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Saturday, June 30, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party - Plowing Onward Edition

Sorry, early risers - the party's getting started a bit later this week because, well, I just woke up :) The coffee is on and should be ready any minute. That cake fest last week was fabulous for the mind and mouth, but dangerous for the hips, so I've set out some fresh fruit, yogurt, and granola for this week's repast (although I certainly won't try to stop you if you bring something a little less healthy to the table).

Now, on to the actual sermon writing...I don't know about all of you, but I'm feeling that my process this week has been a bit like putting my hand to the plow (a la the Gospel lectionary reading for this week) and trudging forth. But believe me, I've looked back plenty of times. Even this morning, I'm about to ditch the plow and trade it for a guitar for a few hours. In the meantime, I'll be continuing to ponder how to preach these hard sayings of Jesus.

What about you? What ideas or questions are you having as you prepare to preach? Take a seat at the table, preaching pals, and let's plow onward together.


  1. Whoa! Where is everybody? I haven't shown up in a couple of weeks due to travel. Now I'm back, but I think I must have come to the wrong place.

    Come out, come out, wherever you are!

  2. They probably abandoned hope that I'd actually show up and open up the party!

  3. Here I am! Not much work done yet. Wedding this afternoon.
    I'm happy to offer up local strawberries, delicious!
    I'm working with both the E and E story and the Gospel, hoping to get to the idea that it's all very well to say we want to follow Jesus and feel all glow-y about it on Sunday morning, but we need to listen to how hard he made it sound and think about why. I wish I didn't have a hard story of my own about a change of direction, but I do, so I suppose I'll have to work with it, if not in the sermon, then in my own life.
    I think it's a good challenge to churches, too. What would it mean to stop burying the dead and get on the road with Jesus?

  4. Couple thoughts about the plow. One reason one would look back would be to ensure that you were plowing a nice straight furrow -- does following JEsus mean that we neeed to give up on our perfectionism?
    Also, Plowing is preparing the ground for what is to come later. What are we as followers of Jesus preparing others for?

    PErsonally I am working on freedom and SPirit fruitiness. Freedom in CHrist isn't just freedom from (and license to do what you want) but also freedom to/freedom for. Being Canada Day I also want to talk about citizenship in terms of this freedom to and the Fruits of the Spirit.

  5. I am a long time lurker and so appreciate this site though I have never contributed and my blog has never got beyond the setting up stage.8^) But I can't help but respond to Stacey's opening comment about preaching the hard sayings of Jesus. I recently attended the Festival of Homiletics, where Barbara Brown Taylor cautioned: "Who are you to explain the parables of Jesus? He never did! And besides, he already had 4 really good editors!" As a new pastor who struggles with a sermon week after week, I am tempted to allow that to let me off the hook, yet I know I still must open the stories up somehow so the Spirit will move and help others grow through them. A hard beam to balance upon...

  6. I'm working with both of those stories as well, and trying to somehow balance being real about how hard it is to follow Jesus (and I, too, have those hard stories in my life), and helping people understand that they can follow Jesus while they care for their families, fulfill obligations, etc. I don't want to let us off the hook too easily, and I think Jesus said things like this precisely to make us uncomfortable, and to challenge us...and yet, I also don't wish to lay a guilt trip on the congregation.

    I do like that final question - What would it mean to stop burying the dead and get on the road with Jesus? - and perhaps thinking about it congregationally rather than individually will be a good way to go.

    We'll find out a bit later, I guess, for I am now off to band practice. I'll be back in a few hours. Help yourself to anything you see lying around the kitchen.

  7. Welcome, tpb! I know what you mean about that balance beam. Lately, I've been trying to retell the story in a way that opens it up, rather than explaining it. It's hard, because we're preachers, and we're supposed to have something to say, right? But then there's Jesus, just sticking this stuff out there and letting it sit...

    There are weeks when I'd like to stand up there and say one sentence and then go home, but I suspect that would make the congregation want to stop paying me.

  8. i just threw together a draft, now i'm off to the gym, and then to meet with a family about a funeral tomorrow, and then to a meeting, and then to a worship service, and then to a rehearsal... i feel not so great about the draft, but... it is what it is. God gave it. I give thanks for it... and now I really must run. Thanks for the healthy treats, Stacey, and the fresh local strawberries, Songbird- just what I'm craving!

  9. ooh... great stuff tpb and stacey... i just read more carefully and it's helping me feel a bit better about not really explaining the tough teachings in this passage, just opening them up and leaving us to sit with them. thanks.

