4Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me:
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passages teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
Reflection: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
This Sunday is a special day in the life of the Church. Not only is it the final Sunday of the season of Kingdomtide, but it is also the final Sunday of the Christian year. This day is known as Christ the King Sunday. In a sense, this is the “omega” Sunday, and as we close the Christian year we want to be reminded of the one in whom we find our beginning and end, the one who truly rules over heaven and earth. And so we remember the power and majesty of Jesus Christ.
We live in a politically charged culture. Just a couple weeks have passed since the conclusion of a very contentious election season. We hear much more than we could ever want to hear about our civic leaders. We argue about political points to the degree that you would think our lives were on the line. We are inundated with news, news, news – all of which is dominated by scandal and intrigue centered around political figures. It is nice to take a break and remember that these civic leaders ultimately do not have any real power.
Real power – including eternal power – is in the hands of our King and Lord, Jesus Christ. Our Lord never abuses his power, but reigns in both mercy and justice. All of these celebrity-politicians will one day fade away. All of our argument-infused pundit debates will one day fall silent. All of the decisions made in Atlanta and Washington will one day give way to the will of the Lord. The rule and reign of Jesus Christ will endure, for he is the one who was, is, and always will be. I imagine the Lord must laugh when he hears our world leaders speak and try to posture themselves into a position of power and authority. Though, we know from Scripture, that it also breaks the divine heart that we have too often rejected our true King for the leadership of others (see 1 Samuel 8).
This week, take a moment to think about the ways that the rule of Jesus Christ affects your life. If Jesus is the everlasting King, what does this mean for you? How will the ways of Christ the King make a difference in your day-to-day life? Will you allow Jesus Christ to truly reign over your thoughts, words, intentions, and actions? The glorified Christ is a good, just, righteous King. We can trust him with our whole selves.
Journaling Focus: To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
I love this statement from the Scripture, because it reminds us that we are invited to both receive from God and give our service to God. This reflects both grace and responsibility – two very important elements in the Christian life. We have been given the amazing gift of freedom through the loving sacrifice of Jesus Christ and we have been called upon to be a kingdom of priests who carry on the work of Jesus Christ. In what ways have you, as one of the redeemed of God, been called to be a priest? How is your life an expression of grateful service to God’s kingdom? Reflect on your place in the royal priesthood of God as you write this week.
This practice allows you to listen to the Scripture for the week (in larger context) and to open yourself up to God’s voice in that Scripture.
Click on the audio link above and listen to the Scripture. As you listen this first time, ask God to point out to you a word or phrase from the Scripture.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a second time. As you listen this second time, ask God to reveal to you the holy intentions for this word or phrase that is being spoken into your life.
- Click on the audio link above again and listen to the Scripture a third time. As you listen this third time, ask God how you might respond to this word or phrase being spoken into your life today.
Read and sing the hymn O Worship the King. By following the link, you can access the text and audio files for the hymn. Pay special attention to what this hymn says about the majesty of God. What is God communicating to you through this song? What might you communicate to God through this song?
Prayer Focus: So it is to be. Amen.
How can your prayers become an affirmation of what God is doing in the world? As you pray this week, ask God to reveal his will to you. Listen more than you speak. Pray that God will give you the strength, courage, and grace to be a living “Amen” to the divine work being done in the world. Ask the daring question – “What is your will and how might I do it?”
Meditation Focus: Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him…
Growing up, I was afraid of the second coming of Jesus. It was always framed in a frightening way. As I have grown, I find the idea of Christ’s coming – and, especially, my ability to see Jesus face to face – to be comforting and exciting. Christ’s coming might happen in my lifetime, but it also very well might happen long after I have died. Either way, I will see Jesus coming in the clouds and I will “meet the Lord the air,” as Paul says (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Take a moment to envision this scene. What do you feel as you see Jesus burst onto the scene? What is your reaction? How do you respond to Jesus? Is this a frightening or a comforting scene – and why?
Take some time to reflect upon your day or your week. Follow the process below and open yourself up to the presence and work of God in your life this week. Every week the structure is the same, but some specifics are changed to reflect the Scripture of the week.
- Find a place and posture that will prepare you for prayer.
- Begin by breathing in deeply through your nose and breathing deeply out of your mouth.
- Invite God to lead you through the previous day or week. For instance, if it is Tuesday night, reflect back on Tuesday morning, afternoon, and evening. If it Saturday or Sunday, reflect back on Monday through Friday.
- Ask God to guide you through these questions:
- Where have you seen the majesty of God?
- How have you lived under the reign of God?
- In what ways have you chosen your “authority” over God’s authority?
- Thank God for this journey of reflection on your day or week. Ask God to continue to reveal Godself to you tomorrow.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. We are thankful for all that we have been given. All that we have has been given to us by our glorious King. Write a letter of Thanksgiving to God this week, being sure to specifically thank God for the abundance of his blessings.
Breath Prayer: LORD God, reign over us.