Today is Christ the King Sunday. Some call it Christ Our Lord Sunday or Realm of Christ Sunday. However you name it, today is both the last Sunday after Pentecost and the last Sunday of the Christian Year. It is not so much a climax in itself, however, as it is a transitional Sunday leading directly to Advent, the Christmas cycle, and the new Christian Year. People are already thinking about Christmas, and the observance of Christ the King can help them prepare by stressing the continuity between the celebration of kingship, or sovereignty, of Christ and the expectation of Christ’s coming again in sovereign glory which opens the Advent Season.
Christ the King celebration started in the aftermath of the First World War. Pope Pius XI instituted this day on Halloween in 1926.
In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration to the end of the church calendar and renamed it:
The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe.
Pope Paul VI actions was his response to the rise of secularization, atheism, and communism.
Even though it was created by a pope less than a hundred years ago, Methodist, along with Anglicans, Lutherans, and Presbyterians celebrate this day.
The protestant Church of Sweden calls today “the Sunday of Doom.” Its official name is “the Return of Christ,” but its colloquial name comes from the fact that they give a particular focus on the Last Judgement at Christ’s Second Coming.
While some Anglicans refer to this Sunday as “Stir-up Sunday” from their prayer that begins with the words, “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people…” Plus, some old pudding recipes require the pudding to sit for several weeks before being cooked. This Sunday became a day that people would traditionally begin preparing pudding for Christians, which includes “stirring it up.”