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Saturday, March 24, 2007

It's the 11th Hour; Where is My Sermon?

I have a confession to make.

I am not preaching this week.

As a solo pastor, I generally preach at least 47 weeks a year, plus sermons for our second service (which I am doing this week, but I'm recycling a sermon they haven't heard), plus special holidays, so I don't feel all that guilty about it, but it does sort of interrupt the rhythm of my week when I'm not working on a sermon. Anyway, this week my church is serving as the neutral pulpit for a church searching for a pastor, so I'm available to give ideas (I always have great ones when I'm not preaching), offer encouragement (definitely better when I'm not the one needing encouragement), and make breakfast. Waffles? French toast? Fried egg, Canadian bacon, and cheddar on homemade bread (that's what I'm having)? Coffee, coffee, and more coffee (also what I'm having, preaching or no)?

I have another confession to make. I haven't even glanced at the lectionary passage for this week. It's a good thing this is a communal effort. on!


  1. Oooh, oooh, first comment!

    I had thought I had this weekend off..but our MP (who was to speak) had to cancel. So I'm starting pretty much from scratch. At least I have the whole day free tomorrow--no plans at all. Except for th sermon, of course.

    Readings are Psalm 126 and this:
    And then all that has divided us will merge
    And then compassion will be wedded to power
    And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
    And then both men and women will be gentle
    And then both women and men will be strong
    And then no person will be subject to another’s will
    And then all will be rich and free and varied
    And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
    And then all will share equally in the Earth’s abundance
    And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
    And then all will nourish the young
    And then all will cherish life’s creatures
    And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth
    And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.
    --Judy Chicago, from The Dinner Party, 1988

    I'm thinking I can do something with this and the bill introduced in Ontario's legislature this week to include gender identity as a protected status under the Ontario Human Rights Code...

  2. I am still off lectionary, still doing my little "testimony" after a dramatic reading. This week I'm talking about Christ as Living Bread. My story of discovering hunger, the feeling of fullness, and how these might translate to a more disciplined, deeper spiritual life are what I hope to explore tomorrow. I got a start yesterday, but still have far to go.

    And it's night-night for now...

  3. I am preaching about Christ as the Lamb of God this week. I am excited about it okay to be excited about such a subject? Well, I'm excited about the implications. I'm also singing a song as part of the sermon, O Calvary's Lamb. I'll post the lyrics tomorrow. Off to bed with me too. We Cheeseheads must get our beauty sleep...but did you notice, friend to the south, that the frogs are peeping? Can you hear them in the big city? I'm so happy spring is coming!

  4. I'm using the dramatic monologue I posted earlier in the week, in large measure because I leave in a few minutes for an all day church leaders training session. Fortunately, once I get there, I have only to sit and listen.
    I'll check in later and see how you're all doing!

  5. Good morning to you folks who are working on sermons, and I offer you a little diversion to your labors. Remember Friday 5? River in the desert? Well, let's look at the literal part of that and go to RGBP Trivia Challenge and see what we know about this part of the world's geography.
    Go here to give it a spin.

  6. Oh, RbP, go for it. That is a wonderful reading. Somewhere I still have a copy of that book of art, it was my mother's....

    I'm moving from the CL to the RCL reading, only difference this week is the gospel: CL is Luke and the stewards of the land who kill the son OR RCL (John) Mary anointing Jesus. I'm looking at contrasting Judas and his decisions with Mary and hers using the new TV show The Riches (Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver) as an illustration - the scene where Eddie's character stands over the car crash victims and ponders what to do, then steals their was a rich and complex scene and his facial expressions play it all out...don't we all have choices to make, and each of them with consequences. How does it feel when we make a choice that compromises our character and integrity? Do we speak up when we know an injustice is happening in our midst (job, school) or do we just stay quiet?...thats kind of where I'm going.

  7. I'm using the text about Mary anointing Jesus. In all of the time that Judas spent with Jesus, he was not moved to a loving response. Yet, Mary was - and the fragrance filled the room. She 'got' what was happening to Jesus, and it moved her to an extravagant love.

    I hope to be finished early afternoon, and I'll post it if I am!