  10. I'm off lectionary for tomorrow, preaching at one of our parish's congregation's 100th anniversary and focusing on the epistle reading (1 Peter 2:1-9) and "living stones." I'm off to a rather rocky start (pun sadly intended), but hopefully things will go better before tomorrow morning at 11:00 rolls around. Good luck to all, and may the Spirit surround you with gifted words. Oh, and food. Well, I'm naughty. A parishioner brought me a dozen of her sister's homemade doughnuts--made with real cream and to die for--just apply one to each hip. Peace!

  11. So glad to hear that others are struggling with these hard texts and it's not just me - E and E and the gospel are up for me this week.

    I've had an outline all week, but haven't been able to translate it into a manuscript (and I still need the security of it). Every time I try to get all out there I either feel too harsh about Jesus' call to radical discipleship or I feel like I let us all off to easy. Oh the balance ...

    But first the sustenance:
    Pass the strawberries.
    I've got chocolate chip pancakes to offer.

  12. I am really uninspired this week and have done everything but prepare a sermon, or even think about it much. (Well, no I have thought it about a lot. guilt-like). I think, because so many people will be gone for the holiday week (end) I will say something very short and simple. Probably a teaching on Galatians and what Paul is saying in this Epistle. Or not.

    Here's hoping you all are more inspired.

    Before I get to sermon I'm going to exercise and make breakfast and find other errands to assist in procrastination.

  13. plough on together - like it :)

    enjoying the fruit especially the strawberries and pondering what's the line between heresy and renewal. Not that I'm preaching :)

    re SB stop burying the dead and walk on with Jesus. Ouch and Amen. I think we are to learn from the past but not be tied down by it - if that makes sense?

    I liked what Gord said about maybe not looking back is about giving up PO and perfectionism -and comparing ourselves all the time.

    And Stacey - since Jesus just let his followers listen and then sit and wrestle with this teaching - I think it's ok that we do likewise...

    open up some thoughts -but let us find what the truth is ... its out there somewhere.

    g&t anyone. It's 5pm here now and very sunny. Can't find my sunglasses though which is why I came in and checked how you are all doing.

    Blessed preaching tomorrow - may you turn soil and plant seeds - remembering that God's the one who makes things grow.


  14. I'm glad I'm not the only one getting a late start. I just dropped off Wondergirl for her cheerleading car wash. I'm going to have a whole wheat bagel with low-sugar apricot spread, and some fair trade coffee. Then it is down to business so I can be done by the time Wondergirl goes on the granny date tonight, so I can have a decidedly non-granny date myself.

  15. Welcome tpb! Gotta love Barbara Brown Taylor - perhaps the whole point of these hard teachings is to allow the listener to do some soul searching and wrestling.

    Luckily (?) I don't have to wrestle with this today. I'm starting a summer sermon series on the Letter of James, beginning tomorrow with Trials and Temptations. I have very little written due to having had one of those weeks when everything went just a little askew of what I expected.

    So while I won't be able to take advantage of the collective wisdom of Revgalblogpals for the next several weeks, I can hang out in here for moral support. :-)

    I was at the market really early this morning and couldn't resist some fresh nectarines. Help yourselves.

  16. Got up really early because the sermon was really buzzing in the brain. It is basically finished but I need to take some time away from my computer screen so that I can see.

    I have already had my Frappachino and ready to watch a bit of Wimbleton.

  17. bWell I'm chewing on cinnamon gum & have 2 sermon beginnings and a 3rd one on my brain - but I too am basically uninspired this week...

    #1 - a start with remembering the grueling competitive nature of band camp - the formations; the marching; the posture; staying on the right path (ties into Galatians I thought)

    but #3 - I think I'll use. Cleaning out MIL storage room - oy! She saves everything... why save a coffee pot from 1823 if we aren't going to display this fine antique or use it? If we always live in the past do we miss seeing what Jesus wants from us now? Kinda the plow image here... we'll see. I'm just hoping something poofs into my brain & spills forth.

  18. Aw heck, rain delay at Wimbleton. I am having difficulty doing the techie stuff so I can post on this site. How do you link? I would like to post my sermon but don't know how to post it here.

    Plowing or ploughing??--is this the differnece between Brit and Amer English?

    I spent my time on saying that there is a need for single-mindedness in following Jesus in the face of the fear that keeps people from living out their faith.

    Gord, I don't think it has to do with perfectionism, because I don't think that faith has anything to do with perfectionism. It is being willing to commit to being in relationship.

