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Saturday, September 15, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party: Is September Always Like This? Edition

It's Saturday morning. Do you know where your sermon is?

No? Well, maybe you will find some inspiration here.

For those of us on the lectionary, there are ruined cities, multiple iniquities, hyssop-based purgings and recovered sheep and coins.

I am drawn to the gospel lesson, but we used the first half as a theme for Children's Sunday, just a few months ago, including a playlet featuring the children, with my dog, Molly, as the lost sheep. (If it might help, feel free to use it, just drop me an e-mail to let me know.)

Where are you in the process? How many distractions lie before you today? I find September to be full of them, every single year, and it still manages to surprise me.

More importantly, what do you take in your coffee?

Leave a comment and let's get the party started!


  1. i can't seem to get out of bed.

    i don't have a clue what my sermon will be though i've only got about two hours (at the rate i'm going now) to figure that out.

    i have to pray at the festival in honor of a locally produced product and then sit at a booth for an organization i'm a part of.

    then i have to officiate at a wedding.

    then to another booth.

    and tomorrow... insane.

    so, yes, songbird, i agree about your assessment of September.

    maybe i'll read the gospel reading once more, prayerfully stretch, and pray God speaks.

    no coffee, thanks, tea?

    blessings all!

  2. Not preaching this week, but here in I head to the church house to CLEAN after construction so Sunday School doesn't all have to crowd into one room with separate classes in the corners like last week. On my way I will be stopping at DD (Dunkin Donuts--a veritable shrine here in Boston) for lovely iced tea. Any body want something? For children's time I am going to do a Montessori approach of wondering what home feels like....

  3. more cows, I hear the kettle whistling. Herbal? Earl Grey? Whatever will help the most.

  4. right now on first cup of coffee and apple streusel muffin, but will switch to herb tea (for the cold) later.... probably peppermint. I have about half a sermon written on the sheep/coin, and bringing the coin part into it more than usual. btw, us Lutherans have Exodus and the story of God repenting as our first text, and Jeremiah as alternate.

    ... that being said, on Thursday, I got the idea of looking through the church "lost and found" (kind of a sad place, some things have been there for months) as a way into the text.

    you know, those tax collectors and sinners are/were kind of like the lost and found items that nobody seems to want.

    except Jesus.

  5. Karla, that sounds like a very busy day!
    I have a wedding this afternoon, a husband leaving for a six-week job, a daughter returning early who doesn't like it when I am focused on writing, two big dogs to walk in the rain, and not much written.
    I would also like to exercise myself! And I'm going to Weight Watchers. And I'm doing laundry. And...and...and...
    I know it will all be completed, but the trip to the wedding feels like a lot today.

  6. songbird, you do sound busy...and karla too.... bring us sermon writers some cinnamon donuts! (do they still have those?)

  7. oh, and yes, more cows, you sound insanely busy too.

  8. I'm very excited to be preaching this week at two tiny tiny churches -- the kind that call on seminary students because they have no installed pastor. And I'm excited because I have Iona sheep misadventure stories to share (Some of us on a church trip last summer thought it was up to us to rescue sheep who did not need rescuing.) Consequently the sermon is about needing discernment as well as patience.

  9. supporting, not preaching...also looking for the perfect children's time! Today I'm at a lock-in for another hour, then to the gym, Costco to buy stuff for tomorrow's luncheon, back here for a funeral, then "off" for the second half of the day. Oh for a weekend with no extra stuff so I can have a real day off! I remember those, from back in the summer...and now I'm paying for them, I think, with many days straight with no days off b/c the fall seems to have snuck up on me with a vengeance.
    Gotta go wake up some high schoolers....

  10. I'm doing the gospel tomorrow (title - "How to Have a Party") and am referring to two versions of this I preached 8 and 9 years ago. I was excited about it when we were first setting the preaching schedule for the fall. Now? Not so much.

    DH and I have been trying to do the mostly-vegan thing lately but yesterday I noticed that McD's has started serving chicken biscuits; now I am sooooooo wanting one.

    And I take half-and-half (also not vegan!) in my coffee.

  11. Hazelnut coffee and non-thrilling cheerios...but a cuddly, cool, Fall morning with my girl.

    I got a call last night to do a funeral Monday for a parishioner's son-in-law, so I have to go meet with the family about that, and somewhere in there, a sermon must get written!

    Peace, Sisters!

  12. I have coffee and some great leftovers from my house blessing last night. I'm going with I Timothy tomorrow - I kind of made a promise to myself to try to preach from the Epistles now and then. Off for some strong coffee!

  13. thanks for putting the kettle on, songbird.

    hmmm... spice tea, maybe.

    so... we're having a big congregational meeting tomorrow to vote on MUCH NEEDED (I don't have an opinion, do I?) building renovations for accessibility- safety- etc. I keep, therefore, coming back to the first few verses of the Gospel reading, keep thinking about the company Jesus kept, and the way he kept that company, and wonder... is that the company we keep? Are we committed to welcoming and partying with the lost? Really? Is there a sermon in there somewhere?

    Must dry my hair and get to this...

    cool idea from the lost and found diane.

    blessings on everyone in their busy days.

  14. How does the song go: "Wake me up when September ends."

    Cranberry orange bread and chai this morning because I'm out of coffee because I didn't get to the store this insane week.

    I begin nine days of study leave on Monday, but I feel utterly unready to do this. I don't have any CE money left to go anywhere so I'm staying home and holing up in my office here at the house.

    What am I forgetting...CRAP! Sermon!

