Planning for This Service
This week is one of those great moments when there is harmony between the United Methodist programming and worship calendar with the Revised Common Lectionary. On October 13, many United Methodist congregations honor “Children’s Sabbath” Sunday. Not to be confused with Children’s Sunday or Youth Sunday, Children’s Sabbath “engages places of worship across the country in focusing prayers, worship, education programs, and action on learning more about the urgent problems facing our nation’s children exploring sacred texts and teachings that call us to love and protect children, responding with outreach and advocacy." 
The scripture passage from Jeremiah implores the Israelites to “seek the welfare of the city,” even though the city in which they are situated is within Babylon. One of the key takeaways from this passage is that we are called to serve our surrounding locales, even if we might not appreciate the situation we are in. God’s expectation for us to serve God and neighbor is intimately connected with seeking the welfare of the city.
As a response to the worship service, consider a partnership with the General Board of Church and Society in advocating for a particular issue. Explore their website, and in particular their “Take Action” Initiatives: umcjustice.org/what-you-can-do/advocacy/take-action. Consider having computers set up in the narthex for people to take tangible action in seeking “the welfare of the city” through legislative advocacy. If the use of technology seems prohibitive for your congregation, encourage a letter-writing campaign that addresses a local or national issue.
The prophet Jeremiah’s call to seek the welfare of the city makes a great connection to Children’s Sabbath. Adding the advocacy work as a response forges a strong connection between worship and mission, and ultimately demonstrates what it means to embody “Living Faith in the Everyday.”
Written by Jack Seymour, Professor Emeritus of Religious Education, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL.