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Saturday, April 12, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Good Shepherd Edition

Good morning, gals and pals! Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter, and where I'm at it's snowing, sleeting, misting and raining. How is your Easter season coming? Are lots of flowers blooming where you are? Or are you experiencing a little spring setback like we are? Still, we believe, even in the midst of contradictory evidence, that it is spring and that the days of planting and growing, the days of sunshine and warmth, are upon us.

As I contemplate the preaching task (and, on this particular Sunday, every other worship task as well, including the children's message), I realize that there are many images to choose from: Jesus the gate or Jesus the shepherd, the radical community of sharing in the post-Pentecost church, and the signs and wonders that came upon them. There is the image of the pasture with its still waters, and the valley of the shadow of death; there is the image of the thieves that jump over the fence. All of these images hold much promise, but also some pitfalls.

Where are you headed on this weekend, and what would you like to feed you along the way? I have oatmeal (again: the cholesterol, you know), but also banana chocolate chip muffins, fair trade coffee and cinnamon sunset tea. I have a table prepared for conversation, for prayer and for work. Pull up a chair, and join the party! The door's always open you know (or should I say the gate?)

By the way, today (April 12) is the one year anniversary of my first blog entry! Have an extra muffin on me!
The image above is from early Christian Catacombs and is in the public domain.


  1. hee hee i was just thinking to myself "augh! i wish the preacher party started already... my sermon ending needs help!"

    i'm ending with a bit of guilt and i don't like that. think i'll sleep on it and tweak it in the morning...

    jsut had hot tea. anybody?

  2. shoot! should've known everyone else is out partying on a friday night and here i sit in sweats writing a sermon...

  3. hey! just posted this! thought I would go to bed... my recommendation is to sleep on it and I'll see you in the a.m. I have 2/3s of a sermon still to write. are you "good shepherding" hotcup?

  4. oh not so much... i'm using acts mostly and talking about what we devote ourselves to will determine whose voice we hear... make sense?

  5. Hot cup,
    Glad to hear I'm not the only one looking for an ending appropriate to the Acts community. I've got a good center (i think) with a story on community, but am trying to bring in Krodel's point 'b' (Augsburg commentary) of the community's effect on outsiders. ah well, perhaps the morning's fresh cup of coffee will do it.

  6. actually, the last christian century I read had something good on acts in it. unfortunately, it's at church. I'll find it and post it first thing in the a.m.. I think it has to do with signs nad wonders, and also attending to the apostles teaching.

  7. Oh dear friends,
    I have the WHOLE thing to write. And a busy day tomorrow. And I was on vacation, so I havent written a sermon (or anything in fact) for a while.....
    sigh, nothing to do but start, I guess. Off to the trenches...

  8. oh juniper, I'm not so far into it myself... starting out with building a fence for our dog... and where to put the gate...

    then into Jesus as the gate to abundant life


    that's about all the farther i have gotten...

  9. I am so glad you already started the party. Well friends, I am getting ready for Spring Break with the kids. No preaching for two whole Sundays.

    And and and, no internet. Oh my, what will I ever do? I hope relax, have fun and do some geocaching.

    I leave you to party on with out me, I know you will have fun. I offering you chocolate.

    hot cup lutheran, can't believe you are writing a sermon on Friday night, and well you all got a head start. Go for it.

  10. I am glad that Pastor Barb is taking care of the main worship. I am the lector, however. Oh, and I am leading the congregation in a dramatic reading of the 23rd Psalm. It's busy about my parts with plenty of snow and plenty of sleetish slush. We recieved a good 8 inches Thursday night and into Friday morning. It was brutal. No school, though.

    I won't be by in the morning--I have sections speech. Lend your prayers while you chow down on those muffins. I'll make a toast to you all with my coffee in the morning. The team already thinks I'm wierd--toasting a bunch of lady pastors (and others) won't make them worry *too* much! :]

    God is Love,


  11. Wow - 10 comments already, though it looks like they were all last night. Anyone around yet this morninig?

    This day is absolutely overwhelming me. Upshot: 2 3 year-olds, no dh, no childcare, 1 wedding rehearsal, no sermon yet. I did at least get my wedding homily written last night. And dh rented two new DVDs for the boys in hopes of keeping them occupied at least for a little while.

    [My text is Acts and I'm exploring the meaning and claims of friendship in the context of Christian community.]

  12. yes, earthchick, I'm just up and getting ready to go walk the dog. sounds like a great sermon coming along there. have a cup of coffee or tea?

  13. i'm here earthchick, but just for a moment. i wrote my sermon when i woke up CRAZY early yesterday morning. i don't like it all that much, but i got the seal of approval from a colleague and it is going to have to do because i have a class a half an hour away from 10-3 that I'm teaching, youth group planning back up here at 4. and i preach the sermon for the first time at 6. guess i better format before heading south for class.

    i'm preaching acts too.

    basically i'm sticking to saltines this morning, so i don't have much to offer.

    maybe i'll post my sermon, dunno. just. don't. know.

    may the boys be adequately distracted earth chick and may the inspiration flow.

  14. I am preparing the funeral I will officiate at 10:00 a.m. this morning, then heading down to the county jail to make the visit I should have done ysterday.After that home to do some sermon prep. We have a dinner party tonight and need to bring a contribution to the meal because it's a potluck gig.
    Something tell me I'm gonna be up early tomorrow putting the message together....SIGH

  15. Diane, yes, coffee please!

    mctp, thanks for the blessing - and good on you for getting your sermon done yesterday!

    The boys are up and happily ensconced for now. I got a start to my sermon and am feeling good so far. The trick will be maintaining some focus and momentum (i.e., not taking frequent internet breaks!!).

  16. quakerpastor, praying for you this morning as you preach. sounds like a busy day. we're here for you.

  17. Good morning all. I'm getting ready to go do a Bible study at the regional women's spring event and will be gone probably all day. Luckily (??) I've been mostly home with a nasty cold all week so I have a head start on my sermon, for a change.

    I'm going with Acts. Our congregation is entering into the denominational transformation process and the excitement of new/transformed church in Acts fits so nicely with the theme we've had going since about February. :-)

    See you all later in the day

  18. Good morning, preachers! I'm going with the Acts text - my title is "More than Friends." Obviously, it will be about how, in the family of faith, we have more responsibility to each other and we are more than friends. I have some great coffee if you'd like a cyber cup.

