With the end of the liturgical year approaching, so too is the oft misunderstood Feast of Christ the King. Many Christian faiths celebrate this feast, including Catholics, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists, but the origin and reasoning behind the celebration is not always well known among the congregations.
The feast falls on the last Sunday in Ordinary time (this year on November 25th), one week before the beginning of Advent. The name of the feast comes from a number of passages in the Bible in which Jesus is styled as King, such as: the Eternal King (Luke 1:33), King of the Jews (Luke 23:38), and the King of Kings (Rev. 19:16). Many other traditions celebrate Jesus’ lordship over the Universe. The feast day was first instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as a response to the rising power of dictatorships in Europe. Meant as a reminder that there is no true ruler but Christ, Pius XI hoped to combat the growing influence of absolute dictators in the secular world.
In a more modern sense, Christ the King Sunday serves as a reminder that Jesus humbled himself to become human for the salvation of mankind around the world. With that in mind, it is fitting for all those who believe in the model of Christ as Lord and Savior to recommit ourselves to a life of humility and service to those in need.
In Mark chapter 10, Jesus says, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to become great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” That, in many ways, is the spirit in which we should view the Feast of Christ the King.
Of course, the Feast is also a celebration, and celebrations mean raising our voices in joy. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of choral selections geared toward the Feast of Christ the King, so raise your voices, sing with joy to the Lord, and go out to serve the world!
Music from J.W. Pepper for the Feast of Christ the King