  15. Gannet, I have some of those Iona sheep stories too.

    I have mint frappachino here if anyone is interested. I am drinking mocha.

    I am working on law and patriotism before I get into what it means to be found by grace. I am really trying to get into this Lutheran thing!

    Could use some help, Diane.

  16. Uh, I am dropping in to say hi, see if anyone needs coffee or something else?

    I am not on lectionary, yet. I am preaching the last of my NCD sermons on the 8 characteristics of a healthy church. It is on Loving Relationships, which was, I am sad to say the lowest on the survey. There is already great resistance to going any further with the steps we have to do with NCD. So I don't want to come across preachy, but inviting...

    Anybody got any ideas to help with that? I have a sermon in my head, but I can't get it to not sound preachy. I thought of finding or writing a story that would instead get the idea across.

    Sigh. They are also mad at me for getting them started down this path, and some other things, but that's another story.

    Hope you all are inspired today as you are finalizing your sermons. I have to take the kids to tumbling, and then a birthday party so that in between now and then I am praying and looking for a story. I'll be back in about an hour and hope all goes well for you all.

    Please email me if you want to say anything about what I wrote concerning the church's feelings. Don't know if they read this blog or posts. They are not bad, just a hurting group of people.

  17. Fresh Finnish "pulla" anyone? It's got very little butter or sugar in it - but is heavenly - straight out of the oven

  18. Time: 8:45 a.m.
    Word Count: 0
    Time sermon needs to be first preached: 5 p.m.
    Things that must be done between now and then: 1--write sermon

    Why is it so hard today? I just have no motivation. Hopefully it will return soon. Can my sermon be about looking for lost motivation in addition to the lost sheep and lost coin?

    Thanks for being here!

  19. interesting, muthah+ do you post you sermons? I'd love to hear what you do with the law and patriotism. I preached a fourth of july sermon once where I actually put forth the idea that our identity as "child of God" is HIGHER than our identity as "americans" imagine that.

    for me, the law in this sermon is the sadness of the things in the lost and found, the nobody SEEMS to want...whether we feel that way about ourselves, or others... you know the pharisees thought of the tax collectors etc as not worthy for Jesus to hang out with...

  20. ouch rev abi, sounds kinda tough. We are just starting NCD. Sadly, loving relationships might be low for us too. Also passionate spirituality is usually low for lutherans (sigh). It's hard to be hit in the face with our weak points.

  21. My sermon is written, but alas, not very inspiring for our "New Day, New Year" start up Sunday...a year when our theme will be "Deepening Our Faith." It has been a busy week without enough contemplative time ergo the state of the sermon.

    I am using Hildegard of Bingen as my illustration, (the ECUSA celebrates her feast day on Sept. 17) and all that she was able to accomplish as a woman in the 11th and 12th centuries. Our meditation time before the service will include a CD of her music. And the sermon ends with one of her poems...and somehow I'm connecting it all to 1 Tim. and the Gospel - a call to wholeness. Bringing back the lost, which also incudes ourselves, is a process of restoring us to wholeness.

    However, I like what you all are pondering. Prayers for those of you waaay too busy today...

  22. G'mornin'

    I have Constant Comment for those seeking a cuppa ...

    I am very happy that the lectionary texts that I looked at for the 1st time just now fit in so well with what I did last week. Thank you God!

    Since it is cold here, I'm thinking Frito Pie for lunch.

  23. NCD stands for Natural Church Development. German pastor thought of it, tested it. Idea is if your church has these 8 "key" strengths, it will just naturally grow.

  24. I had this brilliant idea that I would have my sermon done yesterday. I now must announce that the idea, while brilliant, failed to become reality. I'm hoping to crank this baby out in the next couple of hours, so I can go hear a band called Enter the Haggis play at the Irish Festival. We'll see how it goes.

    I take my coffee black. Oh, and I'll probably be going out for apple cider donuts soon - anyone want one?

  25. Diane - Thanks for explaining NCD, in my denomination it stands for New Church Development. I'd love to hear more about the 8 essential elements.
    You all sound very busy today, my prayers are with you!
    I am still 1/2 asleep this morning. Hubbie and I took the youth group to dinner and an arcade last night. The girls taught me how to play dance dance revolution, and my legs are sore!
    I'm working with the gospel lesson. I'm thinking about how the church reacts when called to invite those that are different, ones they would see as "more lost" to the feast. The church/herd panics when left without a shepherd. Perhaps that is how the church feels when we try to do things differently, when we seek to meet the needs of the community or of those who have not been in this church for 100's of years. When other's are being looked for we think that our needs are not being met and so we complain, moan out of fear. We don't get the the sheperd is comming back with another sheep to add to the party that is the kingdom.
    Just some morning thoughts.
    Pass the tea, this URI is killing me!

  26. Oh, Stacey, I am SO jealous that you are going to see Enter the Haggis. I love them! (fave song to workout to - One Last Drink). Enjoy!

  27. I note that, as referenced on, Sarah Dylan Breuer raises this intriguing question: "If one sheep is with the shepherd and ninety-nine aren't,
    who's really the stray?"

    On her blog, she tells a parable to illumine Jesus' parable. Even if your sermon is com-blea-a-at, its worth visiting, reading, laughing and digesting ...

  28. I'm back from round one of commitments, with just enough time to put on another kettle and another pot of coffee.
    I have a couple of stories of being lost myself as a child, but the lost creature most on my mind is our 15-year-old cat Nicky, who has been gone for a week. We fear the worst. I wish I had chosen another text.

