21ST NOVEMBER 2021

SENTENCE FROM SCRIPTURE

The Lord will set his Son upon the throne.

OPENING HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

COLLECT FOR PURITY

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.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

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.

CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.
There is no room for fear in love.
We love because God loved us first.
Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you
and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,
and in what we have failed to do.
We are truly sorry.
Forgive us our sins,
and deliver us from the power of evil,
for the sake of your Son
who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

God, who is both power and love,
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA
sung by Sue St Joseph

COLLECT

Almighty and everlasting God
whose will it is to restore all things
in the kingdom of your well- beloved Son:
mercifully grant
that the peoples of the earth
now divided and enslaved by sin,
may be freed and brought together
under his most gracious rule;
through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, world without end. Amen

PROCLAIMING & RECEIVING GOD’S WORD

FIRST READING
2 SAMUEL 23:1-7
read by Kate Lidwell

The Last Words of David

Now these are the last words of David:

The oracle of David, son of Jesse,
the oracle of the man whom God exalted
the anointed of the God of Jacob,
the favourite of the Strong One of Israel:

The spirit of the Lord speaks through me,
his word is upon my tongue.
The God of Israel has spoken,
the Rock of Israel has said to me:
One who rules over people justly,
ruling in the fear of God,
is like the light of morning,
like the sun rising on a cloudless morning,
gleaming from the rain on the grassy land.

Is not my house like this with God?
For he has made with me an everlasting covenant,
ordered in all things and secure.
Will he not cause to prosper
all my help and my desire?
But the godless are all like thorns that are thrown away;
for they cannot be picked up with the hand;
to touch them one uses an iron bar
or the shaft of a spear.
And they are entirely consumed in fire on the spot.

SECOND READING
REVELATION 1:4b-8
read by Andrew Ratnam

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So, it is to be. Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING
JOHN 18: 33-37
read by Rev Steven Ballard

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St John chapter 18 beginning at verse 33

Glory to Christ our Saviour

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

 Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel.

Praise to Christ our Lord

REFLECTION

Today is Christ the King Sunday where Jesus declares in no uncertain terms to Pilate and to us that he is a King and that his Kingdom is not of this world. Many say that the term king and kingdom is archaic and no longer applies to our modern world. Yet there are 44 monarchies in the world, and of those 44, there are 16 commonwealth realms, 21 constitutional monarchies and 7 absolute monarchies. The only absolute monarchy I have experienced was in Swaziland, now known as Estwani, and the king Mswati 111, crowned on 25th April 1986, has absolute power. He chooses the prime minister, other top government posts and top traditional posts. His is a kingdom that is ruled where he lords it over his people.

Jesus is at pains to point out that his kingdom is not like that. His kingdom he tells Pilate is not of this world. Earthly kingdoms are easily identifiable for it is marked by a flag; by a border; by force of arms. It is easy to discern who has power in the kingdoms of this world. It is not easy to see the kingdom of God. There are no borders, no flags, no force of arms or powers. There is only the kingdom of God, bound by you, me and God.

So, Jesus’ kingdom is not easy to spot but what kind of king is Jesus? First, Jesus is the Servant King. Jesus was not and is not a king who rules through raw power, greed and manipulation at the expense of others. He did not conscript any army to dominate the minds and hearts of people by force. He lived and modelled a far different style of leadership in life among His people. Jesus’ reign as king is revealed in humility, self-emptying and service to others. According to the world’s standards, Jesus is a very strange king, one who serves, heals, and uplifts His followers.

The great philosopher, Kirkegaard, told a parable which speaks of this servant leadership. He said that there once was a King who fell in love with a milkmaid. He decided to give up his throne and renounce all his wealth and power so that he could woo her just like any other farm labourer. His closest advisor told him that he was mad. If no other better born girl would do then why not just invite her to the palace and make her his wife.

The King said that if he did that she would be overawed by the magnificence of his court and would feel obliged to marry him without really loving him. This would not do. He wanted to win her love and the only way of doing this was to become like her, get on the same level and woo her just like any of the village lads. Of course, he realised that he was taking a chance because she might not love him, she might reject him. But the young King reckoned that it was worth risking everything in order to find true love. To woo us and find true love Christ the King became like us, he become one of us and he served us. Christ is the servant king who draws near to us and who came not to be served but to serve.

Firstly, as a Servant King, Jesus is unique in his common touch. He loved everyone and could talk, laugh and get along with anyone who wanted to be in his company. His people skills were remarkable- he could communicate with anyone and they would pour out their heart to him with great confidence and ease. He did not have a critical spirit but rather a spirit of forgiveness, understanding and patience. He would delight in having meals with people, enjoy sharing stories, and having a joke here and there. He was great to have at a party – you could imagine him at times being the life and soul of a party. He was never aloof or distant, but approachable and welcoming. He won over the hearts of many and made some terrific friends. So, what makes Jesus the Servant King unique? It was his common touch with the people.

Secondly, as a Servant King he was unique in his compassion. He was able to draw alongside people and empathize with them, He cared deeply for people and spent a lot of his time and energy caring and healing the sick. He did not like to see people suffer. His heart went out to them and time after time he reached out to touch and care for those in pain and need. Not only did he care for their physical well- being, but he cared for their mental well- being. He was worried about all the stress and strain that was being placed on ordinary people through countless taxes and laws. He felt the people were unnecessarily weighed down and that bothered and upset him. He cared! He cared too about their lack of hope and sadness and so taught them about the wonders and truth of heaven so that they could have hope, meaning and purpose in life. His heart of care was sincere and genuine and people warmed to him, because of the love and compassion he showed to them.

