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Saturday, June 16, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party

I've spent the last week at my denomination's annual conference, and my brain is deep into themes of unity and reconciliation. In one of our worship times, we were asked to turn to the people next to us and say, "I need you." The same is true here; without you, my Saturday sermon prep time would be much less hopeful and entertaining!

At General Synod, we welcomed each other with loving words (sometimes the first spoken between us in years). Here, I welcome you with the great virtual table, spread with nourishment of all kinds: an egg casserole, cranberry muffins, and of course, the required endless flow of coffee. Come in, sit down, relax, converse; our house doesn't always look like this - sometime it's even worse! Oops, that was a sign on the wall of my family's cabin. Come in nonetheless, and join in the weekly discussion. We're here, to lend assistance, encouragement, and humor, and most of all to listen.

Come, Holy Spirit, and meet us as we prepare.


  1. A side note...When I started hosting this party, Saturdays were mostly stay-home-and-write-like-a-fiend days. How did they get eaten by other things? I've got entirely too much to do today, as usual, so I'll be in and out.

    Also, for those who haven't noticed and those who care, my blog has gone public again.

    I'm actually going to bed now, but I'll stop by again in the morning before I head off to band rehearsal.

    Party on, preaching pals!

  2. Stacey- I hear you on the busyness front... life is crazy at times, prayers that you manage some quality reflecting time inbetween your trips!!!

    I need to prepare lunch as our main meal today as the sailing members of our household are racing at 6pm, and won't be home til 10!

    Tomorrows sermon is for the big church, and I am taking the lectionary reading of the annointing and somehow combining it with Fathers day...... help!!!

    Today I really need this group!

    Glad your blog has gone live again, :-).

  3. G'morning friends.

    I hope everyone is able to enjoy their busy days. For us it is a graduation party and a minor league baseball game.

    I think I am going to cook up some big breakfast. French toast, bacon, sausage, home fries... come on in. Grab a plate!

  4. Before we get down to the sermon stuff, I want to make an announcement...

    Our church has received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to do a needs assessment study of the GLBT community in River CIty!! Never been until we know what the needs are, how can we meet them? And OTF almost never gives grants to churches... It was in all our news outlets--so River City has been reminded that we are here...

    OK, now down to the sermon...

    Oh, WS, thank you so much! I feel the need for a big breakfast today, as I, like the rest of you apparently, have a busy day planned.

    I have GOT to be done with the sermon by midafternoon, when glass display cases are being delivered to my garage (don't ask), because by the time they're unloaded, it's off to the women's potluck.

    I've brought some two-bite brownies to add to the table.

    Pass the coffee, please?

  5. Yikes. Wasn't it just Sunday? Didn't I just preach? You mean it's been a week already. ACK...well, first I have to go downtown for a diocesan confirmation service, which will take most of the day. Then a hospital visit, a trip out to see my daughter riding in a horse show. By then it will be sometime tonight. (sigh) (somehow it will get done).

    Have a good party today. I have fresh cherries, Free Trade coffee, and yogurt. oh, and whole wheat raisin bread/toast.

    (BTW...It's a cicada jungle out there today...and hot).

  6. Wow what great breakfast offerings...I have done little to prepare for worship so today's gonna be pretty intensively sermon prep. I did decide that we would acknowledge and celebrate father's day by emphasizing National Men's Health Week and encourage "our" men to get physicals. They are also getting a nifty flashlight at the close of worship.
    I will be preaching Luke-but other than that for the message, I'm clueless.
    Sally-need any more crew for the sailbooat?!--I'm THERE baby!

  7. Wills mama - I would love some, I'm afraid all we have to offer for breakfast here is going to be toast (though some homemade peach pear jelly if anyone's interested). Later some curried rice salad leftover from a going away party for a member off to seminary (I'm going to miss them) and milk shakes with homemade chocolate ice cream (got the ice cream freezer for my birthday last Sunday - made two gallons already)
    Luckily today is not too busy - strawberry picking with the kids at some point, otherwise more reading, reflecting and writing.
    Sally, I gave up on connecting the two. Isn't it interesting that for Father's day both OT and gospel are all about women?

  8. we're doing last week's Elijah story here...focus is on the widow taking a risk and giving away all she had, trusting that God's promises are true.
    Finished a Sunday School lesson for 5-12 year olds late last night (new curriculum hasn't arrived yet!).
    Children's time will have a piece of bread and some money and then a hug for each child. basic idea (not yet in order), for now, is this:
    here's a riddle: "what thing do you have more of if you give it away?" Is it bread? (give out pieces of how now I don't have any, or at least have less). Is it money? (give out nickels or whatever and show how my pile is smaller). Today we'll hear a story about a woman who gave away her last bit of food because Elijah told her that God promised she wouldn't be hungry. remember last week we talked about giving things away as a way to show we love someone or to show we love Jesus? What was the one thing we talked a lot about? hugs! If you give a hug away, you still have plenty--you can never run out! that's a promise. Let's practice. kids give each other hugs. we pray. the end.

