24 November 2024

WORSHIP RESOURCES

Ordinary Time (Proper 29)

Revelation 1:4b-8

Tomorrow Christ Is Coming

 

Additional Scriptures

2 Samuel 23:1-7; Psalm 132:1-18;
John 18:33-37; Doctrine and Covenants 161:4a-b; 165:2a

Preparation

Secure a copy of a suggested book for the Focus Moment (purchase or borrow from a lending library).

Prelude

Welcome

Sharing of Joys and Concerns

Praise Singing

“God Almighty, We Are Waiting"
CCS 397

OR “Gather Your Children"
CCS 77

OR “Jesus, Partner, Lover, Friend"
CCS 40

Invocation

Response

Scripture Reading

Enlist four readers.

Reader 1: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and

who is to come,

Reader 2: and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,

Reader 3: and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,

Reader 4: and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

Reader 2: To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood,

Reader 3: and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father,

Reader 4: to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Reader 3: Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him,
Reader 2: even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the

 earth will wail.

Reader 4: So it is to be. Amen.

Reader 1: ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God,

Reader 2: who is

Reader 3: and who was

Reader 4: and who is to come,

Reader 1: the Almighty.

—Revelation 1:4b-8

Scripture Response

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten"
CCS 27

OR “All Earth Is Hopeful/Toda la tierra"
CCS 392/393

Encourage participants to sing in a language other than their own.

OR “Jesus, Promise of an Angel"
CCS 32 

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 165:2a

Generosity Statement

Generosity rarely happens by chance. Instead, it is intentional decisions that we make in our lives. It demonstrates willingness to offer every dimension of one’s life to God. There are many ways that people can show expressions of generosity. During this season of generosity, we have examined expressions of time, treasure, testimony, and talent.

“Talents” can be used to describe a special gift or trait. It could be something someone has come to with a natural ability or, in our context, includes skills or things that someone has had to work very hard to become prolific at. There are so many different types of talents. We often easily notice those in the creative fields such as music or art, or sports, but there are many more and variations are great.

Some might be social talents, such as an understanding of how to interact in social situations or having strong empathy for others. They might revolve around learning languages or comprehending math. Perhaps someone is gifted in their ability to teach or encourage and support others. There are so many different types of talents, and an incalculable number of ways in which these talents can be shared with others as an expression of generosity that imitated God’s generosity.

Focus Moment

Small Group Sharing

Identify a talent you possess. Share with a neighbor one way you can use or share this talent with others.

OR Read Because by Mo Willems, Hyperion Books for Children, ISBN: 978-1368019019. It is a story of influence and inspiration. We start with how Brahms was influenced by Beethoven to write beautiful music. Musicians practiced long and with care to be able to play the piece. Lots of people set the stage and got the hall ready for a performance so that the music could happen. It transforms a girl on her own journey to center stage.

OR Read Mister Fairy by Morgane de Cadier, Red Comet Press, ISBN: 9781636550008. Mister Fairy is not like other fairies; try as he might, he has not yet found his own special talent. In fact, all the animals laugh when he tries to copy what the other fairies do. So, Mister Fairy travels far from his forest home to another place where, almost by accident, he discovers and shares his special gift.

During this time of Disciples’ Generous Response, we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart. Our offerings are more than meeting budgets or funding mission. We can tangibly express our gratitude to God through our offerings, who is the giver of all.

As we share our mission tithes either by placing money in the plates or through eTithing, use this time to thank God for the many gifts received in life. Our hearts grow aligned with God’s when we gratefully receive and faithfully respond by living Christ’s mission.

If your congregation is meeting online, remind participants they can give through CofChrist.org/give or eTithing.org (consider showing these URLs on screen).

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

Generosity Song         To be sung while the offering is received.

“Take My Life, That I May Be/Toma, oh Dios, mi voluntad”         
CCS 610

Encourage participants to sing in a language other than their own.

OR “We Lift Our Voices”                                                                 
CCS 618

Message

Based on Revelation 1:4b-8

Ministry of Music OR Congregational Hymn

“Tomorrow Christ Is Coming"
CCS 406

OR “Come and Bring Light”  Choose two or three stanzas.
CCS 287 

Prayer for Peace

Light the Peace Candle.

