christ the King Sunday
We welcome all visitors to our services at Yetholm (10am) and Morebattle (11.15am) this Sunday. Please take time to sign the visitors’ book.
Call to Worship
From all eternity, Alpha and Omega
We come to worship God
Truth and vulnerability, majesty and mystery
We come to worship God
God is monarch of all creation
We come to worship God
Hymn 459 – Crown him with many crowns
Prayers of adoration and confession
God of majesty and mercy,
we give you thanks and praise for your commitment to your creation. In Christ, you have turned the world upside down, revealing your strength through weakness, and your power through compassion.
In the cross of Christ you taught us
that no hopeless situation or frightening possibility is beyond your reach.
We praise you for your love at work around us and within us, always able to do more than we can ask or even imagine. Receive our love and our loyalty this day, our Sovereign and our Saviour.
God of wisdom and warning,
we confess that we often prefer our own plans to your purposes. We shrink from acts of service that seem too demanding. Forgive us when our commitment wavers and we think someone else will take up the challenges we face.
Inspire us with the example of Jesus, and energize us with your Spirit to follow him as our Shepherd.
wherever he leads.
Christ embodied God’s love and mercy so powerfully that he offered forgiveness to his tormentors from the cross. In grace he reaches out to us, too. Receive his forgiveness this day, and offer it to others for his sake.
Readings – Jeremiah 23: 1-6 (Pg 782)
Luke 23: 33-43 (Pg 1060)
Hymn 550 – As a deer pants for the water
Almighty God, we acknowledge that your son Jesus is King of Kings, Lord of Lords and the Redeemer of the human race. Look down upon us, your earthly subjects, as we humbly worship before you. Forgive us for our failures to always recognise that you are indeed The Lord Our Righteousness and help us to serve you better in our Cheviot Churches community. Amen
After so many years of singing ‘God save the Queen’, we are now having to remember to sing ‘God save the King’. King Charles is now on the throne, and the transition seems to have gone well. He is obviously a very wealthy man, and the trappings of monarchy are all around, but as a constitutional monarch he engages with the people. He has influence, and therein lies his power.
When I mention kingship, what do you think of? I remember as children playing a game, when the aim was to become ‘King of the castle’, and if you were that, you would be No 1, you would be leader of the pack. You would dominate. The Kings – and the Queens – mentioned in the Bible were like that. They had absolute power. What they said had to be enacted, and woe betide you if you differed. The pharaohs of Egypt, the kings of Babylon and Assyria were the same. They embodied power and wealth. The concept we have of kingship is of power and wealth. And so, when we have ‘Christ the King Sunday’, we inevitably think of these things. However, our readings for today speak of something different.
Christ the King is actually the last Sunday of the liturgical year, and most of our Gospel readings for the last year have been from Luke. We have seen him heal people; we have heard his teachings. We have seen his way was to turn the world’s view on its head, and so it was with kingship. But then, in Israel’s history there had been voices that sought a different way of leadership. Jeremiah was one of them. Jeremiah was a thorn in the side of the king and those in power, but in Chapter 23 he gives his vision of kingship, where leaders do not seek to dominate, subduing people by force of arms or abusing their power. Rather they should seek to transform their kingdom by being a shepherd and caring for their people, seeking the best for them. It is a prophecy of a Messiah who would come and be a shepherd to the people. Of course, we think of Jesus, as the Good Shepherd who comes to transform our lives and our thinking.
We see it in the passage from Luke, a passage more associated with Good Friday rather than November. All the marks of royalty are there. The purple robe, but it is torn and the soldiers gamble over it. The crown – but it is made of thorns and worn with agony. The throne is the cross, and above Jesus as he hangs there is a sign, proclaiming him King of the Jews. During the year we have seen how Jesus embraced people with the love of God, affirmed them with god’s grace. but he had made powerful enemies. He had alienated the religious leaders and put himself on a collision course with the Romans. The result was the cross and facing the mockery of those around. The rulers sneered, ‘He saved others, let him save himself’. The soldiers jeered, ‘If you are King of the Jews, save yourself’. Even one of the criminals crucified beside him said, ‘If you are the Messiah, save yourself – and us’. I have no doubt that Jesus could well have saved himself, but that wasn’t his way. He was more concerned about saving others, than saving himself and so continued to hang on the cross. He showed a new kind of kingship, one of self-giving and self-sacrifice – and invites us to do the same. For we are invited to live in his upside-down world, where the first will be last and those who are trampled upon and rejected find themselves at the top table. So let us live out the transformative message of the Gospels and take the purple robe and wrap the poor in it; wear the crown of thorns and stand with the suffering; break the bread and feed the hungry of the world and hold the cross and know what must be given, for Christ would do the same. This is Christ’s reign and it will change the world.
Hymn 374 - The Servant King
Prayers of Dedication & Intercession
Merciful God, you envision a world where the hungry are fed and strangers are welcomed. We bring you our gifts to share in that vision. With your blessing, may our gifts bear fruit in Christ’s name, and offer his blessing to those we serve for his sake.
In peace we bring our prayers for a world at war. In the calm of this place we beg for the turmoil of our world to cease. Sitting in the sheep fold, we ask our Gentle Shepherd to lead and guide us. So let us pray. O Most High, scatter the bad shepherds of your people; those whose leadership brings harm, those whose policies lead to oppression and torture, and those whose ideologies cause poverty and division.
We pray for the people of Ukraine living with constant shelling, precarious energy, and the ever present threat of death and oppression. We pray for the people of Qatar and the women of Iran, living with politicians who cling greedily to power and prestige. Raise up, O Gentle Shepherd, leaders who will act as shepherds, rulers who will serve, and politicians who will seek the common good.
O Jesus, our crucified King, we remember before You all who are imprisoned and tortured for faith, love, ethnicity or politics. We pray for those struggling in our own nations, worried about making ends meet as inflation rises faster than wages, benefits and pensions. We pray for those who work hard yet feel no benefit, those who work to keep us safe and healthy but aren’t properly rewarded. Inspire your people, O Christ, to resist evil and find, in Your Cross, our redemption.
O Gracious Spirit, in You we take refuge, even though the earth shakes, even though we live in troubled times, and even though we live with fear and uncertainty. Help us to find space in our refuge for those who suffer: those who find life hard and confusing, those who are cold this winter, and those who are hungry. Give us hope, Holy Spirit, hope that evil and destruction do not have the last word, hope that pain and evil will be transformed through the Cross-Throne of Christ, and hope that you will never leave us.
We remember now, Eternal One, those we love and worry about (short pause) those who have died whom we have loved (short pause) those wondering about coming along to church – that we may welcome with love and faith (short pause) our own needs and dreams. (short pause) And so we join our prayers together in the name of the Gentle Shepherd, our Servant King. Amen
Hymn 470 – Jesus shall reign
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