    Will that work?

    in the today. my first one ever being in charge. I'm mildly excited and mildly dreading it because this couple is so "laid back" that they were still working out details last night, and I have yet to see the vows they wrote (last night). Good times.

  9. Good morning! Looks like I'm not the only busy one around here. Fortunately I wrote most of my sermon yesterday.

    I don't usually try to connect Fathers' (or Mothers', or Veterans', or whatever) Day to the sermon. If it happens to come in naturally, fine, but I'm not going to stretch Scripture to relate to our holidays. But, as I think about it, the extravagance we show people we love on special days, like Fathers' Day, could be an entry point to the anointing.

    I think I like WS's breakfast better than my own...

    Teri, I can see that children's sermon working. Good luck with the wedding!

  10. Let's see, I've showered, dressed, had breakfast, answered email, IM'd with a friend, then called said friend and had a phone conversation, journaled, checked email again...guess I should work on the sermon now. Still an hour before shops open here, so I can't procrastinate by doing errands yet.

    Oh, all right. I'll work on it.

  11. Mmmmm, what yummy breakfast offerings. I've got a big pitcher of iced coffee in the fridge, for anyone who needs the java jolt without the hot. It is quite good, but don't ask for the calorie count (8 cups of coffee plus a can of condensed milk - need I say more?).

    I'm preaching Galatians and have nothing but a title. Meanwhile, my boys are going to a birthday party today and my poor dh has to take them since there is no way I'm going to have the time. I always feel so bad when "real world" Saturdays (i.e., people who have Saturdays off) collide with the way our Saturdays need to be. OTOH, my dh did remind me that I now have the unusual privilege of a house to myself for about 3 hours! I'll take it.

    Pass the french toast and bacon, please!!

    [and p.s. to rainbow pastor: Kudos on the grant! That is AWESOME.]

  12. My day is relatively free. I have a counseling appointment at 10 am, but other than that I'm free to work on my sermon. That probably means I'll find forty-leven things to do around the house until I get desperate.

    I'm going with Galatians with emphasis on "it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me." A neighbor came to my apartment last week and asked "how do I get Christ into my heart" I hope to show that Christ is already in our hearts, and what we need to do is let him out. Not sure exactly how I'm going to do that right now, but it's really early in the morning.

    The coffee's fresh and I have some pastry cinamon twists left over from the Preschool Graduation to share.

  13. Eh, it's still early, RP. Why not try an online crossword puzzle? Or maybe by now you have more email to check? I have so been there!

    I'm off to band rehearsal. After that I'm going to help interview a candidate for the church I'm supervising during their search process. I may or may not have time to stop by between the two. If not, I'll be around this evening. Blessings, friends.

  14. rev maria - I'm going with the same line from Galatians! If you figure out how to let Christ out, let me know! ;)

  15. I made pancakes with maple syrup from Vermont and there is still some coffee left.

    I am preaching Luke this week, and would like to tie it in to Father's day somehow, only becasue we did talk abtou Mother's day (because it worked, not because of the day). But the men in our congregation get overlooked as far as father's day goes, and I would like to acknowledge it somehow. Any ideas?

  16. Still stuck on 1 Kings/Naboth's vineyard here. But, I have some of those not-so-good-for-you, but hey they're virtual, Pillsbury cinnamon rolls to share. Yum.

    Husband is coming home from 2 weeks away, so our house will be filled with dirty laundry and grumpy tired husbands. I will be glad to have him back, though.

  17. Earthchick, on Tuesday Chilly Fingers had some good stuff about letting Christ out which really struck me.

    She said "I am struck by my own tendency to believe I am serving FOR Christ, and yet, perhaps when I am at my most noble, I'm not doing anything FOR Christ, Christ is simply coming out in me. That begs the question of is there anything I can do to get myself out of the way and allow Christ room to work? And, further, should our question be not so much "what would Jesus do?" but "what is Jesus already doing if we could give him room to live?"

    I'm thinking that we let Christ out when we are drawn to do even the smallest blessing for another and then do it. When we aren't worried about what others will think or if doing something good for someone else will leave us with less - time, money, whatever.

    Anyway, that's where I am right now.

  18. Ooh, great thoughts! I've been in and out of the Tuesdays leanings but not in the last couple of days. I need to go back and read.

    I found this great little story in Eric Porterfield's "Sessions with Galatians: Finding Freedom through Christ" ( part of a Bible study series from Smyth & Helwys). He tells of a brilliant performance of Beethoven's 5th, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. After it ended, the audience stood and cheered. Toscanini motioned for them to stop. He turned to the orchestra and shouted, "You are nothing!" He pointed to himself and shouted, "I am nothing!" Then he shouted, "Beethoven is everything, everything, everything!"

    Paul is saying something similar, obviously. (though not about Beethoven!)

  19. Hi, all. I'm on an inclusive language theme, not just about gendered language for God, but about making sure we use language in church that includes everyone, rather than building a barrier with archaic phrases (the meaning of some of which we might not even know ourselves).
    I have a load of ideas and a couple of stories, but it is not yet written, to put it mildly.
    Thus far this morning I have cleaned in anticipation of the cleaning lady, walked dogs, helped rescue two runaway Golden Retrievers...and now I'm going out to brunch with my husband while the real cleaning occurs. Back later to see how it's going!

