Christ the King, Year B

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Title Sermon Date Liturgical Scripture
Advent 1, Year C 2021 November 28, 2021 Advent 1, Year C 2021 Psalm 25:1-9, I Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 21:25-36
Christ the King, Year B November 21, 2021 Christ the King, Year B John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4b-8
Pentecost 25, Year B November 14, 2021 Pentecost 25, Proper 28, Year B, 2021 Daniel 12:1-3, Psalm 16, Mark 13:1-8
All Saints, Year B November 7, 2021 All Saints' Sunday Year B Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44`
Pentecost 23, Year B October 31, 2021 Pentecost 23, Proper 26, Year B Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Mark 12:28-34
Pentecost 22, Year B October 24, 2021 Pentecost 22, Proper 25, Year B Mark 10: 46-52
Pentecost 21, Year B October 17, 2021 Pentecost 21, Proper 24, Year B 2021 Psalm 91:9-16
Pentecost 20, Year B October 10, 2021 Pentecost 20, Proper 23, Year B Amos 5:6-7.10-15. Psalm 90:12-17, Hebrews 4:12-16, Mark 10:17-31
Pentecost 19, Year B, Season of Creation 5 October 3, 2021 Feast of St Francis, Pentecost 19, Year B Jeremiah 22:13-16, Matthew 11:25-30
Pentecost 18, Year B, Season of Creation 4 September 26, 2021 Pentecost 18, Year B, Season of Creation 4 Numbers 11:4-6,10-16,24-29; Mark 9:38-50
Pentecost 17, Year B, Season of Creation 3 September 19, 2021 Pentecost 17, Proper 20, Year B, Season of Creation 3 Psalm 54, Mark 9:30-37
Pentecost 16, Year B, Season of Creation 2 September 12, 2021 Pentecost 16, Year B, Season of Creation II Mark 8:27-38
Pentecost 15, Year B, Season of Creation 1 September 5, 2021 Proper 18, Year B Season of Creation 2021 Isaiah 35:4-7a, Psalm 146, James 2:1-10, 14-17, Mark 7:24-37
Pentecost 13 B – Rev. Amy Turner August 22, 2021 Pentecost 13, Proper 16 John 6:56-69
Pentecost 12, Year B August 15, 2021 Proper 15, Pentecost 12, Year B John 6:51-58

 

Christ the King, Year B

Sermon Date:November 21, 2021

Scripture: John 18:33-37, Revelation 1:4b-8

Liturgy Calendar: Christ the King, Year B


“Christ the King” – Stained glass -Wilbur Herbert Burnham (1943)


Today is Christ the King Sunday, and as all the readings we’ve just heard make abundantly clear, “The Lord is King,” the “Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 

And  Jesus says, as he stands before Pilate in today’s gospel, that everyone who belongs to the truth listens to his voice, for Jesus himself is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life,”  as he has told his disciples. 

We Christians, the disciples of Jesus, claim these truths as the foundation of our lives,  that the Lord is King, from everlasting to everlasting, and that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. 

So as we come to the end of this church year, we give thanks that the lectionary readings remind us  in no uncertain terms that, yes,  Christ is King, and that our lives are to be shaped by his life, for we belong to his kingdom. 

To be shaped by Jesus is to live an active cross shaped life, one that reaches up to God, and out to this world.  When we reach up and out, we take on the shape of a cross. 

When we Christians reach out because our lives are shaped by the cross, we reach out in peace. 

No matter how tempted we are to use power, violence, coercion, and manipulation in this life, seemingly for our own good, Jesus reminds us that none of these things belong in his kingdom. Jesus tells Pilate that if his kingdom were from this world, his followers would be fighting to keep Jesus from death.  But the kingdom of Jesus is not from this world.   

And we, the followers of Jesus, are not to be shaped by the kingdoms of this world but by the kingdom of God, the kingdom of peace.  When we live in God’s kingdom of peace, God’s peace shapes us into people of peace. 

The Collect for Peace in The Book of Common Prayer reminds us of the fact that violence has no place in the kingdom of God.

“Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love:  So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever.”

This prayer  reminds us that our strength is the strength of love.  When we live cross shaped lives, we reach out in not only peace, but in love, as Jesus did throughout his life, and as God has done since the beginning of creation.

One of the collects for mission in The Book of Common Prayer sums up what reaching out in love means when we live cross shaped lives.    

“Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace:  So clothe us in your Spirit, that we, reaching out our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your name.” 

When we reach out our hands in peace and in love, we reach out with welcome to our neighbors, making the open arms of Jesus a reality in this world. 

Not only do we members of God’s kingdom reach out to the world, but we also reach up to God. 

We reach up to God in prayer, for prayer connects us to God, who is infinite love, love greater than any love we could ever imagine.   

Our prayers strengthen our connection to God.  St Therese of Lisieux says that “prayer is  the surge of the heart, it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” 

And Mother Teresa reminds us that “prayer enlarges our hearts” until our hearts become capable of containing God’s gift of God’s self to each one of us. 

Reaching up to God in prayer is an act of praise and thanksgiving.

Every Sunday as we begin the Great Thanksgiving, thanking God for God’s gift of sacrificial and reconciling love through Jesus to each one of us and to  this world, we reach up. 

“Lift up your hearts.  We lift them to the Lord,” we say.   We lift our hearts in praise and thanksgiving. 

Praising and thanking God keep our connections to God strong. When we live in gratitude for the boundless gifts of love we have received from God, then our love for God grows greater and greater. 

And we long  to give God more and more love in return for all the love that God has given to us.  Our desire to live more perfectly as people of love and as members of God’s kingdom grows deeper and deeper. 

So gratitude helps us to grow as members of God’s kingdom when we focus on all the blessings of this life, those blessings that make God’s kingdom visible in our lives and here on this earth as we live cross shaped lives.   

Living cross shaped lives helps us to remember another important thing.    

To live a cross shaped life is to live in expectation that God’s kingdom will come on this earth as it is in heaven.

After Jesus died, he was taken down from the cross, buried and then resurrected by God on the third day.  His cross stands empty to the sky. 

To keep the cross before us reminds us that Christ is indeed alive. Brian Wren reminds us in his Easter hymn, “Christ is alive,” that “Christ’s spirit burns through this and every future age.”   We members of God’s kingdom wait in hope and we live in expectation that, as Wren writes,  “all creation will live and learn his joy, his justice, his love and his praise.” 

Yes, we Christians claim the truth  that the Lord is King, and Jesus is the Truth, as the foundation of our lives and we live in hopeful expectation of God’s kingdom coming into its completion on this earth. 

So as this church year closes, look back on how you, and how we, as the Body of Christ here at St Peter’s, have lived cross shaped lives in God’s kingdom here on earth in this past year. 

Look back in gratitude , giving thanks for all that has been, and for the blessings that God has given us even in the sorrows we have experienced and the challenges we have faced in this past year. 

Look forward in prayerful expectation for all that will be  as the new church year begins next Sunday, on the first Sunday of Advent. 

For we wait with grateful expectation for the coming of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. 

And we look forward with hopeful expectation  that God’s kingdom will come, and that God’s will and God’s hopes will be realized and done on this earth, and in each one of us, as we reach up to God and out to the world in love.