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Saturday, November 25, 2006

11th Hour Preacher Party: Saturday on the Couch with Songbird Edition

Good morning, my preaching compatriots. I'm coming to you from my living room, where I expect to be tucked up on the couch most of the day, afflicted with a variety of upper respiratory symptoms and a few in other categories, too. All I can say is I'm thankful it isn't Sunday today! I'm not sure how I would get up and go, much less speak, since swollen glands seem to be part of the package of fun.

How have you managed to preach when sick? And what are you planning to preach tomorrow?

I'm afraid the refreshments here today are along the lines of tea and ginger ale with crushed ice, but you are welcome to bring along whatever you need to encourage your work today.


  1. Sorry you're sick Songbird...I will bring along some cranberry juice to add to the ginger ale. When I'm sick on Sundays I KISS (Keep it simple sweetie),appeal to my gathering so they know I'm sick, and rely heavily on the Holy Spirit and Halls cough drops.
    I'm going to try to get to sermon prep later--I am on call at the hospital and have to check in there this morning. My main theme for the message will be to remind people that this week could/should be used to remind ourselves about the reign of Christ and how that might play out in our daily lives--even/ESPECIALLY during the approaching holiday season.

  2. Mighty sorry you are feeling poorly. Though I do not preach, I agree with Quaker Pastor - keep it simple.

    You are smart to get plenty of rest today and try to allow your body to let your illness takes its course and get better.

    Take care...

  3. Oh and for those of you that are wanting to procrastinate (and you know you want to), go to RGBP Trivia Challenge

  4. I am about halfway done - that's the good news. Today is filled with various errands so I probably won't be back until this afternoon - that's the bad news.

    Songbird, I appreciate that you have put yourself in a hermeneutically sealed room for our protection. I will serve you soups and drinks through the germ-be-gone-door.

    To answer your questions I am looking at a wildly manipulated text from Acts as I attempt to preach from what we read during the week. I am focusing on keeping it light - yet meaningful - and short'ish'.

    I figure everyone will be too tired to really concentrate anyway.

    See you later - here's more tissues!

  5. chicken (not turkey!) soup for Songbird.

    Bless you all as you faithfully sweat over the Word for tomorrow.

    I'm skipping church - and going on a date with hubby instead.

    Pick your grin off to the floor and try not to look too envious :)

  6. I'll take the other end of the couch... Upper resp and really blurry/puffy eyes. Do you want some tissues? I'm reading systematics today. Maybe the cold medicine will help THAT as well....

    Here, have some honey in your tea....

  7. Songbird - sorry to hear that you are so sick today. I was really sick on a Sunday morning about six months ago...I decided that I needed some help from some of the congregation to pull it off that morning. The only thing that I did was preach - someone else led worship and someone else led the children's sermon. My voice was little more than a whisper, so I felt like I had to preserve what I had for the preaching. So along with the KISS advice, I would suggest enlisting some help if you think it might be needed. I hope you feel better soon!

  8. Reverend Mommy, only the STRONG stuff can help systematics!! ;)

    Songbird, sorry you are under the weather. I'll bring a little bell for you to ring whenever you need one of us to bring something to you. I'll bring face masks and rubber gloves for the rest of us!!

    Generally the only types of illnesses that keep me out of the pulpit are an upset stomach, anything that involves high fever, or true larygitis. I will pull in as much help from lay leaders as possible and do the best I can otherwise.

    I am off-lectionary this week. I am doing a Thanksgiving themed service after Thanksgiving to try to prove a point - Thanksgiving is not (or should not) really be over - ever. We'll see how it goes.

  9. Poor ailing Songbird and Reverend Mommy. Since I'm not doing anything tomorrow, I will volunteer to bring the chicken soup, tea with lemon and honey (frequently) and tissues. Have you had some vitamin C? I've heard great things from people I trust about that new Zicam ...

    Well ... I am doing a little. Our church takes the last Sunday of each month for "Service Worship." But we've already done that, so we have the day to spend as we choose. I'm going to be putting together a little prayer service for my husband and children since it is the last day of the Christian calendar. I'll ply them with waffles and sausage, then whip out the prayers ... I think it will go well ... I hope.


