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Saturday, December 15, 2007

11th Hour Preacher Party - An Irrational Season

I've been struck all week by this poem posted by RevHRod in Lectionary Leanings:

After Annunciation

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There'd have been no room for the child.
- Madeleine L'Engle

We set aside this season for hope, but what does that mean? How do we reflect the kingdom of God in our thoughts, words, and actions? In a world so full of violence, hatred, and despair, how do we find the coming of good news?

The coffee is set to brew early, and I have ham, cheese, eggs, and salsa for omelets if anyone wants them. How will you bring good news to your congregations this week? Where can we support you in doing so?


  1. Goodness - I've never been the first to arrive. Shall I go home and return later? But I can't...I have to get sermon done this morning as the afternoon is dedicated to going to choose our tree, and the evening to a cool emerging party with cool emerging people (I tremble just to type it).
    So...thus far I have a title
    "Great Expectations" and an intro about the unrealistic burden that our expectations of Christmas puts on everyone...want to tie it in with the Messiah that people WERE expecting versus the Christ of the Magnificat...which all looks fine till I start to actually write it.
    I've got fruit and fibre breakfast with fat free yoghurt - anyone else feeling the need for an aggressively healthy start to the day??

  2. I'm in--at least for a little while.
    This evening is our live nativity, so my day lloks like organized chaos, with canopy set up, costume fittings, hot chocolate prep, extension cord location, etc. And, oh yeah the winter storm warning starts at midnight, so I do need to stop at the grocery and get some things.
    Break out the caffeine and sugar!

  3. and i'm the second? wow. must be advent or something.

    i hope to write a SHORT sermon (baptism tomorrow and busy day today) on patience (preaching on James) in the next hour as I am teaching a class half an hour south of here for three hours midday today (and still need to do some final prep for that) and have a rehearsal late afternoon before preaching first at our evening service today.

    i have some oatmeal that my husband promises has brown sugar in it though i can't taste it. otherwise... cupboard is pretty bare. we tore through those christmas cookies from the women's association that we got on wednesday. aie.

    kathryn- sounds like you have GREAT ideas.

    i have some ideas, but I keep hearing my friend Pat, whom I knew through my L'Arche experience saying "Patience is a virgin." A mistake she made once that was so delightful she's said it ever since with a twinkle in her eye. If ever there is a season where I could share that from the pulpit it is now, but... still... don't know.

  4. Good morning, everyone!

    After a week of expected disruptions - like a big Christmas party we threw for our students - and unexpected interruptions - like my having a 24-hr stomach bug - I am completely thrown off my sermon rhythm for the week. Am doing the Magnificat (title "The Turning") and am singing a duet with our Music Director of The Canticle of the Turning (the Irish tune "Star of the Country Down" with Rory Cooney's lyrics based on the Magnificat - if you haven't heard it, find it online and give it a listen! - it's awesome).

    I have some vague thoughts brewing that have as much to do with the Annunciation as with the Magnificat, but who knows what I'll actually do.

    As for food, I have a few dozen Christmas cookies to share, left over from our student party. I must not eat any more of them myself!

  5. Wow it sounds like we are all going in six different directions at once today!

    I'm sticking with Matthew, even though I love the Annunciation. Some of the same things come through and I like Jesus' question, challenging people--"What did you expect to see?" I'm going in the direction of expectations that aren't met, of finding God in unexpected ways and places, whether it's a prophet in the desert, or a baby in a stable. And of course, the joy of this Sunday is seen in the freed prisoners, healings, and so on.

    I'll writing in-between baking chocolate chip cookies, and wrapping something for the re-gifting exchange at a potluck tonight. After the potluck is the Christmas party of friends, and if I feel up to it, even later there's a fundraiser I should drop in on...Luckily people understand why late Saturday nights are difficult for me!

    I have some delectable (and decadent) Wheaton Road Cake to offer with the morning coffee, and later I'll have those chocolate chip cookies.