  8. Hi early morning risers, I am not on Lectionary this week. I am preaching after a drama on the Adulterous woman and Jesus. Note I am a week behind Cheesehead, who had a great reflection last week. I have a rough draft and outline, but am dead in the water. We have a busy day with ball practice, swim lessons, and a bday party. Then this evening Bob and I will celebrate our anniversary. So I am aiming to be done before this evening. I am not sweating it if I don't. I have doughnuts for those who wish.

  9. Gee Abi, rough draft and outline doesn't sound dead in the water to me. Sounds like you have a great start!

    Chilly fingers, I posted some thoughts I had on that passage earlier in the week. It is something I wrote six years ago when I was a lowly intern, but you are welcome to look at it here.

  10. Wow, where is everyone? We're quiet today! Must be working hard...

    I have a bunch of notes now, starting to work on the outline.

    It's almost lunchtime here--shall I run out for some subs?

  11. Rainbow pastor what a wonderfully rich way to present the New Earth that Jesus was working for, may I copy it..with author and date..naturally? Hmmm! 1988 that was written...wonder about where we are in this now???? That was a movie..right!?

    Certainly not there so far... so we're not out of a job yet.

    Harper should be doing the same thing about Gender Justice for all Canadians.

    I can sit and listen tomorrow.

    Brownies (home made)...with a bit of ginger & orange icing. Don't often ice them though. Not bad!!!

  12. Good morning all. I'm going with Isaiah "I am about to do a new thing" as that is the theme from our retreat that we've returned to throughout Lent.

    I was going to focus on making changes individually and as church, but I've just received forms for my folks to sign if they support California bill AB43 on marriage equality which will "allow but not require any church or institution to perform legally recognized same gender marriages."

    AB 43 - Isaiah 43. Is God speaking to me in this coincidence? (A coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous.)

  13. it IS quiet today - maybe people are enjoying the spring - and (laughing) so well prepared ahead this weekend that there is no 11th hour panic.

    As someone said - there are always donuts and maybe the congregations tomorrow will enjoy them.

    We don't have a service at all tomorrow - it's our AGM instead - and I feel sick to my stomach.

    We are not yet a church which discusses things well or openly - and my prayer is that tomorrow we start to act like the body of Christ and that the spirit of reconcilliation is at work. I hate church splits and do not want to be part of one. YOUR Prayers appreciated (between sermon writing that is)

  14. Free-Flying--
    Of course you can use it, it's not mine, LOL!

    Th Dinner Party was an art installation, of place stting for significant womn in history, and readings to go with it. It sounds a bit mystrious, but it really workd, A book (the catalog of the installation, I think) was published that documented it). Here's a link to a recent article about it: The Dinner Party and here's one on the installation itself. if Blogger cooperates.

  15. Stupid sticking "e" key!! My apolgies...

  16. Anyone want some soup for lunch? I'm watching a movie and second guessing which sermon I should use for the early service tomorrow.

  17. Just got in from the church work day. Had a decent turn out and the front gates, poles, and railings of the church look great with their fresh coat of paint.

    I need to get some of that paint off of my skin, eat some lunch, and then finish up my sermon.

    Isaiah 43 in the works. Focusing on finding a way through the wilderness and dry times. I've got lots of children's rhymes and books running through my head. Need to figure out if any will make it into the sermon.

    Dancing with God

  18. Very cool Judy Chicago quote, rainbow pastor. And beautiful sermon, Chilly Fingers! I love how you highlight the rarely-noticed connection between Mary's anointing Jesus' feet and his washing the disciples feet in the next chapter.

    I'm not preparing a formal sermon, just a reflection for living room mass....The Catholic lectionary has the woman taken in adultery and I was wondering about making sense of that to the kids, since Katie wouldn't understand it and Nicholas would be grossed out. (He's in a major latency phase where he doesn't want to hear about anything to do with--his term--the "s" word. Which is fine with me--in fact, he can stay there for the next ten years or so).

