Christ the King Sunday
+ In the name the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
At the end of time, Christ the King will come in glory to judge the living and the dead. He will ask how we treated the hungry and thirsty, the stranger, the naked, those sick or in prison, promising a great reward to those who show love.
Almighty God, You have conferred upon Christ Jesus sovereignty over every age and nation. Direct us, in the love of Christ, to care for the least of His brothers and sisters, that we may be subject to His dominion and receive the inheritance of Your kingdom. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven; to his feet your tribute bring. Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, evermore his praises sing. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise the everlasting King!
Praise him for his grace and favor to his people in distress. Praise him, still the same as ever, slow to chide, and swift to bless. Alleluia, alleluia! Glorious in his faithfulness!
Fatherlike he tends and spares us; well our feeble frame he knows. In his hand he gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes. Alleluia, alleluia! Widely yet his mercy flows!
Angels, help us to adore him; you behold him face to face. Sun and moon, bow down before him, dwellers all in time and space. Alleluia, alleluia! Praise with us the God of grace!
A Reading from the Old testament: Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17 (NLT)
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search and find my sheep. I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day.
“I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord. I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. But I will destroy those who are fat and powerful. I will feed them, yes — feed them justice!
“And as for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says to his people: I will judge between one animal of the flock and another, separating the sheep from the goats.”
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 23 (NLT)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
A Reading from the Letters: 1 Corinthians 1:20-26, 28 (NLT)
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 25:31-46 (NLT)
“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”
Shepherd God, You care for all the flock. Hear our prayers –
+ For those in leadership roles in the Church – that they may show the kindness of the Good Shepherd…. Lord, hear us.
+ For leaders of governments – that they may work for justice and truth…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who visit us as strangers – that we may give them a warm welcome…. Lord, hear us.
+ For our brothers and sisters in prison – that we may support them and their families…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those suffering because of the Ebola Virus in West Africa – that they have the care they need…. Lord, hear us
+ For the people we love — particularly those in need of support at this time…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who have recently died – that they may dwell in the Lord’s house for ever…. Lord, hear us.
Loving God, caring shepherd, You look after Your people at every moment of their lives: hear the prayers we offer, in trust and faith, through Christ our Lord. Amen
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
(1 Th. 3:12-13)
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen