Armadale UCA

22nd November 2020

`The King is King`

The reign of Christ

Welcome and Grace

Scripture sentence

`Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is King of all the earth…`
Ps. 47: 6, 7

TIS 59 `All people that on earth do dwell` (Ps 100)
https://youtu.be/X-1dQ8t03mE

https://youtu.be/e6IdQNsFUEw

William Kethe

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.

O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.

Prayer

Loving God, Living Christ, inspiring Holy Spirit,
we come to praise You, to welcome You into our lives as Lord and King;
Lord above all lords and King above all kings.
We worship You and wonder afresh
at the Kingdom You herald among us today;
a Kingdom established, a Kingdom which is coming,
Your Kingdom which is already here,
among us, within us, and which we too herald
as we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty,
welcome the stranger, clothe the naked,
and visit those who are sick or in prison.
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.
Fill us with true compassion
and help our caring to spring from true hearts,
grateful for all we have received
in and through the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
and not from any sense of our own goodness or merit.
Forgive in us any sense of self-righteousness.
Remind us whose we are and whom we serve.
Lord have mercy…
Forgive in us that which makes it hard for us to listen and follow
Your way, which is the way of life, not just for us, but for all.
Christ have mercy…
Forgive in us that which makes us faithless and fearful.
Transform us. Encourage in us an assured and humble confidence
in the truth of the Gospel that we may declare, in love,
Your love for all people and all creation.
Lord have mercy…
`The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love…He does not treat us as our sins deserve…as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgression from us`.
Ps. 103: 8, 10. 12
We hear Christ`s words of grace to each of us
`Your sins are forgiven` Thanks be to God.
Amen

Readings:

Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24; Ephesians 1: 15-23; Matthew 25: 31-46

Ezekiel 34: 11-16, 20-24 - God, the True Shepherd

11 For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12 As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.

20 Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22 I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

Ephesians 1:15-23 - Paul’s Prayer

15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Matthew 25: 31-46 - The Judgment of the Nations

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer

`Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[g] you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Choral `O Jesus King most wonderful`
https://youtu.be/nt6TANUCMsQ
https://youtu.be/Pm4rkiJAM44

From the Roman Breviary, Translation: Fr. Edward Caswall (1814-1878)
Music: Thomas Tallis (1); Kenneth T. Kosche (2)

O Jesus, King most wonderful! You Conqueror renowned!
You Sweetness most ineffable, in whom all joys are found!

When once You visit the heart, then truth begins to shine;
then earthly vanities depart; then kindles love divine.

O Jesus! Light of all below! You font of life and fire!
surpassing all the joys we know, and all we can desire.

May every heart confess Your name, and ever You adore;
and seeking You, itself inflame to seek You more and more.

You may our tongues for ever bless; You may we love alone;
and ever in our lives express the image of Your own.
Amen

Reflection and Q and A

The King is King

Be careful what you wish for! Be careful what you pray for!
When we say the Lord`s Prayer we pray - `Your Kingdom come...`
How do we pray these words?
Do we know what we are praying for?
What kind of kingdom? What kind of king?

Although there is a republican movement in Australia, still our Head of State continues to be a hereditary monarch – who incidentally celebrated seventy three years of marriage this week!

The reign of Queen Elizabeth has been epitomised by stability, duty and service. It is hard to countenance the end of her reign – but it will happen – and that will be a salutary moment for us all, for the whole world. (For a fascinating read go to `Operation London Bridge` or `London Bridge is down`.)

There are few examples of good kings in the Bible – David, Solomon, Josiah. They are the exception rather than the rule. Many of the kings were `wicked` and `did what was wrong in the sight of the Lord`.

Weak, evil kings - in conjunction with false prophets and corrupt priests - led to the suffering of the people: lies, injustice, violence, poverty. Wise, Godly rule was unusual and remarkable when it happened - characterised by integrity, justice, peace, prosperity. There is nothing new under the sun. The biblical tropes and themes of human life and living are startlingly prescient and pertinent to our life and living today.

