Christ the King Sunday – November 22, 2020

Heaven Dore

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for Christ the King Sunday, November 22, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

We continue to offer in-person and Facebook Live services following the normal Sunday schedule for both MLLC and Waldeck.  The Facebook Live services will be offered on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. from Waldeck, and at 10:00 a.m. from MLLC.  The Saturday 6:00 p.m. service at MLLC is in-person only.

Below are the readings, prayers, and Sunday sermon.

Remember Your Regular Offerings

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For both of our congregations, Waldeck and MLLC, please remember that our expenses continue even when we are unable to meet as usual.  Please make a point to give your offerings as you would on a typical week.  Here are some ideas of what to do:

For Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ledbetter:

– send your offering by mail to the church office  – Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church; 6915 Waldeck Church Lane; Ledbetter, TX 78946

– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.

For MLLC in Carmine:

– send your offering by mail to the church office  – MLLC, P O BOX 362, Carmine, TX 78932-0362

– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.

– give offerings through the church web site:  mllccarmine.com/online-giving  This page has a link to our secure giving page.  Offerings can be made by bank draft, debit card, or credit card through this special web site.

Christ the King Sunday

November 21-22, 2020

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First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Reader says:  The First Reading is from the 34th chapter of Ezekiel.

Since Israel’s kings proved to be bad shepherds, Ezekiel declares that the Lord will assume the role of shepherd in Israel. The Lord will also set over them a shepherd-messiah, “my servant David,” who will feed and care for the people.

And now the reading.

11Thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
20Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
23I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

Here ends the reading.

 

Psalm: Psalm 95:1-7a

Psalm 95, read responsively.

1Come, let us sing to the Lord;
  let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving
  and raise a loud shout to the Lord with psalms.
3For you, Lord, are a great God,
  and a great ruler above all gods.
4In your hand are the caverns of the earth;
  the heights of the hills are also yours. 
5The sea is yours, for you made it,
  and your hands have molded the dry land.
6Come, let us worship and bow down,
  let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
7aFor the Lord is our God,
  and we are the people of God’s pasture and the sheep of God’s hand.  Amen

 

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23

The Second Reading is from the first chapter of Ephesians.

In this passage, God is praised for revealing ultimate divine power in raising Jesus from the dead. The resurrected, exalted Christ is Lord both of the church and the entire universe, now and in the age to come.

And now the reading.

15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Here ends the reading.

 

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

The Gospel Reading is from the 25th chapter of Matthew.

Jesus compares himself to a king who moves among his subjects to see how he is treated: what is done for the least of those who belong to his family is truly done for him.

And now the reading.

[Jesus said to the disciples:] 31“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. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then 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; 35for 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, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then 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? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And 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.’ 41Then 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; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I 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.’ 44Then 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?’ 45Then 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.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Here ends the readings.

 

Devotion:  “Stand Up for Jesus”

By Pastor David Tinker

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

            In the 1970s in the Lutheran Church there were extensive teachings about our way of worshipping the Lord.  This was in preparation for the publication of a new service book.  This was Lutheran Book of Worship, which was published in 1978. 

            One of the teaching documents told about the action of standing for the Gospel Reading.  As part of this it taught about standing, not for the pastor, but for Jesus.  It speaks of this action in this way: “We Rise to Greet Him.”

Standing for the Gospel Reading is a great thing to remember on this Christ the King Sunday.  We stand for the one who loves us and who is truly the greatest of all.  When we stand for the Gospel it is about how Jesus Christ will reign forever and ever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  When we stand up for Jesus we are doing 2 things. 

1: We are showing respect for Jesus.  

2:  We are making a commitment to him.  We are saying that we are ready to receive our marching orders from our great and loving King.

            Our reading from Matthew today shows an important piece of our marching orders from our king.   All of what he does in giving such orders is founded in what he has first done for us.  He has gone ahead of us into life, death and rising from the dead.  He has suffered on our behalf, and he has brought forgiveness and new life to us.  Jesus has acted first for us, and we are guided by his Marching Orders on how to follow as his faithful people. 

