Second Sunday in Lent 2018 — Planning Notes


Intervention  |  REHAB WORSHIP SERIES 

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

The primary color for Lent is purple.    

All Month       Black History Month

March 2         World Day of Prayer
March 11       UMCOR Sunday
                       Daylight Saving Time Change Song (Spring) (USA)
March 25      Passion/Palm Sunday
                      Holy Week Series Begins
March 29      Maundy/Holy Thursday
March 30      Good Friday
March 31      Holy Saturday (until Sundown)
                      Easter Eve/Easter Vigil (after Sundown)

April 1           
Easter Day
                      Easter Series Begins
April 15        
Native American Ministries Sunday
April 22         Festival of God’s Creation
April 25         World Malaria Day

All Month       Christian Home Month (2018 Theme: Families Called to Peace, forthcoming)
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May 3              National Day of Prayer
May 4              May Friendship Day (UMW/CWU)
May 7-13        
Christian Family Week (2018 resources forthcoming)
May 10            
Ascension Day
May 13            Ascension Sunday
                        Festival of the Christian Home/Mother’s Day (USA)
May 19-20      
Change the World Weekend
May 20           Day of Pentecost
                       Heritage Sunday (forthcoming)
May 24           
Aldersgate Day
May 27           Trinity Sunday
                       Peace with Justice Sunday
May 28           Memorial Day (USA)

Pray for annual conferences convening throughout the month, for all receiving new appointments or assignments, for those leaving existing appointments or assignments, and for congregations and other ministries receiving new leadership. 

For Your Planning Team — LENT 2, REHAB: Intervention

This week is about recognizing our need for intervention as we continue to prepare ourselves to live the way of Jesus.

It’s one thing to recognize you’re in the wilderness. It’s another to realize, once there, that what you think you know from your previous experience not only can’t help you now, but may actually do you or others harm.

It isn’t necessarily our fault that we’re so unaware of our unawareness. The way the brain processes how we respond to current circumstances is built on attempted pattern matching with previous circumstances and experiences. The way of Jesus, the way of God’s kingdom, is generally substantially out of sync with “things as usual.” And even in the church, a lot of us have been far more formed by “things as usual” than by the rhythms and realities of the kingdom of God. Even in the church, even among church leaders, lay and clergy alike, it’s quite common for us to bring the “things as usual” perspective to our actions and decisions, and so much so that were Jesus here to confront us with how far off we are from his ways, we’d have much the same reaction Peter did. We’d try to rebuke Jesus.

The good news is, Jesus is Lord, and he will have none of that.

He rebukes Peter, and us, right back.

The opening of worship today seeks to help dramatize not just the Scripture, but the larger situation we find ourselves in during this season of intense preparation to live the way of Jesus. We need to hear and see Jesus “up in our faces,” as it were, setting us straight on what it really takes to follow him. We need intervention if we’re going to escape the lies this culture tells and gets up in our faces about when it comes to what success looks like. Peter wasn’t wrong about what his culture and our culture has deeply taught us. But these cultures have lied and keep their lies alive and strong. Success in the way of Jesus looks like self-denial, not self-aggrandizement. It looks like walking straight into places of suffering, even when they endanger us. It is not avoiding or somehow “living above” them. And it involves actively following Jesus as we do so, not trusting in whatever we think our instincts have taught us to do, because the instincts of many of the best of us are still terribly malformed or unformed in Jesus’ ways.

So our response to the word today, the Call to Acknowledge, as well as the Prayers of the People, the Great Thanksgiving developed for this service, and the words at the sending forth all build upon this understanding of how much we need Jesus to intervene, and toward strengthening and enacting our commitment to let him do it.

With a theme like this, it may be tempting to move into heavy-handed “holier than thou, hyper-righteousness” mode. Instead, gentleness, transparency, and humility are needed. Prepare yourselves to model these things in the ways you as worship leaders lead today. There’s no shame in admitting we need help. We do. And thanks be to God, God is ready to offer help to one and all, through prayer, through sacrament, and through our interactions with others in our daily lives. 

Additional Resources for this Service

2015 Planning Helps for these readings

Ecumenical Prayer Cycle: (Click link to find countries for this week when they are posted)