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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Saturday Preacher Party: Live Meet-Up Edition

Several RevGals have had the chance to meet or visit with each other this week. I've had the pleasure of hosting Cheesehead since Wednesday and will bid her a fond farewell this afternoon (after which I will be starting my sermon virtually from scratch, but I know you will all be pleased and probably unsurprised to hear that hers is mostly written already! And Cheesehead's new blog design has nothing to do with my lack of sermon, I swear!!!)

In the Washington, D.C. area, Jan of A Church for Starving Artists will be welcoming Teri of Clever Title Here not only to her church but to her pulpit tomorrow morning. I assume all their work is complete, because they are hoping that D.C.-area RevGals might like to meet them for dinner. To get in on the fun, please e-mail Jan directly.

But not everyone can be having fun meeting up in person, and that's why we gather here electronically to support one another in the creative process of finishing (or starting) our sermons each Saturday. The virtual coffee is on, fairly traded beans having been ground in the Ceremonial St. Casserole Coffee Bean Grinder. There is a fairly fresh Chocolate Cake for the Apocalypse on the counter. And I'm sure other treats will appear before the day is over.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I'm preaching about Esther. I have a storytelling format in mind, building on the idea that a young girl might have been told "Pretty is as pretty does," and be afraid of causing trouble by speaking up as Uncle Mordecai has asked her to do. But perhaps the injunction, "Make yourself useful as well as decorative," will win the day?

What are you preaching about this week?


  1. Well, I came to City by the Sea with a partial sermon, and I'm leaving with one as well. I did get some work done on Thursday, when my hostess was at a meeting. But since then I've been having too much fun to stop and write.

    I suppose I'll finish it tonight, in true Eleventh Hour fashion.

    I'm preaching the Mark passage, interpreting Jesus' hyberbole about 'cutting off the hand or foot that offends' as the expression of his deep desire instead for our unity and our wholeness as the Body of Christ. That's my World Communion Sunday take on it, anyway.

  2. No preaching here, of course, but I am hoping to meet up with Jan and Teri tomorrow. :)

  3. Yahoo for coffee!

    I've got most of my sermon outlines, for a miracle!

    I'm on about hte inclusiveness of the Communion table, as reflected in the history of our denomination (this Sunday is the anniversary of our founding). I'll reflect on the struggles organized religion, from the earyl Church to reformers like Luther and Calvin and Wesley and Fox, right down to our own hsistory. From which I segue into our own history here in River City, and the challenges that are facing us. And then I tell the congregation to fill out the questionnaire they received with their order of worship!

    That's for a church revitalization initiative we're part of--what does this congregation mean to you? What do we do well? What should we be doing? etc.

    It's a good thing I have so much of the outline (yes, I'm sticking with outlines for a bit longer), since I have a mid-afternoon wedding/reception.

    So I'm trying to get everything in order this morning, so I can relax when I get back from the reception.

    Oh, and I brought some yummy apple pie from the church dinner last night...

  4. Yikes, I think I need more coffee--sorry for all the typos!

  5. "real eleventh hour" is Saturday night? heh! As a dedicated Sunday morning sermon writer, the eleventh hour is about 8 a.m. And tomorrow, without input from me, a committee decided to meet at 9 am. Grrr...

    Anyway, tomorrow is a reflection on brokenness and Yom Kippur. I have most of it in my head.

  6. Sean,
    I just couldn't do it at 8am, not when everything starts at 8:30am. I have done 4am,3am, or pulled together what I had researched and soughted out at 5am. Ya better get started at 7am instead if you got a meeting.

    I also want to say I am jealous of these f2f get togethers, and at the same time glad you all are getting to have them. Hope it goes well for Teri tomorrow at the church for starving artists.

    Songbird the way you started the party it looked more like the Wednesday Festival. I had to take a second look and read further.

    My text is Mark. Have a rough draft. Pulling it together so we go with World Communion Sunday.
    Then have to work on Sunday evenings sermon.

    Question anybody doing a "Blessing of the Animals" on Wednesday? I have been thinking of doing it outside before the bible study. But I am not going to do what the Vicar of Dibley did.

  7. LOL. Abi, I literally just watched that ep of Vicar of Dibley this morning.

  8. Oh that is great. I can still see the episode in my mind. I wouldn't mind having everybody show up though.
    I am going for a walk with the kids, they asked for one.
    And gallycat you just keep us sermon writers in your prayers today and through the night.

  9. I'm preaching from the Mark passage (after spending most of the week trying to figure out how to avoid it). I'm going to talk a bit about Yom Kippur and the work it takes to make amends and heal relationships. I think/hope that will segue into talking about the seriousness of sin and our need for both confession and action. And somehow, that will also get into World Communion Sunday.

