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Saturday, March 01, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Second Verse, Same as the First

It seems like just a moment ago I was posting a picture of the snow outside my front door, and friends, this Saturday is no different except that the snow is still falling and likely to continue throughout the day. My plans to get out and buy a bag of potting soil in order to make mud during worship tomorrow begin to appear even more fanciful than they were in the first place.

There is, however, coffee to drink and a message to prepare.

And there are themes to discuss.

And surely there are those among you who can remind me what sunshine looks like. Right?

Pull up a chair to the table. Pour yourself a cup. Tell us what's on your plate or on your calendar or on your mind. Let's get to work! (As soon as I finish shoveling, that is.)


  1. Been up for awhile now, but no words yet. DH is leaving in two hours to preach a revival in Georgia. For some dumb reason I did not secure childcare today. So I somehow intend to watch 2 3 year-olds AND write a sermon. I had thought maybe I would get it done in advance, but, um, no.

    I have fresh scones to share, though! A friend of mine used to be a pastry chef and she passed on her awesome recipe. I am still trying to get them to come out as great as hers, but for now they are good enough.

  2. mmmm. scones.
    Drinking a diet pepsi, everybody else snug as bugs in their beds...and thinking about intergenerational communion and a brief, brief homily tomorrow.
    I've got kashi whole grain cereal, fruit, and soy mild to share....
    and snow, too, like Songbird--third time this WEEK!!!

  3. I'm up early, because I'm going to a confirmation retreat. gonna come home and preach. though I don't know if I'm quite ready. Please pray for me.

  4. Yeah...I have nothing for today. Well, I have a title: "Free to See." That's it. Today is our leadership retreat and I am hoping that there will be something that happens that helps me focus a little bit.

    I'm leading this congregational leadership hoohaa. Please keep us in your prayers. We are "Building upon Hope."

    Have a great day, friends. Peace of God be with you today...preach 'em into the kingdom!

  5. Baby shower this afternoon, with lots of friends and relatives milling around, so I made it a point to finish the sermon by Thursday.

    I end up criticizing the disciples and Pharisees...basically anyone who'd rather sit around and have a theological discussion on the blind guy's sinfulness rather than...oh, I don't know...helping him.

  6. I'll take that coffee! and I have cinnamon-pecan rolls bought for DH which he's glad to share.

    We have sunshine, even pear trees budding out and robins. Unfortunately, I'll be indoors all day, leading a workshop.

    I have been consumed this week by the Gospel's idea of seeing and REALLY seeing.

    I have a good friend who has been blind from childhood. He uses, "It's good to see you," and the same visual language we do...clearly he does not see me with eyes, but I have a very real sense that he *sees* me more clearly than many others do. And this at a time when I am working, personally, on seeing what is not visible, on looking with the eyes of my heart.

    Praying for all of you who write this day and will preach and proclaim tomorrow.

  7. Howdy all! Cold cereal and hot coffee at my place this morning. I am putting the finishing touches on a funeral homily for this afternoon while my spouse snowblows us out from under the foot of snow that fell last night.
    Boy am I glad we're not going to the cemetery today! Worship prep will happen later this evening. Stay warm and dry everyone..

  8. To quote karlajean, "mmmm. scones."

    It's snowing sideways here then changing direction, then lightening up tantalizingly, then snowing sideways again. This is my usual time to go to Weight Watchers, but I decided not to go out in the storm. Almost feels like skipping church! Thanks to will smama for encouraging me not to be an idiot by going out on indifferent roads this morning.

    Tomorrow is the last Sunday that I feel any sort of particular farewell message will be appropriate at Main Street Church. Next week I'm not preaching, as we're using a worship drama I wrote about Lazarus as the focal point of the service, and the following two weeks being Palm Sunday and Easter feel like they need to be more universal and less particular to the congregation. I'm also aware that a foot of snow today and possibly more tomorrow may mean a more intimate congregation.

    My mind is on themes of transformation and recognition. We'll have a congregational reading of the gospel lesson. I'm planning to post the question, "How were your eyes opened?" I wonder if I could get away with really asking the congregation to share? Probably not, in this setting, though they have occasionally shared during prayer times when given the opportunity. I guess it's less scary to speak when everyone's eyes are closed? Must think about that.

    More coffee anyone?

  9. coffeepastor, I will try not to hate you for having written your sermon already. I'm a sucker for baby-related reasons.
    And quaker pastor, Wah! I wish I had either my husband at home OR a snowblower!!!

  10. Songbird: Open your virtual front door and find a virtual me and my snowblower :)

  11. qp, that's as good as Antonio Banderas with a sermon!!

