Texts: 2 Samuel 23:1-7 or Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Psalm 132:1-12, (13-18) or Psalm 93; Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37
Theme: Reign of Christ Sunday or Christ the King Sunday (White)
Call to Worship:
“Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb. Blessings and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! – Revelation 7:10, 12
Message: “Not From This World”
We wonder: who is on trial here? Jesus or Pilate? Think of the irony of it all…Pilate speaking to the Son of Almighty God, warning Him that he, Pilate, had the power of life or death over the One of whom John described: “He was in the beginning with God, and without Him was not made anything that was made.”
From its earliest times, Christendom has not been able to rid itself of the notion that Christ (and his followers) came to rule in earthly power—through violence, through crusades, through intimidation, through political maneuvering, through persecution, through legislation, and through a hundred other techniques designed to force others to think and act like we do. If only we could take seriously the words of Jesus before Pilate: “My kingdom is not from this world” (v. 36) and “for this cause I came into the world, to testify to the truth (v. 37). Christ’s true legacy was the kingdom of the cross, the kingdom of sacrifice.*
When we pray “thy kingdom come,” that is not enough…we have to work for it, too. We need to be volunteers in the efforts to make the world of brutal conflict, injustice, tragedy, and greed a better place now as a sign of the coming Kingdom of God in the same way that Jesus’ miracles were meant to be “signs” pointing to another King and Kingdom that is coming.
In terms of our mission we are not only to accept responsibility for the world around us but so seek to be a part of God’s truthful transformation of that world. There are time when what God and the world expect of us is the same, but there are other times when what God expects of us goes far beyond what the world expects of us.
“Pontius Pilate knew what a king was. It was not a far-off, fantasy image for him. He served the most powerful king in the world at the time. Being a king really meant something in those days. Pilate knew about the power that a king has, the absolute authority that he wields, the unquestioning obedience that he demands and the power that he has to compel obedience when it is not willingly forthcoming.” Dr. Mickey Anders
Bumper sticker or car window decal: “Not of this World;” True of Jesus; what about us?
Hebrew National Beef: “We Answer to a higher power” Do we?
Music: “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun,” “Our God Reigns”
Opening Prayer: As we gather for worship, may our minds be clear to understand your word, may our ears be turned to the still, small voice, may our tongues be loosed to sing your praise, and may our lives be ready to receive your Spirit’s power.
Benediction: As a blanket enfolds a sleeping child, may the peace of God enfold you, for beneath are the everlasting arms.
Films and other audio-visuals:
“Chariots of Fire” Eric Lyttle’s refusal to race in the Olympics on the Sabbath
*(Subscribers are permitted to reprint material in non-profit publications only; all other reproduction in prohibited. 2012 Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WI 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 ext. 2469)