Festival of Christ the King and St Clement Patronal Festival

                                

                                        

        

 

               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service

 

Good morning to you all as we celebrate our Sunday service in our own homes.  Today we not only commemorate the Festival of Christ the King on the last Sunday of the Church year, but also our Patronal Festival of St Clement. 

Some of you may know this day as ‘Stir-up Sunday’ originally a day for encouraging us to be stirred up in faith, but nowadays is regarded as more of a reminder to get the Christmas puddings and cakes made!

The following Sunday (29th Nov) will be the first of Advent, the beginning of the Church New Year, perhaps we’ll have news then about the reopening of our church buildings for Sunday worship.

Hopefully in another week or two we’ll see the benefits of this current ‘lockdown, so please be careful if you have to go out and about, it’s still safer stay at home as much as possible. 

Thankfully we can keep in touch with each other with phone calls and emails and it’s good to know that we join together today in worship.

May Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Much love to you all,

Rev Di and family xx

 

Let us pray;

Creator and Father of eternity, whose martyr Clement bore witness to you with the love he proclaimed, and the gospel that he preached:

give us thankful hearts as we celebrate your faithfulness, revealed to us in the lives of your saints, and strengthen us in our pilgrimage  as we follow your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,  Amen.

Our prayers of Penitence

As we anticipate the rule of Christ over all things, we recognise all that disfigures God’s world, and accept our shared human responsibility for it.  Lord Jesus Christ, we confess:

 

The widening gap between the comfortably off and the desperately poor….

Lord, have mercy.

 

The deep divisions between nations, races and religions….

Christ, have mercy.

 

The damage inflicted upon the earth through insatiable consumer greed….

Lord, have mercy.

 

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Let us pray our Collect for today

God the Father, help us to hear the call of Christ the King and to follow in his service, whose Kingdom has no end; for he reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

                                                                                           

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Matthew (31-46)

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

 

 Jesus said to his disciples: ‘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. 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, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 

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; 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, 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.” 

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? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” 

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.” 

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; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 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.” 

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?” 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.” 

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’

 

(This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)

 

Reflection

Our patron saint, St Clement, was born in Rome, he received a good education, and was surrounded by luxury, but these comforts didn’t bring him joy.  Paganism failed to attract him, and this caused him to ponder that there must be more meaning in life.  So when the news of Christ and his teachings began to reach the capital, Clement left his luxurious home and went to the lands where the Apostles were preaching.

He was baptised by Peter and became his disciple and constant companion, sharing his sufferings with him, and shortly before his own death, St Peter consecrated Clement as Bishop of Rome.

The charitable works of Clement converted many to Christ. He once baptised 424 people in one day, and among the baptised were people of all social classes: slaves, officials, and even members of the imperial family.

But the pagans, seeing the success of his preaching, denounced Clement to the emperor, accusing him of insulting the pagan gods, so the emperor banished Clement from the capital. 

He sent him to the Crimea, to work in a stone quarry, and many of Clement’s disciples followed after him of their own free will, preferring to share his exile rather than live without him.

When he arrived in Crimea, Clement found many Christians there, who’d been sentenced to labour under harsh conditions with little access to water. He prayed with them, and the Lord appeared to him in the form of a lamb and revealed the location of a spring, which became a river of water.

This miracle, as you can imagine, attracted a huge number of people to Clement, hundreds were converted to Christ, and there in the stone quarry, a church was built, in which Clement served as priest.

But his work there angered the emperor, and he ordered that Clement be drowned, so he was thrown into the sea by the emperor’s guards with an anchor tied to his neck. 

Hence the emblem of an anchor on our church windows, and many churches have since been dedicated to St Clement, hopefully reflecting his work of being with those in need. St Clement was a person who worked among the poor and the marginalised, he saw the face of Christ in all he met, and that, is what you might call a ‘potted history’ of our patron saint.

A brave colleague of mine once told me this story:

As worshipers arrived on a cold November morning at Church, they were met by a rather disturbing sight. A homeless beggar sat shivering by the front door, wearing tattered clothing, a woolen hat pulled down over his eyes, and clutching a bottle in fingerless gloves.

Most worshipers simply walked around the man, or stepped over him, as he sat there. Some muttered words of disapproval, and others told the man to move away.  One told the man, in no uncertain terms, that the local Salvation Army shelter was a more appropriate place to sleep it off.

At one point, a kind woman brought the man a cup of hot coffee, but not one person asked the man to come in out of the cold, and certainly nobody invited him in to join them in worship.

Just imagine then, the people’s surprise when, as they were waiting for the service to begin, the homeless man came into church and made his way into the pulpit.  He took off his hat, and the congregation recognized him as their vicar, my brave colleague.

He said; ‘I didn’t do it to worry or embarrass you, I did it to remind us that Jesus loves the person I was representing, and he has called us to love him, too.’

In the gospel passage this morning, Jesus is telling his disciples about the last days. At that time, Jesus says, the King will gather all the nations around the throne, and he will say to the sheep on his right;

‘When I was hungry, you fed me.  When I was thirsty, you gave me drink.
When I was naked, you clothed me. When I was a stranger, you welcomed me in. When I was sick and imprisoned, you cared for me.”

 ‘Lord, when?’ they asked.
And Jesus said; ‘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.’

Then the King will turn to the goats on his left and he will say to them,

‘When I was hungry, you did not feed me, and when I was thirsty, you gave me nothing to drink. When I was naked, and a stranger, and sick, and imprisoned, you never reached out to me.’