  12. OK you can send Antonio down my way! Have him bring his hot tub too!

  13. Songbird, we must live around the corner from each other. It is snowing here too.

    I 'feel' snowed in too. The landlord had bypass surgery last week so I guess I will have to do the shoveling. QP think you could swing by my house too? Earthchick probably doesn't even know what snow blower it.

    As I said Tues., I am mourning the death of my blind exceedingly conservative colleague online. We often talked about what it was like for him to be blind since birth. Surprisingly we never talked about this passage. His was just another way of seeing. Since I am exceedingly NOT conservative, we were an odd match but he came to see the gay issue in much different ways because we talked from the heart with each other. I miss his friendship and support. I miss his ways of seeing things differently from me and being willing to seriously talk about issues--not just accuse.

    Guess I have the beginning of a sermon.

  14. I'm up - finally! I slept in this morning, and it felt great. I'm on to housecleaning tasks todoay - I'll trade a sermon for housekeeping services. I'll be preaching from I Samuel tomorrow.

  15. Songbird, we did have a sunny day yesterday -- but now the prediction is grey until Thursday. But meteorological winter is over! Best wishes to all of you preparing sermons for tomorrow.

  16. I slept in, too, but have homemade granola to share.

    Our seminarian i preaching tomorrow, but I'm thinking about mud and the children's sermon tomorrow. That's as far as I've gotten on a cold,sunny day with snow in the forecast for later....

  17. Auntie Knickers is right, the sun did shine yesterday. It was just too cold for a person with an iffy ear to enjoy being outside.
    I've started writing, and now I think I'm ready for another cup of coffee.

  18. I want in on QP's virtual reality snowblower. Please!
    I finished my message, and now am on to the day...of what is looking like to be a day of knitting and shoveling snow. Prayers and blessing to all as they write.

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  20. Sad to say I have not had a chance to even look at sermon stuff since posting my early thoughts on Tuesday.

    Mind you, having spent all day yesterday flat on my back recovering from Thursday night's "fun" didn't help at all. BUt I think I am almost back to normal now....(whatever normal means)

    Still wondering how to walk the tightrope between challenging people on how welcoming they are and slipping into chastising.

  21. Got up at 6:30, went back to bed at 7. My tummy is bothering me. My plan had been to get up and go out to one of the parks and take some pictures for my photography class, come back, finish sermon, go out again. I'm not sure what today holds. Eating ginger, hopeful my stomach will settle.

    I'm doing "Yahweh" (U2) and the Ephesian passage. Sermon is about half done.

  22. I can remind you of what sunshine looks like, but warmth, green grass, leaves on trees, colorful flowers are but a distant memory. We're supposed to be getting snow later on. Hubby is doing a Session retreat today, so I'll have several hours of quiet and solitude, which should be sufficient for me to write my sermon. *Should* being the key word.

    I'm trying to keep it simple this week, as the last couple of weeks I feel like the sermon has gone awry by me trying to do too much with these rich passages that we've had in John. But what that simple message will be, I'm not sure. I read something in Lectionary Homiletics about Jesus getting down in the mud with us, and I'm playing with that image a bit.

  23. I do know what a snowblower is, Muthah! (I'm in Michigan) - unfortunately ours is on the fritz. DH spent 2 hours shoveling yesterday (ah, the joys of owning the corner lot) only to have a couple more inches fall last night. I just got back from taking him to the airport, and am hoping the sun might start melting things a bit so I don't have to shovel myself....

    Meanwhile, I've been up 5 hours and still have nothing to show for it. Last 2 of that was spent going to the airport and running a couple of errands w/ the boys, who slow everything down - got home to the phone ringing, dh calling to say he missed his flight. Oy - it is not shaping up to be a very good Saturday....

  24. I was going to run some errands, but the 5 year old is happily playing BY HIMSELF so I'm going to let him keep at it while I try to get my head around the day tomorrow.
    Letter from the UCC re legal troubles to read, a guy who grew up in the church wants to say "a few words," communion, new art on the walls that needs explaining, trying to set up our Tuesday night speaker who will be talking about earth stewardship and, oh yeah, scripture, which the choir is doing as sort of readers theater, thanks to Seasons of the Spirit. Whew.

  25. Morning all. I'm off to a breakfast meeting, then a meeting on congregational transformation this afternoon. Haven't even LOOKED at the passage for this week between Lenten events and planning ahead for a change. Seems to me that I can either work in the now or plan ahead but not both. So I expect I'll be here with SemFem late into the evening.