  19. Just finished a two week vacation, so I'm pulling a sermon from that wonderful "file" and freshening it up a bit, while trying to dust the cobwebs off my brain. Ughhh. Two weeks just flew by...

    I've got fresh blueberries to offer

  20. Songbird has helped with some techie stuff. Let's see if I can show a link here.

  21. I finished my sermon earlier than I had thought I would. I'll post it tomorrow--but it took a surprising twist as I worked on it.

    I think Jesus had to get in the face of his disciples, strip away any overly-romantic notions of ministry in this passage. What he did not say, but what he showed with his life--and what he allows us to discover in our own vocations--is in line with Beuchner's definition of vocation: that deep gladness meets the deep needs of the world when we respond to God's call. Yeah, he got tired, discouraged and angry (like we all do), but you sense that he just loved being a teacher. That those parties he went to must have been a whale of a lot of fun--like they are wont to be when they aren't full of people with pretensions and social ambitions. That watching people regain their lives or their health or their hope was profoundly joyful to him too. I have always believed that Jesus did not choose the cross. Jesus chose to love exuberantly and recklessly, not matter the cost. That's what vocation opens at least for me these days...

    Happy ploughing!

  22. Late to the party as usual... I am now wishing, after reading your many comments, that I had tried harder to find a preachable word in the lectionary gospel. I begin a several month pulpit supply tomorrow, and starting off with these damned hard sayings did not feel like the right tone. I ended up going to the readings for the feast of Peter and Paul, and I'm preaching on the funny little passage from 2 Timothy-- sublime then ridiculous then sublime again. My message is, we bring who we are to our journey following Jesus-- Paul brings his cranky, irascible self, and look what God does with his gift, poured out as a libation.

    Somethin' like that. It's written, a draft, anyway, and now I'm going to clean my sad, neglected house.


  23. Gord, that was an interesting thought about looking back to ensure a straight row! I'm going to remember that one.

    As for me, I usually tend to ignore holidays as far as sermonizing goes--sigh--but there were rumbles about my lack of an "appropriate" Father's Day sermon. So...I'm surprising them and whowing a short video about America's independence, and then talking a little about freedom and using some good quotes from guys like Patrick Henry, and then preaching from the parable of the prodigal son, who used his freedom as a license to be a fool. I won't put it exactly like that...but it has possibilities. Some are scary. I'm trying to find the right balance.....and struggling a bit.

    Strawberries...YUM! I made some of the brownies that I posted on my blog a couple of weeks ago, so even though not exactly healthy, I bring them to the cyber table.

  24. Muthah+, being basically lazy, I have found a relatively easy way to remember how to link from week to week.

    Go to Friday 5 and copy the long string showing "how to link", then paste it into a document or stickie note on your desktop. Fill in the necessary info - your url, etc. - and save it forever. Then you can just copy and paste that into here and - voila! It almost always works. :-) (I do change the "what you want to say here" part as needed, but the rest always stays the same.)

    I'm busily moving plants and the Rev Samuel T Rabbit's hutch from the patio into the dining room. The apartment complex is rebuilding my patio next week, and anyway, it's getting hot enough for Sammy's annual move indoors to avoid bunny heat stroke.

    Think I'll go get my nails done now that the heavy work is done. :-)

    Sermon? What sermon?

  25. here we are doing E and E, something about picking up the mantle and carrying on doing God's work.

    Any thoughts on how to turn that into a children's time?

  26. I'm not preaching, but did post about what Paul said about Christian Freedom at my place

    Now, I need to prepare children's message, invitation to Lord's Table and Prayer of Thanksgiving, hopefully connecting freedom stuff (because, yes we are singing "God Bless America!) and the sermon message of Isaiah 18:6b, "Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so you are in my hand, O house of Israel."

    Ideas anyone?

  27. oops ... forgot to offer snack (too busy enjoying the strawberries -:) ..and I don't have much ... English muffin with peanut butter, maybe?

  28. We are doing several litanies of prayer for our nation - intersperse thru the order of worship...

    Yeah Gord like my husband said at breakfast this morning about the plow... it'd be like if we drove and kept our eyes focused solely on the rearview mirror.

    Sermon done. I went with comparing the body of Christ/following Jesus to being in a marching band. The band members are not there for themselves right?

  29. I'm off lectionary again this week, preaching at the Contemporary Serivce. We are in the midst of a 'nature' series and tomorrow we are looking at water. I'm going to try to tie together our understanding of being born through water and the Spirit to our daily use of and treatment of water. Not sure if it will work, but I will try!

    Thanks for the goodies. My hubby is out grocery shopping. Hopefully he'll bring home something good. I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the strawberries! Yum!

