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


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Weekly Message for December 17

Weekly Message for December 17

Dear Friends,    

Tomorrow is our long awaited and much anticipated #HamiltonMeetsJesus Christmas pageant. As I write this note, I remember Fonzi and the writers’ of that beloved 70s TV show, Happy Days, and conclude that this year’s pageant may truly have "jumped the shark." That said, our young people have spent an inordinate amount of time working on this year’s production. Tomorrow you will see that the camel and sheep legislators are busy amending the celestial republic’s founding documents, the shepherds are trying to figure out their new tax bills, the innkeeper offers Joseph some sage advice, “Smile more, talk less,” Mary is adjusting to a new donkey, the archangels have an opening rap that really puts some flesh on the notion of the virgin birth, and King Herod is quite sure that the immigrant Wise Men will be back. All of which is to say, it’s pretty much business as usual for the All Saints’ Christmas Pageant which will be premiering at the 9 and 11 o’clock worship services. 

In the midst of the Hamilton hoopla one truth I hope to offer to all of us is that God, in the infant Jesus, came into this world to show each of us the unending power of love. While Alexander Hamilton and the founding parents of our republic took a step toward liberty and justice, I invite you to remember and hold dear that the real revolution, the true up-ending of our world, comes not through government policy, but through our ability to live our lives in such a way that the love of God is made real in all we do. Please let that revolution begin.

To avoid donkeys, camels, and chaos, attend the 8:00 service and then return for the absolutely amazing Advent and Christmas Lessons and Carols that our choir will be offering at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. To end a long day at 5:30 we’ll all journey to the back room of O’Shaughnessy’s Pub for Beer and Caroling! At noon—we’ll be serving a light lunch and transforming our sanctuary from Advent austerity to Christmas greenery. Please come and join in any or all the activities that may feed your soul in this season of expectation and birth. 

All my very best to you on this my MOST FAVORITE WEEKEND of the year,


Working Against the Virus of Racism

Working Against the Virus of Racism

kellybdWe are very excited that the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas will be spending a weekend with us this fall, September 23 and 24. Kelly was formerly the Canon Theologian at our National Cathedral. In the fall she will become the first Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School, now located at Union Theological Seminary. We've invited Kelly to spend the weekend with us so that we might again return to our work on confronting racism. Kelly is an amazing preacher and theologian and we are beyond honored that she is making time in her incredibly busy schedule to be with us. Look for more details in the next few weeks on the spirituality and theology that we will be exploring together. 

In the event that you find yourself looking for some interesting summer reading, here are some books she has suggested we investigate: HomecomingThe Color of Law, and one by Kelly called Stand Your Ground. She also suggested that watching 13th on Netflix would be helpful.

Racism is an issue that we are called to confront and challenge and end. It is not something that will just die a gentle death. Our hope is that with our time with Kelly and one another, we may again return to this important work. 

All Saints' Book Club

All Saints' Book Club

midnightFall Reading List Selected

The All Saints Book Club has defined its reading list through the fall. The meetings start at 7:30 PM usually at the home of a member. The locations and further details are on our Facebook page. Here is the schedule for the next several months:

  • August 10 - "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt
  • September 14 - "Operation Breadbasket" by Martin Deppe (meet in the Reading Room at the church)
  • October 12 - "Saints and Villains" by Denise Giardina
  • November 9 - "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson
  • December 14 - Pick your own poetry book and share favorite poem(s)

For additional information, contact Mike Burke (

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!

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

Evening Prayer at The Breakers

 Sundays at 2pm

breakersbibleWe are very excited to announce that every Sunday at 2:00 pm, All Saints' offers something new at the Breakers - An Evening Prayer Service! Our first event was Sunday, December 4th, and went marvelously well - we had 13 attendees! Folks are very pleased that there's a Protestant service being offered in addition to the current choices (which are Catholic and Moody Bible.) The Prayer Service itself is printed in large print and in bulletin style with scripture taken each week from the Common Lectionary.

The weekly service starts at 2:00 pm, upstairs on the second floor Meditation Room, and lasts about 15 minutes. Please contact Paul Mallatt if you have questions, or comments at 773-860-4649. When you can, stop by the Breakers (5333 N Sheridan Rd) where the parking is free (for 2 hours), the coffee is hot, and the folks are friendly!


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.

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

New Opportunity: Hospitality Ministry

helloDo you feel called to create an open, welcoming, hospitable environment at All Saints? Do you like meeting and connecting with people? Join the new Hospitality Ministry! Members of the Hospitality Ministry will help the clergy and vestry create a welcoming culture by greeting new members, engaging new faces at coffee hour, and helping connect new members of All Saints with our various programs.

Interested? Contact Diane Doran or Michelle Mayes. Include "Hospitality Ministry" in the subject line.

Join Our Member Directory!

Join Our Member Directory!

Our new Associate Rector, Emily Williams Guffey, is enjoying getting to know everyone in our congregation. Help her put names and faces together by adding yourself to our online directory!

If you are a member of All Saints' and haven't already registered for the directory, please contact our resident web guru Jim Crandall at and he will send a user name, password, and instructions.

Love on a Plate

Love on a Plate

Join the All Saints' Care Ministry! 

casseroleThe Care Ministry at All Saints' is a quiet one, simply providing meals after a new baby arrives, after surgery, during an illness. Because when life gets complicated, dinner is often the last thing on our minds--but sometimes a meal and visit from a friend is exactly what we need!

If you can provide a meal, give someone a ride, or run an errand once in awhile, please email You'll be contacted when a need arises and you can sign up to help at your convenience.


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 

This OLD Church

This OLD Church

This week’s stories of the bell tower: The beams and posts in the bell tower are being filled with epoxy and fungicide to prevent future insect damage and to restore their strength and integrity. Here are some photos of the work currently taking place. Everywhere you see white is where the post or beam is being rebuilt, restored and protected.
The blue hue in the photo is from the tarp surrounding the bell tower enabling Ron Young and his crew to continue working in the dropping temperatures.
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.