    On a "lighter" note (I'm preaching from Ephesians) there is snow on the mountains but none here. It's a lovely 60ish sunshiney day. Songbird et al in snow country, feel free to open your virtual front doors onto my patio, pet the bunny and enjoy the sunshine while I'm out.

  26. I need a Diet Coke! There is no caffeine in the house and it sucks! We don't have snow. But we did get a change in the barometric pressure that's giving me a headache. Or maybe it's the caffeine. Enough complaining!

    Sermon is going slow. Going with a curing vs. healing thing and how God can use our faithful responses to help heal others.

  27. revhrod, let me hand you a Diet Coke. It will be my pleasure.
    Thanks for the images of sunshine, friends. The snow is veering back and forth with rain, yuck!

  28. Finished up my sermon yesterday. I decided since I was sick last week to preach the Samaritan Woman this week, since she's one of my favorites. I changed the OT reading to Gen. 16 where Hagar meets and names God at a spring. It's posted here.

    Now on to some housework and a Target run.

  29. I have hazlenut coffee and whole wheat bagels to offer.

    The sun is shining here (gasp!) but freezing rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. The snow is deeper than I have ever seen in my years in WI (since '84).

    The sort of church soap opera starring SingingOwl continues. This was supposed to be my last Sunday, but...oddly enough...I am staying.

    It is complicated. And I don't know how long I will stay, but I'm giving it my best effort for now. Meanwhile, my resignation seemed to do something that nothing else did. Weird, but many good things happening.

    I wrote a bit of it on my blog if you want to take a peek.

    MEANWHILE, what with cancellations for snow storms, and travels for the funeral, I have STILL got to finish up the Noah series. Not very Lent-ish, I know. My husband and I are doing a little drama as Mr/Mrs Noah, and there are some other funny and also serious pieces to the service. Mostly done, but not quite.

    And if I don't manage to get a haircut today I won't be able to see because my hair will be covering my eyes completely. :-(

    And friends, I thank you for your prayers from the bottom of my heart. I know they made a difference.

  30. Just more rain here. And I'm getting a very very late start b/c I had a two hour meeting this morning. Yikes--I have to be ready to preach a the 5:00 service this afternoon.

    I gave up Diet Coke for Lent, but perhaps a virtual one might be allowed. And some inspiration would be good, too. I thinking about seeing and "seeing" and light.

  31. Well, I posted "The sermon I needed to write before I gave the other sermon." at I have done the hard work of sermon writing. I have no idea how God is going to use what I have learned when I preach tomorrow. But it won't be the one I posted!

  32. Hi all.

    Songbird, I'm sorry Michigan sent you it's snow from yesterday. I'm sorry that Earthchick, my neighbor about 90 miles to the south, appears to still have snow.

    I send you both the cloudless, sunny day I am experiencing --at least I was this morning. Now there are clouds on the horizon.

    This morning, I bought four brand new tires for my Escape [maybe I'll be less white-knuckled driving to work?], shovelled out the mailbox so our mail can be delivered and now am going out for groceries.

    Want anything?

    And no, I've done no work on worship yet today. But I will. ;)

  33. Howdy Y'all!
    Just got back from helping the youth pass out flyers for our Holy week and easter services. I am thankful that children do grow gradually, especially after a morning with a 14 year-old girl. 3 yrs-old doesn't seem so bad after all!
    I'm working with the John passage, but so far not a lot going on. Like Rev Kim I'm trying to get out of the way and let something more simple, perhaps more real to come through. Although I'm not sure how that will happen with babygirl singing all of the songs to the Prince of Egypt through the monitor!

  34. I am time-challenged! Or maybe it's time-management-challenged. Since taking this other part-time job, I have not been able to even think about the sermon before Thursday, unless I do it Monday--which is supposed to be my day off. Ugh.

    Spent last night with my mother, being spoiled and eating a yummy steak dinner (apologies to the vegetarians out there), back home to a house that is a disaster area. Methinks Roomie will not have that name much longer.

    Having cleaned up the worst parts, I am now trying to bash together an outline before meeting with the contractor doing the survey for our grant and getting some groceries. Then tonight I'll write and clean.

    Such is the plan.

    I want to focus on the person who was healed--what it meant for him (although in our inclusified version the person is de-gendered), and why he worshiped Jesus--how he recognised the incoming of the Realm of God. Maybe I'll throw in some mediatations on the Messiah bit, too--but we'll see how the rest goes.

    I have some Cow College Sharp Cheddar cheese, courtesy of Rainbow Mom....

