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Saturday, February 03, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Snow Day Edition?

Maison Songbird
Originally uploaded by msongbird.
It's a would-be snow day here at Maison Songbird, but Yankees don't give in easily, and I am off to a denominational meeting 80 miles north with my aptly nicknamed son, Snowman. I have begun work on my sermon, but will need to finish it when I return. Meanwhile, I leave you with coffee and tea, Munchkins and a basket of fruit: bananas, oranges, apples and grapes. No time for oatmeal this morning! I'll be back by 2 or so, EST. Talk amongst yourselves!


  1. Psssst... come here
    ... you know you want to procrastinate 2 minutes more..

    let's show Songbird how many of you took the RGBP Trivia Challenge.
    Mixed Bag is the database of questions. It's fun.

  2. Tomorrow is our annual meeting, having been postponed two weeks because we, tiny church, had so much discernment to do in preparation. The meeting itself will also be more discernment and less "business" more creative thinking and less nuts and bolts. I want to stir the people away from anxious problem solving (too little money, too few people) which will only focus us on band aids and not the real problem (they don't really want to grow in faith, size, etc)....SOOOO - my sermon tomorrow: we will have the kids in for the whole, shortened service. I am going to read "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." I am going to connect it to the disciples having a terrible, horrible day. Then to Jesus meeting the disciples in their deepest darkest place of (fear, worry, despair, anxiety??) and Jesus led the disciples to a place of light where they were "caught" by Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, in a place of abundance of hope and faith. But to get there the disciples had to do something!! They had to have both faith and action....following the service we will have a Tailgate party (Superbowl Bears country we are) and annual meeting. My hope, nothing stirs up creativity like a little fun! Oh pray for me.

    I will be gone most of the day, checking in later to see how you all are doing. Coffee and donut holes here too...

  3. Sorry for the long post, must be my anxiety...

  4. We have snow too! Spouse is out plowing at the car dealership where he works and son is still in bed.
    I am alive, but just barely so...
    Just on the eve of my two day "Preaching Luke" seminar on Wednesday night, I started coming down with a bad cold. So after slogging to the seminar in spite of my feeling cruddy, I am now wiped out with a semon to prepare. The good news is that I got enough stuff at the seminar to make it--if I can find energy and awareness. My title is "Business as Unusual" thanks to Dr. Rick Carlson..... My focus will be on attributes of the reign of God-per Jesus, and those called to the reign of God. But first maybe a nap...

  5. I'm not preaching tomorrow so no sermon (insert happy dance here), but had meetings with my denominational superior and Board yesterday that pretty much wiped me out anyway.

    Mompriest, I think Alexander and... will preach! Go for it! We face some of the same issues. I may have to borrow your idea!

    I'll leave you all some cranberry-orange muffins.

    Enjoy, and inspiration to all!

  6. You Yankees may not give in so easily, but having lived here in the South I do give in. Not because of the snow, but because other drivers don't know how to drive on the snow. I'm off to swimming lessons with my wee ones at the Y. I'm working on Luke, its all in the head. So its going to be interesting to pull it out when we get back.

  7. Good morning!

    I've got Irish oatmeal bubbling away on the stove, and am into my first cup of coffee.

    It is a balmy 3 degrees F here in the Snow Belt. Tomorrow it is supposed to get all the way up to -1 for a high. I don't know how many people come out to church when it's that cold!

    We have communion, plus ordination/installation of officers, so I hope at least those people show up!

    Consequently, I will have a short sermon. I'm okay with that.

  8. Mompriest, let us know how it goes. It sounds like you have a solid (and very creative) base to work from. Would you come preach it at my tiny little church who likes band-aids?

  9. IT is COLD here. SO litle chance to go outside and avoid sermon prep.

    WE too have our Annual MEeting tomorrow so sermon that would lead into it would be nice. Not likely but nice.

    Just rereading my early thoughts and am not sure I've got much of anything yet...

  10. We have communion tomorrow and every now and then I like to focus on the "whys" of communion, even if it means moving away from lectionary for a Sunday. Tomorrow I will talk about Joshua and the people crossing into the Promised Land, the gathering of stones to commemorate the crossing, and the importance of remembering. I would hand out little rocks as a tactile reminder, but it is probably too soon after the puzzle pieces illustration for another 'newfangled' idea.

