Planning for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

Posted by Andrew R. Jones on Aug 27, 2018 8:30:00 AM

Pentecost 20

Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (October 7, 2018).

Season & Preparations

The long season of Pentecost continues with the color green as usual. If you happen to be in Canada, Canadian Thanksgiving occurs the day after the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost and you may want to utilize those readings instead (and use the color white).

Readings & Theme

View the readings in Lutheran Service Builder >

The Gospel reading for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost comes from Mark 10 and is in two parts. In the first part, the Pharisees ask Jesus about the lawfulness of divorce. Jesus makes it clear that the laws of humanity have corrupted God’s intention for how the world should be as seen in creation. Jesus comes down harshly on divorce and remarriage, stating such an action is indeed adultery.

In the second part, people are bringing children to Jesus, but the disciples are not fans of this. They try to stop the children from bothering Jesus. Jesus is indignant, wanting the children to come to Him. One must understand that children were not viewed in quite the same way in that culture as they are viewed in our culture today. Children weren’t supposed to bother adults, especially great men like Jesus. His time was supposed to be spent among the people who really understood. Jesus reverses the expectations of the crowd, saying that the kingdom of God must be received as a little child.

The Old Testament Reading connects to the first part of the Gospel. It is the story from Genesis 2 of God creating Eve as the perfect counterpart for Adam. Adam and Eve’s relationship is the only human relationship the Bible speaks of before the fall into sin, and we don’t have very many details. But we know that God cared deeply about His creatures and quite literally made them for each other.

The Epistle for the next seven weeks (if you don’t celebrate Reformation Day or All Saints’ Day) is from the Book of Hebrews. This week you have the choice of a shorter reading (2:1–13) or a longer reading (2:1–18). Hebrews is a challenging book and I often find the more context one has the better. This section speaks of Jesus as the founder of our salvation. He was made perfect through suffering, and He can help us in our temptations because He Himself suffered temptations.

Hymns & Music

The Hymn of the Day is “Our Father, by Whose Name” (LSB 863). This hymn focuses on the family, particularly how God claims each family as His own.

If you wish to focus on the second part of the Gospel, I suggest using “Father Welcomes” (LSB 605) and “Children of the Heavenly Father” (LSB 725). The beautiful Swedish tune just makes me smile. Stanza three lilts with beautiful allusions to Romans 8.

Other hymns to consider for this day include “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” (LSB 685) and “Love in Christ Is Strong and Living” (LSB 706).

Additional Resources for Worship & Study

John Kleinig’s Concordia Commentary on the Book of Hebrews will undoubtedly prove useful over the next several weeks as we work through sections of this rather challenging Epistle.

Also, the Arch Book Jesus Blesses the Children may prove useful for teaching today’s Gospel to younger members of your congregation.


Looking for additional information on planning for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost? Download our planning sheet to help you get started!

Download Planning Sheet

Tags: Service Planning, The Season after Pentecost