Worship for Sunday 26th November 2023, by Rev. Caroline Wickens

Christ the King

Invitation to Worship

O come let us worship and lift our hearts . . .

Not because the world is good and last week was awesome,

but because the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,

the God of the whole Earth.


O come let us worship and raise our hands . . .

Not because our lives are all sweetness and light,

But because even those who walk in darkness

can see a great light,

the Bright and Morning Star


O come let us worship and bow down . . .

Not because God gives us what we want,

But because God gives us what we need –

the holy child Jesus, God’s most wonderful Gift.

Hymn: StF 57  Let all the world in every corner sing

Watch the video here

Let all the world in every corner sing
My God and King!
The heavens are not too high
His praise may thither fly
The earth is not too low
His praises there may grow
Let all the world in every corner sing
My God and King!

Let all the world in every corner sing
My God and King!
The church with psalms must shout
No door can keep them out
But above all the heart
Must bear the longest part
Let all the world in every corner sing
My God and King!

George Herbert (1593 – 1633)


Christ our King,
King of kings,
Lord of lords,
ruler of all.
We worship and adore You.

Christ our King,
You made us – we are Yours,
You love us – with a love that endures,
You care for us and protect us.
We worship and adore You.

Christ our King,
You were born in a stable,
You ate with sinners and tax collectors,
Your crown was of thorns.
We worship and adore You.

Christ our King
we come before You seeking forgiveness.

When we do not give You the honour due to You
Forgive us.

When we fail to understand Your Kingship
Forgive us.

When we see hunger and thirst,
but don’t see You:
teach us to notice, open our hands and our hearts.

When we see loneliness and poverty,
but don’t see You:
teach us to notice, open our hands and our hearts.

When we see human frailty and suffering,
but don’t see You:
teach us to notice, open our hands and our hearts

Hymn: StF 333  Majesty, worship his majesty

Majesty, worship his majesty;
Unto Jesus be all glory, honour, and praise.
Majesty, kingdom authority,
Flow from his throne unto his own, his anthem raise.
So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus.
Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus, the King.
Majesty, worship his majesty,
Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings.

Jack Hayford, © 1981 Rocksmith Music

Scripture Readings:

Philippians 2:5 – 11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him
    and gave him the name
    that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Matthew 25:31 – 46

The Judgement of the Nations

31 ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” 37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” 44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” 45 Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

Hymn: StF 251   Jesus Christ is waiting

  1. Jesus Christ is waiting, 

Waiting in the streets; 

No one is his neighbour, 

All alone he eats. 

Listen, Lord Jesus, 

I am lonely too. 

Make me, friend or stranger, 

Fit to wait on you 


  1. Jesus Christ is raging, 

Raging in the streets, 

Where injustice spirals 

And real hope retreats. 

Listen, Lord Jesus, 

I am angry too. 

In the Kingdom’s causes 

Let me rage with you. 


  1. Jesus Christ is healing, 

Healing in the streets; 

Curing those who suffer, 

Touching those he greets. 

Listen, Lord Jesus, 

I have pity too. 

Let my care be active, 

Healing just like you. 


  1. Jesus Christ is dancing, 

Dancing in the streets, 

Where each sign of hatred 

He, with love, defeats. 

Listen, Lord Jesus, 

I should triumph too. 

On suspicion’s graveyard 

Let me dance with you. 


  1. Jesus Christ is calling, 

Calling in the streets, 

“Who will join my journey? 

I will guide their feet.” 

Listen, Lord Jesus, 

Let my fears be few. 

Walk one step before me; 

I will follow you. 

John L.Bell (b.1949) and Graham Maule (b.1958), © Iona Community Glasgow


My father was a carpenter and joiner. The pieces of furniture he made over the years are works of art, beautifully designed and built. He sold them, though never for a price that reflected the work he put in, and then if the new owners managed to spoil them, he mended them. Spilt cups of coffee, chair legs cracked by a particularly heavy seat – he knew how to sort it all out. As the maker, he understood the design well enough to mend it.

On this, the last Sunday of the church’s year, we celebrate our faith in Christ as he really is, King of all creation. This world is made through him and known intimately by him, as any craftworker is familiar with the detail of what they have produced. And he knows the ways in which things have gone wrong. He decided to share our life, to abandon his glory and enter the world of human being with all its potential and all its grim anxiety. He recognises the nooks and crannies where sin has crept in to spoil the beauty and goodness of creation.

And, like any good designer-maker, Jesus knows how to put it right. His solution involves commitment and collaboration from a whole host of others – his followers, who seek to learn from him and model their life along the lines he set out. How does Jesus want us to share in his mission to mend the world and restore it to the glory he intended? Matthew records three parables about the kingdom of God, and over the last three weeks we have reflected on them all. Today’s parable tells of a shepherd separating out sheep and goats. The criterion for separation is the extent to which they have shared in Christ’s ministry of care for those in need – hungry or thirsty, naked or homeless, sick or in prison. For this is his plan for mending the world. We need to pay attention to the places where people have fallen through the gaps in the network of society and find themselves outside, excluded and disadvantaged by the problems they face.