Thirdly as a Servant King he is unique in his courage, authority and sacrifice. He did not shrink from challenging the religious leaders of the day on their hypocrisy and sin. He called a spade a spade and the Scribes and Pharisees were in no doubt as to areas of conflict and dispute. He loved them too and so uttered harsh words and truths so that they might change their ways. His challenge to them was confrontational and the leaders hated him for it. Christ is the Servant King with scars of courage and sacrifice. Charles Colson, former legal counsel to Richard Nixon and later founder of the Christian Prison Fellowship, says it like this: “All the kings and queens I have known in history sent their people out to die for them. I only know one king who decided to die for his people- Jesus Christ. Shakespeare’s words in the case of Christ ring true ‘uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.’ Christ’s crown was worn uneasily, for Christ is the sacrificial king who gave his life for us. So, what made Christ the Servant King unique- it was his courage, authority and sacrifice!

Fourthly, this servant king is not only the king of our world but he is the Servant King of all creation. Jesus was with God the Father in the beginning. Through Jesus all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. From the cradle as a babe Jesus is worshipped by shepherds and wise-men as king and this adoration continues throughout his life right up to his death on the cross when Pilate ironically puts up the sign Jesus is ‘King of the Jews.’ Christ is indeed king not only of the Jews but he is King of all creation. There is no one or no thing that is beyond his kingly love and reach. No wonder we sing the hymn’ O worship the king all glorious above’- for there is no other like Jesus. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Fifthly and finally, this truth is reiterated in the Book of Revelation, from which a few verses were read today. Jesus gives us, if you like, the final I am saying: “I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Jesus, the Servant King is saying that all things and people are complete in him.

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet, just as A and Z are the first and last letters in the English alphabet.  Embedded between the beginning and the end are all the letters one would need to make words.  Those letters, arranged and rearranged, make complete words, and those words are enough to fill Webster’s dictionary!  Just as the alphabet is arranged to create a multiplicity of complete words in a dictionary, Jesus, as the Alpha and Omega, can completely meet the needs of every situation in life that we face. Christ reaches into our circumstances and brings his sufficiency, his power and his love. In Christ we are made complete.

While we might find the language and word associations that king and kingdom evokes in us a bit archaic, nonetheless Christ as King is completely different from all other kings. As our Servant King – Jesus does not lord it over us. He gives us our freedom. He treats us as equals – he treats us as his friends. As our servant king he brings the common touch; he serves with compassion; he rules with courage; he is king of all creation, and as the Alpha and Omega we are made complete in him.

Today we welcome Christ as King of all Creation and as King in our own lives. We will strive to imitate his common touch with others. We will make every effort to courageously empty ourselves for the sake of others and to reach out to the marginalised with Christ’s compassion so that others might be complete in him, the Alpha and Omega. Christ as King may be an archaic title; but one day every knee on heaven and earth will bow down and acknowledge Christ as King. Amen.

THE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
God from God,
Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one substance with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father.
With the Father and the Son,
he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYERS

Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory
we pray week in, week out,
that your kingdom come,
and your will be done.
It’s easy to say the words,
far harder to mean them,
for they are concerned finally
not just with you but with us.
Help us to understand that
your kingdom is not just in the future,
but something that begins within us, here and now,
and so, help us to recognise our role in bringing it nearer,
through the love we show,
the care we display,
and the service we offer
to the hungry, the thirsty, the broken hearted and the downtrodden.

Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory
we pray for the church throughout the world
asking you to forgive us for the divisions
that separate us
and to heal the wounds
that those divisions have caused.
We pray that the church, Christ’s body, may be united
and strengthened by Christ himself
who holds all things together and has first place in everything.
We lift to you the persecuted church throughout the world,
and pray for Amnesty International and other agencies
who seek to rescue those imprisoned for their faith
and negotiate better practices with political leaders.

Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven

Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory
we pray for our world
and for an end to all that frustrates your purpose.
We think of those in countries racked by conflict,
famine, disease and poverty
and pray for vision, longing and determination
to bring about justice and equity for all.

Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory,
we pray for the unemployed and homeless,
the sick and suffering,
the lonely and unloved,
the disabled and disadvantaged.
We lift to you those that we know
that are struggling with health issues, stress,
depression and anxiety in the quiet of our hearts.
Draw near to those we have named
bringing your strength, comfort and peace.

Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory,
we pray for those who work,
to build a more just and loving world,
all who strive to bring help and healing to those in need,
and those who support the weak and vulnerable in society.

Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory,
We pray for agencies that help and support others,
thinking especially this morning of Christian Aid, First Base,
Bethany Christian Trust, and Aberlour Children’s Charity.
We are mindful too of pressure groups,
other charities, churches, politicians,
police and members of armed forces
these and so many others, who in different ways,
contribute to the fulfilment of your purpose.

Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory
we look forward to the day,
when you will establish justice between the nations
and there will be an end to suffering, darkness and death.
Until then, help us to commit ourselves to your service
and to work for your glory,
so that we can honestly say and truly mean.

Your kingdom come, your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those+
who sin against us.
Do not bring us
to the time of trial+
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

HYMN

BLESSING

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

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Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

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