  19. I'm offering up saltines and ginger ale for the topsy-turvey tummies. :)

    I'm preaching on Acts. Don't know where I'm going yet... but that text has grabbed me by the throat. I can see that we soooo don't live that way... and yet I see places that we do live that way. How can we lean into the latter... as individuals... and as the church?

  20. am up. no coffee. hubhc is nowhere to be found. where did he go??? and mochajava is whining incessantly.

    must. find. coffee. now. (oh yeah and hub)

  21. I'm going with Acts, as the second in my four part series on "How to be Church". Last week was 1Peter and all about "loving each other as if our lives depended on it" as Peterson translated.

    This week is "All Things in Common", whereas "all things" is really the only thing--Jesus. If we can begin from that commonality, the "other stuff" can fade into the background.


    Hey, it's something to shoot for, right?

    But first today I have a forum for the presbytery committee I moderate, then WonderGirl's play tonight--Seussical--she did all the costumes!

    So, the sermon must get done between the hours of 1:00 and 6:00 this afternoon. Wish me luck!

    I'll be back to check in later...

  22. Good morning everyone ... just checking in before I leave for a meeting in Lansing.

    I thinking I am going with Acts too because that seems like a very timely message these days. I love Chilly fingers' title too.

    Tomorrow will be a very, very busy day too.

  23. Happy blogaversary, Diane!

    IT IS SNOWING OUTSIDE! Crappity crap crap!


    I am about 45 miles from home attending a conference that is mostly for my husband. Long story, but we were supposed to go home tonight and instead will be heading EARLY in the a.m. and my limited notes are at home. :-(

    So after a breakfast meeting, I'll be taking my Bible and a notepad to the room for some serious contemplation.

    I also have a business meeting tomorrow, whcih I am stressed about. It is one more step in facing reality, and I hope my folks do it. Don't know, but the truth is a bit ugly, so I don't know how the mtg. is going to go.

    In other words, just because I "unresigned" does not mean all is well. Financially we are in SERIOUS trouble.

    Sigh. God knows.

    I'll be back, if I can get on this computer (which is the motel lobby), to check on y'all later on.

  24. You all might like the stained glass window on my blog today. Although, as I said, I expect a reindeer rather than a sheep to accompany Jesus.

    And Singing Owl --(completely off-topic) -- I so cracked up at your comment yesterday about the Moon-Spinners! My friends and I all had hopeless crushes on Peter McEnry -- we must have watched The Moon-Spinners a dozen times one week-end.

  25. Hot Cup Lutheran, do you have a pet named Mochajava?!? In seminary I got a Rottweiler puppy and named her Mocha (I frequently called her Mocha Java) - a testament to my total dependence on the substance I suppose. She died four years ago this month, and I still miss her.

    It's funny, when I named her that I had never known anyone with a pet named Mocha. Then I moved to Ann Arbor and discovered that the pastor here before us had a chocolate lab named Mocha!

  26. Good morning everyone! Out here where I live it is bright and sunny, even if it is not yet 7am. I have a full day again and will gone to a meeting in small town to the south. Sermon is written but I haven't even looked at it since it poured out of me late on Wednesday, after hours of study...I think I'm talking about the call to unity in Christ, even in our diversity....I think...

    Hope your day goes well. I'll be back this afternoon...

    diane, great job getting this party started!

  27. hot cup, I checked in last night but couldn't bring myself to start writing. Now you have all Sat to play.

    Friend, there are some serious preachers out there who work past midnight and early on Sat. morning. I am getting a late start but am wondering about preaching my sheepy sermon about enduring images of Christ and ones that no longer serve---shepherd is one that no longer works for me. But I have a ruminant vet in my parish who is OH SO LUTHERAN, so I am not really ready to preach that sermon!

    I guess I will talk about community. As a former religious wo lived in community and loved it, I would like to share some of the delights of community life that many who have no aquaintence with that life might understand.

  28. I'm trying to do something with different kind of gates.

    Jesus isn't like a baby gate that holds the sheep/us in where it's 'safe.'

    Jesus isn't like an airport gate where only certain people are allowed in.

    Jesus is like the gate in my can be used both ways--going in and out. We come in to be refreshed (our fence surrounds our pool) but also go out to the rest of the yard.

    Now I just need to develop those little thoughts into a full sermon. Soon. Sometimes I really hate having a Saturday evening service.

  29. Morning y'all!
    Babygirl is visiting my parents for three weeks as we prepare the house for littleone whose due in june. Today we are to begin tackeling the bedroom-to-be which currently looks like a storage room.
    The bulletin for tomorrow says I'm preaching on John, but I'm having real problems pulling thoughts together. The shepherd image is an old standard, even have a massive stained glass showing it, but Jesus as a GATE? lots o' work to do with that one.

  30. Silent -- I'm using the gate too -- tricky because I don't want it to be the exclusive gate, but the "open gate".

    I remember a group of women who I used to get together with. They were all widows and they lived in the same apartment complex, and some of them couldn't get to church. So we would gather in one of their kitchens for a communion service once a month. We always had a time of sharing prayer concerns before communion, and the "sermon" of course was more of a dialogue about the scripture. And afterwards, they always filled the table with good things to share. When I think of the Acts story, this is one of the images I get. I've preached on acts as well. Kinda wish I was doing that again (sigh), but I'm going to go with what I have.

    I changed the sermon title from "Ruthless Trust" to "The Open Door" but the parish administrator went ahead and printed it with the old title. (another sigh). What would you do if you were me??? Give an announcement saying "This is the real title?"

    I heard somebody do that once, not sure what I think about it.

    Muthah+, I don't think the shepherd image works for a lot of people, but people do seem to get offended if I say that. (another another sigh)

  31. Diane, I've done that before a time or two. Before I pray the prayer before my sermon, I simply announce the title change, if I think the change is important enough.

    [Once it was because of a typo - the title was "The Singing Life" but the admin. asst. had printed it as "The Singling Life." A pretty significant difference!]

  32. Muthah - oh shepherds & sheep - is more abut the relationship right? one takes care of the other... that's what i'd emphasize to make it "a go"

    Earthchick - well i confess "mochajava" is my puppy's blogging name. he's really named after a beer. shhh!

