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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Another Saturday, Another Rockin' Preacher Party

I don't know about you all, but as we slide into the umpteenth "bread of life" Sunday, I'm in need of a little extra inspiration. So, for this week's party, I invite you to come with me to a virtual space modeled after the place where my muse seems to reside these days.

The table is set today in a one-room lodge set on a peaceful lakeshore. The coffee is brewing courtesy of one of those mysterious early risers, and I've set out bowls of granola and yogurt (THE camp breakfast). Because it's just too appropriate to pass up, there's also plenty of fresh bread. Pull up one of the rocking chairs, or curl up on the cushy seat that spans the entire windowed wall - or join me out on the porch and take in some fresh air from the swing or an Adirondack chair.

I'm working mostly from the Proverbs 9 passage, and talking about the various voices that call out to us from all corners, demanding things of us, versus the voice of Wisdom that offers us a place at the feast. Doesn't it feel like it should be a communion Sunday? God's blessing be with each of you as you ponder and prepare.

(And yes, I realize that this doesn't sound terribly "rockin'," despite the post title. I have confidence that we'll get there as the day goes on.)


  1. it's rockin' if you're in a rocking chair...

  2. Who's out there writing? This is my last Sunday off for the forseeable future. It's the time I regret having four in a row, because I know it will be very hard to get back on the horse next week. Thinking of you all today...

  3. I'm (still) working on David/Solomon...

    This series has become more of a chore now. It sounded like a good idea at the beginning, but having delved more deeply, I realize that I needed more time to put this together than I usually have.

    For the future (and y'all feel free to remind me of this next time I say I'm going to do a sermon series), it would be wiser to have the entire series in at least outline/rough draft form before I commit to it. That way, it isn't just an idea, I've fleshed it out and found whether there's a good foundation for whatever idea I had, and I can carry a theme all the way through it.

    At any rate, here I am with Solomon this week and next. He started out with good intentions--asking for wisdom so he would be a good king--and then things sort of fell apart. The Biblical account mentions his failures (the many foreign wives, worshiping in the high places, forced labour, high taxes) but focuses on the good stuff, the exciting stuff--how he rebuilt the temple, and the gold and other luxuries of his court, and the flourishing of Wisdom literature.

    So I'm going with the idea (I think) of intentions and wanting to be the right sort of person, and then, without intention, how we slide off the high road. We know what we should do; the hard part is sticking with it when there are so many other choices.

    I like this lakeside lodge...good coffee too. I brought cinnamon buns! to work.

  4. I've preached on Jesus' 'eat my flesh' sayings once before, so I figured that I could just revisit what I wrote, adapt it, add to it, etc.

    Then I discovered that this previous sermon wasn't really high quality stuff.

    I'm still going with the John passage, talking about how strange it sounds and then moving into the metaphor of making Christ a part of our souls--one rendering of the Greek word 'to drink' in this passage.

    I may work in some observations about people hurt by institutional church...but I haven't totally formulated that part yet.

  5. I'm not preaching tomorrow. A candidate seeking a call to a nearby church is going to preach for her search commmittee (what we call a neutral pulpit) I'm very glad about this. I just have the welcome and the pastoral prayer.

    But--lest you think I'm off having fun today, our big Mother of All Fundraisers outdoor Art Fair takes place today, so I'm off in a little while for that.

    Then, OEH and I scored some VIP tickets to the local MLB game at Brewski Stadium, complete with a VIP parking pass, courtesy of a clergy friend who thought I could use a diversion this weekend.

    So, I'm leaving that art fair early. You won't see much of me today, but I'll be thinking about you all.

  6. Great lodge! The granola was yummy, and I am on my third cup of coffee. I made more whenI emptied the pot.

    I am looking at Ephesians and the Psalm and thinking about how we praise God and why we praise God. I am not sure where I am going, but it will get there eventually...

    Back to the outline

  7. I can't think of a better place ot write a sermon than this lodge. Good coffee, good company.

    I am part of the preaching team at my church which is doing a series on the armor of God. So, although I am in Ephesians, I am not in the lectionary. I have the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation. I have lots of disjointed notes and thoughts, and now I have to find a way to pull it together.