  10. Here's a cup of hot lemonade for you... hope you feel better. As a vocalist, all I can say is, when your voice goes, don't whisper (it's actually worse on your vocal cords).

    Feel better!

  11. Hi Songbird, I guess you won't be singing on Sunday, but lay off the Halls! My daughter, who is a vocal music major, says the menthol ones cut the mucus too much and that irritates the throat even more. She advises to go with anything that does not have menthol. This is what her voice instructor at her university has told her. I will be preaching for my pastor from the lectionary about kings... Henry the VIII, British King, David, Isreali King, Christ the eternal King who became the servant and washed His subject's feet and asks us to be like Him. Blessings and feel better soon.

  12. Black licorice tea! My music director at church swears by this for your voice. Feel better soon.

  13. I spent last night on the sofa, felled by some intestinal bug that felt as if someone were crocheting my guts into a potholder. I'm perfectly fine today; go figure.

    My pastor appreciates the fact that if he's sick he can call on one of our four installed or in-training lay ministers in the congregation to fill in. It's nice to have a backup person or two who can step in on short notice.

  14. Oh...and Songbird, I know someone who swears by HOT ginger ale for a curative. I myself prefer tomato soup and toasted cheese -- the comfort foods of my sickly childhood -- when I'm sick. Feel better!

  15. You're all such sweeties!
    Our service tomorrow has built-in-help, thank goodness. We're doing a journey through the liturgical year, with scripture, singing and a brief reflection on each. I still need to write something (400 words or so)on the Great Commandment as the foundation for making our way through life's Ordinary Times. My other pieces are, thankfully, finished (edited from old writing and completed on Wednesday).
    But for now I'm still pretty lame-feeling and sucking on ice chips.

  16. Hope you'll soon be better Songbird-, I lost my voice last Christmas and croaked my way through a series of sermons! but right now I'm busy going nowhere- round and round in circles with a preaching plan infront of me!

    Pulling up a chair, grabbing some tea...

  17. I'm sending some garlic chicken soup your way, Songbird. It's teh best!

    It's Christ the King for me--I may be teh worst procrastinator here since I have to preach this afternoon at 5 pm and I'm just starting to write--but that is normal for me. I probably should move the laptop to the kitchen where there is no internet connection though.

    Good preaching, everyone

  18. Songbird and Reverend Mommy, I've been fighting that myself all week. We got some honey-and-lemon and honey-and-mint sticks at the Farmers Market last week - perfect in tea for sickly ones.

    I know I'm preaching from Revelation tomorrow, but first I have a memorial service message to complete for this afternoon. Then someone is bringing a new computer system to the church office and will set up a network (so I can use the secretary's printer) and wireless web access on it. He's donating the system and his time in appreciation for the kindness the church showed his recently deceased mother. Then, of course, there is the ND/USC game.

    Guess I'll be sermonizing late into evening and pre-dawn on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, you two please stay on that couch and try to feel better.

  19. in a fit of brilliance (or workaholism and sheer will power) I finished the sermon on Tuesday night, edited yesterday, and now am going about memorizing. You see, the pulpit here in my happy new church is about a zillion years old and very much designed for men who are taller than me. Therefore I have been instructed (by multiple church members) to forego said pulpit. Unfortunately that requires a basically note-less sermon. ACK!
    Luckily, I'm in the been-there-done-that category on this style, and luckily I didn't just write without talking to myself, so I should be okay. Insha'allah (God willing).
    The sermon, however, is up for review here.

  20. oh yeah, I forgot: no cold water, no menthol. try a hot steamy place. or there are these cool things at drugstores called "Vapor Shot" which looks pointless but is great. I think the box is green. I know the stuff is VERY green and radioactive looking, but without the poisonous part.
    and I brought Quaker Honey Graham Oh's--my favorite cereal. A fab snack. :-)

  21. Teri, I'm 5 feel tall, and I suggest a box upon which to stand. It's fine to come out of the pulpit sometimes, and I certainly do so, but you are young and new and establishing your pastoral authority. Don't let others strip you of options; instead ask them to do what needs to be done so the pulpit can fit *you.* Not that this helps for tomorrow...