    Cheesehead - & others too - "all things in common" i have seen in action in a BIG way once upon a time. My brother had 2 liver transplant surgeries - in big university town several hours from home. He & his wife shared a home with his inlaws. For the 4-6 months my brother & his wife were at the hospital - their church paid their mortgage, utility bills, phone bill, delivered meals to her invalid parents & checked on them; helped with medical bills too... no strings attached. and their church lifted them in prayer often. to me that was a WOW! so feel free to use this if it helps.

  33. I love it that your puppy has a blogging name.

  34. hotcup, great illustration.

    and I like that MochaJava is a blog name too:)

  35. okay is this sentence a bad ending?

    "What we can do is choose whether or not we will be an inspiring life-giving community centered on Jesus Christ. Or whether we will allow the church to fade into obscurity because everyone was too busy to devote much time to it."

  36. I figure if the title no longer matches teh sermon so what. LEt them guess how the two are linked :)

    I am going with Acts for the sermon and Psalm 23 for Children's time. THe Sermon title is Communal Support. THe sermon content is ?????

    I want to talk about this as an ideal way for people of faith to live together, even if it doesn't actually happen irl. I mau open with the joke about Bill Gates choosign between heaven and hell only to find out he was viewing the demo...if I can atually remember the joke that is.

    Later in the sermon I hope to bring out what communal support really means. Far more than holding assets in common. I means actually sharing each other's lives, hopes, joys, sorrows, fears, prayers...

  37. hotcup ~

    I'd be inclined to use the same statements, but just reverse the order...

    "What we can do is choose whether we will allow the church to fade into obscurity because everyone was too busy to devote much time to it." (big pause to let them think...then end on the other sentence, like a challenge to choose the positive.) "Or whether we will be an inspiring life-giving community centered on Jesus Christ." The choice is ours.

    Just my 2 cents.

  38. I think Silent's suggestion is good.

    If I really want people to give thoughtful consideration to a choice, I will end with a question. I think it can really put the thing in their laps, to figure out how they might answer. So going with Silent's suggestion of reversing order I might end with something like this:
    What we can do is choose whether we will allow the church to fade into obscurity because everyone was too busy to devote much time to it.Or whether we will be an inspiring life-giving community centered on Jesus Christ. So. Which will it be?

  39. oh silent, great tweaking.

    I am looking for my christian century too. arghh

    but I'd better start writing now!

    but first, another cup of coffee....

  40. yeah, yeah, yeah Silent & Earthchick... that is what i want to reverse it and end on positive. sometimes the obvious is so hard to come up with!

    could it be b/c i've only had 1 cup of joe & have not taken a long hot shower yet? i think so...

  41. I think that's the reason hotcup! Now, back to my sermon (pg 2)

  42. I have spent the morning on shepherd and sheep relationship. The place where it leads me is the political leaders and our expectations of them. YUCK! I am not ready to preach that sermon yet either. My village newspaper article is on that and it is being printed next week.

    I guess I will have to do the "holding things in common" theme. Back to the drawing board

  43. Hello all! Coming to the party a bit late today...those banana chocolate chip muffins sound lovely!

    I have some bagels and cream cheese to share...

    I'm going with the Acts reading. This is our "house church" Sunday, so I don't need a full sermon, more notes and discussion starters--which is a good thing, as my thoughts are definitely elsewhere today! I'll be putting up a blog about that momentarily...

    Not much else to do today either--rainy, so no guilt about not working in the yard. There's some paper-worky sorts of things I should be doing, and a friend has a gig tonight (thankfully at 8 am instead of the more usual 10) so I'd be at that, but home at a reasonable hour!

    So I really should be able to get those sermon notes done, shouldn't I?

  44. Well actually the gig is at 8 PM, but you all figured that out already, right?

  45. Hot Cup, may I use that statemen, reversed, at the business mtg. tomorrow!


    Struggling along with something about how the sheep are led OUT of the fold, and where is the Shepherd leading? We can choose to turn inward, or we can follow the Shepherd when it is time to be in the fold, and we must also follow him out to.....etc. etc.

    Not working well, but I'll get it.

  46. Gennet Girl...that is TOO fuinny! He was cute, huh? LOL

    CPCmama, been thinking of you. Hope things are looking up.

  47. I'm trying to flesh out my different kinds of gates that Jesus isn't idea.

    Only certain people are allowed to/through gates at an airport. I'm trying to say that Jesus isn't like that--but I'm not sure how to say it.

    Any thoughts?

  48. It's cold here too. There's an 80% chance of rain with snow mixed in and snow tonight. I am so sick of winter.

    I'm preaching on Acts. Since we're a new church, I thought it would be good to look at the first days of the church. Craig Keener had a great line in his NT Commentary that the early church thought people were more important than possessions. Part of the sermon I want to focus on how we as a church should be showing our materialistic, consumeristic culture a different way to live. Now I just need to figure out the rest of the sermon.

    Here is some homemade French bread and Chai de Proveance tea to add to the table.

  49. Hot Cup and Silent,
    I love the "fade away" image as where we don't want to be. It should resonate with anyone who had called around for volunteers.

    I'm using a lifeboat experience as community forming, but my story is of a canoe trip. You all have so many good ideas! The gate; yes, will have to file that idea away for another day.

    coffee is cold and now i'm late for a wedding shower at church. but sermon is done.

  50. I'm going with gate: abundant life, and simply because it is an open door or gate.

    I'm connecting with the story of the blind man in the previous chapter, where, at the end of the story, the man is kicked out of the synagogue. The door closes behind him, and this community has been a source of life and meaning for him.

    So, Jesus has become the open door or gate that welcomes him, rather than closing the door on him. I want to be careful to say "religious leaders" rather than PHarisees, as I think this is about us, too.

    Does this help?

    so abundant life means not wealth or prosperity, but knowing that God is for me, that the door/gate is open, not closed.

    Now I have to finish mine.

    I think that it's not abundant life if we use the gate to close ourselves off. It's abundant because the door is open and goes both ways (in and out). Jesus is in both places, and we follow him in and out.

    He's out in the world, healing and "in" the sanctuary, refreshing.


    This isn't going to be my sermon, but the thing that needed to be said before I wrote my sermon.

    Now off to the grocery store. We WON"T be having lamb chops tomorrow!

  52. I chose the scripture for today sometime in January ... the day before the actual sermon, I think I might want a different one. I hate it when that happens. I'll just carry both of them with me this afternoon and figure it out tonight.