  30. Teri: if you wear a stole, can you talk to the kids about that? I try to de-mystify things in the sanctuary and in my clerical garb so that kids (and, ahem...adults, too) can understand what it all means. Every time the liturgical colors change I have a little teaching moment about it. Maybe even make little "ribbon stoles" for each kid and talk about how it is a symbol of servanthood, like the mantle was.

  31. I'm off-lectionary tomorrow. Woohoo! I'm preaching a sermon I wrote at the College of Preachers about 2 months ago, though, so I need to brush it up a bit. This is my third time preaching at this church, and they don't follow the lectionary. I followed it for the first two, but when one of my lectionary texts got duplicated by another pastor the week after, I figured that it just really was unavoidable. I do need to practice and print, though, so Ii think I'll get going on that pretty soon.

    I have nothing to offer to the food thing. I'm stuffed. Marie stopped through on her way home from Beantown, and we had too much good food...and a blogger meetup!

  32. cheesehead--
    I do wear a stole. And actually, we had a whole discussion in worship planning about en-stoling everyone with ribbon or streamer paper or something as a symbol, but we decided against it. But I bet I could do it with the kids--it seems so much more manageable than for the whole congregation! Thanks for reminding me/giving me an idea! It shouldn't be hard to connect it to serving, since SP and I wear them every week.

    About a month after I got here, a mother of a 5 year old girl sent me an email telling me that her daughter had just draped a silk scarf around her neck and walked around the house saying "now I'm just like pastor Teri!" Maybe this will help resurrect that precious moment.

  33. I'm off to a backyard in the country to do a wedding. I have a pretty good sermon outline, but it is *so* not written.
    I'll check in later!

  34. OK, I have followed everyone's advice. Now it is time to go over to the teenager across the street and ask her. One of these days you will get to read this %*(*&^ sermon!

  35. Hi y'all! Just got back from Panarea bread with some bagels and spread, enjoy!
    teri- For our Children's message I am wearing a stole that my pastor growing up gave to me during my ordination service. I'm going to talk to them about what it means to me to have him pass the mantel on.
    cheesehead- great idea about the ribbon stoles! Most of our kids are between 18mths and 5 yrs so I'm afraid of potential chocking hazards, but I love the idea.
    I too am on E and E. There is sooo much to it! I think I'm going to look at it two ways; 1) Are we as a church really picking up the mantel layed before us by those who have gone before, 2) how are we teaching those who come after us and enabling/empowering them to pick up the mantel and continue to be servants of God.
    I'm also facinated by Elisha asking for a double portion of Elijahs spirit. I remember when I was younger I used to think I wanted God to say to me, when I arrived in heaven "Well done good and faithful servant." As I've leanerd and lived I know realize that most days I'd prefer to hear "Good enough!" its way easier! ;)

  36. Just popping by with a little shout-out from DC, where I am for the ABC Biennial. I have nothing to offer for the party, unless you want room service, but trust me - the prices are outrageous. ;)

    Blessings on all who are preaching and leading worship tomorrow. We leave from here on Monday for our Southern Tour '07 - North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. [We used to call this vacation, but since our children make it difficult to get any sleep on such a trip, we don't actually return feeing very rested and rejuvenated.] It will be many weeks before I'm in the pulpit again. But just between y'all and me - I am kinda missing the quiet alone time in my study today (she writes, while two 3 year-olds bounce off the hotel walls and cause general mayhem and mess).

    Cheers and blessings!

  37. If you use the crepe streamer paper (from the party section) to make the stoles, they will probably not be much of a choking hazard. I was testing it out on some that happened to be on my desk.

  38. Back from band rehearsal, and trying to get down on 'paper' some of the thoughts I had during the drive home.

    cpclergymama, I've always been fascinated by that double portion thing, too - especially since it comes right after Elijah's been venting about how he's been faithful to God, and all he's gotten from it is a bunch of people trying to kill him. I wrote a paper once about all this, and Elisha doing roughly twice the number of miracles that Elijah did, but also encountering twice the trouble. So, here we are back at the "it's not easy" theme.

    I'm tempted to get up tomorrow and start singing, "I beg your pardon; I never promised you a rose garden."

  39. Muthah+, found, read and loved your sermon. Now I wish I was on lectionary. :-)

  40. Well, I have 1/2 finished! Now I'm heading off to practice for my solo tomorrow night (My Tribute) and to help my Mom practice Deep River for tomorrow morning. I'll be back in a while.
    Anyone need anything while I'm out? I'm thinking ice cream!

