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Saturday, January 06, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party

It's moving day for me, on the church side of my life, so today's 11th hour sermon composition will begin with packing up the office that has been mine for the past four+ years. I suspect memories will arise in the process. That's why I'm arming myself with helpers!

Sometime in the early afternoon, the house will be quiet, and I will begin writing. What are your plans today?

I'm brewing a pot of Starbucks Christmas Blend (thanks to my Santa husband for that bag in my stocking!) and on my way out to pick up the wonderful and famous Tony's Donuts that have proven such useful sermon fuel in the past. What may I get for you?


  1. Well, Songbird, I am the enabler of procrastination so invite those who would like a few minutes of diversion to participate in Trivia Challenge - since Reverend Mother's Friday Five was birthday related, I found a database focused on birthdays - won't you join us?won't you join the rest of us?

  2. I'm off to Board mini-retreat--back shortly after lunch.

    Blessings on the writing this morning!

  3. Songbird, thinking of you as you pack and prepare today.

    And Cathy, I'd love to do the trivia challenge, maybe tonight- I leave in a few minutes to do final preparations for an all day officers' retreat, the retreat starts at 9, hopefully it ends at 3, maybe 4, I have pre-marital counseling at 5 and a vespers service (at which I have to preach) at 6. I have a sermon written, but... at some point in this day it needs rewriting or tweaking or something. It needs something. But then again, I may just preach it. I haven't formatted it or printed it yet.

    I have an unhappy digestive system this morning so just an english muffin for me, thanks.

  4. I've just finished my corn flakes, but BRING ON THE CAFFEINE. I have a sermon, children's story, prayers, pastor's report (we have monthly meeting for business after worship tomorrow), and a Sunday school lesson to complete. I also need to run the bulletin and insert, and go to the hospital--I'm on call until about 10:00p.m. tonight, as well as make a few phone calls, and find the top of my desk...A pretty normal Saturday I guess. Isaiah 60 will be my focus, so let's rise and shine ya'll!

  5. I'm meeting this morning with the pastor who's covering until the real Interim comes, then picking up boxes at U-Haul.
    And now I'm reminded I need to write an Annual report, too. Oy.

  6. Our service tomorrow consists of worship music and then reading through the entire book of James as we prepare to take a deeper look at it during the months of January and February. All I need to prepare is a tiny welcome.

    BUT ... today we're having a mini-retreat for those of us who plan and run the services each week. In my home. So, I'm off to get bagels and make coffee for our morning part.

  7. No sermon to write for tomorrow, but i do need a children's message, prayer petitions, and something to teach to Adult Ed. Husband and I are driving 2.5 hours to Lancaster PA to speak at a youth event. Our topic is Christan dating and relationnships. whoohoo.

  8. Slept late for me for a Saturday: 8:00!

    I have a memorial meditation to write before noon, and a sermon I haven't even started yet, though I have ideas for it.

    I'm on my second cup of coffee because I am employing that wonderful procrastination tool--blogging.

    I will be thinking about you this weekend, Songbird.

  9. Annual report!!


    I have one of those due Monday!

  10. Songbird, blessings on your packing and processing. Sending love and joy your way.

    I am thinking about the Isaiah has been dark and gloomy here for the past several days and we could use a great light!

  11. Songbird, you will be in my prayers this day. Indeed memories will flood you, may you find peace in them. I think I will soon follow the same path of leaving small church.

    Since I preached last Sunday on Bpatism I have decided not to use the lectionary text for Baptism of Our Lord, but to transfer in Epiphany (we need one...). I am preaching on journey and have invited the parish into a discernment process (journey) for the nenxt several weeks. We have much work to do between now and our annual meeting, which I have moved from Jan. 21 to Feb. 4 to give us time to prepare. So, I have a few weeks to write my report....prayers for all of you are doing both sermon and reports today.

    Also, to emphasize the image of discernment and journey I turning our worship space into a labyrinth and created a meditation book for those who choose to "walk" the labyrinth. The meditations are on the stations of the magi...and I have invited the parish to see ourselves as the wise men, women, and children who are travelling the road to Christ....

    the sermon needs much help at this point, but at least it is on paper in rough draft.

    I have coffee and am off to make sausage and pancakes and read the paper before I return to preparations for Sunday...

