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Saturday, December 29, 2007

A little late- but here it is 11th hour preacher party...

Coffee is on, and I have all sorts of bits to nibble at how are your sermons coming on this week, have you been inspired, or perhaps you have been almost too busy with family and friends and are just surfacing with the knowledge that you have to preach tomorrow...

What will your text be? Are you going with the angel messenger and the flight to Egypt- the massacre of the innocents seems to stand out so harshly in comparison to the rest of the Christmas narrative, and yet there it is, we cannot ignore it! Hebrews again picks up the theme of suffering, whilst both Psalm 148 and Isaiah look beyond it to praise and salvation....

I am planning on taking my Christmas meditations on angel messages one step further this week and am going to stick with Matthew, bringing in Isaiah's emphasis on God with us as the path to salvation ( even though the path can be difficult). How about you? Pull up a chair, bring your cup to the table... let's party...


  1. Am I really the first?

    I'm bringing some tangarines and nuts - and heaps of chocolates left over - the cyberones, while addictive, are calorie free so do help yourself to a handful!

    Not preaching -so looking forward to reading what you gals and pals bring to the table :)

  2. Good morning all - you all know I am of the pew sitting variety, but like to drop in and say hello and know I think of you on Saturday as many of you prepare. Right now I am sipping on some coffee and will be having some oatmeal soon - will be glad to share.

  3. lol Cathy- we have just finished some turkey sandwiches for lunch- it is 1:50pm here- I forget that I have actually posted fairly early...

  4. This is the hardest week of the year to preach - imho. Not only was the majority of sermon and worship mojo used up in the weeks previous but you wearily turn to the lectionary looking for something inspirational and instead there is the slaughtering of innocent babies. Brutal.

    Deep breathes all, drink the stong coffee, go ahead and have the real sugar... we can do this.

  5. Well, I am sitting in my church office with the poodles who have promptly baptized the carpet floor (grrreaaattt!!) while my beloved readies our house for a showing. I have veered from the lectionary (in total agreement with Willsmama) and am going to talk about inbetween time, thresholds, and visions ala Revelation 21:1-6 for a New Year meditation. I've got Dunkin' Donuts iced caramel latte LITE and poodle barks to share.

  6. we're not doing matthew 2. Instead, sr. pastor put together a conglomeration with ecclesiastes from New Year's Eve and Luke from Name of Jesus. So I'm talking about New Year's and Christmas and "A Time to Be born" then I'm going on vacation
    but not right away.
    we have coffee on here, still too many Christmas cookies left over, and some organic raisin bran, if you'd like.

  7. so I managed to get this week off and was supposed to be enjoying 7 straight days off, going into the city to stay with friends and going up to WI to chill with no internet and basically no phone, just books and a fireplace and hot cocoa. Which means I'm not preaching Sunday.

    Alas, someone died (rather horribly) and I have a funeral to do on Monday morning now, with the visitation on Sunday afternoon. No vacation for me. And in spite of the funeral being small and on New Year's Eve, they want a sermon. So I'll be writing today after all, probably on John 14 (many rooms...). boo....

    On the bright side, I've got lots of cocoa to share, and also stuff to make s'mores so if anyone has a fireplace, you're welcome to them! And when it's lunchtime, I have leftover sweet potato/roasted pepper soup to share! It's quite good, with a little kick to it. :-)

  8. Hi all who are preaching Sunday. I am not preaching but wanted to drop by to offer encouragement and some waffles and strong Starbucks coffee. How is everybody doing?

    WS, praying for some mojo for you and all. I agree with you. Smart moves Karlajean and Diane. Oh Teri, will be thinking of you. That is hard.

    The person who was covering for me, had a death in the family and won't be able to after all. I called my Lay Leader and she said she would preach instead. She is very gifted, and I am trying to encourage her to answer he call to ministry, but.....

    Well toodles and happy writing.

  9. I'm doing pulpit supply. Right now the Isaiah passage is calling to me. Thinking about God's presence in the midst of all creation's groaning. I can't stop thinking about Pakistan, the anniversary of the Tsunami, and God's continual presence and providence.