  20. Busy day all round then- I'm currently struggling with putting together a power point presentation for big church- we project our entire service- good but time consuming.

    The sermon is getting there bit by bit :-)!!!

  21. I have homegrown canteloupe (that Cathy bought me at the Farmer's Market) bigger than my head. There's still some left...also she brought some pyracantha jelly, deelish! pull up the toaster.

    off to the beach. I'll clean up when I come in for all write.

  22. Awesome the party is already in full swing, and we are helping each other get through another full Saturday and be prepared for tomorrow's full day.
    How's the sermon writing coming?
    Mine is in my head and then some written notes. I am headed to the Angel Food ministry today, and then I'll come back to put it on paper.
    I bring some chocolate chip cookies, they are really delicious.

    I'll be back, and maybe be able to bring something else. Hang in there.

    I really look forward to these Saturday get togethers.

  23. I am showering then heading to the Farmer's Market before going to finalize the wedding stuff for this afternoon....hopefully I'll be back with yummy fruit for the afternoon! :-) Any requests?

  24. I probably shouldn't admit this so early, but I've posted my sermon on the woman in Luke here. Please stop by, especially if you want to procrastinate!

    (Hopefully I did the link right!)

  25. Ah, how to let Christ OUT of our hearts and into our lives - that is the question indeed! But, the answer perhaps is not so far away - I found a wonderful story in "If God is Love" that goes something like this.

    There was once an especially tense church meeting in which two men, both good men and respected leaders, found themselves passionately advocating opposing viewpoints. In the heat of the discussion, both men became ungracious toward each other, and Matt, one of the men, stormed out. Everyone was shocked because this behavior was so out of character. Fifteen minutes later, Matt returned with a basin of water in his hands, a towel over his shoulder, and tears in his eyes. He knelt before his opponent, removed his shoes and socks, and began to wash his feet. When he’d finished, he said, “please forgive me. I’ve treated you very poorly. I realized after I left that, if you were so passionate about this issue, there must be a good reason, and I need to at least listen.”

    Once that man let go of his tightfisted effort to make his religious point, he discovered the presence of Jesus Christ already there, ready to change the tone of that meeting, and ready to reconcile two brothers in the faith. Teh "Christ in him" drove him back into that room.

    I found that story appropriate for the Galatians passage, so I'd thought I'd share.

    I have a GREAT pot of coffee if anyone would like a cup.

  26. Great story, Chilly Fingers!

    We are having a possibly difficult congregational discussion after worship tomorrow, about whether or not to open our facilities to a Co-Op preschool that would like to rent from us (the move would require major changes to one wing of our building in order to meet fire code). It is a bit controversial, and there is already some acrimony. The people who are against doing this seem to be particularly combative.

    Though I am in favor of hosting the preschool, I can live with whatever the outcome as long as people treat each other with love and respect, and as long as we honestly try to be open to the Spirit.

    The story of the bickering men is pretty relevant to our situation....

  27. chilly - that's a powerful story, I think also important to recognize the grace of the man who allowed his feet to be washed, in some ways as hard as washing.

    Silent - I love your first person approach to Luke. If you want more ideas on how to play some with it, theoblog from Christian Century had some interesting other ways that this woman might have been sinful instead of the always assumed sexual.

    I think I am going to talk about intimacy vs. sexuality and that forgiveness is always intimate and thats why we would rather judge. Maybe work in Paul - letting Christ out is forgiving when we would rather feel superior. Thoughts anyone?

  28. Holy Spirit? Elijah? Antonio? Anyone?

    I need some motivation. Just a teeny bit. Please.

    Or send chocolate. I think that would help too.

  29. Chily Fingers, I will certainly borrow your story. Fentonian is right about the one whose feet were washed - that is such an intimate and vulnerable position to be in. Both men were touched by God's forgiving grace.

    And Earthchick, are you me? We are going through the extremely lengthy and complicated process of application to bring in a County (free) preschool in addition to the one we already have with remodeling costs spiraling upwards of $175,000. County will reimburse the costs but . . . I am not sure about the whole thing, but I am waiting to see what God wills. :-)

    Galatians is feeling better and better.

  30. Well, I have a preachable outline...Yes, I'm going back to outlines as a result of my evaluation when I was told my sermons from outlines were clearer, more appealing and generally better.

    And the salad is together for tonight, too.

    So now I can go back over the sermon without stress, knowing I have something I can preach already.

    After the last few weeks, all I can say is, FINALLY I have a sermon before midnight on Saturday...

    Anyone else feel like a sub? I'm running over to Subway...

  31. okay, so not that I think this will happen, but just in case:

    what happens if, when I ask the bride/groom (or the families, for that matter) if they desire to enter this covenant, one of them freaks out at the last minute and says no? Then what?

    (can you tell I'm covering all my bases? This couple has already turned out to be unusual...)

  32. rev maria - !! Maybe I am you, or maybe you or me. Pretty wild that we are both going through this process at the same time.

