Worship Elements: November 21, 2021

September 2nd, 2021

Christ the King Sunday

COLOR: White
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 2 Samuel 23:1-7; Psalm 132:1-12; Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37


Truth is spoken to power in today’s Gospel, offering stark, this-worldly contrast to the cosmic, royal imagery of the other readings — a commentary in itself on what is valued in Christ’s reign. We are told that Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5), an enthroned descendant of King David (Psalm 132:11-12), the anointed of God (2 Samuel 23:1). But in John’s passion story, he is far from lifted up and glorified. A prisoner, he nonetheless goes toe-to-toe with Pilate, a colonial bureaucrat of the Roman Empire, and refuses to be trapped into calling himself king: “You say that I am a king. … I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). May truth reign.


Call to Worship (Psalm 132:14-16)

“This is my resting place,” says our God,
“for I have desired it.
“I will . . . bless its provisions;
“I will satisfy its poor with bread.
“Its priests I will clothe with salvation,
“and its faithful will shout for joy.”
Come then, with joy, and let us worship God.


Call to Worship 

It is done.
God has always been in charge—
yesterday and today.
Even when things seem out of control,
God’s reign is on its way.
Let us prepare the way for God.

Opening Prayer (Revelation 1)

With thankful hearts we pause this day
to be reminded of our grandest hope:
that the calamities, the demands,
even the blessings of this world
do not have the last word.
You are the one who was and is,
and who is yet to come—
a ruler of a different kind.
Open our hearts to the comfort, the challenge
and the mystery of this good news.
In the name of Jesus Christ, your faithful witness,
we pray. Amen.


Prayer of Confession (Revelation 1, John 18, 2 Samuel 23)

God of all creation,
before time and beyond space,
we admit to our human limits
as we try to imagine the reign of truth
that you envision for us.
When we follow worldly powers
and stray from the good path
you desire for all you have created,
give us Jesus.
Give us Jesus, O God—
not a Jesus high and lifted up,
but chained and arraigned by authorities
with boldness to tell the truth.
Speak through our words and deeds,
that your will may be done in our time.
Embolden us with the confidence
that your reign will one day come.
Come, O Strong One, come. Amen.

Words of Assurance (2 Samuel 23, Revelation 1)

God’s promises are everlasting, ordered and secure.
God loves us and frees us.
Accept God’s forgiveness, for we are forgiven. Amen.

Response to the Word (2 Samuel 23, John 18, Psalm 132)

Dawn on us, word of truth, like the light of the morning,
like a lamp to light our way.


Offering Prayer (Revelation 1)

Abundant God,
prophecy says you are coming with the clouds
for every eye to see.
Until that day,
may the tithes and offerings we bring each week
do the holy work of making your reign
real in this community
and in this world in need. Amen.


Benediction (Revelation 1, John 18)

God calls us into the world
to embody a realm that is not of this world.
Go forth now in the name of the one who is,
and was, and is to come.
May God’s grace and peace be with you. Amen.


Contemporary Gathering Words (John 18, Revelation 1)

Let’s pause and take a breath.
Between turkey and carols,
“black Friday” and “cyber Monday,”
let’s pause and take a breath, looking for signs,
listening for sounds of a realm not of this world.
It’s real. It’s truth. It’s the reign of Christ—
the reign that was with us before, is with us now,
and is still not yet fully here.
Let’s pause and breathe in life and love and truth.


Contemporary Gathering Words (Revelation 1, 2 Samuel 23)

From the Spirit who was, the Rock who is,
the Strong One yet to come,
grace and peace to you!
Come before God with joy and thanks.
Let us worship God.

Praise Sentences (John 18, Revelation 1, Psalm 132)

A crown of thorns belongs to the truth.
A crown that gleams belongs to the truth.
The ruler of kings belongs to the truth.
Glory and dominion belong to the truth.
Listen to Jesus. Belong to the truth.

From “The Abingdon Worship Annual” edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press. 

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