Prayer

Lover of all,

In the chaos and uncertainty of life be our anchor holding us steady. When we feel overwhelmed and are uncertain where to start, may we find comfort and direction in your word and the example of Jesus.

Help us to breathe peace into our lives, our relationships, our communities, our nations, and the world.

May we be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus, reaching out to those in need, speaking against injustice and demanding systems that are fair and equitable and loving those that feel unlovable.

When it is insurmountable, lead us to the one thousand little things that can contribute to the avalanche of change. As we not only pray for peace, but live lives dedicated to the actions of peace.

We pray this prayer hoping peace echoes around the world. Amen.

Sending Forth Hymn

“Go Now Forth into the World"
CCS 646

OR “Now Let Us from This Table Rise"
CCS 644 

Sending Forth: Doctrine and Covenants 161:4a-b

Postlude

 

 

SERMON AND CLASS HELPS

Year B—Letters

Reign of Christ, Ordinary Time (Proper 29)

Revelation 1:4b–8

Exploring the Scripture

The Christian calendar is ending. Next week a new Christian year begins with the Advent Season, directing our attention once again to Christ’s coming 2,000 years ago, in the present age, and in the future. In expectation, on this last Sunday of the year, we worship Jesus Christ as Christ the King.

Our text begins as a letter, with a greeting from the Holy Spirit to the seven churches in Asia. The Spirit is described as God’s presence and spiritual energy in the spirits of the seven churches. “Seven” stood for wholeness, symbolizing all Christian churches to whom the letter was sent. By extension, it can include all churches in existence today. The greeting also comes from Jesus Christ, who is celebrated throughout the passage with tributes and titles that highlight his Divine nature and redemptive work.

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness. His teachings, life, and words can be trusted as true, and he remained faithful to his teachings and beliefs until the end. The word translated as “witness” can also mean “martyr,” who gave his life on the cross.

He is the firstborn of the dead: the Resurrected Christ brought back to life as “the first fruits” of the harvest of souls, which will occur during the final judgment (1 Corinthians 15:20). He is King of Kings, superior in Spirit, power, and authority over all kings. The government of this world could not stop his life or ministry, and by defeating death, Christ is now superior to all earthly powers.

After praising Jesus Christ, John outlines what Christ has done for us. Christ loves us. Note the present tense. Christ’s love is current, not a thing of the past, and it continues into future ages.

Christ freed us from sin by sacrificing his blood for our sins. Christ is King of God’s kingdom, a kingdom in which we act as priests or ministers who worship and serve God, Christ’s Father. The final phrase may refer to God as wielding all power and glory, or it may refer to Christ. In many passages throughout the Book of Revelation, God and Christ are interchangeable. Any description could apply to either.

Christ is coming again. The implication is the time is soon. Efforts are already underway to bring about the Second Coming, an idea that appealed to the Christian martyrs who suffered under Domitian’s reign when the Book of Revelation was written. When Christ comes, he will be visible to every human being as the Divine Son of God, even to those who did not recognize him earlier and were responsible for his death. They and all those who denied him will wail at his coming as they understand the injustice and sin of their actions.

In the final verse, the acclaim for Jesus Christ ends. God claims the identity of “Alpha and Omega.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet; omega is the last letter. The phrase symbolizes the beginning and the end, with everything between included. God affirms what was written and the account to come are true, signed with God’s name, the same God who created all things and will complete all things in the final days. 

 

Central Ideas

  1. Jesus Christ is both a faithful witness of the teachings and kingdom he stood for and the faithful martyr who gave his life for the sake of the kingdom.
  2. Christ is King of Kings, superior to all earthly powers, who could not stop his influence.
  3. Christ loves us, freed us from sin, and made us inheritors and ministers of the kingdom, serving God.
  4. Christ is coming again to reign as King.
  5. Through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, God attests to the truth of what is written.

Questions for the Speaker

  1. How have you been a faithful witness to the life, teachings, and words of Jesus Christ?
  2. Where have you witnessed faith opposing the power of government and rulers?
  3. What does it mean to be the inheritor of God’s kingdom now?
  4. What is another metaphor for creating the inclusive community Jesus taught?
  5. How does the theology of Christ’s Second Coming affect your faith, service, and ministry inside and outside the church?