  11. I'll be preaching from Luke tomorrow - my title is "Hook, Line, and Sinker." We are also starting our first Bible study - we're over 130 years old and have never had a regular Bible study. Wish me luck on that - I'm no biblical scholar!

  12. mompriest, the Alexander idea sounds wonderful.

    i had teased a few people in our congregation that i'd be reading dr. suess' The Zax. i'd still like to do that but unfortunately i don't think it will work for tomorrow's scripture.

    i don't normally preach so i'm both anxious and excited.

    is anyone else using the Isaiah scripture? eDogg (our sr pastor) doesn't usually do HB/OT so I thought it'd be a nice change. and i totally love it.

    we've been trying to push our folks out of the pews and into ministry for the past year. a few have and so to honor them and also keep with the encouragement--focus on the part where Isaiah realizes that God's calling is going to be rough and not make him any friends but he agrees anyway. kind of the idea that we have to follow even when it's hard, even when we don't see immediate results, we are still called to continue the work God has given to us.

  13. What would I do without you all?

    Clear and sunny here.

    If we had snow or Cheesehead's temps. we'd cancel worship.

    Thinking of all of you as I think about tomorrow's sermon.

    Lord, give me mojo.

  14. OK, I digress from the sermon chat, but those of you who have 2 minutes: how often do you have communion at your churches?

    We, Episcopalians, um, have it every Sunday. 3 times (at different services). But when I was a kid, it was not so often, and we would have Morning Prayer 3x a month and communion once. At least that's what I remember.

    Ecumenically curious...

  15. Mary Beth, we celebrate communion monthly. When I first came to Small Church, they were celebrating quarterly. I, for one, would love to do it weekly, but it's not in the cards at my current call.

  16. Good morning, everyone. I'll be spending most of my afternoon traveling home from NYC, but I thought I'd stop in and say hello before I hop on the train. Hopefully some serious inspiration will come to me while riding the rails, for I have NO SERMON. None at all. Not even the little glimmer of one in my head. Blessings, al

  17. Or "all," even. Not sure who al is.

  18. Hey Mary Beth, we have communion never and always ;)
    Gotta love us Quakers!

  19. mary beth, we used to do it once a month but are currently doing it quarterly. i really miss it.

    for a while we did do it weekly during our "spark"/contemporary service a dn that was wonderful. i don't know why we stopped.

  20. marybeth,
    we celebrate at the beginning of each liturgical season and also on worldwide communion sunday.

    that isn't cold! we are anticipating a high of -13F today.

  21. Verrry cold here, dangerous temps, wind chills and blowing snow. Not expecting much of a crowd at either church tomorrow.

    My sister in Texas told me it was going to get down in the 20's there and I ungraciously told her to cry me a river! She laughed.

    Mary Beth, we have Communion at a major worship service at least once a week in my denomination. For most of us that's every Sunday.

    I'm on next week's lectionary --did this week's last week. The basic thrust of the sermon: Although Isaiah, Peter and Paul were spiritual giants, every person mentioned responded to their call initially with a sense of deeply felt inadequacy, but God NEVER once said, "you know you're right, you'd be lousy at this and I'm going to get someone else." God's call does not take us where God's grace does not sustain us.

  22. Hey snow here today, just lots of sunshine and COLD. We dipped down to that magic -40 degree point last night. (At -40, the Fahrenheit and Celcius scales are the same)

    I'll be staying in today.

    My sermon so far is about change. Isaiah, Peter and the disciples were all called to something new. Evolving, growing and changing are natural parts of the human condition - so why not make that work positively for God's realm?

    (As an aside, it sort of makes me wonder why the word "change" is a four-letter word in so many churches. Everything changes, so why not the church too???)

  23. hey all- LOTS of snow here and more on the way and i'm not looking at the thermometer- its dropping, way, way low.

    i actually got a sermon written on thursday this week. that used to be the norm for me, but it hasn't been so true the past few months. anywho... i brushed it up this morning and posted it on myblog if you're interested. Am I the only one still with 1 Corinthians?

    As for the communion question- once a month is standard. At our new Saturday night service- every week.

    Mompriest- your plans for tomorrow sound wonderful. Breathe deeply. All shall be well.

    I have some chewy chocolate cookies made according to a Weight Watchers recipe, 1 pt a piece, they taste weird to me. I'm happy to share them!

