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Saturday, July 28, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Give Us This Day Edition

This has been one of those in-between weeks for me: in between two sections of vacation I worked a week in order to accommodate a bride. It has also been a week with no day off. I am not fresh. I am not motivated. If I've ever needed a Preacher Party, this is the time!

Happily, I'm here to throw one not just for me but for all of you.

I'm taking the Luke text and working up a sermon about prayer. What's your plan? Need a cup of coffee before you decide? Have a seat over here and I'll get you a cup.


  1. How's this for a "vacation" day - yesterday I got to sit in a coffee shop in the Twin Cities and work on my sermon for two hours. But I did get a title and a solid outline - I can work up the manuscript tonight when we get home.

    I'm also in Luke. While we were traveling to church camp last week some of our boys were talking about how much they loved "Guitar Hero," and on Monday NPR did a story on the game also. One of the guitarists from Anthrax couldn't play their song on the game because it isn't really playing music, it's more like a guitar shaped Simon game (anyone remember those?).

    Anyway, my impetus will be how reciting the Lord's Prayer is to prayer as Guitar Hero is to music - it's not prayer or music if you're just repeating a memorized pattern!

  2. I am off-lectionary and have worked up a more than decent outline (which is what I will preach from) using Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch as well as Isaiah 45. This is for the GLBTT Pride service, which will be on the riverfront in River City this year. So I'm pulling in some river imagery...not that I think anyone should actually get into the water (ewww--a bit industrial).

    But I want to polish it a bit while I am waiting for the dance music set that Brit Boy promised to show up in my in-box (due in six hours, I'm not nervous yet).

    So coffee would be good. I have assorted fresh fruits if anyone wants them!

  3. I have never, ever, checked in here this early!
    No preaching for me this week--in fact, it's possible there will be no church going in my week! No vacation here....I've been in New Orleans with the senior high youth group all week. We fly home today. Please pray for a safe trip with no snags or delays--a big group of tired teens delayed in a small airport is not my idea of a fun ending to an amazing week.
    I'll send you all my prayers as you write and think and pray yourselves.

  4. Good morning. I just set the smoke alarm off by making an english muffin. I hope it's not a harbinger of the day to come. Want some? I have a funeral to attend this morning, and I'm trying to remember if this church has airconditioning before getting dressed. I have no idea.

    I am preaching Luke. That's the onlly thing I know, and I only know that because the bulletin had to be printed on Monday due to a clerical vacation.

    So, uh, we'll see.

  5. I'm back from the Farmer's Market. (We walked there!) Now I have a meeting to attend (WW), then I'll be back to get started on the sermon.
    I am thinking of starting with a story about learning to pray as a child, then talking about what Jesus is teaching us about prayer, then attempting to engage the congregation in a discussion about how and when and why we pray. We'll see if that carries through or not.
    I'm also considering using notes rather than a manuscript. We'll see about that, too...

  6. Scott - I like your idea.

    Me. Well I have a draft. Haven't looked it for a few days. I guess I have to now, since it is the 11th hour.

    Two weeks vacation begins tomorrow at 10:30am, right after our 8am and 9am services.

    RBP - I hope everything goes well tomorrow. and that it is an inspired day.

    Others, I hope you get some rest, that travel goes well, or that your sermon writing comes easy, despite fatigue.

  7. I'm sort of straddling the Luke and Hosea passages this week. I almost never try to include two passages lately, so his should be interesting!

    I'm getting ready to go have my boring Fat Club breakfast in a couple of minutes, and some coffee.

    I began my sermon yesterday because I am motivated to finish early. Spouse, Wondergirl, BoyWonder and I are going to a nearby state park today. The three of them are "mountain" biking, and I am in charge of the picnic and reading in the shade. If I don't finish, I can wrap it up later this afternoon I guess.

  8. I have some fresh hot coffee, blueberries, tomatoes from the garden and not much else. My trip to the farmers market has been thwarted due to predicted rain. The sun is out and it is gorgeous -- what were they thinking?

    I'm also goign to be in Luke. I was intreagued by what Will Willamon had to say at Blogging towards sunday at the Christian century. Why have the joys and concerns in church turned into a "sick call" when Jesus doesn't say anything about praying for the sick, but calls us to pray for the kingdom of God. He says it better here : (sorry, I can't find my link directions this morning)!

  9. Songbird, I am working up a short homily on Luke. It seems to me to be more work to write a short meditation, homily than a regular sermon. Oh well. I also going over to help with the cleaning day at the church.

  10. I have had my Frappachino and have spent the week getting Lutheranized. I am working on the Luke passage. This is my last sermon with this congregation before they vote on me for called pastor. I am not nervous so much as I want to give them a good sermon from which they can hear the good news.----See I told you I was getting Lutheranized.

    I could use some help from some of you Lutherans out there.

  11. I love, Knittinpreacher, the thought from Will Willimon, and although I am not preaching (we have a seminarian doing a two part series) I think I will introduce our prayers with something from Mr. Will. Peace, Spirit-ation, blessings on all of you working on your sermons....I am off to paint the bathroom today in our house.

  12. Not preaching at 10.00....will need to have a short something addressing the floods, I think...but suspect I can adapt other "disaster" material from earlier crises.
    I have some rather yummy apple and sultana "Go ahead" bars - low fat but you wouldn't know it. Would make coffee, but due to the water crisis I'll have to offer you a carton of fruit juice...

  13. Blessings to you all! And special blessings to Teri. Two weeks ago I spent my time in an airport with a group of teenagers. Our problem was not delays, but too short a lay over... How do you herd a group of teens past a food court without losing at least a couple of them? Thankfully we made it to the gate just in time to board.

