An Ancient Faith for Modern Times

Christ the King & the Feast of St. Edmund

Tomorrow is a very special day for our Church, we honor two kings. First, and foremost, it is Christ the King Sunday where we recognize and focus on the Lordship of Christ and his kingdom. Secondly, this falls on the feast day where we celebrate and remember the namesake of our church, St. Edmund.

It is foreign to our minds, given the democratic/republican form of government we live in, what it is to serve and submit to a king. Today we see royal families, like the British House of Windsor, as symbols, but we do not understand the idea of fealty, a sworn loyalty to a lord. This is a foreign concept to us, particularly in the United States. 

As Christians we are aliens and strangers (John 15:18-19, John 17:16, Philippians 3:20, Hebrews 11:13-16, 1 Peter 2:11). Our citizenship is not of this world, we are part of Christ’s kingdom and he is our king, Christ the King. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We are told in Philippians 2 that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Christ is our one and true king, and we focus on that tomorrow in service. We also remember the namesake of our church, an earthly king, that is King Edmund the Martyr. King Edmund was a King in East Anglia (part of England). King Edmund (St. Edmund) is known for his great faith. His death is mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that tells us he was killed in 869 after the Great Heathen (Danish) Army advanced into East Anglia. As Christians, our loyalty and fealty is to Christ our King.

We do not know all the details, but tradition tells us that King Edmund was captured and he was given an opportunity to live if he would denounce his faith and serve the Danish as their puppet king. Edmund refused to renounce his faith. He was tied to a tree and shot and killed with arrows. 

Below is a hymn for St. Edmund the Martyr written by William Edgar Enman for St. Edmund’s Milwaukee

O Jesu, King of martyrs, who for our sins didst die;
Hear Thou the praise we offer Before Thy throne on high;
For Thou art our Redeemer, the Crown of all They saints,
The Light that never fadeth, the Strength that never faints.

For all the might and courage, for all the grace divine
Shown forth in blessed Edmund who gave his life for Thine;
Our love and thanks we render on this his festal day;
O Savior ever-glorious, accept our grateful lay.

He bravely bore the tortures inflicted by his foes,
And o’er them all in triumph his patient spirit rose;
He left an earthly kingdom a heavenly crown to gain,
With Thee, the King of Glory, for evermore to reign.

In that celestial country where joys eternal flow,
His spirit resteth ever secure from every foe;
Now may he pray, dear Saviour, that we may faithful be
And after this life’s conflict receive a crown from Thee.

To Thee, O mighty Monarch, be ceaseless songs addressed, 
Who reignest with the Father and with the Spirit blest;
Grant us with Thy redeemed ones upon the eternal shore,
To yield Thee highest homage and praise for evermore.

Collect of the Week (Christ the King)
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your 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 lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. 
Collect of St. Edmund
Eternal God, whose servant Edmund kept faith to the end, both with you and with his people, and glorified you by his death: grant us such steadfastness of faith that, with the noble army of martyrs, we may come to enjoy the fullness of the resurrection life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.


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