Shepherd of the Saints

Season of Saints 2017 — Series Overview

Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday, Year A

So far, we’ve talked mostly about ourselves as saints or potential saints. Today, at the end of one church year and the cusp of the next, we speak and sing primarily of the one around whom the universe itself pivots, Christ the King, Shepherd of the saints.  Christ, our Shepherd-King gathers and makes saints from the most marginalized, damaged, abused, abandoned people on earth, leading the saints to eternal life now and in the new creation.

Reading Notes

NRSV texts, artwork and Revised Common Lectionary Prayers for this service are available at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé

Calendar Notes

A Season of Saints 2017: SHEPHERD OF THE SAINTS
Today is the final Sunday of the church year (Year A of the three-year cycle). It is Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday. The colors today are white or gold.

Next week begins a new church year with Advent (Year B). The colors for Advent may be blue or purple.

In the Series and Launching the Next Series

We conclude the series and the church year today. Next week Advent, and a new church year, begins.

Plan for a strong ending for this season and series. Strong series endings do the following:

  1. Recapitulate where you’ve been and where you’ve come to through the series. The sermon notes may help you to do this. Music may help you do this, too. Consider singing one or more of the songs from the opening set of the series as part of the music during Communion.
  2. Underscore the series promise-- joining the throng of the saints, those who live out their discipleship to Christ and their ministries in Christ’s name and the Spirit’s power among the people where Christ himself goes.
  3. Send the people forth with confidence in where they’ve been and where they’re going. Musically, one way to do this is to use an Advent hymn or song familiar to your congregation (do NOT go for new here!) that pulls on some of today’s themes at the sending. Two Charles Wesley texts are strong candidates: “Rejoice, the Lord is King” (UMH 715 or 716) and “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending” (UMH 718). Also consider “Even so, Come” (CCLI #7036288) and “When the Stars Burn Down” (CCLI #5720105).

In This Service: Continuing, Concluding, and Moving Forward

The closing service of the series carries the continuous threads of the series to their conclusion.

Visually, use the same basic graphics template for slides, but today that palette should be primarily white and gold, perhaps with some tinges of blue or purple pointing forward to Advent, which begins next week.

Musically, your opening set should include “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” (UMH 138) if you sang selections from it in the opening medley the first week. Other appropriate hymn texts include Charles Wesley’s “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (UMH 57, 58, or 59) or “Ye Servants of God” (UMH 181), Jesús Es Mi Rey Soberano (UMH 180), and “Majesty” (UMH 176). On a more modern side, consider Mark Miller’s arrangement of “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (W&S 3001) and “Only King Forever” (CCLI #7011438). Again, think about the arrangement of your songs or hymns in the opening set to move from high praise toward a more intimate and meditative sound that prepares the people for prayer and listening to the Scriptures read and proclaimed.

The first Response to the Word today could easily include an altar call (see week 2 planning notes for guidance on managing this) or a strong song or hymn declaring the kingship of Christ, such as “This Is Amazing Grace” (CCLI #6333821), or “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (if you didn’t use it in the opening set, or if you are switching to a different setting).

Continue with the same form of intercession you began last week, including the names of those who have died in the past year as in the previous weeks, and perhaps adding some time for people to name and pray for people they know who are outcast, marginalized, oppressed, damaged, abused, abandoned… the lost sheep from Ezekiel who are the very ones the King, the Shepherd of the Saints, seeks out and makes saints.

Communion Setting: A Great Thanksgiving for Christ the King Sunday

Additional Resources for this Service

2014 Planning Helps for these readings

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: East Timor, Indonesia, Philippines

In This Series...

Twenty-second Sunday After Pentecost 2017 Planning Notes Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost 2017 Planning Notes Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Pentecost 2017 Planning Notes