    As for today, I have a sermon to right, vacation to pack for (yippie), a picnice to attend and a picnic to host (two different picnics). As soon as the second picnic is over tomorrow afternoon, I hit the road! Hopefully I will leave them with sme insightful thoughts on prayer, but I guess we'll see. I'll check back in later this afternoon after my first picnic!

  14. Great image, Scott!

    Praying for you, Muthah.

    I have sprite melons to share...tiny little melons that taste like a cross between pears and honeydews. Try some!

  15. I have a little homily posted here. Feel free to comment or borrow, if you are so inclined.

    Now I'm off to exercise, make breakfast, and take care of a variety of things. I'll back later to both tweek the homily and see how you all are doing.

    Blessings for a fruitful day.

  16. Good morning all. I have fresh pineapple to throw into the mix, as well as rolled oats and iced coffee.

    I am sticking with my "Gospel According to Harry Potter" sermon, talking about what it means to reject the empty philosophies of the world by remaining rooted and built up in the love that gave its life for us (tying that into Harry's mother's self-sacrifice, and that love "marking" him forever, as the self-sacrificial love of Christ marks us). Whew! Almost done.

    Peace, all. As always happens when I hear everyone's great ideas, I wish I were preaching the other texts too!


  17. Prayers for Teri and the youth group -

    KP - Thanks for the link

    I have my notes and thoughts but no real destination yet - I'm thinking something about how we pray continually through the daily offices not only individually but as a community - and the Lord's prayer is a communal prayer -

    And I'm thinking of a question I once heard in a DOK meeting (a women's order dedicated to prayer and service) - very sincere;y asked: "how dare we pray?"

    Off to shower - have a bday party today - other than that I'll get 'er done -

    I have lots of muffins and organic milk to pass out - would you like double chocolate, poppyseed, blueberry, or banana walnut?

  18. I am preaching on Genesis and Luke, looking at persistence in prayer. We may be motivated to continually 'bug' God in prayer in order to try to get what we want, but by consistently bringing ourselves into God's presence to try to change God's mind to see things our way, we find that we are the ones who are being changed, not God. I wrote about 3/4 of the sermon a couple of nights ago, right before entering the twilight zone of sleep. It sounded good to me then. I'm almost scared to pull it back out to see what it looks like now!

    An aside: for the second time in a month I've found it almost impossible to get started writing on the computer keyboard. But when I've picked up pencil and paper it seems to flow. What's up with that?? I trained myself years ago to write at the computer - a better use of time, I thought. It's worked great - until now. What works for you?

  19. Elastigirl, I like it.

    Reading your thought, I reached over for my little "Hour by Hour" book, which includes four daily offices for each day of the week. I particularly like this line from the Preface by the Very Rev. Alan Jones:

    "Finally, you will find this little book eminiently usable and even memorizable. I would like to see the lost art of memorizing verses from scripture revived. They can become "arrow prayers" during the day to keep us focused and loving."

    This has been true for me of the scriptures used in this book, and I have only had it since June. It gives me an opportunity to think more deeply about them: remembering them, I am able to cherish them at any hour of the day. They become new for me. This could be done with the BCP or any devotional.

  20. Well 10 a.m here. I have the best cherries ever from the fruit stand and the germ of an idea....Jesus gives them words for prayer but right away moves beyond that and starts talking about giving bread and good gifts...praying with your actions? I have not even looked at anything beyond the readings (it's been that kind of week in my little bivocational life, trying not to panic about that, yet. Have done all the "stuff" and now the writing is before me. Preachermom, Annie Dillard was interviewed VERY early this morning on MPR and she talked about what she sees as happening to her writing sometimes on computer vs by hand....gets way too expansive, far afield vs focused and clear. 'Twas food for thought. Well, here to give it a go.

  21. I'm on 2nd Peter (only one more month to go in Year of the Bible!) and trying to figure out how to preach w/o putting anything about my life or current feelings into it.

    Wedding at 2.

    I think I'll organize my office while I'm waiting...

  22. Good morning!
    I don't have much to add this morning to the table, but there are some lovley berries downstairs to share. I'll be taking one with a poppyseed muffin please :)
    Just got home from WW and working out. I'm on Luke as well. I'm thinking of talking about the prayer as a formula, kind of like Algebra. there is and X, Y, etc but if you fill in the same value for x and y everytime you will never get the equation right. I also want to emphasize that our neighbors will give us a necessity (aka bread) in the middle of the night, not their brand new Tahoe! We are to ask for our needs, our daily bread. Its not about extravigance, its about trusting that daily God will provide.
    I'm also interested in the fact that Jesus says "how much more will God give the HOLY SPIRIT to those who ask" Too often I've heard the holy spirit left off and these verses become prosperity gospel.
    Early ramblings that I hope to tie up after lunch and possible nap!

  23. Revdrkate, thanks for the heads-up on the Annie Dillard interview. I went to the NPR website to listen. When someone like Annie Dillard talks about writing, it's a good thing to listen! Interesting thoughts about writing by hand vs. writing by computer.

  24. Which passage from 2 Peter, Will Smama? Just wondering....


  25. I brought greek yogurt, honey and figs for brunch time!

    I'm supplying this week at a small-ish church nearby. I'm inclined to go with Luke as well, and focus on the need to teach and learn prayer - that even for the disciples, it is not something they can pick up by osmosis. A similar tact to Willimon's post... but, it seems that for this prayer to make any sense at all, we have to have a vision of what it means to live in the reign of God. Praying for the sick absolutely fits into this ("I have come to give sight to the blind") but isn't limited to that kind of healing.

