November 22 marks the last Sunday of the church calendar and is the Feast of Christ the King. As it falls with Thanksgiving, the significance Christ the King Sunday is sometimes missed. Christ the King is the culmination of the church year. We have followed the life of Christ Advent to Pentecost, and we live the life of the church the second half of the year as we await in eager expectation for the return of the King of kings. Christ the King Sunday reminds us of that one hope we share.
With Thanksgiving we often sing (and we will this Sunday) “Come! Ye Thankful People, Come”. This hymn dovetails nicely with Christ the King Sunday, because it speaks of Lord’s harvest at the end of all things. Here are the lyrics from Henry Alford’s hymn.
Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home; all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin. God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied; come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home. All the world is God's own field, fruit as praise to God we yield; wheat and tares together sown are to joy or sorrow grown; first the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear; Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be. For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take the harvest home; from the field shall in that day all offenses purge away, giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast; but the fruitful ears to store in the garner evermore. Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring thy final harvest home; gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin, there, forever purified, in thy presence to abide; come, with all thine angels, come, raise the glorious harvest home.