    Meanwhile, we're meeting the Sportsqueen's boyfriend and family to go ... wait for it ... geocaching!

    I hope I find a good story along the way :)

  53. OK well I've posted the post (here) and done some cogitating.

    I want to do Acts, but John is tugging at my sleeve, saying, "Me, me!"

    So it looks like it's sheep for me.

  54. shawna renee -- I'm so sick of winter too!!!! it was crisp this morning!!!

  55. Hey, y'all!
    I'm back from a whirlwind trip to Connecticut to see my oldest in his final college play.
    My sermon has at present 193 words.
    I'm doing a series for the next four Sundays based on Henri Nouwen's Life of the Beloved, so this week is "chosen/taken" and I believe that ties in well both with further introducing myself (as an adopted person of a certain age I grew up with all that "Chosen Baby" mythology) and focusing them on how they are Chosen and beloved by God, who shepherds them through good times and bad. I think I'm working toward a conclusion along the lines of: the shepherd has chosen you; will you choose to listen to God's voice? Parallel to my own struggles with being chosen (both in my adoption story and in my call story).
    Hope it sounds like i have something...

  56. Hey, hey! Just got a great idea and thought I'd run it past you brilliant folks...

    Bobby McFerrin's 23rd Psalm (Hear it here). I'd like to play that and then invite comments--on shepherds, sheep, inclusive language (which the congregation is very used to), comfort...all kinds of stuff. Remember, this is the "house church" Sunday, so discussion is expected (dare I say anticipated?).

    Whaddya think?

    (And I messed up and posted this on the Friday Five, too, for some reason...-__-


    I'm sorry, I'm html challenged today.

    There's the link, anyway.

  58. AGHHHH!
    If that doesn't work, go to the comments for the Friday Five where I goofed and posted it (it works there). Or google it.

    I give up.

    TIme for lunch.

  59. Rainbow pastor -- I LIKE your idea. I can't use it because I'm done, but I LIKE it a lot. I'm trying to use the gate for inclusivity too... so my advice is GO FOR IT!

  60. Songbird -- my cousins were brought up with the "chosen baby" thing too. I remember reading books to them with that theme.

    I do think you have a sermon. looking forward to it :)

    I think mine is pretty much done.

    I have mixed feelings about it.

  61. Oh, Songbird, yes the mythology of the room full of delightful babies in isolettes, where my parents got to carefully inspect each one, and they chose ME!

    (Um, not that I have strong feelings about that or anything...)

    Welcome back! Hope your trip was great.

  62. You're welcome!
    I just can't stand for html to defeat us.

  63. songbird, I gotta learn how to do that.

  64. wow! Y'all have been busy today!

    I have a draft without an ending that I posted here

    ( )

    Any constructive advice would be welcome. I'll take saltines and ginger ale that were offered earlier - -the thought of preaching this tomorrow makes me want to throw up. Definitely needed, definitely what I feel called to preach, but makes me wonder if I am preaching to the choir. Just need a good ending...

  65. Hello lovies...It's gone 8.00 at the end of a non stop week,and I need not one but two sermons tomorrow (usually though there are 3 services, 1 sermon suffices due to different congregations, but tomorrow is the annual church meeting in Valley Church so some of the morning congregation may be there in teh afternoon too..)
    It's my first preach in my new parishes,so I'm feeling alot of pressure to get it "right" for them,which is challenging in itself with such different churches...I've written something on John for he morning, which I'm tinkering with, then want to go with Acts to talk about the dna of church for the evening lot,as that maybe fits in with the annual meeting. But I've nothing there yet, and I am soooo tired. Being priest in charge on my ownie-oh is a very different business from curating, as I'm sure you'll guess.
    Hot ginger drink, anyone? And there might be some lemon drizzle cake left, if the sons have restrained themselves.

  66. Diane, you can use those general instructions we put on the Friday Five each week to make any link you want. For a step-by-step walk through (as linked on each FF), go here!

  67. knittinpreacher, I look at yours if you look at mine. I just posted it here

    and I would really like feedback, is there is anyone out there who can. I might delete it later.

    I need to preach it tonight at 5:00, but could change it before tomorrow if need be.

  68. 1250 words

    no ending

    less than 3 hours before actual preaching

    even less time before have to be done because need to shower and get to church

    I just can't seem to pull it together. Maybe I'll try the shower first and it'll be the inspiration I need!

  69. Diane--

    I commented on your blog too. But your sermon is good and really is helping me pull mine together.


    All ~

    Still need to come up with a children's time, but don't need that until morning as we don't include a children's time in our Sat. evening service. If anyone has ideas for that, I'll check back later!

  70. children's message! arggh! I think I have one, but will be back after worship to see if it works. I hope it does.

    thanks silent. I really (I mean really) appreciate it.

  71. Hugs to you, Kathryn: ((((Kathryn))))

    I'm sure your congregations will be richly blessed by the Word tomorrow. Lucky them!

    I have a draft that I like in parts, but might need to tighten up later. Right now I need to relax a little after my non-stop day and get ready for Wondergirl's play later.

  72. words written: 1320

    ideas for ending: 0

    cups of coffee: 4

    things I didn't mean to eat, but did: 4

    hours till wedding rehearsal: 1

    dirty dishes: uncountable

    naked boys running through the house: 2

    possibility this will be a long night: 90%

  73. oh Kathryn I love what you said about the dna of the church in acts!!!

    praying for you NOW, before I head into the church to start practicing.

    also yes, I do believe I would like that ginger drink.

    earthchick, we will be there for you (as long as I can stay awake, that is)

  74. I just broke 1000, with the following obvious statement:
    "Of course, it's not as simple as going through a gate."
    Um. Duh.
    I hope what comes next will make brilliant sense of what came first. But meanwhile, I must get ready to leave for the bean supper.
    See you all later!

  75. All you late night LAST NIGHT posters had me paranoid that I am writing on the wrong day. Is today really Sunday and I missed writing on Saturday????

    OK. I swore to myself I wouldn't come here and start to play until I had something written. I've broken that already, so I'm off to get something done before I come back. I'm hoping to knock this one out before bed since the baby has been sleeping HORRIBLY this week. His teething means my lack of sleep, too. I need to get to bed as early as possible to make room for plenty of wake-ups through the night. Ugh!