    Elastigirl - the "traditional" into to the Lord's prayer in the Episcopal Church is "And now as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say..." Interesting notion, going with your woman's group question.

  26. I've just gone and skimmed 2 Peter. I think I see what you mean.

    There is a lovely bit at the begining about endurance...

    Peace to you in your writing, ((WS))... and to us all!


  27. Susis and Elastigirl, speaking of the boldness of the Lord's prayer, a friend has shared her sermon draft with me. She points out that there's nary a "please" in the whol thing... It's all very bold, indeed, full of imperatives.



  28. Re: Prayer and boldness and please and asking...

    I once heard a noted liturgist say that too many prayers were wimpy (well, that wasn't the word used, but anyway). He did indeed point to the Prayer Jesus Taught Us (as we say in my tradition)-- "Give." "Forgive." "Lead." etc. Not, "If it's OK and in accordance with your will..."

    I've discovered that when I stay away from the "we ask you, God, blah blah" style, it is indeed more powerful.

    Just musing here as I put a final polish on my sermon for tomorrow and wait for Brit Boy to finish the set...

  29. Oh and lest anyone think I am bragging over having my sermon done already--I am going flat out from about 3 or 4 pm today (depending on when that set is done and downloaded) until after midnight, then up and at 'em again from 6 am to midnight again... So it had better be done right now!

    Yes, it's Pride weekend!

    Happy Pride y'all..!

  30. Lot's of thanks to Mompriest, she had a quote that really completed what I wanted to say. Sometimes I wish I had ya'lls names so that when I lifted something I could give you credit. But I did say "a colleague of mine puts it this way" Is that ok with ya'll?

  31. Party's well under way, I see ... thanks SB for starting us off bright and early.

    I'm late in attending 'cuz I had to watch the last time trial stage in the tour de france. It was a doozy!

    Speaking of boldness in prayer, I think it was pretty bold of Abraham to negotiate with God about the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Prayers for you folks experiencing water issues, especially you in the UK. MCC sent out a special prayer alert for you. This is an excellent time to be bold in prayer, isn't it? For those with too much and those with too little water.

    Michigan sweet cherries, anyone?

  32. Back from the two and a half hour funeral...I have no ideas at all. There are so many directions I could go! Argh! need focus! As for food, well, my cupboards are rather about fat free pudding? The new chocolate mint is very good.

  33. I'm not preaching this week -- summer school, so I get to read Wesley sermons and write a paper on Luther and works this weekend -- so I'm stopping by to drop of fresh coffee and a plate full of berries -- straw/blue/black/ras.

    With chocolate dipping sauce.

    Enjoy! And blessings...

  34. ((will smama))

    cheesehead, how I would love to be in charge of reading in the shade!

  35. But ppb... was the church air conditioned?

  36. ...not even a little bit. They did have those paper fans. And well over 500 people squished inside.

  37. KP, thanks for the link! I lost all my links a while back (thanks a lot, Firefox!), and I never re-added Theolog.
    Preacher Mom, I heard an interview with Annie Dillard this morning in which she talked about the way writing at the computer makes her use too many words, too fast, thereby diluting the result. When she used to write by hand, she thought more as she wrote.
    Whether it's true or not in a universal way, it's certainly true that changing from one to the other can help break up any blocks we're having. (Hmmm, could I be talking about me?)
    I have clementines! Anybody want one?

  38. This week is my first week back from 3 weeks away. When my text study group met, they all seemed to be going one direction while I was going another (usually this isn't the case)...nonetheless, at text study the neon light moment was when somebody read aloud verse 5 from Luke about the door already being locked and the "friend" being too busy for another.

    After 2 weeks back home reconnecting with friends, the idea of friendship is front and center. I came back to the office this week and it seemed like everyone who stopped by had a celebration or a woe related to friendship. So...I'm trusting the Spirit and going with the theme of friendship. Which character resonates most with you? With your idea of Jesus as a friend? What does it mean to be a friend to one another, to the church (ours is rampant with gossip issues) and to God.

    We're also using the Lukan version of the Lord's Prayer. That'll shake some of them up...

  39. No a/c at this church either. And although the bridesmaids have beautiful dresses, they came with scarves!

    Thank goodness for simple black dresses and a stoll.

  40. ws, you didn't robe/vest/whatever? Why didn't I think of that last night with humidity of 100%?
    And next time I decide to reference Annie Dillard or anyone else, I'll remember to read all the comments first!
    Time for more coffee, who needs a cup?

  41. hi - not preaching this week, just dropping in to say howdy. thinking of you and wondering what you're writing while I bleach the bathtub.

  42. Songbird, the last wedding I did, I wore my robe---and a camisole and boxer shorts. I had a skirt and blouse on over the cami and boxers prior to and after wedding, but there is just a limit to what one can tolerate in the name of wedding pictures.

    I used to do a black dress for weddings, too. So long as it is plain as can be (ie doesn't clash with the bridesmaids), nobody much cares. But I ripped the hem on that dress, and now go with the robe.

    I also once did a wedding in black skirt and clergy blouse. Because it was, quite literally over 100 out, and I knew I'd pass out otherwise. The bride had scrapped her heavy dress in favor of a simple cotton sundress, and the groom scrapped the jacket---all reappeared for the reception. That was the first time I ever wore a clergy blouse and I was SO GLAD I had bought it.

