Friday, November 21, 2014

Bishop's Note: Collect for the Last Sunday of Pentecost - Feast of Christ the King

Bishop Eric Menees

“Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in thy 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 liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”

On the Feast of the Ascension we celebrated the fact that Jesus ascended into heaven, where He sits enthroned at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf and waiting - waiting for the Father's word that the time is right; right for restoration; right for redemption; right for His return.

As we enter into the Season of Advent, we focus on our need to prepare for Jesus' second advent, when He will complete the restoration that He began with His birth in that manger in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.

While in His first advent He came as an helpless babe, His second advent will be as the King of kings and Lord of lords. The Revelation to St. John gives us a tremendous image in Chapter 19, beginning at the 11th verse: "15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." (Revelation 19:15-16) This is no helpless babe - this is an avenging King who comes in godly strength and power.

The purpose of His "...rule with a rod of iron..." is to free all believers - worldwide - from bondage to sin. How awesome and wonderful that day will be! We should not expect this day with fear and dread, but with joy and anticipation that God's Word will be fulfilled and that we will gather around the throne of God, glorifying Him exactly as the prophet Isaiah envisioned: "6 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 And I said: Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for. (Isaiah 6:1-7)  

And to that I say AMEN!
Catechism Questions 43 - 45

43.     Why do you say that God the Father is “Almighty?”
I call the Father “Almighty” because he has power over everything and accomplishes everything he wills. Together with his Son and Holy Spirit, the Father is all-knowing and ever present in every place. (I Chronicles 29:10-13; Psalm 139)
44.    Why do you call God the Father “Creator?”
I call God the Father “Creator” because he is the sole designer and originator of everything that exists. He creates and sustains all things through his Word, and gives life to all creatures through his Spirit. (Genesis 1; 2:7; Job 33:4; John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:3)
45.    How does recognizing God as Creator affect your understanding of his creation?

I acknowledge that God made for his own glory everything that exists. He created human beings in his image, male and female, to serve him as creation’s stewards, managers and caretakers. He entrusts his good creation to us as a gift to enjoy and a responsibility to fulfill. (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15; Revelation 4:11)

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