    Praying for all of you...


  8. Hi Cheesehead--enjoy--you certainly deserve some Cheesehead time!

    So I've got the outline almost done (pass the cinnamon rolls, please), but I can't figure out how to end this. Here's what I've got:

    I start out talking about Solomon and his good intentions that went by the wayside as he got used to the good life, and the results--high taxes, forced labour, etc.--that made the northern kingdom secede as soon as he died. Then I talk about a friend from seminary who found herself unable to follow her call--it was just too hard for her; and then a friend who stuck with his call despite a very tempting offer.

    So how do I wrap this up, besides "Don't get tempted by the easy way; follow your call, and know that God is with you when you are doing what is right for you, even when it seems hard." That seems so obvious and bland. It's the right conclusion--but how do I add zip? How can I make this more interesting? Help, pals!

    I'll have to leave soon for a wedding rehearsal--the wedding is next week, but the site is way out in the country, so the rehearsal is this week. It's outside and of course it's raining today!

    Hopefully something will come to me on the drive!

    I'll make another pot of coffee before I leave...

  9. I'm still brushing myself off from a little dustup I had on another blog recently (maybe I should have proloned the blog-break)... but I am preaching on Solomon as well, and exploring what it means to have a discerning mind. It's a pop-culture jamboree this week, which is unusual for me--the Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, Stephen Colbert, and Anne Lamott will all be making appearances.

    My point seems to be that a discerning mind is a dangerous thing to ask for because you will be confronted with things in the world that you would probably rather not. I'm going to talk about the anniversary of Katrina and use the poem written by St. Casserole's menfolk.

  10. Ugh. I just lost everything I wrote because I wrote on my Dad's computer. I'll sum up:

    - Awesome lodge
    - Busy Saturday for me
    - Late night party participant
    - Welcome home Songbird
    - Cheesehead have a brew for me

  11. Good to have the company...I'm preaching on wisdom...Solomon, Proverbs, etc. Looking for a good wisdom story...any thoughts? Sort of a "what is wisdom" illustration?

  12. Thus far this morning, I have retouched the roots of my hair, had breakfast, and done sudoku puzzles. Aren't I just productive. Sermon? What sermon?

    Let's see, we need some zip for Rainbow Pastor...I don't have any fabulous ideas, but my inclination is that it won't be as bland if you show that point through story, and sort of give people some space to see it for themselves, rather than just telling it. Sounds like you have plenty of story options between Solomon and the seminarians.

    I'm trying to figure out how we hear and identify the voice of God amidst the many voices that cry out for our attention. On Tuesday when I created the bulletin, I named the sermon "Wisdom is as Wisdom Does." I'm not sure why I titled it that way, but it makes me think that maybe I can use the Ephesians passage to talk about knowing God better through following God's instructions.

    I could perhaps use a good wisdom story too...

  13. Great comments from everyone! I am preaching from John, but fortunately I'm the guest preacher, so I'm not facing hte 4th week in a row. These verses in John are pretty graphic, and right now I am thinking along the lines of the connection between our physical bodies, communion and our connection with God.

  14. cc: perhaps a good place to look for wisdom illustrations is from Anthony de Mello. He has about a zillion books out and wisdom/awareness is his main theme. Mostly short little stories/clips/etc. I don't know how if you can find something on the web (though you can try but you can always try Borders, if you have time to browse a little! I recommend "One Minute Wisdom" and "The Heart of the Enlightened" as good starting places.

  15. Thanks Teri.

    I did find some good Wisdom stuff in Jan Richardson's book "In Wisdom's Path" and recommend it for any wisdom seekers, she has a great litany of sorts about what wisdom is that I'd be happy to pass on to anyone who would like it.

    Sermon's done...not great, but it'll preach...

  16. *yawns and stumbles in bleary-eyed*

    Love the lodge atmosphere--it's eerily similar to the lodge where I went on retreat to decide whether I was being called to accept my current call. A beautiful place!

    This sermon is nearly my last big thing to do before I leave for a week of continuing ed and my first weekend off since starting the call. It won't be pretty, but it's time to get started, I guess.

