Christ the King A/Thanksgiving A

Nov. 22

Thanksgiving is sometimes recognized in some congregations on a Sunday.  This is not at all inappropriate, considering the nature of the lectionary and a careful study of the nature of the holiday in American culture.  However, it is important to be aware of the universality of the Church, and of this observance of Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday.  It is not to be trivialized into a rehash of American triumphalism or a “divine rights” celebration.  All are urged to let the texts speak for themselves, and to use care in pairing music and other elements of the day in concert with the themes of scripture.

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Scripture  (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):

For Christ the King/Feast of Christ the Cosmic Ruler/Festival of the Reign of Christ

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100 or Psalm 95:1-7a
Ephesians 1:15-23Matthew 25:31-46

For Thanksgiving Day

Deuteronomy 8:7-18
Psalm 65
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
Luke 17:11-19

Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal

718-Come, ye thankful people, come,

276-We gather together

717-Let all things now living

234 – Crown him with many crowns

17 – O worship the King

91/92 – All Hail the power of Jesus’ name

713-God of our life

725-God of the ages

711 – O Day of peace that dimly shines

387 – Bread of the world, in mercy broken

429-You satisfy the hungry heart

More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.   

Hymn of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

On Matthew 25:31-46

                             Come, our Shepherd, bid us

                             to attend your call,

                             find thy hand adjusting

                             sheep from goats in time.

                             There, your throne confronting

                             all we hope to see,

                             there you open witness

                             to divide our lot.

                             Some, you say, have fed you;

                             some have clothed you, too.

                             Some have come into gloom;

                             some have given drink.

                             When have we so seen you,

                             Jesus, in such need?

                             Only in the barren

                             who stand desperate.

                             When you see the broken

                             and let mercy flow,

                             then you care, dare my need,

                             welcome near the Christ.

6.5.6.5.      Suggested tune: Caswall

Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:

Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent).  A metrical version of the Psalter, for those Psalms not provided in Chalice Hymnal, is being prepared by Rev. David Chafin.  Where practical, these may be offered here as well.  You may also want to visit http://lectionarypsalms.org/   

This week:  Psalm 100 is on p. 752; see also Call to Worship  

Concerning the Following Items: Except where otherwise noted, items are created or adapted by the editor.  If you are aware of source notations which are missing, please bring them to his attention.  No copyright infringement is intended, but is sure to happen.

Call to Worship   

adapted from John Berringer

L: Come, let us use our voices to praise the Lord.

P: Our mouths will shout forth praise.

L: Let us use our minds to ponder the wondrous deeds of God.

P: We will call to mind God’s mighty acts.

L: With all of our strength and being, let us worship the Lord of love.

P: We will worship from our depths. Our souls exult in God!

OR

(from Psalm 100)

L: Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.

P: Worship the LORD with gladness; come into God’s presence with singing.

L: Know that the LORD is God. It is God that made us, and we are his;

P: We are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.

L: Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to God, bless his name.

P: For the LORD is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Invocation or Prayer of Approach  

O God, you are infinite, eternal and unchangeable, glorious in holiness, full of love and compassion, abundant in grace and truth. All your works praise you in all places of your dominion and your glory is revealed in Jesus Christ our savior, therefore we praise you, blessed and holy trinity, one god, for ever and ever (praying as he taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

God of overwhelming mercy, you have claimed each generation of people as your family, fellow workers, and heirs of your grace. From the wealth of your storehouses an endless stream of love, mercy, and wisdom has washed over your people. Wave upon wave of endless light sweeps over us. How great are your storehouses, O God, how vast, how varied your gifts! In this hour enable us to open our hearts and receive your gifts. We praise you for the treasure of your love poured out for us and for all, in a thousand ways, through Christ our Lord (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

God, you call us into your holy place – this solemn assembly.  Let our hearts be made full of praise, our eyes full of wonder at your mercies, and our lips quick to tell of your blessings to us in your son Jesus Christ our Sovereign Lord.  Let our praise be for the guidance of your hand and the righteousness with which you execute justice, that we might be your presence to our broken and hurting world.  This we pray through Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

OR

Almighty and wonderful God.  We enter your courts with thanksgiving and praise, knowing that you have made us, and remembering we are loved.  We have come to praise your mighty acts, to offer our petitions, and celebrate remembrance.  Let us know your guarding presence, as sheep with their shepherd, as we seek to honor you for all your good works; this we pray through Christ our Lord  (who taught us to pray, “Our Father…”)

Pastoral Prayer – Prayers of the People – Intercessions

Lord God, we give you thanks for all your gifts to us—for daily food, for health, for each breath we take, for freedom to choose, and for the gifts of your word, your power and your love. Our hearts are truly overwhelmed, O God, when we consider how you have entrusted so much to us. May we be worthy of that trust—may we be a people who are unafraid to live as fully and as richly as you want us to live.