  29. rdq, I used Dylan's quote in my bulletin!

  30. well, i have a draft- it's really short- which is a good thing for tomorrow. but it seems undeveloped. ah well... off to pray for a festival i wish i could tell you the name of. tis funny.

    and then to sit in a booth.

    may what i have be acceptable if necessary.


  31. (((Songbird)))

    Local time: 10:14 am

    Word count: 1011

    Determination and enthusiasm: flagging.

    I so want to crank this baby out in the next hour and get on with my life.

    And, I'll take a virtual, calorie-free cider donut. In fact I'll take 2.

  32. I'm doing pulpit supply and going with the gospel lesson, switching out the assigned Psalm for a portion of Psalm 139.

    I think I'm focusing on our call to joy as we welcome and enfold the found. From what I understand the church is great at fellowship, but not so great at welcoming new folks and outreach...

    We'll see though. I have a bunch of notes and the morning to draft this puppy before spiritual direction and a dinner party we're hosting.

    I'm taking my coffee strong and black today. Perhaps I'll indulge in a donut on the drive back from S.D.

  33. Okay, I too had the delusion that yesterday was going to be my day to get some words on paper...and yet here I am. Word Count: 0, unless I can count 4 words of my title?
    Preaching on the Gospel and the company we keep. Thinking about the Pharisees' grumbling as the question: Isn't anyone beyond God's mercy? And Jesus' response as the question: Is anyone beyond God's mercy?
    I'm off to write. I'm having virtual brownies...anyone want?

  34. Diane, I post at I don't know how to link. Sorry

    Re: Loving Relationship. The parish I serve is pretty good at the loving relationship thing. They just have a tough time with newness--like ELW at Episcopal pastors! grin.

    Talk about what you know about supportive Christian communities. I know about a Boston parish back in the Great Depression that opened its doors to the women in the congregation to bring what they had for food for the day to the church. There they all cooked together and used the gas and heat of the parish and turned off the gas and heat in their homes to save their personal funds. They shared what food they had while their husbands stood in unemployment lines or bread lines. But they also shared the minding of children, the laughter that comes when women cook together, the hard things that face each one of them. The times demanded this kind of loving community. That story is still a powerful image of what it means to be a loving community for that parish and their togetherness is still a powerful point of their worshipping community to this day even though those who experienced it have died off. The story lingers as part of their history that they need to live into.

    It is a good story and I have used it as a way of building community in a parish that hasn't had the need for a loving community to survive.

  35. Virtual brownies? Yes, please.

    Hugs, SB - I hope you find your kitty.

    Having lost my son (and nearly for good)) at the beach this summer and then miraculously getting him back, I felt at the time like the woman who found her coin. I really did want to celebrate with everyone I knew. I think the story could preach but it is just too close to home for me to manage. (If anyone else thinks they might find it useful, feel free to look through my blog archives - July 2007 - and use whatever you'd like).

    I really thought I was going to find more of use in my previous sermons on this text, but I was woefully disappointed. I guess the good side of that is that I have grown as a preacher. Bad side? I feel I'm starting from scratch.

    Time: 11:38a.m.
    Word count: 344.
    Cups of coffee: 3 so far. 2nd pot now brewing.
    - yet another home football game 5 blocks away (U-M vs. Notre Dame, both looking for their first win of the season!)
    - a couple of boys finally working in earnest on getting potty-trained but needing a lot of affirmation from mommy
    - a houseguest coming earlier than I thought tomorrow, staying in my study (where the spare bed is), which is cluttered beyond belief.

  36. I don't preach, but if I did, I would speak about the abysmal state of health care in Americal and particularly of the elderly. I am presently in Floriday untangling the skein of mixups of that has gotten my father-in law into an "extended-care" home and I do use that phrase with some irony

  37. Fresh, warm cider donuts are here. Eat up, if only to keep me from eating them all.

  38. Okay, now I'm at 198 words.
    This is not going well.
    We may need MORE virtual brownies (the only kind I can have anyway).

  39. Done!

    Powered through it with the help of a preacher friend, and our e-mail conversations this week. (Not to mention the manuscript he sent me of his sermon from years ago. I didn't use his sermon, but his title helped me look at the text again.)

  40. Muthah+ thanks for the link!. I'll check out. also loved the "loving relationships" story..., makes it real and concrete, not "warm fuzzies" like just talking after church.

    (((songbird))) re your kitty. I'm so sorry.

    one page left then will make chili and corn muffins on this cold day!

  41. (((Songbird)))

    Lorna - pass the "pulla" - I grew up on it, living in a community with the highest population of Finnish people outside of Finland itself. Yummmm!!!!

    Local time: 12:58

    Word count: 1057

    Quality of sermon: doggish, quickly approaching sucketh.

    I may need to start this one over from the beginning.

  42. Diane,
    You might be interested in the Savannah GA boycott in the 50's (54, maybe?), an early effort of the civil rights movement. When white business owners would not treat black patrons the same as whites, the black churches banded together to boycott those merchants. The business owners publicly said that the boycott would never last, that the need for clothing and particularly the tradition of buying a new outfit for Easter and having photos take would mean an early end to the boycott. Instead, the churches organized big community meals and swap meets so that everyone's needs were met, and the merchants were forced to change their practices. I don't remember all the details, but I do think the Savannah boycott preceded the Greensboro NC boycott that got so much press.

  43. haha, Sue. From doggish to sucketh, eh? Sounds sadly familiar....