    (I feel like a wuss for complaining about my week knowing about Cheesehead's week, but I also had a funeral-heavy week and am feeling the weight of that physically and spiritually.)

    It's either a final week of bread, or Wisdom, for me, and hopefully both entwined together. I feel like I am creating a habit of "borrowing" Stacey's ideas--I love the image of many voices calling to us, threatening to drown out the voice of Wisdom.

    However--my Hebrew exegesis class in seminary focused on wisdom literature, so I think I'm heading upstairs to grab that notebook and see if I can draw anything out of there. And the idea of wisdom today is interesting even though there may not be much of it out there. What's our modern-day equivalent of this Wisdom female figure? I'll have to check the authors that have been suggested (if their stuff's online--Borders/B&N is too far).

    Contemplative Chaplain--if you wanted to post that litany, I'd be very interested to see it!

    Time to make some tea and dig in for another week...

  17. It's good to be in company of those who are doing anything else but the sermon work they intended to do. Even in this setting, I can hear two sleepy children who are fighting naps with their very being. I'm fighting NOT taking a nap. (The coffee isn't decaf, is it?)

    Anyway, I'm still slogging through John, focusing on truth and what is real (emphasis on verse 55). I too recommend Jan Richardson's work (I had the privilege to get to know her in a clergy women's retreat last Fall.) I'm forgetting which book it's in right now, but I've been meditating on this quotation from her: "Only this: that I may never hunger for that which is not your bread." I'm not sure how it's going to fit in right now, but it keeps luring me to it. In the meantime, I offer some zucchini bread from a local farmer's market.

    Thanks for the thoughts, all.

  18. Sending you lots of good preaching vibes from vacation... you can have all my preaching mojo this weekend, but I'll need it back by Thursday!

  19. I'm preaching on Job. That's right. Job. Do I know how to party of what?

    The sermons this summer have been longer than usual, so I'm hoping that tomorrow's will be brief.

    To Sum Up: The point isn't how much Job trusts God, the point is how much God trusts Job (and us).

    Now I just have to write it.

    Congrats to all of you who have hung in with the Bread theme... And to all of you writing and almost done... Keep going!

  20. It is my fourth year as DCE and I have been invited to preach for Rally DAy each year. Rally Day is tomorrow and I am remembering that every year at this time I promise myself that I will not do this again next year. Adding sermon prep onto my busiest week of the whole year is not wise . . . .

    and ironically I will be preaching about wisdom.

  21. Maybe I need more rockin' and less peaceful mountain lodge. I am getting NOTHING written today.

    One would think I'd have plenty to say about wisdom. Wisdom personified as in Proverbs was so important to me that I had the Hebrew word tattooed on my back...and yet, I now find myself wordless. Sadly, I suspect that showing off my tattoo in church would be a decision of the unwise variety.

  22. Back from the wedding rehearsal--what a great couple! I am going to enjoy this one a lot!--but with no new ideas from the drive...

    Stacey, you make me laugh! "A decision of the unwise variety," indeed. And thanks for the suggestion about simply telling the stories, too. SOmetimes I have a hard time switching out of my "professional writing" mode (i.e., abstracts and reserach papers) where everything HAS to be concluded and explained and laid out--I can forget that I'm addressing human being who are intelligent and literate and can draw their own conclusions without my having to draw them a picture...This isn't a lecture, it's a sermon!

    Fighting the sleepiness, but oddly relieved at the thought of simply telling a story. instead of having to be deeply theological (not that it won't be; the theology just isn't as overt).

    More coffee, anyone? I'm making another pot...

  23. Stacey--here's what I'd be tempted to do if I were you. Tell the story (especially if it's good) about trying to decide if you should get the tattoo, including your reasons for doing so. Use it as your sermon opening. Then, just don't give them the end of the story.

    Some alert person may ask at the end if you ever got the tattoo, and then you can make the call about whether or not to tell that individual person, rather than trumpeting it from the pulpit.

    Just an idea that popped into my mind. I wish I had a cool tattoo to start things off, cause I got nothing so far.

