Joy: The Flip Side of Justice Worship Series: WEEK 1
Ninth Sunday After Pentecost – August 11, 2019
Planning for this Series
August is often seen as the month of greatest transition in the liturgical calendar. Families begin to settle back into a predictable routine in preparation for back-to-school activities, fall festivals, and a time of harvest. Summer travels and vacations have presented opportunities for respite from regular, hectic routines. At the same time, the change of pace often has an impact on the spiritual and ecclesiological rhythms of our lives. For that reason, August can be a tremendous season to reignite faith communities.
Our primary theme provides myriad images depicting ways that justice and joy can and must coexist. Our guest writer, Rev. Doug Ruffle, says it this way, “Joy is found when we, as the people of God, put our faith into action by pursuing justice and championing the oppressed” as demonstrated in this month’s lectionary texts. While the lectionary calendar refers to this last portion of the liturgical season as Ordinary (ordered) Time—the longest season of the liturgical year (33 to 34 Sundays)—this time of refreshing might be more akin to “extra”-ordinary time. Ordinary time accounts for Christ’s life, miracles, and teachings, all illumined by his Resurrection. It is in this season that Christian people move and mature through ordinary time (tempus per annum), the complete Mystery of Christ! You will note how our biblical texts continue to hold this mystery before us. Our hope is that families will intentionally focus on these readings by not only reading them, but also by living into them with an expectation of a harvest of hope, faith, and grace. Thus, the liturgical color green stands as a symbol of hope and growth.
As you lead your congregation through this series, be mindful of ways to be perpetrators of justice and joy in the following:
- Planning back-to-school community events.
- Planting, cultivating, and harvesting community gardens that will help feed the homeless.
- Celebrating and teaching songs and prayers of the faith around campfires, in retirement homes, in children’s hospital wards, in prisons, and other places.
- Sharing 2020 list of graduates with college/university campus ministers.
- Having a summer planning retreat
- Preparing for special observances:
- Hispanic Heritage Observance – Sept. 15-Oct. 15
- Children’s Sabbath – Oct. 18-20
- Reformation Day – Oct. 31
- United Methodist Student Day – Dec. 1