    Why, O why did I not write this all down on Thursday when I was thinking about it?

    Bring on the coffee!

  10. I'm preaching on Mark with a focus on Christian Unity as we celebrate World Communion Sunday. The instructions Jesus gave his disciples to let the miracle worker who is "not one of us" to let him work just leaped off the page at me. I have a lot in my head but only have a few paragraphs and sentences on paper - the same exact ones I had on Tuesday! and I must finish the laundry, go to an 80th birthday party/BBQ at noon then a church workday at 3 pm before I can get back to it. Think I'll be writing at 5 am Sunday as usual. :-)

    One of my elders suggested I might remind the members that we are to serve each other when the bread and cup move down the pews. Communion is not self service. I like that.

    I have some cinnamon raisin bagels and whipped cream cheese to go with the coffee.

  11. I just did a happy dance around the room - scared the dog. I used to have that cake recipe except mine had chopped almonds lining the sides of the cake pan instead of flour (and for a chocolate cake cocoa works well too). Anyway, with one thing and another it got lost, and I feared it was gone for good. Now I have it again - and an occasion to make it for coming up later in October. You have made my day.

    As for the sermon - well, ummmmm...... Actually, I'm going off lectionary for the rest of Ordinary Time and working through some ideas in Marva Dawn's book "The Sense of the Call" where she talks about "equipping the saints." We spend a lot of time thinking about "mission" to somebody else out there somewhere, but there's also a sense in which we have a "mission" to our own church members as well. And not just the phone call when you're sick and a casserole for the funeral lunch. But praying for each other, and letting the other know you're praying for them. Making sure everyone has the faith tools they need to survive a time of crisis. So I'm challenging my churches to take on the task of "equipping the saints," and making it a ministry that everyone is involved in.

    I have small churches, so it might work better here than somewhere else. One will be having its 50th anniversary celebration later this month, so the theme fits in well with looking to the future for them. And the other church will be heading into Stewardship Season soon, so it fits for them as well.

    Of course going off-lectionary means a lot more homework getting the services together. At least this week is World Communion Sunday, so I have a liturgy all planned for that.

    This is my last weekend without a scheduled event for at least a month. I'm enjoying every bit of it.

  12. Lauren, my congregation is celebrating our 50th anniversary next week. Are you not totally insane with all the preparations? My Jubilee committee is the best and has been working hard for the past year, but there are so many little last minute details, not to mention the clearing out and cleaning up that still has a way to go.

  13. read this as preaching about Easter ... which confused me no end !

  14. rev marie, aren't we all insane? lol But that is a lot of preps, it does work better when all are involved.

    The walk was a disaster. My three kis got jealous of each other, started arguing and we came back early. Turns out they all wanted individual time. I guess I'll have to work in a walk later.

    I had to calm myself down afterward. I was upset. Couldn't focus on a sermon.
    I am afraid I only bring hotdogs, diet cokes, and chips to the party. No sweets yet.

    Stacey I like your thoughts and plan, it will come together!

    I had the thought in the shower to do another one of my acronym sermons using the S.A.L.T. Along with the various breads on the altar have various salts as well. Oh man this could be dangerous.

  15. Revabi--oh, if only that incident with your kids had happened last Saturday, it would have made a perfect sermon illustration for the disciples fighting among each other who was the greatest!

    Not that we would ever co-opt your family ups and downs for our own use, of course. Never.

    I'm honing in on Mark, but I've got a very late start this week and don't have much at this point. Plus my brain keeps jumping to next week's texts, because I have to lead the local lectionary study on Tuesday morning for next Sunday. (Of course I as the newest pastor--single and childless--"get" to lead the discussion on divorce and children.)

    Walt Wangerin tells a great story about the millstone part of the text, about how we as leaders unwittingly hang millstones around people's necks, but I'm not sure I want to go with that.

    HRM. It's not going to be an easy day...

  16. Lorna, honey, have you been to the eye doctor recently?
    Cheesehead is on her way home, and I must face the reality that I am not ready for tomorrow.
    More coffee anyone?

  17. More coffee would be lovely. This sermon is coming sloooooooowly.

  18. LOL Sem Fem. Wouldn't you know it, they would do it on the wrong weekend. Dad nab it. Lol Songbird.
    You'll have it ready.

    I'll pass on the coffee, I am drinking water, and diet coke.

    Mine is coming slowly too, but then I am doing everything but the sermon.