    Okay, this is a long rant on things that I don't really need to be futzing with right now.....sermon avoidance much?

  43. A simple black dress and a stole became a part of my outdoor wedding ensemble quite awhile ago. Two summers ago for a church wedding I realized that in order to survive my outdoor wedding outfit was going to be a must.

    They only challenge - if it is a big wedding getting the microphone clipped onto the back of my underwear because the dress has no pockets.

    Dead. Sexy.

  44. I'm not preaching this week--and thankful for it. I'm already wiped out. I am trying to come up with a children's sermon on prayer, so if you have any ideas pass 'em my way.
    My mother is supposed to be arriving tonight, but we just learned that the airline has rescheduled her--to arrive tomorrow while I'm at church. Bah. Blessings to all as you prepare to proclaim!

  45. Don't worry about it, Songbird! It just proves that great minds think alike!

  46. omg, will, do your drawers ever fall down? those mic-packs are kind of heavy. Now that would be a memorable wedding--preacher clutching at waist to keep her unmentionables from appearing in the wedding photos!

  47. mamas,

    Have you heard of the "Five Finger Prayer"? You use your hand to remind you what to pray for...

    Thumb--those closest to you (family, etc.)
    Pointer finger--those who point us in the right direction (parents, teachers, etc.)
    Middle finger--since it's tallest, for those in people of power (government leaders, etc.)
    Ring finger--since it's the weakest, for those who are weak or sick
    Little finger--since it's often thought of as the least, for ourselves

  48. silent - that is brilliant, but my 12 year old mind would not allow me to get through the middle one without cracking up.

    Yes. I'm 12.

    It also reminds me of the time where I did "Here is the church, here is the steeple" during one of my children's sermons and when I opened the doors to see all the people I pointed to my missing appendage and said, "Hey! Who forgot to invite a friend!"

  49.'re funny, but you knew that.

    I do find it awesome that the middle finger stands for those in power. Hmmmmm

  50. I learned a different five finger prayer:

    Thumb: Adoration and praise (clinging to God)
    Pointer: Pointed at ourselves in Confession
    Middle Finger: Tallest = Thanksgiving (most important kind of prayer... according to this little schema)
    Ring Finger: "heart finger"= prayers for others, both whom we love and around the world.
    Pinky: Smallest, last = prayers for myself.

    Years after i did this as a children's message, a couple of women from the church told me they still used it themselves. I sometimes use it myself, driving, for example



  51. Will, I like having 12-year-old friends! It's fun. Since I was thinking the same thing, does that make me 12 too?

    I like both of the five-finger prayers. I had never heard of either until today. Thanks!

  52. Well, it is 2:30 and I have just arrived. All I have to offer is a Diet Coke, some Skittles my kids gave me for my birthday, and a crappy first draft of a sermon on Luke. Here we go!

  53. Just finished. Phew! Final edit still coming up later tonight. Getting ready to head off to watch Rosemary play soccer. I think they're serving hot dogs as a fundraiser. Not fine cuisine, but I'm taking orders!

  54. I have a good-looking black and white outfit purchased specifically for an outdoor wedding, but the top half is a white shell and black cardigan, and there was no way I could wear the cardigan yesterday.
    I'm going shopping for a black dress before next summer, that's for sure! Or some sort of two-piece thing, since that solves the microphone problem. I definitely needed the microphone last night. The church was packed full of overheated guests.

  55. Okay, I just read the Peter passage, will smama.
    How about talking about the difference between mutual affection and love? I just preached a wedding homily about love being the greatest because it is not just a feeling; it's an action.
    Although that could take you right back to the same place. Shoot.

  56. I'm back from picnic #1 and need to get serious about the sermon! Thanks for your great ideas / insights into the texts. You all have great berries to share. Where are these fantastic farmer's markets? My cupboards are pretty bare... but I do have some BBQ chips.

  57. I got one paragraph.
    I'm just hot and itchy and distracted (look, a bird!). Going to be a long night.

    Prayer a butterfly......I'm making that up, I will not be saying that.

  58. kristabeth--you got any plain chips? And your kitty looks like a younger, more slender girlkitty! maybe they are long lost cousins.

  59. oooh, oooh, oooh - thanks MB and Susie and Mags and RDQ - now I feel inspired - by boldness - also the Greek word translated as persistance can also be shameless (yes I'm still in seminary) - so I was meandering down that rabbit trail - shameless and bold - that'll preach!!

    WS - LOL - love the mic placement! I hate mics...

  60. Rev Scott - are you saying that the Lord's prayer is equal in ineptitude as Guitar Hero? I've been pondering your comment all day & just have to ask -

    BTW - went to run errands and brought back very tasty raspberries - washed and ready to consume in all their sweet/sourness - as well as some raw almonds that are quite tasty. Help yourself!

  61. The shamelessness thing is the backbone of my whopping 3 paragraph sermon so far. I also love that the "Father" is in the vocative...may play with that a little too. Or write something about butterflies. Because really, who doesn't love a sermon about butterflies?

  62. it seems i am the only one venturing into colossians. ugh! just attended my church's general assembly so i am filled with stories, but too many ideas. hoping it gets pared down by tomorrow morning!

  63. Oh, PPB, now I want to write about butterflies too!!

    Instead, I have this image of a potter's wheel - how the final object is shaped both by the constant spinning and by the hands of worker - I think that is like how we are shaped by both prayer and action, as dual movements in our spiritual journeys.

    Except... I've never really seen a potter at work for any length of time, so I'm kinda makin' all that up from movie scenes. urgh.

    Kristabeth, pass the bbq chips please...