  41. Ooh, ice cream sounds fabulous!

    (I can see this going down the same road as last week's cake...pretty soon I'm going to be baking or driving to the ice cream place instead of writing...)

  42. Brownies straight out of the oven!!

    I preach next week. I am still looking for a children's sermon for tomorrow. Can't use the stole one because I would feel funny using it since I just got my robe last month and haven't saved up for the stoles yet.

    But I am working on next weeks' sermon a little today while my cousin is here to entertain my boys.

  43. Been procrastinating until now (slept in, read some Harry Potter, made tea, did laundry, answered e-mail), but I think I need to start, REALLY start, pronto.

    Some great thoughts it's time for me to read the Scriptures carefully, digest, and ponder. I was thinking I'd go with Luke...but E&E now has me intrigued...hmmm... (kind of Galatianed out right now)

  44. Warm brownies with Ice Cream? I've got some chocolate syrup - looks like I showed up just in time.
    We spent several hours weeding the garden and I replanted some corn in the hopes that we can get some cross fertilization. Cleaned the kids up and off to a birthday party, now finally home to get to work.
    Kristabeth - I attended an excellent conference on water at Virginia Theological Seminary in April. If it isn't too late for more reading, you can find the lectures here:

    I actually am really excited about this week's texts and keep having to limit myself to only one idea. I think I'm going to play with the tension between Elisha turning back to take care of some things first and the parable seeming to say we shouldn't do that.

  45. Wow, it's so early for you, semfem! ;)

    This sermon is getting cranked out fairly quickly, although I feel like I'm sort of all over the place. I'm trying to talk about following Jesus in the midst of the reality of most people's lives here - that reality being rootedness to family and land. Following Jesus may not mean physically leaving, but it still means some pretty dramatic shifts in priority and perspective as we go about doing the normal obligations of our lives. I keep noticing the "but first" in the answers of the people in the passage, so I'm pointing toward what comes first in our lives: following Jesus, or whatever obstacle has appeared?

  46. I like those thoughts stacey...
    I'm preaching on 'the cost of following Jesus' but it's now 10pm and I have hardly anything. Wasn't feeling well earlier today (or yesterday) so spent a big chunk of today back in bed! Oh dear, better try and get something more on 'paper'!

  47. hmm, choking would be bad. I guess that may mean a trip to the party store after all---I was planning on using ribbon because I have 2" wide red ribbon in my office, left-over from confirmation class.

    Most of the kids we have in worship are ages 3-10...they're not going to choke on 2" ribbon, are they?

    just remembered I have to work independence day (or something) into the great prayer of thanksgiving b/c with communion we have no prayers of the people...oy. back to (re)work that....

  48. Well after a week of being completely distracted and procrastination, my sermon fell together in one swoop. (Ok, I thought about it all week, but not in any concise imagery way). What I ended up with is a very short homily ('cuz not many folks will be there, maybe 35 between two services). I look at the 4th of July celebrations as a time to reflect on the founding of a nation and the founding of the Episcopal Church, both founded by the same guys, and on similar principles of freedom, dignity, and respect. I talk about the rich history of some of the 400 year old Episcopal Churches in our country. Then I talk about our little 45 year history and ask the question, would anyone remember us if we dissapeared? What have we done to leave our mark in history? From there I speak about the Gospel message to follow Jesus and live God centered lives. Lives that do not get so distracted by life that we loose sight of what it means to love God, self and others. I end by connecting us to our refugee minstry as a way to be focused on God-centerd things rather than our fears and worries. I ended up getting inspired after all and I think it will preach.

    Now. Off to set up church for our worship tomorrow. Blessings for those still working, may the Spirit fill your heart and minds...

  49. Yeah, Stacey, I'm starting to wonder what it's like to sleep before preaching. Maybe it's time to recover that grand old tradition.

    I keep getting distracted by looking at things to buy to get ready for my upcoming vacation, though! And checking out train routes and airport layouts and passport holders!

  50. Tomatio pie with all the toppings is on it's way!

    I read the comments about the luke passage and went "Oh, that'll preach!" so thanks for getting the wheels turning. Today has been full of laundry, cleaning and worship planning for the second week I am away. My brain is tired and I barely have word one on the paper. At least it's communion - -I'll preach shorter and then we will still beout on time. Which is good, because 30 minutes after church is over I have to be in my car on the way to the airport. Yeah, poor planning on the day I booked that ticket!

