Sunday Worship 21st November 2021

Welcome to this morning's Sunday Worship service led by Colin Firbank (in church and via Zoom).


We normally worship in church each week and also via Zoom, with a recording of the Zoom meeting published by Monday morning. If you are not currently on our mailing list for Zoom please contact Rev Christine: christineamfox@gmail.com


Click below on the play button to start this morning's service video.



God Bless x


If you'd like to connect with Grangewood please contact us.

Rev Christine Fox: christineamfox@gmail.com


Thank you to all those who have been part of arranging this week's service.

Below you can find this weeks Message. Click here to find the whole worship sheet.


Message


John 18 v 37. So Pilate asked him, ‘Are you a king, then?’


Today is the feast day of Christ the King. It was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. The original intention of the Church was to proclaim, in an effective manner, Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments and nations. He is Lord of all and must be worshipped by all. He is to rule over our lives. Pilate asked, ‘Are you a king then?’ When you are getting to know people what is it that you like to learn about them?It is good to know their name, what they do, what their interests are, where they are from. Sometimes we find we learn a lot about people after they die and something of their life history is shared in a funeral/thanksgiving service.If you are anything like me you may have been to a few recently. Last Saturday it was the service for Anne Wragg. Four grandchildren read details of her life history and then Ian, her husband, shared some of his memories of the kind of person Anne was in a way of which, he hopes, Anne would have approved. So we learnt more about her life and the kind of person she had been. I want us to look at our readings to see what they are saying about Christ the King.

1a. Pilate had been put into a difficult situation by the Jewish leaders. In their opposition to Jesus they wanted him killed. The Romans had allowed the Jews a good deal of self-government, but they did not have the right to carry out the death penalty. Their main charge against Jesus was one of blasphemy, but they knew that Pilate would not condemn anyone to death for what appeared to be a private religious quarrel. By accusing Jesus of claiming to be a king it became a charge of rebellion and political insurrection. When we read on in John’s Gospel we see that Pilate is not convinced by the Jews’ claims and spends some time trying to find out who Jesus is. The issue of the type of kingdom which Jesus was establishing was raised. In biblical times the king was the ultimate authority in his kingdom. The word of the king was the law of the land and it was the king’s policies which determined whether the kingdom was just and peaceful or not. This was the concept, that the king ruled over a land. Jesus gave a completely different explanation of the type of king that he is. His kingdom is not of this world, it is not about fighting, it is a kingdom without an army. It is one of speaking the truth and includes those who listen to and understand the truth. Despite his attempts to persuade the people that Jesus did not deserve to die Pilate finally gave in. After asking ‘Do you want me to crucify your king?’ the reply was ‘The only king we have is the Emperor.’ However, Pilate still insisted that on the cross were the words, ‘Jesus of Nazareth. King of the Jews’.


1b. The book of Daniel was written in about 167 B.C. It was a time when Greek culture was being established in that part of the world under the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes. There was great opposition by the Jewish people and Antiochus marched on Jerusalem and settled his troops in the Temple. Jewish practices were forbidden, the scriptures burned and pagan altars were erected. There was a revolt led by Judas Maccabaeus and by 164 B.C. the foreign troops had been driven out. The book of Daniel is very patriotic in tone and in the first 6 chapters contains tales of the heroic past when the people, including Daniel, were exiles in Babylon. The second half has visions which relate to the time of 167 B.C. and are really an expression of hope and encouragement to keep their faith pure. The words which we heard are usually understood as an expression of the expectation of the Messiah. ‘He was given authority, honour and royal power so that the people of all nations, races and languages would serve him. His authority would last for ever and his kingdom would never end.’


1c. The book of Revelation was also written at a difficult time, in this case for the early Christians in about 90 A.D. John, the writer, had been punished when Domitian was the Emperor and continued the tradition of insisting on Caesar worship. Anyone who refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord was regarded as a bad Roman citizen. John’s vision, like that of Daniel, is to encourage people. The words we read also claim that Jesus is for everyone – ‘Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first to be raised from death and who is also the ruler of the kings of the world. He loves us, and by his sacrificial death he had freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father.’


2. In trying to understand what it means to accept Christ as king we are also trying to find out what it means to be a member of his kingdom.As individuals we make our responses in the way we spend time in devotion and service. As a church we look at ways in which we help people to worship and encourage involvement in the local community. Within the circuit it has been interesting to see how the different churches have coped during the pandemic to offer time of worship and to maintain pastoral support.‘Are you a king?’ Pilate asked and he himself gave the answer ‘yes’, even if we may not fully understand what he understood by that.It is what we understand that is important.

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