  64. I'm back after a busy day...took our dogs on a three mile walk in the forest nice. Now. I'm drinking iced tea and eating peanut M&M's...anyone care for some?

    I have a sleeveless black dress for weddings...but since in my denom we always wear a collar when presiding at weddings, funerals, Sunday morning...I have to add a "janey" under it and attach the collar.... Then I add a stole. It's dressy and "professional" and not too hot.

    Sounds like there has been some headway for some of you...

  65. Hey, I don't know anything about butterflies, either.
    They're nice.
    they're pretty.
    So far, my first page isn't nice or pretty.

  66. I'm back from the bike ride/picnic/ reading in the shade. I got the cutest picture of Wondergirl and BoyWonder looking out over the ridge, all schmoopy-like. Even though the picture is Jo(e)-style (showing only backs of heads) I'm still not sure about blogging photos of someone else's minor child.

    Now I'm onto finishing the sermon. I'm 1,000 words in and I think I should go ahead and get to the point already. But I'm caught up in 8th centure CE latifundialization and Davidic dynastic succession vs Yahwhistic divine succession and I'm just enough of a dork that those things fascinate me.

    Because really, who doesn't love a sermon about latifundialization?

  67. Just back from camp, tired, sweaty and a bit pink. Yikes! LOL at Cheesehead,, and preparing to clean up and then get to sermonizing.

  68. Oh, and since I'm all about the distractions (look, a bird, no a butterfly!)the thing I hate about the janie thingies is the unfortunate line--the one that sort of cuts mid-chest? What's up with that? I mean, it's fine with a heavy sweater, but the point of a janie is for when it's really hot, right? At lesat in my world.

    I have this idea, that I want to pitch to women spirit about a clergisole---made of that clingy cotton/lycra suck in all your jiggles fabric, but with a collar attached---voila, a second skin type of clergy shirt thingy, over which you can wear knits or sheer fabrics, or things that wouldn't look stupid with the unfortunate line.

    But I digress....
    Focus, PPB, focus....I'm now rationing myself to working for 10 minutes and then checking the blog. Cuz you know you guys might say the perfect word that make sthe sermon rock and sizzle. Or you might make me think about microphones and underwear, and well, that make sme giggle.

    Well, happy butterflies to you.

  69. Audrey... I'm preaching Colossians too, qua Harry Potter (about the 17th comment in this thread).



  70. I just asked my human mama for some treats.
    And she said no, it was late, and she didn't want to get out of bed and unlock the kitty treat box.

    So I decided to just sit here and yowl shamelessly, so that everyone will know. and then I thought I'd tell teh internets that I'm hungry and howl shamelessly.

    She said to go ahead, and tell teh internets that she's on page 2. Like I care.

    this isn't the result i was hoping for. I think the revgalpetpals need to go back to bible study.

  71. Please tell me I'm not the only one with very little written. Please.
    It's hard to come back after two weeks off, work a week, then have another week off. My rhythm is totally broken.
    (Yeah, yeah. Excuses, excuses.)

  72. ppb... I do have tortilla chips. Does that work?

    My kitty is all boy.... and not so slender anymore! He likes to walk on my keyboard when I'm trying to write my sermon. I'm not sure if it annoying or divine intervention.

  73. Songbird,
    I am completely with you. After having a two week vacation, then back for two weeks, then off to Mexico for a mission trip, I am totally off my rhythm.

    I am with ppb, watching the birds and squirrels. Haven't seen a butterfly yet (mariposa in Spanish), but I keep gazing out the window anyway....

    I am somewhere on page three, hoping to just crank this out and be done with it. Half my tiny congregation is on vacation or camping anyway, so it's hard to stay motivated.

  74. vacation......what a pretty, pretty word. I don't get one this summer, due to a project I took on, but I'm feeling the need, oh am I feeling the need, so I'm thinking of trying to squish in 3 days in August...maybe to maine or the cape...what are my chances of booking one now...hey, I know I can look up vacation information...look at the butterflies...why is my cat still howling?

  75. Presby Babe, you have my favorite blog title ever.
    Is this your first time at the Preacher Party? I'm delighted to meet you, either way!

  76. Songbird,
    Thanks! Great to meet you, too! I'm glad you like the title. I wish it weren't so true.

    I've been lurking for a few months and have posted a few comments on the preacher party. I just love the fact that I am not the only one who scrambles on Saturdays to write my sermons. Misery loves company!

    You gals rock!

  77. ppb, come to Maine and stay in the St. Casserole Memorial Guest Room! (She's never been here. I'm just hopeful.)
    Presby Babe, at my house it's the dog who eats papers. And knitting. And socks. And trash. Many emergency vet appointments. Hope you'll think about joining the ring!

  78. Yup, I plan on joining the ring. As soon as I figure out how to do it. I know there are instructions around here somewhere.

    But wait...

    must.write.sermon. Argh!

  79. ppb

    If you are indeed from the New England area as you comment suggests, our cats could be cousins!

  80. I'm from New England, but my sister is from Pennsylvania. It's a quaker state. So on Sundays, she sits in silence until she's moved to speak.

    I would not make a good quaker.

  81. No Elasti-Girl, thank you --shameless is yet another step beyond boldness, beyond persistence, isn't it?

    Is it Garth Brooks I'm hearing in my head about shameless ...?

    "Praying Shamelessly" is a pretty intriguing sermon title --or is it better as "Shameless Prayer"?

    I hear ya', PPB, on the vacation thing --I need one too. I think Lake Superior is calling: "Come. Swim. Fish. Cold, clear, fresh water. Cool breezes. Yoopers. Pasties."