Under which order would you prefer to live? Surely there is no question? (What does it say of our world in 2020 that we are witnessing and are able to contemplate people`s preference for a state in which authority and leadership are founded not on truth or honesty or decency but on lies, alternative `facts`, fake news, and the trolling those who think differently from us?) How important it is for us to pray `Your Kingdom come` in these days…

Because the Kingdom of God is where the shepherd king of Ezekiel leads his people with wisdom, truth and generosity to ensure the sheep are strengthened, protected, well-nourished with every possibility to thrive. The weak will be taken care of – and, however painful it is for us to imagine - so will the overpowering, the bullying, the harassing…

The image of the judgement seat of Christ the King is a terrifying prospect. Who can stand? It is not for us to judge. We cannot judge ourselves and must not judge others.

That is the role of a king, a good king. And the best king, who manifests the characteristics of authentic greatness – truth, integrity, justice, mercy, compassion – is Jesus.

In the story Jesus tells His disciples, Jesus is preparing them as He faces His own suffering and death.

The King of the story is a good king, the best king. What he sees reflected in the actions of his subjects, pleases him and he rewards them. Because they acted towards the poor as if the poor were the king himself.

The kindnesses shown are not themselves the reason for his mercy. This is not a story about `good works` per se. It is about the treatment of the poor.

The blessed, the righteous, treat the poor and the needy as if they were the king himself and they do this not consciously, not with any ulterior motive – to ensure their salvation - but simply and straightforwardly, because they see the need of the hungry, thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned and respond to it.

The blessed don`t act kindly in order to be saved. They act kindly -and are saved - gloriously unaware of what they are doing.

For those who don`t act, don`t care, don`t show compassion, there are harsh words and an unhappy future. In this Kingdom, ignorance is no excuse for uncaring indifference to the suffering of others, no excuse for inaction, or a lack of compassion.

Remember there is a day coming…
`When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne`. Matthew 25: 31 (The Message)
We`d best make ready then...

Joys and concerns

Prayer and the Lord`s Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, True Shepherd and True King,
Today we acknowledge your kingdom, which grows silently and mysteriously in this conflicted, self-focused, and out of joint world.
We thank you for being a different kind of king, and that your lordship is unlike any other on this earth. We thank you that yours is a kingdom
- where human relationships and hearts are transformed;
- where truth replaces lies;
- where the love of God replaces the love of possessions;
- where gentleness replaces aggression;
- where service to others replaces the arrogant use of power,
- and where joy is found in the achievements of others as well as in our own.

Lord Christ, Son of David, we do not always find it easy to be kingdom people and sometimes we side-step the promptings of your Spirit. So we ask you to help us grow in faith, knowledge and obedience. May we be servants to one another, mindful that in following your example we may meet you in the most unlikely of places.

We pray this morning for the Church Universal, for persecuted Christians and for all unjustly treated. We pray for our Synod and Presbytery, for Fiona and all ministers of the gospel, especially any who are feeling down hearted or stressed at the moment.

Lord Jesus, we pray for this community of faith here at Armadale and ask you to bless any of us who are not well or who in any kind of need. Help us to worship you with the awe and reverence due to the King of Kings. May your kingdom come in its fullness and your creation be renewed in wholeness and peace.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

The Lord’s Prayer

TIS 216 `Rejoice the Lord is King`
https://youtu.be/aDFAv0eh-s8

Charles Wesley

                1. Rejoice, the Lord is King!
                  Your Lord and King adore;
                  Rejoice, give thanks, and sing,
                  And triumph evermore;
                  Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
                  Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
                2. Jesus, the Savior, reigns,
                  The God of truth and love;
                  When He had purged our stains
                  He took His seat above;
                  Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
                  Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
                3. His kingdom cannot fail,
                  He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
                  The keys of death and hell
                  Are to our Jesus giv’n;
                  Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
                  Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
                4. Rejoice in glorious hope!
                  Jesus the Judge shall come,
                  And take His servants up
                  To their eternal home;
                  We soon shall hear th’ archangel’s voice;
                  The trump of God shall sound, rejoice!

Blessing

May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Spirit,
grant you hope, peace and compassion
for these days and the days to come.
Amen