Feast of Christ the King – Last Sunday after Pentecost – 22nd November 2020
ORDER OF SERVICE
You can click to expand or minimise the order of service below.
All are requested to join in wherever text is GREEN
HYMN 1: Rejoice, the Lord is King, Your Lord and King adore;
Rejoice, the Lord is King,
Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals, give thanks and sing,
And triumph evermore:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice.
Jesus, the Saviour, reigns,
The God of truth and love;
When he had purged our stains,
He took his seat above:
His kingdom cannot fail;
He rules o’er earth and heaven;
The keys of death and hell
Are to our Jesus given:
He sits at God’s right hand
Till all his foes submit,
And bow to his command,
And fall beneath his feet:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice.
BLESSED BE GOD: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
And blessed be his kingdom, now and forever. Amen
From Easter to Pentecost:
Allelulia. Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia
In Lent and other penitential occasions:
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
His mercy endures for ever.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, to whom all hearts be open, all desires known and from whom no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
This prayer is omitted during Lent and Advent:
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have mercy on us.
THE COLLECT OF THE DAY
The Collect of the day:
The priest now says the Collect for the day:
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 for ever. Amen.
THE FIRST READING
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The Psalm is now said by the congregation
Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12
Lord, you have been our refuge
from one generation to another.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or the land and the earth were born,
from age to age you are God.
You turn us back to the dust and say,
“Go back, O child of earth.”
For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past *
and like a watch in the night.
You sweep us away like a dream;
we fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green and flourishes;
in the evening it is dried up and withered.
For we consume away in your displeasure;
we are afraid because of your wrathful indignation.
Our iniquities you have set before you,
and our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
So teach us to number our days
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
THE SECOND READING
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
This is the Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
All stand for the Gospel reading.
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 25:31-46
Glory to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
After the Gospel reading
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.
The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and the season after Pentecost is coming to a close. It is the longest season of the church’s year, marking the time by reminding us what it means to live as a disciple, to be good stewards of what we have been given, and how to grow in relationship with God. Our church year isn’t a normal, linear calendar. Instead, it is circular, beginning with Advent and ending with this day, the last Sunday after Pentecost. “Always, we begin again,” as the Benedictine saying goes.
Many of the church’s yearly celebrations have gone on for centuries, with over a millennium of tradition and history enriching them. They mark the events in the life of Jesus – his birth, his journey to the cross, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, and his sending of the Holy Spirit to remain with us. We tell these stories in our church calendar, year after year. They shape us in a multitude of ways as we become part of the stories—and they, in their turn, become part of us!
Now, here we are, at Christ the King Sunday, the feast day that dates back all the way to…yes, 1925! This tradition is not even 100 years old, yet it came at a time in the world where God seemed to be losing ground. The devastating First World War had been fought, and the powers of nationalism and secularism were rising. Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King to lend encouragement to Christians whose faith might be flagging, to remind nations that the Church too has a right to freedom and immunity from the state, and in hopes that leaders and nations would be bound to give respect to Christ.
Initially, the feast was celebrated on the last Sunday of October but was then moved in 1969 to its current place in the liturgical calendar to be a vision of Christ to which the rest of the year points. And what a vision it is! The scripture readings today help us understand the shape of what the Messiah is to be, and it’s not quite what we expect!
In Pat Marvenko Smith’s painting of the book of Revelation’s vision of the King of Glory, Jesus is depicted crowned with many crowns, with fire in his eyes and a light streaming from his mouth as he rides a white stallion, cavalry following behind him through a cloud. It is quite terrifying, and at the same time completely expected of a Messiah, who is coming to judge the living and the dead. Yet, our readings today speak of God as shepherd, and Jesus as a just and merciful king, not a militant figure. Instead, the focus of today’s scriptures is not on what Jesus as the great judge looks like, but on how we, as followers of Jesus, have responded to God’s call in our lives. This is the last Sunday after Pentecost—the end of the intentional time in our lectionary of exploring what it means to be a disciple. This is about discipleship, and so it is very much about us!
Think for a moment about the churches that you have known. Most churches have some measure of the Christian virtues that we all value: faith, love, and hope – they always have! But the community in Ephesus has especially been noticed because of their reputation. The author of the letter to the Ephesians has been impressed by the word-of-mouth reputation that the community has for having faith in the Lord Jesus, and then demonstrating that faith in love. They don’t just get together to do nice things for other people and talk about Jesus on occasion. Instead, they believe that Jesus is risen, and sits at the right hand of God, and they have experienced God’s power in their lives. They have been changed! They have been transformed! This transformation informs every single thing they do, individually, and as a community.
This section of Ephesians is called a thanksgiving prayer, and it tells us something else about what God values in a community: people knowing their destination. They have a goal, and because they know in what direction they’re going, they have become people of hope. In our modern times, we sometimes get the meanings of ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ confused, but not the Ephesians. They know that faith means you entrust your life to Jesus today, in the present tense; and hope is about the future, about where our present trust in Jesus eventually leads!
This understanding about the Christian life reflects one of the mottos of the Roman Catholic order of the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. They are to be contemplatives in action. In other words, to be grounded and centred in our faith in Jesus, so that we would know where God is calling us to action in the world around us. If we are all contemplatives that don’t do anything with the experience of God’s power that we have, then what’s the point? If all we do is reach out to others, but don’t go back to the wellspring of God’s living water, and drink deeply, then we’ve missed our call and can become empty shells. We must have both.
Our Gospel of Matthew story of the sheep and the goats asks us a searching question that can be difficult to bear: are we admirers of Jesus or are we followers? Becoming a disciple of Jesus is no easy task. Many throughout the ages have admired Jesus, but far fewer have chosen the sacrifice of following him.
