Season of Creation 2017 — Series Overview

Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost, Year A

We increase God’s praise when we address not just our own "hanger," but the legitimate howls of hanger or hunger, “the cries of the needy,” as we pray in our confession of sin, cries we are called to hear as Christ’s body, are respond to with whatever means we have, just as God did, and longs to do through us — without hesitation.

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

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost: Season of Creation 4 — FOOD
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).

For Your Planning Team: SEASON OF CREATION 4 — FOOD

In the Series and Launching the Next Series

We conclude the series today. As with all series conclusions, including elements in the service that both show the journey you’ve taken and celebrate where you’ve arrived.

Segue to the few weeks is a bit different than at other times. The first three Sundays in October are full of denominational and other programmatic emphases (World Communion Sunday, Laity Sunday, Children’s Sabbath). Our October resourcing will begin with two one-off services (World Communion Sunday and Laity Sunday), and Laity Sunday (October 15) will be used to launch a three-week, point by point mini-series we’re calling “Habits of Hospitality.”

Week 1: October 15: Offering Peace (Laity Sunday)
Luke 10:1-10

Week 2: October 22: Welcoming ALL the People (#SeeAllThePeople)
I Thessalonians 1:1-10 (especially 6-10)

Week 3: October 29: Sharing Our Authentic Selves
I Thessalonians 2:1-8

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. You will note the sermon notes do not do this. This is on purpose. Last week’s sermon notes provided a kind of recapitulation of the first three services in the series. For this service, we recommend you look at recapitulation more as part of the sending.
  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. If we have paid attention to the more specific calls of this series, we will not only have marvelled in awe and sometimes fear or anger at major aspects of creation and our lives as creatures in it (week 1), we will also have committed or strengthened our commitment to claim #BlackLivesMatter (week 2), to be a people who hold tensions together and positively care for creation (week 3), and, without excuse or hesitation, to feed all who hunger (today).
  3. Send the people forth with confidence in where they’ve been and where they’re going. In previous services we’ve begun with “All Creatures of Our God and King” (UMH 62 or CCLI# 3608102). This week, conclude with it, singing all the verses again, with images onscreen (or on banners) reflecting the themes of this series as the relevant verses are sung: Wind and Sky (verse 2), Sea and Fire (verse 3), Food (verse 4) and Death (verse 6). Conclude verse 7 with images that point into the next week’s celebration of Holy Communion — communion celebrations and children from around the world, laypersons showing hospitality, and people looking forward in hope. Do not explain it — just do it.

In This Service: Continuing, Concluding, and Moving Forward

The closing service of the series carries the continuous threads of the series to their conclusion.

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 food 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. Food comes from the sky in this story — so think about including some sky colors, if not an image that includes sky, in the background.

Musically, as noted above, still use “All Creatures of Our God and King” (UMH 62, or CCLI #3608102). But for this week, use it last. As suggested last week, include the reading from Francis’s Praise of the Creatures within the time for the opening song or hymn. This week, however, use a different hymn, such as “For the Fruits of This Creation” (UMH 97), and include the reading just after verse 1, or “All Creation” (CCLI# 2650436), and include the reading as a “voiceover” by the worship leader during the intro to the song.

Textually, go straight from the opening song or hymn into the scripture reading for today, followed by a reprise of the last verse or chorus of the opening song, and then the sermon. If you do not celebrate Holy Communion today, consider using BOW 558 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 people who are poor, hungry, or needy.

Finally, if you do celebrate Holy Communion today, use the same form with which you started the series. You will use a different form for World Communion Sunday next week, and, if you celebrate weekly, throughout the month. Using the same form of the Great Thanksgiving over a period of weeks 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 for this Service

2014 Planning Helps for these readings

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru

In This Series...

Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost 2017 — Planning Notes Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost 2017 — Planning Notes Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost 2017 — Planning Notes