20 November 2022
Bible readings for today
Today is the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Christ who reigns, you care for the least amongst us,
give us courage to enact your gospel in all the world,
that all people may see your glory.
For you are alive and reign with the Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and forever.
Christ the King (Luke 23:33-43)
In today's gospel reading of the crucifixion, we hear the soldiers shouting at Jesus - 'If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” It may seem like a strange time for this reading, one that we're more familiar with hearing in Holy Week, with Advent about to begin. These activities are taken from a previous gospel reading about Jesus being a king, and you might want to draw that out in your discussion and activities today.
What do you think of royalty?
When you think of royalty, of kings and queens, what comes to mind? We asked this in our church service, and sharing ideas and feedback from all ages. It was fascinating how negative the conversation was, sharing views of 'a redundant monarchy', to 'colonialism', to 'rich and opulent'.
The next question we asked was: What about Jesus being a king? The Bible uses many words to describe Jesus, but one of them is a king. King of Kings, Lord of Lords. Prince of Peace. With those reflections in mind, how do we feel with Jesus being a king? And what about our identities as sons and daughters of a king?
I wonder questions
Christ the King!
What you need: Crown (cardboard and foil) (you can use real crown or pictures of a crown)
What you do: Show the crown and say something like, “What is this?” That’s right, it’s a crown. Do you know who gets to wear crowns like this? (Allow different answers). Those people are called royalty- kings and queens and princes and princesses. We have a queen. What’s her name? (Allow answer). What do you think queens and kings do? (allow answers). Those are good answers.
Today is Christ the King Sunday. That means it’s the day when we think about Jesus being our king. Kings and queens are rulers, they help govern and lead their people. Jesus is a king because he’s our ruler. He doesn’t live in a palace or meet with other important leaders in the world. But like King Charles, he was born into a lineage that was destined to rule. The thing is, even though he’s a king, we have to choose to let him be our king. He wants us to let him be the ruler in our lives. It’s easy to want to do things our way and to be our own boss, but Jesus doesn’t want to boss us around. He’s not that kind of king. Instead Jesus wants us to let him gently lead us into doing good things, loving others and asking him for help. He wants us to choose to let him be king and help govern our lives.
Christ the King Drama
What you need:
Pilate: “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus: “Is that your own question, or did others tell you about me?”
Pilate: “I am not a Jew. It was your own people and their leading priests who brought you before me. What have you done wrong?”
Jesus: “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If it belonged to this world, my servants would have fought to keep me from being given over to the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place.”
Pilate: “So you are a king!”
Jesus: “You say that I am a king. That is true. I was born for this: to tell people about the truth. That is why I came into the world. And everyone who belongs to the truth listens to me.
Make a pretzel crown of thorns, covered in chocolate. Instructions here
Here we are at the last Sunday of the Church year: Christ the King. What do we do with this feast? Should we call Christ "King" when Jesus doesn't ever use that term? Why do we suddenly have the crucifixion scene just before we start Advent? Join Esther, John, Anne and Michael as they explore themes of the Kingdom.
A servant king
If you have a moment, google 'Jesus king' on Google images and see what pictures come up. Probably lot of revelation type images with Jesus on a throne, many angels around him, a crown resembling something from the Tower of London, and a lot of sun rays.
In juxtaposition, Jesus is described as a servant king. A king who comes to serve and to save the lost. This king is humble, loving, lays down his power and authority. This kingdom is about kinship, about love.
This upbeat kids worship song, 'Jesus is the King', gives a special shout out to New Zealand!
Preparing for Advent
Advent begins next Sunday, the countdown (and time of anticipation) to Christmas.
Our Advent and Christmas ideas (Strandz)
Advent at home
Basic Advent wreaths have 5 candles; 1 for each week of Advent and then a white candle for Jesus which we light on Christmas Day (or Christmas Eve). Traditionally the four candles are purple. Sometimes the Joy candle is pink, but you can make each candle any colour. The four candles represent Hope, Peace, Joy, Love.
What you need: A base for the candles- a wreath pre-made, a Styrofoam ring with can be decorated, 5 candlestick holders or…
What you do: Create your Advent wreath using whatever materials you have. You won’t light it until next week, but you can work together to make it beautiful.
The Righteous Descendant (Jeremiah 23:1-6)
The Lord is our Righteousness
In today's passage from Jeremiah, we hear about how Israel was longing for a saviour, someone who would lead them into safety. As we read these verses now, we can see that they point towards Jesus. Jesus will be named "The Lord is our Righteousness"
The imagery of God as a shepherd is used in this passage, as we think about what the righteous ruler will look like. When we think of a shepherd, what words come to mind? We asked our local congregation and they came up with words like "smelly, solitary, caring, slept rough with their sheep" - descriptive words that don't really gel with the idea of being a king! As this passage points towards someone from the royal line of King David, we hold these two descriptions in balance. A king. A shepherd.