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Christ the King

The Reign of Christ

Let us pray (in silence) [that the reign of Christ may live in our hearts and come to our world]

Pause

Almighty ever-living God, [or Sovereign God]
it is your will to gather up all things
in your beloved one,
reigning in the universe
in the power that is love,
mercifully grant
that the whole of creation,
freed from slavery,
may serve and praise you
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

The above is part of my attempt to provide a set of collects with history and commentary.

The original (pre-Vatican II Roman Missal collect for the feast of Christ the King) is:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in dilecto Filio tuo, universorum Rege, omnia instaurare voluisti: Concede propitius, ut cunctae familiae Gentium, peccati vulnere disgregatae, eius suavissimo subdantur imperio; qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in dilecto Filio tuo, universorum Rege, omnia instaurare voluisti: Concede propitius, ut cunctae familiae Gentium, peccati vulnere disgregatae, eius suavissimo subdantur imperio; qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Howard Galley’s translation of the pre-Vatican II collect is:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This translation is used for Proper 29 – the Sunday closest to November 23 in TEC’s BCP (USA)
[Canada BAS changes “most gracious” to “gentle and loving”]

“Beloved Son” alludes to Christ’s baptism (Matthew 3:13; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:22) and to the transfiguration (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7).

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the on the door of the church in Wittenberg. In many churches, the last Sunday in October is, hence, celebrated as Reformation Sunday. On 11 December in 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King on this same Sunday. The Roman Catholic calendar reforms of 1969 moved it to the last Sunday of the church year, it lost its possible polemical relationship with Reformation Sunday, and, along with the Three Year cycle of Sunday readings, was readily accepted into many other denominations.

The masculine and power concepts associated with the feast have, in part, been attempted to be addressed by altering the title to “the Reign of Christ”. Some have renamed “kingdom” as “kindom” not just “reign”. Jesus himself transformed the concept of power, reign, lord, and kingdom – John’s gospel clearly has the cross as Jesus’ throne!

There is an obvious reference to Ephesians 1:10

in dispensationem plenitudinis temporum instaurare omnia in Christo quae in caelis et quae in terra sunt in ipso (as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.)

What has captured my own praying as I prepared my reworking was that apparently the Latin instaurare (repair, restore, erect, make, establish, edit, renew, repeat, start anew or afresh, resume) is related to the Greek word σταυρὸς (stauros – normally translated as “cross”).

This image I have found captivating. God gathering, renewing all things; the cross being the gathering; around Christ the King, enthroned on the cross…

I would love to be able to tightly weave all this into a reworking of the collect… but I am consoled that, without explanation, such images are not even available to most who hear the collect in Latin…

I am reminded of the Carthusian “motto”, Stat crux dum volvitur orbis (The Cross is steady while the world is turning).

I will leave you to unpack the allusions to Christ’s baptism, transfiguration,…

“Serve and praise” can be seen as two dimensions which include all we are called to do.

After the Second Vatican Council and the moving of this feast for Roman Catholics, the collect was revised (2002) as:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
qui in dilecto Filio tuo, universorum Rege,
omnia instaurare voluisti,
concede propitius,
ut tota creatura, a servitute liberata,
tuae maiestati deserviat ac te sine fine collaudet.

This is translated by ICEL (1973) as:

Almighty and merciful God,
you break the power of evil and make all things new
in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
May all in heaven and earth
acclaim your glory
and never cease to praise you.

The double purpose clauses has been altered from the original after Vatican II: “ut tota creatura, a servitute liberata, tuae maiestati deserviat ac te sine fine collaudet” – “May all in heaven and earth acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.” These ideas allude to Lumen Gentium 36 and Gaudium et Spes 39.

The contemporary Roman Catholic version (2011) is:

Almighty ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,
that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

The Te Reo Maori version is:

E te Atua kaha rawa, ora tonu,
Ko to hiahia ko te whakahou i nga mea katoa
i roto I tau Tamaiti e arohanuitia ana, te Kingi o te taiao,
ka inoi nei matou, whakaae mai
ki kna mea hana katoa kia watea i te taurekarekatanga,
a, kia tuku atu te mahi tatona ki tou mananui,
a, kia kaua e mutu te panui i tou whakanui.
Ma to matou Ariki ma Hehu Karaiti, tau Tamaiti,
e ora nei, e rangatira tahi nei korua i te kotahitanga o te Wairua Tapu,
Atua kotahi, mo ake ake.

The Roman Missal (NZ Catholic Bishops Conference 2010)

The collect, it seems to me, is for the feast of Christ the King/the Reign of Christ – for this Sunday. The weekdays following might profitably use the traditional Anglican Stir-Up collect for “the Sunday next before Advent”

Compare the above collect to:

Almighty and eternal God,
you have made of one blood all the nations of the earth
and will that they live together
in peace and harmony;
so order the course of this world
that all peoples may be brought together
under Christ’s most gentle rule;

through Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
Amen.

NZPB p. 637b

NZPB has an alternative reworking of this collect:

Almighty God,
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority
and mercifully grant that the peoples of the world,
divided and torn apart by sin,
may be brought together
under the gentle rule of Christ…

As does Common Worship (CofE):

Almighty Father,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of all:
govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
and bring the families of the nations,
divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Common Worship uses this collect on the Third Sunday before Advent .

The one at the top of this page, in my opinion, is more general (than praying for those in authority) and hence more appropriate as a collect.

The suggested collect (NZPB p. 572) for the feast of Christ the King (The Reign of Christ) is less appropriate, in my opinion, than the one above.

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