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Last Day of the Church Year

2011-12-28 08:32:37 wisdom

WHAT IS THE SUNDAY OF THE FULFILLMENT?

The last Sunday of the church year is sometimes called the Sunday of the Fulfillment.  On this Sunday, the church looks forward to the time when everyone and everything in heaven and on earth will be together under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 1:9-10).

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “FULFILLMENT?”

This last Sunday of the church year is a day of fulfillment in two senses.  Because it is the last Sunday after Pentecost, it fulfills the liturgical year by bringing it to an end and returning us once again to the season of Advent.  More importantly, it calls on the church to look with vigilance and faithfulness for the second coming of the Lord Jesus to take His redeemed people into heaven.  This is the fulfillment for which all Christians yearn when they pray, Thy Kingdom come.

WHAT IS THE FESTIVAL OF CHRIST THE KING?

In many churches, the last Sunday of the liturgical year is celebrated as special festival called Christ the King.  The lectionary readings for the last few Sundays after Pentecost center on the biblical teachings concerning the final judgment, end times, and Christ’s second coming to usher in the Kingdom of Glory.  This emphasis culminates in the final Sunday of the church year as a celebration of the coming reign of Christ as King of the universe at the end of time.

WHAT IS THE LITURGICAL COLOR FOR THE LAST SUNDAY OF THE CHURCH YEAR?

The usual liturgical color for this day is green, the color of spiritual growth.  This is the color for the Time of the Church, the season between Pentecost and Advent.  However, if the last Sunday of the church year is commemorated as the Festival of Christ the King, white, symbolic of the holiness of Christ, is the appropriate liturgical color.

HOW IS THE LAST SUNDAY OF THE CHURCH YEAR RELATED TO THE SEASON OF ADVENT?

The last Sunday of the church year focuses on the longing of every Christian for the coming of Christ’s Kingdom.  Therefore, this day is a transitional festival that brings the church to the first Sunday of Advent, the season during which Christians focus on and prepare for the coming of the Lord.

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