Reign of Christ, Year A

Musical Reflection
Hell by Destroyer


Invocation

Destitute ruler,
one with the hungry,
the naked and the scorned:
may our faith be shown
not in dogma and piety
but in serving you
in the last and the least;
through Jesus Christ, the stranger’s Lord.
Amen.
First Reading

Eye of Heaven
by Valerie Mejer Caso
translated by Forrest Gander

On paunchy green hills
in some province of China, you are the one I speak to.
Someone buys a perfume, recalling
that the bones of his beloved are small.
When he writes the note, when he wraps
the little bottle, he takes that into account. So do I.

The subtlest trace of mind against your shoulders
is your true skin. And I press myself to you.
I hear the steady rhythm of your typing, the key
of a borrowed pulse. But what difference does it make, that it is given?
For a while it is mine to use, then your turn, but the pulse originates
in the Child of Heaven who has hearts to spare.

Some day you’ll sink yourself into a frozen
lake where paper ships were torched with the
names of the missing. Some dead, some vanished.
The flames consume all but
the wisp of smoke on which a single word rises
and water licks at the rest. So we are freed from a weight.
Perennially your hills are filled with birds.
Green hills, the deep mosses around your temples.
They, the birds, are your faithful ones.
As I am, naturally.
Faithful to a world unknown,
a world for us alone, paper-thin, and too fragile to speak of.

 

Second Reading
Sunshower

by Natalie Shapero

Some people say the devil is beating
his wife. Some people say the devil
is pawing his wife. Some people say
the devil is doubling down on an overall
attitude of entitlement toward
the body of his wife. Some people
say the devil won’t need to be sorry,
as the devil believes that nothing
comes after this life. Some people say
that in spite of the devil’s public,
long-standing, and meticulously
logged disdain for the health
and wholeness of his wife, the devil
spends all day, every day, insisting
grandly and gleefully on his general
pro-woman ethos, that the devil truly
considers himself to be an unswayed
crusader: effortlessly magnetic,
scrupulous, gracious, and, in spite of
the devil’s several advanced degrees,
a luminous autodidact. Some people
say calm down; this is commonplace.
Some people say calm down;
this is very rare. Some people say
the sun is washing her face. Some
people say in Hell, they’re having a fair.
 
Gospel Reading
Matthew 25:31-46

“Now the Promised One will come in majesty, escorted by all the angels, and will sit on the royal throne. All the nations will be gathered below. The Promised One will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep will be placed on the right hand, the goats on the left.

“The ruler will say to those on the right, ‘Come, you blessed of my Abba God! Inherit the kindom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘When did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“Then the ruler will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these siblings of mine, you have done it for me.’

“Then the ruler will say to those on the left, ‘Out of my sight, you accursed ones! Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and the fallen angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘When did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ The answer will come, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.”

 

Musical Reflection
All This and Heaven Too by Florence & the Machine

The Decade Prayer
from the Fatimá prayers, adapted

O Jesus,
forgive us our sins,
save us from the fires of hell,
lead all souls to Heaven,
especially those most in need of Thy mercy.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Abba:
Blessed be your working;
Soon be your appearing;
Done be your desiring.
Our bread provide us;
Our debts forgive us;
From trials free us.
Amen.

 

Musical Reflection
Heavenfaced by The National


Blessing

May God give us to drink of God’s cup;
may the sun be bright upon us;
may the night call down peace;
and when we come to God’s household
may the door be open wide
for us to go in to our joy.

And may the blessing of God – the Creator, the Saviour, and the Sanctifier,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

Sources:

Artwork by Merét Oppenheim

Invocation from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection Hell by Destroyer

Poem Eye of Heaven by Valerie Mejer Caso

Poem Sunshower by Natalie Shapero

Musical Reflection All This and Heaven Too by Florence & the Machine

Prayer from the Fatimá prayers

Lord’s Prayer from The Covenant of Peace: A Liberation Prayer Book

Musical Reflection Heavenfaced by The National

Blessing from Celtic Daily Prayer

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