  12. I have decided to explore with my meeting "the Light"-which is a foundational Quaker theme-that has become a code that assumes knowledge and experience of by folks--NOT!!SO I am gonna review what it means, how we ground ourselves in it, how we show and share it, etc.
    It's 60 degrees F at 10:00 a.m. in South Glens Falls, NY (pretty darn far north!)HOLY MOLY!
    Let's hear it for global warming :|

  13. Thinking of you Songbird as you pack and prepare for the move.

    I'm concentrating on the Baptism of Jesus, but I'm also using the Isaiah 43 passage. My theme is that God is always calling us out of our comfort zones. As beloved children of the Holy, we can forge ahead into difficult circumstances because we know God is with us.

    The Israelites were feeling comfortable and safe in the Babylonian exile. It wasn't perfect, but at least they knew what to expect. God called them back to Jerusalem to rebuild, not because God is demanding and mean, but because God loved them and trusted them to do the right thing.

    I think God pulls us out of our comfort zones every time we open the pages of scripture. God knows us, loves us, and trusts us to do the right thing (which is rarely the easy thing!).

    That's all I got so far, but it's coming along.

  14. I am working on a random passage from Mark because it was one of the ones we read this past week... or those of us still attempting to read through the Bible read.

    I am in my office trying not to feel guilty about being here away from a whiny and phlegmy 2 year old. Can you say, "escape hatch"?

    Caffeine me please!

  15. Okay, memorial meditation done. Thankfully, this is one of those families who likes 'em short and sweet. (Of the ten funerals I've done, three are for this family.)

    Now off to take a bath, get ready for the funeral, then come home and settle down to a sermon.

  16. Ah, Songbird, I will be praying for you today. Leavetakings are hard. What is next for you?

    I have a freshly brewed pot of freshly ground hazlenut beans, and I also can bring the remainder of an apple cake that I made for an Epiphany pot-luck.

    As for the sermon, we are still pondering "new" here...and I am using Paul's comment about not being all he should be but pressing forward. Beyond that, I have no clue where I am going--eek, no pun intended.

  17. Praying for you Songbird with packing and move. I am just 6 months out from my move and I still grieve. Wish you well with your new church as well.

    I am getting reaquainted with my hubby and kids after being gone all week. I plan to preach on the Epiphany passage this week, and Baptism next week. I decided to do that because I want to introduce the following a vision concept, I think this church needs that. But I am not working on the sermon yet.It actually may be an all nighter if I have the stamina to do it.

  18. Why? Why would I choose a non-lectionary text so there are far less resources available on the week I return from vacation.

    Why? Why would I do that?

  19. I am preaching the Isaiah 43 passage about being called by name. I have served as part-time pastor of my church for about 1 1/2 years, and thanks be to God, I am now officially there full-time. So, I thought that this Sunday would be a good time to remind the congregation that I'm not the only one called. I've just about finished the sermon (that's what 4 cups of coffee on top of a good night's sleep can do for you!) and have posted it on my blog if anyone is interested.

    Click here

  20. blessings on all of you! All I have to do is write a communion setting, so I'm mostly off the hook this week.

  21. I'm not preaching tomorrow, but late thursday afternoon I got an emergency phone call asking me to be guest organist and accompany the choir for a church I've been somewhat involved in. At the Thursday evening choir rehearsal the director had chosen baptism music, since the still-vacationing pastor had told her he'd be using the Baptism texts. My first thought was I'd play JS Bach's small and large Clavierubung catechism chorales on "Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam" for the prelude, but the music was so abysmal on that organ (actually, antique electronic appliance that no way resembles anything musical), instead I opted for a pair of festive, splashy settings of "Wie Schon Leuchtet"--Buxtehude and Jan Bender. So tomorrow I'll tell everyone we're celebrating both Baptism and Epiphany!

  22. Well I have also discovered a dirty, messy house, piled high laundry, you name it that happens when you are away, the mice will play. Arrgh. I can't do much about it now as have this sermon to write.

    Also, went over to the church for a piano recital. The teacher is a church member as is some of the students. Discovered that several things I left notes for the secretary to do were not done. Arrgh. We will be talking on Monday.

    I still haven't got toughts together yet.

    WS, what passage in Mark, maybe we can help you?
    Cheeshead, you go girl.
    more cows than people, hope your stomache feels better, you have a full day it looks like.

  23. mark 9:14-29 - the healing of the epileptic boy.

    Powerful, nonlectionary text. I think my challenge is to whittle it down and not try to get it all in one sermon.