Help us, O God, as followers of Jesus, to multiply all that you have given us, to risk spreading your word and perhaps see it misunderstood, to gamble by loving those whom others think worthy only of hate, to take chances by doing good to those who have not done good to us. Help us be faith filled and desire to increase your glory and your goodness in this world. Make us people who share in both word and deed that which you have given to us.

We pray for the church gathered today, both here and around the world, that it may encourage all of its members to discover, develop and use all their gifts, those of nature and those of grace.

We pray for those who are poor in body or in spirit, for those oppressed and heavy laden, for those sick or in despair.   Minister by your Spirit and by us, to all those for whom we have prayed, and help us walk faithfully in the path of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

OR

God of Creation, God of Wonder, hear this offering of prayer and praise as a gift from our thankful hearts. We thank you for the wonders all around us. For grains of sand, the smell of rain falling on dry ground, for the shifting of the seasons and the sound of laughter. We thank you God for one another – for the joys and struggles of relationships that nurture us and help us to grow. God, we thank you for your eternal presence in our midst and for the good news of your deep abiding love for all of creation.

Even as we give thanks, we lift up the concerns that burden us this day. We ask your peace and blessing on all those we have named in this place today and all whose names and circumstances remain in the safe sanctuary of your Spirit’s care. We pray for all who are suffering in body, mind or spirit and for all who provide care for the needs of others. We pray for the lonely and the despairing…for those who struggle with addiction…for those who feel trapped in situations of abuse…for those who making difficult decisions in life… God we pray for your church and its mission in the world.  Bless all of your children God, and pour your Spirit upon us, bringing healing, comfort and strength wherever it is needed. All this we ask in the name of the One who calls us forward in faith, Jesus Christ our Sovereign Lord

OR

Gracious God, who supplies us with every blessing in abundance, lift up our hearts in gratitude and thanksgiving.  Open us to remember the gifts we seldom notice, the bounty we take for granted, the rich possibilities you provide.  For bread without scarcity, for water that is pure, for houses to live in and friends to enjoy, we give you humble thanks.

We lift to you all those whose lives are linked with our own.  We remember (_______and) all those whom we name to you in silence.

Touch their lives with your grace and your peace, that they would know your love in these days of illness and unknowing and struggle.

In the days ahead, may we be more aware of the bounty for which we need to be grateful and of all the little things that make us who we are which we often overlook or ignore.  Help us to be more mindful every day of your goodness and love.

For beauty and bounty, for healing and hope, for the gospel of our salvation, we lift our voices in praise to you, Creator God, in Christ’s name.

OR

Our tender and compassionate God asks us to pray for all people.  Let us offer our prayers for the world in need, trusting in God’s great love.

Gracious God, we pray for the church around the world.  As the broken bread, though once scattered as grain on the hillsides become one loaf, so may your church be one in spirit throughout the earth, and one in witness to your saving love.

Lord, lead our leaders throughout the Church.  Grant them your wisdom, that by their deeds they may encourage the faithful and witness to the world and its people.  Eternal ruler of the universe, we pray for those who govern every land, and for the people committed to their charge.  Look with grace upon the president of our country, and the legislators who guide our lives.  Turn the hearts of leaders and peoples to you, that governments may seek the good of humanity and of all who suffer.

God, you suffer with those who suffer.  We pray for those who are denied what they need to live and those whose dreams have been shattered by war and disaster.  We pray especially for those who suffer in the season of plenty.  Reach out and bring healing through the hands of your faithful people.

Holy Comforter, healing Spirit, grant your peace to those who are sick and those who grieve, and especially those of our own church families who are suffering today.  Radiate through their lives with the light of your presence, that renewed healing and strength may be theirs.

We pray, dear Lord, for those whose actions offend us most and for those whom we have learned to fear and despise.  Through your great love, make tender all hearts hardened by hatred, bigotry and suspicion; and work your justice among us.