    Mine is complicated by the fact that our boys were going to go to this particular preschool in the fall, long before we knew they were being booted from their current location (a UCC church, where they have been for 30 years). Now that dh and I support opening our church to this preschool (we have an entire wing that is completely unused during the week, our congregation is constantly discussing ways to reach out to the community around us, and this request just fell in our laps) - well, a few (sort of small) people have suggested that dh and I support it because it would be convenient for us personally (to have our boys go to preschool where we work).

    Ah, I love it when people insult my character and accuse me of ulterior motives.

    Just this week, dh and I decided that we are going to withdraw our boys from the preschool (and not send them anywhere, since it turns out that, given what the church is paying us, we can't really afford it right now anyway).

    So maybe now we can enter into the conversation tomorrow, and fully support the mission of opening our facilities to this Co-Op preschool, and not have anyone accuse us of anything? We'll see.

    Oh, wait, this is supposed to be a sermon discussion?

    Sorry. Carry on. ;)

  33. This is supposed to be a "whatever is on your mind while working on your sermon that you need to share, work through or dump in order to get focussed" place, so no worries earthchick!

  34. earthchick:

    That's all. That's all I would say to the church too. (okay, so maybe not in public, but you know...)

  35. Shamefaced entrance to confess that this week I'm off the hook...Presiding at 8.00, Deacon at 10.00 and that's it...
    But I do have some utterly wonderful elderflower cordial, which is very soothing to fevered brains, and I'm happy to pop out to buy up fresh supplies of inspirational food and drink. Might as well do the deaconing thoroughly!
    Oh, and Stacey - I seem to have lost your link....(hence failure to drop in before). Glad that you're public, but can you remind me just where?

  36. Oh Earthchick, we must talk about our preschool woes! :-) But I second what Teri said.
    Preschool is important!! I wouldn't jeopardize the kids in order to placate a few members.

    Oh, I know. We can let this be an opportunity for those folks to let Christ come out. :-)

  37. Thanks, y'all! Yes, rev maria, we must talk.

    I'm really trying not to jeopardize my kids for the sake of the institution. It's been a tough call for us. DH actually didn't want them to go to preschool yet anyway and after talking with others who have made this decision (to delay preschool a year), I'm more open to trying a semi-homeschooling route.

    With the pre-school being a Co-Op (meaning a reduced tuition compared to other preschools), I would need to volunteer a certain amount of time each semester. Since I have twins, I would have to volunteer more than parents with just one child in the program - basically once a week. Which turns out to mean - my day off every week. The more I think about it, the more I think I'd rather spend my day off with my own kids at home, than working with 17 other people's kids.

    Bleh. It's all complicated. Time. Money. Institutional crap. Children. Mission. How to balance everything? Oy.

    Okay, I really should get my head in my sermon....

  38. Well, I'm off to move display cases and then to a potluck.

    The sermon (outline) is as done as it's getting.

    I'm leaving some of the 7-layer salad I made...

    Blessings and prayers for everyone still working...I've been you so many times.

  39. I'm just getting rolling. Have a title: Whatever it Takes. It's what I came up with two weeks ago when I first started thinking about it. I think the overall theme is courage, the courage it took for Naboth to stand up for what he believed, and the courage it took for the woman to come into Simon's house and anoint Jesus. I even have a great story I picked up that ties into father's day. It's about a man who, in an earthquake in Armenia in the 90's remembered the promise that he had made to his son that he would always be there for him, no matter what. The school his son was in had collapsed, and he remembered his promise. He began removing stone by stone by hand to dig in the corner of the building where his son should have been. Many tried to pull him off the site, telling him it was too late, but he persisted. After thirty-eight hours, he heard his son's voice, called out to him and he answered. When his son was rescued along with several other children, he told his father that he had been assuring the others that his father would come, no matter what and when he got there the others wold be rescued too. (From Chicken Soup).

    In the meantime, however, my daughter is on the way home from Costa Rica, and just called in a panic because her flight out is running late. She has a connection in Houston, and we're hopeful she makes it. Otherwise, there is one more flight after it, and I have advised her to use her vulnerability as a minor traveling alone as a strength in getting her on the flight. No airline wants the liability of a fifteen-year-old girl.

    Thankfully, my friend whose kids go to the same piano teacher as mine offered to take my son to give me time to work on my sermon and/or relax. I also have a dinner at one of the churches tonight, and then to the airport to hopefully pick up my daughter.

    Peach flavored sun tea, anyone?

  40. Not preaching this Sunday, but I am trying to write an article for the pastor's page of the newsletter. Why is this so difficult?!

    Ah well, I need to be inside today anyways since I spent a little too much time at the beach yesterday.

    Blessings on all who labor away on sermons (and multiple other things) today.

  41. Okay, I'm finally getting somewhere, after a solid hour of procrastination followed by a walk with husband and one dog.
    I just hope this sermon about inclusive language doesn't turn out to deserve the title "Apocalypse Now."

  42. Songbird, I like your idea of inclusiveness. I think you are right about our language. Hope it all works out. I used to do a better job at watching my "churchy" language, but being in the country for 5 years has taken the edge off of that. So thanks for the reminder.