  24. SingingOwl, I start on Monday as the Interim Minister of a larger (though not huge) church in a town about 25-30 miles from here. I expect to be there a year. It may be a step into Interim Ministry as a vocation, or it may be a transition for me, too.
    All the boxes are packed and stacked in my garage, so the only thing holding me back from my sermon is lunch.
    And perhaps a weepy lie-down on the couch...

  25. merry epiphany all!

    I have only the "magic" part of communion and the children's time this week. So today's writing: thank you notes for Christmas.
    I know, I know. I'm just hoping 12 days after the holiday is okay and doesn't get me disowned by some of my family and friends who are rather uptight about the whole thank-you-note-thing.

    many blessings on all of you writing much more interesting, much less repetitive things than I.

  26. I am stealing someone's idea, I think. Didn't someone here do something with burning "old" stuff that holds us back? Thanks, whoever you are, for the thought!

    I'm going to do that as part of communion. Start with our usual service, then a short sermon, then we write down what we want to leave behind or leave "at the cross." We go outside, one by one drop our slips of paper in a fire, come in and immediately do communion, followed by a song and prayer. Now, on to the short, very short, sermon.

  27. I'm preaching again this Sunday. That's three times in four weeks - quite a bit for an associate. SP is out of town so the whole service is mine. mahahahaha The sermon's pretty much done. I just reread it and liked it better before I did. If inspirations hits, I'll add or delete but if not, its going as is.

    Reading your posts, you all have much to much on your plates! Blessings.

    Its 68 degrees here (in the north!) and all I can think about it getting outside so I just might do that for a bit.....I'll check in later.

  28. Songbird, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

  29. Remember how most of the RGBPs were fighting viruses and bugs in the few weeks before Christmas? Well, it's my turn now apparently. Have been in a fog most of the week and now I have to get back on board FAST for tomorrow.

    I've got a pretty good idea where I'm going in the sermon, thanks to spying a great sermon illustration at my home church...the baptismal font where I was baptized has been repurposed and is now serving as a plant stand! Funny sight, but profound to see a plant growing out of the font. (Although I am seriously pondering borrowing from cheesehead's great post on Tuesday about Gerald Ford as well.)

    That being said, now I actually have to write the thing, hopefully in time to make it to a great Twelfth Night concert tonight. But we'll see.

    Prayers and hugs to you, Songbird, and all preparing for major change in the near future.

  30. Hi, Singing Owl, that was me with the burning regrets thing--but it wasn't new to me, I borrowed it from someone we're just passing it along...!

    Back from the retreat. Contemplating painful communications from members and how to respond. Have a sermon, a children's moment, and prayers to write for tomorrow. Had four hours sleep last night, miss DP (been gone for two weeks, gone for another), have a headache, miss TO (his birthday is tomorrow).

    Time for some serious caffeine, call to a couple of support folks and then writing.

    CHocolate would be appreciated.

    See, WS, I'm paying for that week back in December when I got way too much done!

  31. Can you take a football break if you don't watch football? And if you haven't done any work yet? (That would be me, by the way, no judgment on WS.)

  32. Songbird, praying for you in your transition. We had a an Interim here at our not so large or small church for a year. He made many changes intentionally. It was a good thing because we had our previous pastor for 35 years and we were in a rut. It's an important role to take on. After reading blogs and comments for over a year here I'm confident your new congregation will enfold you. BTW, I teach adults at my church and we'll learn about baptism tomorrow.

    Discerning a call.

  33. The service is was a touching, appropriate send off to a great woman (I hope.)

    I have now stolen away to my office while the decedent's family is sitting downstairs in the church basement eating cake.

    I have to start my sermon!

    I'll check in is a very big cake.

  34. Text this week does have this on the Mark 9:14-29 passage. It is the Episcopal reading (BCP): Proper 19B/Ordinary 24B/Pentecost 15. Hope this helps WS. I know the temptation to do it all from the text.

    Cheesehead good luck with your sermon.
    Songbird you can take a football break anytime you want and not watch football.

  35. Songbird,yes, take a football break even if you don't watch football...

    CH, glad the funeral went well.

    Revabi, aarrgh indeed...

    Sounds like everyone else is comming along?

    I have the labyrinth set up in the nave, really more like a stations...I'm calling it Stations of the Magi. Reflection booklet finished to accompany the stations.

    Sermon is in ok form, will tweak it tonght and tomorros.

    Now on to a major final homework project due Friday with my our high school son, mr. emo, who really doesn't care much about school (it's all about his friends, you know)...

    Oh, and I have Earl Grey tea and chocolate (all kinds)...

  36. mompriest, how are you feeling?

