St Mary’s Sunday Service 22nd November 2020

We are very grateful to Rev Canon Alison Peden for providing us with this service for us to follow

Please note that St Mary’s is shut from 20th November and that there is no service at the Church this Sunday

Christ the King  November 22nd  2020

Psalm 95  is sung as an anthem at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpZEMzmeFN8:

O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.  For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.  Alleluia!

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden: 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 Christ our Lord.  Amen

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: the first commandment is this:
“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this:  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.       Amen.  Lord, have mercy.

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away
the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen

Collect:   Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, our Lord and King: grant that the peoples of the earth may be brought together under his gentle and loving rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Reading:   Ephesians 1:15-23
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 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, 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, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 
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, 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. 
And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Gospel:
 Matthew 25:31-46
‘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. 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, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 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; 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, 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.” 
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? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 
And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 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; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 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.” 
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?” 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.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

Reflection:   There is a game where you are labelled with a job on your back, and you have to ask other people questions to find out what it is. Someone suggested that there should be a ‘Sheep and Goats’ game, where your back is labelled  ‘Christ the king’, ‘beggar’, ‘servant’, ‘invalid’, ‘prisoner’ and so on, and you have to work out who you are from how you are treated. With honour? compassion? brusqueness?

What if everyone in the world was labelled ‘Christ the king’?   How would it affect our behaviour to each other?

In Matthew’s parable the judgement is made on ‘the nations’.  We need to think about how the nations treat each other.  It is disquieting that the UK government is thinking of reducing the 0.7% that we give in foreign aid, whilst proposing a £16 bn. spending spree on the military.
I was hungry and you gave me food.

As the Church, we need to consider how we treat each other, and whether we seek out and welcome all as Christ himself.  If Jesus came incognito to our community, to our congregation, would we treat as our King with honour and warmth, care and respect if we did not know who he ‘really’ was?   I was a stranger and you welcomed me.

And in our own lives, our families, our neighbours, our friends, those whom we meet by chance:  do they realise from how we treat them that we see Christ each time we look in their eyes, care for their needs, honour the sacred life that is theirs?  I was sick and you took care of me.

Prayers of intercession:
O God, may your kingdom come:   You sent your Son to bring good news to the poor, sight to the blind, freedom to captives and salvation to your people: rouse us to work in His name.     

Help us to see you face in those who hunger and thirst, and teach us to share what we have, as a nation and as your followers.

May we live in tolerance and mutual respect with those of different races and cultures, and seek to welcome the stranger in our midst.

Guide us as we care for the vulnerable in our society, and be present with all those who are ill, lonely, depressed, anxious, grieving or approaching death.

Enfold our loved ones in your peace and protection, and hear us when we pray for them …

Loving God, you call us to your service, to be your eyes and ears,
hands and voice in this, your world.  Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may work with you for the coming of your kingdom, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord and King.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving
Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
              Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
              Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.
In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth
in a creation restored by love.
As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending glory:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.”

We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom. Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done;  on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you. 

Closing prayer:    Almighty God, you have made us a royal priesthood in the kingdom of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Make known his victory through us, we pray, that all the world may see his light.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.  Amen

You may like to close with this hymn for the Feast of Christ the King, here sung at St Albans Cathedral:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDFAv0eh-s8

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!

Jesus, the Saviour 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!

His kingdom cannot fail; he rules o’er earth and heaven;
the keys of death and hell are to our Jesus given.
Lift up your heart! lift up your voice! Rejoice! again I say, rejoice!

He sits at God’s right hand till all his foes submit,
and bow to his command, and fall beneath his feet:
Lift up your heart! lift up your voice! Rejoice! again I say, rejoice!

Rejoice in glorious hope! Jesus the Judge shall come
and take his servants up to their eternal home:
We soon shall hear the archangel’s voice,
the trump of God shall sound: Rejoice!