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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Preachers, Party On!

Once again, I'm setting the table late, before I go to bed, so the early birds among us can get started before I plan to be awake (it's been a long, draining week here, and I'm going to get as much sleep as possible!)

Unlike Songbird last week, I'm all out of mojo...but I have java, and that's better than nothing. The coffee is set to go - love that timer! I've left cranberry nut muffins on the table. Pull up a chair and get comfy; it's likely to be a long day for some of us.

I'm tying together the Ephesians and John passages to talk about how we live together in Christian community. The idea that keeps running through my head is what eats at us vs. what we eat (bread of life), but I'm not sure where that will go. I'm eager to hear what you all are thinking!


  1. VBS Sunday for me which means no sermon... and my family is in town. So good luck Preacher Dudes and on.

  2. ohh thanks for the muffin- and that coffee smells good...
    so I've settled in here and have been really challenged by the Ephesians passage- but as I don't have to stick to the Lectionary have tied it together with a passage from Isaiah to look at how we might grieve God and what hsi response to us may be blogged some ideas here , let me know what you think cos I'm having second thoughts- I feel I may have gone off at a tangent and will need to start again
    more coffee I think!!!

  3. I'm thinking how my sermon title, chosen Thursday morning, was completely thrown out the window by Thursday afternoon.

    I don't know what to preach after what has happened in my church family (go to my blog if you don't know what I am talking about).


  4. Hello, everybody, I'm new here. It looks like I can just leave a comment, and I hope I'm doing it right! I am trying to preach about the difference between imitators and impostors. In Ephesians we're told to imitate God, as beloved children; in the the John lectionary the hometown folk think Jesus is an impostor. Imitations can be authentic... I'm going to start the sermon with my 11-year-old daughter mimicing my every word, as an 11-year-old daughter can infuriatingly do.

  5. Good morning!

    I'm off to camp, so no sermon for me this week either... but i brought these blueberries that need to get finished up before I leave town.

    Shagbark - I like that imitator vs impostor take!

  6. Oh, CH, I wish I had an idea, just so I could offer it.

    I don't know where the congregation--or you--are, psychologically. But I would think that acknowledging the anger, the pain, the confusion, the questions would be a direction. Also remembering to love the whole family, including the son...people may not be ready yet to hear that he is also suffering pain, however (what demons could bring a child to harm a parent? while remembering the principle of innocent until proven guilty). You may not be ready yourself. Also remembering that God is the final judge.

    And I am sorry if I pressed on wounds. This has got to be a horrible time for everyone.

    You are embraced in love and support and tears.

  7. I've been pondering your quest, CH and don't have much. You know your people best of all. I think Rainbow Pastor has some wonderful wisdom.

    Here are a few bits that have come to me: the redemption themes in the minor prophets, specifically Hosea, Amos and Micah (altho not in that order). And, do you have any precedent for having some sort of interactive service? Something where your people can grieve and/or express their pain or their memories. I'm thinking of something where you might guide the emotions through grief, pain and loss at the beginning to a remembrance of our joy in the Lord (maybe reciting together the prayer that is your last post on Baby BlessingWay) at the end. Another thing that comes to mind, but only if you've read it in the past is a book called "A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23." There is some wonderful imagery in this book about what David was talking about in that Psalm that we are unfamiliar with as part of an industrial society.

    I cannot imagine the horrible pressure you are under at this time to bind the wounds of all your sheep and attempt to tend to your own. You and your people will be in my prayers for some time to come.

    In love and peace ...

  8. This passage has got me thinking about events from over 6 years ago. I am talking about how hard it is to say sorry (Thanks to Ordinary Time for getting the wheels spinning). And what happens when you can't or won't say it. How do we live as Christians and move past anger into forgiveness? That's the start anyway. I made french toast if anyone wants some.

  9. I'm thinking about focusing on the OT lectionary (Lutheran) about wanting to sit underneath the broom tree and not go on -- and God comes and says that you must -- here, eat a little and keep movin'. What feeds us? What keeps us moving? Who ministers to us? Or how do we see God ministering to us?

    CH -- You will be (continue to be) in my prayers as you bring a word of hope and comfort to your people, and to yourself, too.

  10. Hi everboyd. I am with Stacey. I am drained, and I slept until 10 this morning, thanks to my hubby. I like the thoughts everybody is having or trying to have. I am focusing on the Ephesians passage especially the Speaking the truth in love, borrowing from Haugck's book. I am using that because that is a problem in this community I serve.