  37. I don't think I'm watching a playoff football game either. 9 - 0 in the 3rd quarter - blech.

    Rainbow Pastor, with that schedule now I know why you were trying to get ahead last time.

    Looking at my 'to do' list... it's only Friday, right?

  38. Songbird,
    My heart goes way out to you!
    I hope all goes well tomorrow. Take football breaks anytime you want. I am taking a break from taking down the tree.
    Tummy ache for past couple of days and i am resortign to the soup and crackers routine.
    No preach ing tomorrow, but I am back on task next week.
    Blessings to all who are preaching the word (ill health and all).
    Walk your dogs with head held high and for those who are dogless, keep chins up and look confident. The HS is with you.

  39. Oh deary dear! I have 2/3 of an unpromising sermon done for tomorrow evening, but before then I have to preside at 8.00, deacon at 10.00 and lead Open House at 4.00...for which I have to sort out stations and unearth the acetates with words (our projector has died, so we're back to OHPs tomorrow...grrrr)
    and it's gone 11.00 pm here and I really REALLY want to sleep.
    Why am I so good at wasting time?
    No, don't answer that...don't think I'd like the answers :-(

  40. Depressed. No sermon. Headache gone. Got support.

    News at 11.

    PS Send chocolate!

  41. Songbird, my thoughts and prayers will be with you tomorrow. It's bound to be a bittersweet day.

    I am off-lectionary tomorrow with a "seeing visions, dreaming dreams" sermon to start the new year. I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning about three weeks ago. It was one of those rare times when the sermon was being streamed directly to me and I knew better than ignore it. It's a bit direct. Hope I don't get run out of town afterwards!

    It's been a busy day with visiting family. You know, the rush of cleaning when you know your mom will be here soon! Glad I wasn't under the sermon cloud today.

    Oh . . . Go Tigers! Clemson is the only remaining undefeated Division I men's team! (But only by the skin of their teeth. Phew. Close game!)

  42. Discerning a Call, thank you. And thanks for posting!

  43. My darling husband just went out and bought me ice cream. Anybody want some Chocolate Fudge Brownie?

  44. Ah, poor R.P. I'm so sorry. :-(
    And thanks for the idea--wherever it came from. DH is outside now gathering wood. Sermon is not really a sermon, just a series of verses with a series of questions that will hopefully help us focus on what we need to shed. Anyway, it is done. Working on small handout, and then going out for prime rib.

  45. rib. Lucky you, singing owl!

    Sermon is done. It;s not an absolute winner, but its done and that makes it okay in my book.

    Husband ordered pizza, since wondergirl's boyfriend is over here eating supper with us for the third night in a week.

    I did something fun tonight! I made my reservations for Festival of Homies!!!! Yeah! I even found a (relatively) cheap flight. I think I get to meet some new RevGals this year. Who's going?

  46. Football/dinner/tubbie for The Boy break is over and I am back in the office for the long haul. Is anybody else getting frustrated with the Saturday night routine? I hate running this late and yet can't seem to break out of the rut... no matter how good the intentions.

    A New year's resolution to have them done by Friday seems so cliche... maybe I'll wait until February and make the resolution then.

    so, sb, ch, pm and others - good for you. Kathryn, it must be something in the name.

  47. Rainbow Pastor, how's it going?

  48. Um, some nuggets of thoughts. If I had a clearer head or another day, I'd be golden.

    I know what I want to say, I just need to clear the globs of gunk out of my brain.

    If I can get a decent draft done tonight, I'll be happy. I can do the rewrite tomorrow.

    I'm also trying to remember that when people are pills, it's not about me, really--it's about whatever is scaring them.

    Thanks for asking Songbird. How's it going for you?

  49. ugh, I'm just finishing up and even though it's been a good process to write this, i'm fearful that it's a bit... esoteric. and that sort of thing doesn't go over very well. i guess i'll know tomorrow if people do the esoteric-sermon fidget. hmm.

  50. When I finally got some peace (unexpected comings and goings of children who were supposed to be engaged elsewhere), it poured onto the page, which I can only attribute to the Spirit, and for which I am thankful.
    It's printed out for a read-over, and I am watching Beauty and the Beast with my daughter, who has an ear infection and feels rotten. I think we'll hit the sack soon. I'm drained by the effort not to cry, I guess.

