This coming weekend on the Church calendar and the secular calendar covers a bunch of ground. This is the last Sunday of the church year often called Christ the King Sunday. The Sunday is set to ponder the last judgement, the coming of Christ with full authority displayed before all. At St. Mark’s it is a communion Sunday. We celebrate the Lord’s Supper on 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays. The following Sunday, being the start of Advent, starts a penitential season of the church year or a season of preparation. Taking on that more somber tone, the Alleluias are removed. And bleeding over from the secular calendar is Thanksgiving. We have a Thanksgiving service on Wednesday evening, but it usually gets at least a nod in the Sunday prior.
We won’t be singing this hymn (tune, text) – #633 in the Lutheran Service Book – as the Hymn of the Day. Instead it is going to be after the Supper. But it really brings together all three threads of the service.
Verse One picks up the Scriptural Theme of the day – Christ the King.
At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing
Praise to our victorious King
Who has washed us in the tide
Flowing from His pierced Side
This is not just a king or a pretender but the victorious king. The image of the final feast – the wedding feast of the bride (the church) and the bridegroom (Christ) – is put front and center. We have the foretaste of that feast in the Lord’s supper. The church has His presence flowing from His pierced side which verse two picks up on make explicit.
Praise we Him whose love divine
Gives His sacred blood for wine
Gives His body for the feast
Christ the victim, Christ the priest.
I hope you noticed the Alleluias at the end. As a congregation we celebrate the feast with Alleluia one last time before we put them away for a season. In the past I’ve tried to pack as many into a service as possible. This Sunday just these, but still for a purpose.
What about Thanksgiving? Two things. Isn’t a feast the central element of American Thanksgiving? The other part is acknowledging where our bounty comes from and asking for providence to continue the blessings. The last verse we will sing does that. The last verse is a doxology – a hymn of recognition and praise of the Trinity. And this doxology contains that sense of providence – Spirit guide us.
(Note, the pictures are some of the windows in our sanctuary)