    Preaching on Acts and using a clip from Speaking of Faith about elephants! We're going to talk about the community of faith holding all things in common. I'm going to stretch it beyond material things and go into the ministry and mission of the church. A little bit of "step it up folks" done nicely! No really, the work of the faith community is the work for all of the community. There's room for all of and all of our gifts to throw into the mix. There's something each of us can give. The call to the community is to give what we have, what we have been given by God, for the good of the community. The connection the clip is that this is not all about "me and mine", but the community of faith is bigger than my biological family. We are called to think bigger than traditional biological lines and care for each other with all we have and all that we are.

    See ya later! After dinner I'm sure!

  76. well, I stopped for supper, reworked the John sermon (which now owes huge debts and a verbatim paragraph to Diane, who said what I needed far more elegantly that I could manage...hope that's OK, Diane? Don't want to plagiarise) and have printed that. Acts. Ummmm. Not so good. Too tired, really...but need to start at least or tomorrow will look impossible.

  77. You all are brilliant! Really...I love the great ideas and all the sharing and help! It's wonderful to have this group....

    I am back after a long day. Now I need a short nap and then to take a look at that sermon and see what I can do with it before tomorrow morning.

  78. Hello preachers! I don't preach tommorrow but I do have to come up with a call to worship centered around the twenty third psalm that is not the usual call and response thing we do. This lovely task was given to me via email yesterday by Senior Pastor. Scratching my head, not knowing what to do. hmmmm.

  79. Hello Clergyfolk,

    Long stressful day of speech--didn't make it finals, praise be to God--but I am pooped. Then I have the musical tonight.

    I thought I might ask a little favor of you all. My best friend Maggie is having a horrible time with a young man named David who insists on treating her like crap and calling her names, etc. She is trying to avoid him, but he won't leave her alone. He claims that he still loves her. They've been trying to get apart for 4 months. Would you all mind praying for her? She, and myself as an extension, is having a horrible time and really needs to have Heaven stormed with prayers! Thanks!

    Enjoy your busy days and God be with tomorrow in the pulpits!

    God is Love,


  80. cody -- I'll remember Maggi in my prayers.

    Kathryn, thanks. though I'm going to delete after this first printing and (I think) rework the very last part.

    when practicing I found some parts which weren't quite right.

    how's everyone? what do we need?

  81. Hey, y'all~
    I'm back from the bean supper and, shockingly, my sermon did NOT finish itself in my absence. So I am back at it.
    Diet Cokes all around?

  82. sure, songbird, diet cokes sound like that will keep me up as long as I need, to rewrite the parts of this sermon that need re-writing.

    also, get my children's message together, which involves having a child lay in front of a "fence" made by the children and be the shepherd, and have someone from the congregation be the "wolf" that tries to get in. only my "wolf" hasn't called me back. (sigh)

  83. Yes, please, SB. Heck, if it's virtual, I'll take a regular Coke. ;)

    I was disturbed to find that my sermon didn't finish itself while I was at the wedding rehearsal either. And since dinner didn't cook itself, I ordered pizza at my sons' request. Only while we were waiting on it, they fell asleep. Does this mean that: a) I will have a nice, quiet night to myself and will finish my sermon in a timely manner? or, b) they will wake up grumpy in precisely one hour and then entirely resist going to bed at a reasonable time?

  84. Ok, so tomorrow is still not finalized so what am I doing?

    Preparing text notes to go with a PowerPoint for April 27!

    No I'm not being overly efficient. I have to burn the presentation to CD to pass to other congregations at a regional meeting next Saturday. ANd since I am at other meeting for much of the week..

    OK some avoidance of communal living in Acts might be at hand. I realized this afternoon that part of communal support is challenging assumptions and beliefs of the group. ANd I'm really not sure how to work that in to the sermon.

  85. hey kathryn, no problem with the paragraph here, but I'm curious: which paragraph was it???

  86. Gord, if it's any comfort, I spent time today adapting an old sermon to use on May 4th.
    (In my defense, it fits the theme of the sermon series I'm starting tomorrow, and it seemed important to work on it "while I was thinking of it.")

  87. Oh, earthchick.
    I'm praying for a very good and complete night's sleep for both boys.

  88. I'm doing the sheep thing, and am relying on a great story to really carry the whole sermon, as I have nothing on paper yet. It shouldn't take long once I get started, but there are people working on a broken part of the parsonage and I feel funny disappearing to write a sermon while they are nailing and thumping.

    Plus I'm hungry to go get some dinner! Let's go and check on their progress.

  89. Thanks, SB! It looks like that may be the case. I changed both of them into their jammies and they stayed asleep; that's usually a pretty good indicator (fingers crossed).

    Unfortunately, there may be an option c for me tonight:
    c) I will have a nice quiet evening all to myself, but I will still somehow manage not to finish my sermon in a timely manner....

  90. WEll SB, I also need to create some discussion/reflection questions for a Pentecost-themed worship brochure(which will give me an edge a month from now yeah but not much help on this part of Acts)

  91. I'm so tired my eyes can barely focus...but I've posted my sermon here.

    Now I am taking my son to Arby's for some food, a quick trip to the grocery store, and then home to revisit sermon before going to bed early...

    Oh, and if my eyes can focus I'll come read some of your sermons - which I love to do!

  92. Good News: Been working on my sermon all week.

    Bad News: Work came to a screeching halt yesterday afternoon and I haven't looked at it since.

    Here's Hoping: For a sleepy 3 year old to go to bed once we find Nemo (cannot even BEGIN to tell you how many times we have lost him), that an outline comes quickly together and that the sermon will be shephered onto paper expeditiously.

    More Good News: Baptism tomorrow helps with both children's message and expected length of sermon.

  93. I hear you, gord. though I would kind of like to have an idea what I am going to do in two weeks.

    how about pasta and meatballs? that's what we're having. maybe it sounds heavy, but it's cold here, and re-writing a sermon takes a lot of energy!


    plus calling the guy who didn't return my call.

  94. hey all- wow... great party today while i've been out and about and at it. preached the sermon for the first time tonight. meh... not awful, a few laughs, a few nods. it'll do.

    any children's sermon ideas for the acts text?

    earthchick, hope the boys are down for the night.

    blessings all.

  95. I am so close, SO close to having an ending, but I keep coming up with scratch. Bleh. I'm ready to be done - there's a whole house of disaster waiting for me to clean up before I can unwind a bit before bed. [I have to say that in dh's absence today I have realized that dh actually does way more picking up around the house when I'm sermonizing than I tend to give him credit for!]

