Sermon Notes for November 20, 2011

Last Sunday after Pentecost (Year A, Christ the King)

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
Psalm 100
Ephesians 1:15-23
Matthew 25:31-46

  • Christ the King Sunday always has some great readings.  It is the end of the Church Year and I think the scriptures point us to what’s really important as we move from the end of one year to the beginning of another.  After 20 years of preaching, I am reminded that this is an endless task–taking people from the anticipation to the birth of Christ, walking with Jesus through his life and ministry to the cross, experiencing his resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit, and then living with the Church to Christ’s crowning as King, again and again. Why do we keep repeating ourselves? Until Christ comes in final glory, we need all of the reminders we can get.
  • The OT lesson and the Gospel are parallels for a change.  In Ezekiel, God judges between the fat and the lean sheep, in the Gospel, the Son of Man judges between the sheep and the goats.  There are the themes of Judgement and Justice in both.  Ezekiel is a powerful text that gives us a picture of the world that God intends.    God seeks the weak, the lost and the scattered sheep and brings them under one shepherd. On this Sunday, the Church proclaims that God’s Justice is the future of all things.  We should align ourselves with it now.
  • The Psalm is the excellent compliment.  It is the Jubilate that is used frequently in Morning Prayer. It is a song to the ruler of all. Numerous hymn settings are take offs from Psalm 100.  There is no better song for Christ the King Sunday.
  • The Epistle is a powerful word from Paul about all things being ordered under Christ.  Let the Epistle speak for itself: God 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, far 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. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
  • The Gospel Lesson is a powerful lesson of what Christ’s Reign is all about.  Throughout all of Jesus’ words in the New Testament, this is the most concrete description of what Kingdom life is all about and the ultimate consequences of living that life.  Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty,  welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and those in prison–this is what Christ the King deems important.  Do we, the Church, make these things important?
  • Christ’s Kingdom is in conflict with the way we construct human kingdoms.  Humans exalt the powerful and the wealthy, and Christ’s Kingdom lifts up the weak and poor.  Human kingdoms are often self serving, Christ’s Kingdom is about service above self.  Eventually, we will all submit to Christ’s Reign.  Those who submit now will generally find themselves in conflict with the powers that be.
  • Starter notes from The Christian Century 2008
  • Notes from Karen Keely at The Witness Magazine 

 

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