All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Christ the King

Gail Goldsmith
November 24, 2013

He was a King unlike any the Ancient Near East had ever seen.

This king did not signify his kingship in land, Herds of sheep and cattle, palaces, or a harem.

He did not rule over the people but rather walked among them, healed them, fed them.
He spoke to them, with them.
His prounouncements were blessings.

It was to be an entirely different kind of kingdom than the ancient
near east had ever seen and an entirely different kind of king the people would believe in

Belief in this kingdom is shown in love, in fellowship, in care; tribute and taxation are for other kings.

This is Christ the King Sunday
We use a different kind of imagery now, this Sunday, to prepare us for Advent.

Before Advent’s hopeful anticipation of joy we speak of pain, politics, and suffering.

For everything that we will feel in advent, we, today, consider
Jesus on a cross, between criminals, being given sour wine on a sponge. And the only sign of his kingship in this moment is a mocking sign hung above his body hanging on a cross calling him King of the Jews

He was a king who did not save himself and the criminals he spoke with on the cross. The Greek text tells us more about the criminals. The text of Matthew and Mark calls them ‘lestai’ meaning peasants separated from their land, usually as a result of taxation or their land having been seized by elites. The text of Luke calls them kakourgos meaning common thieves.

On the cross, under a sign alleging a political crime in the eyes of the Romans. Politics is not the focus humanity is. One of the men being crucified beside Jesus is angry, disbelieving,—IF YOU ARE SO POWERFUL, SAVE US! He taunts; but Jesus does not play into the worldly test he is mocked towards. He does something more miraculous than toppling the crosses, or vanishing: HE STAYS.

He is a God and King on a cross, suffering, in pain. Together with his people, the people that he came for, who are also suffering
He does something more miraculous than vanishing off the cross. While he is beginning to end death, He says to the criminal who spoke in his defense
You will be with me in paradise. It is true kingship when in your own suffering, you can turn to a neighbor and offer words of hope.

When I was little, my older cousin Casey told me a bedtime story about heaven she told me what she had heard at her Assemblies of God church. I would tag along with her there and watch how she prayed, how she sang and want with all my heart to believe the way she did. In this bedtime story she told me about how when we get to heaven we will each be given a great gift--she was about to tell me the secret of heaven, my older cousin, she told me that we will all be given sapphire mansions to live in for eternity.

As I remember this story, I remember feeling a little non-plussed—it sounds cold and hard on the eyes; but I remember my question—"Casey, can I visit you in yours?"

As the holidays approach, as I look forward to being home for family meals, I've been thinking of the allegory of the long spoons, which is told in Confucianism, Judaism, and other traditions:

The story goes that a person dreams of two scenes

the first is set in hell in some tellings of this story
in others, this first scene is on earth

many people are seated around a table
around a feast
these people are looking at the food
looking but not eating
because their arms are tied to boards so they cannot bend at the elbow
and the only utensils are long spoons
long spoons they cannot feed themselves with
the people are miserable
kind of whiny

the second scene the sleeper dreams
has a similar set up
people around a table
an aromatic feast
bound arms
and long spoons
but in this scene
commonly set in heaven
the people are using the spoons
maneuvering them with their bound arms
not to feed themselves
but to feed each other

In heaven, we feed each other, the story goes, we resist the solitary misery of giving up and staring at the feast and staring at our neighbor staring at the feast
and reach out to offer comfort and sustenance.

I like this story because it doesn't talk about the kingdom of God in far-off distant terms, because it shows both grace and responsibility towards each other
And that the Kingdom of God is not something we wait for.
The Kingdom of God is a state, a state of being.
The Kingdom of God is something we participate in.
The Kingdom of God is what we do.
The Kingdom of God is located between us when we cross paths with each other, with our neighbors.
Between us and people the world would call criminals.

Its beautiful but
We're not going to arrive immediately.
We're not going to finish the work of the kingdom tomorrow.
We are not doing it to earn salvation.
We do it because we believe that Jesus was more than a community organizer and more than a rabbi who spoke peace, but also the Christ, Christ the King.

We're doing it because we believe in the word spoken and embodied by Jesus on the cross that we will move beyond the structures of this world. And through this belief, we know that the Kingdom of God is how we are with those who are suffering. Like Christ the King when he is with the criminal on the cross.