  24. Hey all. glad its you freezing and not me, I couldn't handle it.

    Mary Beth, once a month, this Sunday. I am working on them to have once a week service of communion. Not there yet.

    Back from swimming lessons and swimming. I need a nap after that.

  25. Fellow Traveler and I just got back home from a 30-mile trip through blizzard conditions to the nearest Meijer's to get stuff for our Superbowl party...which may turn out to be a very small party, since the west side of the state -- home to many of our invitees -- is getting REALLY whacked. We are serving Chicago dogs (after a daunting search I finally found sport peppers, but the relish is going to have to be regular, non-neon) and bratwurst in honor of the Bears and Colts.

  26. I'm back! The drive was not too bad. I have a little writing done on a sermon about Isaiah and Peter, contrasting Isaiah's vision in the Temple (Weird! Spooky!) with Peter's recognition in an ordinary place that God was in touch with him (Scary!). Going from there to being open to God's movement in the life of the church, to be aware when God wants us to drop the nets and do something new. I'll weave in a bit of my call story, since this is only week 4 and we are still getting to know one another.
    Anybody want a fresh pot of coffee?

  27. I finished up and am now sneaking out to walk my beloved, blind dog. As for communion, we are a Disciples of Christ church, so we celebrate it every Sunday.

    I posted the sermon on my blog...
    if you are interested.

  28. Communion--we celebrate on the first Sunday of the month. Mary Beth, when I was growing up my dear friend's Episcopal church had the Eucharist every Sunday at 8 a.m., but only once a month at the big 10:30 service.

  29. UMC Finland - once a month (in our local church the last Sunday of the month) and I wish we had it more often to be honest

  30. Mary Beth and I come from the same time period (and our families once attended the same church). As a child, 8:00 service was communion every Sunday with 9:15 being once a month. Now we have Eucharist weekly on Sunday and with a healing service on Wednesday evening.

  31. Hi friends. I'm done. Not overly happy with it, and may revise later, but I have something down on paper at least.

    I also did my 53 minutes on the treadmill. I know, it's not as sexy as a full hour, but every minute counts, right?

  32. 53 minutes is awesome!
    You know what would be really, really sexy? A sermon finished in the next 53 minutes.

  33. I just don't feel like writing!

    In fact, I would rather spend three hours on the treadmill than write another sentence.

    (I sooo have pre-vacation laziness syndrome.)

    (go Cheesehead!!)

  34. Way to go, Cheesehead! I hate the treadmill with a passion, although I am grateful to have it as an option as I train for the MS Challenge Walk. I'm not sure which is more like pulling teeth: 53 minutes on a treadmill or writing a sermon on Saturday!

  35. They're basically equal as far as I am concerned.
    Although at the moment, a little time on the elliptical might sound preferable, if I hadn't slipped something painful the last time I used it.

  36. Cold here and a busy day here too. Fun though. I haven't looked at my sermon today yet, but hope the work I need to do on it is as minimal as I recall it being.

    You all are doing some great things. Be back in a bit...

  37. Go cheesehead!!! 53 minutes is amazing.

  38. is now -3 F. up in my little town. The wind chile is about -25 because the wind is blowing like mad and they are putting warnings on the TV. Will anyone be in church? Probably not many, but we are having a drama team come (too bad on such a miserable day) so no sermonizing for me today. :-)

  39. So, I was shoveling snow earlier to procrastinate on writing my sermon, and the minute I finished I got in the car to fill up the tank. While at the gas station, a band of lake-effect snow hit and now we are swimming in it again. Whee!

    All that means is that I procrastinated for nothing, and now it's almost 6 pm and I have no sermon. Just a strong affinity for Isaiah and a catchy phrase or two about 1 Corinthians and Luke. Hopefully the affinity and my illustration (I have Isaiah's "send me!" quote inscribed on the inside of my alb) will keep me going.

    Assuming we have church tomorrow, that is. St. Smaller is already seriously considering cancelling it and postponing their annual meeting.

    All that sounds really whiny. Sorry!

    On Communion: Every Sunday at both St. Smaller and St. Larger. Instituted by my predecessor, so not a battle I had to fight. But there are definitely a few people who don't like it and would like to return to once a month.

