Third Sunday After the Epiphany 2018 — Planning Notes

Move  |  RISE UP! 

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

From today to February 4, the color is green.
February 11 (Transfiguration) is white and gold.
Beginning Ash Wednesday (February 14), the color is purple.    

January 18-25 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
January 21      Ecumenical Sunday

All Month       Black History Month
February 11   Transfiguration of the Lord
                        Scouting Sunday

February 14   Ash Wednesday
                        Lent Series Begins (forthcoming)
February 19  
Presidents Day

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

Planning This Service

It’s week three in this six-week series. We’re now moving into “mid-series” in this six-week season. The core task mid-series is to sustain the series energy and and continue to develop the thematic thread. Energy always matters, but mid-series, it’s development of the theme that tends to matter more.

There are two primary kinds of movement in this week’s Scripture reading from Jonah. One is physical movement. Jonah moves from Spain to Iraq, and then keeps moving a full day’s journey into the heart of Nineveh. The other movement is the dramatic acts of repentance by the people and even the livestock of Nineveh. Instead of facing being overturned, as Jonah’s prophecy announced, they instead turned over a new leaf. In a way, one might propose even a third kind of movement, God’s own movement of intention concerning Nineveh from judgment toward mercy in light of their repentance.

The core response to today’s theme is found in the prayers of the people. Prayer becomes the primary way we begin to embody the action of “Move” in worship today. We pray with people who must move, or are called to move, or who by their position are involved in moving others. We also pray for ourselves, for the Spirit’s work to move us all from captivity to sin toward perfection in love in this life. We posit this as a possible altar call, a call to come forward to pray, as the response to the bidding prayer shifts from unison spoken response to ensemble and congregational singing.

Additional Resources for this Service

2014 Planning Helps for these readings »

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