God of hope and new life, help us to see the joy and abundant life you intend for us. Forgive our shortsightedness and often miserly attitudes toward the created world which you have entrusted to our care.  Give us your peace–peace which is not so much an absence of trouble, as an awareness of your guiding presence and bounteous gifts in all that we do; for these our prayers we bring to you in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Prayers from Common Worship*

Collect

Eternal Father,

whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven

   that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:

keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit

and in the bond of peace,

and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Post Communion

Stir up, O Lord,

the wills of your faithful people;

that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,

may by you be plenteously rewarded;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Additional Collect

God the Father,

help us to hear the call of Christ the King

and to follow in his service,

whose kingdom has no end;

for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, one glory.

Collect of the Day (from Book of Common Prayer, 1979**)

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all

things in your well‑beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of

lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided

and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together

under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thanksgiving

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the

fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those

who harvest them.  Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of

your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and

the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Collect of the Day  from Rev. William Flewelling (© 2020, William Flewelling; All rights reserved)

Matthew 25:31-46

            The measure of the heart, O God,

                        arrives in little things,

                                    supposedly unseen.

                        For in the morsel for the hungry,

                                    the clothing for the naked,

                                    visitation for the lost,

                                    and welcome to the stranger at the gate,

                                                we serve you graciously

                                                in unexpected surprise.

Service of Table  

While all of our congregations navigate the Sacred Board in a different way, it seems, there are common elements in most, which are provided here.  We would love to hear if your congregation has variations to these elements which we might address in the future. 

Offertory / Invitation to Give

Every time we come to the table, we are called to share in the offering. Christ’s body and blood was and is the offering of all offerings. That alone ought to appeal to us to give. Our giving will aid others in remembering him and give them the good news of life in Christ.

If our offering enables us to feed the hungry, give a drink of clean water to the thirsty, welcome a stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, then Christ himself will bless that offering. Hear him say, “Come, blessed ones of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for as you did it for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.”

OR

God has offered the world a new vision of life which is full and abundant, teeming with all the good gifts that have been lavished upon us in Christ Jesus.  May we be open to receiving them with gratitude, and in offering them, along with ourselves, for the sake of others, even as the gifts of this Table are offered not for us alone, but for the salvation of the whole world.  Let us bring forth our tithes and offerings to God.

OR

We are a blessed people.  In this season of Thanksgiving, it is good that we recall God’s many gifts in our lives, and grace which God has given us to help us use them all for good.  As we ready ourselves to join the great Feast of Thanksgiving, a feast which God has made for us in Christ Jesus, let us consider just how welcome we are to receive of it – all of us – and to share the gifts of it for the sake of the world.  For the gifts of God are many, and they are made real in this meal, and in the family of God gathered around it.  Let us bring forth our tithes and offerings.

Offertory Prayer

Give us thankful hearts, O God, for your grace to us in life and health and strength. Let these gifts of your bounty and of our hands be used to glorify you now and in your church’s work forever. Amen

OR

Bring forth the fullness of your vision to us, O God, as we open our hearts to you in the giving of these gifts.  Like the praise we sing, may they bring glory to your name, now and in your world forever.  Amen.

OR

May these gifts bring light to those who walk in darkness, hope to those who live in despair, and justice to those who are oppressed. Grant to each giver a sense of participation in the most important opportunity of all time: to share your love with the world. To this end we dedicate our offerings and ourselves. Amen.

OR

We would crown you as our Sovereign, O Christ, as you have crowned the year with mercy and kindness in the giving of yourself for the sake of the world.  May our lives, expressed in these offerings, and may the ministries of your beloved church, truly proclaim what our hearts have believed: that you are our Lord who will reign forever and ever.  Amen.

Invitation to the Table

(Communion Affirmation – offered in Chalice Hymnal, #401 from the words of A. Campbell)

L: You, my beloved, once and alien, are now a citizen of heaven: once a stranger, are now brought home to the family of God.  You have owned my Lord as your Lord, my people as your people.

P:  Under Jesus the Messiah we are one.  Mutually embraced in the everlasting arms, I embrace you in mine: your sorrows shall be my sorrows, and your joys my joys.

L: Joint debtors to the favor of God and the love of Jesus, we shall jointly suffer with him, that we may jointly reign with him.

P:  Let us, then, renew our strength, remembering our Sovereign, and hold fast our boasted hope unshaken to the end.

