Year C, Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost
REIGN OF CHRIST SUNDAY
Twenty-Seventh Sunday After Pentecost :: Green :: Jeremiah 23:1-6 :: Psalm 46 :: Colossians 1:11-20 :: Luke 23:33-43
Call to Worship (Responsive)
Adapted from Psalm 46
L: The LORD of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
P: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
L: Therefore, we will not fear,
P: Though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
L: Though its waters roar and foam;
P: God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved.
L: God will help it when the morning dawns.
P: The LORD of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.
We come together, O God, in awe and wonder at the power and majesty of your name. We come as the remnant of your flock, gathered by your holy hand. We acknowledge and give thanks O God that you have called us together this day. We know that none of us are here by accident. O Holy and Righteous Shepherd, you have called us here to hear your word, to sing praises, to offer prayers, and to celebrate around your table of remembrance. Help us know your presence and your pleasure in our worship, O God. Guide our words and deeds. Be with us now and forever we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus the Christ.
Today is known in “churchy” language as Reign of Christ Sunday. It is the last Sunday of ordinary time before Advent begins. In the traditions of the church, we use Reign of Christ Sunday to carefully remember Christ Crucified and Risen before we launch into anticipation of the Baby. Today is a time when we “set the table” to look back and forth. One of the ways we set the communion table is by bringing our gifts. In the ancient church, Communion happened because someone in the church brought bread, and perhaps someone else brought the cup. It may have been planned or dare I say orchestrated, but the gifts came. When the offerings were brought before God, the leaders recognized the gifts and used them for communion. Today we do that differently. Yet, we don’t. The tithes and offerings we bring supply the bread and the cup; as well as so many other ministries of our church. As a leader, I recognize and give thanks to God, for the gifts we bring, which will allow us to celebrate a feast of remembrance. We will now receive the tithes and offerings which help make this regular celebration around our Lord’s Table possible.
Wondrous and Loving God who gives so much more than we could ever deserve, we come before you offering our gifts. We pray that you will bless them and use them to increase the Reign of Christ. We remember and confess O God, that they are a small portion of the many blessings which you have poured out upon us. We give you thanks, and honor and praise to try to make up the difference. Make us ever thankful as we strive to be this day.
Communion Meditation: (Adapted for language from the NRSV)
Today I thought we would try something different for Communion. Today’s passage from Colossians makes a very nice litany of confession and remembrance around the table. So I am suggesting we break with our usual patterns today, and instead read Colossians 1:11-20 responsively:
L: May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from Christ’s glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to God, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
P: God has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the reign of Christ, the beloved Son, in whom we have forgiveness for the redemption of sins.
L: Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;
P: For in Christ 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 for Christ and through Christ.
L: Christ is before all things; and in Christ all things hold together.
P: Christ is the head of the body, the church; Christ is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that Christ might come to have first place in everything.
L: For in Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
P: And through Christ God was pleased to be reconciled to all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of Christ’s cross.
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