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Christ the King Sunday

This portion of stained glass of a cross and palm branch surrounded by a jeweled crown is part of the “Jesus and the Children” window on the south side of the historic Main Sanctuary (1908) at First United Methodist Church of Pensacola, Florida.

Sunday Before The First Sunday of Advent (Date Varies)

Christ the King Sunday or Reign of Christ Sunday is the newest high holy day in the church, instituted in 1925 by Pope Pious XI. It was designed to combat the rise of secularism and nationalism in the world by stating that it was Christ who has true authority over human life. As nationalism grew in the world, the day was embraced by most protestants as well to offer a theological antidote.

While originally celebrated the Sunday after All Saints Day, it was moved to the last Sunday of the church year. This gives the day a special significance, reminding us that Christ has the final word in history. The day is heavy in apocalyptic themes and is a celebration that Christ will return and set all things right. This future-oriented theme dovetails perfect with the season of Advent, which begins with a focus on the Second Coming of Christ.

Because Advent is a penitential season this day retains elements of carnival, the celebration before a fast. For Americans this day also falls near Thanksgiving, and can give a theological purpose to the week before advent.

To celebrate Christ the King Sunday we are making a Crown Roast of Lamb, one of the most beautiful and ornate entrees imaginable.

The “crown” is formed by connecting at least two racks of lamb, end to end into a circular shape with the rib bones sticking up. Those rib bones are frenched, or cleaned, for presentation, which makes the two racks of lamb look even more like a crown.

The symbol of a cross passing through a crown is a common Christian symbol found in church stained glass, especially of this era. The emblem is often interpreted as symbolizing the reward of heaven (the crown) coming after the trials of earthly life (the cross). The cross and crown image in this window also includes a palm branch, reminding the viewer of the events of Holy Week. During Holy Week Jesus is welcomed into Jerusalem with palm branches on Palm Sunday (palm), is crucified on Good Friday (cross), and is resurrected on the third day, which we celebrate on Easter Sunday (crown). This window was sponsored by the  family of Thomas S. Hannah during the original construction of the sanctuary in the early 1900s.

Crown Roast of Lamb

Crown Roast of Lamb

Course: Entrée


  • 1 crown roast of lamb, prepared by a butcher

  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven to 200°F and position the oven rack low enough to fit the crown roast. Season the crown roast with salt and pepper. Place roast on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until the lamb registers 115°F in the center.
  • When the lamb reaches 115°F, remove it from oven. Increase the oven to highest possible temperature. Cover the lamb rib bones with foil. Return the lamb to the oven, this time checking the temperature every 5 minutes until it is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 125 to 135°F. This should take around 10 minutes. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before enjoying.