Join our mailing list

Christ the King - Christ the King Sunday - Colossians 1

A worship service for Christ the King Sunday with the theme of Christ as King, not only of the church but of all creation. He is the framework around which all things are oriented.

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

Christ is King, not only of the church but of all creation. He is the framework around which all things are oriented. As Athanasius once wrote, “The only system of thought into which Jesus will fit is the one in which He is the starting point.”

* * *


Prelude: "Jesus Shall Reign" [see music notes]

*The Call to Worship
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
(from Psalm 24)

*Song of Praise: “Rejoice, the Lord is King” PH 155:1-2, PsH 408:1-3, RL 596:1,3, SFL 180:1-3, TH 310:1,3-4, TWC 262:1,3, UMH 715:1,3

*God’s Greeting from Revelation 1:4-5
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,
and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Amen.
(TWS 1.3.16)

*Song of Response: “Majesty” UMH 176, RN 63, TWC 98


Call to Confession

Prayer of Confession:
Sovereign God, we confess that although we willingly say that “Jesus is King,”
we often fail to bow our knees before him.
Instead, we grant our allegiances to the relationships and material goods of this world.
In your mercy, hear our prayer of confession.
Grant us the humility to bow before you, the Ruler of all nations,
so that we may be loyal servants in your kingdom.
Through your son, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:
Through the crucified body and blood of Christ the King,
we have been given a pardon from God.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14).
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, proclaiming Jesus as Lord of all.

Song of Response: “We Bow Down” SNC 42, RN 38


Prayer of Illumination

The Reading of Scripture: Colossians 1:13-23
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: "Christ the King"

Prayer of Application


*Hymn of Response: “All Glory Be to God on High” PH 133, PsH 247, RL 620, TH 102

*Affirmation of Our Faith
We believe that Jesus Christ,
according to his divine nature,
is the only Son of God—
eternally begotten,
not made nor created,
for then he would be a creature.

He is one in essence with the Father;
the exact image of the person of the Father
and the "reflection of his glory,"
being in all things like him.

So then,
he is the true eternal God,
the Almighty,
whom we invoke,
worship, and serve.
(Adapted from The Belgic Confession, Article 10)

Prayers of the People ending with Offertory Prayer


Offertory: “Be Thou My Vision” [see music notes]


Declaration of God’s Invitation and Promises
Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God!
People will come from east and west,
from north and south,
and sit at table in the kingdom of God.
When our risen Lord was at table with his disciples,
he took the bread, and blessed and broke it,
and gave it to them.
Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.
This is the Lord’s table.
Our Savior invites those who trust him
to share the feast that he has prepared.
(TWS 8.1.1)

*Great Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord be with you
and also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give thanks and praise.

*Hymn: “Holy God, We Praise Your Name” PH 460, PsH 504, RL 619, TH 103, TWC 3, UMH 79

Our Profession
Therefore we proclaim our faith
as signed and sealed in this sacrament:
Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.

Prayer of Consecration, concluding with The Lord’s Prayer
Creator God, be present
with your life-giving Word and Holy Spirit
that we and your entire church
may be called out and made whole through this supper.
Grant that all who share
the communion of the body and blood of your Son may be united in him.
And may we all remain faithful in love and hope
until we feast joyfully with Christ at the coming of the kingdom.
And we pray for that coming kingdom, when we pray 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 today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom,
and the power,
and the glory, forever. Amen.

Passing of the Peace
Thanks be to God: Christ makes us one.
The peace of Christ be with you all.
And also with you.
(TWS 8.2.8)

Preparing the Bread and the Cup

The Sacrament of Holy Communion

Response of Praise and Prayer
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion.
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!
(TWS 8.5.1)



*Hymn of Praise: “Lead On, O King Eternal” PH 447, 448, PsH 555, TWC 747, UMH 580, RL 423, TH 580, RN 298

Postlude: “Lead On, O King Eternal” [see music notes]

* - You are invited to stand.

Sermon Notes

1. Christ is the image of the invisible God. It is difficult for American Christians to think in terms of a king and his subjects since we live in a culture where no individual is king. To further complicate this, God is invisible. He is not just “not seeable,” but unknown. So then, the way to know God is to know Jesus. The emphasis here is on the representation and manifestation of God in Christ. Just as we see a sovereign imprinted on a coin so too we God imprinted on Christ. When we see Christ, we have seen God indirectly.

2. So what do we know about the image? Christ was born in history, yet there was never a true “Before Christ” in a strict sense since he existed before creation. He is the firstborn over all creation. Although some believe this means that Jesus is the first creature to be born in all creation (Jehovah’s Witness), we believe it implies that Jesus is the inheritor. All things belong to Him. He will inherit the whole creation because he made it all. He created everything. He is the creating Word: John 1; Genesis 1 and Proverbs 8 all teach that Jesus is the divine Craftsman and the creating Word. This covers everything in heaven and earth, visible and invisible. It exists only because of Christ. In addition, it was created for him. This thus answers the fundamental questions that all the world’s religions are asking: What is the meaning of life? Where is it all going? Why am I here? In Christ we have a king from whom we can find the answers.

3. With Christ as king, we don’t “fit Him in” our framework, nor do we validate Him through our philosophy. Jesus makes sense of everything else, not the other way around. So He is not to be viewed as merely a great teacher or man (one who tells us how to live), but as the One who holds all things together. Jesus rules all things.