    Cheesehead, what a difficult task you have this Sunday or is it tonight? I want to share this with you from a former church I was the Pastor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at. There had been a series of rapes by someone wearing a ski mask. No one knew who it was for the longest time. But what a shock when a member of our congregation was arrested as the ski mask rapist. Not only was he a member but he was the children's Sunday school teacher, a member of the Administrative council, sang in the choir, and well thought of in the church and community. He was married with a little girl. That Sunday our Pastor Creede Hinshaw did not flinch but preached on all that had happened, his feelings our feelings, the hope that the bible teaches us, how we were going to deal with it, and him and the family. It was a powerful sermon yet what the congregation needed, and yes even the man's family.

    I just think you cannot flinch but dig in and preach the word for this moment in time that has happened in your congregation. Redemption, hope, forgiveness, all that, use a variety of scriptures. Tell them you are speaking the truth in love if you have to. Share your feelings.

    My prayers and thoughts for you. I would come preach for you if I wasn't preaching here. Maybe have a time of prayer afterward with everyone.

  11. CH- I agree, talk about what's going on... honestly, with questions, with frustrations...

    Everyone has these moments, and everyone struggles with how to deal with them... You are in a powerful place this Sunday, made all the more difficult because this isn't something happening to someone else, but talking about this in the context of God is needed, needed, needed

    Of course you already know this... So please know that you are the recipient of many prayers and much support-

    I will be praying for you...

  12. First of all, let me apologize for hijacking the comments on this post this morning.

    Secondly, let me thank you all for your amazing outpouring of love and compassion for me in this difficult season. I will treasure the support you have offered. You are amazing.

    I am also amazed at the way the congregation and her friends have shown unbelievable compassion for the perpetrator of this act. All anyone can talk about is the hope and prayer that this extremely troubled young man gets the help he needs, and is not unmercifully punished for a "crime" that is outside his mental and emotional capacities.

    God is exceedingly good, all the time.

  13. Oh, cheesehead, what a task you have before you. I have no experience or advice to offer you, but I am confident that you will find just the thing to help your congregation grieve and hope. Prayers are going out for you from NY.

    I'm trying to preach about receiving and giving forgiveness...and I'm coming off of a week of seeking forgiveness for a terrible breach of trust on my part. So, I'm struggling with preaching from that place of failing and trying to move forward, without making the sermon all about me, or giving details that might make things worse. Gack.

    There is also much in the Ephesians passage about how we speak to and about each other. I think it's important to address this, as gossip and slander are rampant in this small town...but again, how to do it while dealing with the fact that I've been so very guilty of that particular offense? Sigh. I do not feel up to the task this week, that is for certain.

  14. Both for Sunday and for cheesehead, this passage from our OT lesson (1 Kings 19:4-8) is jumping out at me like it was in glowing neon letters:

    "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you."

    I'm thinking along similar lines to Pink Shoes and Stacey. It'll be a long haul, but here we go!

    (Oh, and thanks for the french toast knittinpreacher...I'm low on breakfast food! *num num num*)

  15. Oh--to clarify with regards to Stacey, I'm interested in that "what eats at us" vs. "what do we eat" angle. Not so much the specific situation (since I didn't see her 1:11 comment until I had posted my 1:13 comment).

    That being said, it sounds like lots of prayers are needed--for cheesehead, for Stacey, for all of us.

    Time to quiet my heart.

  16. I'm still playing with the eating contrast, but it's not finding a natural place in my sermon as of yet. Perhaps I can work it in as a transition to the conclusion, like "these are the things that can eat at a community until it falls to bits, but Jesus doesn't let us fall apart; instead, he invites us to eat and live," or something. We'll see. Now, back to work.

  17. cheesehead, in the face of overwhelming circumstance like yours I like Psalm 46 better than Psalm 23.

    "God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with the surging."

    Surely the mountains are falling, but God is your refuge and strength. Be not afraid, even though fear is the most reasonable response, not because you can handle it (even though I'm sure you can) but you have the strength of God.

    god be with you as you write and speak

  18. This is my first post here. I only discoverd the site a week or so ago, but I've been enjoying the virtual company of others in ministry. It's been VBS week here, the first time for several years, and while we're including pieces in worship, I still get to preach.

    Throughout the month, I'm preaching on John 6, and it's been more of a challenge than I anticipated to find unique pieces to pull out each week. I decided to tie it into Jesus' declaration of being the way, the truth, and the life. For this week, it's the way. Thanks to those of you who mentioned the 1 Kings passage. I really like the image of a sense of necessity to keep journeying and to receive what we need before and during our travels. What do we need to sustain us? Jesus offered the bread of life, not we could just sit around and talk about it, but so we have what we need to GO and live out our faith.

    I'm also thinking about using a reference from Return of the King (LOTR trilogy)about lembas, a kind of waybread that sustained the elves (and selected others) on long or arduous journeys. Manna, anyone?