  40. How goes it out there? I'm getting closer to finished. I find I am making the process hard on myself in my eagerness to do it "perfectly." ugh.

  41. Hello everyone!! It's cold here too, heading into the negatives if it's not there already and no snow to make a pretty picture like Songbird's. I've been reading the book "Playing with Fire" and this time I really tried to write my sermon that way. So far, what that means is that I really like it, although it's nowhere near done and that's it's about scarcity and abundance and not call. I'm captivated by the image of the boat SINKING under the weight of the fish. I started on Wednesday, but was at a diocesan conference last night and most of today. Still, I'm feeling hopeful. We'll see...

  42. Well, I'm finally back. Church is set up for annual meeting...power point presentation ready, sermon (well...ready), me ready (ok, kinda, almost - hard to get ready for talking yourself out of a job), parish - that remains to be seen - are they ready for THIS annual meeting??

    Good to hear how all of you are preparing for tomorrow - may the Spirit guide you, if you have a dog, walk your dog proud, and whether you have cereal or brunch, the Sunday crowd will be fed!

    Go! Go! Chicago Bears!

  43. Mompriest, you'll be in my prayers.

  44. Three hours later. Long list of notes done. No real sermon yet.

    I'm definitely preaching on Isaiah, with maybe light touches of the other readings added in there. There's just too much to say about a call that comes to those who consider themselves imminently unqualified ("if only we had _____ we could be a great church"), and I don't think I covered that aspect very much last week even though we had Jeremiah's protest.

    But I'm considering making the Luke text our Ash Wednesday text, to introduce our Lenten theme of abundance. Sound crazy?

  45. Thank you, thank you, everyone, for your prayers, they will rest like a mantle around my shoulders tomorrow as I guide this parish through the deep waters and hope they are willing to throw their nets in...

    Semfem, I like the idea of a Lenten theme of abundance - one can have an abundance of prayer...and abundance of hope, and abundance of forgiveness, and abundance of grace...lots of Lenten material there...

  46. I'm going fishing...It's Boy Scout Sunday, so I figured I would do something fun at the church...

    So, I am bringing the rod and reel and talking about what it means to be a fisherman...fisherperson?

    It ain't about what you catch. There is no way to measure the success, you know...It's about being.

    This offers a challenging interpretation of the Gospel passage. Often we look to the miracle of the fishes, the busting nets, as the point of the story. But that's not it. It's not a promise of success, not necessarily. What is important to note is that the fishermen followed Crist. They are known as followers of Christ and not for their success at increasing the roles of their congregations.

  47. Well I am back after a nap, laundry, supper, and playing Barbie dolls and Power Rangers. You think I have procrastinated enough?

    Sem Fem I am right there with you and WS. We seem to be the late night owls.

    Good luck tomorrow mompriest.

    All in the -degrees and snow and ice, stay warm and be careful out there.

  48. Tripp...My family (husband, me, kids) have fond memories of fishing when kids were little. We never actually "caught" a fish big enough to keep and eat. But we did catch a good sense of family time, of simply being together in the beauty of nature.

    It's totally NOT about an abundance of what one catches, rather it is an abundance of how one is caught, the abundance of God's grace in catching us and our willingness to be aware of being caught...

    alright, I need to have a cup of tea, a piece of cake, and then off to wishes all, you will be in my prayers - late night sermonizers...may the spirit fill you with an abundance of inspiration!

    and stay warm, I think it is about -2 here, with an expected high tomorrow of is BEAR weather...ok, put me to bed NOW. (GO Bears...)stop already...ok...

  49. mompriest--Yes, we so often focus on scarcity during Lent that it seemed like a good idea to focus on abundance for a change. Plus, the texts really support it--the prodigal son/father, the anointing of Jesus' feet, the abundance of second chances with the fig tree being given another year to bear fruit. Hmm, I thought I had a good plan to work the temptation of Jesus into the theme but it seems to have slipped my mind right now.

    Plus we are having a guest preacher on stewardship as a spiritual discipline, as a response to God's great abundance, so that fits in nicely as well.

    revabi--yes, night owls unite! We can do this! (And if we can't...the Spirit can, right?!)

  50. i've got something down on paper now. i feel completely lost though. i feel completely drained by the process. what is up with that?