    So I started thinking about maybe doing this Gospel instead last night and your lovely meditation helped me decide that for sure. It will fit well for Katie too as she is talking a lot recently about how sad it is Jesus died and how she wishes he would come back physically, which folds into how much she wishes her big sister Rachel would do the same (though she knows they're both safe in heaven and also in her heart).
    So that beautiful act of love and physical embrace for the friend Mary was about to say a premature goodbye to will make perfect sense to her.

    Prayers for your meeting, Lorna, and for everyone writing a sermon today. As often, I'll be checking by the preacher party to get strength and inspiration for my writing tasks today--finishing up my Thomas Aquinas and Gertrud paper for the Marquette conference, and getting ahead on teaching with the study sheet and quiz for chapter 7, and if at all possible chapter 8. After break the conference papers get harder with new research, so I need to have the teaching at maintenance level and put the brave and creative effort there. Prayers most welcome, friends.

  19. Well I am back from all the running around this morning. Whew everybody is tired including mama.I have cupcakes from the bday party if anyone wants one. I think what I meant Cheesehead is I feel stuck because I don't like what I wrote. But I feel better after getting the morning done. Hope every one else is doing okay.

  20. No sermon for me this weekend, but I have some not-very-good oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the party. So what if they aren't very good? They're chocolate. Blessings on all who are working to hear and speak the Word.

  21. Wow! It may be quiet, but the idea are flowing. I'm preaching on the RCL, using the Gospel and very struck by Isaiah. This "new thing", this liberation from Babylon; does it have a parallel in the Jesus story that we're entering into? I think so. But it's a tough connection to make, Jesus' death and liberation. And here is where he starts talking about it, with the mention of the oils that Mary was saving for his burial. It's all floating around up here in my head.

    RbP, LOVE the Judy Chicago text. What a lovely new reign that would be.

  22. Hi all! Hooray, I get to preach tomorrow. I really miss worship preparation, but not the next part which is sitting down and actually typing an outline or manuscript of what I have put down by hand. I know it would be faster to type it from the beginning, but there is something inspirational about holding my favorite pen and watching the words flow out of the end of it (or not in some cases.) I'm not on lectionary this week. I'm preaching on healing (Matthew 9: 2-8) different kinds and different places. I'm using some stories of great healings from my CPE experience. Most of them don't involve physical healing even at the hospital. I'm also talking about the healing that goes on in our church. I'll leave you with some chips and guacamole. Happy writing.

  23. Hi friends, I finished my meditation for tomorrow.

    I also finished the HUGE project of switching over my closet to Spring/Summer clothes and weeding through all of he boxes of clothes I have had stacked in our storage room in the basement. When I say HUGE I mean GINORMOUS job. I don't know why in the world I have been holding on to that stuff--some of it is 8 or 9 years old. My body was completely different then, as was my emotional condition.

    Now almost ten boxes of clothes are going to a worthwhile cause, and I only have things now that fit, that I really like, and that are flattering on me.

    This feels so good.

  24. Ugh. Did not get enough sleep last night, went to church spring cleaning party this morning, got back and am now trying to get started on a sermon before I go to the high school musical tonight at 7.

    Also complicating matters--I had planned to focus on the assigned gospel reading and the alabaster jar that had to break open in order for the new thing to occur. But...surprise surprise...John's version of the story doesn't mention the alabaster jar! OOPS.

    Sorry to complain so much. Sounds like lots of good work is being done out there!

  25. Now that I'm back, I feel the need to do some re-writing on my Martha monologue. I'm also working on a Time with the Children about Mary and Martha, for which I am using the song "Lazy Mary" (and a verse back to Martha) to highlight their different approaches to Jesus. I know I'm mixing gospels, but it serves a purpose. Even busy people need to sit and listen sometimes...

  26. rejoicing with you Cheesehead. My I'd need to do that too

  27. Getting a late start. I taught a six hour Lay Speaking class today and visited a woman in the hospital. Now I'm ready to join the party! The title of my sermon is "Do Something Different" and focuses on the Isaiah and John readings... My husband has some pork chops in the grill.... (First time we've fired up the grill this season!) Anyone want some??