    It isn't nearly as long lasting, but I make some tasty sticky buns that are great for sharing. Thanks for the on-going conversation.

    Cheesehead, my prayers are with you, the congregation, and the community in this time.

  19. It sounds like both CH and Stacey are in liminal spaces right now. I am praying that God will be present with you both as you bring the bread of life to your congregations.

    As for me, I haven't even selected a text yet. After all it's not even 2:00 pm on Saturday yet... heh heh heh.

  20. Okay, it was too noisy at the house with the kids. So I came over to the church to work. Well low and behold the wedding party was here at noon already for a 6 o'clock wedding. And it was wild. So needless to say no writing yet. Poohey butte, As my kids would say.

    reverend mommy I hope you can find a passage for tomorrow. I find I can't work as late as I used to at this church. 8:30am comes to early on Sunday for me.

    But I am still doing the Ephesians.

  21. Weeeeeeeelllllllllllll...

    I guess sometime today I need to decide whether I am preaching on Ephesians as I announced on the church blog on Monday (talking about how words matter as we sdtrive to be transformed into imitators of God). Or whether I wil take time to talk about future hopes and dreams and possibilites.

    This is my last SUnday before vacation (4 wks) and part of that time is beign spent on retreat so I can look at what the future holds. Also the Board is going to do some visioning type work starting at our September meeting. ANd we really have the possibility of having no Board come January. (We are already at 4 instead of 5, 1 person is term-limited, and 2 others are finishing their first term and talking like they do not want to take on a second. The 1 person left plus myself, the Presbytery Rep and a UCW rep don't make a BOard by any stretch of the imagination.)

    Hm, maybe some visioning stuff would be right. ALthough the summer crowd are hardly the people who need to hear that one.

  22. Okay, I just made a Starbucks run and am ready to settle down and write the second half.

    Gord--could you do both? If your Ephesians text is the same as mine for Sunday, that first sentence is a good starting point for honest visioning (Eph 4:25).

    peacepastor--Wow, I could have used the lembas reference last week! But I have two more "bread of life" Sundays still. Hmm. Thanks!

    I think I'm preaching about the heavy burden that pastors--and ALL Christians, rightfully--bear as they are called to be the body of Christ in the world (and therefore, also the bread of life that feeds the world). This is not a burden that one can prepare for or learn about. You can only receive nourishment to bear it.

    Oh!--anybody focusing on the I Kings passage if you've got it--the bit AFTER the lectionary reading is the bit where Elijah hears a wind, but God is not in the wind; an earthquake, but God is not in the earthquake; a fire, but God is not in the fire; and silence and a still small voice, and THAT is where God speaks. One of my favorite bits of Scripture. Might open a door for someone, somewhere.

    Back to work now. Take heart, everyone.

  23. Tomorrow is my first Sunday at my new parish where I have my first placement out of seminary and I am preaching. I offered because the Rector just came off vacation and seemed to have enough to juggle bringing me on and I had written a sermon for proper 14B for a class in the Spring that I figured I could revise fairly easily.

    It's amazing, it's not even 5pm on a Saturday before I'm preaching and I'm *done* with my sermon and will be able to get a real night's sleep - that is rare up to this date, maybe I can make this a new pattern. :)

    Anyway, my sermon is on the John text and the crowd and how they seem to miss who Jesus really is and our need to improve/take a look at our spiritual eyesight in the midst of the long season after Pentecost - I also compare John's gospel to a trip to the optometrist.

    You can find the sermon text on my blog.

    Blessings in your sermon writing and preaching my sisters!


  24. P.S. Cheesehead, I went to your blog. What a sad and difficult situation.

    The Episcopal Lectionary has Psalm 34 which seems like there could be things you might jump off of, I just don't know if it's one of your readings.

    If you decided to go with a similar theme as mine, you could maybe jump off of seeing the son, and how the crowd doesn't seem to really see him, and how the media doesn't see your parishioner for who she is. And that there's more to the story than we can see, that probably only God sees. Also if the bread Jesus gives is for the life of the world, doesn't that mean the whole world, including this horrible event? It's okay to be upset, confused, and angry about it, but ultimately, if we are going to try and live out the faith we profess that means that Jesus' flesh as the bread given for the world redeems the whole world, even (or maybe especially?) the hard, horrible, yucky parts, like this tragedy.

    Another thought - it's probably too raw to be more prophetic and talk about the reality of violence in our world.

    I don't know... just some stream of conscious rambling.

    Praying for you along with many others.


  25. I have some leftover pizza from last night. Mmm...

    I am looking at the Ephesians and John as well. I am looking at love and how the two passages get us beyond some utopian/hippy commune notion of love and the church. What these passages suggest is that we are created to give and to receive a salvific love. But that is where I get stumped. How od I say that without sounding like a textbook?