    I am back from doing Angel Food ministries, and getting my hair trimmed.

    Are you any of you all recognizing Father's on Father's day, and if so how? My sermon is not on it, except I am going to refer to what my daddy taught me at the beginning as a prelude to what we have learned from doing the Purpose Driven Life.

  43. still stuck on father's day. The sermon (Luke) is almost done -- it's about forgiveness and that hits waaaaay too close to home to preach about Father's day in there as well. So I am avoiding it in the sermon at all costs, lest the sermon become about me and not God. So, I will find a way to address it in the time for children and prayers of the people.

    Anyone have a good father's day sermon?

  44. My work today has been packing older daughter for a youth conference. This required a trip to Barnes and Noble for books and to Target for new underwear. :)

    My paper got done early (YAHOO) so now I can just read in between loads of laundry!

    I am bringing in some left over junk food that was not eaten at said daughter's 16 bday party. And what you don't finish off, they will eat on the road to the conference!

  45. *sigh*

    Struggling, struggling. This Galatians text is so good, and so dense, and so perfectly summarizing Paul's thinking. But it is HARD. (to me) I mean, really, when Paul says, "It is no longer I who live but Christ" - can I really say that with him? Have I really died to myself?

    Not so much.

    That feels like the rub for me. It is central to the faith that we proclaim - that we die to self, that Christ lives in us. But is that the reality we all live?

  46. earthchick and others,
    Thanks so much for your words today. Much food for thought. (And all those breakfast foods made my tummy rumbley!)
    Just got home from a baby shower and my co-pastor hubby just finished his Sunday morning service sermon. Now I get to work on my Sunday night service sermon on Galatians!
    I'm struggling with how close to home to make it. I've had three discussions with members this week about homosexuality and salvation. My point being God calls us where we are (an attempt to stay away from the sin contriversy). I've gotten the same responce from all of them "God calls all sinners, but he'd better not call them here."
    AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off hiding out in my office all the time.

  47. earthchick, sure we do, and then we have to do it again. And again. We're not living in Paul's certainty that the end of everything is near. We're engaged in living out whole lifetimes; we reach a certain point, and then we begin again. It's like the lectionary. We're not through with this week's passages just because we read them this week. They will come back again, with something else to say to us. We are not static, and neither is the Word.

  48. On the other hand, my sermon won't come to a close that I like, and it's already longer than I usually like to preach!!!

  49. The thing is, for me, the truth is I don't want to die to my self. I like the idea of Christ living in me. But if that depends on my choosing to die to self, then, well, I'm not sure I do very well at making that choice. Right now I feel like the best I can do is to pray, "I don't even want to die to myself, God. Help me want to, and help me die." Because I simply can't choose it for myself.

    I sort of feel like if we had the power to choose to die to self, we wouldn't even need Christ anyway. If we had the power to be that good, that self-sacrificing, that other-focused and God-focused, then why would we need Christ? Why would we need grace?

    Today, I am just acutely feeling my own lack - the vast difference between where I am and the gospel I am called to proclaim.

  50. Songbird, slip me some of your extra paragraphs and maybe I can call mine done! ;)

  51. You know, almost every time I say I can't get it to finish, I do in short order. So with great relief I declare a draft to be complete.
    Now if I can only get my laptop talking to the computer with the printer, or surface my flash drive, I'll be all set.

  52. Oh, waah, waah, waah, and whine, whine, whine. Am I the only one not yet done?

  53. You're not! You're not!
    Who else is working out there? Anybody want a Diet Coke?
    (See how I'm on a self-improvement plan and not offering virtual ice cream?)

  54. I'm finally back. Sorry to be shirking my hostess duties yet again.

    Kathryn: the link is here.

    Now, time to get all the words I wrote out long-hand yesterday into typed form...and may it actually make sense when it gets there.

  55. Still here, and getting whiny too. Ate some supper, but procrastination has eaten most of my day. I'm a little over halfway through, but I'm not sure yet where it's headed exactly. Bleh.

  56. esperanza, when I'm feeling that way, will smama always asks me, "What are you trying to say?"
    And even though that seems so obvious, sometimes hearing the question helps me get it together.

  57. esperanza, that's pretty much exactly where I am - procrastination has eaten up my day, a little over halfway through, not sure where it's headed....

  58. Hmmm, "what are you trying to say?"

    You know, my sermon title is "The Simplest Freedom," so I know I intended to get to freedom somehow - and the idea that dying to self was a freeing act, and Christ living in and through us freed us. But I have gotten nowhere near that thought. Yet.

  59. Okay, I may have just made a crucial turn.

    I know y'all were waiting with baited breath.

  60. You know how some weeks there are like 200 comments on Saturday? And today there are currently 59 and by my calculations I have made roughly 20% of them. Maybe I'll just keep going till we hit 200! Sound like a good procrastination plan?

  61. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

  62. tee hee

    Sorry. I'm going to make myself stop now, really.

    For a little bit.

  63. LOL, earthchick.

    Shockingly, the notes I wrote last night seem to have become a coherent sermon. I'm going to let it sit for a while before I print it, but I think it might be done.