  35. fortunately our weather has improved for the day so i get sit on the porch and attempt to write my sermon. i've been desperate for some sunshine and warmth!

    i had a good start on my sermon yesterday but now i can't find it!
    grrr... and neither can i remember how it began--i remember the point being that we have to have out eyes opened so that we can truly see the and hold the suffering around us. it's a messy dirty world, God got in the firt and even made mud with Jesus' spit--we need to do that along with Her.

    i really like coffee pastor's point! we've got to see it and then work!


  36. Like Shawna Renee, I also am focusing on the Samaritan Woman this Sunday instead of last, because we had to cancel services due to ice Sunday before last and I'm a week off. I'll probably look at this week's lectionary next Sunday, and catch up Palm Sunday.

    It's weird being a week behind you all, but, since I am now working a full time job in addition to pastoring my tiny little congregation, it's probably a good thing.

    I am offering nachos made with vegetarian refried beans, pinconning mild cheddar and spanish green olives for your snacking pleasure. I also have pistachios ...

  37. Hi all!

    I'm sitting down to put the final touches on my sermon. I've been doing a multitude of chores today including ironing, hemming some pants, and beginning our bathroom renovation in preparation for our move.

    It's late in the day and I think I'm just going to leave the sermon alone. I don't much like it, but I think it is as good as it is going to get. You can't hit every ball out of the park, right?

    Anyway, I'm preaching on Psalm 23 and 1 Samuel. Our congregation needs a pep talk about our visions for the future and the reality of a deficit budget. I'll provide the pep, God will provide the inspiration and abiding presence.

    I've been talking to the children about centering prayer. We set up a calming, quiet place in the corner of the chancel. It has one of those water fall machines, and a table with a bible, devotional materials, and smooth stones to hold in your hand.

    This week we're going to do some deep breathing. These children are a hoot. They think I'm a bit odd (children - so perceptive, yes?) but they'll go along with anything.

    Gord - what kind of fun left you flat for a whole day???

  38. Dear God, let me please get some inspiration for tomorrow's sermon at today's next meeting. I have 1 hour before I leave the house again, no ideas and 0 words on paper except for some extremely random scribbles on a restaurant napkin.

    Why did I pick Ephesians? Oh yeah, it's short and has the word light in it. Urrgghh.

  39. oh this isn't going very well. John 9 is such a comic masterpiece...there's a hopefulness to it because the blindness of the sighted ones cannot ultimately prevail over the sight of the one born blind...
    somehow I want to ask..."when were your eyes opened?" and "where are you continuing to deny vision...deny light?"
    I've had a bun and a chunk of mild cheddar and a really good Golden Delicious apple...more coffee is needed though I think!

  40. Hey all! I am thinking about making a Chinese food run. I know it's early for most but anyone interested?

    I am struggling with the sermon because my mind is stewing over a challenging week. Part of my brain (I think the New Jersey part) wants to use the sermon to slap down some parishioners and my heart - and the rest of my brain - knows that this is not good. So for now, we are at an impasse.

    The Boy is with his grandparents and I - somewhat guiltily - just accepted an invitation to go out to eat with parishioners tonight. I thought it would be good to be reminded that the majority of my people are good and hopefully it will inspire me to get to work both before and after said dinner.

    Of course, so far all it has inspired me to do is check in on the preacher party and write a ridiculously long comment but at least I am writing, right?


    Anyway... virtual Chinese food anyone?

  41. Diane, how ya doin'?

    Yay! I'm off for the desperately-needed haircut! There's some chicken soup still warm on the stove.

    I'll be back to join you all later.

  42. Sue,
    LEt's just say that my entire GI tract (upper and lower ends) was well and explosively emptied. NOt just once but twice. SO little sleep, mild fever, and a good case of dehydration...

    Trust me there are better sorts of "fun" to leave one with a dehydration headache.

  43. ws, of course right!
    Gord, ick, poor thing!
    I will offer you Gatorade and crushed ice.

  44. hmm, late to the party again this week....I took my best friend to the airport before dawn this morning and went to a Sunday School Teacher mid-year training this afternoon, and now am back to think about how to talk about Psalm 23 with children. Having checked sermons4kids and not enjoyed it, I am at square one. Awesome. I can't even raid the SS curriculum b/c they are talking about the blind man. oy.

    I have no idea what to make for dinner, but I made my own mozzarella cheese (a la Barbara Kingsolver) yesterday and WOW. Sharing ensues! I'll even trade you some basil-infused olive oil and some baguette for a children's time....

  45. Oh right children's time!! forgot about that.

    Well maybe watching HP & Philosophers Stone with the girls will give me an idea.