  22. sorry you're sick, Songbird - I've been on medication this week to try to open up the old eustasian tubes which have been ringing off the wall for about a week. So this anti-inflammatory medication has also dried me up - so in addition to a mouth like the Sahara, I also can't hear...should be fun tomorrow: Christ the King + 2 baptisms. Oh Glory!

  23. So sorry you are sick - I'm all for the hot gingerale...mix it with a little apple cider and pineapple juice, and you have a festive drink. It's Christ the King for me too. I am taking an angle from an old "Christian Century" that emphasizes that kings have 'a people.' So, if Pilate really wanted to know if Jesus was a king, he should have asked to see the people. That's the title of my sermon - "Show Me the People."

  24. okay, so I did a little more editing and changed the title, and now the link i put up earlier is not so much working. (duh)
    here it is again, new and improved!

    as for the pulpit...well, it's not just a few average members, it's people from the APNC. And also, I actually have something of a dislike for the pulpit--not only because of its size but its shape and its general unsturdiness. I tend to move around quite a bit, so a box may lead to me falling off. But we'll see how tomorrow goes, and then reassess the situation before Dec. 24 when I preach again. I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes. :-)

  25. Songbird, sorry you're feeling so awful. I hope you're feeling better for tomorrow.

    will smama - you crack me up. "a hermaneutically sealed room" - heh.

    I've had some serious sermon mojo problems this weekend, but it is slowly coming together.

    My theme is primarily that if we are committed to serving Christ's realm as opposed to the world's realms, then how do we live? What does that look like in real life?

    I've decided not to go with the "Dr. Phil as Pilate" piece. It didn't fit with the rest of the sermon.

  26. Hello, preaching friends. Sorry to hear that you're so sick, Songbird. I had good results with Zicam a couple of weeks ago when I had similar symptoms. It didn't seem to be doing much right away, but my cold was much shorter and less severe than usual. A couple of weeks before that, however, before my discovery of Zicam, I preached while feeling like utter hell. The preaching itself wasn't as bad as trying to write the sermon while I was so congested and achy and drippy.

    We have Christ the King Sunday, which I prefer to call Reign of Christ, except that then people think I'm saying "Rain of Christ," and that gets confusing. I'm talking a bit about our images of royalty, from fairy tales and movies and such. Pilate probably had some similar ideas of what a king was supposed to be, but then he encountered Jesus, who didn't even confirm that he was a king. What does it mean for us to be "subjects" of a ruler like that?

  27. My pulpit is really tall too, and the pastor of the Spanish congregation is even shorter than I am. He uses a box, but I'm with Teri - I'm afraid of falling off of it. Early on I just wore 4 inch heels, but I was still pretty much a talking head. Then I moved down into the congregation. For those Sundays when I just can't do without my notes I have a lovely, handmade podium to use which was cut down to my size by the very tall former pastor who made it for himself. :-)

  28. Sorry you are sick...and why oh why does it happen on Saturdays...I'm preaching on the kingdom of God being the home that God calls us to-- right now...well it sounded better when I wrote it...I took it from Brueggemann's Cadences of Home--but it also sounded better when he said it. Sigh, snivel (I have another upper respiratory infection too-- can I come over and sit on your other couch?) I'll being tea and lemon and some good DVD's ok? Gail

  29. I'm going for the old "what is truth?" schtick. And please no jokes about "the whole truth and nothing but..." or "just the facts, ma'am." it's hard enough just the way it is.

  30. One down, one to go. Time to get dressed for the memorial service. I remembered to take the allergy pills to combat a sanctuary full of lilies!

  31. So sorry for the ones under the weather. I had a run of bad Sundays last December/January, and leaned heavily on my deacon and musician. Here, have some chicken soup and Ricola herbal cough drops (they are the best).

    Back from a couple of days with family. It was great to se folks, but we had some sad news--one of my cousins, only six years older than I am, passed away on Thursday. He'd had a difficult life, medically, but was a good man. His father passed away only four years ago, so his mom (my aunt) and his sisters are having a tough time.

    And earlier in the week, I had emergencies here, so no work got done on the sermon except for some notes. I had been planning to preach on truth, but that may be too complex for me to get anything coherent for tomorrow afternoon.

    Like Christ the King is any easier, huh?

    *Sigh* I'm going to make some coffee, I have a feeling I'll be up late tonight... Anyone else feel the need for caffeine?