  51. Songbird,
    Thanks for asking. My health continues to improve. The PICC line is out (thanks be to God!). But the Dr put me on two oral antibiotics, one of which made me sick (itchy and twitchy legs, insomnia, upset stomach) so I was taken off that one. I remain on one for another week and a few days. The true test will be when I finish the antibiotics - will the infection return? Big deal if it does...but we will not go there now. All in all I feel much better, almost myself again! Yee Haa!!

  52. mompriest, I'm so glad to hear the PICC line is out! What a difficult time you've had!!
    I hope you continue to recover smoothly.

  53. SB,
    Like being a non-anxious presence, it takes a lot out of us to not cry. I feel your sorrow and hope the tears find a place and time to come. May God grace you tomorrow with peace and hope even as you grieve the end of this one.

  54. Argh. I fell asleep at my desk for a good couple of hours (guess that's what typing while sick will do to you). Trying to shake off the grogginess in time to write the conclusion to this sermon, which I somehow managed to leave out of the outline I wrote last night.

    (Needless to say, I did not make it to the Twelfth Night concert. I didn't even make it out of the house to buy more 7up and chicken noodle soup.)

    Congrats all who are done. Strength to all who need it. Blessings to all.

  55. Strength to you semfem... wish I really could bring you some chicken noodle and 7up.

  56. Two-thirds of a sermon. Most of the children's moment. Laundry's in the dryer. Headache's back. Exhaustion setting in.

    Going to bed.

    To be finished in the morning...(me or the sermon, I'm not sure which).

  57. Ack! 10 pm here. I have scribbly notes, I have a head full of stuff about Baptism, and Prayer, and Holy Spirit, and Epiphany. Having a hard time finding my main focus. Have been trying to work on it all afternoon, but tough with visitors in town for last night's ordination. Stressing about doing liturgy of the table for the first time (even though I practiced today) and over not having anything to say that makes sense and they'll regret having made me a priest.

    Prayers please that something will come together and I will manage to get some sleep tonight and not feel compelled to be perfectionistic and pull an all-nighter. That God will speak what they need to hear no matter what I come up with (this is always my prayer).

  58. bythesea...walk that dog proud! They really, truly won't regret making you a priest.

    will smama...thanks for the good wishes!

    I have the sermon done now, whew! Off to mend my alb (two buttons tore off on Christmas Eve), find the Epiphany eucharistic prayer (hopefully), and take a shower before reading the sermon through and heading to bed.

    Hope things are coming together for everyone out there!

  59. Finally - a breakthrough and I am at a place where at least it will preach.

    Late night, so not sure I will be available for tomorrow morning's "perfect cheer".

    Relax all, the Holy Spirit has got your back. And if by chance you've got a dog... walk it proud.

    Peace, friends.

    And get/stay healthy.

  60. Huh. It looks like the Holy Spirit may have my congregation's back as it appears I have laryngitis and so I may just be keeping the drivel I wrote to myself.

    Interesting turn of events.

    I hope all of you are progressing well on your day... or will be shortly.

  61. bythesea, how exciting to be presiding for the first time. i hope you are able to be in the moment and relish it, rather than be too anxious. the spirit will be with you and she will have your back, and hold you up, and give you the words you need. in the words of julian of norwich: "all will be well. all will be well. in all manner of things, all will be well." that is my prayer for this day for all of us as we hoffer ourselves in Gods service,

  62. Friends, I appreciate your supportive comments and will feel accompanied as I step into the pulpit today. Thank you.

  63. So, will smama, what happens in your neck of the woods when the preacher gets laryngitis?

    Feel better!

  64. Patriotic hymn sing? I know you've got the flowers for it...

  65. Blessings, Bythesea! What a wonderful moment--do indeed cherish it!

    Prayers going out to all those with laryngitis, anxiety, and other assorted ills--the Spirit is indeed with you.

    As for me, I have something to preach, prayers, and a children's moment. The headache's gone and I got some much-needed sleep.

    Off to walk a dog!

  66. Hi all. I don't know who all may see this comment since I'm posting 9pm Sunday night. But did get around 3 to 4 hours of sleep. Finally something gelled and I had an outline plus a conclusion that seemed to preach okay.

    All those prayers mentioned must have been with me, because when I got up there to celebrate the Eucharist (Rector had done liturgy of the Word up to the Peace), I was pretty calm, and despite all my should I do this or this, or here or here questions yesterday, things pretty much seemed to come together and flow pretty well at both services (Rite I and Rite II).

    Thanks for all your prayers, affirmations, and happy thoughts!


  67. bythesea,glad to hear all went well! It only gets better (well, and sometimes tougher, but that's another story)...


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