  46. Prayers for all preaching tomorrow - not me, but I will be back in the pulpit next Sunday - that'll be three outta five weeks -
    Gord - I really wanted a wild story -

    WS - I'd love some lemon chicken!

    Sue - I'll bet the kids love it that you are teaching them something beyond the usual

    Guess I really have to go figure out what's for dinner...

  47. argh...there is just TOO MUCH here. And the children's time will never match up to the year we had an Actual Lamb, who bleated most plaintively and ignored all blandishments from the children until his shepherd called him--when he responded instantly and joyfully. "Lesson over!"

  48. hmm...I wonder if I can get an actual lamb and shepherd for Easter 4?
    In the meantime, not really sure what to do. I could bring my cat. Granted, she probably wouldn't answer to my voice, but I bet she'd wear some sheep ears or something.

    For about two seconds before clawing them off.

    hmm....perhaps a nap will help me figure something out....

  49. teri,
    I have a convent of Russian orthodox nuns who raise prize sheep not too far from me. They bring their sheep for the Christmas play. I will loan them to you.

  50. I use a dog as every kind of animal...

    Friends, I have a draft over here.

    Now, who wants vegetarian refried beans?

  51. I've got my offering for tomorrow up on my blog here if anyone would like to take a peek.

  52. i'm more confused now than when i first i was focused on the mud and JC but now i can't seem to stop thinking about the blind man. did he even want to be healed? what was going through his head as JC was spitting into the dirt and then putting mud on his eyes?

    i keep thinking about we know to listen to those we desire to help, rather than just imposing our expectations about what would help onto them. and i keept think this is a horrible way to do ministry! what is up with that?!?

  53. Chilly Fingers--I love your mother's words: "I just don't want a president who looks like a chipmunk." HA!

    I tried to comment earlier but Blogger was being stubborn. I've got an outline and a pretty good idea where I'm going. A hospital visit this afternoon delayed me a bit, but I'm hoping to not be up TOO late this week.

    I'm definitely focusing on mud, since earth is our element of faith this interesting that we are like little bits of earth, made of dust, and the water--our baptism--is what binds us together... (maybe that could be a workable children's sermon for someone?)

    I ditched the 1 Samuel story and am using the Genesis story of God creating us from the dust of the get that layer of the creation story in the mix.

    Also loving what's been posted, thanks!

  54. Back from dinner, both real and imagined, and now should really buckle down.

    Right after I change clothes and take out my contacts.

  55. Well, have done some cleaning--not all I wanted to--as Roomie came back earlier than expected, and I found myself saying, "We need to talk."

    She did not take her eviction well, although I've given her a generous (so says RDQ) 2 weeks. Doors are slamming, much phoning taking place...she's even removed me as a friend on Facebook.

    And none of this is helping to write a sermon.

    I did manage some honey-mustard chicken with baked potato in the midst of all this, however.

    But not much more on the sermon.

    Would it be a sin to have a shot of scotch to help me write this sermon? If I had any?

  56. Scotch, that is...I still don't have a sermon either, though.

  57. How are we doing, gals and pals? Anyone need anything? Dessert? Coffee? Tea?

  58. Sermon? What's that? I have been trying all day and I have NOTHING. Well, except for an angry blog rant ( about the cocktail party I went to tonight.

    I'm making some strong caffeinated tea - -any of the late night writers want any?

  59. Songbird, I will take a sermon if you have an extra one :)

  60. Antonio!!! We need a sermon right over here, now!

  61. If Antonio would also like to bring the beverage of his choice (enough to share), I'd love for him to pay me a visit as well.

  62. Hi there! I returned from the overnight confirmation retreat at about 5:00 p.m. tonight. I've done the Mommy thing and now have two kids in bed (only one is fully asleep) and a sermon to write. I really tried to do some working on this before I left, and while the time was well spent, and I think on any other week it would have gotten the sermon almost done. This week, however, I'm having a tough time.

    I'm working with Psalm 23 and struggling to find something to say that isn't too trite. I've found some great interview material with Rabbie Harold Kushner on the internet, and he says what I think about the Psalm so well, but I don't know it it's what I want to say this time.

    I can't get one family out of my mind. I'm meeting with the mom soon after worship tomorrow to talk about, basically, why bad things happen or where God is in them or after them. Her oldest sister's daughter was recently killed by a drunk driver at the same age another sister of theirs was killed almost twenty years ago. It was the oldest sister's closest sibling and best friend. Apparently the family is having a difference of faith with some in the "God has his angel at home now" camp and some in the "God comforts you when things suck" camp.

