Sunday, 22nd November

Together in Prayer
Sunday next before Advent: Christ the King


Greeting

O Lord, open our lips
And our mouth shall declare you praise!


The night has passed, and the day lies open before us;
let us pray with one heart and mind.
As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence, O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you;
now and for ever.
Amen.


Preparing our hearts
You are the king of glory, O Christ,
you are the everlasting Son of the Father.
May your kingdom come in us on earth,
as it is in heaven, Christ our Lord.
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.


Reading: Matthew 25:31-end
“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.”


Thought for the week: Rev Fred Long
Dominating the “east” end of Coventry Cathedral is the tapestry of Christ enthroned in Glory. The work designed by Graham Sutherland and made in France measures 78 feet in height and 38 feet in width. Seated in majesty, Christ looks with compassion on the world and all who look upon him. Surrounded by the four classic symbols of the Gospel writers, stands between his feet, a life size figure of a human person.
This Sunday marks the end of the Christian Year, (and what a year this has been) and is celebrated as the Festival of Christ the King. Although we may feel dominated by the current conditions, I hope you are strengthened by the theme which runs right through the New Testament and finds expression in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come”. No matter how insignificant we may feel each one of us stand within the glory of Christ. That message and mission of Jesus has been validated by God in Our Lord’s Resurrection and we look forward to the time when every eye will behold him and it is then, that judgement is made.
In the gospel for today we have an indication of the criteria of how we shall be judged. The simple explicit lesson for all of us, is that God will judge us in accordance with the spirit and love of Christ. God’s judgement does not depend on the knowledge we have acquired, the fame or fortune that we have amassed, or the social rank or privileges that come our way but on the help we have given. Matthew 25: 31-46 makes us aware of the breadth and diversity of that help.
We must help in simple things. The things which Jesus picks out, we are asked to explore and includes providing sustenance, welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick and those isolated from the normal features of daily life. It is a case of expressing Christ’s humanity with the people we meet every day. It is to be help which is not calculated but the natural instinctive reaction of being one who cares. The help which wins the approval of God is the help which is given for nothing but for the sake of helping.
Our Lord finally confronts us with the wonderful truth that what we do, our hidden actions are in fact given to Himself and all such help which is withheld is withheld from Himself. The Coventry tapestry speaks to me that wonderfully each one of us stands and is encompassed by the majesty of Christ and in the words of John, “We have seen his glory , the glory as of a fathers only son, full of grace and truth.” Be joyful keep the faith and do the small things (St David of Wales).


Collect for the 4th Sunday before Advent
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 forever.
Amen.


Intercessions

Christ, we confess you as King of kings and Lord of lords;
Come, rule in our hearts, and claim us as part of your kingdom.
We seek to dedicate our lives to you and to your glory.
We pray for all who are working for the bringing in of your kingdom.
for those striving for justice, peace, and freedom,
for all relief agencies and bringers of aid.
Lord, we seek to do your will.
Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.


We pray for rulers of peoples, for leaders of nations,
that they may govern with gentleness and integrity.
We remember all who suffer from injustice.
We pray for the scorned and rejected people of our world,
for all who have lost their freedom,
for all who are deprived of their basic rights.
We pray for the work of all aid agencies around the world.
Lord we seek to do your will.
Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.


We pray for all who are struggling at this difficult time.
For those who are finding it hard to cope,
for those who are struggling with loneliness.
We remember the homeless, the hungry, the thirsty
and all people who are longing for your salvation.
We pray for friends and loved ones who are in need.
Lord we seek to do your will.
Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.


Christ, O King, ruler of heaven and earth,
in you we triumph over darkness and death,
in you we have eternal life.
We pray for all our loved ones departed this life,
That they may be one with you and your saints
in your everlasting kingdom;
and that we, setting
our hearts on things above,
may be raised up to where you reign
with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever.
Lord we seek to do your will.
Your kingdom come in us as it is in heaven.
Amen


You may wish to add your own prayers at this time.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:
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.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.


The Peace
God, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, make you strong to do his will; and the peace of the Lord be always with you
and also with you


The Blessing

To him who is able to keep you from falling,
to Christ our King and our Saviour,
be praise and glory, majesty, and power
for ever and ever;
and may the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ
be with us all ever more
Amen.