  24. Rainbow, I'm always glad to be of service in making people laugh! I'm also glad that the storytelling approach has taken off some of the pressure; I totally know what you mean about the shift from academic writing. And yes, I will take more coffee, please. Progress is being made, but this is looking like it may be a loooooong night.

    Semfem, your idea about the tattoo story is very appealing! But given the reactions of some of the church members who already know about the tattoo, I think I'll generally avoid even saying the word "tattoo" from the pulpit. I'm walking a fine line this week with the word "wine," and that is actually in the texts.

  25. Whoo hoo! I'm done! A bit of last polishing tomorrow (I always find the rough edges better in the morning light) and I'll print it off!

    Many thanks, Stacey--your suggestion was right-on, it just flowed onto the page!

    Anyone want more coffee before I go, or is it time to switch to decaf?

  26. I finally have a draft of a sermon. I'll still need to work a bit on it, but I can live with it for now. I think I'm reaching the end of my tolerance for bread connections, though. Although I love metaphors, I've digested, swallowed, chewed on, nibbled, tasted, and partaken of all the bread imagery I want to have for a while (even though I'm still on John next week). I'm so ready to move to a different part of the food pyramid.

    So, I offer some fruit dipped in chocolate. But, since I can't completely get away from the bread, I'll also slice up some pieces of pound cake.

    Good evening,all.

    PS. Sorry for the anonymous post before. I'm not sure why it didn't record my identity. Hopefully it won't do the same thing this time. (Peacepastor)

  27. w00t for rainbow and peace pastors, who are done (mostly)! I'm losing my mind staring at my partially finished sermon, and am thinking of ending with a story that I told at camp, about a king who leaves his daughters to rule the kingdom, giving them each a grain of rice before he leaves. It's a "what do you do with what you've received?" sort of story, that kind of fits with where I've ended up going...God serves up the bread abundantly; how do we use it? It's light, but I think it makes the point.

  28. went and played all day and have an outline but not anything that will preach. Pass the coffee please. I'm considering an outline rather than a manuscript, but have never done it before. Any advice?

  29. I've decided to be done with at least a draft, which I have sitting beside me for editing as I work on the order for the early service and watch a movie. I'm done with the coffee for the night, but there's plenty left for you, knittinpreacher. As for me, I'm about to break out the wine; anyone else want a glass?

    I usually preach from a manuscript, but when I have preached from outlines, something that has been helpful for me is writing out key phrases and transitions, so that I'm not left standing there wondering, "Where was I going with that?"

  30. thanks Stacey. I'm thinking 3 things -- 1) Wine would be lovely, please save me some! 2) Next week will be different (this is the same promise I have made since I arrived here!) 3) maybe a combo manuscript/outline... I like that idea.

  31. KnittinPreacher, outlines work for me because I think in words (okay paragraphs), so I've heard it all in my head before I get it on paper. If you think in pictures more than words Stacey's idea is probably a really good plan. You might also figure out how to note the picture you have in mind on the outline (drawing or words).

    I have no idea when I'll preach again, but I love dropping in on the preaching party anyway. There are brownies in the oven. Will someone take them out if I don't get back in 25 minutes?

  32. Of COURSE we'll take out the brownies. I hope there are some left for you when you return!

    I think in words too, but I find that I sometimes have difficulty connecting the words I've written down in an outline with what I was actually thinking when I wrote them, let alone what I'm thinking while I'm saying them. This is why I usually preach from manuscripts :)

  33. Lets get this party started right now.
    Well, I have been absent today from the party, so I am barging in now.
    Just got back from taking the kids to the movie Barnyard, it was kind of cute. And boy do they know how to party.

    I am preaching on Ephesians tomorrow as a continued part of a series, only I am a week behind the lectionary, due to homecoming at the first of the month. But needless to say I am with the rest. I have mostly 2/3rds done, and am working on the rest, a big of a polish and well off we go. Stacey hope you can get your wisdom mojo working to preach on it.

    Have done outlines but I prefer manuscript. Oh well its the perfectionist in me. Isay go for it KnittinPreacher if you feel like you can do it.