  19. Not preaching, but worship leading. I'm having a hard time getting scripture readers for Song of Songs 1:1-4. I want it read real sexy--like and no one wants to do it. :)

    We are also doing world communion sunday, by my pastor is focusing on all the confusing things Paul says about communion and community in I Corinthians 10 and 11.

    He's also asked me to lead communion wiht him. It's going to be a busy sunday.

    THEN, we have a potluck and a congregational viewing on "An Inconvenient Truth" (the Al Gore movie)

    With all that's going on tomrrow and all that I have to hold in my head, I think I'd rather just preach than worship lead.

  20. Hey Everyone,
    I am not preaching tomorrow, we have a family wedding tonight and then I am leaveing tomorrow for a women's clergy conference in North Carolina (Episcopal Church)...I am sooo excited. But that also means no blogging for the next week. I hope that each of you ends up with an inspiring word tomorrow! I'll be thinking of you as I pack...

    Regarding Blessing of the Animals, because of a variety of schedule conflicts I have transferred it Sunday, Oct. 15, 10am service in the church...yes, I am doing a Vicar of Dibly thing. but we have a linoleum floor (I know, yuk) in the church, so no accidents will harm the floor. Plus I've held this service inside, outside, etc. and inside is best. We can spread out, the animals can keep a healthy distance, and we bring communion to the people...and I keep the service relatively short...

  21. Hey all-I thought Id stop in and see how all the sermon writers are doing. I just finished doing laundry, washing clothes, etc. Can I get anyone anything? Ive got a container of spice drops that I really shouldnt be eating all by myself!

  22. Woo hoo!!! 6:45 & I'm done - probably the earliest yet. Which means, I get to go out for early bday dinner. (mine's tomorrow - who thought preaching on their birthday was a good idea??) Thanks for the insirations!

  23. Happy birthday, Susie!
    I have half a page written. I've given up the storytelling idea and am working on the thesis that, like Esther, we would really rather avoid controversial and dangerous topics. What helps or goads us to be brave?

  24. Once again, I'm joining the party late. I was in a workshop all morning and part of the afternoon. Now I'm trying to tie all the little pieces of tomorrow together. Like so many others, we have communion here, and I'm also beginning a series on fruits of the spirit. Love is tomorrow's theme, which seemed like a natural fit, but now I'm struggling to find something to say about love that isn't trite or done to death.

    Is it time for chocolate yet?

  25. It's four thirty in the afternoon (on the West Coast), and do you know where your sermon is. I have started and discarded at least three ideas, even wrote one of them..finally going with BBT (thanks whoever suggested that)It is edgy, but she has a good basic idea...but it's not finished..and I spent six hours at a choir rehearsal (I'm in a Concert Choir that has nothing to do with church), and think I'll sing my sermon tomorrow (Jesus loves me???) Gail

  26. I'm doing Esther for children's story, using the story found in here. THe sermon is on prayer. I have a poem and a story about Luther. And an idea about linking prayer to congregational visioning. BUt little else.

    (likele didn't help that I was at a hospital board retreat till 2, and then had to make a visit to the hospital -- thinking is not my strongpoint at the moment)

  27. I'm waffling between focusing on the salt image or the stumbling block image. My notes seem to say "salt" all the way--I just have more on it. But for some reason I feel drawn to the stumbling block. *sigh*

    And now that I'm about to move into manuscript mode, I'm hesitating before making a choice between the two, because I have a feeling that once I decide it will be very hard to turn back and try the other option.

    I think chocolate time is fast approaching! And a nice cup of tea, too. Hmm!

  28. You know, I love listening in as everyone writes their sermons. What I really wish is that you all lived in my area so I could come to your churches and hear those sermons.

    Here's the thing to do with those chunks of chocolate: put one in your mouth and then take a gulp of hot tea ... and let the chocolate melt in your mouth.

    It's the way I bribe myself when I am working on something.

  29. I have returned with a sermon in my head that attempts to connect comfort food and the Lord's supper. Since I ate my way through vacation I thought it might work.

    Unfortunately my brain is still on vacation or more likely clogged up with trans-fats and chowder!

    And Sean, I would absolutely vomit if I waited that long to produce the sermon on a consistent basis. God bless ya!

  30. Chowder reminds me--
    Did everyone get dinner?
    Shall I put on some hot water for tea?

  31. Hi all, I'm back in Snow Belt. I've petted the pooch, looked at some mail, checked my e-mail, now I have to finish this pesky sermon so I can send some quality time with the husband!

    Nose to the grindstone...