  96. Anyone ever have all of their sermon done except for conclusion, THEN not have saved it properly, THEN hubby & dog come in and you get distracted, THEN you click off document, and THEN you realize your sermon has irretrievably disappeared?


    I know it's my fault that I hadn't saved. But nonetheless hubby and dog are in doghouse. At least they have each other for company.

  97. Thanks, morecows, it looks like they are!!

  98. !!! rev kim!!!!!! That's awful!! Are you sure it's irretrievable? Any way you can find a rescued doc?

  99. revkim, actually something like that happened to me once ... about two hours before the 5 oclock service.


    I couldn't blame it on the dog, though. I was at church.

  100. rev kim - ow, ow, ow.

    more cows - here is an ol' standby, but it may take a run to the store and if your church has food/candy issues you may have to get creative.

    Basically you give each kid three of something, talk about sharing and giving and let them eat one now, save one for later and give one to someone else. And they give the one they are going to give as soon as they go back to the pews so there is no 'forgetting'.

  101. oh, friends, I am in serious trouble.

    It's 8.30 pm, I just returned from the confirmation retreat exhausted, and no words are written.

    Worse, I checked my email and found a long email from a member whose father died on Easter morning--which she told me about by email Easter afternoon, meaning I glanced at it while I was at the airport on my way out of town for 10 days and gave it not another thought, including when I returned home to almost two straight weeks of nonstop firestorm/crisis work...and now she's upset that I haven't acted like her pastor (snarky part of me says: you have two pastors and the other one was here the whole time! pastor part of me says: Oh, I screwed up--a quick email back wouldn't have been that hard and would have saved me this situation).

    Now my attention is somewhere else, I'm both exhausted and feeling guilty, and I don't have a single word of tomorrow's sermon written. This is not a good place to be. First service begins in less than 12 hours. Please pray for me...

  102. Oh, Teri, that's awful. Prayers for you indeed. I have certainly dropped my share of pastoral care balls b/c of emails I intended to answer when I had more time to make a thoughtful response. Bleh. And hugs.

    I'm still hoping for a more inspired and inspiring ending, but for now I need to put this baby to bed. Maybe I'll get a word from the Lord during the night? At any rate, for anyone interested, my sermon on Acts is here .

  103. Holy cow! Over a hundred and it's not even 9:00 p.m. (central anyway). I'm impressed.

  104. oh, I forgot the best (?) part. She cc'd the senior pastor on her email. awesome.

    So I just read all the comments here and finished a Dr. Pepper and got some chapstick and some water and now I think I am ready to write.

    Except I have no idea to how to begin...oh my.

  105. Diane --

    blogger won't let me comment at your place, but I liked what I read. Thanks for the feedback.

    Teri - -my draft is up - -feel free to beg borrow or steal what you wish.

    I am going to try to finish this off. Songbird, if you are still around, I'll take a diet coke or 7.

  106. teri - but did she cc the sr pastor on the Easter one? I'm guessing that folks knew you were leaving. Yes, you dropped the ball but it's not like there was no pastoral care or support available for her. It sounds like it might be easier for her to be mad/upset at you than deal with the grief that she probably is feeling.

  107. teri, you have my prayers. Please remember, none of us will ever do this job perfectly. We are always learning, usually from what seem to be mistakes.
    I have a draft. I'll give it a buff in the morning.

  108. Yes, I will gladly share another round of Diet Cokes; they are chilled in my fridge!

  109. Songbird at first i thought you said you were going buff in the morning!

    Teri - well, pick up the pieces & reassure the grieving person you have been holding her in prayer. and don't kick yourself...

    sermon done. not quite as tight as i'd prefer. happy dreams!

  110. indeed--the easter email was to both of us, and he was here the 10 days I was out, and the two weeks since then that I have been running around like a headless chicken he has been picking up almost all the non-youth pastoral care.

    I still feel bad. I hate disappointing people. And the subject of her email is "Teri--disappointed in you" which of course pushes all my people-pleaser guilt buttons, even the ones I'd like to think I've dealt with.

    And I still have no words written, but I have caught up on all my bloglines and facebook, though not scrabulous...

  111. OK Finally made myself at least put down "focus" and "function" statements and the beginning of an outline. I've got my meat (and work cut out for me there), but don't have my ways in and out.

    Just ran upstairs to get a glass of orange juice. What I really wanted was a wheat beer, but I fear that will make me too drowsy at this stage in the game.

    Needing good community stories!!

    Oh yeah - - for children's time on the benefit of community - - I'm using wooden kabob skewers, but I'm sure the same general thing works with toothpicks. The basic idea is "strength in numbers". When you have just one it's easy to snap it in two pieces, but when you hold a bundle of them together it's much harder to break. I need to experiment at home to see exactly how many is too many to break at once so that image doesn't flop, but that's the basic idea. Fill in appropriate language from Acts to tailor to the scripture! I'm not usually too much of an "object lesson" gal (too many of the younger ones just can't think that abstractly yet to make it worth their while), but I think this one is concrete enough to work.

  112. that last post totally sounded like an excuse. The trouble is, as I told my confirmands, if you have to make an excuse it usually means that you're in the wrong and what you need to do is apologize. I wish I could rationalize the situation, but I can't really--I could have answered her email relatively quickly, even if I was away at a conference. I could have picked up the phone when I got home (at least, in theory). I just forgot/didn't make time (in that order). It sounds so bad to say that I forgot that her father died, but I really honestly did, at least in the immediate sense.

    Anyway--sorry for putting all of this here. All my normal pastor-phone-friends are unavailable and I have no one to talk to about this and also still no words written (which I'm sure is a big shock since my last post was 2 minutes ago!)...

  113. Teri - I actually don't think you dropped the ball, it was a trap. My unsolicited advice (please take, I'm not using it) is cease all email communications on the topic and with her and stick with phone and in person.

    Hoping your HoS has the cajones to back you up and even if not - it is what it is.

    As for tomorrow, the Holy Spirit has got your back.

  114. Also... unfortunately there will be plenty of opportunities for you to walk with her through the grief process through the coming year and in most of those cases everyone else will have already left the scene.

    You won't be doing it to fix what happened these past few weeks, you will be doing it because that is the kind of pastor God has called you to be.

