A Month of Gratitude - Week 3
“Gratitude for Guidance” – Christ the King Sunday
November 20, 2022 – Jeremiah 23:1-6; Colossians 1:11-20
Color: White (Table Set with Autumn Flair and Sparkle)
Call to Worship (from Psalm 46)
Leader: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
All: Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea.
Leader: Although its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult,
All: We will not fear. For the Lord is our Shepherd, the Lord, who makes wars to cease, who breaks the bow and shatters the spear speaking silence and stillness to the nations.
Leader: The Lord of all is our Great Shepherd. God is our stronghold, our shield and our deliverance.
All: The Lord of all is with us. We will be still and know that the Lord is God.
Leader: Let us together worship and give thanks to the Great Shepherd of all! Amen.
"Christ the Judge" -- Fra Angelico, Cappella di San Brizio, Orvieto, Italy
Prayer of Illumination
Loving God, open our ears to hear your word and draw us closer to you, that the whole world may be one with you as you are one with us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jeremiah 23:1-6 (NRSV) Updated Ed
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall no longer fear longer or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.
The Righteous Branch of David
5 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
Colossians 1:11-20 (NRSV)
11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, so that you may have all endurance and patience, joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Supremacy of Christ
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
St George Cathedral, Southwark - Photo by Lawrence OP on Flickr
Luke 23:33-43 (NRSV)
33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by watching, but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.” 43 He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
“Festival of Lights” - by John August Swanson
Prayer Following the Scripture
Holy God, our refuge and strength, you have redeemed your scattered children, gathering them from all the corners of the earth through your firstborn, the Christ, in whom all things are held together. Make of us a just and righteous people, worthy by grace to inherit with him the kingdom of light and peace where he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
by Pastor Alegra Lynne
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the church year. We begin a whole new cycle next Sunday as we begin the season of Advent. Wrapping up the church year, we recognize the gift of servant leadership in our Lord during what is known as “Reign of Christ Sunday”. We often wear white and gold as clergy, and the paraments can be changed similarly to reflect this celebratory moment. Here at TUMC, we are opting to bring in the colors of the season. We are setting the communion table with gifts of the autumn harvest as we declare once more that Christ is the guide of all the earth who brings forth an abundant harvest of grace, deep fulfillment of prophecy, and will eventually bring about a sense of wholeness, balance, justice and peace for all peoples. And we read passages of Scripture that remind us of the willing sacrifice that Jesus became for the sake of the whole earth.
“The Good Shepherd” Photo by Lawrence OP on Flickr
Last Sunday, tipping their virtual hats for the remembrance of Veteran’s Day, our choir offered a beautiful tribute to our service persons, honoring all aspects of those who sacrifice each day to care for our country and the peoples who dwell here. Honoring sacrifice is very important. Courage and valor are demonstrated by Christ, who is the head of the church. On this Sunday, we read Scriptures that remind us that Christ is the Good Shepherd, the One who lays down his life for his sheep. The kenosis passage in Philippians chapter 2 is also a passage that could be read on this day, and I will very likely include this reading in my preaching this week.
Truly, it is a gift to receive guidance from our Great Teacher who is the Good Shepherd. We give thanks for Christ’s guidance as we move into this week of Christ’s holy Reign which will bring forth abundance and fulfill the prophecies which we read last week in Isaiah’s passage. Christ’s is indeed a peaceable kingdom. Love and gratitude abounds for the servant leadership of Christ, who models the behavior we are all to carry in our day to day lives, until every tear is wiped away, and the new heavens and new earth are truly made manifest through him.
Philippians 2:1-11 (NRSV) - Imitating Christ’s Humility
2 If, then, there is any comfort in Christ, any consolation from love, any partnership in the Spirit, any tender affection and sympathy, 2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not to your own interests but to the interests of others.
Mural by David Fichter, Central Square, Cambridge, MA Photo by Lorianne DiSabato
5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, assuming human likeness. And being found in appearance as a human, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God exalted him even more highly and gave him the name that is above every other name, 10 so that at the name given to Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Please join us in offering gratitude for all of creation as we share together in spirit the fullness of our Month of Gratitude! Remember to send in your pledge cards so we can offer a blessing over them in service this week. We are deeply grateful for each of you and for the time, talents and financial gifts you share with TUMC and our Ecumenical Community partners!
Day of Prayer for All Creation – A Gratitude Prayer by Wendy Jansen, Burning Bush Forest Church
We give thanks this day
for the water of life, rain and rivers, oceans and glaciers, flowing and hydrating. We give thanks this day for sky, air, and wind, animating breath, sacred interchange,
inspiring and connecting. For all four elements and the ways they work together, for all creatures, for all places, for life and death, we offer our deepest gratitude to Creator of all. Amen.