    I'm not doing much 4th stuff. Ever since the SP at a church I attended did the children;s sermon in who donated the flag in the sanctuary, why we should be thankful to live in america and ended with the whole congregation singing the national anthem as the kids MARCHED to sunday school, I haven't been able to bring myself to say much about it.

    I also have diet coke for the thirsy and writing, and Gin (or vodka) and tonic for those who are done. Bring your own limes, I cleaned out the fridge today.

  51. Well, I finished a couple of hours ago. The title of my sermon is "But first..." so Stacey you and I are on the same wavelength.

    I have decided to leave my sermon dangling somewhat. There is just no way I can tie this one into a tidy package. It feels a little risky, but also like what BBT talked about at Festival of Homies this year. Maybe I'll even post it later.

  52. I'm on tea and chocolate orange... hope they work miracles (with the HS too, of course!).

  53. I'm not preaching this week, so was hiding out, but glad I bopped in. Asiago cheese pretzels, anyone?

    I usually feel bummed about not preaching any more, but glad that the other pastor has the "connect with patriotism" duty this year, as I usually get that task.

    I've developed quite a repertoire.

  54. Sermon finished, early worship order finished. Going out for a bit to find supplies for children's sermon and drop off press kit to a place where I'm doing a gig in a few weeks. Be back in a while. Anyone need anything while I'm out?

  55. I've got a page done, but its rough, so I'll be back tonight for awhile. Asiago cheese pretzels sound great, but I'm still feeling bloated from ice cream and brownies and have to finish up dinner. See you all later.

  56. Preaching again, second week in a row, and for this part-timer that's something. I'm way off lectionary, and last week talked about worship as A Royal Waste of Time (Marva Dawn's book), including youth in our service who were just back from a Worship and Music conference. Went over well. This week has been a major push for VBS since I'm off to the BEACH tomorrow night! So I'm recycling an oldie about the Bible, using Nehemiah 8 and Ezra reading the law as inspiration.

    Does this week HAVE to be July 4 Sunday, or can I leave that for the SP for the next week? It's on Wednesday, so it could go either way, right? I like the hymns I've chosen....

    Ham and pineapple pizza on the counter, if anyone wants some.

  57. My husband decided it was steaks for dinner. So I don't have to cook tonight--the duties are all his.

    Still thinking about children's sermons. I hope something will occur to me in the next few hours. I will not do a patriotic one because I don't think that belongs in a baptist church. Let me read all the lectionary texts again and the lightning bolt may hit (please?).

  58. Back from the gym and just edited the sermon. Wasn't particularly thrilled with the sermon before, but during editing changed a couple of things and it seems to have all come together. Love when the Holy Spirit mysteriously shows up and the words work.

    (Jealous) blessings on all who are on vacay or heading out soon ... I am only the paid staff person at the church not taking vacation time either last week or this upcoming week.

    Asiago cheese pretzels sound amazing! I think it's time to find some real dinner too ...

  59. My thoughts are at my blog mostly about leadership in a time of change - the church where I am preaching is moving to mutual ministry where the leaders are chosen from within the congregation after a couple of years of discernment.

  60. hot cup lutheran--as a former band geek, I heartily approve of your marching band illustration. :)

    Absorbed now in the text, and preaching a combination of E&E and Luke, as many of you are. I especially like the mantle-throwing moment as an alternative model of what it means to be called. Minding your own business...and suddenly WHOOSH, someone throws a mantle over you and things change.

    There will be some tricky navigation here, since I happen to have buried two fathers in as many months. So there will be some recognition of familial duty as right and good...but when it engulfs us, it keeps us from moving forward, in grief and in following Jesus.

    Now though, off to grill a chicken breast for dinner, and maybe a quick excursion to get some photographs printed for tomorrow. Hope it's okay if I totally ignore the 4th...I figure in three years, these readings will show up again and July 4th will actually be ON a Sunday, so we'll deal with it and Galatians then.

  61. I have not been part of this circle of friends before, but have really enjoyed being with you today! Re: Children's sermon, I'm going to put a long strip of masking tape on the floor and have one of the kids try to walk on it while looking backward. I'm hoping they won't fall, and will at least get a little off track for an illustration for the Luke passage.
    Looking forward to being with you all again soon!

  62. revt - Welcome, I love the masking tape idea.

    semfem - as to the tricky navigation... I was thinking about using Augustine (do I have to give him credit) and the idea that sometimes sin is choosing a lesser good - if the choice was follow or bury, rather then normal when taking the time to bury doesn't interfere with following.

    I'm now looking at my one page of drivel and thinking I will have to start again. But the kids are in bed and it is time to go go go. Diet Pepsi, pretzels and cream cheese for me (no asiago, darnit - where do you get those?)