    I'll take an omelet, Stacey, to get me started!

  6. I'm about half way (maybe more) on a magnificat sermon. But, we're calling for that storm late tonight, and the church I'm supplying let me know that they often cancel if the weather's bad since so many of them won't drive in it's hard to write thinking it may never be delivered. I'm also focusing on a song for mine...the simple John Bell Magnificat song. I do love the one earthchick mentions, though.

    Hoping to get through this thing fairly soon, so I can go out and actually start some Christmas shopping.

  7. omelets and coffee? Count me in for at least a little while. We got a busy day in our family today. Kara is going to a birthday party today. We have Angel Food distribution day. And we have Katy's birthday party later this afternoon at the skating rink. I wrote a rough draft for my sermon, but it really needs some fine tuning. I am preaching on Isaiah. I am using the idea of a Christmas highway. I thought it was a good idea originally, but now I down't know. Morning to everybody else.

  8. An irrational season? Wondrous. I love that.

    My sermon is done...Well, I think it is. Your feedback, critique and/or encouragement are welcome.

    Go here. I was feeling a little geeky and recorded a video of a run through at the pulpit. You'll have to turn up the volume.

  9. I'm participating in a movement choir/liturgical dance interpretation of the Annunciation and Magnificat tomorrow. Practice today at the church. I'm so excited!

    Blessings on your sermon prep and very busy days.

  10. Earthchick, I will have to find that version of the Magnificat. I am chanting it tomorrow as part of the service. I so love it sung...and as a member of an Irish band, I think I need to learn that tune.

    Rock on with your bad self. Have a doughnut!

  11. hmm, I have just children's sermon and communion prayer this week, for which I am grateful since next week I (the lowly Associate Pastor) have to preach all three Advent 4 services AND prepare to preach 2 of the 5 Christmas Eve services--ack!

    Anyway, we are doing something about Matthew 11 and how perhaps God doesn't always (or even usually) work in the big wave-the-magic-wand-huge-miracle way but rather in the smaller, through-other-people, "ordinary miracle" kind of way. I'm not sure yet how to turn that into a children's time, but I know it'll come to me. I'm open to ideas, naturally!

    It's snowing and I have serious shopping to do for tomorrow's youth group christmas party (I have to provide all the food! I have no food!). I hope it stops soon.

  12. Ummmm, I love omelets with salsa. I'm trying to finish a sermon on joy. I'm contrasting happiness with joy, using the declaration of independence (did happiness mean in 1776 what it means today?) and the movie The Pursuit of Happyness and then is the yet unwritten part of joy that is founded on God's love for us and basking as a lover in that love. My son is here and we just blew off a 5K race this morning. He went back to bed and I'm waiting for my coffee so I can sermonize. My back hurts. I think I'm gonna slip back to running (jogging actually) two days a week and doing less intensive exercise four days. I hate being old.

    It just started raining, so I guess God is blessing our decision not to race.

  13. Mmmm, doughnuts. Thanks, Tripp - that sounds much better than the bland toast I just ate. I knew you were in a band but didn't realize it was Irish - you *definitely* need to learn this tune. We are singing a couple of verses acapella (I'll solo the 1st verse, the Dir. of Mus. will come in on 2nd verse w/ an awesome harmony she has come up with), then the 3rd and 4th verses my husband will come in on guitar. It would actually sound really great with fiddle and a little percussion, but we didn't have much time to put anything else together. I'm kind of more excited about the song than my sermon right now - it's definitely where my energy has been. And the lyrics really capture the revolutionary thrust of the Magnificat - the refrain is "My heart shall sing of the day you bring, let the fires of your justice burn. Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near, and the world is about to turn!"

    Okay enough gushing from me. Total sermon written right now: 0.

  14. Hey Earthchick, a lot of sermons are sung.

    I think it was St. Francis who said, "Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words."

