This past Sunday marked the last week of the church calendar year. Beginning with Advent (starting next Sunday) the calendar traces the progression of the life and work of Christ. The year ends with the celebration of the ‘Reign of Christ’ Sunday.
What the calendar reminds us of is the hope that all things will be made well in Christ. As Revelation 7:17 boldly proclaims, “For the Lamb who stands in front of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe away all their tears.” Whatever else the rule of Christ means in the fully-dawned Kingdom of God it certainly includes good news for those who have “washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb? (Revelation 7:14).
For those in Christ our ultimate future is reason for thanksgiving (we have an entire day devoted to gratefulness on the American calendar). Life will eventually be all we can imagine it to be, and more, and forever! Maybe it is the strong confidence of such a glorious existence that motivates Paul to write, “Thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
But such thanksgiving cannot be genuine without a hope that is steadfast and sure. Without the assurance that our tears will be wiped away gratefulness seems weird. There is simply too much suffering in this world for thanksgiving to permeate our souls if our future in Christ is not real. The tears MUST be wiped away, eventually.
If Scripture is true celebration of the ‘Reign of Christ’ Sunday is indeed an appropriate ending to the church calendar. God grant us the grace of a thriving hope.