    As for me:

    time - 1:10p.m.
    word count - 732
    enthusiasm - waning

  44. I've seen my husband off. This included a trip to the jewelry store for my anniversary present! I love my new earrings, but seriously, that did not help with my sermon. Although maybe it will. I'm a famous earring loser. Okay, now maybe I have something.
    Except that it's time to fix lunch and then leave to do the wedding. Oy!

  45. Time: 12:30 p.m.

    Word Count: 1183

    Motivation: Still not much--unless desperation counts?

    It will be done in time. It will.

    Pass the brownies please.

  46. I will take any and all virtual (or real) junk food there is. I am just sitting down to start and I have nothing (unless PMS counts, but we won't be discussing that form the pulpit!). It's gonna be a long afternoon, but the water for tea is warm and there are the last of the leftovers from the Parent's visit in the fridge. Help yourself to some great pasta. How much longer is September?

  47. I'm afraid September never ends.

  48. Silent, want some ice cream with those brownies? The virtual kind is actually good for you, I promise.

  49. Time: 1:44pm
    Words: 1065
    Remaining brain power: extremely limited.
    Likelihood that I'm about to blow the Anti-Spread Campaign on another cider donut: high to inevitable.

  50. Songbird, I got a story from a parish member about a lost diamond (the diamond from her wedding ring) popped out in the snow. I can post it if you want.

    sermon: done, but might need tweaking.
    on to chili and corn muffins!

  51. Word count...1411

    How many of them are working together for a cohesive whole (ahem, the entire point of the sermon)...probably half

    I think I'm going to spend some time going to all the links flying around here and see if there is something that will help me develop my sermon.

    What I really need is a long quiet time. But that isn't going to happen until, maybe, later this afternoon....

  52. I am done, with about 1400+ words and Songbird's playlet for children's time...
    So --on to getting ready to root for Ohio State as they play Washington St. I also will doing laundry in order to be ready to leave tomorrow afternoon for a two day pastor's retreat. Which would be fine--great even--except it's the second week in a row I've been gone from work until Wednesday.
    Can I get an --O--H??!!

  53. *1st wedding - check
    *Graphic reminder of why I need to remind attendants not to lock their knees - check
    *Service notes for second wedding - check
    *Sermon for tomorrow - check (out of sheer necessity only it was finished early this week)

    Now, to just be able to check off that last wedding. Four hours to check-off!

  54. Preacher Mom, does that mean somebody passed out during the wedding?! ARGHHH

  55. Sue - glad I could help .... :)

    I also made some with cinnamon in them - they are like LIGHT cinnamon rolls - so enjoy - and the virtual ones are calorie free

  56. Yep, Quakerpastor. Like a tree felled! Luckily it was a young fellow. They recover much more quickly. Sure hope it doesn't happen at the next wedding this evening. We'll be standing on an outdoor concrete stage. That would hurt for sure!

  57. Hello all...

    Finally at the party after a productive morning at a workshop and then lunch with the friend I went to the workshop with. Very good and what I really needed--but the sermon is not done, either!

    And I, like many of you, had planned to get this baby done yesterday...don't know about the rest of you, but my motivation went towards other things.

    So, well-workshopped, well-caffeinated, well-lunched, here I am...poorly-sermoned.

    Lots of notes and ideas but no outline. I'm working from the gospel, with some ideas from Dylan's Lectionary Blog (which I see RDQ has already mentioned) and the movie Private Ryan floating in my head.

    And Mompriest, even having quiet time doesn't guarantee anything. I have lots of quiet time, but it somehow gets used up on other distractions (will...not...Facebook...for at least another 20 minutes....).

    OK, enough procrastination. Time to outline this baby so I can be done!

  58. Preacher Mom: Did anybody catch it on video--it's probably worth some money...Or maybe you could work it up into a resource for beginning pastors doing their first wedding.
    Hope he wasn't hurt...

  59. Remind me again why I thought a sermon titled The God Delusion was such a good idea?

    I got through most of teh 1t chapter of Dawkins book. My but he is an angry man isn't he. I also reread the last 2 chapters of Karen Armstrong's History of GOd which were much more helpful. Hey I even found the old Time magazine article "Is God Dead" and found that it could just as easily be published today.

    BUt an intelligent sermon? Not so much yet.

  60. Ack, preachermom! I had a groomsman pass out at a wedding I did once. It was quite the event.

    I'm done with the sermon (1688 words, if anyone cares), and printing as I type. Now for a shower, and on to some Irish fun.

  61. working, working, working on the sermon on my day off... $#@! I hate it when I do that to myself.

    Gord I think all the reading you've done sounds like a sermon thread comign together about "finding" God cuz apparently our culture's media kicks some serious $## in the "losing" dept.

  62. Diane--Thanks, but I'm actually including a story of the time my husband dropped (i.e. lost) his wedding ring in the stands at a high school football game and his search (and finding) of it. It seemed to fit really well with this text.

    Songbird--thanks for the virtual ice cream to go with the brownies! I'm glad that kind is good for me, but today I think I'm going to go for some of the not-so-good-for-me stuff and have a small bowl of the ice cream I know is in our freezer. No brownies, but it'll do.

    I'll call that motivation--I'll get this puppy finished first. No one has complained about short. It's about the text and is full (in my opinion) of the good news of how much God loves us and searches for us and seeks us out when we are lost. I'm going to trust that the Spirit's got my back on this one!