    All this is on my mind when I'm trying to prepare this Psalm 23 sermon and I'm struggling to figure out how much I can preach to one family without losing the rest of the congregation. That said, I can probably keep it relevant to both at the same time because everyone, at one point or another, faces extreme hardship or loss like this.

    The struggle then becomes for me, how do I keep this from being a funeral sermon? Ugh.

    OK. I'm going to read what you all have written today, post as needed, and then to get to work. I'll check in later!

  63. Finally got babygirl down for bed. He nap time was spent quoting Prince of Egypt in it's entirity! Tonight started with more of the same, she finally gave up!
    I finished a draft and posted it here. I preach tomorrow night so I still may make a lot of changes. We'll see.
    Blessings ya'll!

  64. SheRev, my prayers are with you as you struggle.

    My prayer was answered - positively inspired by the congregational transformation meeting I attended. The Husband and I stopped for Thai food on the way home. I have lots of leftover mixed veggie chicken meal to share if anyone wants some.

    Now, to write while watching The Husband fold the laundry.

  65. she rev, certainly without the same intensity as you but I too struggle when the life we have lived through the week becomes a barrier to the Word we are trying to present.

    Ugh. And to think this was the text I was most excited about when originally planning our Lenten journey. Now I am here trying to pull my own agenda and hurt and frustrations out of it.

    Sigh... it's only Friday night right now, right?

  66. Out of curiosity:
    HAs anyone been involved with a congregation that did NOT self describe as being friendly and welcoming (remembering that said self-description can have varying degrees of accuracy)?

    Is it out of line to suggest that
    a) it is the responsibility of the host congregation to be willing to adapt to be welcoming
    b) the only way to assess how welcoming you are is to ask those who are newcomers/visitors, not to self-assess
    c) it is almost always easier to come across as unwelcoming than otherwise (especially through off-hand comments, in jokes, and jargon)

  67. Gord-- No, no, no and no.

    Back to my sermon...

  68. Follow-up:
    Of all those self-described friendly and welcoming congregations what percentage come across as freindly and welcoming as they see themselves? How many are aware of when/how the reality does or doesn't mesh with the vision?

    In my experience the reality is often hard to see. I have known congregations that are very welcoming and one in particular that really wasn't, but even then it also depends on who you are, how you get introduced to the spot, and how well you fit into the mould (either a shaping device or a fungal growth at times)

  69. ---ugh---
    I think I finally hit my limit of trail mix leftover from the confirmation treat. I obviously didn't think that moment would come because I have been eating it pretty much straight since 10:00 a.m. this morning.

    So, I've got some of that to share! I'm a bit picky about my trail mix (I believe raisins are poison, but craisins make my life complete), so it's hand-mixed. I think the proportions are perfect - - some bulk non-salted mixed nuts (very few peanuts), craisins, chocolate chips, a tiny amount of salted cashews, and M&Ms. Good stuff, but apparently not for 12 hours straight.


  70. Gord--
    I have only ever known ONE church that described itself as friendly and welcoming and also actually was.
    In fact, I serve that church now.

    But I've been at large and small. At a large church, it's sort of the visitor's responsibility to be welcomed--you have to approach a table or a greeter or something like that, otherwise no one knows that you're new because there are so many people there. At the small church I served during seminary, they constantly called themselves friendly, even when I told them that I had attended worship as a visitor 5 times BEFORE anyone ever spoke to me. They couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe I kept going there--must have been the Spirit (oh, and my ride...).

    I think sometimes you just have to show people the facts as seen by a newcomer. I don't think most churches are able to see themselves as outsiders see them--they see themselves as a family where of COURSE they're all friendly! They're friends! (oy)

    and now...back to scouring teh internets for a children's sermon about psalm 23....

    oh, and I have Breyer's fried ice cream with extra (fat free) caramel sauce to share! and those fake cherries!

  71. I have leftover bread pudding for anyone who wants a bit of a splurge to get them through. NO RAISINS in the bread pudding I make!

    I sort of vomited 1000 words onto the page...they aren't great, but at least they make most of a sermon. Now for a super-cool exciting finish (?).

    (I am trying to not go over 1250 words this week, as the Confirmation class asked last Sunday if we could cut my sermons out entirely.)

  72. Prayers for all of you still working this evening. I'm not preaching tomorrow so I'm off to bed.

  73. Okay, it appears that now is the time for me to post my next-to-last desperate post about how I don't have an ending and don't know how to get one and swear not to check in here (or play Scrabulous!!) until I'm done, whenever that may be.

    I keep feeling so close. And then I look back at what I got and feel soooo far away. I have been waivering all night about telling a fairly personal story near the end, but I can't figure out if it would really be appropriate.

