Prayers for Christ the King Sunday

Lord God
You gave the peoples of the world
as the inheritance of your only Son;
you crowned him as King of Zion, your holy city,
and gave him your Church to be his Bride.
As he proclaims the law of your eternal kingdom,
may we serve him faithfully,
and so share his royal power forever. Amen.

To Jesus Christ our Sovereign King
who is the world’s salvation,
All praise and homage do we bring
and thanks and adoration

Your reign extend O King benign,
to every land and nation;
For in your kingdom Lord divine
Alone do we find salvation

To you and to your Church, great King
We pledge our heart’s oblation;
Until before your throne we sing
In endless jubilation

Christ Jesus, Victor!
Christ Jesus, Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer
Msgr. Martin Hellriegal, 1941

Holy One, enthroned in glory over all creation,
you are a shepherd to the lost and the least.
Teach us to see your face among the poor—
feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty,
welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked,
and visiting those who are sick or in prison—
so that we may share in your eternal realm
prepared from the foundation of the world;
through Jesus Christ, who is coming indeed,
to reign with justice, compassion, and love.
Matthew 25:31-46

The Great Invitation of the King

While I haven’t paid as much attention to the liturgical calendar for preaching, I have kept our congregation on track with our readings every Sunday. Along with that it is the realization that this is the last Sunday of the liturgical year and it is Christ the King Sunday.

Not being raised in the liturgical tradition, and still on the learning curve in that tradition, I am not going to be able to speak well enough of the meaning of this Sunday. But I do find it wonderfully orchestrated that on this Sunday I am also finishing up my series on the Sermon on the Mount and it ends with the great invitation of the King.

The call of the “message on the mountain” is to enter into the life of apprenticeship. Jesus is the Master Teacher and he is inviting others to apprentice themselves to him. It’s not a school. You don’t go to class then leave and ignore what was just said. You enter into a life of allegiance to the King.

On this Christ the King Sunday, the invitation of the Great King is extended once again. “Come, follow me.”

Let us hear that great call today and follow… truly follow… our King.

The Readiness of God… and Our Own Readiness

I fully admit I am a “Johnny come lately” to all things liturgical. Growing up Pentecostal and fundamentalist, I honestly have good experiences. I’ve long said I’m not a bitter, recovering Pentecostal. But I am handicapped. I thought all the liturgical churches were bound for hell. As I’ve grown up I’ve realized I don’t need to chuck out my Pentecostal roots to embrace liturgical practices.

But, I am “late” to the game. So, Advent is still new to me, though I’ve worked to focus on it the past few years in my ministry. And I know that today is NOT the first Sunday of Advent. I know it is “Christ the King” Sunday.

However, my reading in Barth coincides in a nice way with Advent. I am currently slogging my way through Vol. II.1 (The Doctrine of God) and Barth is writing on the readiness of God to reveal himself to humanity. The flip side must be considered: the readiness of man. Are we ready to face this God?

“As we have see, the readiness of God is God’s grace. Hence the readiness of man must obviously be his readiness for grace.” 

We have to be open to his grace.

In Advent, we remember that in the first coming God’s own people missed the coming of Messiah. They simply were not ready. God was ready. They were not.

Today is Christ the King Sunday. We need this day to recognize HE is the One who is KING. He calls the shots. Are we ready for that kind of allegiance in our lives?

Then, we turn to Advent. In the time of Jesus’ birth there was so much activity going on there was not much thought to the coming of a baby. In our day, we are so full of activity, we are losing our ability to be truly ready for his coming again.

We need his grace more than ever.

Get ready.