    "Black flies" too --but I'm ignoring their voice.

    Fixin' to go BBQ some ribs. Will have beans, cole slaw and fresh corn on the cob too.

  82. Yogurt and granola anyone? I am halfway through and boring myself. The beginning was ok but I got stuck and you all are sooooo much more interesting! Susie I am grateful for the BOLD intro's in. I'm still giggling about the five finger interp and little black outfits and mics...what a wonderfully irreverent bunch. I am so all over the "clergysole, PPB, sign me up. ok, ok....back to sermon....

  83. ::bats eyelashes::

    Irreverent? Us?

  84. Songbird: I thought it was the Cheesehead Memorial Guest Room.

    Cause I've been there.

    Except I'm not dead.

  85. At the funeral this morning, a singer sang "When God Made me"--the Neil young song---she changed it so every other line was she, not he. It was perfect. And somehow I thought I was going to use it in my sermon, but I just bought it, and there is absolutely no connection...waht was I thinking?

    I have 800 words....

  86. Now there's THUNDER. And my human mama says, "come cuddle with me and the computer." I don't wanna. I want to crawl under the couch and have human mama pet me there.

    THUNDER, I tell you THUNDER!

  87. rdq - Billy Joel was "shameless" first.

    ppb - What else did you buy and how long did you linger there while you told yourself you were still working on your sermon.

    I have pitifully little done. I am going to spew and type into the computer and then edit and censor later.

  88. Okay ... I'm not preaching tomorrow, just checking in ... and LOL at all the butterfly and black dress talk... now off to see Hairspray (sorry, couldn't resist) ... blessings on your writing. -:)

  89. Oooh, LMK, the thunder won't hurt you and human mommies don't fit under couches. 1,687 words PPB and now I'M counting...oh good another diversion :) Yes Songbird, delightfully so! Need a good strong finish and I'm there!

  90. Sermon is done. Now I have to go shopping. Supper isn't till 9 tonight because housemate doesn't come home until late tonight. I hate these late Sat nites when I have to be ready to leave at 7am.

    Have loved the commentary on wedding attire. My one alb is so heavy that I try to wear as little as I can under it. But then it is also see through too. Can't win. I need a summer alb to get through a/c-less churches. For Sunday mornings in J-A I forgo vestments. But it is hard with weddings. I too do the collar thing and die.

    Have a good Sunday, ya'll

  91. Good guess, will smama, but I actually am fairly surgical with my Itunes strikes. In and out. Now listening to the song 5 times to try to remember how it was I though it would fix this sermon? guilty.

    It is thundering. I have both cats quivering on my (hot) lap, and I'm starting to feel panicky about the sermon. Need to crank out another page at least. I know how I want to end....I just need to get from here to there.

  92. 1687 words is done, revdrkate.

    I just checked how many words last week's sermon was 1649.

    go in peace to serve the lord.

  93. Okay, I'm talking to myself now. But here's my thing (in case you-all come back). I'm preaching, so far, on shamelessness. And I guess that's where the song took me, but it's scaffolding, not illustration. I'm preaching about how hard it is to really come to God in prayer--earnest, shameless prayer. About how we sort of "clean up" for God, even while knowing God knew it all along. Sort of like how we kick stuff into closets 10 seconds before company arrives.

    I don't know. Does that make sense?

  94. As an all-time champion closet stuffer, it makes perfect sense to me.

    1288 words and I still don't have a damn point.

  95. But you have 1200 words! That's kickin'. I'm at 1000. I'm thinking if I can get into a conclusion at 1300 or so, that's good enough. No air conditioning, windows only on the 2nd floor. It's going to be hot and ugly. They'll appreciate a short sermon.

    Or at least that's what I'm telling myself.

    What text are you doing Cheese?

  96. I am getting nervous that I might lose my power. It's really storming out there.

  97. PPB, Yes! Makes perfect wonderful sense to me! One of my friends told me a story about a transforming moment when she felt that “it was as if I could see my soul as God saw it.” The liberation was not so much that she didn't know all along that God saw her soul as just fine, but that for once, SHE was ok with all the stuff not being in the closet. 1,687 only counts if you have a conclusion!

  98. Preaching to a community I don't know is just too hard. *WHINE*

    K, I'm over that. It finally occurred to me (DUH) that since my new role is youth ministry and formation, that I should focus on the whole teaching aspect of this passage - and my made-up-potters-wheel illustration fits just fine.

    Sitting and typing when its sunny and pretty outside the window with that nice late evening sun makes me think I should practice my "preaching without notes" tomorrow.

    Hubby is making peanut butter-banana-chocolate smoothies, if anyone wants some. Come quick though, cuz I'll drink the whole lot myself!

  99. Okay, I'm at 1513 words and still am only about halfway. So tell me, am I preaching too long? Maybe I just need to write less and speak more slowly??

  100. Presby, it depends on your community. I preach in a college chapel. We are normally 10-12 minute sermons. You're probably in a church that expects more minutes than that!

    I think 8 is quite sufficient for hotter 'n' hades, don't you?

  101. PPB: I'm doing the Hosea text is what I really mean.

    I had a burst of mojo and I think I may have found my conclusion at about word 1607. But this sermon feels like a great big ol' porch on a little tiny shack.

  102. 1800 words is about all my congregation can take.

    ppb, I too am playing the 'it will be too hot' card as my only goal is to make it look like I put in some effort to write a sermon. When I've got nothing else to say - I'm done.

