The hidden king

Poet and lecturer Malcolm Guite writes: We come now to a feast of Ends and Beginnings! This Sunday is the last Sunday in the cycle of the Christian year, and next Sunday we begin our journey through time to eternity once more, with the first Sunday of Advent. We might expect the Feast of Christ the King to end the year with climactic images of Christ enthroned in Glory, seated high above all rule and authority, one before whom every knee shall bow, and of course those are powerful and important images, images of our humanity brought by him to the throne of the Heavens.

But for this Sunday the Church’s lectionary does an unexpected, but very wise thing. It sets as a reading the passage in Matthew in which Christ reveals that even as He is enthroned in Glory, the King who comes to judge at the end of the ages, he is also the hidden King, hidden beneath the rags and even in the flesh of his poor here on earth.

Our King is calling from the hungry furrows
 Whilst we are cruising through the aisles of plenty, Our hoardings screen us from the man of sorrows, Our soundtracks drown his murmur: ‘I am thirsty’. He stands in line to sign in as a stranger
 And seek a welcome from the world he made,
 We see him only as a threat, a danger,
 He asks for clothes, we strip-search him instead. And if he should fall sick then we take care
 That he does not infect our private health,
 We lock him in the prisons of our fear
 Lest he unlock the prison of our wealth.
 But still on Sunday we shall stand and sing
 The praises of our hidden Lord and King.

From “Sounding the Seasons” Canterbury Press