Christ the King 2021
21 November 2021
Today’s readings: Daniel 7:13-14; John 18:33-37.
Let us pray.

Eternal Father,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.


A Reflection from Barbara Ross

On this day, at the last Sunday Eucharist of the Liturgical Year, we most fittingly celebrate Christ the King.  

The feast was introduced by Pius XI in 1925 as the Church’s response to rising secularism and atheism. These trends have of course increased greatly since 1925.   At this time, many people live in fear, in sickness or grief, and in uncertainty.  It seems particularly appropriate this year to proclaim the certainty that Christ is Lord of all.

Discomfort with the celebration of Christ the King has been expressed by some Christians.  They associate the concept of kingship with the corruption, oppression and manipulation displayed by so many earthly rulers.  The idea of dominion over them suggests their unwilling subjugation.   But their objections ignore the words of Jesus before Pilate: ‘My kingdom is not from this world …’  (John 18: 36a )
The kingship of Christ is not established in accordance with earthly constructs.  It is the kingship of God; it is the dominion and glory of the divinity of Christ. The kingship of God is everlasting, eternal, as the psalmist recognised:
‘Ever since the world began, your throne has been established …’ (Psalm 93:3).

And in the book of Revelation God speaks the titles of Christ: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’   (1: 8).

In the encounter with Pilate, the kingship of Christ challenges and refutes earthly power.   The sovereignty of Jesus is a rule of love, abhorring violence and oppression, rejecting injustice and coercion.  It is victory over sin and evil. It brings reconciliation with God and among humankind.  It does not subjugate, but offers freedom, not only freedom from suffering and evil, but freedom for renewal and restoration, freedom for the joy of eternal life in the presence of God.  

We receive the promise of eternal life through the self-offering of Jesus on the Cross.  The Cross is the means of his victory over sin and death.  So, there are crucifixes which show Christ reigning from the Cross.

We have a Christ the King crucifix in our Lady Chapel.  Christ is a priestly figure, robed, crowned, upright and serene.  The stylized carving suggests timelessness, for the kingship of Christ is for all time and is eternal. The formal stance proclaims power and dominion.  The arms of Christ stretch out to embrace the world, made through and by and for him.  They stretch out to draw all people to himself, as he has promised. From his feet and head golden rays fan out to illuminate his creation. He is the Light of the world, which the darkness cannot overcome.  He will ultimately transform all creation in the glory of his rule.   The eyes of the figure are closed; it is finished; Christ has accomplished his mission and rests prior to his glorification.  The crucifix is a powerful proclamation of the divine sovereignty of Christ.

The feast is the climax of the Liturgical Year, the culmination of all that we have celebrated, all that we have reflected on, in the preceding months. The joyful anticipation of Advent, the wonder of the Incarnation, the promise of redemption and of eternal life are all caught up in the title Christ the King, and, indeed, spring from and depend on his sovereignty.  So, our Liturgical colour is red for glory.

In establishing the feast, Pius XI wrote in his encyclical: ‘Oh, what happiness would be ours if all peoples, individuals, families and nations would let themselves be governed by Christ!’  We echo his words as we celebrate.   And for our part, we can resolve to be more open to be governed by him.  We ask him to reign in our hearts and minds so that we may grow his kingdom on earth.  And that we may more fervently offer praise and thanksgiving as we celebrate the love for us, and the power and the majesty, of Christ the King.

‘[t]o him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen.’  (Revelation 1: 6b)


Organ Voluntary

Some of you may be familiar with the orchestral recordings of Otto Klemperer, whose very slow interpretations always brought out something hidden in the music.  I’m not sure that this ‘slower’ performance does quite that, but it does give a little something:
Toccata and Fugue in D minor – J.S. Bach:
Watch here

Today’s hymn

Crown him with many crowns:
Watch here

Music from Matthew

At the offertory today Carola will sing a celebratory chorale ‘Awake my heart with gladness’. The text by Paul Gerhardt is set to a tune by Johann Crüger, harmonised by J.S. Bach. Enjoy this uplifting song before we enter the reflective season of Advent.
Auf, auf! mein Herz, mit freuden (BWV 441)
Awake, my heart, with gladness,
See what today is done;
Now, after gloom and sadness,
Comes forth the glorious Sun.
My Saviour there was laid
Where our bed must be made
When to the realms of light
Our spirit wings its flight.
Peter Schreier (tenor), Ton Koopman (harpsichord), Jaap Ter Linden (cello)
During communion, a chance to hear this beautiful aria with a devotional text from Weber’s opera Der Freischütz.
‘Und ob die Wolke sie verhülle’ from Der Freischütz
by Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826)
Even when clouds hide it,
The sun still shines in the tent of heaven;
One holy will rules there;
No blind chance governs the world.
That eye, eternally pure and clear,
Looks lovingly after all creation!
Our Father will care for me too,
With my childlike heart and trusting mind,
Even if this were my last morning,
If his paternal word would call for me, a bride:
His eye, for ever pure and clear
Looks upon me too with love.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), Philarmonia Orchestra, Julius Rudel (conductor)

Artisan Fair

Many congratulations and tremendous thanks to Marion Rushbrook for organising this wonderfully vibrant event; and many thanks to all took part and supported it.  Another triumph!

Blessed be the reign of Christ the King

Some further reflections on today’s feast
Read here

Advent Service

There will be an Advent Service of Readings and Music on Sunday 28th November at 6pm.  This is always one of the highlights of the year so do come and invite your friends, family and neighbours.

Advent Book and Study Group

This year’s Advent Book will be ‘Music of Eternity – Meditations for Advent with Evelyn Underhill.’
Please speak to Barbara Ross if you would like her to get you a copy.
Barbara will lead a discussion group, with soup, following the Wednesday Mass on the 1st, 8th and 15th December.  All Welcome.

Come to the Well

The next meeting will be on Friday 26th November beginning with coffee at 10am and followed by lunch.

Highgate International Chamber Music Festival

We are delighted to see the return of the Highgate International Chamber Music Festival to St. Anne’s.  The Festival began here so it’s a pleasure to see its ‘post-pandemic’ renaissance begin here!
Check out their website for concert details and booking:

Study morning on the Gospel of Luke

Barbara will lead a study morning on Saturday 11th December, 10.30am – 12 noon, at St. Anne’s, looking at the themes and ideas in Luke’s Gospel to help you understand it better as we hear it read through the coming year.

Gert van Hoef Live-stream

Broadcast live on Thursday 18th November 2021 from Nijverdal:
Watch here

For your prayers

Please continue to pray for George Freeman, Julie Marsh-Cann, Judita Castro and Costa Dino.
Also, for Peggy Jay who died recently.
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