Visit our new site at

Saturday, October 28, 2006

11th Hour Preacher Party

Preachers, wake! A voice astounds us,
the shout of rampart-guards surrounds us:

"Awake, all RevGal preachers, arise!"

Morning's peace their cry has broken,

their urgent summons clearly spoken:

"The time has come, O RevGals wise!

Rise up, and give us light;

for Sunday is in sight.

Your words prepare and hasten there,

that you the preaching feast may share.

(With apologies to Phillip Nicolai and J.S. Bach.)

(Also William Blake.)

It's a dark and rainy morning in an undisclosed corner of the U.S. A cat sits next to the laptop on the kitchen table, expectantly. Two large dogs wait sleepily for breakfast. I begin to catch the reassuring whiff of coffee. The rampart-guards here took the form of NPR on my clock-radio. I have either one notion and perhaps an illustration, or too many notions and the same illustration, all for a sermon on either this week's gospel lection of this week's and last week's or this week's and Psalm 34.

Let's just say it's going to take some caffeine and some time and a friendly visit from the (non-ghoulish) Ghost to make a sermon out of what is in the Word file at the moment. I feel grateful that tonight in most of the U.S. we turn back the clocks and gain an hour of sleep.

What lies ahead for you today? I'm hoping to make some sense of it by mid-afternoon, since there are hospital calls to make and a church supper to attend later.

And would you like some half-and-half in your coffee?


  1. Well, that only took an hour and 20 minutes to actually publish...
    I hope it's not a sign of the direction of this day.

  2. It's rainy here too...I am off to plan and then gather items for the children and youth "Harvest Party" (aka Halloween celebration) this evening...anyone got any good games?! My message is done-except for a little tweeking, in hopes that I can catch part of the OSU-Minnesota football game. GO BUCKS!
    I suppose pumpkin catapulting will make too big a mess in the fellowship room :)

  3. Ugh. Is it morning already?! And the sermon isn't finished. My folks want to do All Saints' a week early. I'm having a hard time getting into it. Right now I have a sketchy outline and a day's schedule that will keep me away from the computer until late. Wonder if this is my week to venture into preaching with just an outline?! Tidbits on All Saints' themes, etc., that have worked for you are welcome - yes, even begged for!

  4. It's sunny so far here, and yes, I do like half-n-half in very strong coffee! I am supposed to preach about stewardship, and I'm using the Mark text. I'm going to talk about old Bart "following Jesus on the way," and that he did not just want to believe, he wanted to be a part of something. When he received his sight, something cut loose on the inside, and he was ready to take a chance. It was a defining moment. Our church is at a defining moment in our history - and I'm going to link Bart to that.

  5. Chilly Fingers, with that particular taste in coffee, you will find I'm your new best friend! (Although I will say no one makes coffee blacker than St. Casserole's.)
    My emphasis is on the question Jesus asks, "What would you have me do for you?" Is it possible we might be scared to ask it? James and John got a hint of what being at Jesus' side would really mean, and by following along, Bartimaeus is walking right into it, too.
    Mulling further...

  6. Wonderful parody of "Sleepers Wake"! Love it!

  7. Songbird, what an awesome rally cry. I do believe we need that this morning. Love the picture and song. I am in need of something to clear these crazy cobwebs of my mind. I have got a wonderful sinus infection that started on Thursday.

    Yep, blogger is just peachy fun these days. So, songbird, I think you won't have any problem with your thoughts and a word doc. quakerpastor if you go to Family Fun, a mag printed by Disney, they will have some ideas for a party.

    And preacher mom, I haven't really preached on All Saints in a long time. You might try The Text This Week. One time, I preached on leaving a legacy of faith.

    Good luck with your theme Chilly Fingers. I have tried all week to write on the sermon for Mrak, and it just goes here and there.

    I too got obligations for the girls today, but must attend.

  8. Today is my birthday! At our house you are entitled to your favorite meal and the birthday cake of your choice. I'm cooking turkey & the trimmings, fried cabbage (Yum!), angeled eggs (too good to be deviled, and corn. D2 is making her famous apple crisp with lots of oatmeal, cinnamon and brown sugar.