  63. Sermon is not doen, ballgames ar on, so I am trying to work hard.
    I got away from it for a bit to water plants, cut dead leaves and vacuum.
    This text (gospel) turned out to be more difficult than I thoguht.
    I want to drive home the point of God being concerned for even one that is lost, and thus so should we, but I have to say more than that.
    Good stuff I found on textweek about the concern being for the whole not complete rather than the one just sinning. Our churches are not complete each Sunday, yet all too often the concer nis placed on why someone is not there verses that lack of completeness.
    Our conversation needs to be about telling person we are missing you, not complete without you, rather than a berating over them not beign there.
    Of course, we are concerened for thsoe absent due to illness, problems, hurt feeling extra....
    But rather than dweel, we need to seek them out get them back...
    Oh, uh,...did I mention football is on?
    Help yourself to fresh fruit, leftovers from the Homecooking place (okra, shrimp etoufffee, apple dumplings). Thats about it for now. Too tired to cook, too tired to boil water...
    sermon, football,...
    oh, kitty litter box!

  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. Too many typo's and no way to edit, so I'll re-post my comment. I'm up at the church office, no couch so less likely to snooze. I finished the bulletin, however am waiting call from hubbie (who is no doubt snoozing on one of two comfy sofas at home!) so that I can spell the pianist's name correctly and print. Then maybe I'll get some work done on the sermon. Maybe.

  66. I was in such good shape tuesday! The sermon was nearly 1/2 done and I was sure I'd have the rest of it knocked out long before this. Enter a cold/icky/flu thing and I've done practically nothing beyond what I had on Tuesday. I finally feel better today, though.

    I still love my example of the exMarine who rescued the last 2 people to come out of the Twin Towers alive for the gospel passage and the "if this man cared so much 2 strangers, how much more God cares for us, God's beloved children." Then I got stuck. (for word counters, only 670 so far)

    Perhaps I'll be more motivated after the ND/Michigan game. Somebody has to win! i promise not to gloat if it's ND. :-)

    I have lots of health inducing grapes and granny smith apples to share.

    Oh - and my mortgage guy says I can start packing. Looks like I really will be moving in early October. Yay!

  67. And if ND loses I promise not to whine. score is now Michigan 16 ND 0.

  68. Well have rough outline. Now to flesh it out a bit, and add intro and conclusion.

    Then on to writing a proposal for a conference presentation!

    Did I really think I'd get tonight off?

    Dinner in there somewhere, although with the delicious Cheesy French Toast I had for breakfast/lunch, I don't need much.

    I'm using the school Lost and Found box, along with Communion as God's "welcome home" feast. And some stuff about a complete community in there too.

    I brought some wonderful organic bread from the bakery where I got coffee this morning..,cracked wheat sourdough with butter, anyone?

  69. OK, I have both worship services mostly comble-a-a-a-t, but could use a hymn suggestion or two from you all. In the meantime, I'm going to mow the yard, in the 56 degree early fall afternoon.

    Frost advisory tonight. Do I cover my impatiens and pansies or no?

  70. Go Blue!! (sorry rev maria!)

    I surprised myself by finishing a draft (borrowing more from my old sermons than I expected). I need to go back and add a paragraph and tighten some things up, but I'm going to let it simmer for a bit while I bundle the boys up and take them on a walk.

    rdq - I would cover the flowers! Better safe than sorry!

  71. stil got nothing but fragments floating around my head that sound so much better there than when I put them on paper. I'm actually praying to get to what I call the train wreck stage - -you know, when the wholle thing looks like 2 trains ran into each other and exploded. Because at least there would be somethign to clean up! Maybe I will take myself to the fancy grocery store to find somethign for dinner (I was going to order chinese, but let't not blow the diet simply because the sermon is stuck) adn try again when I get back. I'll get the first and last paragraphs done before I go.

  72. Rollin' rollin' rollin'
    I think I've found my stride! 693 words and I'm finally moving. Be nice to get this done in time to both do laundry and walk the WonderMutt tonight...
    I'll take some virtual ice cream, and seriously read Sarah Dylan's page when you take a's hilarious!
    reverendmommy, sorry about the groomsman who fell out. But there's a little snicker that keeps wanting to get out, too. I'm really not all that nice a person.
    rdq--56???? It won't be that cool here for weeks yet. Wanna swap houses for a vacation? I'm ready for cool, and if you don't mind the cat, the beach is just a couple miles away...

  73. Well, I've posted my sermon Called to gather, Called together.

    If you have time drop by. I'm heading out to get cat litter and have dinner with my husband and son. Will be back later, can I get anyone anything while I'm out? (Besides more time?)...

  74. Okay I have a draft or possibly finishedsermon here.
    I'll take some icecream.I am now off to serach the net for a radio or net cast ofthe Texas Tech v Rice game that started an hour ago.

  75. Thanks earthchick. :-(

    Luckily, the sermon is going better than the game is.

  76. cpclergymama, thanks!
    I'm stealing an idea or two...

  77. revanne- take as many as you can use!
    I thought I was ready to pack up but I still have to run the bulletin! And get the order of worship for the revival together!It never ends!

  78. Its so hard to work when there is football on. Been to an ordination this morning, then lunch with a colleague/friend, so I have to do a t least a bit of work now. I'm thinking about talking about how Michigan found the football skills, which makes my friends & I want to celebrate together... sorry revmaria, nothing against ND!

  79. In other news though, more sermon related in reality: there wss this NPR story this week about the internets and people helping search for Steve Fossett. I'm planning to use this to talk about the ways we can help look for opportunities of reconciliation and grace, in our everyday places and places we've never even been.

