Psalm 93: 4 – The Majesty of God’s Rule

4 More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
 more majestic than the waves of the sea,
 majestic on high is the Lord! 

Today, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, is Christ the King Sunday, when we think about the majesty of Jesus, and the kingdom of God.  Our opening hymn picks up the themes of Jesus as King, reigning in our lives.


Hymn – 335 – Rejoice, the Lord is King!

  1  Rejoice, the Lord is King!
  Your Lord and King adore;
  mortals, give thanks, and sing,
  and triumph evermore:
  Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
  rejoice!  Again I say: rejoice!

  2  Jesus the Saviour reigns,
  the God of truth and love;
  when he had purged our stains,
  he took his seat above:

  3  His kingdom cannot fail,
  he rules both earth and heaven;
  the keys of death and hell
  are to our Jesus given:

  4  He sits at God's right hand
  till all his foes submit,
  and bow to his command,
  and fall beneath his feet:

  5  Rejoice in glorious hope;
  Jesus the Judge shall come,
  and take his servants up
  to their eternal home:
  We soon shall hear the archangel's voice;
  God's trumpet-call shall sound: rejoice!

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)


Prayer of adoration & confession

Sovereign God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, you are our God.

Sitting on your throne, you reign over earth and heaven, and in the lives of all who call your King.  You are beyond our imagining, beyond our dreams and visions or our wildest hopes.  You reign in us, and with us, and among us.

Almighty God, we pray for your kingdom to be known on earth, for your love to spread out to all the nations, for your people to be blessed by your presence.

With sorrow and sadness, we confess our sin.  Our failure to listen to your message and lack of commitment to your way.  Our readiness to speak when we should remain silent, and out hesitation to speak out when your voice needs to be heard.


The Lord God says – be assured your sins are forgiven, your sate is wiped clean.  Listen to the word of God and know its truth.  Amen


Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14 - Judgement before the Ancient One

9 As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
 and an Ancient One took his throne;
his clothing was white as snow,
 and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
 and its wheels were burning fire. 
10 A stream of fire issued
 and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousand served him,
 and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgement,
 and the books were opened. 

13As I watched in the night visions,
I saw one like a human being
 coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
 and was presented before him. 
14 To him was given dominion
 and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
 should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
 that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
 that shall never be destroyed.

John 18: 33-37

33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ 34Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ 35Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ 36Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ 37Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’


The history of the long line of historical Jewish Kings is all mixed up with violence, and is very different to the hereditary monarchy that we are used to in Britain.  Pilate is exasperated that he has been caught up in another internal Jewish fight, and wants to wash his hands of Jesus, but he is, perhaps, also intrigued to know what Jesus has done to upset the elders and priests. 

Jesus is not interested in the status that being acknowledged as a King would bring, but is very interested in bringing God’s kingdom to earth.  Some translations of this passage refer to Jesus’ words as “My Kingdom is not of this world”, whereas we have read “not from this world”.  There is an important distinction.  The former seems to suggest that God’s kingdom is somehow distant, extra-terrestrial in nature, whereas the latter, a more correct translation, confirms the kingdom of God as being distinct from, but a part of, this world.  Whilst being essentially different to this world, it is for this world.  Jesus goes on to confirm his Kingship, but a very different Kingship to anything that has gone before, one not governed by the rules of earthly society, but by God’s desire for the world.  He reveals the reason why he has come to rule, is “to testify to the truth”.  But what is this truth?

The Congregation are going to play a game of the television show, “Would I Lie to You?”  One person makes three statements, two of which are true, and one is false.  The congregation can ask 5 questions to try to work out which statement is false.

How does the congregation identify the lie?

This week I had an email from HMRC saying that I had not finished submitting my tax return, and suggesting that I click on a link to complete the process.  I checked, and it had been done.  The email was a scam, a lie, to entice me to click a link which would presumably allow someone to access my computer, or to get hold of my data.  In a world where many scams seem very believable, how do we work out what is the truth in what people say to us?

  • Experience – how does it fit with what we know for ourselves
  • Reason – does it make sense
  • Tradition – does it fit with the general pattern of life

Jesus says, “Everyone who belongs to the truth, listens to my voice”, and in the next verse, Pilate asks the famous question, “What is Truth?”

So, what is this truth which Jesus testifies to?

The eternal truth is not “from this world”, as it originates in God’s Kingdom, but it is most definitely “for this world”.  The Truth is the perfect world which God wants us to inhabit, before it was corrupted by human actions.  It does not originate in our society, but it can be experienced by it.  Jesus came to tell us about it, to testify to it, and everyone who believes in Jesus’ kingdom, listens to what he has to say, and welcomes his message.

To belong to Jesus is to listen to him, to recognise the truth of his words and actions, to follow his direction, and to discover and to live by the kingdom truth that he embodies.

May we all hear the truth, and help to bring God’s kingdom to this world.



Hymn – 161 – Speak, O Lord, as we come to you

  1  Speak, O Lord, as we come to you
  to receive the food of your holy word.
  Take your truth, plant it deep in us;
  shape and fashion us in your likeness,
  that the light of Christ might be seen today
  in our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
  Speak, O Lord, and fulfil in us
  all your purposes, for your glory.

  2  Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
  holy reverence, true humility.
  Test our thoughts and our attitudes
  in the radiance of your purity.
  Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
  your majestic love and authority.
  Words of power that can never fail;
  let their truth prevail over unbelief.

  3  Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
  help us grasp the heights of your plans for us.
  Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
  that will echo down through eternity.
  And by grace we’ll stand on your promises,
  and by faith we’ll walk as you walk with us.
  Speak, O Lord, till your Church is built
  and the earth is filled with your glory.

Keith Getty (b. 1974) and Stuart Townend (b. 1963)


Prayers for others

We pray for the world, thinking especially today of those countries ruled by selfish and greedy rulers, those who live in fear and poverty, whilst others enjoy luxury and wealth.

We pray for your church in the world,

for the North East Somerset & Bath Circuit, of which we are a part, for it’s ministers, lay workers, churches and congregations – especially this week we join with the Circuit as we pray together for Trinity, and for the changes happening in that family.

We pray for our friends who are unwell, and their families who are supporting them, and for all those we know and love …………

And we pray for ourselves


God of all, we ask on behalf of all those in need.



The Lord’s Prayer

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come;

thy will be done;

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

the power, and the glory

for ever and ever.



Hymn – 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,
  with his Father’s glory,
  with his angel train;
  all the wreaths of empire
  meet upon his brow,
  and our hearts confess him
  King of Glory now.


Rev. Martin Slocombe

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