 

 

SACRED SPACE: A RESOURCE FOR SMALL-GROUP MINISTRY

Year B Letters

Reign of Christ Sunday (Ordinary Time, Proper 29)

Revelation 1:4–8

 

Gathering

Welcome

Reign of Christ Sunday is the final Sunday of Ordinary Time and the Christian calendar year. On Reign of Christ Sunday, we celebrate God’s peaceable reign made manifest in our lives, relationships, the church, and the world. This is what we understand as shalom, God’s healing and restoring activity in the world.

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.

Light the peace candle.

God of all creation, we are so grateful for your reign on Earth! You are Alpha and Omega; you are Redeemer; you are Prince of Peace. We see your peace in your world. We see the harmony between bees and flowers. We see peace between neighbors. We feel a deep calm within when we feel your presence. Yet, we know work remains. We don’t always know how to bring peace into existence. May we be inspired by Jesus’s words and actions. The reign of Jesus is not of this world. So, too, may we work toward peace that seems other-worldly.

In the name of the most high, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Jesus Prayer

The traditional form of the Jesus Prayer comes from the petition of the beggar on the road to Jericho, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” However, a shorter phrase that focuses on the name of Jesus and the desire for God’s mercy can be used as a meditative prayer. Today we will use “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.”

Sit in a comfortable position. Let your breathing become relaxed and easy.

Let the words Lord Jesus, have mercy on me form in your mind.

Gradually fit the words of the prayer to the natural rhythm of your breath. For example, internally say “Lord Jesus Christ” as you inhale and “Have mercy on me” as you exhale.

Remember, the prayer is not intended for rational analysis of content and words. Allow your mind simply to rest in the words as you breathe.

We will continue silently praying the Jesus Prayer for three to five minutes.

Draw the prayer time to a close by saying, “Amen.”

Ask participants to share briefly about the experience of the Jesus Prayer.

Sharing Around the Table

Revelation 1:4–8 NRSVUE

John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

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 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 all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him.

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.

The addressing of seven churches might seem a bit confusing to us at first. You see, seven is a perfect number in Jewish tradition—as if they were speaking to the whole of the church. For our context we can interpret this as addressing the whole of our church.

John reminds us that it is by Christ that we are loved and freed, and that through Christ the peaceable kingdom can come into being. His hope is that everyone will see that, even those who pierced his side. Not just that we see, but that we will “wail on account of him.” So how can we more fervently acknowledge that Christ has loved and freed us?

The answer lies in how we embody as is mentioned in the last verse, living as Jesus who is the embodiment of the Alpha and Omega. The One “who is and who was and who is to come.” God is with us now and forever, and whatever is to come. May the example of Jesus Christ, the Living Christ, guide our way forward now and always.

Questions

  1. How have you been an embodiment of the life, example, or teachings of Jesus?
  2. What might it look like for God’s shalom to prevail across the world?
  3. What is another metaphor for creating the inclusive community Jesus taught?

Sending

Generosity Statement

Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as

Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.

—Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a

The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing, small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

Pray with me:

God, may our generosity this day be in response to the reality of your presence in this space. May you bless our gifts that they might further your purposes of joy, hope, love, and peace in the world. May we continue to be generous with our financial offerings, and may we joyfully extend invitation and hospitality to others as we live into the peaceable reign of Christ. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

Community of Christ Sings 276, “All Are Welcome”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

  • Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
  • Thoughts for Children

 

Thoughts for Children

You will need:

  • paper crown

Invite the children to sit on the floor with you.

Ask: What is a king? What is a kingdom? Who makes the rules in a kingdom? Who decides how people will act in a kingdom? (Affirm all answers.)

Place the crown on your head.

Say: In my kingdom all people will eat ice cream for dinner!

Have each child wear the crown and make a declaration of how people in the child’s kingdom will act.

Say: Today is the day we remember that Jesus talked about the kingdom of God and how it is different than kingdoms in our world and storybooks.

What are some ways God wants us to act in God’s kingdom?

Help children with answers: Love each other, be kind, make friends with new children at school, share generously, work for peace, treat everyone specially.

Say: When we remember that we are part of the kingdom of God, it helps us act in ways that build community and lead to God’s dream of peace for our world. Think of one thing you can do today to show you are part of building God’s kingdom of peace.

Take a moment for children to share. Thank them and ask them to return to their seats.

Lesson is from Sacred Space Year B: Reign of Christ Sunday.


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