    Congrats to the Peace Pastor and the Rainbow Pastor for finishing. Where's listing straight and is she done? Good luck Sunday's Child with all you got going on along with preaching. But what is rally day? Hope Sue Densmore was able to pull together her notes, I want them for later.

    Well, what's happening at the party, who else is around a this stage of the game?

  34. I'm here. Things are not going especially well. I have a long list of random interesting things about Wisdom and bread and Eucharist, and now the task is to turn them into a semi-coherent sermon.

    I just had a weirdly healthy dinner (tofu, peas, brown rice stirfry) because nothing else is in the house and I didn't want to interrupt sermonizing to go grocery shopping. SO...I'd love a brownie or two (thanks mid-life rookie) to balance things out! Maybe some coffee if there's any left. I fear wine would be a backwards step at this point.

    Huzzah for all you who are finished or deciding that what you have is going to be enough!

    (Stacey, I'm filing away your suggestion about writing down transitions for that day when I am brave enough to preach without a manuscript. Hopefully tomorrow will not be that day.)

  35. Just stopping by for a minute to grab a brownie before they are all gone. Thanks to whoever got them out of the oven. Tonight instead of working on a sermon, I'm helping manBoy with homework. This is actually a series of miracles:
    1)He asked for help.
    2)He asked me!
    3)It's Saturday and he's doing homework.

    Blessings and prayers for all of you who are still writing and to everyone who is preaching tomorrow.

  36. I'm still here, sipping my wine, watching "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," and still occasionally looking over at my sermon, which I'm pretty sure is utter crap. Oh well. Experience tells me that it will take on a life of its own in the speaking and hearing of it. Thanks be to God for that.

  37. Phew! *Flopping on couch, desperately needing shower... and brownie*

    Sounds like you all are doing good things. Revabi I too am doing last week's Ephesians.

    Stacey, with your last couple of weeks I think you should unveil a tatoo that says, "Don't blog? wtf"

    Sorry, first thing I do is I come in cuss up a storm and stink up the joint. I am off to shower and I will clean my mouth out too.

    Better behaved will smama will return...

  38. Stacey--if you see this--if you don't mind, could you drop me a quick e-mail at It has to do with next weekend.

    If you do mind and would rather not reveal an e-mail address to me (since you don't really KNOW me), of course I understand. Not trying to be a stalker here.

  39. will smama, you and your dirty mouth crack me up. And I have been thinking about getting a second tattoo...

    Semfem, I'm dropping you an email right now.

  40. *flopping back down*

    No shower, thunderstorm kept me at the office (err, on this side of the lodge). I will attempt to behave better.

    What is that odor... oh, right. Sorry.

    One more thing before I hunker down, I would like to thank the woman who does the children's sermon for bailing on that tomorrow morning. I want to thank her because at least she left a message for me tonight. Usually I find out Sunday morning.

    Okay now, I will shush.

  41. Oy, will smama. Keep your odor over there...just kidding. Oy to the children's sermon. I hate children's sermons. I hate them even more when I have to throw them together at the last minute because someone else has bailed. Grrr.

    That reminds me, I need to throw together a children's sermon now...but not because someone bailed on it. I just plain forgot.

  42. Hey y'all, I;m back from my baseball game. The seats were AWESOME and the old home team won. A bonus was that the National Anthem singer was my choir director at St. Stoic! (I knew she was one of their regulars, but had never heard her do it before.) Me and the hubby waved to her from our excellent seats as she was hitting the last note, and she saw us and waved back!

    Speaking of locker rooms...what's that smell?

    Just kidding!

    Blessings to all preachers of sermons and children's sermons tomorrow.


  43. Just getting home from a SS party -- outside -- in triple digit heat. Preaching this weeks Ephesians about being wise. I was watching the first Pirates of the Carribean last night and thought there was something that fit the sermon but didn't write it down ... oh well I guess the pirates will have to wait for a different sermon because I have no idea what it was now. Argh

  44. Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh indeed, Vicar!

    Still here, still writing. Broke down and got into the bag of chocolate chips. Arrrrrrgh.

  45. I'm off to bed. Blessed writing and even more blessed preaching to you all, and please turn off the coffee pot if you're the last one to leave.

