Liturgy of the Word for the Kingship of Christ, the Last Sunday after Pentecost, November 22, 2020

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A note about the structure of this webpage:

This page is set up to enable you to participate in the Liturgy of The Word, during which you will hear the sermon in its natural liturgical context; or you can scroll down the page to hear the stand-alone sermon webcast accompanied by the written text.

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Order of Service for the Liturgy of the Word

Liturgy of the Word

The Liturgy of the Word begins on page 355 of the Book of Common Prayer or online Eucharist Rt II here. Podcasts produced by Christian Tulungen.

The Prelude: Prelude in G Major, BWV 541a, by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750),Steven Young, organ

Welcome: The Rev’d Mark Sutherland, Rector

The Introit: Introit by Iain Quinn (b. 1983), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The Greeting: Blessed be God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and blessed be God’s Kingdom, now and for ever.

Hymn 377 “All people that on earth do dwell” (vv. 1, 5), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

 1 All people that on earth do dwell,
sing to the Lord with cheerful voice:
him serve with mirth, his praise forth tell,
come ye before him and rejoice.

5 To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
the God whom heaven and earth adore,
from men and from the angel host
be praise and glory evermore.

Collect for Purity

The Gloria S 280, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The Collect of the Day:

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The First Reading: Ezekial 34:11-16, 20-24, read by Melinda DelCioppio

Psalm 100, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

Refrain: Come before God's presence with a song.

1 Be joyful in the LORD, all you lands;
  serve the LORD with gladness
  and come before his presence with a song.
2 Know this: The LORD himself is God;
  he himself has made us, and we are his;
  we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
3 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
  give thanks to him and call upon his Name.
4 For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
  and his faithfulness endures from age to age.


The Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23, read by Melinda DelCioppio

Hymn 391 “Before the Lord’s eternal throne” (v. 1), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

 1 Before the Lord's eternal throne,
ye nations, bow with sacred joy;
know that the Lord is God alone,
he can create, and he destroy.

The Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46, proclaimed by Linda+

Hymn 391 (v. 5)

 5 Wide as the world is thy command,
vast as eternity thy love;
firm as a rock thy truth must stand
when rolling years shall cease to move.

The Sermon: Mark+  A stand-alone sermon recording and full text also appear below on this page.

The Nicene Creed: We recite together. Please note italicized inclusive language changes.

We believe in one God,
    the Father, the Almighty,
    maker of heaven and earth,
    of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
    the only Son of God,
    eternally begotten of the Father,
    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,
    begotten, not made,
    of one Being with the Father.
    Through him all things were made.
    For us and for our salvation
        he came down from heaven:
    by the power of the Holy Spirit
        he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
        and was made human.
    For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
        he suffered death and was buried.
        On the third day he rose again
            in accordance with the Scriptures;
        he ascended into heaven
            and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
        and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, God, the giver of life,
    who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
    With the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified
    and has spoken through the Prophets.

    We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
    We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
    We look for the resurrection of the dead,
        and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Anthem: “Let All Things Now Living” arr. by Katherine K. Davis (1892-1980), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The Prayers of the People, led by Linda+

The Lord’s Prayer, The St. Martin Chapel Consort

The General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, 
we your unworthy servants
give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable
love in the redemption of the world
by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace,
and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such
an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts
we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you in
holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

The Peace

Hymn 450, “All hail the power of Jesus’ Name!” (vv. 1, 6), The St. Martin Chapel Consort

1 All hail the power of Jesus' Name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all!
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown him Lord of all!

6 Let every kindred, every tribe,
on this terrestrial ball,
to him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of all!
to him all majesty ascribe,
and crown him Lord of all!

The Final Blessing

The Postlude:  Nun danket alle Gott (from Op. 65) by Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933), Steven Young, organ

Permission to podcast/stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE with license #M-400498. All rights reserved.

Stand Alone Sermon

Kingship as Service

On this Kingship of Christ Sunday my thoughts are wide ranging, for today being Christ the King is also the last Sunday in the current Church year as well as being Ingathering at St Martin’s.