  80. Yay! 1382 words!
    Thanks, everybody. It must be all the virtual coffee, ice cream and coffee that's got me up and moving.
    That and the frequent check-ins here.
    Will post something soonish.

  81. The compassion of all you Michigan fans is gratefully accepted.

    Sermon has reached 4.5 pages or 1,330 words.

    Is it time for chocolate yet?

  82. So many words!
    So many football fans!
    I'm back from the wedding, with no fainting groomsmen, but the bride and attendants arrived late and I thought the wedding might never start.
    After the long drive home, The Princess and I picked up sushi for dinner, raced home to feed the dogs, and now they need a walk.
    Please tell me there will come a time for writing. Please.

  83. yes, Songbird, there will come a time for writing. And there will come HS to help with the writing.

  84. Okay, bulletin is done. I am going home to spend an hour with babygirl before her bed time. Peace and lots o' writting!

  85. Was distributing Angel Food this morning, then did a few things at church and accidentally took a much-needed two-hour nap. So now it's time to work! But it's dinner time...maybe time to heat up some leftover mac and cheese first.

    I led text study earlier this week, so I'm hoping that will carry me through. I do have an intro all planned out...a conclusion, not so much. Word count now: 42 (but that's just the header and the opening prayer).

    Stacey, I'm sure you're gone by now, but say hi to my SO, he's at the same Irish Festival you are. :)

  86. hey all- songbird writing time and HS help will come. i know it. and i'm so sorry about your cat.

    my sermon, such as it is, in on my blog here. I haven't formatted and printed yet. I'm very eh about it.

    those donuts sound good stacy, any left?

    off to a concert to be a good community member...

  87. Trying to get that intro and conclusion knocked out now. I'd leave it for the morning, but tomorrow I'm assisting with the covenanting (installation) of our host church's new pastor. Which is wonderful and an honour, but it means I don't have those extra two or three hours I usually get on a Sunday!

    Any more of that virtual chocolate?

  88. more cows--I love your having to pray at a festival for a locally produced item. We are having one of those around here right now too--fortunately my colleague at the Village Square church is usually the one who gets asked to pray for it.

    (However, I am not-so-patiently awaiting the day when they invite me to compete in the contest to see who can stomp the most of said locally produced item.)

  89. well, preached it once, it went okay with the box of lost and found items.

    looking forward to reading/seeing all the other ideas here.

    but first, hot tea! and soup

  90. Thanks so much, everyone.
    First draft is done and pretty solid, I think, although I'm a terrible critic of my own work.
    Going home to let pastorhubby take a look.
    Songbird, praying for the lost kitty. I lost my cat-child to the Great-Scratching-Post-in-the-Sky last year...hoping for yours to come home to you soonest.

  91. Lawns mown. Flowers covered. Potatoes in the oven [mainly cuz I refuse to turn the furnace on yet and the oven will take the chill out of the house]. Pork chops with an Asian flair ready to grill. Tabouli for a salad. Any of y'all ready for supper?

    Revanne, if we were to swap houses, you might want to wait until October, when our leaves will be wearing their full autumn colors.

    Songbird, I meant to tell you, I'm sorry about Nicky ... but my crazy calico cat went missing over a week once, and she turned up eventually. Maybe Nicky will too.

  92. OH, RP --I have chocolate pudding. It's store-bought, but it's not ba-a-a-a-d ...

  93. Word count: 391
    TV shows referenced: 3
    Points made: 1
    Time: for dinner

  94. Couldn't bear to watch the last two minutes of the debacle (not whining, just saying) so I finished my sermon! I call it Lost and Found

    This is the first time in I have no idea how many months I actually finished one on Saturday before dinner! Maybe ND being stomped like Semfem's local product is a good thing?? Nah.

    So - think I'll go to the Thai place across the street to celebrate. Prik King, anyone? Or Shrimp in Green Curry?

  95. Songbird - I'm praying for Nicky's safe return to her loving family.

  96. Thank you, kind hearts. We are not optimistic, although I know from personal experience that stranger things have happened.
    I am finally underway. 651 words, which is almost to the halfway point in most of my sermons.
    This material could be so heavy with all the good-byes I've said this week: son off to boarding school, husband off to six-week job, funeral for beloved parishioner, missing cat. But we're an intergenerational group tomorrow, and really I need to be headed toward a message of hospitality more than a message of loss. Sometimes it's hard to back up far enough from our first reaction to a text, far enough to really see the Good News. I'm sitting as far from the screen as I can while I type this, hoping to see the way to reach the conclusion that will best serve God tomorrow at Main Street Church.

  97. the praying wasn't so bad- too bad i was busy marrying folks during the toss of the locally produced product.

    rev maria- could you pick up some tom kha gai for me? the nearest thai restaurant is an hour and a half away. i was just there on thursday, but... more please.

  98. 100th comment! Yay!! Woo-whooo(me, doing the Revggal Dance!!!!)
    okay, over it, back to the sermon

  99. Okay, so lock-in over, went to gym and Costco, funeral and furniture store--once I arrived at said furniture store (buying 3 sofas for new youth space we are creating in the fellowship hall) I realized I'd forgotten our tax exempt letter at church. 30 minutes back to church, faxed letter (thank you for letting me do that!)...went home to work on children's time and prayers, only to fall asleep. Woke up at 6 with panic attack about the various places I should be at 6pm on other days of the week, only to remember it's Saturday and, as far as I know, I'm not supposed to be anywhere tonight at 6. Now getting ready to eat lentils/green pepper/eggplant/brown rice covered in Trader Joe's curry sauce. plenty to go around if it's still your dinner time!

    then I really do have to get to work. I have the New Orleans group storytelling luncheon right after church and confirmation later in the afternoon. oy.