  46. I'm still up... my contacts may be permanently sealed to my eyeballs (iw).

    Attempting to read hard copy and make sense of it. I have too much on my plate to go into tomorrow am without a finished product.

    Desperately low on snacks here at the office.

    Can't... reach... coffee...

    Can't ... reach... conclusion...

  47. Gotta go. Eyes revolting... sermon not getting better.

    Should I get the coffee pot?

  48. I got it, will smama. *flips off the coffee pot*

    I'm done, sort of. Got a finished draft. Now off to take a shower and run my eyes over it again, and print it out. (I'm one of those who can't really look at a sermon in the morning at all--I freak out and want to throw it all away.)

    I hope everyone else got done...if not, sorry for turning off the coffee pot!

  49. *shuffling/stumbling in*

    Wasn't I just here?

    Good job semfem, way to pull through. As for the rest of you, I think you know the drill:

    1) Let it go... the Holy Spirit has got your back.

    2) If you've got a dog, walk it proud.

    Have a great Sunday everyone.

  50. Husband is proof-reading as I type this. I don't know that it is good, but I'm pretty sure it's faithful. I'll go with that. Now I just have to get through Rally Day Sunday School. Prayers, please. There is a reason I only preach once a year!

  51. I'll be right back here with you next week! God be with you as you open the word this morning.

  52. And, will smama? Check for the eye crusties...

  53. Coming in with eye crusties, wrinkledy face and bird's nest of a hair, and oh yes stinking the place up, sweat all night long.

    Uh the rocking chair rocked me to sleep last night, couldn't get another post or word into my sermon.

    I have no dog to walk, so I wonder if the holy spirit will do its thing still?

    We got Sunday school Promotion Sunday today, I kept telling them take your time, talk about what Sunday School means to you, introduce each kid. And what did they tell me, It will only take 10 minutes Abi. oops, maybe I better put the affirmation of faith back in or else I have to have a 30 minute sermon. Help.

    Prayers to all who preach lead and do promotion sundays. so good to have you back posting and commenting songbird. Staci thanks for the party! Hey do you think we can get at least a temporary tatoo made that says RGBP on it with one of our saying on it?

  54. Not only with eye crusties, but nasty hair. Of course, I've been on call all night at the hospital. Off to take a shower.

    Preach it well, sisters. With Grace and Poise.

  55. Thanks, SB. I actually did check when I read that.

  56. Revabi, no fear! The Spirit will be with you!
    will smama means a dog of a sermon, not a pretty girl like me!!!

  57. Oh Molly only if my sermons were even as pretty as you. lol.

    And do you know what, Molly, the Spirit was with me, I didn't even preach what I had written, instead its like the Holy Spirit had a lot more to say and just blew it all out. Thank you Holy Spirit.
    And thank you Molly.
    I hope all the rest of you enjoy your afternoon nap. Got one more sermon to go.

  58. You know, I appreciate that this Holy Spirit thing is supposed to be pretty neat, but why does it turn the EXACT SAME sermon into a mighty proud-walkin' dog at the first church and a big galumphing sloth-like hippo at the second church? *sigh*

    On a happier note, woot woot for revabi, Sunday's Child, and will smama (thanks for the encouragement), plus everyone else who walked that dog today. :)

    I am SO outta here. Back to the preacher's party in a few weeks!

  59. made it through and have had a nap. done with preaching until next year. thanks for the encouragement. blessings on those of you who do this much more than once a year! :)

  60. semfem, Um I feel for you doing twice on Sunday and 2 different congregations, if I understand you right. I did that for 5 years. I floundered for 2 yrs with the first church, they just weren't use to a woman preaching or my style. The second church were glad to have my style, the previous preacher yelled at them. It took me awhile to adjust my style some for the first church and them to get used to me. The other thing is that is very tiring and strenuous activity to preach. So you probably are tired. Do you also teach a Sunday school lesson in between? Maybe stop and take a deep breath, get a drink of water, relax and refocus inbetween, and pray. Or also have someone pray over you or for you before the 2nd service. We'll pray for you. Its an adventure.


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