    And now, on to finishing up the early service order.

  64. what am I trying to say? What am I trying to say? Hm. There you have the trouble this week. Ah well, I think I'm saying something, just not sure it was where I was aiming in the first place. Thanks for the encouragement.

  65. cpclergymama, I hear you. Been there, more than once over these last few years. I've tried to get through it with patient teaching, compassion, and hope. And I've seen people change. The things that made them anxious no longer do. But, it is a long hard road for the "teacher." Prayers for you.

    In terms of how close to home. That depends on how much teaching you have and already are doing. I spent a fair amount of time "laying the foundation" by preaching about hospitality instead of tolerance. In other words, with tolerance we live side by side, but we don't interact, no one is changed. With hospitality we live in relationship and both parties in the relastionship are changed. Radical hospitality is the ability to let Christ live in us...and through us...sometimes I reminded folks that Jesus points us (and Paul too) to the Spirit of the law, not the letter of the law...

  66. Breaking news. I think I am finally saying something. Nothing like a conclusion to make you say something.

  67. I'm not anywhere near done yet either. This morning I cleaned the birdcage, and hung out in here. And scrubbed the kitchen counters, and hung out in here. Then I had a counseling session, then I got a call that a member was in ER, then someone with a crisis wanted to have a late lunch and talk. . . now I'm back.

    Earthchick, Paul may have been dead to self at the moment he wrote those words, but having read some of his other letters self comes through pretty clearly.

    It seems to me that we have to preach from where we are - "yes, I'd love to be dead to self so that Christ could always come through my words and actions, but that's just not reality. Reality is the constant struggle to put self behind me - to be kind and generous and forgiving. Reality is knowing that I'm going to fall short of the ideal, but being willing to keep trying." Something like that. Hmm - that might preach.

    Whatever I do, I'm ending with words that will flow nicely into the hymn Pues Si Vivimos. In English, the first line reads When we are living, it is in Christ Jesus.

  68. I'm back after dinner with the family. Dishes are done (our dishwasher is still awaiting repair, darn it!), children scattered, and I am trying to finish a book before reading over my sermon.
    Rev Maria, that hymn sounds perfect for the text. I'm using Bring Many Names as the Hymn of Departure, a good fit for my theme.
    How goes it, friends?

  69. tee hee, rev maria - ITA about Paul.

    Okay, after cutting several non sequitur paragraphs, it would appear my sermon is better than I thought. I seem to actually have said something close to what I thought I might be trying to say. Now if I can just get this baby round the bend and in the barn, I'll be happy.

    Then I can start working on the Apricot-Custard Pie I am making for dh for Father's Day.

  70. earthchick, you amaze me. A pie on Saturday night? W-O-M-A-N.

  71. Done. As done as it's going to get. Going to go listen to the rain now.

  72. Been awhile since the last comment.
    I just got kids in bed and after a wonderful new lemon/mustard/rosemary chicken recipe on the grill from Cooks Illustrated I'm raring to go.
    Earthchick - I don't know how vulnerable you can be in your church, but in some ways you sharing what you shared with us tonight, not so much the one hand clapping, but about your struggles, I think could be an incredibly moving sermon that opens others to admit their own inability to give up control.
    Meanwhile, I've gone from a point I really liked to an incredibly dull sermon, so as soon as I am finished this line, I'll start over with the first line of my sermon.
    Promise to self, no checking back in until at least half a page is written.

  73. Oh, you people make me smile and laugh. fentonian, with your "not so much the one hand clapping part" - hee. Yes, I agree, that naming the reality of the struggle to die to self needs to happen for me in this sermon, and I have been struggling my way through that. This is one of those sermons where I keep snipping things out, moving things around, so I don't yet really know what I have.

    And songbird, I loved your "W-O-M-A-N" comment! :) I should say I won't be making the *whole* pie tonight - too many steps and not enough time at this point. I just need to stew the apricots and make the custard (i.e., Jello vanilla pudding) and put both in the fridge to chill. Tomorrow will be baking the crust (love you, Pillsbury!), making the meringue, and then putting it all together.

    DH more than deserves it after the preschool party he had to attend today....

  74. It's very hope-filling to read about all who were struggling but have now finished!

    For many and sundry reasons (Angel Food, hospital visit, paint shopping, dinner, quick nap), I am just now getting started. I had some great late-night thoughts as I was drifting off to sleep last night...I just hope I can remember them now.

    I think I'm basically focusing on the jar of ointment, and how it had to be broken open in order to be used (no screw-top jars in Jesus' day), and the whole thing needed to be used up, and the breaking open is what made it possible for something new to flourish.

    Likewise, when we are broken and realize our brokenness, it makes it possible for something new to flourish--for the Spirit of Christ that was bottled up in us to be released (borrowing from Chilly Fingers and Rev Maria a bit here).

    Had hoped to also offer a time of anointing and healing, since it got such rave reviews on Maundy Thursday, but I kind of forgot to put it in the bulletin or do much planning for it.

