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notre dame montreal

Christ the King, last Sunday before Advent, Stir Up Sunday

Year B 2009, Liturgical Colour Red

Opening Sentence

Jesus as Pantocrator 

Christ Pantocrator (Ruler of All)

Jesus is typically depicted as teacher and philosopher. Like other teachers, he holds a book. His gaze is intent, inquiring, both open and inward. His heavenly blue outer garment and earthy red inner garment symbolize his dual nature. His unique halo is marked by a cross and lettering, roughly translatable as "I am who I am."

Collect Prayer
First Reading
Second Reading
Gospel Reading
Post Communion Sentence
Commentary
Meditation
Hymns
Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead
Intercessions from our Sunday worship
Sermons

Introduction

This Sunday is a special one, and the last Sunday of the Church year. Next week we begin the church year with the four Sundays of Advent .Our collect today reminds us that it is ‘Stir Up Sunday’ a Sunday synonymous with Christmas puddings. The great cry 'stir up' was a reminder to congregations to get the Christmas pudding made in plenty of time to mature before Christmas. An important addition to the mixture is a coin, whoever gets it on their plate on Christmas Day should get worldly riches heaped upon them.
However, the prayer is actually asking God for something much more important. We are praying that God will stir up our wills, so that we might get on with doing the good works that he has planned for us to do. Then, as a consequence, we pray that we might receive our abundant reward.

In an age when so much is about how we feel, it is interesting to get another perspective. In the end, it is our will, rather than our feelings, that is the most important governor of our actions.
Real love is not about feeling it is about choosing, by our wills, to do good to others even though we may not feel good towards them. Our feelings should not dominate our wills. And so we pray that God will "stir up" our wills, so that they will be in charge of us, doing what we know is right. In this prayer we recognise that we need God’s help in order for our wills to function properly.

Today we remember that Jesus is King, Lord of all.

Opening Sentence Psalm 1:1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Collect Prayer for the Day Before we read we pray

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 God, now and for ever. Amen Common Worship

God, our refuge and strength, bring near the day when wars shall cease and poverty and pain shall end, that earth may know the peace of heaven through Jesus Christ our Lord. Common Worship Shorter Collect

God the Father, help us to hear the call of Christ the King and to follow in his service, whose kingdom has no end; for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, one glory. Common Worship Shorter Collect

First Bible Reading Daniel Chapter 7:9-10,13-14

As I looked, "thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.

"Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)

"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Second Reading Revelation Chapter 1: 4b-8

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, 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, 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. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Gospel Reading John 18:33-37

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?""Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?""Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?" Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.""You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."


Post Communion Sentence

Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of goof works, may by you be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Commentary

On this special Sunday we are reminded that Christ is King, yet we should not be a people who fear his coming.

I would like to bring to your attention the 'sator rotas' word square. Remember this as we look at it,—it was compiled at a time when persecution of Christians was real and a present danger, they were thrown to the lions, tortured etc. Whilst the papers are being given out a joke.....

The Christian is being thrown to the lions and about to be eaten. He prays, God make the lion a Christian. The lion stops as it is about to bite his head off and says 'for what we are about to receive'.

The 'SATOR ROTAS' word square

R O T A S
O P E R A
T E N E T
A R E P O
S A T O R

This has been found from early centuries to modern times all over the world, from Europe to Africa. In 1868 a copy was found on a Roman wall plaster in Cirencester. In 1933 four copies were discovered in Dura Europos. A partial copy was unearthed in Pompeii in 1925 and in 1936 a complete one was discovered in the same city in a building near the ampitheatre.

1—SATOR or 'sower' is an early name for Jesus

2—The letters add up to a double PATERNOSTER with an extra Alpha and Omega, first and last letter of the Greek alphabet. Illustrated here—

A
P
A
T
E
R
A P A T E R N O S T E R 0
O
S
T
E
R
0

3—The central letter in each side is a T which in ancient times was written as a cross

4—The cross is flanked on all sides by the A and O representing the Alpha and Omega

5—In the centre comes the repeated word TENET which means 'he holds'

Alpha and Omega were the first and last letters of the alphabet, to say Alpha and Omega would be like us saying 'A to Z'. For the early Christians enduring persecutions, the message was that Jesus was the beginning and end of all things, he was with them. He who had been through it himself would hold and sustain them. The significance of the square is in its embodiment of the faith that he who is the Alpha and Omega of all things has been revealed as 'our Father' in the Christ who died on the cross. Remember that Pompeii was destroyed by Vesuvius in AD 79. the Christians clearly adopted the cross and its symbol from an early date.

We do not know what the future holds; but we do know who holds the future. Our future belongs to him. That is why we are able to live today with confidence and not with fear. We do not have confidence because we know exactly what tomorrow will look like, we have confidence because we know what Christ is like. Christ is the source of all things and the end of all things. We know this—we need not fear for the future is his.

 

Meditation

We are now reaching the end of the Church’s year. With the beginning of Advent, we begin again the cycle of the birth of Jesus, his ministry, his death, Passion and resurrection. 

The ending of a year is a good time to assess where we have been, what has been achieved, and perhaps most importantly, where we are going with our journey of faith. 

If, when we look at our spiritual lives, we feel that we have made no real progress, perhaps it is time to embark on more regular Bible study. Perhaps joining a house group would give you the support you need for growth? Perhaps you would like to put your faith into some kind of action, helping missionary work or community projects. 

New beginnings are always exciting, offering us the challenge of new spiritual adventures and development.

 

 

Hymns and Psalms

  1. Rejoice the Lord is King
  2. Jesus is coming

 

Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

 

Additional Material

Stir up Sunday puddingToday is the last Sunday of the church year, next week the year begins with the first Sunday in Advent, four Sundays before Christmas. Our collect today reminds us that it is ‘Stir Up Sunday’ a Sunday synonymous with Christmas puddings. The great cry 'stir up' was a reminder to congregations to get the Christmas pudding made in plenty of time to mature before Christmas. An important addition to the mixture is a coin, whoever gets it on their plate on Christmas Day should get worldly riches heaped upon them.

However, the Stir Up prayer is actually asking God for something much more important. We are praying that God will stir up our wills, so that we might get on with doing the good works that he has planned for us to do. Then, as a consequence, we pray that we might receive our abundant reward.
In an age when so much is about how we feel, it is interesting to get another perspective. In the end, it is our will, rather than our feelings, that is the most important governor of our actions. Real love is not about feeling it is about choosing, by our wills, to do good to others even though we may not feel good towards them. Our feelings should not dominate our wills. And so we pray that God will "stir up" our wills, so that they will be in charge of us, doing what we know is right. In this prayer we recognise that we need God’s help in order for our wills to function properly.