  28. semfem, complaining is what it's all about!! We're here to encourage one another on those days when things just haven't quite gotten to completion, to give each other the courage to keep going, just in case Antonio Banderas doesn't show up at the front door with a completed text! (Your mileage may vary on who brings it, and that's fine.)
    I'm glad so many people are finished, but remember, this is a party, not a competition.
    I have some really yummy dijon potato chips. Anyone have dip?

  29. Kristabeth, pork chops sound delicious!! Thanks!!

  30. Ergh.

    3 pages does not a sermon make.

    I have chicken in rasbrry sauce in the oven--ready in about 30 minutes...

    And I've dip for SB's chips, so we have an appetizer of sorts, too!

  31. I would LOVE some porkchop and a side of sermon! The good news: The Boy is at the grandparents so I am free and clear to focus AND I've got an outline-ish... in my head.

    Good ideas 'round here!

  32. I want to know what mompriest is having for dinner. Her meals always sound swellegant to me.

  33. no sermon (not even children's sermon!) for me this week...just praying and that's all.

    I just discovered bbq soy crisps--better for you than potato chips, and just as yummy tasting! I'm sharing...

  34. At the church, editing the sermon. A/C doesn't work at the house and it was just not productive to be there anymore. Nice and cool in the office ... ahhh.

    I'm considering going on a bear hunt in my sermon tomorrow, as in the preschooler's rhyme/poem. I've got the part stuck in my head that goes "can't go over it, can't go under it, gotta go through it."

    My sermon is entitled "A Way Through" and uses the Isaiah passage to highlight how sometimes we have to go through the desert, but God is there with us, providing streams, rivers, drinks, etc.

    How outlandish is the whole bear hunt idea?

    Dancing with God

  35. Sorry folks... we are having a little trouble with the pork chops. We just ran out of propane!

    The sermon is coming along better than expected, though! (Even if my stomach is growling...)

  36. Chicken's ready! I have rice on the side and the makings of caesar salad, if anyone's up to the preparation...

    However, the sermon is not done. Still just three pages.

    Oh, Antonioooooo--you're late!

  37. Cheesehead! What are you THINKING? Now we'll get hit with a snowstorm that reaches from my place to your place!


    Well, I have lots and lots of scriptures and some great graphics and a solo I'm gonna insert somewhere in the sermon. Sermon? Oh yeah. Maybe I can't just go with a list of scriptures...dang!

    And Lorna, I hate those stomach-clenching meetings. Prayers going up now.

    I'm making pork chops too. Back at the sermon after some food.

  38. I still don't have an order of worship planned for tomorrow night's service. I plan on drinking some good wine tonight over a fabulous dinner, enjoy friends, and wake up early to figure out what the heck I'm gonna do.

  39. Oh my gosh, bipolar, I'll be right over.

  40. Hubby managed to hook up the spare propane tank, but then it started sleeting! The pork chops were good anyway. I've been nourished by a good supper and now back to the sermon. It's coming along. Again, I have the conclusion finished before the middle...But that seems to be how sermon writing 'works' for me these days. Blessings everyone! It is nice to be part of a community of mutual support... and to know I'm not the only preacher working on her sermon on Saturday night!

  41. Well, I have the prayers and spotlight done, and 3 1/2 pages of sermon. My mind is feeling squeezed dry.

    I'm going to take a short break to finish up the laundry and a couple of other chores, then come back to it.

    Wine sounds good too--alas, I don't think it would help the sermon too much.

  42. pork chops, rice and soup...

    I'm headed out for Chinese and pizza - whose with me?!

  43. Chinese sounds really, really good. Also ice cream, but I'm not sure we have any. Let me check...

  44. Wow, I've missed so much of this party today....been busy cleaning at church mostly 'cuz I have a search committee coming for a visit April 14 and 15, so I am completing all these pprojects that have been on hold..

    But sermon, oh my, better get to it. I have a text, but will it preach?

    And for dinner, we had chicken with BBQ sauce (in the oven), baked potatoes, and corn. No wine for me either...but that's ok, I'll have some herbal tea soon.

    In the mean time, back to see if I can fix my sermon, and hopefully read a few of yours!