    But you already knew that... :-)

  15. um, I have to have a sermon by 5:00 this afternoon for our chapel service, but first I have a wedding at 2:00. Not doing very well on Sermon, which is titled, "will the real messiah please stand up?" how to tell the real messiah....

  16. ha ha - yeah. I suppose I could get up and say I was doing the song as my sermon, but at this point it would be kind of obvious that it was not so much the movement of the Spirit as it was my total failure of preparation. ;)

  17. We're baptizing a baby tomorrow, and I am using the images of water from Isaiah.

    Title: Dancing Wet.
    Words written: 0
    Coffee: about to drink first cup. Will write then.

  18. I really love the Canticle of the Turning--we use it at every available opportunity, often with some mixture of violin/guitar/flute/recorder/ accordion/various's fabulous.

    One of my church members dropped off homemade cinnamon rolls, with just a light drizzle of frosting. They are amazing. I'm heating them up and leaving them for y'all since I have to go out to the grocery store in the snow. Who knows if I'll make it back in one piece. You would think that midwesterners would know how to drive in the snow...alas, no. So enjoy some cinnamon rolls and spare all of us in the snowstorm a prayer if you have time....

  19. Just in from choosing the Christmas tree...and the boys are rushing around with ladders and lights and looking very important. Those cinnamon rolls are sublime - thank you for sharing, Teri. Do go carefully in all that weather. It's just grey and bleak here - no dramas at all.
    BUT my host for tonight phoned - his wife is poorly so they've cancelled the party, which is more of a relief than it should I'm havering back and forth between sermon and preliminary decorations. Youth Group party here tomorrow night too, after we've been carol singing round the neighbourhood...So I could bake a sermon, decorate mincepies and write the tree...or any other combination of activities that you choose for me! I'm listening to Monteverdi, who always feels Christmassy to me since I was part of a recording "Christmas music in Venice" back in my callow youth.

  20. oh friends be encouraged! so many beautiful ways to tell the story and to spark hope in hearts and listeners that NEED it!

    i will be watching the children's christmas program at one church. and at the other where we've not had worship in 3 weeks due to bad weather and my inability to get there...well i'm preaching the sermon from the first week of advent. ah recycling at it's best.

    anyhoo... be of good cheer because you've got great stuff to share!

  21. Earthchick,

    I'll have to work it up. Thanks! Tomorrow the "All-Star Jubilee Band" at church is offering up God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. We're swinging it. A little syncopation goes a long way on Sunday morning. Guitar, piano, mandolin and voices. It should be fun.

    I could use a good fiddle player at the church. It would be great.

    Anyone know a fiddler looking for a church in Chicago?

  22. Cheesehead, I think a title counts as two words written! Says the Episcopalian, who doesn't do titles..

    I'm guest preaching at a service tomorrow - the liturgy should be fun and interesting, the youth plan it monthly, and use all sorts of sources... except, I didn't notice that the cut the Isaiah reading I wanted to preach on!

    What say y'all... can I pull in the reading they cut anyway?

  23. It is a lovely poem isn't it. I'm so enjoying savouring the book :)

    Putting freshly home-baked rolls on the table, with subway type filling for you to choose from. Some joulutorttu (Christmas stars) and a banana cake.


  24. ppb wrote of a snowday from church (and I'd just heard the same from my friend in Kingston, Ontario) NEVER happens here (school OR church) even though we have loads of snow and so the thought has made me smile... though I'm not sure why.

    Blessed day by the fire - with the warmth and love of God surrounding you - if you happen to have a snow day tomorrow.

    (There's plenty of food to eat still. You won't go hungry!)

  25. Susie - sure you can introduce the Isaiah...Advent is open season for Isaiah - just give them lots of reference points as you preach.
    Lorna, those Christmas stars are yummy. Thanks

  26. Hmm... all the talk of "joy" sermons got me thinking about the Advent wreath, and sure enough, the church I'm visiting will focus on that as well. Have any of you read Phillip Kenneson's Life on the Vine? Its a great book... on cultivating the fruits of the spirit in the consumerist culture. His second chapter is "Cultivating Joy in the Midst of Manufactured Desire." I wish I'd thought of this book earlier this week!

