Tomorrow is the Feast of Christ the King, the last event of the Church calendar before the new year begins on the first Sunday of Advent. Christine Sine writes about this particular feast well, here.
Feasts are significant, because they engage all the senses:
the sight sensation, enjoying the presentation of the table, of fine food and drink;
the sound sensation, of good conversation;
the highly evocative smell sensation, heightening the pleasure we get from eating;
the obvious and rich taste sensation;
and the touch sensation, of knives, forks, spoons in our hands, glasses to our lips, food in our mouths.
Not only do feasts engage the senses, they also engage our feelings – the contented feeling of our body beginning to digest the food; the emotions of company – and also our memories – of previous feasts shared, including shared with those who are no longer with us, whether parted by geography or by death.
Feasts are an acting-out of God’s good gifts to us, in themselves. And, because they engage us at every possible level, they are matchless contexts in which to tell the epic love story of God and his people.
Generally speaking, evangelicals do not embrace the gift and opportunity of feasts. Feasts are aesthetic and physical; evangelicals tend towards abstract engagement, whether abstract ideas for the mind to grapple with or abstract personal charismatic experiences. With the exception of Christmas, to feast – to eat a meal in celebration of a particular episode in our story - therefore requires deliberate intention.
Jesus was notorious for eating with people.
Feasts are a matchless context in which to proclaim the gospel. And because the gospel is not abstract, because it comes contained in the one who carries it – the medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan observed; we carry the good news we have received - the invitation to share a feast is a good indicator of a person of peace: if someone is not open to eating with us, at their table or at ours or in a neutral venue, then they are unlikely to be open to the story we carry.
Here are a confession and a blessing for use at the Feast of Christ the King. The words are taken from Common Worship, a resource of prayers and services for the Church of England. The background is a window depicting Christ the King in Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral.