We come now to a feast of Ends and Beginnings! This Sunday is the last Sunday in the cycle of the Christian year, which ends with the feast of Christ the King, and next Sunday we begin our journey through time to eternity once more, with the first Sunday of Advent. We might expect the Feast of Christ the King to end the year with climactic images of Christ enthroned in Glory, seated high above all rule and authority, one before whom every knee shall bow, and of course those are powerful and important images, images of our humanity brought by him to the throne of the Heavens. But for this Sunday the lectionary does an unexpected, but very wise thing. It sets as a reading the passage in Matthew (25:31-46) in which Christ reveals that even as He is enthroned in Glory, the King who comes to judge at the end of the ages, he is also the hidden King, hidden beneath the rags and even in the flesh of his poor here on earth. As Tolkien, that profoundly christian writer knew, He is our Strider, whose glory is for the most part hidden, as he walks in our midst and shares the burdens of our journey. And though we will be with him at that coronation when his true glory is revealed and the usurping Dark Lord is finally overthrown, we have the honour of meeting and knowing here, in the midst of our quest, for he has come to lead us us through middle earth and even asks us to play our part in proclaiming the Return of the King.
Here is a sonnet written in response to the gospel reading for the feast of Christ the King.
This sonnet comes at the end of my sequence ‘Sounding the Seasons’ published by Canterbury Press. The Launch is at St. Edward King and Martyr on December the 5th. And I believe it will be available from the publishers and Amazon etc. from then on.
You can hear the sonnet by clicking on the ‘play’ button if it appears, or by clicking on the title.
Christ The King
Mathew 25: 31-46
Our King is calling from the hungry furrows
Whilst we are cruising through the aisles of plenty,
Our hoardings screen us from the man of sorrows,
Our soundtracks drown his murmur: ‘I am thirsty’.
He stands in line to sign in as a stranger
And seek a welcome from the world he made,
We see him only as a threat, a danger,
He asks for clothes, we strip-search him instead.
And if he should fall sick then we take care
That he does not infect our private health,
We lock him in the prisons of our fear
Lest he unlock the prison of our wealth.
But still on Sunday we shall stand and sing
The praises of our hidden Lord and King.
19 responses to “The Feast of Christ the King; a sonnet”
This would be good even if it weren’t for the Tolkien references – an unerringly accurate means to my heart 🙂
Superb piece, and the poignancy is perfect for this contemporary world.
Profoundly sharp, thank you for this, now I sit back and think.
Thank you Delia. Always good to know that a poem has connected M
Isn’t that a pic of Viggo Mortenson from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King?
Yes Mark it is. You will have seen from the post that I draw some comparisons with The return of the King. M
Thank you Malcolm. I’m designing an art show that focuses on the Cosmic Christ a for cosmology workshop at the cathedral in May 2013. I’m taking your sonnet to our next planning section! Elizabeth firstname.lastname@example.org
I doubt that you remember me, though we met at Oxbridge 2011. I have been a fan of yours since my son Micah was at Oxbridge in 2008 and introduced me to your work. I very much appreciate this sonnet… You have captured the modern disconnect between the “Church” and her King quite well. Thank you!
Curt Lunsford – Pastor New Life Community Church of the Nazarene 3367 N Geronimo Ave Tucson, AZ 85705
520-887-8859 office 520-870-1362 cell http://www.nlccnaz.org
Thanks for your comment Curt and for reconnecting. I remember Micah and that whole time at Oxbridge
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Am I allowed to share this Sonnet on my Facebook page?
Yes that’s fine
That’s very kind of you, Malcolm and thank you.
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Nice job Malcolm.
Thanks Fr Malcolm
Great to meditate on before this Royal feast