Living in the Kingdom of God is not just the imitation of Christ in manners only, not in speech only; but in conversation, IN RELATIONSHIP with those he would have spoken to, who he still speaks to, those who speak to us, those who show us the places where we can bring the Kingdom of Christ: places to visit the sick, places to offer shelter, places we could feed our neighbors.

Like here, this last Tuesday night I overheard some of our neighbors talking about us it’s a long walk but the food’s good. The people are real here and talkative too, not just here’s your food and get out and one woman said quietly they seem to want us to be here.

When we act with love, according to the kingdom of God people notice.

In a few weeks we will celebrate the birth of Jesus, God on earth, God among us, God in relationship. The potential of the Kingdom of Christ was shown to the disciples and shown to be more of a kinship than a kingdom spread by the apostles and through the years to us. Given to us--a kinship for us between God and humanity, a kinship between us, for joy, to mourn. A kinship to worship Christ the King

—Gail Goldsmith


  1. This Week
  2. Services Times
  3. Contact Us
  4. Sermons
Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Annual Meeting Jan. 28, 2018: Rector's Address

Here is a link to download Bonnie's address.

Weekly Message for February 18

Weekly Message for February 18

Dear Friends,    


How much longer will the killing continue? 
Here are some groups and activities you might consider supporting with your time and your money: 
  • The IL Council Against Handgun Violence 
  • Moms Demand Action 
  • Gabby Giffords' PAC 

  • And here's a list of congressional representatives who have received the most amount of money from the National Rifle Association. Apparently they are all praying for the people in Florida directly affected by our country’s latest mass shooting. I invite you to pray for their souls and to drop them a note wondering if God is answering their prayers. Will it make a difference? I don’t know. But, being held hostage by a diabolical association that has convinced our elected officials that it is the God-given, constitutionally-sanctioned right of every American to wander around with a semi-automatic rifle is absurd. Seems like all of us ought to start loudly pointing out this insanity.
    I’ll be at the Moms Demand Action Lakeview gathering on the 24th of February. Let me know if you’d like to come with me. Please let me know what other courses of action you plan to take to end gun violence in our country.
    This evening, All Saints’ will be hosting a gathering for the friends, family, and neighbors of our long-term neighbor John Vanzo at 7:00. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 there will be a visitation in the sanctuary and a memorial service at 11:00 am. All are welcome. 
    I’m super excited that we will finally kick off the All Saints’ Youth Group with an overnight this Saturday. Please RSVP to Hilary Waldron if your 7-12 grade child is planning on attending. 
    Following the 11:00 Worship service we will have a Newcomer’s Brunch at O’Shaughnessy’s at 12:15. Please join us!
    This Sunday, Emily will be preaching, I’ll be celebrating, and our choir will be singing some wonderfully moving Lenten music. It seems like the right time to be praying and repenting. So please come and join me.
    All my best,


    Annual Bake Auction

    Annual Bake Auction

    Dear Friends,
    For nineteen years, All Saints' has been creating an Africa Bake Auction that changes people's lives. Last year we raised over $26,000 by buying cakes that we baked! With the money raised during the auction between our 9am and 11am worship services, our young people chose to fund:
  • wells and clean water for people in South Sudan
  • a women's collective tea store, creating a place for women entrepeneurs
  • scholarships for Sudanese refugees in Uganda
  • financial aid for two scholars working on LGBT issues in Africa
  • health care for women, children, and men in the Diocese of Renk, South Sudan
  • In terms of what it buys in South Sudan, our money is multiplied by a factor of ten. And now, more than ever, our assistance is needed. What you do--what we give--helps people so very much.
    So come with your debit cards, bring your friends, bake some goodies, and get ready to make an investment in the lives of people in South Sudan.
    Susan and I will be spending at least $750 to make a difference. I'll be baking my no frills, simply chocolate, kinda ugly, really tasty cake!
    And during our worship services on Sunday, each offering that isn't marked "pledge" will be given to our friends in South Sudan.  
    Please start baking, and email a title and brief description to Polly Tangora so she can streamline check-in by preparing your bid forms in advance. Then post your amazing goodies on Facebookor Instagram, tagging All Saints' and using the hashtag #AfricaBakeAuction. 
    All the best, 
    March For Our Lives - A Lenten Pilgrimage

    March For Our Lives - A Lenten Pilgrimage


    Dear Friends,

    I invite you to join me on a pilgrimage to Washington DC on March 24th to support the young people from Florida who are marching in memory of their slain friends, murdered in their high school.