    So, nose to grindstone time. In the meantime, feel free to help yourself to any of the virtual baked goods in my virtual pantry, but please ignore the non-virtual mess of my kitchen.

  74. There's SemFem! I was missing you so far tonight!

    I'll take some of that bread pudding, because what I need right now is more food (oy oy!). I never like to pass up a raisin- free dessert, though!

    How's this - - I'm 475 words in and I don't like the last 175 of them. In fact, the only ones I've written are the ones I'll say before I actually read the Scripture. I consider those part of the sermon, though, when I do an extended intro.

    I'm writing with a little less of a plan than I usually have when I get to the composing stage (no focus and function this time!), so I expect to have way more than I need then a huge editing job in front of me. Not my favorite modus operandi, but it's what I've got tonight!

  75. Oooooo Teri - I've never tried the fried ice cream. Is it as good as it sounds???

    sherev - I know you're struggling with your message tonight, and I don't mean to diminish that in any way, but you made me laugh out loud with the comment "I believe raisins are poison, but craisins make my life complete".

    Rainbow Pastor - Sorry to hear about your afternoon/evening. That's really rough.

    Gord, I think you're on to a really important topic for churches to hear about. Our church prides itself on being friendly and welcoming, but about a year ago a couple came to a few services to check us out. After the second visit I went over to say hello - remembered their names from the week before - and we had a lovely chat.

    On the way out, they thanked me and said they didn't think they would be back. When I asked why and told them it would be very helpful for us to know, they said it was indeed warm and friendly, but they felt like they were crashing someone's family reunion.


  76. semfem - I'm sure your vomited 1000 word sermon is much better than you think it is. Just remember, the Holy Spirit has your back and she can work with vomit.

  77. No worries one bit, Sue. I think this will come, and I've got a sense of humor!

    I think my struggles are that I'm struggling too hard to do something new and crazy and different with an "old chestnut".

    I think I just need to relax and preach it and not worry about whether it's been said before. In the intro I just started working on I mentioned how even just hearing an old familiar passage at a different time (Ps. 23 not at a funeral, or Luke's birth story not a Christmas) can enhance our understanding, and the passage's "usefullness" when we face the hard times again.

    Maybe the call is to preach the funeral sermon without the funeral, so that when the going gets tough, and the mourning drowns out the message, God can work through the Word preached in the past. Does that make sense?

    Whether it does or doesn't, I'm going with it!

  78. Makes perfect sense to me sherev. Preach it!

  79. Oh, my friends, I have been snoozing on the couch. I think I had better go to bed instead of lolling here. May you all write and (eventually) sleep well!

  80. F.U.N.K.

    Feel free to substitute letters.

  81. Well the sermon is as complete as possible.

    I'm going to bed now so as to be alert for any and all of the following tomorrow morning:
    1) Whispers of the Spirit as to how to improve it before I preach it;
    2)Further drama from Roomie;
    3)No drama from Roomie;
    4)Friends showing up with breakfast;
    5)Teh kd showing up with an entirely new sermon, reet and complete and shiny and spectacular.

    'Night all! Prayers for those still writing...I have some yellow cake with confectioner's sugar if you crave some sweets.

  82. Oh, Lordy. Y'all are dropping like flies around here!

    et tu, semfem? I always figure I can count on you to keep me from being the last one done. ;)

    [p.s. Yes, I lied. I did not wait till I finished my sermon before popping back in. I also played one - or maybe 3 - games of Scramble. But now, nose to grindstone! Seriously! I think!]

  83. she rev - I dont think you can wrong with your plan. You words will be of comfort to people you know who are grieving that you might not even know about.

    sue - we have that same family party issue where I am. let me know when you have the solution. and lucky you to have such an honest conversation with visitors! I never know, but most recently heard (dont drink it obviously, so dont know myself) that the coffee is bad and in teh Pacific NW that is a MAJOR sin.

  84. Must. Log. Out. Of. Ravelry. Now.

    Back to those vomituous 1000 words. Sue, your comment made me think of creation...with the breath of the Spirit moving over the face of the...vomit?

    I just grossed even myself out.

  85. Take heart, earthchick. I am still waiting for my super-cool ending.

    Oh, and I tried to listen to your sermon during the week, but the sermon-only link was broken...listened to a bunch of the service, but with dial-up I couldn't get to the sermon part of that file...

    Let's go procrastinate and see if the link has been fixed! WHEE!

  86. I'm here too. For a sermon I was excited about a few weeks ago, it sure is taking a lot to get it on paper... or even in my head.

    no more vomit.