There is a sign in a church that has gone around on Facebook for the past few years and it says, “Sometimes I want to ask God why he allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world, when he could do something about it, but then I’m afraid he might just ask me the same question.” As Christians, we believe that God has full claim on our lives. We are coming into the season of Advent next week, and are reminded that God loved us so much that he would become human—become one of us—so that we would fully understand what that claim was and how deep that love goes. How do we translate this love to others? Jesus tells us in our Gospel today that when we feed, or welcome, or give clothing, or visit the sick or those in prison, that we are, in turn, feeding, welcoming, clothing, and visiting him. When people respond to human need—or fail to respond—they are responding or failing to respond to Jesus himself!
On this Christ the King Sunday, our scriptures are clear about the “immeasurable greatness of God’s power for us who believe.” As we complete another turning of the wheel of liturgical time, may we renew our commitment to be grounded in this power to seek Christ in all persons and love our neighbour as ourselves, even though we may look foolish to the world for loving so lavishly, and we may fail. With God’s help, we can also, thankfully, begin again. AMEN.
THE NICENE CREED
Please stand for the Nicene Creed.
Let us together affirm the faith of the Church.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Let us pray for the world and for the Church:
Prayers of intercession are now said and at the end of each prayer the priest says:
Lord in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
Lord hear us,
Lord graciously hear us
At the conclusion of the prayers the priest says:
Almighty God, who has promised to hear our prayers.
Grant that what we have asked in faith we may by your grace receive, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus said: Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God is steadfast in love and infinite in mercy, welcoming sinners and inviting them to the Lord’s table.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, confident in God’s forgiveness.
Merciful God, our maker and our judge, we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, and in what we have failed to do: we have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbours as ourselves; we repent and are sorry for all our sins, Father forgive us, strengthen us to love and obey you in newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Almighty God, who has promised forgiveness to all who turn to him in faith, pardon you and set you free from all your sins, strengthen you in all goodness and keep you in eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The congregation stands.
We are the Body of Christ.
His Spirit is with us.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.
Please greet each other with a sign of peace.
HYMN 2: Be still, for the presence of the Lord, The Holy One, is here;
Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.
Crown him the Virgin’s Son,
The God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won
Which now his brow adorn:
Fruit of the mystic Rose,
As of that Rose the stem;
The Root whence mercy ever flows,
The Babe of Bethlehem.
Crown him the Lord of years,
The Potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres,
Glassed in a sea of light,
Where everlasting waves
Reflect his throne – the Infinite!
Who lives – and loves – and saves.
Blessed are you, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have these gifts to share. Accept and use our offerings for your glory and the service of your kingdom.
Blessed be God forever.
Let us pray
We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table, but you are the same Lord whose nature is always to have mercy. Grant us, therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of your dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us. Amen.
EUCHARISTIC PRAYER C
CLICK HERE FOR EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
The Lord be with you.
and also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.
Father, we give you thanks and praise through your beloved Son Jesus Christ, your living Word, through whom you have created all things; who was sent by you in your great goodness to be our Saviour.
By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh; as your Son, born of the blessed Virgin, he lived on earth and went about among us; he opened wide his arms for us on the cross; he put an end to death by dying for us; and revealed the resurrection by rising to new life; so he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people.
Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven, we proclaim your great and glorious name, for ever praising you and saying:
Holy, holy, holy Lord God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
Lord, you are holy indeed, the source of all holiness; grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit, and according to your holy will, these gifts of bread and wine may be to us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; who, in the same night that he was betrayed, took bread and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way, after supper he took the cup and gave you thanks; he gave it to them, saying: Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant,
which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it,
in remembrance of me.
Great is the mystery of faith:
Christ has died:
Christ is risen:
Christ will come again.
And so, Father, calling to mind his death on the cross, his perfect sacrifice, made once for the sins of the whole world; rejoicing in his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension, and looking for his coming in glory, we celebrate this memorial of our redemption.
As we offer you this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, we bring before you this bread and this cup and we thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you. Send the Holy Spirit on your people and gather into one in your kingdom all who share this one bread and one cup, so that we, in the company of [N and] all the saints, may praise and glorify you for ever, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
Let us pray with confidence to the Father, as our Saviour has taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
O Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.
Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.
This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world;
Happy are those who are called to his supper.
Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
After Communion the celebrant and the congregation say
Let us pray.
Father of all we give you thanks and praise that when we were still far off you met us in your Son and brought us home. Dying and living, he declared your love, gave us grace, and opened the gate of glory. May we who share Christ’s body live his risen life; we who drink his cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.
Keep us in this hope that we have grasped; so we and all your children shall be free, and the whole earth live to praise your name.
Father, we offer ourselves to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Lord. Send us out in the power of your Spirit to live and work to your praise and glory.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.
HYMN 3: Thy kingdom come, O God, Thy rule, O Christ, begin;
Thy kingdom come, O God,
Thy rule, O Christ, begin;
Break with thy iron rod
The tyrannies of sin.
Where is thy reign of peace,
And purity and love?
When shall all hatred cease,
As in the realms above?
When comes the promised time
That war shall be no more,
And lust, oppression, crime,
Shall flee thy face before?
We pray thee, Lord, arise,
And come in thy great might;
Revive our longing eyes,
Which languish for thy sight.
O’er lands both near and far
Thick darkness broodeth yet:
Arise, O morning Star,
Arise, and never set.
NOTE: The introductory music is is ‘Postlude’ by Flor Peeters.
Here is the music for this week’s hymns, if you would like to practice beforehand.
Performed by Fr. David Price