    We'll see how it shapes up. I've got peppermint Joe Joe's and some yummy Dutch Banket. (pastry filled with almond paste).

  10. I am doing a service of lessons and carols (with eucharist) at my regular services, so I won't really preach, just say a few words to tie it together.

    I have some great tea I got from World Market called PJ tips - just discovered it. I'm sitting next to my labradoodle who is exhausted from a going sledding with us yesterday.

    I'll be praying for you Teri - a day off is hard to come by!

  11. i like rebbe deb's idea. oh well. next parish.
    and waffles!
    thank you!
    I still have a lot of writing before 5:00 this afternoon, but I think I know what I'm saying now.

  12. I did a Lessons and Carols service last year since it was so close to Christmas. Folks loved chilling out, singing some more and hearing where the carols came from.

    If anyone wants to put one of those together, the info about the hymns can be found on the internet.

    Time for more coffee!

  13. Need a distraction before going back to the books?

    Hi, I'm here to argue with the pastor.

    What's with that new year's day song? You know, the one that goes "old lang guy" or something.

    I plan on doing as little as possible today. My wife, on the other hand, has the usual prep. :(

  14. The Episcopal Church goes off lectionary, we are using John 1:1-18, in the beginning was the word...

    Alas, I have no inspiration. I've just done an hour of I think I'd better go pray.

    Teri, prayers for you and the family...others too.

  15. currently i am drinking of course. but thinking about power. the matt 2 story is about how threatening the power of jesus is... and how threatening the power his believers have in his name can be... how much are we capable of people of God when we stop bickering over the color of the new carpet, and the time of the christmas service interrupting family dinner, and etc.... how much more are we capable of in this world together?

    seems to me like complacency is the kinder, gentler, form of evil out there. slaughtering babies...augh we gasp. doing nothing... well that's not shocking, but isn't it deadly too?

    hmmm... not sure i have the mojo to pull it together.

  16. Slept in this morning. Grape Nuts is all I have to offer. Healthy for your teeth. Gotta go to the grocery in a bit.

    I don't have to preach this week. Lessons and Carols on Sunday for our bunch.

    Question to leadership: Do we have a locale where we can talk about spirituality? I am noticing several sistahs who are running on spiritual-empty these days and could do with some lifting up. Got a suggestion?

    I am doing pretty well spiritually at the moment and am willing kept sistahs in prayer.

  17. When pain of the world surrounds us with darkness and despair,
    When searching just confounds us with false hopes ev’rywhere,
    When lives are starved for meaning and destiny is bare,
    We are called to follow Jesus and let God’s healing flow through us.

    To me this is the way in. I am talking about the shadow of Christmas, how it isn't just angels and light and joy to the world. Jesus is born into a brutal world. ANd teh world responds as it knows best.

    And I think we cheapen Christmas when we forget its shadow.

  18. Oh and last night Patty made a great suggestion about a retreat.

    Any ideas about making such a thing happen would be welcome.

  19. Oh, Abi, drive the knife in!!
    I'm in Gulf Coast Land, working on my sermon for St. Casserole's people. I did some work on it at home, but now that I'm here, I need to do more and make it just right. Because I'm like that. Sigh.

  20. Story: In my first year of ministry, I had the pleasure of preaching on the first Sunday after Christmas. There was a baptism that day. a staff meeting my colleague in ministry asked me what I would be preaching that week, and I said I would be following the lectionary as usual. No comment from the peanut gallery, just a bit of a smirk.

    Sure enough, that Sunday arrived, family of baptism baby arrived. After I had greeted them in the sanctuary I went to my office to prepare myself for worship.

    I could not preach the sermon I had. It was a good exegesis of the slaughter of the innocents. I had prepared the sermon according to everything my profs had taught me about preaching - EXCEPT the most important one.

    Context. Context. Context.

    I trashed the sermon ten minutes before worship without a single clue what I was going to do in its place. I did not read the Matthew lesson. I could not. A family had gathered in to celebrate the birth of a much-anticipated and deeply loved child. NO WAY was I getting in that pulpit to talk about dead babies. No way.