  75. Well. It was a pizza night for dinner. Too busy of a day for doing any kind of cooking, grilling, or anything else.

    Sounds like many are coming along with their sermons, others just starting (I know that feeling, the just starting). My sermon is printed, which means the draft is good enough to look at in hard copy. This is the only way I can look at it and make the final, necessary tweeks and changes.

    Too brain tired to add to the conversation, but I hope you all find the direction and words you are looking for.

  76. Earthchick, I have found that the sermons I struggle with hardest are the ones that the congregation Amens the most - especially when I share my struggle with them.

    Right now I have the middle and an endish bit, but no beginning. Usually it's the other way.

  77. I just need to stew the apricots and make the custard

    You are killing me, earthchick. Stew the apricots, indeed. Could someone pass me "The Joy of Cooking," please. Perhaps I'll whip up a lemon sponge.

  78. P.S. I think you rock. I am simply defensive about the separation between my pastoral skills and my housewifery, about the size of the Grand Canyon.

  79. Call me crazy, but I am sooo tempted to use the bits and pieces we've been discussing in here in conversation form instead of writing "a Sermon" Can you just see me, wandering around the center aisle of the church saying "Chilly Fingers said . . and then Earthchick said . . and then I said. .and cpclergymama responded with . . " :-)

    I think I'm delirious. Where's the chocolate?

  80. The appropriate attribution is, "A colleague said" or "a friend said." I've used it before...

  81. Rev Maria--I love it! What a great image!

    all--I'm second-guessing myself with this focus on the jar of ointment. Should I save my jar sermon for the Mark version of this story, when it actually refers to the jar being broken? Or can I use it now? Augh!

  82. Totally laughing now. Thanks, rev maria and Songbird - I needed the chuckles and grins.

    SB, it's funny, this week I was talking to dh about baking bread and sewing clothes and so forth, and then how I wasn't sure which text I wanted to preach. He told me he thought I'd missed my calling - that I really should've just been a frontierswoman. I replied that yes, if I could've been a combination frontierswoman/princess, that actually would've been ideal. I'll bake the bread and make the pies and stir the compost and sew and knit the clothes, but please could someone else clean the windows and pick up after the children and manage the money and mop the floor and just generally wait on me?

  83. semfem, I don't know where you are, but where I am, it's 9:00 on Saturday night. I say use the image now!

  84. SB, I just keep laughing at your Joy of Cooking comment. Let me know when you make the lemon sponge. ;)

    semfem, you do your late-night starts and all-nighters with such energy and enthusiasm! When I think about pulling an all-nighter, I feel so old and tired....

  85. semfem - I'd use it now. But thats because I'd forget before I had the chance to use iy again.

    songbird - friend? colleague? In my sermons you all are, "according to one commentator" or "some authorities."

    rev. mama - an interesting if somewhat scary thought. The chocolate certainly sounds good.

  86. Oh, I am flattered on behalf of all commentators and authorities, Fentonian.

  87. Y'all, if I could just find the right final sentence, I think I'd actually be done. And it might even be good. Or at least gooder than I thought it would be.

  88. Close, fentonian - songbird is actually "a trusted authority."

    I typically refer to revgalblogpals in general as "clergy colleagues with whom I discuss the lectionary passages"

    Semfem, you could surely talk about the general lack of screw on lids in the 1st century. Wouldn't want your preacher-teacher to chastise you for mixing up the gospels. :-)

    Gotta go out -I just found out a friend is speaking at an event nearby and I need to be there for moral support.

  89. Ten bucks to use gooder in that last sentence you're looking for.

  90. Okay, I'm Saturday done. I'm not wild about my close (wasn't able to work "gooder" in, fentonian - bummer!), but it will have to do for tonight. I'll sleep on it and see what comes.

    On to the Joy of Cooking. Stewed apricots, anyone?

  91. Gals and Pals, I'm going to turn in, I think. I finished the book I was reading, so I'll be crawling into bed with Bruce Feiler's Walking the Bible, the next book up for RevGalBookPals. Blessings to you as you finish your preparations, and may your apricots be properly stewed.

  92. Oh I was so full of potential on Monday/Tuesday. ANd now I have nada. zip. zilch. ALl I could do is read them my opening thoughts from the church blog.

    OF course it likely didn't help that I was out of town from Tuesday noon until Friday noon for Presbytery Executive. ANd that I spent today outside doing yardwork.

    I am tempted to change my focus from risk-taking to 1 Kings and talk about land and First Nations. BUt not 1 hour ago I confirmed the readings with the lay reader. Maybe a longer children's time (which will be on the land issue) and a shorter sermon on Risk is in order.

  93. earthchick--yes, I believe we are in the same time zone. You make my procrastination sound so admirably youthful that I'm flattered...but really, I know the day is coming when I won't be able to do this, and it will be a rude awakening.

    fentonian--quite possibly, I could forget it before the Mark passage comes up. Hmm, that won't be for another two years. Maybe I can preach on broken jars twice in the space of three years and get away with it. (I was going to preach on broken jars in Lent with the John version of this passage--but in that one, there's no jar at all. Slight problem.)

    Rev Maria--yes! You have unveiled my compulsive need to please seminary professors that are no longer looking over my shoulder! Must respect the literary integrity of each gospel! Ack!

