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Christ The King Sunday

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in regular typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in
bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we commence our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A Call To Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

The Absolution
00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence For Today (let us say aloud):

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness and come before his presence with a song.

The Special Prayer For Today (let us pray aloud):

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.

Our first reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
00:00 / 02:07

Our second reading for today:

(click the 'play' button below to listen)

Ephesians 1:15-23
00:00 / 01:40

Gradual Hymn:

Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we raise out voices in praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

A reading from the holy gospel according to Saint Matthew.

Matthew 25:31-46
00:00 / 02:50

Listen to David speak to this gospel

Compassionate Ministry
00:00 / 11:40

or, if you prefer, you can read the sermon, below:

Sermon "Christ The King", 26th Nov 2023

MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>

Canadian poet and author, Shane Koyczan, writes about a variety of social issues including bullying, cancer, poverty, death, homelessness, eating disorders and more. Shane once penned these words, “Tragedy is a switch, we're never more than one flick away from, it can happen to any one at anytime.”

In the gospel lesson that is ours this morning, Jesus is telling his disciples about the last days. At that time, Jesus says, the King will gather all the nations around the throne, and he will say to the sheep on his right - - - “you fed me; gave me a drink, clothes, a welcome, and cared for me.” The people asked, “When?”.

Then, Jesus said, the King will turn to the goats on his left and he will say to them, - - - “you did not fed me; did not gave me a drink, clothes, a welcome, and you did not care for me.” Those people also asked, “When?”. <PAUSE>

Listen to the words of Jesus, “When you failed to help the least of people, you failed to help me.”

This teaching of Jesus is so very different from all his other teaching in the Gospel of Matthew. In the previous chapters, Jesus is telling parables, but in this text, Jesus is looking into the future, explaining in graphic detail, what sort of judgment day awaits every one of us.

This is NOT a parable. This is NOT a fairy tale. THIS IS TRUTH, coming right out of the mouth of Jesus. It tells us that God does, in fact, watch the way we live our lives, and that the way we live matters.

Now, I know what you are thinking. You have heard me speak on grace; you have heard me describe our God as a loving and merciful Father, ready to forgive our every sin. Now, perhaps, you are wondering “Okay, David, which way is it? Is God going to grant us grace, or is he going to hold our sins against us? Do we have to earn our way into the Kingdom, or will it be given to us as a gift?”

These words of Jesus about the sheep and the goats trouble us, because, all along, we thought we were sheep. But what if we’re goats? It troubles us, because the stakes are high, and eternity lasts forever.

Everything you have heard about God’s grace and love is true. He does, indeed, stand ready to forgive every sin and every act of disobedience. However, God also has expectations of how his people are to live their lives. The saints will be:


generous,

kind,

filled with compassion,

and

understanding of others who have been given different gifts.
 That’s what the saints do !

Giving, doing, generosity, kindness, compassion and understanding are part of the DNA of a Christian. Once we recognise that God has claimed us as sons and daughters of the King, and once we realise that we will inherit everything the King has promised, then things in this world diminish in their value.

So now, the question that stands before us is this: What does our lifestyle say about us?

According to Jesus’ words on this “Christ the King” Sunday, it seems to say this: We will recognise the sheep and the goats by the way they live their lives. You see, sheep graciously share what they have, paying particular attention to those who are in desperate need. Goats want to keep all they have to themselves. Sheep see others in distress, and they are moved to compassion. But goats see others in distress and they are moved to ignore.

In short, when “the goats” see an apparently homeless man, sitting on the streets, they see a homeless man. When “the sheep” see an apparently homeless man, sitting on the streets … they see Jesus.

WHAT DO YOU AND I SEE? <LONG PAUSE>

The problem with delivering a message like this (with its underlying theme of helping, generosity, and giving) is that it can be used to “guilt” people into giving of their money and time.

I pray I haven’t done that, because guilt doesn’t motivate us in the same way gladness does.

Whatever talents and gifts we have, they give us the capacity to touch the lives of people in our communities and around the world.

The spiritual and physical needs of people are growing, and so our ministry opportunities have grown, too. <PAUSE>

I pray that we all, as saints, love the people that Jesus loves. <PAUSE>

Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885) the French poet and novelist, once said “We can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving.”

As our journeys continue, may our love draw us forward and may we feed Christ; give him a drink, clothe him, welcome him, and care for him …. IN WHATEVER FORM HE APPEARS BEFORE us …. and then, to God, will be the glory.

I runga e te Ingoa o te Atua, te Matua, te Tama me te Wairua Tapu.
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMINE>

Pause and Reflect

Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.
 

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today to speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by saying aloud, and together, "The Apostles Creed":

apostles_creed_pic02.jpg
Image by Allef Vinicius

... and now let us pray for the Church, the World, and Ourselves, giving thanks for God's goodness.

​Let us pray aloud, and together:

We pray to our Everlasting God, through our Saviour Jesus, who is both Christ the King and the Son of Man and who understands our needs and the needs of this world.

Holy God, we raise before You your people around the world, of which Your Son is King. We pray that You will draw us together and unite us in the love of Christ, that we may proclaim with one voice Your justice and righteousness in an often broken world.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

(LONGER pause for silent, personal reflection)

In response to the call today “Lord, in Your Mercy” Our plea is, “Hear our prayer”

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Loving God, we pray for Your world, of which Your Son is King. We pray for peace, reconciliation and healing in the places of war, hatred and terrorism. We especially hold before you the peoples of Ukraine, Russia, Gaza and Israel,

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

We pray that the nations of this world may be united and subject to the rule of Christ the King, through whom and for whom all things were created.  We pray for earthly Monarchs, may their rules be guided and influenced by the example set by Your son who lives and reigns as King of Kings.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Father God, we pray for our communities, of which Your Son is King. We pray for the communities of our friends and families, our churches and our places of work and study. Help us to know the people around us to be our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to serve them as He would serve them.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Loving God, we pray for all those who suffer, among whom Your Son is King.  We pray that they will know the presence of Your Son alongside them and the power of Christ the King within them, bringing peace and healing for them and help and encouragement to those caring for them at this time of need

We pray for the sick and suffering, and give you thanks for those who are on the road to recovery. We especially raise before you all those who have asked for our prayers from around the world … those we know in New Zealand, in Singapore, in Argentina, in France, in Australia, in the US, in Canada, in Austria, in Ukraine, in China and any others we now name aloud, or in the silence of our hearts, and those who are known only by you.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we raise before You all who have died and who are now with Your Son, The King.  We pray for those who have recently died and for their resurrection into the Kingdom of God, and for those whose anniversary falls at this time.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer

Heavenly father, in a moment of silence we place before you our personal prayers for ourselves, our families, our friends, for all of those whom we love and, for our personal ministries.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Faithful God, we give thanks to You for all that You do in our lives and we commend to you all those for whom we pray and we ask that You continue to use us and our prayers to make a difference in their lives.

(Short Silence) Lord, in your mercy: hear our prayer.

Forth in the peace of Christ we go; Christ to the world with joy we bring; Christ in our minds, Christ on our lips, Christ in our hearts, the world’s true King.

Merciful father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

lord's_prayer_pic01_edited.jpg

Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ continues to teach us:
 

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.

Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:

 

God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing

May The Risen Lord Christ turn His face towards each and every one of you.

May He cause His light to shine upon you, and

may He grant you His peace, and

 

The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn:

Let us conclude our worship today by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we unite in another hymn our praise and thanksgiving.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Dismissal

Go now, go out into the world

to love and serve The Lord.

 

Go in peace.

AMEN, we go in the name of Christ.

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