Monday, November 23, 2009

Christus Consummator or the Feast of Christ the Consummation of All Things?

This is the theology F. D. Maurice bequeathed to us, building on the Fathers and Reformers, and it is the theology upon which Michael Ramsey built his christological ecclesiology, Ecclesia Consummatrix. This is a thoroughly catholic christology, but it is wider in its mercy than many other catholic accounts. It presumes not Christ's absence, but his Presence. It presumes a form of realized eschatology that I call Presence or liturgical eschatology (because there is not currently a technical term for such an eschatology). Christ, the Last Day, the Final Judgment, the End of Days, the Omega as the Alpha, is present to us everywhere he is Named and explicitly in Word and Sacrament, and yet, the Consummation is not yet. It is this same theology that I have discovered in our anaphorae over and over again. Christology grounds our ecclesiology. Our Episcopalian christology is rooted in a vision of Christ as the Consummation of All Things.

bls points to an important observation. Christ the King may be wending its way into our calendar, but before it does, perhaps we should consider our own collect for the Last Sunday after Pentecost (or Trinity):

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
I could not help but think of this as the close of All Saintstide and the opening onto the eschatological, even apocalyptic mood of Advent. After all, the Incarnation is himself the End as much as the Beginning, so too the Feast of the Incarnation. This collect is a fitting close to these All Saints weeks when we consider the great cloud of witnesses and our relationship with the Whole. All Saints is itself a feast of the Incarnation, to pick up on Derek's recent post, noting the Anglican change to Wednesday. Our christology is pleromatic.

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