    I think along with the dog line and the Holy spirit has your back line I want to add:
    Thou shalt not sacrifice thyself on the altar of the perfect sermon.

  103. Oh my gosh, ppb that reminds me of the best welcoming line by a pastor to a Presbytery meeting ever:

    "I was going to welcome you all to God's country but seeing that it is hotter than hell... I doubt if you'll believe me."

    (the meeting was in that county over the mountains not called jerry)

  104. PPB - Good point. I'm in a traditional church that expects the 17 to 20 minute sermon. Though, why on earth anyone wants to sit through something that long, when you could get the same points in 10 to 12 minutes, I don't have a clue.

    and 8 is even better! I hope your power stays on!

  105. Cheese, I'm trying to shame her into visiting.
    Ultimately I decided to steal an old story of my own, blogged a few years ago before I had readers to speak of, and that made the middle of the sermon. I don't usually post mine until Sunday, but I'm so delighted to be finished that I'm doing it now!

  106. 1,503. How's that?

    Anyhoo... it's done!

    I've never done the word count on my sermons before.

    It's printing right now. I hope the cat didn't cause too many typos!

    Blessings to all still plugging away. The thunderstorms rolled through here, but didn't cause any power outages.

    I'll be thinking of you all next Saturday while I'm on vacation at my cottage in Maine. No internet, so I won't be able to check in. No running water, either, but that's another story!

  107. Okay, all of you with over 1000 words stop complaining! I have 0 words down! That's right zero, cero, zip. It will all get done, or it won't. :)
    Speaking of hot churches, the first presbytery meeting I ever went to, the one where I came under care, was in Trona, CA (that's death valley!) It was a cool 115 degrees and they passed out fans in the church with no ac that were covered in flames and read "And you think it's hot in here!" I knew then that Cumberland Presbyterians out west had a good since of humor. Not sure about the others!

  108. krista beth - over 1000 words, done and then if that weren't enough: "I'll be thinking of you all next Saturday while I'm on vacation at my cottage in Maine."

    What did we do to you that you would treat us in such a harsh manner?
    I'm with ya cpclergymama.

  109. why am I the slowest sermon writer on the face of the earth?

  110. Eh. I might have you beat on that PPB :)

    Thank goodness this church I"m at tomorrow doesn't have worship til 9:30!!

  111. and if any of you suggest that making about 2000 posts on the preacher party has even a little to do with my now 9 hours of writing--not exegeting, writing---I'll give you a scorpion and a snake.

  112. Krista Beth, shoot! Sounds like you're coming to my neck of the woods just as I'm going off to church camp! How long are you staying?

  113. I don't want a scorpion or a snake.
    Would you like an ice cream bar? Nice Polar Bear, Nice Polar Bear!

  114. Sheesh...I'm good and stuck. Dole fruit popsicle anyone? They really are good. I'm still stuck though. Contemplating preaching an old sermon....

  115. Okay, so I know what I said about the altar of the perfect sermon and stopping when i was done and all... but 453 words really does seem paltry.

    Ice cream please.

  116. ws, we have Edy's Loaded Cookie Dough ice cream, or Weight Watchers GIANT cookies and cream bars (2 points for those who care about such things). I hear the former is delicious, and I can vouch for the latter personally.

  117. WS, how about I give you my 1300 words of body and you hand over a 400 word conclusion? Becasue the one I had in mind, it ain't happenin'

  118. And Songbird, it's nice of you to hang around here when you're all done with your sermon.

  119. It's the weekend so i will take the non-WW version please and kudos to you for being able to have both in the house.

    PPB - conclusions are my specialty... alas we are not preaching on the same text.

    Question: Would any one notice?

    (Don't answer. Too depressing.)

  120. I'll have both kinds of ice cream please!
    Well its 1400 and done! I'm posting it here, such as it is.
    So I'm off to work on my Sunday School lesson on Hebrews!
    Blessings y'all!

  121. I think I'll take my 2145 and call it a night. (And that's about 400 shorter than usual) I think I am really liking the idea of about 1500 words. Maybe I can sort of...ease them into that. It's worth a shot. Maybe by Advent??
    Peace to you all.

  122. It really freaks me out when the Sunday prayer goes up before I'm done with my sermon.

  123. 1524. Thank you Reverend Beuchner for the quote for the ending. I owe you one.

  124. Huh. It's amazing what words you produce when you make yourself stick to the task at hand for 30 minutes.

    PPB - I hear ya! It's like in college when the morning newspapers were being delivered.

    1144 words...

  125. Arrrgh! Me too, PPB, me too.

    Pass the cookie dough ice cream please!

    Though, I'm nearly done I think. Now, where did I put that conclusion I had lying around?

  126. I am with you,ppb! ok, it's done and up. 1752. It was a good year. Hope it's a good sermon. I was almost done and got paged to the hospital (other life, I'm on call), then they didn't need me, so here I am back, grrrrr. Love the party company on these long days, tho I think maybe I need to learn to write faster! Thanks all. Ice cream all around, DQ is next store, I'll make the run!

  127. DQ ME PLEASE!!!
    Getting ever so closer. In bed by 11 - dare I to dream?

  128. OK. I got little 5 minute homily for this Sunday is 912 words (and I imagine the other 5 minute homilies are similar in length)...otherwise it looks like my sermons run around 1500 - 1800.

    In my little church they can handle a 10 minute sermon, give or take a minute or two.

    Looks like a good party going on. I have low fat ice cream bars with chocolate crisp coating...please help yourself.

