Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christ the King Sunday

Following is an order of worship for Christ the King Sunday
I didn't make it up, but I made it mine, and I've used it for a decade or so. I tweak it every year, varying scriptures and hymns, but the format has been pretty much the same, and I find it worth repeating every year.
This year, as we have been in the midst of a long steady walk through the gospel of Matthew, most readings were taken from Matthew.
Sunday November 22, 2015. 
Christ the King Sunday

*Call to Worship
Leader: We come to worship today
with joy in our hearts and wonder on our minds,
to proclaim the mysteries of heaven and earth.
People: Lead me in your truth and teach  me, O Lord.
Leader: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God,“who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
People: Blessing and honor and glory and might be unto the Lamb!
Leader: Worthy is Christ who has ransomed us by his blood
from every tribe and tongue and nation,
and made his people a kingdom, and priests to our God.
All: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!

*Opening Hymn 158 Come, Christians, Join to Sing

*Opening Prayer
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today we remember the Christian calendar, the liturgical year, in scripture and song. Each season or holiday has a liturgical color, although many of the holidays are “white or gold.”

ADVENT The Christian year begins with ADVENT, and its color is either purple or blue. We begin with the anticipation of the arrival of God's Messiah, the fulfillment of the promise. We often sing Christmas carols, although some say we should wait until Christmas to sing the Christmas carols, and should instead sing songs of anticipation before Christmas. We light the Advent candles to mark our waiting. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas.

Advent scripture: Matthew 1:18-23
Advent Hymn 211 O Come, O Come Emmanuel (verses 1, 2, 7)

A Word for Young People
(this year I spoke about 1 Samuel 8, the people ask for a king)

CHRISTMAS After the four Sundays of Advent, the waiting is over!  CHRISTMAS arrives! More than just a day, Christmas is a 12-day season, going from December 25th to January 6th, and we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. God's promised light has come and continues to come to earth. The color for the season of Christmas is white or gold.

Christmas scripture: Matthew 1:22-25
Christmas Hymn 234 O Come, All Ye Faithful (verses 1, 2, 6)

EPIPHANY The twelve-day season of Christmas ends at EPIPHANY, and again, the colors are white or gold. In Western churches (that's us), Epiphany is when we 'remember' the “wise men” who traveled far to worship the King. God revealed His light to all nations. January 6th is the day of Epiphany, and the season of Epiphany lasts about five weeks, until Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. On a side note, in Eastern churches, Epiphany is when they celebrate Christ coming to the world.

Epiphany scripture: Matthew 2:1-12
Epiphany Hymn 189 Fairest Lord Jesus (verses 1, 3, 4)

LENT The season of Epiphany is followed by LENT, whose color is purple. Lent is the 40-day season (not counting Sundays) of preparation for Easter. Often marked by repentance, prayer, fasting or self-denial, Lent (which means “Spring”) is also a time of Christian instruction. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (46 days before Easter) and goes through Holy Week, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter.

Lent scripture: Matthew 16:21-28
Lent Hymn 298 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (all verses)

Congregational Prayer
The Lord's Prayer
Worship with our Tithes and Offerings

HOLY WEEK We continue our look at the Christian year with Holy Week. HOLY WEEK is not a season, but the culmination of Lent. It begins with Palm Sunday, and includes Holy Thursday (The Last Supper) and good Friday (The Crucifixion, death, and burial of Jesus).

Holy Week scripture: Matthew 26:47-68
Holy Week Hymn 292 What Wondrous Love is This (verses 1, 3)

EASTER Once again, our season of preparation is over: God has raised Jesus from the dead, and we call it EASTER. A high, holy day, its color is white or gold. Easter is the celebration of Jesus' resurrection from the dead, his victory over sin and death. Though the date of Easter changes, it is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that occurs after the vernal equinox (March 21). The season of Easter lasts fifty days, including Ascension Day (forty days after Easter) and ending at Pentecost (fifty days after Easter).

Easter scripture: Matthew 28:1-10
Easter Hymn 302 Christ the Lord is Risen Today (verses 1, 3, 5)

PENTECOST Last, but not least, we come to PENTECOST. We use red for the day of Pentecost and green for the season. Pentecost was a Jewish harvest festival (50 days after Passover), and it is now celebrated by Christians as the birth of the church, the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost marks the beginning of “ordinary time,” the season that spans from the end of the Easter season until Advent. In “ordinary time” (also known as “Kingdomtide”) the actions of the early church are remembered.

Pentecost scripture: Acts 2:1-6
Pentecost Hymn 539 O Spirit of the Living God (verses 1, 4)

And finally today is CHRIST THE KING Sunday, the final Sunday of the season of Pentecost, the last Sunday before Advent. Its color is white or gold. The “New Year's Eve” of the liturgical calendar, Christ the King Sunday celebrates, well, Jesus Christ the King of Kings. Thus the Christian year begins, revolves around, and ends in celebration of God's gift to the world in Jesus Christ.

Christ the King scripture: Revelation 1:4b-8
Christ the King Hymn 327 Crown Him with Many Crowns (verses 1, 2)

Sending Forth
Dismissal With Blessing

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