Christ the King or "Stir Up
Sunday" (Year C)
Many thanks to the Reverend Philip Francis
for the idea behind this service. Children and adults alike will love you
to bring back your "Stir-up Cake" to share at a Christmas service such as
the Crib Service.
leader explains that today is the last Sunday of the church year, when we
celebrate the Festival of Christ the King.
- Luke 23:33-43 is read.
- The leader talks to the children about
what kind of king Jesus is.
- The leader
explains that traditionally this
Sunday was known as "Stir-up Sunday", after the opening words of the
day's prayer: Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful
people. For this reason today was the traditional day on which
everyone in the family would help to stir the Christmas puddings and
bring forward the ingredients for a Christmas cake. All have a
chance to stir it.
collect and post-communion prayers for the day are read.
- An adult
to lead the teaching.
- One or
more adults or confident readers to do the reading.
adults, or confident readers, to read the prayers
- As many
children as you have in church, with adult helpers if necessary, to bring
the cake ingredients up to the front in turn.
- Adults to
supervise the stirring.
and prayers (see below).
traditional-style crown (as grand and sparkly as possible) and a crown of
ingredients (use your own favourite recipe): these should be
ready-measured into bowls or bags, where possible.
mixing bowl, electric whisk, wooden spoon, measuring spoons for the
- Print out
the readings and prayers.
- Make the
- Weigh out
the cake ingredients.
- Hand out
the cake ingredients at the beginning of the service. The leader
could have the mixing utensils already, or these too could be handed out
and brought to the front by children.
- Start by asking the children if they know what they'd like to be when
they grow up. Then talk about whether Jesus ever thought about this when
He was a child: would He be a carpenter, like Joseph? A doctor, since He
was so great at healing people? A fisherman, like His friends? No - Jesus
was born to be a king.
- What does this mean? Ask the children to tell you everything they
know about kings: where they live, how they behave, how other people
behave around them, what they wear, etc. Ask them to tell you what they
would do if one of them were king or queen: each one can wear the
traditional crown when it's his/her turn to talk.
- Show them the crown of thorns, and ask them whether they'd like to
wear it instead of the other crown. In our reading today, we heard about
how Jesus was hung on a cross and left to die with two criminals. The
soldiers made Him wear a crown of thorns, and everyone laughed at the
sign that was put over His head, saying "King of the Jews". Not a bit
like the sort of king we've just been talking about.
- Explain that Jesus is not like the king of a country. He didn't want
to use His power to make things go well for Himself, like the worst kind
of king, or even to make things go well for the people in just that one
country, like a better king. He devoted His whole life, here on earth, to
serving everyone. He allowed
Himself to be killed on the cross because He loved His people so much:
not just the people who were alive then, but everyone - including each
one of you, here today.
- Ask the children to imagine what the world would be like if we all
tried our best to be like Jesus: loving each other, and obeying God, as
much as we possibly could. That's what it means to live in God's
Prayers for the Sunday Next Before Advent, or Christ the
Stir up, O Lord,
the wills of your faithful people;
that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works,
may by you be plenteously rewarded;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
© The Archbishops' Council of the Church of England,
whose Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven
that he might rule over all things as Lord and King:
keep the Church in the unity of the Spirit
and in the bond of peace,
and bring the whole created order to worship at his feet;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.