    Me. I'm about to go to bed. I hope the Spirit fills all your words, throughts, and dreams. Tonight. and tomorrow.

    Oh. And I have said, I start vacation tomorrow at 10:30am...woohoo

  129. Blessings and ice cream bars to all who are still laboring. And joyful Pride celebrations and vacations to you also!

  130. Done save for editing:

    That's average to long for me.
    I wonder how much I will end up cutting as I have mercy on their sweating souls?

    Peace, friends.

  131. It's the early hours here - fell asleep earlier so just checked in here before going to bed and getting up early again to finish off! Thanks for the excellent ideas - think I'm going to use the 5 finger prayer thing for my all-age (and I've gleaned some nice ideas from others too). What would I do without you lot!

  132. The outline is done,
    "Without notes" is in sight,
    Its now time for bed,
    so to all a good night!

    And when I"m rhyming, I know its past my bedtime. Happy Sundays to everyone, whether you're preaching, celebrating or relaxing!

  133. I've been watching Meet Me In St. Louis with The Princess, reflecting on how times have changed. Anyone need anything? We're going to hit the sack soon, and I may need someone else to turn down the gaslights...

  134. Checking in before turning in...

    I did get the set from Brit Boy in time and did it rock! But shhhh...I haven't talked to him about it yet.

    The sermon is printed (outline!!) and in my binder for tomorrow.

    So I'll turn down the gaslights, SB, and leave one on low for anyone needing a midnight snack or a last bit of editing.

    Blessings all!

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  136. I'm exiting now and heading off for bed. Good thing, because it got dim in here when Rainbow Pastor turned the lights down. I was so quite over here she didn't see me. I do need a conclusion, but I'll put it on in the light of day Almost 11 p.m. here and all's well. No one wanted fruit popsicle?...back in the freezer they go. Good night, preachers and supporters. Preach well, and special prayers going up for you, will smama.

  137. we are home and I am so happy to be by myself for the first time in 6 days and to check in with y'all...and apparently to write run-on sentences.

    happy preaching tomorrow, friends! I will pray for you from my post-mission-trip haze.

  138. This is revabi. I have been home, but not near the computer. I have had the kids this afternoon. Bob went to the ball game. He needed a break. It has been a comedy of blood at our house. Kate had a bloody nose, nothing new for her, but it still freaks her out. Kara opened the door on her big toe, not sure what happened, but had blood everywhere. I waited for Zach to do something, but he never did. So after I got them asleep I have been working on a short homily. mompriest it will probably be about the length of yours. I haven't ever thought of how many words I write, but I usually have anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to preach. But not tomorrow. Whooh.

    I love the joking I hear going on. Love the stories about clergy wedding outfits. I don't robe unless its a big fancy wedding. Ya'll are going to have to get airconditioning if you are going to survive the global warming.

    Blessings on all tomorrow, and thanks to all who share their sermons.

  139. Silent--
    That is a fantastic memory device to teach at children's time. I didn't get back to check in yesterday, but I am so glad I did this morning. I traced my hand and wrote each one out and I'll make copies for the readers in the group.
    RevGals Preacher Party saves my butt again.

  140. Mine is 1634, minus the poem.
    Don't forget, preachers:
    If you've got a dog, walk it proud.
    And the Holy Spirit has got your back!

  141. It was interesting reading about sermon length. I usually don't use a manuscript, so I can't tell you word count for this week, but I can't imagine preaching for 10 minutes! How do you do that? I'm just done putting in the background about 10 minutes in. I usuall have about 30 minutes, and still I often feel that I am just skimming the subject and never exploring the meat of the thing. Interesting. I still say I sure wish we could travel 'round and listen to each other. Sermon is concluded, and I'm moderately pleased with it. Heading for the coffee pot and then to church. Blessings!

  142. I'm interested in the length thing too...I can't imagine how I would ever find enough to say to fill half an hour. I'd fall over and repeat myself and generally drive them to distraction,I'm sure.My lot like 8 to 10 minutes, 15 at the outside...and I find that it's about 1000 words. 2000 was the word limit for assignments at vicar school, so that feels seriously detailed and thought through...
    Now off to deliver 5 mins top whack of mini homily on God in the floods...Hope you've all had a good Sunday.

  143. 10-12 minutes here - 15 MAX - the 11:00 services already lasts until 12:20!! I was curious also - mine was 1000 words, but there are chunks that I don't write in - so it's not entirely accurate -
    I prefer to write it out - then outline or bullet point & preach from the skeleton - makes me slow down and think about what I'm saying -

  144. I love the snippets here. How your minds work. What to wear for weddings etc. It's all part of who we are :)

    There was a lot of discussion here about the length of a sermon. I guess with more liturgy the sermon is shorter - in our church it's often 30 mins (or more)

    What I've found is that when the sermons are long - then stories (personal ones) are really needed - but they must have a point. something to remember and something either to respond to or to challenge you in the week to come (or both)

    but whatever you did :) yesterday I want to encourage you to keep preaching the gospel - sometimes using words - who we are - how we mirror God's love to His people (saved and unsaved) is SO important.

    We are - you are - light and salt and give Jesus-filled hugs and words of encouragement...

  145. Who still reads this after the preaching is done? I wonder.

    Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate being able, as laity, to "listen in" to your processes. It makes the scripture, and whatever sermon I hear, that much more meaningful.

    Of course, I wish I could hear every one of your sermons preached!

    The sermon I did hear this week, by RG Elastigirl, was particularly wonderful. This group is such a gift to me...I can only imagine how it aids those of you who will be preaching before congregations each week.

    Thank you all!


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