  45. all have some good food around here. I'm sitting around ironing out details for tomorrow and taking care of last minute glitches, and putting things together for the children's sermon. Fun stuff.

    WS, bring me back some crab rangoons, will ya?

  46. I'm back! I ordered the entire lefthadn side of the menu - columns A & B and stopped for robbed a Ben and Jerry's truck while I was at it.

    Watch out for that Calzone box, it's hot.

  47. I'm getting ready for one last read-through and then to print!

    songbird ~ I'll have some ice cream if you find some.... or maybe I can get in on some of that Ben and Jerry's. My favorite is Cherry Garcia.

  48. There was a carton of Mocha Java, and I have marshmallows, too!

  49. Apparantly I had the shakes from all that sugar and white flour when I typed that last comment.

  50. will smama - come on, half a bottle left and some pie....hurry hurry

  51. I have Cranberry Peach Bread Pudding with a rich Brandy sauce.
    Also, Emily, I love the Bear Hunt idea...brings back fond memories and makes me smile.
    Not a bad analogy for all who wrtie sermons...can't get around it, can't get over it, can't go under it.
    Sermons are a bear!!!! Oh my goodness, ru-u-u-u-n-nn-nn for your lives!!!!!!!!!

  52. Thanks 1-4 grace.

    I put the bear hunt song into the sermon.

    And now I'm done with this bear of a sermon.

    I've opened a new bottle of wine and broken out the Thin Mints. Anyone want to join me for a quick snack?

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Well, I'd better go sleep off all this cyber food. Peace to all of you. Have fun tomorrow.

    Unlike other weeks I haven't heard of to many dogs. But if you wake up tomorrow with one, walk it proud!

  55. Phew! I actually finished before Sunday got here! I had an outline in place, but didn't begin writing until a couple of hours ago - after spending 8 hours working at a health fair and another 2 1/2 walking through the delightful downtown of nearby city with Rosemary. It was a beautiful (hot) spring day.

    I expected to be too tired to care about writing tonight. But thank God, it was actually fun. I may be too tired to recognize a dog when it bites me, but I think I actually like this one. Here's praying I still do by the light of day!

    God bless you all in worship tomorrow!

  56. Back from the high school musical. (Since when are high school musicals three hours long?) Picked up the key items for my new sermon concept, along with some chocolate.

    I'm focusing on the fragrance in the story (thanks to checking out Chilly Fingers' sermon) and I think I will have some artificial fragrances there (Glade Plug-ins and the like) and then pour out a bottle of essential oil of cedar into a bowl and have that waft around while I'm preaching.

    It may be a little New Age-y, but for midnight I think it's not too bad. Now just to write a sermon to go with it! It will be a long, long night without Antonio.

    (Songbird--thanks for the bucking up earlier!)

  57. Well, Antonio never did show up, but I finally have a sermon of sorts. I slept a bit at my desk but now I'm off to shower, pack my props, and do a final readthrough. I may get a quick nap, but not likely. (Ah, for Sunday afternoon!)

    Big thanks to Chilly Fingers for the sermons she posted earlier! It was a great help.

    Blessings on everyone's proclamation.

  58. Well, I'm up and having another read through of sermon...probably a tad long for spring break and low attendance...

  59. Hi, mompriest! ::waves::
    I went up to bed at 10, hoping to read over my text and make a few edits for readability.
    Then my daugher asked to get in with me.
    I explained that I was reading over my text.
    She said that was no problem.
    Then she started sighing whenever I scritched my pencil on the paper.
    So I am finishing up this morning over a big cup of coffee.

  60. Good Morning all, ::Songbird:: waves, to you too! (How very sweet, that time with your daughter)...

    Ok, all my edits are making it longer, not shorter...*sigh* and now it's time to get ready and head over to church.

    Probably a lot of cold cereal here, I can only hope it feels substantial enough and that they will be fed.

    Blessings to you all on this Spring morning. May the Spirit fill your words.

  61. Done! A New Thing and how exile for a small struggling church doesn't have to be inevitable.

    Now off to do all the things my broken-hipped member usually does before worship.
    Blessings on all who preach and listen.


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