  51. WHoohoo, it's 9:50pm and my sermon is done! At least until I wake up tomorrow morning and the Spirit moves me to change half of it! I'm using both the Luke and Isaiah text and talking about how we focus on our own unworthiness too much sometimes, and we lose sight of the call and the promise and the grace! Well, its something like that...

  52. my sermon's printed. it's the luke passage on taking risks instead of saying "we've already tried that and it didn't work"

  53. mailI'm finally back, after hours of traveling and an appearance at a fire department banquet. Oh, yeah, and I'm now starting my sermon. I'm talking about calling, and the challenge of living out a calling when it's not as clear and certain as it was for Isaiah and Simon Peter. Is it too late for more coffee?

  54. Friends, after watching part of King Kong, I am past tired and must sleep. Last one out, turn off the lights? Blessings to all who preach tomorrow!

  55. Wow, hang in there hipchickmamma and stacey. I am right there with you as I realized my sermon is good... for a theology paper. YIKES!

    I am giving myself an hour to perk it up and then I hope SNL is worth my time.

  56. Good night everybody! Blessings on you wherever you worship tomorrow!

  57. Holy frostbite, RevGals! The thermometor has dipped to -8 and it is not even 10 p.m. Wind chills...I don't wanna know...but the snow is blowing across the front yard. I hope someone shows up for church tomorrow. As for me, for now, I am going to bed and turning up the electric blanket. Prayers gone up for all who are preaching tomorrow.

  58. I am preaching tomorrow. I was out of town for a conference yesterday and most of today. I actually stayed up until 3 AM in my hotel room last night to finish my sermon in the peace and quiet.

    I am not doing a lectionary passage. I have been intrigued by the Martha and Mary passage in Luke 10. I have put a lot of my own experiences into the stories I will share. I hope I don't feel to exposed when all is said and done.

  59. Both the sermon and snl are disappointing.


  60. I guess I'm getting the lights, although I can't honestly say that I'm done. Good night everyone, and blessings in the morning.

  61. Still out here. Still working.

    Church might be cancelled tomorrow, but in case it's not, I'm still writing. I'm maybe...halfway through? Ugh. It will be a late night tonight.

    Blessings on preaching and proclamation tomorrow to all.

  62. Oh, and by the way, big bunches of thanks going out to Rev. Dona Quixote, Stacey (for last week's sermon), and whoever posted the Madeleine L'Engle quote. Your ponderings are helping me out a LOT as I make a mad dash for the finish of this sermon.

    Time for chocolate-covered espresso beans.

  63. W00t! Done at last! It's short, a teeny tiny dog, but it's done. Now for a trial walk and bed.

    Good luck everyone!

  64. Well done Stacey and semfem!

    Just wondering, would it be wrong of me to trun down the heat in the Sanctuary in order to keep folks away during the dissertation on the the resurrection I wrote.

    Oh well, God is good to all of us and no matter how you feel about it as you walk into the midst of your congregation, Fear Not!
    The Holy Spirit has got your back.

    And if by chance you do have a dog, walk it proud.

    Peace, friends.

  65. Katherine, missed you at the reteat these last three days, but if I was going to Paris on Monday I wouldn't want to write either. Have a great trip!

    Been in the mountains on retreat for 3 days. Got to look at snow in the higher elevations but, thank God, didn't have to drive in any. Now I'm at the computer finishing the short notes to preach from. Mine wrote itself in my head while I was driving to a hospital visit Monday afternoon about the people in all 3 lectionary selections who felt unworthy but went anyway. Biggest surprise, it's actually stayed there all week! Tons of real life right now examples to draw from.

    It may turn out to be a dog, but its my dog and I'm proud of it. Blessigs on all who bring the word and all who listen on this day.

  66. Well,the day has dawned. Bitter cold here in the midwest on one of the biggest Sunday's of the year - our Super Bowl Tailgate party - I mean - annual meeting this morning. We will see who shows up. Anxiety dreams all night *sigh*

    Blessings all, may the Spirit so fill your hearts and minds that God's words pour out of your mouths and may your congregtions be caught by the abundance of God's grace.

  67. Thank you everyone for your prayers. The sermon was a hit (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day & the disciples...) and the meeting went well also. (*HUGE SIGH*). More work to do, but a good start. And I felt wrapped in your prayers, which I soooo appreciate it.


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