  27. All this talk about snow reminds me that we have a huge storm coming. Who knows if we'll even have church tomorrow? So my motivation to write is even lower than usual. Time for more coffee!

  28. Well, I just spent over an hour chatting online. Dumb, dumb, dumb (but fun). I now have an ending, (the poem, of course---how many of us are working that into our sermons?) and 80%, but it's that critical 2-3 paragraphs where everythign that comes before opints to the ending that I'm struggling with....

  29. Is it too late for an omelet?

    And cheese, to show my age bracket your title 'Dancing Wet' reminds me of a scene from Flashdance. I love the imagery (not of FD) of the title combined with baptism and Isaiah though.

    Storm approaching here too. I ran into that writer's roadblock all week not to mention using ALL of my sermon mojo for last week's message.

    So... I did what Jesus would do. I borrowed from someone else (hey, he quoted the OT prophets CONSTANTLY) and will present to the brave who make their way to Advent 3 with proper endnotes acknowledging the source, of course.

    About 'the brave' - they are actually the problem as we have been known to cancel church just to keep 'the brave' home as most are over 70 and insist on still parking in the outer limits because that is where they always parked. The younger, hardy bunch... stayeth home.

    Done hijacking comments now. Can I get anyone anything?

  30. Earthchick - sorry about that flu bug. Teh Bleh has been going around here too.

    I love "The Canticle of the Turning"! Our favourite liturgical dance group did an amazing interpretation to this music at our Celebration of Affirming ministry service last year.

    MoreCows - *snerk* "Patience is a virgin" - love that.

    I'm not preaching this week - the choir is singing their cantata. I'm narrating.

  31. It's snowing here. Hubby and I were out late last night at his Christmas party, so we were going to sleep in, but the phone rang at 6:30 AM, and one of my parishioners had emergency surgery last night and things were not good. I was dressed and to the hospital by 7, and they took him off the respirator at 8:15, and he went on home to Christ at about 9. This was all a new experience for me, and it's something they don't teach in seminary. I prayed with the family before they called the nurse in, and I sat with them through the whole process. This one was hard. The man was one of the patriarchs, albeit a sometimes grumpy one, but also one with a big heart once you got through the crust. Since I first met him, he has reminded me so much of my own father,and often I've found my self simultaneously loving and hating him. His eulogy will be both very easy and very difficult for me.

    So now I'm back home, trying to write a sermon I've titled "Impossible Gifts" drawing on the life springing forth in the wilderness of Isaiah, and the life springing forth in the coming of Christ. I need to be writing because my emotions are quite raw and up front right now. That should help my sermon.

    Meanwhile, I just started some potato soup in the Crockpot. I don't know that it will be ready in time for lunch, but maybe for dinner. There should be plenty, though, even after I take some over to the widow.

  32. Definitely not too late for an omelet. I'm thinking of having another, myself.

    If we cancel church tomorrow, it will also be for the safety of "the brave." Those people who could safely get through the ice and snow would blame the weather and be thankful for a free morning, but those who should stay home would make the trek to church.

  33. Hello, all! We have a Pageant on the docket for tomorrow, and I am finding it very strange to have no responsibilities, other than the peculiar one of watching the weather to see if we will end up canceling either the Pageant or the service. Living 45 minutes away, I'm not in a good position to travel if the weather is bad.
    Lorna, I think one of the reasons we do cancel here is that so many people drive to church over significant distances. Church is no longer in your village or your neighborhood, necessarily. We are commuters!
    I love the L'Engle poem and am going to use it as a resource for a brief reflection on Christmas Eve.
    Meanwhile, anybody want a Ginger Snap? I just got back from the Swedish store!