  63. I'm still at the half way point, but I do have ice cream, so dig in!(Homemade is available as well, I'll sneek it from the next door neighbors!)
    everyone seems to be finishing early. I hope I can hammer mine out soon.

  64. I'm using the 2 Kings text....I'm starting my first Sunday at a new UMC church (July 1 ...moving day!) and am using the text to talk about change in leadership. I don't won't wear a stole but think the previous pastor you think I could get away with using the children's illustration? Or other suggestions?
    I had also thought since it was my first Sunday of just introducing myself and talking about what I do...showing them my office (right off of the sanctuary) etc. Thoughts? Help?!!

  65. I'm done you can read it here.
    patricia -- I think it would be great to introduce your self to the kids during the message! They will be wondering about you and might feel reasured if you are ready to talk with them about yourself. If you don't have too many kids you might want to ask for their names and ages.Share something they can relate to, like a name of a pet, fav color, maybe that you are a little nervous. These things will help them feel at ease with you and might help the congregation as well. That's my advise.
    I'll check in later with a fresh pot of coffee!

  66. aah!

    oreo klondike bar, anyone?

  67. Back from dinner (grilled chicken, rice, and steamed broccoli). Normally I ignore national holidays, or add a token gesture to them in the announcements. I am very leary of over doing our American version of patriotism in church which can run the risk of subverting the Gospel. But this year it seems to fit to give a token nod at the 4th, the foundation of our country and the my denomination, and the Gospel's call to be focused in how we follow Jesus.

    But I say, you don't need to go with the 4th if you don't want. Many churches will have services on Wed. / the 4th, anyway, they can deal with it then.

    I'll take some homemade ice cream, yum!

  68. Patricia, definitely use the children's time for an introduction! At my current church, I used that first opportunity to introduce my family, including my dog, Molly. She came forward and gave a paw to all the children.
    I am finally back, after many other commitments today, including a wedding. I have a draft, and I've got to go with it, because church time is an hour earlier starting tomorrow and I have to leave the house at an hour when I would rather be drinking coffee peacefully. I'll post it in the morning.
    Hope the rest of you finish soon! Welcome to all newcomers!

  69. cpclergymama-just read your sermon. Great! I also thought about changing of the guard...but I thought of the changing of the guard ceremony at Arlingtron National Cemetary....

  70. Patricia,
    Peace to you in your new position. I'm married to a UMC pastor, and know moving day well. I must say we were thankful not to have packed up and moved this year. I pray, for you and for our friends who have moved, an easy transition, and lots of smiling friendly faces in the pews tomorrow! Talk with the children about what to call you, when you introduce yourself....

  71. I definitely used the children's time for an introduction my first Sunday here. But I'd come from living abroad, so I was able to talk about what people called me in Egypt, what I like to be called here, and what I do. It was fun and some of the older kids still call me "azziza" sometimes (arabic for female pastor--it's a made up word b/c there are only a few, all foreign, women pastors there!).

  72. Patricia- I thought about Arlington as well, but I don't know enough about the traditions, and don't have the visual aids. It being the 4th it might be more appropriate, but I tend to steer clear of secular holidays during worship if I can.

    Blessings to those who will be up later. I'm turning in now, amidst the noise of fireworks.
    Here's a fresh pot of coffee, fair trade of course, and homemade vanilla ice cream!

  73. heh Teri--a good friend of mine is in Egypt right now teaching at a Coptic seminary, and she is also being called "asisa". Judging from her e-mails, the students are regarding her as quite the curiosity, almost to "sideshow freak" proportions.

    You know, it just occurred to me that Jesus' words might actually strangely comforting to people who have recently lost their least the person I am thinking in, "yes, do your grieving, but then get up and get on the road, because Jesus has more in store for you than weeping at a graveside."

    By the same token, what Jesus tells the man to do instead is interesting: "as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Let the final word for you be not death, but life.

    Got a good outline, now here we go!

  74. My sermon is waaaaaaaay too long. Edit, edit, edit...arrrgh! I'm tired.

  75. Cheer-up singing owl, you are in the home stretch.

    Mine is finally coming along, bless the HS who seems able to even make my meanderings turn into something meaningful from time to time.

    One last cup while I do some editing and then off to bed for me.
    We bought bags of minature candies to break up and put into our ice cream this week. Anyone want to join me in sneaking an early taste of the peanutbutter cups, or are you a butterfinger person?

