Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, November 22, 2020 — The Reign of Christ Sunday

 

The Daily Readings
SUNDAY, November 22, 2020 — The Reign of Christ Sunday

Seeing Jesus in our Neighbors
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100; Ephesians 1:15-23;
Matthew 25:31-46
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)


This is a day of celebration. A day to worship the creator of the universe. A day to rejoice in the good news of Jesus. A day to proclaim, with all our hearts, our God reigns. Today…we celebrate!

Opening Sentences
Celebrating the Reign of Christ Sunday marks the end of Ordinary Time and serves as a prologue to the festivities of Advent. We celebrate Christ's role as Lord of all—the world, the church, and our lives.

On Reign of Christ Sunday, we celebrate that God’s reign in the entire universe has already been accomplished. At the same time, we anticipate the day when that reign will be accomplished in every human heart. Just as Peter and Paul illustrate the divine/human tension of Jesus’ person, on Reign of Christ Sunday, we remind ourselves of the already/not-yet tension of God’s reign over all creation. We pray, as Jesus taught us, “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

In our readings today, Ezekiel speaks of the shepherd who searches for lost sheep, rescues them from danger, and feeds them from rich pastures. Mathew makes the metaphor personal, as Jesus blesses the “sheep” who feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Truly, this manner of shepherding is an occasion to join the psalmist in making “a joyful noise to the LORD,” for we are indeed God’s people, the sheep of God’s pasture. We, like the early Christians at Ephesus, know the hope to which we have been called and the riches of our glorious inheritance in Christ. Thus it is that we are both broken and whole, at once healer and healed, at the same time shepherd and sheep.
Opening Prayer
God of justice and peace, bring your dazzling light into our hearts and spirits that we might see the glorious opportunities we have to serve you. Help us to see that following your mandate to feed the hungry, bring nourishment to those who thirst, offer clothing to those in need, visit the sick and those who are imprisoned, welcome the stranger – any activity of service as an act of great privilege and joy. We praise you for the light of your son, Jesus Christ, who boldly bids us care for each other and become those who would bring good news of peace for all. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, we get so caught up in our own lives and needs that we fail to see others for whom we might provide some help and relief. You challenge us to feed those who are hungry and to quench the thirst of those who are parched. You ask us to bring clothing to those who have none or for whom the clothing is inadequate for the weather; to visit people who are sick, alone, alienated, who are imprisoned either in cells with bars or in conditions of hopelessness and poverty that they see no way out; to welcome the stranger and reach out to those who are marginalized; to always bring your words of healing and redeeming love. We have failed in these tasks – we ignore the opportunities and claim that we are too busy to help, too busy to care. How this attitude must sadden you, O Lord. You lavish your gifts upon us that we might use them for the betterment of your realm, and we treat them as inconveniences. Forgive us, O God. Forgive us and heal our wounds of greed and selfishness. Let us greet this day when the hope of the Reign of Christ can be made manifest and we can be part of this glorious kingdom of peace and compassion. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
In the name of Jesus Christ who brings peace and hope to us, we are forgiven, healed and enabled to be part of the ministries of compassion in God’s world. Rejoice! You are chosen and loved! Amen.
First Reading
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24
God will shepherd Israel
34:11 For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.

16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.

20 Therefore thus saith the Lord God unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle.

21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad;

22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.

23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

24 And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it.
Commentary

The Lord declared that he intended mercy towards the scattered flock. Doubtless this, in the first place, had reference to the restoration of the Jews. It also represented the good Shepherd's tender care of the souls of his people. He finds them in their days of darkness and ignorance, and brings them to his fold. He comes to their relief in times of persecution and temptation. He leads them in the ways of righteousness, and causes them to rest on his love and faithfulness. The proud and self-sufficient, are enemies of the true gospel and of believers; against such we must guard. He has rest for disquieted saints, and terror for presumptuous sinners. The whole nation seemed to be the Lord's flock, yet they were very different characters; but he knew how to distinguish between them. By good pastures and deep waters, are meant the pure word of God and the dispensing of justice.


Psalm 100
We are the people of God’s pasture
1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Commentary

This song of praise should be considered as a prophecy, and even used as a prayer, for the coming of that time when all people shall know that the Lord he is God, and shall become his worshippers, and the sheep of his pasture. Great encouragement is given us, in worshipping God, to do it cheerfully. If, when we strayed like wandering sheep, he has brought us again to his fold, we have indeed abundant cause to bless his name. The matter of praise, and the motives to it, are very important. Know ye what God is in himself, and what he is to you. Know it; consider and apply it, then you will be more close and constant, more inward and serious, in his worship. The covenant of grace set down in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, with so many rich promises, to strengthen the faith of every weak believer, makes the matter of God's praise and of his people's joys so sure, that how sad soever our spirits may be when we look to ourselves, yet we shall have reason to praise the Lord when we look to his goodness and mercy, and to what he has said in his word for our comfort.


Second Reading
Ephesians 1:15-23
The reign of Christ
1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Commentary

God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the Lord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them in by prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for: and while we hear of the welfare of Christian friends, we should pray for them. Even true believers greatly want heavenly wisdom. Are not the best of us unwilling to come under God's yoke, though there is no other way to find rest for the soul? Do we not for a little pleasure often part with our peace? And if we dispute less, and prayed more with and for each other, we should daily see more and more what is the hope of our calling, and the riches of the Divine glory in this inheritance. It is desirable to feel the mighty power of Divine grace, beginning and carrying on the work of faith in our souls. But it is difficult to bring a soul to believe fully in Christ, and to venture its all, and the hope of eternal life, upon his righteousness. Nothing less than Almighty power will work this in us. Here is signified that it is Christ the Saviour, who supplies all the necessities of those who trust in him, and gives them all blessings in the richest abundance. And by being partakers of Christ himself, we come to be filled with the fulness of grace and glory in him. How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousness out of him! This teaches us to come to Christ. And did we know what we are called to, and what we might find in him, surely we should come and be suitors to him. When feeling our weakness and the power of our enemies, we most perceive the greatness of that mighty power which effects the conversion of the believer, and is engaged to perfect his salvation. Surely this will constrain us by love to live to our Redeemer's glory.


The Gospel
Matthew 25:31-46

The separation of sheep and goats
 

25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Commentary

This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and godly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches, families, and are not always to be known the one from the other; such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies of sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul. It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness. Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment; their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.

Here end the Readings

The Apostles’ Creed

  • I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
  • I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Holy Communion

A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.
Sending
Hear the cries of those in need! Go into God’s world, enabled by Christ to be in ministries of compassion for all God’s people. Love this world as God has loved you. Care tenderly always for all of creation. Go and faithfully serve in the name of Jesus. Amen.




The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV).

Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. www.commontexts.org
Last Sunday after Pentecost: Reign of Christ Sunday
On Reign of Christ Sunday, we celebrate that God’s reign in the entire universe has already been accomplished. At the same time, we anticipate the day when that reign will be accomplished in every human heart. Just as Peter and Paul illustrate the divine/human tension of Jesus’ person, on Reign of Christ Sunday, we remind ourselves of the already/not-yet tension of God’s reign over all creation. We pray, as Jesus taught us, “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24; Psalm 100; Ephesians 1:15-23; Matthew 25:31-46
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

No comments:

Post a Comment