    Hope the sleeping and stewing is coming along all right...

  94. I haven't quite adjusted since returning from Synod, and I'm exhausted. I think I'm going to turn in. Blessings to all of you who are still working.

  95. Off to bed soon. Short homily can be found at blog if you are curious about how I a.)kept it short b.)connected Simon and the woman and World Refugee Day coming up on Wed.

    proper 6C

  96. Chiming in late. I finished putting together a sort of multi-method prayer service involving music, a powerful video, testimony, short sermon....and if the Holy Spirit does not move in on us, it will be a disaster! On the other hand, if people go with the flow, it will be wonderful. I have some DELICIOUS juicy watermelon to share with those still up and working. Juicy and sweet and cold from the fridge. MmmmmMmmmm!

  97. gosh, everyone knocked it out relatively early this Saturday. Well done you!

    Hope everyone has a blessed Sunday.

  98. I'm wrapping things up for the night before grabbing a little knitting time in front of a DVD with dh and then heading to bed. Apricots are about to be pureed, pudding is cooling, boys are asleep, sermon is resting.

    Best wishes to all still working, and sweet dreams to those already in bed. 'Night!

  99. Gnight Earthchick - hope the sermon is as Spirit filled as the conversation here was tonight.
    Semfem - may the broken vessel fill you up.

    To all - thanks for the comraderie and dialogue. I'm well into the second page so I think it is time to call it a night and I'll search for the ending on the morrow. Good night.

  100. Oh, I so want comment 100. Will this be it?

    (Yes, I'm still working...thanks for the good wishes fentonian and earthchick...)

  101. Woohoo, I made it!

    Words are flowing well so far. Into the second page. Anybody else still up with me?


  102. I got briefly distracted by a great idea that I want to remember the next time I preach this text. I have very, very long hair that I always wear up...but next time I preach this text, I want to talk about the hair, and let my hair down in the pulpit. Literally. Could make some people uncomfortable. Hmm!

    Anyway. Back to jars and breaking stuff.

  103. Oh Semfem - let your hair down! :-)

    Now I have a beginning but it doesn't fit with anything else. Still happy with the middle and endish piece. Think I'll go to bed and see what the Spirit wakes me up with.

    Blessings on all.

  104. night Rev Maria!

    I seriously thought about including it this go-round...but I do think it would distract from the main point. I'll put it in my notes though, so hopefully in a few years it will come in handy. A few parishioners know I have such long hair, but not many of them. And letting it down in the pulpit would really make a statement, I think.

  105. If I titled my sermons, I think I'd call this one "In Case of Emergency, Break Jar."

  106. Done! Whew!

    Blessings on everyone's proclamation tomorrow.

  107. Just now checking in late/early after a wild and wooly day and still not ready to go to camp with 9 middle schoolers tomorrow. OUCH!

    The sermon is half-baked and will have to come together after a cup of coffee in the morning--oops this is the morning--o.k. later in the morning but early enough to get a shower. The working title is "You are Forgiven; Now Let Down Your Hair." Yep--Luke.

    Blessed Sunday to all and to all a good night--what's left of it.

  108. Oh, semfem, I wish you *would* let down your hair. What a beautiful gesture it could be.
    I hope most of you got enough sleep! I am already contemplating a nap this afternoon, since my children will be with their dad. Hope those who need it will be able to rest, too!!

  109. Don't forget: if you've got a dog, walk it proud!!
    Also, remember, the Holy Spirit's got your back.

    Your friend,

  110. It's 6:30 am and the sermon is done. With thanks to Chilly Fingers and Earthchick. :-) It's posted as when we are living

  111. Omigosh - they loved it. They Amen'd. They applauded. Thanks so much all of you for being part of the process along with me and Spirit!

  112. My hubby knocked them out at the mornign service, so I'm dreading the lack of attendace for the night service. My sermon's finally finished. Not as many toes steped on.
    mompreist- thanks so much for your comment about hospitality vs tolerance. A much better and more accurate description.
    Blessing to y'all!

  113. cpclergymamma,
    you're welcome. I hope your service tonight is spirit filled, even if, perhaps, it is small. I've done lots of small services and sometimes they can be the best.

  114. Songbird and Rev Maria--I didn't let my hair down today, but you know, I think I might just do that one of these years where the Mark or Matthew equivalent of the story is read for Palm/Passion Sunday. I could use it to illustrate how letting one's hair down was a sign of extreme intimacy...and also a sign of extreme mourning.

    I thank you for the encouragement and validation of the idea :)

  115. Hi, My prayer request if firstly for my twin brother and his wife Reena, Reena is suffering from overial cest and their r 2 small tumors in her body which needs to be removed other wise it can be dangerous for her health. Please pray for her healing and the operation which will be performed.Seondly Please pray for my work,
    Thirdly Please pray for my elder brother Sanil , he is in canada and his marriage is suppose to take place soon, which is pending becasue of visa problem,plsea pray for him too.and finally for my parently, who r in USA for their Good health and so that God should help them in all the ways of their lifes as they r alone their.
    Please help us with ur prayer we would be grateful.,


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