Good morning everybody and welcome back, I hope you are all well, today we celebrate Christ the King which is the last Sunday before Advent, which starts next week. This afternoon the Bishop of Bolton Mark Ashcroft is returning to St. Maxentius to conduct the team confirmation service here at St Maxentius, the service starts at 3pm.
We have our Christmas fair coming up on the 3rd of December, many thanks to Nicola Waring for co-ordinating everything and we are having a grand bottle draw tickets are available from church or on the day and donations of bottles will be greatly appreciated. Our Christmas dinner on Jesus contributions this year are boxes of luxury biscuits and they need to be in by the 27th of November. Also a reminder about the mission community carol service at St Paul’s on the 27th November, 6.30pm
Our reading today goes back to the Easter story when Christ was on the cross, the reflection is by myself and the intercessions are by Chris Sutcliffe.
We celebrate the coming of Christ into the world. The word made flesh, and dwelt among us.
And we beheld his glory.
Lord direct our thoughts and teach us how to pray. Lift up our hearts to worship you in spirit and in truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.
Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father. We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ only son of the Father Lord God Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One , you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most high, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord and King: keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace, and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
THE OLD TESTAMENT READING
JEREMIAH 23. 1-6
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.
The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Glory to you O Lord.
LUKE 23. 33-43
When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
Two interesting readings, although we are not used to hearing about the crucifixion so close to Christmas, so why now? Obviously today is the day celebrated that Christ is the King, on the cross it was written that he was King of the Jews, the long awaited Messiah, although many people were waiting for a very different King, one that would come with a sword and armies to free them from the tyranny of the Romans and their countries Kings. We know that wasn’t God’s plan, he sent a teacher and peace maker, he sent love.
Jesus was mocked even by the criminal beside him but the other criminal, acknowledged that they were in the wrong, he couldn’t accept that Jesus should suffer like them. Even during his pain Jesus exonerates him and brings him the promise of God’s Kingdom. The reading from Jeremiah condemns those who spread evil and scatter the sheep (God’s followers in this analogy). He talks of putting the correct people in power and bringing back those that are lost. This was Jesus’ mission on the earth, he was to bring back to God those that have fallen by the wayside or lost to other leaders or religions.
We still have this mission ourselves to tell his story, to live as he would want us to live and bring his people back to himself. We can do this by example, how we act, how we listen, how we are with other people. In other words spread the love.
Jesus didn’t spend his time with the priests and Roman leaders he spent time with the ordinary people, with sinners with those who were outcast, he was rounding up his lost sheep and bringing them back into the fold. But what an example he gave us to follow, we can but try.
I believe in God the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.
I believe in God the Son, who lives in our our hearts through faith, and fills us with his love.
I believe God the Holy Spirit who strengthens us with power from on high.
I believe in one God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Here we pray for the church, for the world, those in need and those who have died, you can follow your own prayers or these below on today’s theme.
Jesus, dying by crucifixion between criminals, is the anointed King of all creation in whom all things are reconciled.
We pray to God our Eternal Father through our Saviour Jesus who is both Christ the King and the Son of Man and who understands our needs and the needs of this world
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
Loving God we pray for your church, we pray for all members with their various gifts and ministries; we pray that even our weaknesses can be used to your glory for the good of others.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
Merciful God, we pray for your world. We pray for peace, reconciliation and healing in the places of war, hatred and crucifixion. We pray that the nations of this world may be united in their endeavour to work towards living in freedom and peace.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
Father God, we pray for our communities, our families and friends, our places of work and study and all our brothers and sisters in the Bolton North East Mission Community.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer
Later today, at St Maxentius, Bishop Mark, will confirm six young people and one adult. Please hold in your prayers: Jacob Duff, Ava and Isa McCulloch, Victoria Power, Alfie Smith, Gracie Stones and Harry Tootill may God’s love surround them as they continue on their journey following Christ.
Lord in your mercy . Hear our prayer.
Healing God, we pray for all those who suffer at this time remembering especially Irene Bennett, Kathryn Browning, Kevin Maguire, Peter Warburton, Mary Cooper, Mandy Tidy, Doreen Wood and Maureen Hulme. We pray that they will know the presence of Christ the King within them, bringing peace and healing according to their needs.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Eternal Father, may the dying know your closeness, and, those who mourn their loved ones know for certain that your kingdom stretches across both sides of death. From our Book of Remembrance, we pray for those whose anniversaries fall at this time: Gillian Paula Gent, George Lloynd, Edgar Leighton Dodd, Teia Pollitt, Florence Phillips, Joyce Telford, Wilfred Armstrong, Florence Greenhalgh, Ellie Rees, Arthur Ian Harrison, Leo Valentine, Elsie Morris and Charles Henry Hoyle.
Our loved ones leave behind a light that will never dim or fade. It’s kept bright by the love we feel and the memories we made.
Lord in your mercy Hear our prayer.
Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving as we realise again the extraordinary extent of your love for us.
Merciful Father. Accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
May Christ our King make us faithful and strong, to do his will and strengthen us to walk with him all the rest of our lives. And the blessing of God Almighty the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, be with is now and always. Amen