    I still have no idea what came out of my mouth. I think it had to do with light. Folks liked it and were impressed with my preaching without notes. I was almost frozen with terror, and have only rarely gone without notes since. I've also never even considered preaching the Matthew lesson for this week.

    That's right. I'm sticking with Light this week. Live and learn.

    My blessings to all of you who are braver than I on this particular Sunday and are taking on this truly difficult gospel, placed smack in our laps during the "Most Wonderful Time of teh Year" Argh.

  21. Sue,
    6 years ago was my first year. PAtty and I took off to Winnipeg for NEw Year's (our first trip together) and the lay volunteer was less than impressed with the lectionary for the week she was filling in.

    3 years ago we had a baptism. SO I preached from Luke about Jesus growing in wisdom and stature. But I did use this in conjunction with the MAgi story (thereby keeping the story together and reading it in order) and drew some paralell between Herod and Saddam (in terms of butcherous totalitarian rulers).

  22. Piping in to offer my prayers and support for all of you (especially you, Teri.)

    I agree: Context is important, AND the One we follow shows us the way to use the prophetic voice too. Like what you're working on Hot Cup ... hope you post it so I can read it.

  23. Gord, thanks for that quote, really helps me...

    Sue, what an experience...what a story! Since TEC uses the John reading for Christmas I.

    I have never had to preach on this text...although I did find some food for thought on the RCL texts at the Process Theology link through text this week...

  24. wow. who knew the church would be so busy today? no sermon yet, but lots of visitors, have everything else ready (announcements, children's time, etc. etc.) I am out of food, though, so I am eating mints. Should speed things up on the writing of the sermon, right??
    thanks for the thoughts, gord...and prayers and good energy to all finishing up......

  25. Thanks Abi for the starbucks ... I love that flavoured cappochino :)

    hugs :)

  26. Okay, I confess that rather than writing a funeral sermon I have been seduced by The Gospel According to America which is so far very intelligently written and also by a nap on my comfy couch. Soon I will be seduced by a delightful soup (even if it is orange colored) which I'm happy to share (sweet potato/bell pepper/carrot--very healthy).
    After lunch is over I suppose I could even share some of my scotcharoos--I had probably five families bring me tins/jars/bags of them on Christmas Eve!! (and I talked about them in a sermon months ago)

    Then I really must get to work. Can I just say that it's a little harder to write a funeral sermon a) on John 14 and b) when you've only known the person in question for 15 months and c) when she had Alzheimer's so in some sense you never really knew her? sigh.

  27. I think carols are great on the Sunday between Christmas and ephiphany. Well done Wills Mama :)

  28. Thinking about John --- and incarnation - God born in our midst trailing clouds of glory and revealing the beauty that was with us all along.

  29. sorry I haven't been around, blogger keeps throwing me off, wow everyone has been busy.

    I am inspired by Gords shadow meditations....

    For all who are preaching- many prayers

  30. Hi all. Munching on macadamia nuts [want some?] and trying to decide between Holy Innocents, New Years or the Holy Name of Jesus.

    I have never done anything before with Holy Name, but the idea of naming being significant for our faith has much promise, and I can tie it in with both Christmas and New Years.

    I think I will utilize the praise chorus, "I Will Change Your Name" too.

  31. I think Gord is right on target with Christmas' shadow side, by the way, but most folks in my congregation are pretty well aware of the shadow-side, not just of Christmas, but Christianity itself.

  32. Amen Gord & Diane. I especially like the closing statement on Matthew text on site you linked, Diane, and did a brief post quoting it at my place.

    Whatever you share with your people tomorrow, may they experience Emmanuel (God-with-us).

  33. I am not preaching tomorrow. My daughter and her husband (not to mention Princess Trinity Ann) will be arriving in the wee hours. We will be celebrating Trinity's 1st birthday a few days early. :-)

    As for Sunday SIL is sharing his testimony--which is amazing and full of God's grace.

    As for me, it is a good thing I am not preaching. I've been pondering my ministry here since before my sabbatical, and last night something happened that just put me over the edge.

