I’m often asked when will the Second Coming of Jesus take place, or has it already taken place, or is it constantly taking place. A more important question is: what is Jesus coming to do? Yes, he is coming to restore us and to save us. But more importantly, he is coming to recondition our hearts.
Today is the last Sunday after Pentecost, the final Sunday of our church year, we mimic the trees outside in shedding our green coverings. Since about 1925, this day has also been called Christ the King Sunday. In terms of public holiday awareness, I think this day probably ranks right up there with Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day or National Scrapple Day, these holidays that really do exist but only for a few people with some very niche interests.
There is a deep paradox in the way of Jesus. At its heart, it is a way of grace over law, a way of unconditional love and radical acceptance. But he also tells us this way will cost us everything, beginning with our impulses toward self-preservation and our need for security above all else. The liberating, world healing, abundant life of Jesus demands making our peace with these risky lives we’ve been given, and not giving them over to fear. Or, as Marilynne Robinson puts it, “Fear is not a Christian habit of mind.”
Covenant inherently means there are separations and divisions that need to be knit back together. We can see this in our personal and communal journeys, especially when we try to move forward without God. We can see this in our national life, where we as the Church are called to be the voice of unity, civility, service, understanding, healing, hope, peace, and love.
The feast of All Saints, I think, is meant to go to work on the hearts of Christian people in a number of ways. One is that it’s meant to expand our bubbles by expanding the bubble our definition of the Church lives within. Another is to see the Church, and by extension, all of humanity, as a living, growing, emergent, interconnected whole, of which any one of us is a tiny, but utterly unique and essential part. The communion of saints is vast and old and wondrous and awful at times, and it would be sadly incomplete if it didn’t include you.