The Story for the
Feast of the Reign of Christ
November 22, 2020
prepared by the Rev’d Rhonda Waters
Jesus said, “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.”
Something to Do
Lord, when did we see you…?
Sometimes, Jesus himself gives us a thing to do. I don’t think there’s anything I need to add.
Pray in colour for all humanity
This title for the Messiah is sometimes translated as Child of Humanity or even The Human One. It emphasizes Jesus’ humanity and reminds us that Jesus’ humanity is sacred – it is humanity made perfect; humanity that includes all the rest of us. When the king in the parable tells people that “the least of these” are members of his family, this is the family he is talking about – the human family.
Praying in Colour is a way to release and focus our prayers by doodling. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen or pencil (coloured pencils if you want). Begin by writing Jesus’ name and doodling around it as you invite Jesus to come be with you and inspire you. When you are ready, write another name – an individual or a group – and connect that name to your Jesus doodle. Doodle around the new addition. Imagine them there with you and Jesus. Ask Jesus to help you feel connected to them. Pray for their well-being. When you are ready, add another name and repeat. As you pray, notice that everyone is connected to everyone else through Jesus.
Something to Wonder
When I was…you…
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…
This thought exercise comes from the Thursday evening house group. Consider today’s world. Consider your own life. Where are the opportunities for caring for Jesus? How are we responding?
I was lonely living on my own during Covid-19 and you went for a walk with me.
I was thirsty for fresh water, and you told me to have a boiled water advisory.
From the Beatitudes to the Sheep and Goats
This parable marks the end of Jesus’ teaching ministry in the Gospel according to Matthew – a ministry which he began with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12). How do these two teachings connect? Who are the “blessed”? What is the role of God in each? Where do you find yourself?
Something to Learn
The Reign of Christ (aka Christ the King) Sunday
History of Christ the King Sunday
Christ the King Sunday was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. He sought to refocus the faithful on the reign of Jesus rather than the misleading and dangerous rule of earthly leaders. Remember that this was after the horrors of World War I and in the midst of rising totalitarianism.
Read his encyclical, Quas Primas (Latin for “in the first”). You won’t agree with all of it but it is an interesting read, nonetheles!
Christ the King
The Bible Project has a video and podcast series on the subject of the Kingdom.
Or, if you’re up for a long and somewhat dense read, this article by bishop and theologian N.T. Wright is fascinating: “…a fresh thesis about the gospels, stressing the way in which they summoned their first readers to imagine a new state of affairs being launched into the world, a state of affairs for which the obvious shorthand was ‘the kingdom of God’.” Imagining the Kingdom: Mission and Theology in Early Christianity
And for those with less time or shorter attention spans: a synopsis of the book (How God Became King) that grew from the essay.
Something to Pray
Holy God, we do not always understand your word or your ways.
Give us wisdom and imagination and courage as we learn and grow.
The story this week has made me wonder about…
(what questions are still on your heart?)
Receive my questions and help me hear your answers.
The story this week has filled me with…
(how are you feeling?)
Accept my praise, heal my hurt, ease my worry.
The story this week has reminded me of…
(are there situations or people you are thinking of?)
Be with all who are in need of you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.