Last Sunday after Pentecost: Week of November 21, 2021
AdBegin your devotion time by praying this prayer: Everlasting God, you show us love through the life of Jesus, the King of Kings. Guide us to follow Jesus’ example and love others, as you have first loved us. Amen.
Reflect on the Way of Love together: This week’s practice on the Way of Love is WORSHIP. This week we celebrate Christ the King, the final Sunday of the church year. Next week, we begin a new church year with Advent! Talk about all of the ways you’ve participated in worship this year. How have you given thanks and praise to Christ the King?
Adult and Small Child
Read: John 18:33-37
Reflect: Do the adults or teachers in your life ever have to remind you to listen? Sometimes we’re so busy playing, or talking, or doing other things that we don’t even hear other people talking to us. But when we are quiet, we can hear more. We can hear birds. We can hear ourselves breathing. Sometimes it feels like we can almost hear our own thoughts.
Jesus says that everyone who follows God listens to his voice. That means that they follow His teachings as best they can. Jesus doesn’t care about being rich or becoming a powerful king. He cares about loving other people and loving God. He says that the truth is more important than being strong and powerful. If we want to follow him, we just have to listen carefully. That’s not always easy. We may need to stop what we’re doing and be quiet for a moment, so we can hear God in our hearts reminding us to love others, just as Jesus told us to.
Respond: Sit quietly. What do you hear? Maybe you hear birds or cars passing by or people talking nearby. Now try listening to your heart. God lives in your heart, reminding us to love. See how long you can sit quietly listening carefully.
- Jeremiah Sierra
Adult and Elementary
Read: John 18:33-37
Reflect: What does it mean to be a King? It’s one of the ways we describe Jesus, and yet He doesn’t look like a king that we recognize. Usually, kings are happy to have their power – ruling over the people and land in their kingdoms. In this passage, when Pilate crowns Jesus as a king, it is the beginning of his crucifixion. Jesus’ kingship puts Him at great risk, because He threatens Pilate’s power.
Jesus has power given to Him by God, but He doesn’t use it to rule over people – instead, Jesus’ way is always of invitation, and acceptance, and love. He came into the world to tell us the truth about God’s love for us – to remind us that God will never stop loving us, no matter what.
Do you think about Jesus as a king? What is He king over? In the Bible, there are many different ways to describe Jesus when we worship. What are some of your favorites?
Respond: If you were king or queen for the day, what would you do? What are some of the laws you would make in the land you ruled over? Make a list or color a picture of these things. Then, look at your list. Think about all the power Jesus had, and the ways He used it. Are you surprised by what He did, or didn’t, do?
- Jazzy Bostock
Adult and Youth
Read: John 18:33-37
Reflect: When we meet Pilate in today’s reading, he isn’t after Jesus. The religious authorities want the death penalty for Jesus, but Pilate isn’t so interested. He is curious, though: What did you do to make these guys so mad? What have you been going around telling people? Pilate wants to know if Jesus is calling himself the King of the Jews. Israel hadn’t had a king in quite some time, and a new one would be a major problem for the Roman emperor.
But Jesus’s power isn’t like the emperor’s power. He isn’t looking for a throne. His kingdom isn’t like that. His kingdom is like a weed that grows wild, like yeast that expands to feed people, like a woman who searches everywhere for one lousy coin. Wealth and status and prestige are not his thing. He’s the Lord of loving among the poor, not being above the poor. Love like that is more powerful and dangerous than a claim to a typical throne.
Respond: When we pray the Lord’s Prayer together, we say, “your kingdom come on earth as in heaven.” It’s pretty radical to try to bring God’s kingdom here on earth. It’s brave to come together and ask God to let us co-create a world where love wins. Notice the places where you see God’s goodness this week, imagine those moments as a little flag of the Kingdom of God. Then, try taking this week’s church bulletin and drawing love flags on the sections of liturgy that remind you of places where you saw the Kingdom of God shine in the world around you.
- Di McCullough
Adult and Adults
Read: John 18:33-37
Reflect: As a high school student, one of my absolute favorite book series was the series of King Arthur and the Round Table. King Arthur is an earthly king. However, Jesus is the king above all kings. In this Scripture reading, Pilate interrogates Jesus asking, “Are you the king of the Jews?” (John 18:33, NRSV) Jesus responds by asking Pilate a question in return. “Who do they say that I am?” Jesus was the one who came to turn the world upside down. Jesus was the king who would sit and eat with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus is the king who hangs on the cross, a crown of thorns on his head and dies for our sins. Yet it is because of who he is: God’s one and only Son that Jesus is raised from the dead and is able to ultimately rule always. Again, Jesus is the king above all kings! Thanks be to God!
Respond: Worship! Pick up two pieces of poster board. On the first piece of poster board, have everyone write down every name of Jesus they can think of. Then on the second piece of poster board, draw a crown of thorns. Around the crown of thorns, write down the different characteristics Jesus possesses as the king above all kings. How is this different than an earthly king? Hang them up in a high traffic area in your home as a reminder that Jesus is the king above all kings. Finish this activity by singing together the song “King of all Kings” by Citipointe Worship. You can listen to the song below.
- Tara Ulrich