Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers for Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Kingdom of Christ

The Sunday Bible Readings and Prayers
Sunday, November 21, 2021
Christ the King Sunday
2 Samuel 23:1-7; Psalm 132:1-12 [13-18];
Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Invisible Kingdom
There is a kingdom within mankind. Set up in our hearts and souls. Its riches are spiritual, its power supernatural, and its glory eternal. This is a kingdom not of this world. It is invisible.

Introduction & Theme

Truth is spoken to power in today’s Gospel, offering stark, this-worldly contrast to the cosmic, royal imagery of the other readings—a commentary in itself on what is valued in Christ’s reign. We are told that Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5), an enthroned descendant of King David (Psalm 132:11-12), the anointed of God (2 Samuel 23:1). But in John’s passion story, he is far from lifted up and glorified. A prisoner, he nonetheless goes toe-to-toe with Pilate, a colonial bureaucrat of the Roman Empire, and refuses to be trapped into calling himself king: “You say that I am a king.… I came into the world, to testify to the truth” (John 18:37). May truth reign.

Opening Prayer
(Revelation 1)

With thankful hearts we pause this day to be reminded of our grandest hope: that the calamities, the demands, even the blessings of this world do not have the last word. You are the one who was and is, and who is yet to come—a ruler of a different kind. Open our hearts to the comfort, the challenge and the mystery of this good news. In the name of Jesus Christ, your faithful witness, we pray. Amen.

Call to Confession
(Revelation 1, John 18, 2 Samuel 23)

God of all creation, before time and beyond space, we admit to our human limits as we try to imagine the reign of truth that you envision for us. When we follow worldly powers and stray from the good path you desire for all you have created, give us Jesus. Give us Jesus, O God—not a Jesus high and lifted up, but chained and arraigned by authorities with boldness to tell the truth. Speak through our words and deeds, that your will may be done in our time. Embolden us with the confidence that your reign will one day come. Come, O Strong One, come. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
(2 Samuel 23, Revelation 1)

God’s promises are everlasting, ordered and secure. God loves us and frees us. Accept God’s forgiveness, for we are forgiven. Amen.

Today’s Verse-of-the-Day:
1 Corinthians 1:4-5

I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.
Salvation is one of the gifts of grace we receive from God; but when we are saved, we are also given spiritual gifts. (Paul explained this in detail in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14.) The Greek word translated “enriched” gives us our English word “plutocrat,” “a very wealthy person.” The Corinthians were especially rich in spiritual gifts (2 Cor. 8:7) but were not using these gifts in a spiritual manner.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Historical Books
2 Samuel 23:1-7
The Just Ruler Like Morning Light

23:1 These are the last words of David:

  “The inspired utterance of David son of Jesse,
     the utterance of the man exalted by the Most High,
  the man anointed by the God of Jacob,
     the hero of Israel’s songs:

2 “The Spirit of the Lord spoke through me;
     his word was on my tongue.
3 The God of Israel spoke,
     the Rock of Israel said to me:
  ‘When one rules over people in righteousness,
     when he rules in the fear of God,
4 he is like the light of morning at sunrise
     on a cloudless morning,
  like the brightness after rain
     that brings grass from the earth.’

5 “If my house were not right with God,
     surely he would not have made with me an everlasting covenant,
     arranged and secured in every part;
  surely he would not bring to fruition my salvation
     and grant me my every desire.
6 But evil men are all to be cast aside like thorns,
     which are not gathered with the hand.
7 Whoever touches thorns
     uses a tool of iron or the shaft of a spear;
     they are burned up where they lie.”


These words of David are very worthy of regard. Let those who have had long experience of God's goodness, and the pleasantness of heavenly wisdom, when they come to finish their course, bear their testimony to the truth of the promise. David avows his Divine inspiration, that the Spirit of God spake by him. He, and other holy men, spake and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. In many things he had his own neglect and wrong conduct to blame. But David comforted himself that the Lord had made with him an everlasting covenant. By this he principally intended the covenant of mercy and peace, which the Lord made with him as a sinner, who believed in the promised Savior, who embraced the promised blessing, who yielded up himself to the Lord, to be his redeemed servant. Believers shall for ever enjoy covenant blessings; and God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, shall be for ever glorified in their salvation. Thus pardon, righteousness, grace, and eternal life, are secured as the gift of God through Jesus Christ. There is an infinite fullness of grace and all blessings treasured up in Christ, for those who seek his salvation. This covenant was all David's salvation, he so well knew the holy law of God and the extent of his own sinfulness, that he perceived what was needful for his own case in this salvation. It was therefore all his desire. In comparison, all earthly objects lost their attractions; he was willing to give them up, or to die and leave them, that he might enjoy full happiness, Psalms 73:24-28. Still the power of evil, and the weakness of his faith, hope, and love, were his grief and burden. Doubtless he would have allowed that his own slackness and want of care were the cause; but the hope that he should soon be made perfect in glory, encouraged him in his dying moments.

