Planning for This Service
It is Laity Sunday in The United Methodist Church, which usually has three different responses from congregations: (1) ignoring this week and continuing on with business as usual, (2) having your church’s lay leader or a certified lay speaker deliver a sermon, or (3) having multiple speakers offer mini-sermons or testimonies. For this week, we are hoping you consider options two and three.
The lectionary passages discuss how we are to make sense of our “living” in this world. How are we to be faithful to God in our everyday lives? What is our “calling?” What is our vocation? By virtue of our baptisms, we are all called and equipped to do the work of ministry – be it ministry as laity or ministry as clergy. How do we live out that ministry in our daily lives? In the preaching notes for this week, Jack Seymour poses the following question to us: how are we—in living out our everyday faith—embodying the light of God?
Consider using this as a framing question for a time of shared testimony. Instead of having a “traditional” sermon, encourage a few key leaders (with intentionality regarding diversity in all forms) to answer that question and to share from their own experience how they embody the light of God in the world. Because this is a time of testimony sharing, this service of worship could also be conducted as a Love Feast (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/the-love-feast). While it is good practice to have a few people ready with prepared remarks, please also consider making space for others to share their testimonies as the Spirit moves them.
Written by Jack Seymour, Professor Emeritus of Religious Education, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, IL.