It is so hard not to be consumed by an obsessive devouring of bad news for the sorry state of the world, esp. the natural world, the turmoil in the Republic, and the many more local issues that demand attention. Besieged by worry my mind turns to these words:

 And we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days.

So, run the words of the General Thanksgiving, that ancient and venerable prayer which concludes the offices of morning and evening prayer. In similar vein my mind turns to our recent Opening Our Doors to the Future  case statement:

Like our namesake Martin, St. Martin’s is devoted to outreach, which it could be said, is the true passion of the church. Our outreach mission is to provide support to the neediest populations in Providence—where we can make the greatest impact and a real difference in people’s lives. Helping women, children, the homeless, released prisoners, asylum seekers, and struggling arts organizations are central to our mission of giving to smaller organizations that may not have large fundraising initiatives. From providing space in our building at no cost or reduced rates to the work beyond our walls, we strive to make a difference in the world.

Put more concisely Opening Our Doors to the Future brings to life the words from the General Thanksgiving: defining that which Paul refers to in his letter to the Ephesians:  the hope to which God is calling us and in so doing – drawing their essence from words of Jesus proclaimed in today’s gospel from Matthew about the sheep and the goats.

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020 finds us navigating the convergence of numerous eddies and currents in the busy life of our St Martin’s community. This past year has been a year of heavy lifting as we have worked tirelessly for the success of Opening Our Doors to the Future. Today, on Ingathering this campaign concludes alongside the yearly annual renewal campaign and it’s been challenging to hold in our minds the tension of twin financial commitment urgencies.

We give thanks that Opening Our Doors to the Future is not simply fruitful in having reached the goal we set ourselves, but more importantly it is a reflection of so much more than just a dollar amount. Our accomplishment is an expression of our members active participation in the spirit of the words of the General Thanksgiving that:

with truly thankful hearts we may show forth God’s praise,
not only with our lips but in our lives

This achievement during a time of national and international anxieties of monumental proportions is the fruit of the unstinting generosity of our members and our faith in a future in which the rich legacy past generations bequeathed to us. will continue for future generations.

Ingathering is the name we give to that point in time when we ask all our members to recommit themselves to financially supporting our community for another year. Having so generously supported the capital campaign – it’s hard to bring our focus down to the more immediate, year-on-year needs of the community. Today is the day we asked all of us to have made our recommitment to another year in our community’s life – commitment flowing from an experience of gratitude not simply for all being a part of the St Martin’s community brings us, but gratitude also for what being part of the St Martin’s community enables us together to do what none of us could manage alone.

Compared to previous years at this point, we are lagging a little behind – having received only half of our expected pledges for 2021. Can I urge you please if you have not done so already to return your pledge information because without it attempting to budget for the coming year is akin to shooting in the dark.

I began with a reference to today being the Kingship of Christ Sunday – the last Sunday after Pentecost – bringing to an end this past Church Year. Next week on Advent Sunday we begin a new yearly cycle with the joyful prospect of leaving Matthew behind and returning to Mark for the weekly gospel reflections on the life of Jesus. Yet, we leave Matthew with his parable about the sheep and goats in which Jesus proclaims the heart of our apostolic calling I referred to earlier as a community of Christians:

For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me,  I was sick and you looked after me,  I was in prison and you came to visit me.

These words remind us that the kingship of Christ is not a kingship as in the exercise of imperial power, but a kingship exercised through service.

The opening lines of today’s New Testament lesson from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians express for me all that I feel so deeply thankful for as rector in this wonderful Christian community:

I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you.

Moving into a new Church Year, a year that promises both daunting challenges and exciting opportunities, Linda+ and I are immeasurably thankful for the opportunity of serving as priests and pastors in this wonderful community of Christians. We are those who in Paul’s words from Ephesians 1:18:

with hearts enlightened are coming know the hope to which God is calling us.



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