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Eternal Kingdom

Pentecost Proper 29; Christ the King Sunday – 27th Sunday after Pentecost

Scripture Reference: Luke 23:42-43

From “Scolding the Snakes”   three-crosses-at-sunset

Preparation: Bring a chair and an elegant cloth to drape over it for a throne. If you would like, practice singing (or plan for a musical accompaniment) for the optional song at the end of this sermon.

Today is special. It is the last Sunday in the church calendar. Next week is the first Sunday in Advent, and that begins a new year in the church. This Sunday is also called “Christ the King Sunday.”

What does a king do, and what does a king look like? (Let children offer their responses.) Kings sometimes wear crowns and sit on thrones. They make rules and watch over countries. There are still a few kings and queens in the world—the Queen of England and the King of Norway, for example. Could I have a volunteer come up and sit on the throne? (Seat the volunteer on the “throne.”) You can be our ruler for awhile. Does a king or queen reign forever? Not at all. (Replace ruler several times by letting other children take turns sitting on the “throne.”) There have been many, many kings and queens on this earth, and none of them sit on their thrones for very long. (Remove last child from “throne.”)

Can anyone think of a king who rules forever? (Let kids respond.) Christ the King rules forever, doesn’t he? His kingdom will have no end. Do you remember what Jesus was doing just a little while before he went back to his kingdom in heaven? He was doing something that we don’t usually think kings do. Jesus was dying on a cross to save us from our sins.

There was a man hanging on another cross next to Jesus, and that man really had done things that were wrong. He knew that he deserved punishment, but he also knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong. And somehow he knew that Jesus was a king. As they were both hanging there dying, that man looked at Jesus and said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Jesus looked at the man and said, “I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in Paradise.” All of us are like that man hanging next to Jesus. We know that we’ve done many wrong things and deserve to be punished. But we also know that Jesus died in our place to save us. He is our King and Savior. And Jesus promises us, too, that we will always be with him in his kingdom.

(Optional) I have a simple song to teach you. It uses the words the man on the cross spoke to Jesus. Listen once and then sing along with me: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Invite children and, if you like, the entire congregation to sing along for three or four rounds. Here is an example link to the simple Taize music if needed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6tVReXsioM )

Prayer:  Jesus, you are truly our King, and we thank you for giving us a kingdom that never ends.

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