From the Psalter
Psalm 132:1-12 [13-18]
The Faithful Sing with Joy

1 Lord, remember David
     and all his self-denial.

2 He swore an oath to the Lord,
     he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “I will not enter my house
     or go to my bed,
4 I will allow no sleep to my eyes
     or slumber to my eyelids,
5 till I find a place for the Lord,
     a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

6 We heard it in Ephrathah,
     we came upon it in the fields of Jaar:
7 “Let us go to his dwelling place,
     let us worship at his footstool, saying,
8 ‘Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place,
     you and the ark of your might.
9 May your priests be clothed with your righteousness;
     may your faithful people sing for joy.’”

10 For the sake of your servant David,
      do not reject your anointed one.

11 The Lord swore an oath to David,
      a sure oath he will not revoke:
   “One of your own descendants
      I will place on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
      and the statutes I teach them,
   then their sons will sit
      on your throne for ever and ever.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion,
       he has desired it for his dwelling, saying,
14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever;
      here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it.
15 I will bless her with abundant provisions;
      her poor I will satisfy with food.
16 I will clothe her priests with salvation,
      and her faithful people will ever sing for joy.

17 “Here I will make a horn grow for David
      and set up a lamp for my anointed one.
18 I will clothe his enemies with shame,
      but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”]


Verses 1-10: David bound himself to find a place for the Lord, for the ark, the token of God's presence. When work is to be done for the Lord, it is good to tie ourselves to a time. It is good in the morning to fix upon work for the day, with submission to Providence, for we know not what a day may bring forth. And we should first, and without delay, seek to have our own hearts made a habitation of God through the Spirit. He prays that God would take up his dwelling in the habitation he had built; that he would give grace to the ministers of the sanctuary to do their duty. David pleads that he was the anointed of the Lord, and this he pleads as a type of Christ, the great Anointed. We have no merit of our own to plead; but, for His sake, in whom there is a fullness of merit, let us find favor. And every true believer in Christ, is an anointed one, and has received from the Holy One the oil of true grace. The request is, that God would not turn away, but hear and answer their petitions for his Son's sake.

Verses 11-18: The Lord never turns from us when we plead the covenant with his anointed Prophet, Priest, and King. How vast is the love of God to man, that he should speak thus concerning his church! It is his desire to dwell with us; yet how little do we desire to dwell with him! He abode in Zion till the sins of Israel caused him to give them up to the spoilers. Forsake us not, O God, and deliver us not in like manner, sinful though we are. God's people have a special blessing on common enjoyments, and that blessing puts peculiar sweetness into them. Zion's poor have reason to be content with a little of this world, because they have better things prepared for them. God will abundantly bless the nourishment of the new man, and satisfy the poor in spirit with the bread of life. He gives more than we ask, and when he gives salvation, he will give abundant joy. God would bring to nothing every design formed to destroy the house of David, until King Messiah should arise out of it, to sit upon the throne of his Father. In him all the promises center. His enemies, who will not have him to reign over them, shall at the last day be clothed with shame and confusion for ever.

From the Apocalypse of John
Revelation 1:4b-8
Christ the Ruler of the Earth

1:4b Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
     and “every eye will see him,
  even those who pierced him”;
     and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
  So shall it be! Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”


There can be no true peace, where there is not true grace; and where grace goes before, peace will follow. This blessing is in the name of God, of the Holy Trinity, it is an act of adoration. The Father is first named; he is described as the Jehovah who is, and who was, and who is to come, eternal, unchangeable. The Holy Spirit is called the seven spirits, the perfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts and operations. The Lord Jesus Christ was from eternity, a Witness to all the counsels of God. He is the First-born from the dead, who will by his own power raise up his people. He is the Prince of the kings of the earth; by him their counsels are overruled, and to him they are accountable. Sin leaves a stain of guilt and pollution upon the soul. Nothing can fetch out this stain but the blood of Christ; and Christ shed his own blood to satisfy Divine justice, and purchase pardon and purity for his people. Christ has made believers kings and priests to God and his Father. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern their own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with God in prayer, and shall judge the world. He has made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices, and for these favors they are bound to ascribe to him dominion and glory for ever. He will judge the world. Attention is called to that great day when all will see the wisdom and happiness of the friends of Christ, and the madness and misery of his enemies. Let us think frequently upon the second coming of Christ. He shall come, to the terror of those who wound and crucify him by apostasy: he shall come, to the astonishment of the whole world of the ungodly. He is the Beginning and the End; all things are from him and for him; he is the Almighty; the same eternal and unchanged One. And if we would be numbered with his saints in glory everlasting, we must now willing submit to him receive him, and honor him as a savior, who we believe will come to be our Judge. Alas, that there should be many, who would wish never to die, and that there should not be a day of judgment!