  87. Well, friends, I finally have href="" a sermon . [per usual, I have grave misgivings about whether or not I did that link right]

    will smama, I too was way excited about this one much earlier. But now I'm just worn out with it. There is just too much to say, to do with John 9. I really struggled with saying the right amount - not so much that the sermon is overdone, but not so little as to be vague and to treat the text unjustly. As it is, I went a little long for a communion Sunday.

    I can't believe it's almost midnight and I still have other worship work to do PLUS a monster mess in the kitchen to take care of. Bleh.

    Blessings on all who are still writing! semfem, I hope you get your great ending soon!

  88. you guys are making me feel a little queasy with all this v-word talk.

    Rev. Juniper

  89. the sermon doesn't feel like it's even mine--i'm not sure if that is a good thing or not.

    i think perhaps it's just too rich of a passage and frustrating that you can't say everything.

    i totally wanted to go with the mud, but it doesn't even get mentioned!


    it's a sermon and i need sleep. blessings to everyone (especially those that are staying up!)


  90. I have my super-cool ending! I guess it could be super-cool-er, but it's written and that's cool enough for me.

    Cheering on those who are still writing, and congratulating those who are finished. I'm off to get a bowl of dirt (I hope the potting soil has thawed by now) and prepare one more piece of worship.

    I'll check in again before I actually hit the sheets. Go preachers go!

  91. Well, you know you are in trouble when semfem is done.


  92. Congrats semfem. I'm trying to finish up what I have, too, and call this one done in the next 30-45 minutes.

    It's not my favorite, but thankfully the Spirit is greater than me!

  93. words: 1209

    pages - 4 (12 font, single spaced)

    For now, it's good. We'll see what I think in the morning.

    Thanks all for your encouragement, humor, over-use of the word 'vomit' and willingness to check in at the party so that no one feels like they are out there alone.

    Peace friends.

  94. OK. It's not 100% finished, but everything is on the page. I just need to make sure the pieces are in the order I want them to be in when morning comes. I'm going to get some shut eye and come back at this when the sun's on the way up.

    Good night all! Thanks for you company, prayers, and advice. Another night down! I'll catch the early morning crew in a few hours!

  95. Goodnight all - I'm shutting down too. It's a dog but I'm walking it proud. Hopefully, there'll be so much else going on, no one will notice the sermon...I'm trying to remmeber what sue says about how you cant hit em ALL out of the park.

    ws - prayers for you tomorrow (even if you did sneak that vomit word into the party again)

  96. w00t will smama, juniper, and she-rev! And the party winds down... I'm heading to bed as soon as I'm done listening to earthchick's sermon.

    Blessings on all preaching, proclamation, and pondering today!

  97. Wow! We shut it down a little early last night. I guess you can't stay up every week. I'm back up to wind everything together. I didn't give myself a lot of time to do that this time intentionally. I'm not going to agonize over it. I'm just going to do it and be done. Peace!

  98. I'm vertical, but that's about it. Praying for a large dose of Holy Spirit for me and all of us.
    I also wanted to do my part to make sure we reached 100 posts ;)

  99. I've never done the honors - - 100!

  100. I'm here, with a pot of fresh coffee and a bucket of bleach...

  101. I'm afraid you'll need to make a second pot of coffee, SB, as I could probably drink a whole one myself.

    What a terrible night I had! Went to bed at 1:00 (after zero relaxing before bed, unlike my usual routine). Awakened from the deepest sleep at 3:30 by a child who had had an accident in the bed. Taking care of him got me completely woken up - which was FINE because then they other child proceeded to wake up 15 minutes later and disturb me every few minutes until approximately 4:30. I feel like I've been run over by a truck.

    And now, to get myself and the boys ready, to find "clean" dishes somewhere in the kitchen, and to get ready to be on in a couple of hours.

    Okay. I guess that was my own version of vomit, I suppose. Which reminds me that my night certainly could've been far worse. At least there was none of that. ;)

    Preach it, y'all!

  102. So sorry I missed all the vomit talk--NOT!
    But now all I can smell is that bleach of songbird's...

  103. Oh Earthchick - - I feel your pain. That was us last week or the week before. Last night only the baby was awake (unlike him most nights lately), and he never get totally upset, just blabbed and whined in the monitor for AN HOUR before he finally went back to sleep. I dozed on and off during the whole thing, but always figured he was going to wake up more so I didn't think it was worth it to go all the way back to sleep. He ended up falling asleep on his own in the end. Ugh.

    Oh well - - the new day is here. I'm in my office getting ready to print while the church is abuzz with activity as folks set up for a ministry fair. The sermon, I think, is better than I thought it would be when I started. God is good!


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