Ninth Sunday After Pentecost 2017 — Planning Notes

August 6, 2017 (Year A)
by Taylor Burton-Edwards

Order of Worship 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

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: PROMISE
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). 

All Month          Back to School Resources

All Month          Season of Creation (2017 resources forthcoming)
September 4    Labor Day (USA)
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

For Your Planning Team: THE APOSTLE'S TALE — Promise

In the Series and Launching the Next Series

We come to series end today and conclude with a segue into the next series, “Three Steps in the Christian Walk.” The next series picks up in Romans where this series leaves off, considering how we as Christians are called to walk with Christ, individually and as a congregation, upon the solid ground of God’s promises to us.

Plan for a strong ending for this series. Strong series endings do the following:

  1. Recapitulate where you’ve been and where you’ve come to through the series.
  2. Underscore the series promise and how the work of this series will help your congregation live out their discipleship to Christ and their ministries in Christ’s name and the Spirit’s power better than before.
  3. Send the people forth with confidence into their next steps individually and with positive anticipation for the congregation’s next steps through the next series.

In This Service

We’ve seen the world from the vista of the freedom Christ offers us. We’ve groaned with the world for the distance between that freedom and the captivities we now experience.  We entered the deep waters and done our intercessory work of contending with and for all that needs God’s saving love. And now, emerging from the depth and swimming ashore, we stand on the solid ground of God’s promises as we continue our walk with Christ.

Today is about that solid ground of God’s promises for us, especially when we may not see them fulfilled even in our lifetimes. Just as God has formed a covenant with the people of Israel for their salvation and mission in the world, God has just as surely covenanted with all people, Jewish and Gentile alike, who turn to Christ as Savior and commit their way to him as Lord. As dystopian and toxic as this world may seem or be, the promise of complete salvation for us and renewal of all things in creation abides.

And that promise keeps us moving forward.

Musically, there are many songs that affirm God’s promises to us as disciples of Jesus in the world. Consider opening the service with a medley or song set of these, possibly including “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand” (Africana Hymnal, 4097), “Blessed Assurance” (Africana Hymnal, 4083) and “Moving Forward” (Africana Hymnal, 4143) as a reprise if you used it as part of the sending last week, as well as “Shout to the Lord” (TFWS 2074, still in the CCLI Top 100 after 24 years!).

Consider developing the biddings and responses in the prayers of the people (if not incorporated into the Great Thanksgiving) in a way that combines intercession and thanksgiving for the promises of God upon which we pray.

And by all means celebrate Holy Communion today, not just because it is the first Sunday of the month, but also because in it we express our supreme gratitude for the ultimate promise of salvation offered to us and to the universe through Jesus Christ. Consider using either The Great Thanksgiving for the Season after Pentecost, or The Great Thanksgiving from the service called “Heal” at the 2012 General Conference, adapting either as helpful in your context to emphasize the promises of God you experience regularly, particularly in the intercessions built into the General Conference version.

Finally, send folks forth with love, grace, confidence, and power, and aware that as they have come through the deep waters, they are now on solid ground to continue their walk, including a series overview graphic of three steps to mirror the upcoming series theme. 

Additional Resources

2014 Planning Helps for these readings

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea

Categories: Year A, Ninth Sunday After the Pentecost — August 6, 2017

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