    I believe this journey to DC or a shorter trip to Downtown Chicago needs to be an intrinsic part of our Lenten Discipline this year. This country can no longer sigh and wring our collective hands and be lulled into thinking that there is nothing else we can do. We can show up. We can show up by the thousands, by the hundreds. That showing up begins when each one of us changes a plan and alters a schedule to be there to show we care. Because we do. 

    For DC, we’ll leave Friday evening at 5:00, March 23rd. Click here for more information and to purchase bus tickets. We’ll March during the day on the 24th. And return Saturday night so that we all may be back in time for Palm Sunday Services, March 25th. Know that the procession we take part in on Saturday will be a Palm Sunday Procession for the world and not just our church.

    I hope you can be there, with your family and friends in either DC or Downtown.

    All my best,



    Lenten Evening Prayer

    Lenten Evening Prayer

    On Thursdays, February 15-March 22, brief services of Evening Prayer will be offered at 7:00pm, with scripture, poetry, and song. Come find rest for your souls.

    Inquirers’ Class

    Inquirers’ Class

    On Thursdays, February 15—March 22, the Inquirers’ Class will take place in the Reading Room next to the sanctuary. Designed especially but not exclusively for those new to All Saints’ and/or the Episcopal Church, this 6-week series is an exploration of adult spirituality through history, prayer, scriptures, theology, church polity, and more. If desired, it may also serve as preparation for the rite of confirmation or reception into the Episcopal Church in May or June.

    The book we’ll refer to occasionally in the class is called Jesus was an Episcopalian (and you can be one, too!): A Newcomer’s Guide to the Episcopal Church by Chris Yaw. If you’re interested in joining the class, consider getting a copy to look over.

    Contact Bonnie or Emily for more info.

    Bags for RCS

    Bags for RCS

    We're running low on paper and reusable bags for our Tuesday night pantry. Please bring us your extras! 
    We will be taking donations on Tuesday evenings, M-F 9am-4pm, and on Sundays during church services. Look for the bins by the doors. Thanks for your help!

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Community Kitchen Volunteers Needed

    Tuesdays 6:15-8:00pm 

    RCS is looking for help serving and cleaning up after dinner on Tuesdays from 6:15-8:00pm.

    If you're able to volunteer, contact Emily or Operations Manager Parker Callahan, or call 773-769-0282.

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Donate to The 1883 Project

    Please consider supporting the restoration project of our historic building. To make a donation, click here

    1883 Construction web 

    Fixing This Old Church

    Fixing This Old Church

    Here is a collection of photos of the progress of our 1883 Project. Here is a collection of bell tower photos. Check back often for updates.

    Sunday Service Times

    8:00 am Inclusive Language Eucharist
    9:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir
    10:00 am Children's Church School
    10:00 am Coffee Hour
    11:00 am Holy Eucharist with Choir


    Contact Us

    4550 N. Hermitage in Chicago, IL 60640 (Directions)

    Phone (773) 561-0111


    Information about pastoral care.



    Bonnie on Huffington Post

    Occasionally Bonnie's sermons are published on the Huffington Post. Here are some links.

    Pain. Change. Hope.

    November 15, 2015

    What Does St. Francis of Assisi Have to Say to Us Today?

    October 4, 2015

    Wake Up Calls

    September 6, 2015

    Christmas Reminds Us That We, Like God, Are Human, Too

    December 24, 2014

    The Deep Sleep of Racial Oblivion: One Pastor's Sin of Omission

    November 30, 2014

    Pulpit Swap

    The Pulpit Swap between St Thomas and All Saints is part of our ongoing effort to bring our parishes closer together as we engage in a conversation about systemic racism and how we can work together to forge new possibilities and outcomes.

    Going Home—Changed

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Bonnie Perry of All Saints Episcopal Church on October 16, 2016.  

    When Prayers Go Unanswered

    Pulpit Swap Sermon By The Rev Dr Fulton L Porter celebrating at All Saints Episcopal Church on Oct16 2016.