 “Lord, when?’ they asked.
And the King answered; ‘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.’

These words of Jesus are so very different from all his other teaching in the Gospel of Matthew, because in the previous chapters, Jesus is telling parables. But in this text, Jesus is looking into the future, explaining in graphic detail, what sort of judgment day awaits us.

It’s not a parable or a fairy tale, it’s his truth.

It tells us that God does, in fact, watch the way we live our lives, and the way we live matters. Jesus plainly says that one day, each of us will stand in line and account to the King.

Now, we might think, we’ve heard sermons on grace; we’ve heard God described as a loving and merciful King, ready to forgive our every sin.

But now, we’re left wondering “Okay, which way is it? Is God going to grant us grace, or is he going to hold our sins against us? Do we have to earn our way into the Kingdom, or will it be given to us as a gift?”

And this story about the sheep and the goats troubles us, because all along, we’ve thought we’re sheep. But what if we’re a goat? And it’s troubling because the stakes are high, and eternity lasts forever.

Everything we’ve heard about God’s grace is true. He does indeed, stand ready to forgive our sin and disobedience. But God does has expectations as to how live our lives; we’re called to be generous, kind and filled with compassion, attributes which are part of the DNA of a Christian.  And our faith tells us that when we remember Christ’s promised inheritance to us, worldly goods should diminish in their value.

So now, the question that stands before us is this: What does our lifestyle say about us? According to Jesus’ words on this Christ the King Sunday, to me they seem to say this:

We’ll recognise the sheep and the goats by the way they live their lives.

Sheep graciously share what they have, paying particular attention to those who are in desperate need.

Goats want to keep all they have to themselves.

Sheep see others in distress, and they are moved to compassion.

Goats see others in distress and they are moved to ignore.

In short, when goats see a homeless man sitting outside a church, they see a homeless man. When sheep see a homeless man sitting outside a church, they see Jesus.  What do we see?  Hopefully, the same as St Clement does, and act accordingly.  Amen.

 

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist. 

We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Our Intercessions this week are written by Liz Davies

Dear Lord and Father of mankind                                                                                                                 Forgive our foolish ways!                                                                                                                             Re-clothe us in our rightful mind,                                                                                                                      In purer lives Thy service find,                                                                                                                              In deeper reverence praise.

Let us pray: on this the day when we celebrate our Patronal Festival and Christ the King, we humbly bow our heads before You and, wherever we are, we feel Your presence with us. You are both Christ the King and the Son of Man and You understand our needs and the needs of this world.

Dear Lord, we are all so different and yet made in Your image.

May all nations, communities and individuals learn to respect each other, to accept and delight in differences and to work for peace throughout the world.

Lord hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

Loving God, we pray for Your world, of which Your Son is King. We pray for peace, reconciliation and healing in the places of war, hatred, terrorism and the Covid Pandemic.

We pray that the world may be united and subjected to the rule of Christ the King. We pray for earthly Monarchs, especially our own Queen Elizabeth, may their lives be guided and influenced by the example set by Your Son who lives and reigns as King of Kings.

Lord hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

 

On this our Patronal Festival, we pray for St Clement Church, our Vicar, congregation and all those who find solace within its walls. We pray that we may step forward in faith to build Your kingdom as You would have us do.

Merciful God, we pray for the many people who have contracted coronavirus across the world. Bring comfort to those grieving loved ones who have died and peace to those worried, fearful and uncertain as the virus spreads.                                       

Here in Britain, we pray that the procedures that have been put in place will halt its spread. Help us all to be responsible in the things that we do in our lives to prevent the spread of the virus by taking heed of the recommended precautions and avoiding situations which may make things worse.                                              

We give thanks for all those working in labs across the world who are succeeding in developing vaccines that will help to fight this unseen enemy. We also give thanks for all those working in our hospitals, nursing homes and care facilities who may be risking their own lives to care for sick patients.

Lord hear us. Lord graciously hear us.

 

Loving God, we pray for all those who are finding life particularly difficult – through sickness, worry, depression or any other debilitating condition. May they know the presence of Your Son alongside them and the power of Christ the King within them bringing peace and healing for them and help and encouragement for those caring for them at this time of need.                                                               

We especially remember Sue, Kate and Rosemary, and all those in need known to us, and also we ask Your love and blessing on all who have no one to pray for them.

Lord hear us. Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Merciful God, we offer into Your safe keeping all those who have died – may they know Your love and be accepted into Your eternal kingdom. We especially remember today; Nicki, her grieving family and friends, we remember Esther’s family, and we remember all those who are grieving for loved ones they will see no more in this earthly life and ask that You enfold them in Your love.

 

Faithful God, we give thanks to You for all that You do in our lives. As the church year comes to an end we commend to You all those for whom we have prayed throughout the year and ask that You continue to use us and our prayers to make a difference in their lives.

Dear Lord:                                                                                                                                                  Drop Thy still dews of quietness,                                                                                                               Rill all strivings cease;                                                                                                                                Take from our souls the strain and stress,                                                                                                   And let our ordered lives confess                                                                                                                  The beauty of Thy peace.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus 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. Amen.

 

The Peace

May the peace of Christ sanctify us: may he so strengthen our hearts in holiness that we may be blameless before him at the coming of our Lord Jesus with his saints.  Amen.

 

Blessing

May God give us grace to follow his saints in faith, hope and love; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 21st November 2020 3:01 PM