Today’s Gospel Reading
John 18:33-37
The Kingdom of Christ

18:33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”


Art thou the King of the Jews? that King of the Jews who has been so long expected? Messiah the Prince; art thou he? Dost thou call thyself so, and wouldest thou be thought so? Christ answered this question with another; not for evasion, but that Pilate might consider what he did. He never took upon him any earthly power, never were any traitorous principles or practices laid to him. Christ gave an account of the nature of his kingdom. Its nature is not worldly; it is a kingdom within men, set up in their hearts and consciences; its riches spiritual, its power spiritual, and it glory within. Its supports are not worldly; its weapons are spiritual; it needed not, nor used, force to maintain and advance it, nor opposed any kingdom but that of sin and Satan. Its object and design are not worldly. When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am a King. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth. The subjects of this kingdom are those that are of the truth.

Here end the Readings

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed
  • We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
  • And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, begotten from the Father before all ages, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made; of the same essence as the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, and was made human. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.
  • And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified. He spoke through the prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and to life in the world to come. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

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

Holy Communion
A nondenominational serving of bread and wine

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. This table is open to all who recognize Jesus Christ as healer and redeemer. This table is open to all who work to bring God’s Kingdom here on earth. No one is turned away because of life circumstances. No one is barred from this table. No one seeking God’s abundant grace and mercy is turned aside. We see before us the abundance that a life of faith offers as we respond to God’s everlasting mercy in prayer and deed.

(Revelation 1, John 18)

God calls us into the world to embody a realm that is not of this world. Go forth now in the name of the one who is, and was, and is to come. May God’s grace and peace be with you. Amen.

Call of Christ
Everyone has a call from God. Big or small, we all have an important role to play in the kingdom of God. But sometimes we don't answer his call. Will you answer?

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets].

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year B. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2021, we will be in Year C. The year which ended at Advent 2020 was Year A. 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. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

The Morning Prayer for Sunday, November 21, 2021


The Morning Prayer
Sunday, November 21, 2021

Accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people.
Ephesians 6:17–18, GNT

Lord God, whose might is over all the world, over heaven and over earth, we want to find strength in you, for you have given us thousands of proofs that you are with us, helping in all that happens. And when we meet with difficulties, we want all the more to find strength in you, we want all the more to hope in you and await your victory. Let your light shine into everything, in life and in death. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Verse of the Day for Sunday, November 21, 2021


Verse of the Day
Sunday, November 21, 2021

1 Corinthians 1:4-5
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge.
Salvation is one of the gifts of grace we receive from God; but when we are saved, we are also given spiritual gifts. (Paul explained this in detail in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 through 14.) The Greek word translated “enriched” gives us our English word “plutocrat,” “a very wealthy person.” The Corinthians were especially rich in spiritual gifts (2 Cor. 8:7) but were not using these gifts in a spiritual manner.

Read all of First Corinthians Chapter 1

Listen to First Corinthians Chapter 1

Scripture from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.

Our Daily Bread — Labrador Angel


Labrador Angel

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love. Psalm 143:8

READ Psalm 143

In 2019, Cap Dashwood and his sweet black lab companion, Chaela (“Chae” in memory of his lab who died; “la,” Dashwood’s abbreviation for “Labrador angel”), accomplished something remarkable: reaching a mountain summit each day for 365 consecutive days.

Dashwood has a moving story to tell. He left home at sixteen, explaining simply, “Bad family life.” But these past wounds led him to find healing elsewhere. He explains, “Sometimes when you’re disappointed by people, you turn to something else. You know?” For Dashwood, mountain climbing and the unconditional love of his black lab companion has been a big part of that “something else.”

For those of us, like myself, who deeply love our animal companions, a big piece of why we do is the sweet, utterly unconditional love they pour out—a kind of love that’s rare. But I like to think the love they effortlessly give points to a much greater and deeper reality than the failures of others—God’s unshakable, boundless love upholding the universe.

In Psalm 143, as in many of his prayers, it’s only David’s faith in that unshakable, “unfailing love” (v. 12) that tethers him to hope in a time when he feels utterly alone. But a lifetime of walking with God gives him just enough strength to trust that the morning will “bring me word of your unfailing love” (v. 8).

Just enough hope to trust again and to let God lead the way to paths unknown (v. 8).

By Monica La Rose


What signs of God’s unfailing, unending love do you see in the world around you? How have your experiences of the love of God through others or even animal companions given you renewed hope and courage?

Loving God, thank You for showing me how to believe in love and joy again. Help me to be a channel of that hope for others.


Church tradition has categorized Psalm 143 as one of the seven penitential psalms (psalms of confession) in which the writer expresses sorrow and repentance for sins. But only verse 2 fits that description neatly. The primary point of the poem is David’s desperate request for deliverance. Verses 3–4 outline the problem: he’s hiding from his enemy—quite possibly his own son Absalom. All the remaining verses address God directly, either appealing to Him for help or extolling His righteousness and recalling His previous help in times of need. The penitential aspect of the second verse provides a model for us in our own pleas to God for deliverance from danger. The greatest rescue we need is from our own sin.