  32. Hi, everyone. I'm not preaching but teaching this week. Appropriately, the topic is Apocalypse! If only I had checked in earlier I could have made the cake for class! I still have to complete my lesson plan and get the class handout together. Big distraction -- major college football. I'm rooting for a certain top-ranked team! Brought some chips and home-made salsa for you all. Watch out, my husband makes it spicy.

  33. Just got back from the birthday party and the work day. We had help from our Girl Scout troops - felt like 200 6-12 year old girls looking to me for something to do but the leaders assured me there were only 20 of them. What a blessing all those girls were - we got way more done than I'd dreamed possible! 8 days to the Jubilee.

    as for the sermon, Unity is still looming large in my heart, especially after spending the afternoon working on my church with the help of the Spanish speaking congregations who worship in our facilities. Sharing a good meal at the 80th birthday party with my members and the birthday girl's many other friends as if we were one family added to the feeling.

    Chocolate? Please?

    Oh - and before I went out this morning I finally created that blog you all were looking for. Now I just have to hope it works!

  34. Cheesehead, I gotta tell you, I read your first line wrong so when I got to the part about you needing to spend some time with your husband I thought you had done that already.

    Will somebody PLEASE make tomorrow Saturday instead of Sunday. Please...

  35. Wish I could!
    My retelling of Esther is going to need some serious shine in the morning. I'm going to go to bed now, as I'm a Sleepytime RevGal. Let the cat out if he meows, will you?

  36. *giggles at will smama's comment*

    Songbird, if you leave the water on, I'll share my raspberry Earl Grey tea with whoever wants some.

    I took the hinting nudges (hopefully they came from the Spirit) and went for the stumbling block image, using Walt Wangerin's story. I think it was the right move, and I've got 2.5 pages now. Just need to move OUT of the story gracefully and into a clear statement of good news.

    Oh, shoot. Where is there good news in having a millstone hung around our necks and being tossed into the sea to drown?

    Wait. Baptism? Hmm!
    (Okay, maybe not.)

  37. I think my sermon has finally come together in some sort of coherent form, although I'm not certain my brain is in a fit state to evaluate coherence. I'm talking about sin and repentance and having right relationships and being unified. Lots of themes in a very short sermon. We'll see how it goes. Anyone care for a glass of wine?

  38. Well, I considered preaching the lectionary with you guys since I wrote a devotion about Esther for Ordinary Time. But I changed my mind and I'm preaching about Gideon, focusing on breaking through barriers...he had so many..but look what happened!

    I SO WISH I could hear all of you preach!

    It is almost 11 here in the "snow belt" (welcome back, CH) and I have to go to bed. I'll be up early to finish the sermon, so I'll put the coffee on early. I have muffins and hazlenut creamer.

    Preach well. Holy Spirit, please come join us, especially around the communion table as we think of others sharing with us, in a sense.

  39. Well who else is up here at the midnight hour? I am. I too used the stumbling block versus the salt image in my sermon. It just seemed right. The acronym idea didn't jell.

    Took the kids to an Oktoberfest and they had a great time. Were much better behaved. Came home fed them, put them to bed and begin to work on sermon. First time back on the blog. Needing something strong now to make it the rest of the way.

  40. Well, RevAbi, you are not alone ... literally. Here I am in the wee hours of the morning, too. However, I'm trying to put UMW sunday, world communion and stewardship all in one sermon. I think stewardship is going to win that wrestling match. Cause that parts pretty much done.

    They're "letting" me preach UMW ... how is it that the men get it off and the women get one more special sermon to create? oh well, I get to go eat lunch with them after the service and they're buying for me. So that works.

  41. Well, I'm done! And even showered and read aloud and printed. Just need to put together a quick little sign about something else and I can hit the sheets.

    I ended up leaving out salt and focusing entirely on the stumbling block image, especially on how we have a wonderful gift of tradition, but we are always called to question whether that tradition is an Ebenezer (a marker of God's help, as per I Samuel 7) or a stumbling block to others.

    Stuck in a word of grace at the end, pointing out how we are ALL weak in faith at one time or another, and all too often we trip over our own Ebenezers, so taking them down is good. ( sounds trite now that I phrased it like that.)

    Man. I hope this was not a mistake, and that the dog doesn't walk ME tomorrow!

    Go revabi and Vicar of can do it!

  42. Note to self: finish sermon BEFORE going on the Confirmation Retreat. Brain doesn't like 4:30 AM.

  43. Oooo, anonymous. Hang in there, baby! Most of us have so been there.

    6AM Eastern Standard Time... do you know where your sermon is? Better yet, do you know where I can buy a better one than I have outlined right now?