  76. Mmm...fentonian, ice cream is my weakness. I'll have a taste just before I toddle off to bed. Oh dang, just remembered I have to put sheets on it. But unlike a certain semfem, I cannot preach without sleep.

    I have the sermon down to four pages. It will have to do!

    Night all, and blessings to those still working away.

  77. Just stopping in with some Diet Mountain Dew for any still working - mine was done yesterday (the boys were at camp all week) but I'm going to add in something about the 30th anniversary of the ordination of women in the Episcopal Church and the journey that takes - then I'll print and be off to preach at all three services tomorrow - I may try to post later tomorrow for friends from out of town -

    Prayers for all of you as you journey through tomorrow - following as radical disciples!!

  78. Channeling Gilda Radner: Nevermiiiinnnnd - wrong date!! Thank God for Google!!

  79. As I might have expected, my short errand run turned into a few hours of talking with friends. Anyone still here? I'm hanging out for a bit... (night owl to the nth degree...)

  80. Totally still here, Stacey, and preparing to turn to the chocolate-covered espresso beans to get me through the next stage of writing. Glad you had fun with friends :)

  81. Hey Stacey, I'm glad you're still here, I'm just "arriving" night owl preachers unite

    worship tomorrow will have elements for VBS, communion, 4th of July and the scripture is Galatians. I think that means worship is stew ... hope it tastes good

  82. semfem you're here too!

    where do you get those beans?

  83. vicar--indeed I am! I got these particular beans at a Borders coffee shop. I think I've seen them at Starbucks, too.

    Anybody able to clue me in to a story about shopping in Africa and there only being one kind of toothpaste, one kind of soap, etc. to choose from? I can't remember where I heard it and wondered if somebody out there might have heard it as well.

  84. I actually heard Bishop Mtambo (check that spelling) from the Democratic Republic of the Congo say it. He was talking about all the choices we have in the states. He needed toothpaste and was overwhelmed with the choices. At home there's one, maybe two, kinds of toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc

  85. Check the typing with the spelling. It was Ntambo Nkulu Ntanda

  86. The good news is as long as you come close to the pronunciation, who cares if you can spell it?

    I'm done for the evening, it is almost pumpkin time. 5 hours sleep and then I'll come back to it showered and ready to edit. Good luck all who are still writing.

  87. i'm still here, too.

    two pages and hopefully more to come!

    i've got several diet dr. peppers to share with the other nightowls,
    while i struggle with not liking luke's jesus at all and not smoothing over difficult words. sigh.

  88. wow, thanks vicar! I think it was quoted at our synod assembly recently and that's how I heard it. But fabulous to have the actual details instead of making it all muddy.

  89. You are very welcome, the toothpaste quote was easy.

    fruits of the spirit in a coherent sermon, not so much

  90. actually I've got stories, examples, etc. It's the segues that are missing. Kinda like sheetrock without the tape and bedding

  91. Wow, there really are people still here! I am really wanting ice cream...but instead, I'm going to go to bed. Preaching in less than 7 hours...

    Last one out, please hit the lights.

  92. I'm logging off here to finish up on the computer that will let me print. Good night

  93. well vicar, I don't know if I can help you, but I'll give it a shot if you want, to repay you for the toothpaste story.

    Stacey (and all others not crazy enough to still be awake), pleasant dreams and blessed preaching.

  94. loved the idea about getting someone to walk forwards on a tape while looking backwards :)

    bless you all - may the fields already have been ploughed so today the seeds can be planted


  95. Whew--just finished, and I think it's okay. Off now to turn the dryer back on so I have underwear for tomorrow morning, then take a shower and do a final readthrough before sleeping.

    Blessings on all proclamation tomorrow! I'll get the lights and set the coffeemaker for the early birds.

    (Someone else will have to get this party to 100. Not me.)

  96. Good morning, Preacher Pals!!!
    We've been up since 5, when we heard a gentle rain and realized my husband's car windows were open. I'm going to give my sermon a once-over as soon as I get kids up and in the shower. Getting to church an hour earlier will be tough this summer!
    I've got coffee, if you want it, Fair Trade, naturally.

  97. SB at least you have church on Summer Sundays :)

  98. ws, indeed.
    Remember, preachers, you do not go into the pulpit alone. The Holy Spirit has got your back.
    (((Preacher Gals and Pals)))

  99. Good morning everyone - thanks for the coffee, songbird. I ended up with 3 sermonettes, brief connections between the stories and (hopefully) the congregation's lives. It scares me, but I actually kind of like it. A point out the themes instead of developing one idea sermon. Hmmmm. First time I've done this, we'll see how it goes.


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