  100. hmm, that above comment is me...sorry. forgot I updated the church lectionary blog last night.

  101. 2nd wedding completed - CHECK!

    No fainting groomsmen (or bridesmaids) at the second wedding. Phew!(Update: the only thing the groomsman at the first wedding injured was his pride. He seemed none the worse for it afterward.)

    It was an outdoor wedding with no microphone, so my throat is fussing at me. I felt like I was yelling at the bride and groom - the only way for anyone else there to hear me. It may have been a blessing in disguise, though. The groom has hearing loss in one ear and had been afraid that he might miss something. Not likely with this loudmouth around!

  102. I'm putting the computer to bed early tonight. Gonna spend some time reading/relaxing. I might even try to get in bed a little earlier. This Preacher Mom is tired today.

    For all of you preaching tomorrow, relax. The Spirit's got your back. I experienced it powerfully a couple of weeks ago and wrote about it here. Kinda takes the pressure off, you know?


  103. Preacher mom,
    two weddings? Isn't it interesting that the guys are often the ones who fall out.

    I have been busy all day with the kids. I fear, I have no sermon written, but a lot of info and some stories to use at least. Been praying a lot.

    All you sound so ambitious and so accomplished or accomplishing. I do have children's sermon ready. You reckon if I just do that it will be okay?

    I take some sheep any day to this mess.

  104. Just spent some time finishing up my sermon and am ready to put it to bed for the night. It's a long one, yikes! 2092. I have tried to cut, but this is the best I can do for tonight.

    Now off to shower, do laundry, spend more time cleaning up my study, plan tomorrow night's dinner, figure out what I'm doing for my first Sunday School teaching the youth, and, if I'm lucky, getting a little bit of time in front of a DVD with dh and some knitting.

  105. so... it dawned on me... a bit ago... i don't have a children's sermon.

    sb's skit is adorable, but i don't have time to pull it together- and it's not quite resonant with the direction i went with the gospel. any good children's sermon ideas on keeping company like Jesus kept?

  106. Wow, that was three of us posting all at once!

    rev abi, dontcha feel some days like it's just too freakin' much? I swear sometimes I feel like I should either have had children or gone into ministry but not BOTH. Sometimes I think the Catholics have the right idea with that whole celibacy thing. Wrong idea about the whole no-woman thing, but still....

  107. It's slow going over here tonight, too. I don't know what I was thinking this summer when I said I would do all the Jeremiah texts in the lectionary. I'd take the lost coin/sheep in a heartbeat!

    Prayers for the lost kitty...

    Busy day with local community parade and fall festival. Been writing now for three hours or so. Maybe I see a light at the end of the tunnel? Not sure yet.

  108. (I meant about no women priests, that is)

  109. Dude. Is there a chat function around here? Because there are like 6 of us on here posting all at once right now. How cool would a Preacher Party in real time be?

  110. And for those who want to know more about Natural church development. Here is the the link for NCD International

    Diane, I will be in prayer for you all as you do the surveys and find out what is your strength and weakness.

    Our strength was Empowering Leadership.

    I do recommend it, but I also recommend that you be ready for the price it takes and the resistance it raises.

  111. earthchick, there are a lot of times I think that I am with you.

    I think it is kismit the posting at the same time.

    And what were you thinking presby babe?

  112. earthchick - that's all I need ! Another distraction!

    But I hear ya. I don't have kids or a spouse. I wonder how you all who do manage it!!

  113. more cows, the only "lost sheep" children's message I have is the one I posted about on Tuesday at our first stab at the texts. or you can find it on my blog. I wrote about it last Sunday. It require an accomplice, someone to pretend to be "lost" in the congregation for the children to find.

  114. Well, as all our posts keep piling on top of one another, I was thinking...desperation is starting to set in! I'm usually done by now...

  115. Lord knows, I'm feeling pretty desperate, although I like that Children's idea, Diane. I could hide the CE director.

  116. After a packed-full day, I'm settling down once again to write, or think, or do something to pull what I have together. Because I also have to prep for adult forum.

  117. Well, I've done what I can with the sermon--the HS will have to take care of the rest.

    I've also written up the notes from the workshop earlier today, mainly because those stupid peri-menopausal hormones are swinging around the compass again, I'm getting weepy over nothing, and I needed the distraction.

    Thanks for the chocolate, SB and RDQ... Much appreciated. Prayers for the kitty, too, SB.

    Earthchick, it's funny you mention the Catholic no-women-priests thing... Brit Boy (who grew up Roman Catholic) has taken to calling me Priest Woman as a nickname... Somehow it sounds OK coming from him. Not as good as the Professor's nickname though--to him, I'm High Priestess. That I really like lol.

    Uh oh, I'm babbling. It's been a long day, friends, and tomorrow will be even longer. Time for this priest woman to find the bed. Maybe a glass of wine along the way, too.

    Good night all...the HS has your back!

  118. Evening, all! Chocolate chip mint ice cream here. No sermon due tomorrow but I remember the last one. And the kicker for me (after many years of thinking of it differently) is the answer to Jesus question. Who would go and look and leave the others behind? Nobody! That's who! Only a nut leaves the 99 sheep who are safe and sound to look for some nut that's wandered off to eat some vile grass or get eaten by wolves. Only God would be so wondrously, graciously foolish as to go on such a hunt.