OR

The celebration of the Christian Year comes to an astounding and world-changing ending as we hear Christ’s call to live out the gospel of Jesus in real and practical ways.  We are, in Christ, called to feed those who hunger, and by his self-giving example have learned just how costly that calling can be.  All who would live among his flock are likewise called to remember the price that Christ our Sovereign Lord has paid for the salvation of the world, and to bring forth in this present age, in sign and in deed, the hope of life in God’s abundance.  We show forth that abundance in this breaking of bread together, and look forward to his coming in final victory to be known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Let us come to the Table of Christ in faith.

Prayer of Thanksgiving (Prayers for Bread and Cup)

(The following may be offered as one prayer, or broken between two Elders, if that is the tradition to be followed)

Blessed are you, Lord our God, Sovereign of the Universe, for you provide for us this bread and wine – fruit of the earth and work of human hands. May it be for us the body and blood of Christ, as we who gather at your table seek to be strengthened by your presence. Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit, that as those who would be numbered among your faithful children we may bring forth in our lives and our communities the manifest reality of your reign which has no end, for we pray in the name of Christ. Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever.

OR

Holy One, you speak to us in silence, yet all languages interpret you. Because you call us into this community, we are able to become a gift to one another. We pray for your Holy Spirit to descend upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine, that in sharing them we may discern your presence which becomes our life. We thank you for your anointed one, Jesus, who through his life, crucifixion, death and resurrection lived fully the promise of redemptive wholeness that is available to all who would obey your creating will, and who now lives evermore to make intercession for us. We celebrate his gifts, we rejoice in your presence, loving God, now and always.

OR

Eternal One, who cares for each one of us as if you had no one else to care for, and who cares for all of us even as you care for each, we come here because you have invited us. We recognize at the deepest levels of our beings that it is at this table that we are affirmed and made whole. Send forth the power of your Holy Spirit upon us and upon these gifts of bread and wine. Enable us to know now the presence of the Christ, the one who calls us to be family, the one in whose presence no other can be called a stranger. Forgive us that we have been hard of heart, that we have failed to acknowledge others as brothers and sisters. Enable us now to accept the fact that we are members of one another, that we are family with all of your creation, and that we are all loved by you. We pray these things in the name of the Christ who has called us to you.

OR

  1. You, O God, are the helper of the helpless.  In every age of our distress, you have come to us with an outstretched arm, a word of forgiveness, and nourishment for the journey.  As we give you thanks for your faithful love and consecrate this bread to your purposes, receive our gifts, we pray, that as they are offered to you again you may multiply them, so that we and your hungering world might be fed.
  2. Lord of Life, as you have blessed the earth with fruit and inspired your children to make good use of it, we ask that you would now bless this wine – fruit of the earth and work of human hands – that it might be for us the blood of Christ, the cup of our salvation.  Send down the power of your Spirit upon these gifts and upon us who gather here out of love for you, that as we receive and find renewal, we might learn to give of ourselves for the salvation of the world.  This we pray in Christ’s name.

OR

  1. It is always right and just to praise you, God our Father, for you have always sought and found us.  As we give you praise for Jesus Christ, the shepherd and guardian of our souls, we offer thanks for this bread, which is to be for us his body.  May we who receive him from your hands be encouraged to lives of thankful praise, and be empowered by your Spirit to offer him to the world which you have redeemed through your own great love.
  2. This cup, O God, we offer to your service.  Send down your Holy Spirit, we pray, that as we receive your gifts – bread broken and wine poured – our lives might be made whole, and be offered to you anew for faithful service.  This we pray in the name of Christ our Lord and King.

Conclusion:  Through him, with him, and in him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor be to you, O God, now and forever. Amen.

If not previously offered: “And now with the confidence of your children, we offer the prayer our Savior taught us, ‘Our Father…’

MORE…

Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails for each Sunday’s service.  Visit http://www.thejubileefund.com/ to learn more.

Rev. Tim Graves offers Liturgy Bits with valuable, culturally sensitive and creatively contemplative works, well worth your time.

You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.

Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University. 

Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019.  Calendar for 2020

Sun 1 Dec 2019. CW* Almanac and Lectionary 2019-20. Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary. for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2019. Compiled by Simon Kershaw August 2019 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries

using Almanac Maker. compilation © Simon Kershaw 2019 Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010-2019.

Book of Common Prayer (1979), Public domain.

NOTE:  We hope you return to this posting often (and are subscribed to the feed by email, on Facebook or your favorite reader), since the content of each week’s posting may change several times before Sunday.  We’d also like to include your content, even after the fact, since everything will roll around again in 3 years, and your contributions may find new life in the great cycle of the lectionary.  Send your comments or content here.

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