If Jesus walked the streets of Manchester, he would find plenty of cracks to mend and stains to remove – and he would be looking for allies and co-workers in the tasks of responding to people in need. I hope he would find them in our churches. But I think he would also want to look further and ask why there are so many people in need. How do we need to reform and develop the structures of support that provide the network of welfare? How do we need to change our lifestyle to reduce pollution and carbon emissions? How should we engage with authorities to keep their focus on those in trouble? The struggle for kingdom values is about the community as well as the individual.

As we move into the new Church year with the beginning of Advent, we shall celebrate Christ as the one who comes as judge. Who has worked alongside him in his mission to mend the world? Who has noticed the cracks and the break-points, and done something about it? Yet the language of judgment should not distract us. When we choose to collaborate with Jesus, we are choosing the best, most joyful, most fulfilling way of life we can imagine. We work alongside him for love, not for fear, for this is the only way to describe his royal reign – he is King of Love.

Hymn: StF 479  The king of love my shepherd is

1 The King of love my shepherd is,
whose goodness faileth never.
I nothing lack if I am his,
and he is mine forever.

2 Where streams of living water flow,
my ransomed soul he leadeth;
and where the verdant pastures grow,
with food celestial feedeth.

3 Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed,
but yet in love he sought me;
and on his shoulder gently laid,
and home, rejoicing, brought me.

4 In death’s dark vale I fear no ill,
with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
thy rod and staff my comfort still,
thy cross before to guide me.

5 Thou spreadst a table in my sight;
thy unction grace bestoweth;
and oh, what transport of delight
from thy pure chalice floweth!

6 And so through all the length of days,
thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever.

HW Baker (1821 – 1877)

Dear Lord, king of glory, we lift our intercessions before your throne.

We plead for your world. Your heart must break at what you see today; lands ravaged by war, torn apart by evil actions. We pray against dark intentions and hardened hearts.
Dear Lord, king of glory, soften hearts. Open hearts and minds to your light of love.

Lord, we pray for hostilities to cease in Ukraine, between Israel and Gaza and in all lands where unrest is rife.
We pray for all civilians caught up in atrocities. Like the newborn babies brought safely out of Gaza, we pray too for the safe release of all hostages.
We pray for aid to be allowed through to reach those in dire need.
Dear Lord, king of glory, rule over your world. Bring peace and restoration.

We pray for governments the world over. Many speak promises yet their actions are corrupted by the lust for power and greed.
We pray for stability within our own government and the fulfilment of promises made. May all in parliament look to serve the people and not their own importance.
Dear Lord, king of glory, may your truth and justice rule over all.

We pray for churches throughout the land to rise and abide by your Word. Bring leaders to the forefront who will not waver from your truth and lead accordingly.
We pray for your children who have lost their way, succumbing to worldly influences. Good shepherd, bring the lost sheep back to the fold.
Dear Lord, king of glory, restore the lost. Guide us all on your path by the true light of your love.

We pray for all who are suffering; the lonely, the sick, the abused.
We pray for the NHS, for community nursing and for all those whose health is deteriorating as a result of lengthy waiting lists.
We pray for those suffering mental health issues who are struggling to find help due to lack of resources.
Help those in turmoil to find their way to you. Bring into their lives people who will walk with them in the dark times and accompany them to greener pastures.
Dear Lord, king of glory, bring your healing to the broken and mend lives.

We pray for our neighbourhoods: for rough sleepers in need of a home.
For people needing help with finances and food.
For children in need of loving care and a safe place to call home.
For our streets where knife crime is growing and ‘no go’ areas exist for many.
Dear Lord, king of glory, open eyes to see and respond to the needs of others. Help match actions to words. Give us boldness to act.

Dear Lord, king of glory, pour out your loving mercy and grace we pray. Amen.

Hymn: StF 317   At the name of Jesus

1 At the name of Jesus
every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him
King of glory now;
’tis the Father’s pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning
was the mighty Word.

2 Humbled for a season
to receive a name
from the lips of sinners
unto whom he came,
faithfully he bore it
spotless to the last,
brought it back victorious
when from death he passed;

3 Bore it up triumphant
with its human light,
through all ranks of creatures
to the central height,
to the throne of Godhead,
to the Father’s breast,
filled it with the glory
of that perfect rest.

4 In your hearts enthrone him;
there let him subdue
all that is not holy,
all that is not true;
crown him as your captain
in temptation’s hour;
let his will enfold you
in its light and power.

5 For this same Lord Jesus
shall return again
in his Father’s glory,
with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
King of glory now.Caroline Maria Noel (1817 – 1877)

Final Prayer

May we honour your name
not by paying it lip service, Lord Jesus
but by trusting the vision it speaks of

and the way it calls for

May we honour it by following you

speaking into the word with our actions
and showing who we’re chosen to follow

May we love in your name
speak in your name
care in your name


Worship resources: Roots on the Web, re:worship