    And I'm writing two sermons - one on the Job passage and the other is an expository on James for the evening worship.

    But it's my birthday!

  9. Instructions to drown oneself, to cut off a hand or foot, or gouge out an eye. That's what I am playing with this week--Mark 9:38-50. Guess I'll visit the RGBP archives to see what y'all had to say about it at the beginning of the month.

    Actualy I am using it as a launching pad for a Reformation Sunday message called Get Out of the Way!

  10. I like the linking of Bart's healing to our ongoing conversion. My sermon title (a new discipline for me) is "Continuing the Reformation." I am going to suggest that the historical reformation may have been a colosal failure...22,000 denominations does not a Reformation make. However, if we think in terms of our collective salvation, our continual need to grow together toward God, then the Reformation is a process..toward something that we may not yet see or understand. But in faith we too must call out "Lord!"

    Or something like that.

  11. Songbird - the rally cry is brilliant!

    I'm looking at the question of Jesus to Bart - "What do you want me to do for you?" - and how empowering that is for someone with a disability (especially in Jesus' time). Most people would immediately assume that Bart wanted to see, but Jesus asks him the question. This time around when I read the text, I heard a great deal of respect in Jesus' question.

    Is Jesus asking us the same question?
    What are we prepared to "throw off" in order to follow Jesus? (as Bart threw off his cloak)

    That's all I got.

  12. Wow, blogger is a bit schizoid today, eh? I saw only five comments on the main page, and now here I am making a comment, and I see that there are more like 11 or 12.

    And may I say that it is raining and dreary here, and that I really just want to stretch out on the couch and nap? Alas, the sermon must be written. Bring on the coffee - strong, but no half-n-half. Black for me.

    I got a start on it earlier in the week, but I've got a couple of pages left to go. I'm going all evangelical this week, because I couldn't manage to get away from the part of the Mark passage about Barti hearing that it was Jesus who was passing by him. I've been thinking about a world full of people who are spiritually blind and often don't even realize it, and who need to hear that Jesus is near and can heal them.

    I'm trying to convey a sense of urgency with this message...and yet, also trying not to go all crazy "get those people saved!" on them. Also, got word last night that a group of the bar folk are trekking out to church tomorrow, so now I'm finding myself a bit paranoid about being too Christian-ese. Which is, I guess, a good thing for me to avoid being in general.

    Blabbering. Going to stop commenting now and go back to the sermon.

  13. Blogger is being a pill for me today. I tried to post this a couple of hours ago. (I assume y'all are being oppressed in the same manner.)

    We are doing a Hymn Sing through the liturgical year tomorrow. I have poems and short meditations interspersed throughout the service, but no big overall sermon. It's an experiment. I'll let you know tomorrow how it went.

    Meanwhile, we are car shopping today. The old white minivan is giving up the ghost, and we are going to try to replace her soon, hopefully before we journey home for T-giving.

  14. Bright and sunshiny here. Notre Dame on TV, going to my undergrad homecoming events later today, and, oh yeah - I'm not preaching tomorrow! It's celebrate our members 5th Sunday :-)(If you're interested in how we do that, see my blog.)

    But as I indulge in an overdose of college football and re-unioning I will keep all of you preachers in prayer.

    And please, all of you pray for the victims of the huge wild fire in So Cal. It's too far for the smoke to affect us, but close enough to know folk there.

  15. Happy Birthday Net. For it being your birthday, you sure are working hard. But its birthday. I'm coming over for the big meal! LOL.

  16. Blogger, O Blogger, how I once loved thy simplicity and ease! O Blogger, why dost thou betray me in my hour of need?

    Yes, I am clearly losing my mind, but no more so than our dear Blogger.

    No progress has been made on the sermon. This does not bode well. I am having envy of Rev Maria and her non-preaching weekend.