    Ok... I'm done now. :)

  115. ((((Teri)))) bleh indeed. You are a good pastor. None of us is a pefect pastor.

    strength in numbers: play Red Rover?

    and oh: I'm almost done with draft#2.

    and I called the guy again, and he still hasn't called me back.

  116. WS--thanks! I haven't responded to her email, and am not planning to. I don't think it would be helpful. If I see her in worship tomorrow I'll try to schedule a face-to-face during the coming week...

    a trap? really? she seems so nice and supportive and her email even says "I want to see you succeed, especially because I'm always rooting for women in traditionally male-dominated roles"...but you might be right.

    The thing I hate about the way she cc'd the SP is that it makes me feel like an intern. you know? And actually, even when I was an intern people had the guts to just talk to me (except one) without bringing the pastor in before we even talked. anyway--I feel like I'm 12 and I have no attention for this sermon at all. (sigh)

    okay, here endeth the whining....thank you friends for being here. I so need you right now. sometimes I feel like everything people ask us to carry (as pastors) is so heavy I'm not sure how to breathe under the weight, let alone write a sermon that's even marginally passable.

  117. Also Teri -- Will smama makes a LOT of sense.

    and the Holy Spirit has got your back. Yeah.

  118. I don't know her, so maybe not a trap. Maybe you are taking one for the team - who else is in her life who is 'safe' for her to yell at when her anger really could be at her father, etc...

    I know it's hard, but as you try to focus on preaching the Word please hear me when I say this is not about you. Jesus died on the cross so we don't have too... even via email.

    (sorry about the preachy part of that. In my defense I am working on a sermon - hang in there!)

  119. Oh yeah, and I hear you on the cc'ed part - that kind of thing pisses me RIGHT off.

  120. Teri --

    I have no other words to add to what as been said (unless you want options for totally childlike behavior that may make you feel better for 35 seconds, but really won't fix anything). Listen to WS. Know that you will apologize to her (because I know you will) and carry on. I might add scheduling a brief time to talk to SP if you need to -- he (or she?) will probably want to talk to you about it anyway.

    You are in my prayers for writing and sleeping and preaching.

    I am headed for bed. Thanks for a great party everyone.

  121. I am trying SO HARD right now to keep saying "it's not about me, not about me, not about me...."--both in this situation and for the sermon. It's hard because there was so much "you" language (funny since this woman teaches psych at the local college). But I've had a good cry (the kind where I can't breathe and think I might throw up because of that) and now have three whole paragraphs written.

    Of course it would be good shepherd sunday, when the texts are like "hi, I've been co-opted for funerals"--just to keep reminding me of the situation. Awesome. (I almost typed "Awesome with an O" which is what my confirmands kept trying to make up as the O in GOD for an acrostic-type poem/grace. hahahah! They couldn't think of any O words--they ended up saying "Give me an O! O God, thanks for this food..." heehee!)

  122. OK Got my "way in" (a church history assignment in seminary in which we were asked to invent a contemporary religious community - - was assigned after a study of the proliferation of various religious orders - - Catherine Gonzalez rocked my world!)

    A neat paragraph on has given me enough of an idea about a "way out" to get this thing moving on I pretty much like to know exactly where I'm going before I start fully typing. Once I do that I spit the sucker out in a couple hours flat (not counting time spent on-line, of course).

  123. *hugs for Teri* We are all behind you in this. I can imagine how you feel.

    As for me...sheeping it up over here. Props to the shepherd, oh yeah, oh yeah. *raises roof*

    More caffeine!

  124. so as a seminarian who's seeking an MAR, I'm not really a preacher. But tomorrow is my first sermon in a church with real live people. I'm a little scared. Just wanted ask yall to pray for me tomorrow. Thanks! Good night yall!

  125. Teri, you sound better already.
    Let's hear it for the ugly cry (as Oprah would say)!

  126. ok, draft number 2 is here

    I have to print this and go to bed and try not to worry about tomorrow, and the help I still don't have.

  127. Also, if someone could tell me what I meant in my outline I would be much obliged:

    III.B.2. - Sweet salve of nurture

    Is that a new Oil of Olay product or what?

  128. Diane - - I totally had the Red Rover thought while I was typing my suggestion. I have an intense fear of the game. I even did as a child. It's just a broken wrist waiting to happen in my book!

    So for you word counters - - on average, how many words = 1 minute? My reason for asking. I have an audio clip I'm using tomorrow that's 3 min 40 sec long. Since I regularly forget to see how long I preached for I don't know how many fewer words I need to type to make that fit. My initial guess is that it's about 100 words per minute since I probably preach between 15-18 min, and I think I write about 1700-1800 words. I know some of you are better counters than me, though. What do you think? Do I am for about 1400?

    Woo hoo! That seems so doable!

  129. Diane, used your baa-baa story from Tuesday's comments. Thanks!

    Where is semfem. I am kicking her ASS in late night comments.

  130. Teri -- still praying for you, and also for you VirginnyLee (did I get that right?

    ah, now to print.

  131. Um, will smama, I'm here! Like I said, sheeping it up aw yeah, aw yeah!

    We'll see who's kicking ass in the comments at 3 in the morning.

    Okay, that's not really something I should brag about, being up and still writing at 3 am, but that's all I got.

  132. semfem, may the commenting victory be ALL yours at 3am although I have come to a screeching halt as I try to figure out another way to say 'Jesus rose for you' on the
    4th Sunday of saying such things.

    But first I must get me some Ashton Kucher on snl (yes, I'm ashamed).

    Teri, still praying...

    Vicar, you buying?

  133. Teri, I don't know if it's a trap or not, but there are several pieces of the communication that seem "off" to me. "Teri - I'm so disappointed in you." Okay, so "Teri, I'm so disappointed" I could accept - that is her claiming her feelings in the face of not hearing from you. But "I'm so disappointed *in you*" - that is just shame language, pure and simple. Who says that, unless they are trying to make someone feel like a child?

    Add to that the Ccing of the SP. (i.e. telling on you)

    Add to that the "I want to see you succeed (i.e., again with the patronizing).

    It's like it's all custom-designed to make you feel ashamed. Not necessarily intentionally, but still. So you have choices:
    - carry the shame, which doesn't do anyone any good
    - get defensive, which doesn't do anyone any good
    - try to fix things, which doesn't work
    - accept that you dropped one of the balls you were juggling, and apologize in person, and let that be it. [in terms of apology, I would make sure not to make excuses, but also I wouldn't indicate that I had forgotten.]