  34. We're doing the pageant tomorrow as well, and as the intern -- I got elected. I live an hour from the church so I'm also the biggest risk for attendence. Since only my reader and wise men showed up for rehearsal on Wed we have rehearasl and presentation tomorrow, if it doesn't get iced out. HS has a prime opportunity to shine.

  35. okay, I'm back in from the crazyness--both of saturday shopping before Christmas as of going out in a snowstorm. I have spicy cider from Trader Joe's warming up to share! Also Peppermint candy ice cream for mid-afternoon pick-me-ups...I can turn it into candycane milkshakes! :-)

    That's me being helpful while procrastinating on thinking about a children's sermon about Matthew 11 and coming up with a sermon title for next week (admin has to print Advent 4 bulletin on Monday in order to get all the christmas Eve bulletins done during the rest of the week...ack!).

  36. (((Kim)))

    Well, I would have sat right down and banged out a sermon once the cookies were baked (chocolate chip, anyone want one?), but I got a call about a part-time job I really realy need (this is a part-time pulpit)--and I GOT IT!!!

    So having a hard time settling down from my joy to write about joy...:-)

    But we will almost certainly have service tomorrow--it's in the afternoon, and by then the snow will have stopped and the streets been plowed (we're in the city). 'Sides, we're Canucks (if very southerly ones), and the predicted amount of snow 'tisn't nothing.

    Potato soup sounds grand, Kim--and I have some bruschetta left from yesterday's potluck which would go with it very well.

  37. congrats Rainbow pastor :) happy for you!

  38. Do you use snowtyres (tires) in the US?They are compulsory here from at least the beginning of November until the end of March. Most people keep them up until May 1st though. That's when you must have changed to summer ones! But it can still be slippery then!

    The dark is getting to me ... counting the days until the winter solstice and we can expect the days to start getting longer. (We'll see the difference only at the end of January here - and in Feb it's clear we're past the dark time. It's often my favourite month - blue skies, crisp snow and the chance to walk ON the sea.

    But none of this is really what you wanted to hear at the 11th hour is it

    Hope you have safe conditions to get to church tomorrow - if you aren't snowed out. I'll visit the Christmas crafts market here and then catch the 4pm Anglican service in the cathedral. Priest is driving in from Hki (2 hours away) ...

  39. was ten minutes late to my class- well, i suppose it was 13 by the time i joined the conversation they started without the teacher! what a good class! what a disorganized teacher! having a hard time giving myself a break on this.

    i did finish a draft of the sermon- on patience- that took it's own darn time to come out. God, i do not think it is funny that i can't wake up the day i'm preaching a sermon on waking up and that my sermon is slow in coming the week i'm preaching on patience.

    o.k., maybe it is a little funny.

    stacey, i'd love an omelet. i only ate half my oatmeal before leaving. thanks.

    we're doing canticle of turning with our praise team tomorrow and we found a flutist. we could really use a fiddler... so if that fiddler isn't interested in a church in chicago, how about just south of canada in the empire state? lots of snow. just lovely??? we have fiddlers museum in our county, if i had just tried a bit harder...

    giving myself a break now.

    sounds like lots of good stuff going on.

    blessings all. hope at least a few of you get snow days!

  40. i can't seem to leave a short comment.

    there i did.

  41. Am back from a party I had not intended to attend but am glad I did. Only on 2nd page of sermon, though, and am feeling resistance to getting serious about writing. But I Must.

    Now that I'm reading of you folks who could use a good fiddler, I'm regretting that we didn't tap the one we have (or one of the flutists in our congregation). But we did have a hard enough time coordinating schedules for 3 of us. Perhaps if I could plan such things more than a week in advance, schedules could work. Oh, maybe next year.

    We're expecting a snow storm here as well, but I don't think we've ever cancelled church - we'll just have low turnout (dampening my sermon prep enthusiasm even further). Found out today that once, when there was about 2 feet of snow, some parishioners actually strapped on cross country skis and just skiied on into town!

