The white, high holy day vestments.
The wonderful collect:
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.
The absolutely splendid Gospel reading, perfect for this feast of ineffable mystery and beauty:
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. The people stood by, watching Jesus on the cross; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
And speaking of weeping at hymns: I did, today, at the final words of the final hymn, "Crown him with many crowns." The video below comes from Queen Elizabeth II's 50th Jubilee, and the reason for weeping is right there in the text. It becomes very stark and clear when watching the video; it's exceedingly moving that the Queen, a "crowned head" herself, had made this choice: "Crown Him the Lord of Lords, Who over all doth reign....."
It's good to know there are still people like her in the world.
You can get nine verses here (some of which are used in the video above), but we sing only these five:
Crown Him With Many Crowns
Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own;
awake, my soul, and sing of him
who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless King
through all eternity.
Crown him the Son of God
before the worlds began,
and ye, who tread where he hath trod,
crown him the Son of man;
who every grief hath known
that wrings the human breast,
and takes and bears them for his own,
that all in him may rest.
Crown him the Lord of life,
who triumphed over the grave,
and rose victorious in the strife
for those he came to save;
his glories now we sing,
who died, and rose on high,
who died, eternal life to bring,
and lives that death may die.
Crown him of lords the Lord,
who over all doth reign,
who once on earth, the incarnate Word,
for ransomed sinners slain,
now lives in realms of light,
where saints with angels sing
their songs before him day and night,
their God, Redeemer, King.
Crown him the Lord of heaven,
enthroned in worlds above;
crown him the King,to whom is given,
the wondrous name of Love.
Crown him with many crowns,
as thrones before him fall,
crown him, ye kings, with many crowns,
for he is King of all.
Not heard today, but why not post this video of the wonderful Dutch carol, "King Jesus Hath a Garden," anyway - just for the joy of it?
1. King Jesus hath a garden, full of divers flowers,
Where I go culling posies gay, all times and hours.
There naught is heard but Paradise bird,
Harp, dulcimer, lute,
With cymbal, trump and tymbal,
And the tender, soothing flute.
2. The Lily, white in blossom there, is Chastity:
The Violet, with sweet perfume, Humility. Refrain
3. The bonny Damask-rose is known as Patience:
The blithe and thrifty Marygold, Obedience. Refrain
4. The Crown Imperial bloometh too in yonder place,
'Tis Charity, of stock divine, the flower of grace. Refrain
5. Yet, 'mid the brave, the bravest prize of all may claim
The Star of Bethlem-Jesus-bless'd be his Name! Refrain
6. Ah! Jesu Lord, my heal and weal, my bliss complete,
Make thou my heart thy garden-plot, fair, trim and neat. Refrain
Anglicans Online offers a fantastic meditation on what it calls, aptly, "one of the richest days of the liturgical year." Here's the last part of it - but I definitely advise reading the whole thing:
The lifetime of every reader of Anglicans Online has been a period in which every sort of ideology has been substituted for the kingdom of God, by Christians no less than by others. We have seen capitalism, communism, racism, sexism, absolutism, bullionism (our favourite), spiritualism, nationalism and even mechanism fail to meet completely the needs of the human soul. Our Christian faith is that the reign of Jesus Christ in the kingdom of God does meet every need of our souls and our societies; the reign of Christ is in our hearts and in our actions, not in our forebears' misunderstanding of a King Jesus who would overthrow the Romans. This instead is the kingdom of God described by our Lord:
Then the king will say [...], 'Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.'This parable teaches us that Christ the King reigns when he reigns within us.
Christ reigns in weakness from the Cross itself, in weakness transformed into power and beauty through forgiveness and self-offering.
Christ reigns in joy from the time of his first miracle, in joy made ever new through food and wine and song.
Christ reigns in poverty begun in his childhood in Nazareth, in poverty without earthly power but with dignity and honor and kin.
Christ reigns in service from the time of his last supper, in service like the washing of feet and the clothing of the naked and the feeding of the poor.
Christ reigns in teaching from the beginning of his ministry, in teaching that nourishes every mind and heart open to it.
Christ reigns in learning from his childhood, in learning through which he grew and changed, and we do, too.
Christ reigns in sorrow, in sorrow so deep that no pain of ours is beyond his sympathy and empathy.
Christ reigns in quiet and calm, in 'the silence of eternity, interpreted by love'.
Christ reigns in love itself, in love made perfect in every firm and gentle act of a father for his daughter, of a priest for a penitent, of a friend for a friend, of a labourer for her family, of a professor for his students, of a cook for them who will eat, of a doctor for such as need care, of a poet who feeds our hearts, of a builder who keeps rain and snow from our mortal frames, of an altar guild member who has washed and ironed linens for 50 years, of a human feeding an animal, of a farmer who tends the plants that give us nutrition, of a cleaner who keeps us safe from infection of mind or body. Christ reigns in love as care takes place and increases among all of God's creatures, and as wickedness and selfishness and confusion are banished from our motives.
Christ is king when he reigns in our hearts.
See you next week. Advent is upon us!