Kingdomtide

Kingdomtide600

Did you know that this season used to be called kingdomtide in some churches?

Between Pentecost and Advent is known as Ordinary Time in many churches. But in Methodist and Presbyterian churches last century, the quarter that starts at the end of August was called kingdomtide. It lasted until the Sunday before Advent—the Feast of Christ the King.

It’s just one more example of how we’ve moved away from an emphasis on living under God’s reign, towards a culture where the individual is king. The kingdom of God was the centre of Jesus’ life and ministry. I believe it should be the centre for us too. To achieve that, we’ll need to re-read the whole Bible from the perspective of the kingdom.

People sometimes feel that the message of the kingdom is in the gospels but less in the epistles, so here’s an exercise:

How many times do the New Testament letters refer to Jesus as both Christ and Lord?

Why?

  • Christ (christos, or Messiah in the Jewish framework) meant the one anointed to be our king, the promised son of David who would restore the kingdom and resolve the oppression of God’s people.
  • Lord (kyrios) means our master, our ruler, the one in charge of a household or a region or an empire. To declare that Jesus is Lord is to declare his sovereignty.

Is this message about Jesus being king and ruler found in the epistles?

I’ll list the ones from Acts (NIV):

  • Acts 2:36 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.
  • Acts 10:36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.
  • Acts 11:17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”
  • Acts 15:26men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Acts 28:31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!

Jesus’ identity and vocation centres around the kingdom. Did you find that in the epistles too? How many?

There could scarcely be anything more important that recognizing Jesus as our king and ruler.

 

What others are saying

Ben Witherington III, Imminent Domain: The Story of the Kingdom of God and Its Celebration (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009), vii–viii:

What we are in fact supposed to be celebrating in the early fall is Kingdomtide. This is easily the most unknown or under-observed church season. In part this is because it is the latest of the liturgical celebrations to be added to the church calendar, in the 1930s in fact, and primarily in Methodist and other Protestant Churches. It is normally celebrated beginning on the Sunday closest to August 31, and continues for twelve to thirteen Sundays thereafter, ending with the Feast of Christ the King. But there seems also to be a theological reason for the neglect of this church season. Perhaps it is that we are not at all sure what the Kingdom is, how it differs from the church or from Israel, and thus we are not sure what it is we are supposed to be celebrating. Hopefully this study will provide a partial remedy for this problem as we explore together the realm of God’s reign and ask and answer the question: Is it an imminent Domain coming to earth, or should we only look for it in heaven?

 

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Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Discipleship Trainer • Riverview Church

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