  42. Alright, my non-Isaiah sermon is coming together, re-created as a James sermon on patience and growth! Woo hoo! I think I'm even gonna work in some stuff from Matthew about expectations... or not. We'll see. I'd really like to get this done in the next hour and a half or so, before I leave for a choral concert.

    More cows, its at least a little funny to be impatient with a sermon on impatience... if only because I resemble that remark!

  43. I'm recycling an old Magnificat sermon. The ice storm was a doozy here- at one point most of the city was wthout power. Our power went out very early Monday morning and a huge branch from our sycamore fell and made a hole in our roof clear through our dining room ceiling. Thankfully, we were fortunate to find an apartment with electricity to sublet.

    Slowly, but surely, folks are getting their power back on. Electric crews from all over the country have come here to help. We're still waiting, but that's how it goes.

    Although I am very grateful to have adequate shelter, I am getting fed up with my insurance company. It seems they spend all their money on advertising....

    I feel a little guilty for recycling, but I would write a really crappy sermon right now.

    I have plenty of hot chocolate and marshmallow cream- help yourself! Stay warm, everyone!

  44. I am really struggling right now with my own cultural/social/economic/racial privilege, and that of my congregation, as it relates to our ability to really hear and embrace the Magnificat. What I've already written has certainly tried to reframe this for people - that this is not just some little nice happy spiritual song, but a radical prophecy of reversal, subversion, revolution, and with God behind all of it. But for those of us in a pretty good place now- at least in terms of world order - that means getting our nice little world turned upside down. This is not a song easily heard or sung by people of privilege. Would love to know what others of you preaching the Magnificat are doing with this.

  45. Mmm...pass the hot chocolate. I moved all my hot chocolate and tea to the new apartment, while I remain in the old house. Dumb, that.

    Because of the uncertainty about whether we'll even have church tomorrow, I'm reworking an old sermon I found while packing up my office. It does not match my title, which makes me sad, but I can turn my thoughts for that sermon into a Christmas Eve meditation.

  46. Well, I find myself at that critical 1000-word point where it is time to fish or cut bait, sh*t or get off the potty.

    I hate this stage...

  47. Three cheers for the newly employed Rainbow Pastor - and grumpy noises from a curate who has finished more or less but reckons it's not up to much, despite wonderful readings and great thoughts...and who now has to condense it into a thought for the day for the earlier service.
    Oh dear. This could be a long night.

  48. while I was franticly trying to finish up my sermon the chair of the board of trustees called to say he thinks we should cancel church tomorrow. we are supposed to get a nasty snow/ice storm.I travel almost an hour and most of our congregation is elderly. So i am going to finish it anyway but no reason to rush. My prayers are with the rest of you. I am making homemade pizza with fresh mozz and goat cheese mushrooms broccoli and homemade red sauce and one want some?

  49. Yum, the pizza sounds great. Settling for Lean Cuisine here. The jury's still out on canceling church tomorrow, so I've gotten everything done despite the fact that it probably won't be used. Grr. But on the other hand, it's 6pm and I'm done. That's kind of exciting.

  50. Yum!!!

    I hear about such good food every week at the preacher party. It is yet another blessing of the RevGal weekly 11th hour party.


  51. man, we never cancel church. Two weeks ago we had a huge ice storm Saturday night, the parking lots and roads were better for ice skating than driving, and we still had probably 75% of the usual attendance. So, in spite of the steadily falling snow that has been going on all day and isn't supposed to stop until mid-afternoon tomorrow, I wrote a communion prayer and am thinking about a children's sermon. anyone have a fabulous (or at least not horrible) Advent-y children's time I can steal/borrow?

  52. (((kim)))

    I just finished my baptism meditation and posted it here.

    Spouse is making a homemade pizza too! Our favorite: mushroom, onion, pesto, kalamata olive, and artichoke heart. YUM!

    Carry on, preacher pals. Stop by for a slice if you get hungry.

  53. No morning sermon here -- PAgeant Sunday.

    Tomorrow eveing though is the BLue Christmas Service and I am on tap for the meditation.