    Today I am crying and have a kinda upset tummy. I do not know what I will do next--unlike many of you denominations, we don't get appointed. There are many things that I don't understand, and many things that make me afraid, make me question my calling, my discernment...oh on and on.

    Don't mean to rain on the preacher party. Can't blog any of it because several church folks visit often.

    I do have hot and yeasty Norweigan Julekaka coming out of the oven in about half an hour.

    I wish I was on the coast with Songbird and St. Cass.

    I'll stop moping and pray for the preparing preachers, and I do have the lovely task of visiting a new baby in about an hour. :-)

  34. I know most of you are very busy at the moment, but when the week-end is over I would love a visit and some comments about the conversation I've written about.

    And, more importantly: {{{{Singing Owl}}}}.

  35. Oh, (((SO)))

    Sounds like all involved in the preaching process are making good steps. The lectionary text can be a powerful one, but of course context is everything.

    Teri, be sure to get your time away even if it is not to the same place. Your brain, heart and soul need that break.

  36. This might be a double post, as blogger just tossed me off. grrr...

    (((Singing Owl)))

    Good work everyone!

    Please don't misunderstand my earlier post. I did not mean to imply that no one should preach the holy innocents. It simply isn't my gig. After my (almost) experience nine years ago, I just know I won't ever go there again.

    All the cyber food this week sounds wonderful and is easier on my unhappy tummy than the real stuff.

    Teri - I agree - take that break in some way.

  37. I am doing a monologue where I play the part of Mary. I will talk about what it was like to be asked to be the mother of Jesus and then I will talk about the slaughter of the innocents from her perspective.

    I have laryngitus and I have a service and a funeral to lead tommorrow. Keep me in your prayers and have some tea with honey from me. You will have to put in your own whiskey.

  38. Oh my, god_guurrlll, I do hope that your voice is restored and that you are feeling much better tomorrow for such a demanding day.

  39. I have finally gotten home from a hair cut and color trip that took significantly longer than planned, and am trying to squeeze all my thoughts about the slaughter of the innocents into a coherent sermon that will be challenging without completely pissing people off. We'll see how that goes.

  40. ((god_guurlll)) hope you feel better.

  41. {{{SO}}}
    You have been in my prayers all day. I have been there, sister. This is what the old nuns used to pray for perserverance for. Hang in there. There are numerous ones of us holding you in prayer. Rest on that and have fun with the grandbebe. That is what you are being called to be for the moment!

  42. Blessings on all who preach and who will learn from you this week...especially all who will use the RCL readings. Pah, pah, pah. Sue, I love your story...the Holy Spirit so had your back that day!

    Special hugs to Teri and Singing Owl...

    At my church, the congregation will be the sermon this Sunday...that is, our priests invite us during the sermon time at each service to a Christmas hymn-sing. We choose and call out the numbers of the ones we want and everyone SINGS a few verses, accompanied by our marvelous organist.

    This is so unstructured, for us, it still makes me quiver all over with joy (even beyond how wonderful it is in itself!).

    Blessings on all.

  43. ((SO))

    I am feeling at this very moment like a selfish and horrible person because I ALMOST wish that I'd said I wasn't available on Monday for this funeral.

    I know, I'm a pastor and this is part of my calling as well as my job. But wow do I want a vacation.

    I will do my best to take some time off, but it will be much harder once the new year begins and everything is going again. That's why I love you all--you're my accountability and support. Thanks y'all. (I wanted to say "yo" but couldn't figure out how to write that in the plural. yos? yoes? Anyway...)

    Ok, for real, I am going to write that funeral sermon now. As soon as I have some dinner. Veggie burger and spinach salad anyone?

  44. hey teri, in boston it is "youse"...
    totally understand your feelings about the funeral......and your need for vacation. I have always worked with people who just have NOT come back for funerals...even for the most beloved of congregants...its a hard line to figure out where to draw. {{Teri}}
    Meanwhile, my sermon languishes in a mushpot of nonsensical logic and theology. yikes.

