Return of the King

As of tomorrow, I have officially made it through an entire liturgical church calendar year in the Episcopal Church.  We are coming upon the end of “Ordinary Time,” which is the story of God’s people.  It appropriately ends with the Feast of Christ the King, in which we look forward to the second coming of Christ, even as we prepare and look forward to the celebration of the first coming of Christ beginning with Advent and culminating in Christmas.

One of my favorite books is the third book in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Return of the King.  In it, the King of Gondor returns.  Gondor had been under a steward for a very long time, and the people had lost hope that a true King would ever come to claim his throne.  One of the passages in the book is a saying of lore that one of the wise-women of Gondor speaks: “The hands of the king are the hands of a healer, and so shall the rightful king be known.”   And sure enough, when Aragorn shows up, he has healing in his hands, and is able to heal those wounded in battle, and call many back from the brink of darkness and death.  Aragorn wasn’t to be known as king by his ability to swing a sword and conquer the enemy, or even in his ability to lead people.  He was known as the rightful king because he brought healing.

This passage has always made me think about Christ coming in His glory and being crowned King.  Not a King that brings wrath and condemnation, that conquers nations, but a King that conquers fear and death and hatred, who is good and loving and who has healing in His hands.  A King who has fought and loved and mourned and laughed and cried and died along with us, but who death could not conquer, and therein was our hope.  A God King – God with us, the One who has carried our sorrows and bears with Him healing and because of this, we can approach our King unafraid and with great joy!

There was great joy in the book when Aragorn was crowned king, because the people knew that he would rule them justly and with compassion and were not afraid.  They knew he would protect them and provide for their needs and they knew it because he brought healing.

When I read about that celebration, I think about Christ being crowned King of all kings, and what great joy we will feel!  Because He will rule with gentleness and mercy.  We will bow our heads before Him, but He will lift us up.  Because He brings with Him reconciliation and redemption and resurrection, and He has healing in His hands.    Come Lord Jesus, Come!