  32. Left the house to sermonize at the church office ... house offered too many distractions and ways to procrastinate ... however that does mean that all my laundry is done and the kitchen is clean and I've changed the sheets on my bed ...

    Preaching on the reign of Christ and trying to figure out what in the heck that means and looks like ...

    Dancing with God

  33. OOOOhhh!! Forgot to mention my favorite throat remedy - it's from the natural foods store and is called "Singer's Saving Grace"! (love the name!) It has licorice in it, and some herbs. It soothes without menthol, and has gotten me through many a rough patch. My favorite flavor is the honey lemon, but mint also works...

    smkyqtzxtl was correct on the menthol, BTW. It is NOT good for your throat, and the sugar is a great way to multiply bacteria, not kill them.

  34. Wow, I never knew that about menthol! I will bear the collective good advice in mind.
    I'm working on my reflection, after nap #2. Still feel pretty crummy, unfortunately.

  35. (((((((Songbird)))))))

    Feel beter soon!

    As for me, I have a missionary couple speaking tomorrow! Yay!

  36. Sorry for those who are ailing. Anyone for Jack Daniels, honey and lemon? Not the best for preaching, but you will sleep better! I am battling off the allergy/ asthma cough. Sounds worse than I actually feel, but I do want a good voice for tomorrow. This is first time my folks have heard me preach here. They heard me many other times before I acepted call here, but this is first time in my own church.So, still working on sermon and focusing in one Pilate's question and our understanding of truth. I am ting in the elephant storry. It works will and adds furtehr to our ability to handle the truth. Nobody could handle that elephant all alone.
    Anyhow, the tree is up, thanks to help fro mmom and dad and the other decor almsot done, we are ful of BBQ with mustrd based sauce ( I'm a Carolina girl after all), and glad to have that ballgme over. A "W", but not a pretty W at all. My heart goes out ot Clemson kicker. We put way too much on those last second kicks.Can't stand to see that happen to anyone! I hope lots of folks are around him now.
    In meantime, I must finish a sermon. Good ideas floating, but not much on paper. Teri, good luck!!!! I am also height challneged and on top of that I preach barefoot. Several folks want to build me a step, but I am leary. I don't usually move a lot, but I am a clutz by nature! Just don't think it woudl be pretty to have me sprawled out in front of everyone. Peace to all, hope everyone is well tomorrow and happy sermonizing!

  37. 1-4 Grace - been there done that and believe me, it is really hard to come back from a major sprawl in front of God and everyone. What a good idea to preach barefoot!!

  38. Oi. Just got home... sorry to say the sermon elf did NOT stop by and once again my sermon button is not working.

    Someone please put on the coffee because I will so be back!

  39. How's chocolate velvet coffee sound? I'm just starting mine so I should be around until 1 am unless that noise outside is the sermon elf making a delivery

  40. I agree with Songbird about the pulpit and the authority it gives to ministry. When it comes to pastoral authority, the pulpit is a great help. I am first career clergy and not very tall.

    Not everyone who says, "Get out of the pulpit" is thinking about your ability to claim your authority. I had to state that point to internship mentors who agreed after I articulated it but didn't think about it until I stated it.

    Everywhere I have served, where the pulpit was too big for me, one or more of the men made a small platform or knew where one already existed in the church.

  41. I had a seminary professor who once said, "The pulpit is there to protect the congregation from the pastor..."


  42. sorry to all those who are sick.... I thought I was coming down with somethign but knock on wood i haven'tyet. I'm at my favorite coffee shop trying to finish my Sermon on revelation and drinking some green tea with honey... not going to well... It's only my fourth sermon

  43. I have a few more notes and an idea. I've had dinner, called my mother and a member who needed a call.

    Let's see, no sermon elf and no sermon button.

    Oh look, a trivia quiz!

    RP, hopping on the procrastination train

  44. Friends, your hostess is going to bed. I continue to feel ill. I just hope I like the looks of that last piece of writing in the morning.
    Bless you all in your continuing efforts!

