If the Sunday before Thanksgiving invited us to look at the community and the family that surrounds us, this Sunday encourages us to look up to the Christ as we give thanks for the kingdom he asks us to see and to lean into. This week casts back over the journey we have made with Christ from Advent to Christ the King Sunday. We anticipated his coming – the first time and the promised return to bring the new heavens and the new earth. We heard the voice pronounce God’s blessing at his baptism by John at the river Jordan; we fasted with him in the desert and saw him tempted to take the easy route. We heard him reject that temptation and then saw the results as he walked the way of sorrows through suffering to death on a cross. We rejoiced with incredible joy when Easter morning dawned with a risen Son and a promise of eternity within our grasp. We heard his commissioning to go into all the world and make disciples, and we saw him rising to his proper place, to his enthronement in the very presence of God. We felt the gift of his Spirit blow through us like wind and fire as we sought to be the church at work in the world. And now we bow before the one who loved us, who claimed us and redeemed us; and we sing praise and thanksgiving for that blessing and that hope.
Sing the songs of the faith, the ancient ones sung from the beginnings of the church and the modern ones that tap into who we are today as we seek to give praise to Christ. Let the congregation lose themselves in adoration. Let them hear the word with anticipation and with expectation. Catch a glimpse of the risen One among you; feel the breath of the Spirit and know that God is present in worship today.
This is a week for creeds or an affirmation of faith. Again, you can use one of the traditional ones in the back of the hymnal, or you can find a more recent one that speaks in a language that seems more familiar. Or you may even write one yourself. Make it a Sunday school project in the weeks leading up to this celebration. Ask the youth to share one or more of the confirmation creeds— if they wrote them. This would be a great way to affirm and thank the younger ones in the community who may not feel that they have a voice in the larger conversation of the church. Take a poll in the weeks leading up to this week, asking which creed is the favorite and why. Did they memorize one for a class or for confirmation? Do they remember saying it at home or in a previous church setting? Find the words of faith, the words that honor the reign of Christ that speak to those who come to worship this week.
Thanksgiving may have passed again, but gratitude continues. Can we give thanks in everything?
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.