  45. ooh singing owl... grrr. do you want mochajava puppy to come & leave "calling cards" on their doorsteps? he leaves big ones...

    i stuck with the holy innocents. the community needs a swift kick in the patootie right now cuz well you know pastor Jesus can't interrupt our family time, or our lives, or our sense of comfort...blahbubbblah...

  46. Singing Owl, we were thinking of you in Bay St. Louis and Waveland yesterday. I'm sorry things are difficult and will hold you in prayer, as will St. C.

  47. Hi all, I am an enabler of those of you who procrastinate by reminding you of the book we will be discussing in late January. Listening For God: A Ministers Journey Through Silence And Doubt will be discussed the 4th Monday in January. RGBP benefits from your purchase! Or check it out from your local library!

  48. Singing Owl - thoughts are with you.

    I stuck with holy innocents and Psalm 148. They somehow tied together for me - I'll post the sermon on my blog. My congregation could use a swift kick too...they'd much rather let Herod be in charge than have to step out into the darkness with only their faith.

  49. Yay Cathy!!! I was given that book for Christmas and I'm already halfway through. I'm enjoying it a lot and look forward to the discussion in January.

  50. Ah, you, I mean gals, I love you.

    The new baby girl was so beautiful. She is tiny, about 6 1/2 lbs, and she has a dimple, just like mommy and big sister.

    Songbird, and St. Cass, my thoughts and prayers were with you and the coast. I left a part of my heart there, and to hear that you thot of me too was oddly comforting. Preach well tomorrow!

    As I shopped for a baby present I was feeling bad for saying something here, and just now got home again, and all those cyber hugs made me cry. I can't tell you what it means to have you all praying for me. What a blessing!
    I'm not sure when to actually resign...praying hard for wisdom and feeling...just broken hearted.
    I won't do anything for a few days anyway.

    Thank you.

  51. The sermon is done but I have a memorial service at 1:00. It was schedules without actually talking to me directly. hmmm.

    So, there's not much turn around time since the service is not at the church and very often it's 12:30 when I leave the building. The Entertainer may end up having to attend, too. Not exactly how I had planned the last Sunday in Dec.

    oh well. At least the Giants are ahead ...

  52. Blessings and prayers {{{SO}}} so many of us understand more than we wish.
    I ususally take this week off to see my daughter (who is in training to be a Buddhist monk!0 But that isn't happening until a month from now-- so I got the lesson on the killing of the innocent children. I have spent hours trying to find any "good news" and finally decided to preach on the good news of the gospel generally (ok this is probably cheating, but the other option was to read sections of the Telephone book work with me here. I liked Gord's ideas about the shadow, just couldnt get it to jell...shalom Gail

  53. Greetings all. I feel like it's forever since I was here, between nasty flu and a couple of non-preaching weeks. I don't preach tomorrow either. Whenever there are 5 Sundays in a month, we celebrate one of our members on the 5th Sunday. So tomorrow we will be lifting up an octogenarian who has dedicated most of his retirement to helping the homeless.

    I do want to share a lovely prayer with my congregation, and with you all, which I received from my Spiritual Companion. Twelve Prayers for Christmas

    Blessings on all who preach and listen tomorrow.

  54. (((0))) & prayers Singing Owl! So sorry.

  55. (((SO)))
    Just got in from two texas tech b-ball games and realized I have to preach tomorrow. While we are on vacation, I am filling in at my home church in Txas tomorrow, both services! Yikes!
    Blessings y'all!

  56. well how about that? my Sunday sermon and funeral sermon are both completed before the Sunday prayer is posted. How'd that happen??? hope nothing is wrong with Sue

  57. ((((Singing Owl))))

    My heart goes out to you and my prayers too.

    God has a plan - a good one for your life - that truth has sustained me for the best part of the last year when everything churchwise went upside down (and still is)

    May that truth sustain you too.

    (((SO))) may God put the song back in you ... so you sing HIS praises :) night (and day)

  58. Sorry about posting the prayer so late. My headache sent me to bed really early, so I wasn't able to post it until this morning.

  59. ((((Singing Owl)))))- a belated hug- and many prayers...


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