  45. I'm doing the non-preaching gig tomorrow, but I stopped by to see how the party's going. I hope everyone feels better soon. And, I have to second the "get someone to make a box for the pulpit" suggestion. From many and varied experiences with such boxes, I say the bigger the box the better. (Nothing is worse than a box no bigger than your two feet!). Someday, you'll really want it and be glad it is there. Sermon mojo to everyone...

  46. ack.
    the sermon elf apparently is under the weather, as well, for he has not shown up down here, either. and my husband didn't write my sermon while i was out shopping with my mom, unfortunately.
    so, here i am, trying to begin to write about kings and questions.

  47. WOW. Thanks, Chilly Fingers, for pointing us to that Christian Century article about kings having a people. That might just turn out to be the key for my sermon! I just hope none of my parishioners get the CC...

    Starting late here, as a Thanksgiving visitor lingered until 7 pm and so now I'm in the thick of it. At least tomorrow is a light day--we are having a visioning breakfast thing, but due to that I am only preaching at St. Smaller tomorrow and not St. Larger. Woo!

  48. Ummm... just out of curiosity: What is the magic number of illustrations in a sermon when it turns from meditation on God's Word to stand up routine.

    Just wondering... nothing to see here.

  49. Uh, will smama, I could use some illustrations. I'll trade you some great exegesis. Well, analysis. Well, preaching. Well, something.

  50. No sermon elves. Sermon mojo has deserted the city. It came, it hung out for a while, but now, with about 400 words to go, lo, it hath departed and I am left without anything to bring this dog home. Prayers ascending for those who are sick. Self-flagellation for those who have to preach and co-preside tomorrow and left the sermon-writing for today. (That would be me.)

  51. That would be me, too, Marie...

    Off the Procrastination Train and on the sermon writing (car? bus? boat? motorcycle?) thing.

    Will smama, I wanna see/hear that stand-up--er, that sermon.

    Best of health to the ill ones--get good rest!

    Making another pot of coffee...

  52. The worst thing is that as my husband just noted, because they will (hopefully) laugh more than one of them will tell me what a wonderful sermon it is.... whereas the theologically profound get nary a word.

    Where is that fireplacin' elf?!

  53. Geez... I still say that when they post the Sunday prayer it reminds me of when we would hear the thump of the morning papers being delivered throughout the dorm in the early morning hours.

    I am not done... but I am done for now. Good luck folks, I'll check in on all in the morning... and get the coffee going (for the east coasters anyway).

  54. The memorial service was loooong, the dinner even longer, the computer guy didn't show up till almost 7 and Notre Dame lost.

    And now you tell me the sermon elf is stuck in a fireplace? Sheesh. It's going to be a really early morning.

  55. Sermon elf, COME TO ME NOW!

    Or send the sermon-bearing Antonio Banderas!

  56. sigh... i wish i would have checked this earlier, so i would have known that sermon elves were down throughout the whole system. all day i was just thinking it was my sermon elves who had failed to show.

    today really sort of sucked. every so often i have these sermon-writing sessions that are made for the "pulling teeth" analogy. it doesn't help at all when i'm mean to my husband out of frustration.

    oh well. the sermon is done, even though it's downright awful. i think i read on reverendmother's blog awhile ago that if you have a dog, you walk it. so that is what i shall do.

  57. OK So here I am at about 4:20 a.m....still sermonless. I went to bed with my alarm set for 4:30 and a good idea about what I would put in my manuscript. At 1:00 a.m. the hospital called and there I have been for the last 3 hours. I cannot remember for sure what I wanted to say in the message, but hoping the caffeine kicks in soon. I have several sources to cut and paste from--with appropriate citations of course...Oh. and our paper just got here:)Pray for me, my sisters in crime-I mean Christ.

  58. QuakerPastor--I'm still awake, and you have my prayers. Hang in there, sister! May the Spirit speak through you, regardless of your lack of sleep.

    I just finished, at 5 in the morning, so I am off for a quick shower and a quick nap and some quick prep for our breakfast. Whew!

  59. Thanks semfem! Prayers are coming back at you---Peace!

  60. How you be - QP? Tough night. I hope 'nap' is prominent on the Quaker Pastor Sunday afternoon 'to do' list.

    As for me: no elves and no sermon bearing Antonio Banderas (thanks semfem, I had forgotten about him)and hopefully no random visits by former professors who will absolutely VOMIT if they hear this thing... and then come and pull my ironically Latin diploma right. off. the. wall.

