Thursday, 29 November 2018

Sunday Service Marsden Road Uniting Church 25 November 2018



Christ the King Sunday

Today our focus was “Christ the King” which was reflected in the sermon, readings and hymns. The following hymns are all well known and give praise and thanksgiving for the joy Jesus brought to the world.

Hymns:

Hymn 275: Hail to the Lord’s anointed

Hymn 293: Unto us a boy is born! verses 1, 2, 4 & 5

Hymn 216: Rejoice the Lord is King

Hymn 279: The King of glory comes, the nation rejoices

Hymn 771: Now to him who loved us

 

I have selected a sentence from each reading which resonated with me:

The First Reading: 2 Samuel 23:1-7.  One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.”

The Gospel Reading: John 18:33-37 “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.

 

Christ came to be our King. We have come to be Christ’s people.

The King of kings calls us to follow him. We have come to be Christ’s people.

Christ came to be our King. We have come to be Christ’s people.

 

Opening Prayer

Mighty Sovereign, we approach your throne to behold your glory. Open our eyes, that we

might witness your Son coming with the clouds to rule with justice and righteousness. Open

our hearts, that we may rejoice in your covenant, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning. Amen.

 Prayer of Confession

 Almighty God, we are intoxicated by power—

the power to dominate, the power to control, the power to punish, the power to reward, the power to have our own way.

We live in a powerful country with powerful leaders and a powerful military.

Forgive us when we lose sight of what true power is all about. Forgive us when we forget that Jesus is our true and only King.

Help us refasten our gaze on Christ’s kingdom, that we might work to bring this kingdom here on earth.

In the name of the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, we pray. Amen.

 

This is a very strong prayer where we confess that we have tried to usurp Jesus role and have tried to rule the world. No wonder things have come unstuck. We can't even run our own lives without running into trouble. We are such small people. Someone once said to me that there is something wrong with humans. If is only when we face that fact and hand over the reins to the creator that things can go right.

 Declaration of Forgiveness

 The Lord made a covenant with King David, promising faithfulness to his descendants. In Christ, we have a new covenant, assuring us forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace. In Christ, our true king, our lives are made whole.

Thanks be to God!

 

Preaching of the Word - Famous Last Words

“…King David’s final words, as they are remembered by his people and written in scripture are eloquent and worthy of Israel’s great shepherd/poet. The most significant thing is the blessing they carry. The blessing is a useful reminder, even today, of the gifts and blessings available to not only the leaders of God’s people but to all the body of Christ. David’s words also imply that God has expectations of individuals, and those expectations must be taken to heart…

David was not the front-runner to succeed Saul as king, as he was young with no experience or hereditary rights. Most of the neighbours looked at him as that kid who spent most of his time outdoors with the sheep…

But Samuel, after looking over Jesse’s older sons, had David called in from the fields, and this suntanned, rough-clad poet, who probably smelled like the sheep he cared for, was judged by God to be beautiful…

David’s life, then, teaches us not only what it is to be a shepherd of God’s people, but also what it is to be human.

Jesus did not call himself king. He called himself a servant and proceeded to wrap himself in a towel and wash the feet of those who came to dinner with him. He did tell his followers what kind of people made up his kingdom: not the proud and greedy but the children, the poor, the abandoned, the lowly.

This is worth remembering as we attempt to serve a God in the world. We are not promised recognition or status and certainly not wealth. Sometimes we may not even receive thanks. Our reward is in being the hands and mouth of our God.

 

Prayers of the People

In these prayers we turned to God to lift this world up above the mess that prevails. We asked for God’s help and comfort for those suffering in war, drought, illness or because of any evil wrought by selfish people. And we asked that God uplift all those working to alleviate the suffering caused by that selfishness. We prayed for those close to us and then joined in the Lord’s Prayer.

 

Benediction

The mighty one of Jacob sends us forth.

We go with God’s blessing.

The rock of Israel sends us forth.

We go with God’s blessing.

The Alpha and Omega sends us forth.

We go with God’s blessing.

And may the blessing of God Almighty, Creator, Redeemer and Giver of Life be with you and remain with you always, Amen

 

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