Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost 2017 — Planning Notes

September 17, 2017 (Year A)
by Taylor Burton-Edwards

Preaching Hymns Planning Additional Resources


Reading Notes

NRSV texts, artwork and Revised Common Lectionary Prayers for this service are available at the Vanderbilt Divinity Library.
Leccionario en Español, Leccionario Común Revisado: Consulta Sobre Textos Comunes.
Lectionnaire en français, Le Lectionnaire Œcuménique Révisé

Calendar Notes

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Season of Creation 3 — WIND, SKY, AND SEA
The color from now until Advent is green, with two exceptions: All Saints Day or Sunday (November 1 or 5)  and Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday (November 26). During this Season after Creation (throughout September), consider “spicing up” the green with other shades of green or colors evoked by the weekly theme. For this week, consider adding colors evocative of wind, sky, and sea where you are. 

September 15-
October 15      Hispanic Heritage Month (USA)

All Month           A Season of Saints (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 1         World Communion Sunday
October 6-8     Children’s Sabbath (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 15       Laity Sunday (2017 resources forthcoming)
October 31       Reformation Day (500th Anniversary)

November 1
       All Saints Day
November 3       World Community Day
November 5       All Saints Sunday
                            Daylight Saving Time Change Song (Fall)
November 11     Veterans Day
November 12    Organ and Tissue Donor Sunday
                           International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
November 19    Bible Sunday (National Bible Week November 19-26)
November 23    Thanksgiving Day
November 26    Christ the King/Reign of Christ Sunday
                           United Methodist Student Day

December 1      World AIDS Day
December 3      Advent-Christmas Series (Year B) Begins (Forthcoming)
December 21    
Longest Night/Blue Christmas
December 24    Christmas Eve (evening)
December 25    
Christmas Day
December 26    Kwanzaa
December 31    Watch Night/New Year’s Eve


January 1        New Year’s Day/Holy Name of Jesus
January 7        Epiphany Sunday AND Baptism of the Lord
                         Season after Epiphany Series Begins (Forthcoming)
January 11      
Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 14      Human Relations Day (Special Sunday with Offering)
January 15      
Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday
January 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 21      Ecumenical Sunday

All Month       Black History Month
February 11   Transfiguration of the Lord
                        Scouting Sunday

February 14   Ash Wednesday
                        Lent Series Begins (forthcoming)
February 19  
Presidents Day



In the Series and This Service: Continuing the Common Threads

As we’ve noted before, this is a “point by point” rather than a “step by step” series. Each service can stand on its own, and should be planned to do so. Yet there can and should be some common threads that weave throughout it, while keeping each service distinct.

We suggested four as part of the series opening.

Visually, use the same basic graphics template for slides, but add colors to the palette suggestive of the theme each week. The colors that speak most powerfully of wind, sky, and sea may vary from place to place, so choose colors to add to the basic green palette that are most appropriate for your context. Keep in mind the colors of the story from scripture for this week as well. There is darkness (the wind blowing all night long), seafoam (the waters piled to either side), and well as the obfuscating misty brightness of clouds. In such a windstorm, one might expect the sky also to be overcast.  

Musically, open the service once again with selected verses of “All Creatures of Our God and King” (UMH 62, or CCLI #3608102). For this week, sing verses 1, 2, 3, and 7. As suggested last week, include the reading from Francis’s Praise of the Creatures within the time for the opening hymn, perhaps in this case reading st. 5 just before singing st. 2 of the hymn, and reading st. 6 just before singing stanza 3.

Textually, include not just the scripture reading and the reading from Francis, but also some additional prayers and resources that reflect the strong environmental images of this week’s theme. Consider using the Lakota Tribe Act of Centering from the Book of Worship (470) immediately after the opening hymn and before the reading from Exodus, and do the reading from the center of the worship space, as the act of centering concludes there. And if you do not celebrate Holy Communion today, consider using BOW 557 as your congregational act of Thanksgiving after offering the peace and collecting the offering.

Continue with the same form of intercession you began last week, this week giving a bit more time (but not overdoing it) to praying for the earth, all creatures, and our calling and commitment to conserve it.  

Finally, if you do celebrate Holy Communion today, use the same form with which you started the series, and continue using it each time you celebrate it during this series. This helps build not only series identity, but, more importantly, greater competence in the congregation in using this form of the Great Thanksgiving. This makes the prayer much more theirs, and increases their repertoire of forms of the Great Thanksgiving they can pray with confidence.

Additional Resources

2014 Planning Helps for these readings

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay


Categories: Year A, Fifteenth Sunday After the Pentecost — September 17, 2017

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