    Hopefully the majority of you have risen above and created masterpieces, but for those of you who fear you will be meeting me at the dog park please allow me to humbly remind you, errr I mean us:

    1) Relax. The Holy Spirit has got your back.
    2) If you've got a dog; walk it proud.

    And here's hoping Songbird woke up on the brighter side of the Big Nasty she was battling yesterday, although with enough left over that every one will understand when she heads straight home after worship and cancels all other meetings.

  61. I just called in sick.
    I think it may be strep.
    We're heading to the UrgentCare as soon as it opens.
    The two less personal of my three reflections are in e-mail to the Head Deacon, the other section will have to stand on scripture and a litany (and if Holy Week can't do that, I don't know what season can).
    Thanks for your support, friends. I think the answer now is pharmaceutical.

  62. Songbird,you are in my prayers this morning. Hope the doctor picks the right pharmeceuticals to kill whatever bug bit you. And remember to follow the instructions found in Sirach (aka Ecclesiasticus)chapter 38

    Still have only a few words on paper, but I just got up one cup of coffee ago - it is now 4:50. "Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me" Please!

  63. Oh, Songbird--hope they knock out those nasty bugs.

    Glad to hear I'm not the only one with a recalcitrant sermon this week.

    Finally went to bed at 11:30 last night, praying for a visit from the elves, Antonio, something. But of course, nada.

    So I've got my coffee, working away. At least I have a few more hours than the rest of you.

  64. My message is done, thanks to the help of an old one I found on-line. Thank God for preachers who post their work to the glory of God and for the aid of other pastors. Lesson learnt: never go to bed when on call without a message in hand.
    Please pray for the family whose member is in CCU at our local hospital--I guess pray for all who are ill or hurt. Especially Songbird.

  65. Blessings Songbird! Blessings to all who bring God's word today. Mine is not the best todya either, so sicne sermon elf, sermon button, and Antonio (darn!) let us down..Holy Spirit do your stuff and help us all kick some homeletical butt and yes, help thsoe of us who are Presbyterian not to suck!

  66. Get well, Songbird... and for a piece of unsolicited: turn off the phone.

  67. Done! BLessings on all who preach today. May our congregations hear something they need in our words, however doggy they may be.

  68. I'm done too--mangy and flea-bitten though it be, I have a dog to walk.

    Blessings on all preachers today!

    And healing grace to the ones who are ill...

  69. "The worst thing is that as my husband just noted, because they will (hopefully) laugh (more than usual) then more than one of them will tell me what a wonderful sermon it is...."

    This was a quote from me last night and it was true. The first one to tell me what a great sermon it was... my Dad.


  70. well, three down with no pulpit, all memorized, and mostly good.

    WS, I had the opposite experience--I had a few things I really thought would get chuckles, at least, but no. Apparently my puns are not obvious enough. "Headed to the guillotine", I mean, come on people!

    But I did have lots of "great sermon" and "great job" and the dreaded "that was so nice." Hmm.

  71. Why is it that the ones I begin at 4 am are the ones that the other preachers in the congregation say are "Outstanding!"??

    Thanks, Songbird, for suggesting my response to Friday Five would make a good sermon today. :-)

  72. QP: So glad you found something and walked it proud! Woohoo!

    will smama: Forgive me for fixating on the sermon-bearing Antonio...I think one of the first comments I ever read on RGBP was about him, and so he comes to mind whenever the sermon writing is rough.

    Songbird: prayers for your quick recovery. Kudos for knowing when to remove yourself from the situation for your own well-being. And thanks be to God for pharmaceuticals.

    All others: glad your dogs were well-behaved! The further I walked mine, the more it tried to relieve itself on my shoes. Definitely not one I want to revisit (even if it was mostly based on the Christian Century article). But at least it's put to bed now. Whew.

    And speaking of being put to bed...I went for a nap this afternoon, and promptly slept eight hours. Looks like I'll be up all night again!

    (The person who lingered visiting me after Thanksgiving weekend? Drove to his side of the state from 7 pm to midnight, THEN attempted to write his sermon, fell asleep and ended up writing it at 6:30 am. Egads.)


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