4. He is not only the King of all creation, but the King of the church as the one who will redeem his people. Notice the language that shows us that he is the head, and we (the church) are his body. As the firstborn of the dead, we can see that his rule extends over living and the dead. It is for this reason that having been reconciled to Christ we can say, “I belong body and soul in life and in death…” Whether we live or die, we are always in his grip. In our culture, the idea of having a ruler over us is distasteful at best and outright despised, yet knowing Christ as our King and experiencing his redemption is true comfort.

Music Notes

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship,Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America;
Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)


1. Resources for the prelude can be found in:
DUKE STREET [“Jesus Shall Reign”]

Burkhardt, Michael. Five Easter Season Hymn Improvisations. Morningstar
MSM-10-403 [1990] (E-M)
Burkhardt, Michael. Six General Hymn Improvisations, set 1. Morningstar
MSM-10-846 [1992] (E-M)
Callahan, Charles. Partita on Duke Street. Concordia 97-5998 [1988] (E-M)
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 3. AMSI OR-6 [1983] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Augsburg Organ Library – Easter. Augsburg 11-11075 [2000] (E-M)
Held, Wilbur. Preludes and Postludes, vol. 1. Augsburg 11-9318 [1972] (E-M)
Hobby, Robert A. For All the Saints. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7537-1 [2002] (E-M)

David, Anne Marie. Here I Am, Lord. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7566-5 [2002] (E-M)

Sherman, Arnold B. Jesus Shall Reign. Agape 1708 [1994] (2-3 octaves, E-M)

2. Resource settings for all congregational songs can be found in the following:

“Rejoice the Lord Is King” (DARWALLS 148TH):
Owens, Sam Batt, "Concertato on ‘Rejoice the Lord is King and Ye Holy Angels Bright’ "
for Congregation, SATB voices, Brass Quartet and Organ
GIA Choral Series G-2624 [1983]

Thompson, Gordon V., "Before the Lord We Bow" for SATB Choir, Congregation,
Organ and Trumpet
GIA G-578 [1966] (The text for this piece is not the same as
“Rejoice the Lord is King,” so some adjustments would need to be made.)

“All Glory Be to God on High” (ALLEIN GOTT):
Wood, Dale, "New Settings of Twenty Well-Known Hymn Tunes" Augsburg [1968]

“Holy God, We Praise Your Name” (GROSSER GOTT):
Busarow, Donald, "Holy God, We Praise Your Name" for Congregation, SATB choir,
two trumpets, two trombones, optional timpani and organ
Concordia No. 98-2534 [1981]

“Lead On, O King Eternal” (LANCASHIRE): Johnson, David N., "Lead On, O
King Eternal" for Congregation, SAB choir, optional trumpet, organ
Augsburg Publishing House 11-1843 [1970, 1978]

There is also an alternate harmonization for "Lead On, O King Eternal" in The
Celebration Hymnal (#724). It's important to note, though, that the text has not
been transferred to contemporary language (like it has been in the Psalter Hymnal).
It also starts in a more difficult key, but moves to an easier key for the last verse.

3. Resources for the offertory music, based on “Be Thou My Vision” can be found in: SLANE [“Be Thou My Vision”]

Ashdown, Franklin D. Augsburg Organ Library – Lent. Augsburg 11-11036 [2000]
Callahan, Charles. Partita on Slane. Concordia 97-6046 [1990]
Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 8. AMSI SP-105 [1991]
Held, Wilbur Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 4. Concordia 97-7032 [2005]
Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 9. Concordia 97-5556 [1980]
Wood, Dale. Wood Works. SMP KK357 [1986]
Young, Gordon. Eight Voluntaries. Presser 413-41034-30 [1961]

Hayes, Mark. Lord Be Glorified, vol. 2. Word 301 0063 318 [1992]
Leavitt, John. How Sweet the Sound. CPH 97-6891 [2000] (E-M)
Shackley, Larry. Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano. Hope 8117 [2001]

Hopson, Hal H. Be Thou My Vision. Coronet CP2004 [1982] (3 octaves, E-M)

4. Organ Resources for the Postlude are as follows: LANCASHIRE [“Lead On, O King Eternal”]

Helman, Michael. (2001) Augsburg Organ Library – Autumn. Augsburg
ISBN 0-8006-7579-7 [2003] (E-M)
Jordan, Alice. A Joyful Noise. Broadman 4570-62 [1984] (E-M)
Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 2. SMP KK235 [1982] (E)

Liturgy Notes

1. The Lord’s Supper section is a suggested liturgy. Each church can adapt this model to their local and denominational practices.

2. The “Our Profession” of the Lord’s Supper liturgy can be preceded by a prayer of thanksgiving for the work of Christ or by the scriptural words of institution.

3. The “Preparing the Bread and Cup” section of the Lord’s Supper liturgy is also referred to as “breaking of the bread” or “fraction.” If the scriptural words of institution have not been used previously in the liturgy, this may a place in which to place them. The following is a suggestion:

We celebrate this feast in obedience to Christ’s example and mandate.

[as the minister breaks the bread]
The Lord Jesus, on the night of his arrest, took bread,
and after giving thanks to God,
he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“Take, eat. This is my body, given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

[as the minister lifts or pours the cup]
In the same way he took the cup, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant sealed in my blood,
shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.
Whenever you drink it,
do this in remembrance of me.”

Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup,
you proclaim the saving death of the risen Lord until he comes.
-based on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (TWS 8.3.2)