  17. Afternoon all. My week has been crazy but the sermon is shaping up nicely. The church at which I'm interning is still trudging their way through Acts. I've got Acts 17:16-34, Paul's sermon about idol worship in Athens. Lifting up some of the things that are in danger of becoming idols, especially in American culture. Trying to be careful to not be too accusatory in the sermon, but just point out what I see.

    For those who need a lift, I've got pumpkin spice cake with butter cream frosting to offer. Dig in!

  18. So Emily has arrived with a birthday cake for net? How thoughtful!
    I'm scribbling, but it's not there yet, by any means.

  19. Reformation here, all the no Mark text, we got Romans and John to wrestle with.

    And I have no idea where I'm going yet.
    And my mind is 300 miles away.
    And I need to get ready for next Sunday today as well.

    Sleepers awake, indeed!

  20. I'm enjoying a quite afternoon at the church providing hospitality for an all day prayer vigil. As we have a guest preacher this Sunday, I am also preparing for an All Saints Sermon.

    Last year I spoke on how All Saints Day is like a photo album of our Christian Heritage. We are though, on this day in particular, re-imaging, and thus re-membering our lives- walking broken, but coming back together.

    I preached this after a particularly rough summer and fall of many deaths and accidents.

    Peace and energy to you all as you prepare to channel the Spirit!

  21. I think I am done, except for final editing that will be done in the morning. I'm not sure how I feel about this sermon, but I've got nothing else, so I'm going to let it be and pray that the Spirit will either breathe life into it or give me something else to say. I do need to do some work on clarifying what I'm actually doing for a children's sermon, but that's more just thinking through things than writing anything.

    Now I'm going to go get myself into costume and make appearances at series of Halloween parties. I think I might love Halloween more than is entirely proper for a minister, but oh well.

  22. Just a reminder to turn your clocks back an hour before you go to bed. I'm super aware of this because I won't be going to bed. I have a 12, make that 13 hour overnight on-call shift at the hospital. Prayers appreciated from you night owls. Blessings on your sermons for tomorrow.

  23. mid-life rookie, how tiring!

    My sermon took a bit of a different direction, and I most definitely did not finish when I had hoped to, but I like where it's going. I'll have to come back to it after the church supper.

    How's it going, all?

  24. Husband's turn to preach this week. Blessings on all your Kingdom efforts this weekend!

  25. Thanks for the reminder about the clocks, mid-life rookie, and yowza. Blessings on your extended overnight shift.

    I'm just stopping by in between parties. I have blue and purple striped hair and a lip ring. One of my congregants just asked if I am a hooker for Halloween. I guess I didn't realize that the boots and fishnets would override the spiky, brightly-colored hair and excess of facial metal in the perception of my costume. Note to self: next year, dress as nun.

    I shall leave an assortment of Reese's goodies from party #1, and wish you all great inspiration as you continue to think and write.

  26. Having recovered from a wedding rehearsal adn a church supper (at which I was the featured speaker) last night, and a daylong mission-and-vision retreat today, I am--finally--sitting down to write the sermon.


    I'm looking at Bart, at his insistence, and then Jesus' question to him, followed by Bart's devotion. Not sure which I will focus on, though.

    I'd like to draw come connection between Bart and the retreat today.

    Perhaps I can look at Jesus' question--he doesn't assume he knows what Bart wants, he listens, and then responds. That's what we were doing today--listening to God's call for our church, trying to hear what God wants from us, and then doing that.

    Maybe that'll preach.

    It's rainy, windy and cold here, I'm running on not enough sleep, amd way too much to do. Why did I ever agree to coordinate the worship assitants for our regional conference?!

    And I'm way too cranky.

    More coffee, anyone? I know I need some!

  27. And did I mention that I have a wedding tomorrow afternoon, for which I have not yet written a homily?

    And apparently I can't type this afternoon, either.

  28. RP, here is the caffeine. Don't put creame in it. You need all the help you can get. *hug*

    My sermon is coming along. I have a Halloween party tonight...a church party with le boze. How Baptist! Heh.

    I do not partake of le booze...and the sermon is not yet ready. Let's hope the next three hours are productive.

  29. Ahhhh, caffeine...

    []) <--- Coffee mug, in emoticons.