    I'd rather be preaching on Mary personally...

    Thinking of joy and hope and loss and sadness and uncertainty mixed together. Hopefully a meditation shakes out of the mix.

  54. I am just about thawed out from the Live Nativity...We all--animals and people-- froze!
    The best was my 4 year old angel tugging on my pants leg telling me we needed to get a shovel right away to clean up the goat poop...that and a 8 week old baby with 5 layers of fleece on, asleep as she portrayed "Baby J" so well.
    Boy am I glad I did my sermon on Wednesday!

  55. Teri--the best children sermon I did for advent was when I wrapped up a huge box (I think it was for a lawn mower) in Christmas wrapping. And we talked for 3 weeks about what might be inside, Then on the 4th Sunday--I stuck a real baby in it--in his car seat and let the kids unwrap it. Boy were they surprised and we talked about unexpected gifts and about how Jesus was an unexpected gift. People were crying in the pews....

  56. I'm late checking in, but I have a killer pot of beef stew simmering...anybody like a bowl?

    I think I'm set for tomorrow, but my worry now is our very first Longest Night service which we are holding this week. Anybody have any old sermons from a Longest Night service that you'd like to share? This was my big idea, and now I'm actually having to do the work!

  57. Teri, apparently we never cancel church here either; it has been decided that we'll just have church, even if no one can get there, because I live in walking distance, so I can get there. You know, normally I'd probably make the same decision, but I am finding myself a bit irritated by this. Which is, I'm sure, just my quite selfish desire to sleep in.

    Anyway, I have a Christmas party to attend, so I'm out for a while. Enjoy all the pizza, and I'll see you later!

  58. This week I thought I was going to preach on one thing and ended up in a totally different place. Hope I am still on target tomorrow by the time I get to the place I serve - 125 miles away over the mountains. The weather looks clear although cold with snow on the ground. My notes are here.

  59. Well, y'all, these sermon ideas sound awesome. I hope you all throw links up here and post them on your blogs. Susie, I would love to read yours. Gord, it sounds like we are on the same page. My sermon is on Mary...more or less.

    I'll chant the Magnificat. That should be interesting. I asked our choir director to do that last year. I thought it was lovely. She's away tomorrow. So, I will have to do it. I'm loving an opportunity to chant! Thank you, Jesu!

    Be well, gang. To whomever has the Wednesday post as their responsibility, may I suggest a long list of sermons from this Sunday? I think we're in for a great run.

    God bless you...every one!

  60. *sigh*

    I am, as we say in the South, a idgit.

    Yes, my html-impairment shows again. I have worked so hard to overcome it, and still I hyperlink entire posts. Oh well. At least the link works.

    'Night, y'all.

  61. Well, the sermon is done, but I'm having my doubts about tomorrow. Here's a selfish question---if they've already paid you to supply the pulpit but then they cancel, do you get to keep the money?

    Such a selfish girl I am!

    Anyway, I'm watching TV and the church cancellations for tomorrow are just rolling in....I don't know.

    Growing up in Chicagoland, we never cancelled. But we also had nice wide roads built for snow, and lots of snow plows. Here we have narrow little roads that twist and turn. We had a little bit of snow on Thursday and there were a bajillion car accidents.

    we'll see. I'll print it out and hope for the best.

  62. I don't know if this will be good news to my congregation or not, but we canceled the service for tomorrow. The weather here is supposed to be tough, and there is a parking ban in town, which would limit access anyway.
    I hate doing it. It feels awful.

  63. Well, ppb, I once arrived late to a summer service as a student (because they did not tell me that the service I was preaching for in July started an hour earlier than the one I preached for in June), and they insisted I keep the check!

  64. I am sorry to hear that services will be canceled. Our's will still go on. Chicago never sleeps. Never. Our attendance will be low and the Nativity Story we have planned for tomorrow will likely be lightly attended as well...but one never knows.

