Planning for the Second Sunday after Pentecost

Posted by Andrew R. Jones on Apr 23, 2018 9:40:00 AM

Pentecost-2Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Second Sunday after Pentecost (June 3, 2018).

Season & Preparations

The first half of the Church Year is filled with feasts and festivals and special seasons of fasting and rejoicing (from Advent to Pentecost). The second half of the Church Year is comprised of a steadier rhythm. The season of Pentecost is a time of consistency in the Church Year. In some traditions, it is known as “ordinary time.”

Green is the color for the season of Pentecost. Green evokes a sense of growth and life. The season of Pentecost is a time for the church to deepen its roots, to be watered and bask in the sunlight, to let God provide the growth.

The Sundays after Pentecost are kept track of using a numbering system called “propers.” These stretch from 3 to 29. Due to the fluctuating date of Easter, the Second Sunday after Pentecost can begin with Proper 3 or with later propers. In 2018, we begin with Proper 4. Be sure to note this as you make use of various resources.

Readings & Theme

View the readings on Lutheran Calendar >

The Second Sunday after Pentecost begins a steady march through the Gospel of Mark. While Mark 1 was covered earlier in the year, mainly in the season of Epiphany, we pick up today in chapters 2 and 3. The lectionary gives you the option of stopping at the end of chapter 2, but I recommend including the first six verses of chapter 3. Both sections of Mark’s Gospel relate to the Sabbath Day. In the first section, the Pharisees question Jesus as to why His disciples are plucking heads of grain on the Sabbath. Jesus’ response is to point them to David, who had done something similar. Jesus shares this phrase: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” (2:27–28).

In chapter 3, Jesus then shows that He is indeed Lord of the Sabbath by healing a man with a withered hand. I suggest including this section because it highlights the tension in Mark’s Gospel. After Jesus heals the man, Mark writes, “The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him” (v. 6). Jesus’ conflict with the Pharisees begins early in Mark’s Gospel, and they already have His death in mind.

The Old Testament Reading, from Deuteronomy 5, pairs with the Gospel for the day. It is one of the two recordings of the Ten Commandments. Notice in this section that the instruction to keep the Sabbath is grounded in God’s saving work of delivering the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. The Israelites are instructed to rest once a week on the Sabbath day, and moreover to make sure they allow their children, servants, animals, and guests to rest as well. They are not to be so harsh as the Egyptians were, but are to offer rest to others and take rest for themselves.

The Epistle for the next six weeks will come from the Book of 2 Corinthians. We start in chapter 4, where Paul reminds the church at Corinth, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord” (v. 5). This is an excellent reminder for all people proclaiming God’s Word. We do not proclaim ourselves, our own glory, or our own stories. We proclaim Jesus as Lord, His glory, and His story into which He has so graciously adopted us and made us partakers in His narrative of death and resurrection.

Hymns & Music

The Hymn of the Day for Pentecost 2 is “O Day of Rest and Gladness” (LSB 906), which draws on the Sabbath themes from the Scripture readings.

Consider also “When Peace, like a River” (LSB 763), which likewise draws on Sabbath themes of peace and rest. It also draws on the theme of hope in the midst of trials and sorrows, which are highlighted in the Epistle.

During the Distribution of the Lord’s Supper, I recommend using “Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared” (LSB 622), which contains these lines in stanza one:

As weary souls, with sin oppressed,
We come to You for needed rest,
For comfort, and for pardon.

Few words can better remind people that Jesus is our Sabbath rest.

Additional Resources for Worship & Study

As you work through Mark’s Gospel in this Pentecost season, I highly recommend using James Voelz’s Concordia Commentary: Mark 1:1–8:26.

Though the Old Testament Reading only gives one of the Ten Commandments, consider using the Arch Book The Ten Commandments as a resource for children.

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

Download Planning Sheet


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Quotations marked LSB are from Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Tags: The Season after Pentecost, Service Planning