  119. Hey, come back everyone! I'm just getting started after a day long leadership retreat.

    Good news, it will not be 100+ in the sanctuary this week (seriously, it was).

    Bad news, that means the sermon probably should be normal length. And the text is the plagues upon Egypt. About which I no longer care.

    No food here, I thought H would go shopping today. No such luck. He didn't do the laundry either. But he did play with the kids.

  120. who me? I sure hope you live on the West coast, otherwise you have a long night ahead of you.

    I'll trade you the desolation of the earth in Jeremiah for the plagues on Egypt!

  121. went over this afternoon and hid a chocolate out of a package of 10. My plan for children's time is to take out the pack, count them and say "oh no, I have lost one". What I will say when it is found? oops, forgot to plan that part.

    NOw I am wondering how well it will go for the minister to say that he understands how people can decide the God doesn't exist. Luckily I ahve been here for 6 years and have some credibility with them.

  122. Just thought I'd say goodnight before I crawl into my nice warm bed ... I'm suddenly very sleepy.

    God bless you who are still working with words that flow freely

  123. presby babe -- yes, I'm on the west coast. Wishing for a time zone even further west at the moment. Hey, if I cross the international date line does Sunday disappear?

  124. Good night, rdq!

    I'm having a cup of tea, anybody want one? It's chilly here, and I need a boost for the last lap.

  125. Blessings all! I've finished my Sunday School lesson for the first and second graders and now it is time to sleep. Hope all goes smoothly and QUICKLY!

  126. I am about to head off to bed, a cup of Tazo "Refresh" tea...(mint and tarragon, yum)...

    I pray that the HS brings sweet sleep and rest to each of you, those with raging hormones, those with sermons done, those still writing...and I pray that she fills your words tomorrow.

    The pot of tea is hot and on the counter, cookies are there as yourselves. Just put them away when your finished or my dog will eat them all....

  127. Sermon shmermon...uh...I mean we have a guest speaker tomorrow. It is our second annual historical reenactment and David Popilek, a.k.a. Jacques La Christian, the French voyaguer has joined us for a great weekend. Outdoor service tomorrow, weather permitting. Pictures to follow some time soon on my blog.

    MEANTIME....tadadaddadadadadadad (dramatic drum roll) ON MONDAY I START A SIX WEEK SABBATICAL!


  128. Oh and we set up coffee in the hall to have ready BEFORE the service. WHat are the chances people will actually take advantage of it this time? Or (horrors!) go get some during the service?

    THat is why we do it after all. NOt so that the coffee and tea will be cold after church...

    BUt of course "that isn't how we've done it before".

  129. I'll have some tea with you, Songbird (the heat here just turned on for the first time this fall), and I'm praying for your kitty.

    Hold your hats though, ladies and gent, I think I'm finished! Not the usual late-night finish for me. I will do a readthrough or two and tweak a bit, but the main writing is done. Word count: 1562.

    Good thing, because now I can write out nameplates for our new hymnal, which we are dedicating at St. Larger tomorrow. And hopefully get to bed semi-early.

  130. Yeah, luckily it's only 7 pm-ish for some of us. :-) Plus there's always SemFem up all nite to keep you company Who Me.

  131. No tea for me, but thank you.
    It is still warm here, so I am drinking water, and diet coke.

    Yeah I am in the last lap too Songbird, good night to the others. Blessings and good sleep.

  132. OK, so SemFem won't be up all night. :-) How nice that we both finished way early this week.

  133. Last call for tea, preachers, at least on my watch. I'm going to tuck myself in bed and look over my manuscript in the morning. I don't think it's awful, but I also don't feel it's complete.
    Sleep and preach well, and stop by for an early cup of coffee if you like!

  134. 134 comments? Wow.
    I leave you people alone for one church retreat and look at the conversation that has been going on in my absence.

    Off to get a glass of wine and put together my outline for tomorrow's 'pretend-like-I-care-Church-retreat-Meditation'.

    Good work everyone!

  135. wish I had some wine. We are all out of wine. but, it probably wouldn't go so well with... benadryl!
    my sermon title is Lost and Found too! but not posting til after church.

    probably have the hot tea. It's chilly here too.

    what's the record for comments?

  136. Packing it in...sermon's been done, but I've been following the Alabama-Arkansas game online for my clergyspouse...he's a fan. I don't much care, but he's glad it's over and went his way.
    Condolences to Notre Dame fans. I feel for you. My Duke Blue Devils are in the lead right now, but I can't take the pressure (and I'm sort of used to losing). Oh for basketball season!

  137. I'm back, and I wish to say that if you ever have the chance to see Enter the Haggis, you should.

    Semfem, you and I have GOT to get it together and meet. We are way too close, and you are around here way too much for us not to meet.

  138. Wow, it looks like most of the late night writers are finished early. How about that? Mine's done too. The very end of my sermon with a story about Billy (that I have no idea where I got) is on my blog under the title Lost.

  139. Good Morning Everyone! It's mighty chilly here. And, no, I did not turn the heat on...given that I have my own internal furnace these days. :-)

    There is a fresh pot of hot coffee, help your self. It's in a thermal carafe, so it'll be hot all morning.

    Blessings everyone - I hope your day goes well.

  140. Wow, this was some party!
    I took another look at my sermon this morning and deemed it post-able. I hope I'm right!
    Anybody want an English muffin? A fortifying bowl of oatmeal?

  141. Mine is postable too, but I left it at church. will have to go get and and post later this afternoon.


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