    In other news, here is a post for those who are still thinking about not preaching tomorrow. I laughed out loud.

  65. Yawn...just now checking in. It's been a not good night and day. My mother in the nursing home went completely insane last night--kicking, biting, cursing, hanging on the the door frame, crawling down the hall....etc. I was there twice...not much sleep in between. This morning she was exhausted, and once she finally calmed down she became completely docile. I came home and slept for a couple of hours. Then had a minor crisis at church to deal with, and a last-minute gift for Angel Tree to pick up (a ministry to inmates' children) and I am finally home. I am spent, and I have no sermon. We may have a snow day tomorrow. It is snowing steadily, and it is not supposed to end until around 6 a.m. so I can't be sure. Pondering Mary and Elizabeth, but my brains are fuzzy. I wish I was like SemFem and able to write my best sermons at 3 in the morning.

  66. Oh dear...I've enjoyed a good day of Christmas candy and cookie making; made some awesome clam chowder and got a pot of spaghetti sauce on now (who knows when I'll cook again?). But now it's 10:15 and looks like I'll have to preach tomorrow. Anyone got any thoughts I can borrow? I preached about John last week, so I'm hoping to leave him alone. Maybe the Magnificat?

    btw, thanks, Tripp...maybe Ps 119 will work for me too

  67. I totally used the poem on Tuesday, as I led worship for my colleagues at our monthly gathering. :)

    Earthchick: I really like Dylan's way of saying that the Magnificat is like a washing machine, with the agitator in the middle, turning the clothes around, bringing the outside ones in and spinning the inside ones out, until they are all clean. If they didn't get agitated...they wouldn't get clean. Just an idea.

    I had a day of random errands and got started late, but after an hour and a half of writing, I think I'm done! Short sermon this week to leave space for the kids' program and everything else going on. I'm preaching on water and wilderness and the fine line between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

    Homemade hummus for anybody who wants it!

  68. (((Singing Owl)))

    (((Singing Owl's Mama)))

    We cancelled one Sunday last year. If our snow stops before morning, we can still get plowed out.

    I'm planning on showing up tomorrow. We have a baptism!

  69. Okay, so I got back later than anticipated, and it looks like everyone has gone to bed. It is snowing like crazy, the roads are absolutely awful, and I suspect that we will change our minds in the morning and cancel services, for the sake of protecting those who would try to make it even though they shouldn't. We'll see. Either way, I need to be up in 5 hours to evaluate the situation, so I'm off to bed. If anyone is still here, hit the lights, will you?

  70. Good morning! If you are preaching today, blessings! If you are driving to church in all kinds of weather, traveling mercies!

  71. I never thought I'd see it happen - but we cancelled services today after all. 7.9 inches of snow on the ground, another 5-8 inches expected, blizzard conditions expected by midday with 35 mph winds. It feels so strange to be at home on Sunday morning, but also yummy, and beautiful.

    And hey, our whole service is planned for next week!

    Blessed preaching to those of you who are bringing the word this morning. Stay safe, everyone!

  72. the Wednesday Festival should be entitled: The Undelivered Sermon...

    Or something more pithy.

    We have only a few inches. The musicians are warming up. The walks have been shoveled. Blessings on all of you who have an unexpected break!

  73. God is good. We had about five inches of snow, and we had some ice too, but it stopped early enough that the roads were cleared. And I did have a sermon, thanks to someone else outline from Sermon Central. (I think the HS understood that this week.) We have a young woman in our church who is with YWAM, and she has been away. She returned today for a couple of weeks, and she shared her experiences, etc. It was wonderful. She is travelling to Zambia soon, where she will teach children. It fit in remarkably with what I had to share about Mary and Elizabeth. Now I'm off to the nursing home, and I hope I find the sweet mother and not the maniac one. I never know. But the sun is shining in a blazing blue sky, the snow is gorgeous, and I'm listening to an album of tradition carols from all is okay for now.


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