  44. Trying to heed my own advice this morning! I hope this finds you all in a good place. Either way step back, take a deep breath and...

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

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

    (See you at the dog park. I'll be the one with those leashes you buy at amusement parks that make it look like you are walking an invisible dog.)

  45. I've got a lot of stuff about Esther, but sometime in the next hour (before the kids wake up and we begin fighting for the shower) it needs to become a sermon.

  46. this late-night early-morning sermon chat encourages me! thanks to all of you who are procrastinators, unsure of direction and just plain fun!

    I'm preaching the Mark passage because I'm committed to loving Mark and it has not been easy this season.

    We have a house full of extra kids, wild animals and I woke up to find every lights on around the house. Mr. C. wandered around wondering why he was up so early.

    Like you, I preach from a lively context of parenting, mothering and prompts from the Spirit (one hopes it isn't late-night pizza!).

    God bless us all this morning!

  47. Blessings on all this beautiful Lord's Day! It's 5 am on the west coast - I have plenty of time to finish up. :-)

    Mark is speaking to me loud and clear this morning - words and ideas are flowing well - whether they'll make any sense in church 5 hours from now I don't know.

    Wish I could hear what Esther will have to say this morning, Songbird. She has such a great story of stepping out of her comfort zone to do God's work. :-)

    And how very cool that we all get to share communion today in our different places! I will be thinking of you all as I invite my congregation to share the feast today!

  48. Hello all!

    The wedding went very well--a very special celebration indeed--and we had a splendid dinner afterwards, gourmet Italian, with a basalmic dressing on the salad to die for, not to mention the lightest, moistest cake I have ever had. It literally melted on the tongue.

    But by the time I got homw, I was worn out, so it was up early this morning to finisn up that outline.

    Luckily it needs to be short today, since we have a self-examination questionnaire to do as part of the service (something about a captive audience...).

    But it may turn out to be that amusement park dog will smama mentioned...

    Blessings to you all and I will be remmebering each of you as we share Christ's feast today!

  49. Post Sunday morning preaching and walking the dog. I am so glad the Holy Spirit is at work. And I am glad to share communion together today.

    After 4 revisions, I preached on stumbling blocks, maiming ourselves, being disciples and being salt. There were a lot of body parts and bodies around the altar. I borrowed from BBT's idea interweaving mine, and ended with being salt. It was okay. It was the first time I didn't have alot of that a girl or good sermon at the door. But everyone loved communion and the altar full of different breads. Hubby got a picture for prosperity.

    Hope all enjoy their afternoon nap.
    Thanks for staying up late, and seeing us through the different passages and sermons. You all are great. This is always the best party. An Anonymous, get that sermon done before confirmation retreat.

  50. It's over... that's all I can say about a sermon that someone made a transition from pork roll to the Lord's Supper.

    Lord, hear our prayer...

    Thanks all for your awesome support!

  51. Esther came off better than I expected. Sometimes they preach better than they look on the page, and for that: Thanks be to God!

  52. Home from church now - shoes off and the phone calls to a couple of absent members made. The Unity sermon got a smattering of Amens, which is not a given at my church, but always a good thing.

    But I'm totally excited about the miracle that happened at the end of the service. When I extended the weekly invitation to join the congregation a woman walked down the aisle smiling broadly. She's been attending for 20 years and never wanted to become a member until today! She realized at her 80th birthday party yesterday that we really do love her. The Spirit was surely present this morning!

    Thanks be to God - and thanks to all of you!

  53. Church was wonderful today. God was in the house, and Gideon's story came out of my mouth better than I've ever heard it! Hallelujah!

    Wow, Rev. Maria! Something similar happened at my place. And I did think of you all as I blessed the bread and the cup.

    I am just now getting home after a couple of meetings and a haircut. Thank God for a woman deacon who cuts my hair as a blessing!

    But it is 5:18 and I sooooo need a nap, but I'm afraid to take one cause then I'll be up all night.

  54. 5:36 Praise God for the blessings today.
    Getting ready to go to preach evening sermon, go to the funeral home afterwords, take care of our kids, and get ready for Monday.

    Sem fem can't believe you all ready got those who missed called. And singing owl can't believe you got a haircut today. Did mine on Friday.

    Okay, how does one go from a pork roll to the Lord's Supper.

    And Songbird sometimes that is the case because a sermon is an oral tradition. Thanking God for you.

  55. God reminds me every time I preach that it so isn't about me.

    Even still - no more early Sunday morning draft writing if I can help it!

    So nice to be able to stop in and gather some encouragement knowing you all are out there being inspired by the same Spirit and struggling at times with the details of being human!



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