Over at the lectionary blog that I help curate, TheHardestQuestion.org, I used the video response this week to ponder why in the world “Christ the King Sunday” was introduced in 2915 1925, just as the last kings of the Western world were going the way of the dodo bird. I mean, I get that Christ is the King of All Creation and all that. I’ve got no problem with it. It’s just that it seems a bit anachronistic to introduce a Sunday recognizing Christ as King just as kingdoms are fading away. It’d be like starting a “Rotary Phone Sunday” now.
Well, to learn more, I turned to my handy-dandy companion for all things calendrical, The Oxford Companion to the Year. (I know it’s expensive, but I cannot tell you how often I’ve turned to this volume to discover items both trivial and profound about the days of the year, both liturgical and profane.)For example, on page 636, I learned that prior to this, the final Sunday before Advent, being called Christ the King Sunday, it was called, Stir-Up Sunday, with this explanation:
Before the recent liturgical reforms, the collect for the last Sunday before Advent included the phrase, ‘Excita, quaesumus Domine, tuorum fidelum voluntares’, in the BCP, ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people’. This phrase was popularly taken as the signal to the housewife that the time had come to stir up the ingredients for the Christmas pudding; the day was therefore known as ‘Stir-Up Sunday’.
I personally think that’s awesome. Who’s going to Stir It Up this weekend?