    Perhaps, as cheesehead sadly reminds us, we need salvation. It is about our own brokeness. We need to receive that love. That is the issue. We need Jesus.

  26. BytheSea, great prep! you are going to rock the house tomorrow. Will be in prayer for you & look forward to hearing how YOU think it went. :) remember that everyone will experience it differently!


  27. Hey all! Just came in to check on everyone and give a little moral support.

    You're doing great.

    Stacey and Cheesehead, I am thinking of you specifically through the evening and into the morning.

    Great job everyone!

  28. Pensive day around here. Anyone ready for some wine? I've just finished the sermon, and I'm settling in with a glass to watch "Raising Helen." How's everyone else coming?

  29. Bythesea, congrats on being finished and a good sermon at that.

    I am not done. I am in serious trouble. You see I have the sermon, the children's sermon and a Sunday night well devotion meditation, not sermon though. The Friday Five gave me the Sunday night Devotion. The sermon in partly done, the children's sermon is in hiding.

    I am stuffed from eating at Logan's. The kids had fun throwing the stuff on the floor. I had a good time with my hubby trying to converse. So I hope I don't go to sleep just yet.

    Where's the leaded caffineted stuff?

  30. I've finished my communion meditation on the Absolam text -- which I stole from the Ordinary Time book and fluffed out a bit. I'm going to talk some about my experiences of parents seeing their child die at the Hospital -- segue to communion.

    I've finished the media for the contemporary service and put the words for the songs in order.

    I've eaten my popcicle and am going to eat chocolate (very dark) and watch "Band of Brothers" with the husband.

    Wine sounds really good, though....

    Blessings on those who are going to preach tomorrow. May God bless the speaking and the hearing of the Word.

  31. Heh, I'm stealing from one of my meditations for Ordinary Time as well. Just back from vacation (sigh) and not quite back into the swing.

  32. Just checking in- looks like everyone is settlin' in with dessert and beverages and that sermons are getting done-

    I think it's time for a beer here as well.

    What am I doing with a computer on my lap on a night when I don't need to write a sermon?

    I hope that everyone has a good (or at least manageable) evening

  33. Let's get that wine flowing, thanks Stacey. I just finished as well. I'll still do a read-through to check for time and any awkward wordings, but I feel good about it. The sermon flowed without a lot of gnashing of teeth.

    I did manage to put off dinner though (my parents called so that took a while), so I'll have that wine with some comfort food...grilled cheese and tomato soup. *gets domestic*

    revabi, I have some chocolate-covered coffee beans can have them if it will help keep you awake. All I ask is that you save a few for me to toss back as I drive to The Smaller Church tomorrow.

  34. Cheesehead and Stacey, I'm thinking about you both.

    I'll be pounding the pulpit from under the Broomtree with the prophet, an angel and bread.

    (excuse me, but have we had ENOUGH references to "bread" for the past weeks? I've kneaded it, broken it, eaten it, etc. etc and STILL the bread keeps coming.)

    I'm ready for tomorrow although I am unpresbyterian enough to wonder if I'm setting myself up for misery by saying "I'm ready".

    I brought a tray of brownies, two tepid cans of Diet Coke and am off to wake up Stacey. Somebody wiped the icing off two the brownies but I did't see who did it.

    Blessings to each of you.

  35. St. C., I was right there with you... dreading yet another week of bread... I used it in my sermon to say that I was dreading these many weeks of bread, but realized that we never get tired of hearing about God's love for us and that we never need to hear these promises over and over. Of course it comes at the end after I've focused mostly on the broomtree, which is one of my favorites.
    Best wishes all. It preached tonight... now I'm just working on that stinkin' newsletter column. Argh.

  36. My sermon (on spiritual checkups) is done. Had to be at a training session today, so it needed to be finished ahead of time. I'm headed for bed, but CH, I'm behind. Going to your blog now to read.

  37. Off to sleep now (or attempt to). Good luck, those who are still working. Blessings on all tomorrow morning and afternoon (thinking esp. of Cheesehead and Stacey). I do love the preacher party!

    *sneaks one of St. C's brownies with frosting for a goodnight snack*

  38. Okay.
    Blogger ate my earlier comment.

    Thanks semfem for your chocolate covered coffee bean. It did the trick. wrote the sermon.
    Just now finished Sunday night's and children's.

    Listing straight, I can tell you the answer to your question. You miss us. you miss the conversation, and the party.

    Back to go over said rough draft.

  39. Blessings to all today whether your week was filled with ordinary time or troubled. Remember:

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

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

  40. All done! You can see it on my blog.


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