Just as a shepherd

I can give you more than one reason to care less about this Sunday.

(1) It is Christ the King Sunday and it is the DNA of Americans to say no thank-you to Kings. [See the First Continental Congress.] (2) Pope Pius XI initiated it. Protestants are therefore exempt. (3) Naming Christ as “king” buys into hierarchical ways of imagining good order that can finally only be maintained by force (M.H. Shore). (4) It doesn’t say anywhere in Scripture that we should celebrate Christ the King Sunday.

I am inclined to hover over that last reason: The Bible does not tell us to celebrate Christ the King.

A while back, I inadvertently stumbled upon an article in which an Anglican priest was writing about wedding bands. Some of his parishioners had asked whether or not they were really important or even necessary. Rings, after all, were a man-made tradition.

This priest’s response was insightful. I thought so, anyway. He gently pointed out how you and I participate in any number of traditions that are barely biblical. Then, this: “It doesn’t say anywhere in Scripture that we should only do things that the Bible itself tells us to do (G. Goebel).”

This particular spiritual leader was not handing out get out of jail free cards for bad behavior. He was inviting an appreciation for the place that tradition holds in our communities of faith.

There are traditions that point to the Gospel—traditions that our forbearers have passed on us to us that are worthy of deep regard when we consider how we will point to the Gospel and advance the kingdom way.

“No, traditions can’t save you. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t important and necessary . ”

What is important and even necessary about Christ as Shepherd King... well, that is yours for the holy wondering.


Rachel May