high the power of love that our world so desperately needs as we celebrate the victory of our King over sin and death and everything that separates us from His will for our lives. 

Yes, the entire year has led us to this championship day.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it as we give our heartfelt thanks for His Amazing Grace.  For I cannot think of a better way to end the season than with praise and thanksgiving.  

Let us pray: O God, your Kingdom comes indeed without our praying for it, but we ask in this prayer that it may come also to us.  When you give us your Holy Spirit, may we, by His grace, believe your Holy Word, and live a godly life on earth now and in heaven forever.  Amen.