Planning for this Series
Week 1: Jeremiah 2:4-13
For the month of September, this worship series will focus thematically on the Lectionary readings from Jeremiah. In the life of the local church, September can be a hectic month: many parishioners are squeezing in their last vacation around Labor Day; while at the same time, many church choirs are resuming their standard schedule, and Christian Education usually has some kind of kick-off (i.e. “Rally Day”). This collection of readings from the book of Jeremiah will be certain to challenge us as we to re-assimilate to the rhythm of a more robust church activity life.
The overarching narrative we see in the Jeremiah readings is a movement from humanity’s waywardness (Weeks 1 through 3), to repentance (Week 4), to renewal (Week 5). If confession is not a regular practice in your congregation, consider incorporating it each week throughout the series. To showcase the diversity of practices that relate to confession, consider varying the approaches, styles, and themes of confession each week.
As an example for Week 1 (this could be a joint activity for children and adults), purchase or make something that resembles a small, broken cistern or container. As a corporate act of confession, invite folks forward to pour water into the broken cistern. (You might want to situate the “cistern” in a larger bowl so that water does not go everywhere.) By pouring water into the broken cistern, we are confessing that we often forsake God’s living water, instead choosing to dig out cisterns for ourselves that cannot hold water (cf. Jeremiah 4:13). While we may be confessing personal sins, the ritual act of coming forward demonstrates that this, too, is a communal effort. Place this movement near the beginning of the service, following it with an assurance of pardon and the passing of the peace.
Written by guest writer, Nelson Cowan, Ph.D. Liturgical Studies: Boston University School of Theology.