    THanks, Tripp!

  30. I managed to finish just about finish before the church supper (cooked on a gas stove partially by candlelight, but the power returned) and have just put finishing touches in appropriate places. Now to print before a falling branch knocks out the power!!

  31. Ah, I do love hearing what everyone is up to!

    We've got a big storm here too and I am hoping the power holds out. If not, I guess I have a few hours to finish before my laptop battery dies.

    I've got an outline, and I've been procrastinating with (mostly) productive things...writing worship for next week, writing a eucharistic prayer. But I still have quite a ways to go.

    And somehow I appear to be preaching on history rather than on the Bible. Which seems appropriate for Reformation...but then, NOT appropriate at all. Hrmph.

    Now I'm heading downstairs and making chicken gyros for dinner, if anybody needs to refuel!

  32. I can't believe it is already that late. I have a few things written, and yet nothing written. It has turned into a longer day with the kid's and their events. And a good day. But that won't help when I get in the pulpit tomorrow. And my head feels like a dull dead weight with all the sinus crap. Praying for a miracle as we speak.
    Fire up the caffeine!
    Glad you are done Songbird and Stacey and whoever else.

  33. OK, I'm using the church's windows machine (instead of my very own Mac that I am so very used to) and what happened!!

    It crashed and ate the presentation for in the morning!

    How could I forget the lesson that I have preached so often -- you know the one!

    Jesus saves!

    (I think it will be OK... I found it in tmp files. Whew.)

  34. I have songs running through my head--songs I wanted to use this SUnday but they are new, and we learned a new hymn last week (repeating it this week), and ya know, you don't want too much new music too fast.

    One is You've Gotta Move When the Spirit Says Move and the other is Dance WIth the Spirit. I may well sing part of them for part of the sermon. After all, moving with the Spirit is part of embracing Reformation. Isn't it?

    Maybe this time I can awaken an interest in exploring what the congregation is called to be? MAybe?

  35. Its Midnight do you know where your sermon is? Actually its time to change the clocks before we forget.
    Where is my sermon, it is almost written. Can I go to bed yet? No. I won't have enough time or peace and quiet in the morning. So God help me to finish tonight. Hope the rest of you all are making it okay.

  36. It is now 2am or rather 3am, I think. I get all confused about these things. I am through, and shutting things down. Goodnight everybody. Hope all goes well for all. Remember dear WS's words;Please remember if you are fretting this morning over your service to let it go, the Holy Spirit has your back. And IF you believe your sermon to be a total dog, walk it proud.

  37. Thanks for shepherding us night owls, revabi. I'm sure what you have will be great. I'm putting the finishing touches on mine and then I'm going to sleep. Oy.

  38. Good morning, friends! I left you a comment last night, but apparently Blogger did not see fit to post it! I hope you all got *some* sleep and made the most of your extra hour. Blessings to you, whenever you preach today.

  39. Songbird, blessings to you too. And blessings to all this day of Reformation.

    We need to pray for healing for blogger it is swallowing all kinds of posts and comments.

  40. Omigosh! Have to share this!

    Today, instead of sermon, we celebrated two of the men who do those invisible things around the church with testimony and presents. They both unabashedly wept throughout. At the end, when I called for the pianist to play "this little light of mine" the chair of the Elders said "Wait - there's one more" and called my husband forward. I thought "Oh Good. He deserves to be honored." Then she asked me to stand with him as the congregation celebrated US as pastor and pastor's husband with testimony, tears and a check for $500! They were ALL in on it! and said they knew the only way they could surprise me was to incorporate it in the Celebrate our Members 5th Sunday.

    Wow. And here I was going through one of those periodic "Am I in the right place" things. God does help us to have perfect timing.

  41. That is great, Maria! I'm so glad they made an effort to show you that they appreciate you and your husband.

  42. Maria, how lovely for both of you!

  43. Marie,
    I love it. God bless your church, the three men and you.

    How lovely.

    We did a free fall festival for the community and had a great day. Lots of kids and families that are not members of the church came.


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.