*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***
It is the 11th of December 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org; I’m Dan van Voorhis.
So… I am a thoroughly modern American fellow, and thus talk of kings will always rankle me just a bit. I know I’m in the historical minority- but I don’t dig the kings. Actually, scratch that. There are a few kings I dig:
- King Friday from Mister Rogers neighborhood
- King Hippo from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (He’s the one that if you hit in the mouth his pants fall, and you can keep hitting him)
- Belly’s 1995 album “King.”
But, my good old American Protestant democratic individualism still must understand the Kingship of Christ- and that is where our show takes us today.
It is a bit of a time warp- but stick with me. Christ, the King Sunday, was celebrated at the end of the Church Season of Pentecost a few weeks ago. But, this feast was first proposed on the 11th of December in 1925. There are so many fascinating things about this feast day- so let’s break it down.
1st- yes, this is a modern feast day. It was promulgated by Pope Pius XI, who declared the feast in his encyclical Quas Primas. We will look at the context in a second, but this feast is less than a century year old and is already being observed by many Lutherans, Anglicans, and other Protestants. There is probably some commentary on Catholic/Protestant relations in the 20th century, but we move on.
Pope Pius issued this new feast day to recognize the supremacy of Christ as King over any secular monarchy or government. And of course, there were several secular governments concerned about it in the wake of WWI and the lead-up to WW2.
Pope Pius himself was an interesting character to declare this feast and his opposition to secular governments as he was the Pope. He made the Reichskonkordat with Hitler (we did a show on this earlier in the year). He was the first Pope to serve from Vatican City as an independent state.
And not only has this feast been celebrated on both sides of the Reformation divide, but also across the political spectrum. For those concerned with secularism, anti-clericalism, and attacks from the Left, this could be a feast to celebrate an inherently conservative church body and recall monarchies' stability. For those concerned with the rise of Fascism and attacks from the Right, Christ the King Sunday was a reminder of the futility of earthly claims of authority in light of Christ’s reign.
T0his very new feast day (by feast day standards) has taken on the character of a wax nose, bending however you wish. But while the feast day is new, the theme of Christ as King goes back to the Scriptures with Jesus becoming a new kind of King David, whose Kingdom of peace shall have no end.
It’s not Christ the King Sunday (you have to wait until next November), but today we remember the creation and announcement of the feast day on this, the 11th of December in 1925.
The last word for today comes from Luke chapter 1:
26 When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, 27 to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 When the angel came to her, he said, “Rejoice, favored one! The Lord is with you!” 29 She was confused by these words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. 31 Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. 33 He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.”
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 11th of December 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.
The show is produced by a man whose favorite kings include Steven, Vidor, and King Dedede from the Kirby video games. He is Christoper Gillespie.
The show is written and read by a man who advises you don’t sleep on King Dedede in Super Smash Bros- great finishing moves. I am Dan van Voorhis
You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.