Worship at Home for Sunday, November 21, 2021

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is Reign of Christ Sunday and Totenfest which are traditionally celebrated on the last day of the church year. Reign of Christ Sunday is also called Christ the King Sunday. The first Sunday of Advent will be on November 28.

Totenfest is when we remember those who have died during the past church year. If you have someone whom you wish to have remembered, please let me know.

If you need anything, please call me at the church office (437-2779) or my cellphone (573-832-2475). If you would like a copy These Days mailed to you or home communion, let me know.

Announcements:

  • Turkey Supper will be on Saturday, November 20. The cost will be $12 per adult.
    Dinner will be dine-in or carry-out with service beginning at 4pm.
    The Country Store will begin selling baked goods and crafts at 3pm.
  • Ministerial Alliance Community Thanksgiving Program on
    Sunday, November 21 at 6:00pm at 1st Baptist Church.
  • We will decorate for Advent and Christmas after worship on Sunday, November 28.
  • The Advent Tea will be Saturday, December 4. Reservations are being accepted at this time, please call the church office to make your reservation.
  • The Christmas Cantata will be on Sunday, December 5 at 3pm.

Prayers and Blessings,

Pastor Stephanie DeLong
 

Scripture Lessons: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14, Psalm 93; Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37

Sermon:

I do not know what it is that draws us into admiring royalty. Maybe it is the fairy tales that inhabit our childhoods either in story form or on the screen. The wedding and coronation scenes from Disney movies are beautiful to behold. When a member of the British Royal family gets married it is a worldwide television event. Scroll through an internet news feed and eventually you will see a headline about a royal somewhere. These royals possess titles and wealth to impress the ordinary person even if they have little to do with those of us living in Missouri in 2021. Still, something about them draws us in to the gossip and pageantry.

The only glimpses I have seen of the pageantry of royal events such as coronations and weddings would be film clips. Or perhaps depictions of these events from the popular Netflix series “The Crown”. There is a great deal of pomp and ceremony designed to create a sense of awe and importance for the occasion and for the royal family. These well publicized ceremonies are but an illusion of power when compared to the holy throne room in Daniel. If you Google “Behind the scenes of the Crown”, you can see the differences between the grand occasion which we see in the finished production in contrast to the sets on which the actors ply their craft.

The readings from Daniel and Revelation are filled with heavenly throne room visions which fill the reader with awe at the mystical and majestic power of God. The Ancient One in Daniel sits on a throne of fiery flames with wheels of burning fire while unimaginable numbers of servants stand in attendance. Momentously while the court sat in judgement the one like a human being came with the clouds of heaven and was presented to the Ancient One to be given everlasting dominion and glory and kingship over all the people.

Beautiful and frightening all at the same time are Daniels’s descriptions of his vision. Artists have tried to render these images in paint and canvas, but their artistic renderings fall short of my imaginings the true overwhelming power and glory of the scene. Perhaps this is because we can only understand the vision through the closed curtains of our earthly understanding. Maybe Daniel’s writing is a bit like those green screened scenes from “The Crown” which leave out so much which needs to be recreated and filled in at a later point and time. Daniel was blessed to have the curtain drawn back so that he could see God in almighty splendor.

The books of Daniel and Revelation are apocalyptic literature which seek to draw back the curtain of our earthly understanding to reveal the heavenly realm. The words draw back the curtain just enough to give us a small understanding of the heavenly realm. These are brief glimpses and visions into the wonder which is beyond our earthly comprehension. They serve as reminders who the true ruler of our world is and is not.

Today on the Reign of Christ Sunday, we read from John about when Jesus was presented before Pilot. It may seem strange to have this Holy Week reading on the Sunday before Advent, when we prepare for the arrival of the infant Jesus. Those who put together the New Revised Common Lectionary, which is used by many denominations, may have wished to remind us of the end of Jesus’ earthly lifetime journey which brought him to the cross. The journey to the cross intersected with the powerful earthly empire of the time in the form of Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor of Judea.

Jesus and Pilate engage in a duel of questions about kingship. This is tricky and dangerous territory for to claim kingship of Judea would be treason against Rome and punishable by death. Jesus claims kingship, but not of this world where Rome is but a green screen of pomp and circumstance in comparison to the throne rooms scene of Daniel’s vision. Jesus came to testify to the truth of God’s power, but those obsessed with earthly power and greed cannot hear it.

Revelation 1:4b-8 begins with a greeting from the one who is and was and is to come. Quoting Daniel’s vision of the human one who came in the clouds are a part of John of Patmos’ vision, but with an important new revelation. The human one is Jesus our savior who enters the heavenly throne room to usher in the Reign of Christ. Jesus does have a kingdom, a heavenly one.

The Reign of Christ is life giving for Jesus frees us through the sacrifice of his earthly life. This vision of the almighty Savior who loves and forgives us provides true hope to all ordinary people. We may only have glimpses of this true and awe-inspiring power, but we can live in faith and hope that Jesus’ Reign is true both in heaven and on earth. Maybe God is gifting you of with a vision of how to live as a citizen of the heavenly realm on earth. Do not run away from this mystical realm, but embrace it in prayer, love, faith, and hope. Have a mystical moment this week as you allow God to come into your heart and soul in moments of prayer and worship. Who knows what awesome visions you might see?
 

 

Prayer Almighty and everlasting God, you are the beginning and the end of all this is, was and ever shall be. We come before you in prayer this day to remember that it is Jesus Christ who reigns. May the Holy Spirit fill us with your awesome glory and inspired to serve you truly.  Amen.

 

Prayer list: All who have been on our list in the past and Bev, Elizabeth, Cheryl, Peggy, Mindy.

The family of Jim Leimkuehler who passed away last week.

References: The Harper Collins Study Bible, Copyright © 1993 by Harper Collins Publishers, Inc., New York, New York.

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