Jesus uses a parable – a teaching story – to give us our marching orders.  This parable is about a king who separates out two groups.  One group naturally served humanity without knowing they were serving the king.  It was simply the faithful way of living as God’s people.  The other group kept their energies to themselves.  The first group was praised, and the king told them that “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  They were shown that when they served struggling humanity they were serving the king.

            The second group kept their love and energies to themselves.  The king did not praise them, but said, “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.”  Those who did nothing to care for humanity were sent away into punishment.

            In this congregation we have a long history of showing kindness to others.  We support food pantries.  At both of our congregations we are working on assembling Christmas Boxes for Seafarers at the Port of Houston.  These are shoe boxes filled with various practical items which are distributed by the Chaplain’s office at the Port of Houston.  In various ways we are showing kindness to others around the world who need it most.

            There is that great old hymn, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”.  Here is the first stanza of that great hymn:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,

            as soldiers of the cross,

            lift high his royal banner;

            it must not suffer loss.

            From vict’ry unto vict’ry

            his army he shall lead,

            till ev’ry foe is vanquished

            and Christ is Lord indeed.

This is a powerful call to action.  It is a call to respond to the great things God has done.

In response to Christ the king we get to do two things today. 

One, is that we get to have a fresh start as God’s beloved children.  We get to rejoice in the good news that God’s sacrificial love and forgiveness are also for us.  We hear again that we are set free from the final power of sin, death and evil.  We get a fresh start on how we live now and forever.

The second thing we do is founded on the first.  As loved and forgiven sinners we are invited to Stand Up for the ultimate king of kings, Jesus Christ our Lord.  We can do this because of the first thing we do.  God has done great things for us, and we respond by standing up in commitment to Jesus Christ. 

There are billions of stories about how people have responded to God’s call in life.  One story which always comes to mind for me is about my late mother.  She was active in hunger relief efforts in her neighborhood in Houston.  For many years she would take a few days each month to distribute bread.  On these days she would go to a certain day-old bread store.  The staff would have a few trays full of bread ready for her to take.  At a certain time on those days she would bring the trays full of bread to a park in the neighborhood.  She would place the trays on a particular picnic bench.  Nearby several people were waiting.  These would be mothers, fathers, families, singles, or whoever.  All were hungry and poor people from the neighborhood who came to get some simple bread to eat.  My mother and the bread store gave to the least of these in that community.  In this Christ the King was served, people were fed, and God was given the glory. 

In response to God’s amazing and powerful mercy we get to show honor to Jesus.  Because he has done so much for us, we can stand up in commitment to him.  It really doesn’t matter what you have done or have left undone in the past.  What matters is that God is good and caring and powerful, and is calling for us.  God has met us in the midst of our own struggles and death.  God has been with us when we are hungry or thirsty or hurting or sinful or lonely or lost in any way.  God carries us through these times and into life today and forever.  God’s Holy Spirit is with us today, guiding us into fellowship with the Lord.  Today we get to stand up for Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.  Today we can live by doing the simple acts of service for the least of those in the world.  Let us stand up today for Christ the King.                     

Let us pray – Almighty God, King of Kings, we worship you and serve you.  Help us to give of our time and resources in ways which help our neighbors in need.  We pray this in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Prayers for November 22, 2020        

Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

 

A brief silence.

 

Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We ask that you receive our prayers, songs, and words of thanksgiving.  Lord, in your mercy,   Hear our prayer.

 

You have given yourself for the forgiveness of our sin.  We confess that we have turned away from your way.  We have neglected the faith you have granted to us.  We have sinned and have not done what is according to your will.  We pray that, by your mercy, you will forgive us and lead us into the way of Jesus.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

 

Other petitions may be added here.

 

We mourn the death of our friends and loved ones.  Help us to cast our burdens on you, because you care for us.  Help us to join with you in remembering those who have gone before us.  (We especially remember…) Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those who have suffered due to recent disasters, violence, disease, and wars.  Help us to bring relief to those who suffer across this nation and around the world.  Enable us to see Christ in those who have had to endure so much.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

 

You are the Great Physician.  We lift in prayer all who struggle in mind, body or spirit, especially…  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

We celebrate your goodness as we prepare for our national day of Thanksgiving.  Help us each day to see all the abundant goodness of your provision.  Enable us to share your resources with our neighbors in need.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Amen

 

Lord’s Prayer

 

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