    I agree that talking it out with SP might be good (if your SP is someone you trust). And beyond that, just try to pick up and move forward.

    And if you need it, wills mama might be able to offer you some Sweet Salve of Nurture. ;)

  134. Seriously considering just concluding with Psalm 23 and calling it a day... err, night.

  135. earthchick, well said AND you made me laugh out loud at the end.

    Maybe that is my new cursing phrase, "Sweet salve of nurture!"

  136. Ah! Teri so much wisdom here! still praying, but will be sleeping soon. I'll check in once more. and of course, leave the light on for you all, and the tea kettle, as well.

  137. ...and maybe sweet music in the background?

  138. ha ha! You made me laugh out loud, too. That is a perfect cursing phrase. Am going to have to try that one out myself sometime.

    But now, off to bed. Best to the rest of you!

  139. teri, sometimes us professional folks use all that training to be more creatively dysfunctional. It took me a long time to figure out that "I" language could be cloaked "you" language

  140. ws, when K delivers that umbrella drink, could you send him to me with a "not lame" sermon

  141. she-rev--as far as words per minute, I think it depends A LOT on the person and how fast she/he speaks.

    I did some quick estimated calculations based on my Easter sermon and it looks like I'm at about 125-135 words per minute. Four pages, 1343 words, and I'm guessing it was about 10-12 minutes.

    As for the great children's also works well with pencils. :)

  142. will smama - - just had my husband hit record on the DVR for SNL. I'll catch it tomorrow afternoon, but couldn't miss this one. I hope it's as good as I'm anticipating.

    semfem - - as always, I'll see you in the dark of the morning. I'm calling it quits at midnight (central time) and will be up again at 4:00 a.m. as usual.

    God bless the children so they stay asleep during all of this so that my schedule isn't messed up!

    teri - - I've been reading and praying over your situation and wondering how to respond. I KNOW KNOW KNOW and HATE HATE HATE the e-mail "cc". It is one of my favorite parts of my new call to a solo church over the last few months. I had some bad cases of cc-ing going on at the end of my previous call and it was stupid. Anyway, I think you're trying to set this aside tonight in order to get some sermonizing done, so I won't prolong anymore. I'm praying for you.

    Maybe you just came up with a Thursday matriarch situation? Always trying to find the good in the bad!!!

  143. I don't know how you all do it! No drinks for me! off to bed -- way too late -- and too much tomorrow. 3 services, a funeral sermon (proof the bulletin) for monday, a newsletter column, um, what else?

    I'll check in again in the morning...

  144. teri - what earthchick said - yes. prayers for you...

    everyone else - I don't mean to call this party to an end, but it is after midnight on the eastcoast and after 9pm where I am - which means it is my bedtime....and I'm gonna post the Sunday Prayer...

    keep the party going, but let it be surrounded by prayer...night all...may the Holy Spirit fill your your hearts and minds and words

  145. No worries, mp. I always equate the Sunday prayer being delivered to the thwacking of the newspapers being delivered door by door in our dorm that all of us out late (early) in the study area heard.

    I am signing off of computer land in order to use the last remaining awake time to fold and remove laundry from my bed.

    Teri - prayers ascending, grace abounds!

    May the sweet salve of nurture be with us all!

  146. Grace and the Holy Spirit are all that are going to make this night okay.
    And also a bestest friend who skipped the second act of her sister's opera to talk to me tonight. Granted, sis was not IN the second act, but still. Hallelujah--she was exactly what I needed.
    You all are so wonderful and strong and fabulous--I seriously do not know what I would do without you. Now I'm tearing up again but it's a better reason this time!
    I have half a sermon based loosely on John 10.11-16 (the part right after the lectionary) and Psalm 23 about how it's important that we stick together, that we need each other, that sheep don't go it alone they go with the flock, and that our memories of our important stories are best stored and shared in community. Or something. We'll see where it goes...

  147. Hey All,
    Just checking in to say hi.

    I'm not preaching from a manuscript tomorrow, so I'm sort of cogitating instead of writing. It would feel scarier if I wasnt so frickin frackin tired.
    Luckily, a guy stopped by this week to say he was offended by our sign, which this weeks says "an ungated community" (my sermon title, which I thought was pretty catchy, actually) - since our little playground area is always locked with a padlock. So I'm gonna talk about that. And about the funeral I did for the guy who was confirmed here in 1976 and memorialized here today (you can do the math) even though he didnt spend much time here in between.

    And then - do we want to be the church that keeps its gates locked or the one that has its doors open? It's not earth shattering or anything, but I think it'll preach.

    She rev - gee whiz I hope you're sleeping. Ditto Earthchick.

    HEY WS!! Can we make that "Sweet salve of nurture!" the new Rev gals swag thing? I would buy a tshirt with that on it, for SURE.

  148. Teri--you can do it!
    I ended up focusing on how we are called to speak to each other with the voice of Jesus, and there are times where the only way we can hear the voice of Jesus is to hear it through the voice of our fellow sheep. Kind of fits in a bit with your "we need each other" piece, hmm?

    Not that you have to include it, just thought I'd toss that into the ring. :)

    I'm actually finished with the sermon (!) although I need to look over it again after a quick shower. And I have a few other things I must attend to tonight, so I'm not out of the woods yet.

    Okay, it's me, Teri, she-rev for another 25 minutes, and maybe Vicar. Anybody else out there?

  149. I'm here but my desktop keeps crashing programs, usually the one I'm trying to use at that very moment. gag.

  150. Okay, we have Juniper too!

    Sweet salve of nurture, does this pulpit make my butt look big?

    Love it!

  151. Just finished writing my sermon for the second-time today. It's probably a bit more focused than the first unsaved version. At least I have a funny opening story.

  152. I am SO still here, though I think I'm only in need of a conclusion right now. Semfem, I like that business of hearing the shepherd through the other sheep! I'm not sure I can make it fit this time, but I did say something about sheep, when they stay together in the flock, being better able to learn their place, their shepherd's voice, etc. Then I sort of personified sheep (since we sheep-ify ourselves all the time) to suggest that sheep are better able to keep their memory of the shepherd's voice and of their story when they join their voices and their ears together as a flock rather than being scattered and alone.
    Or something.
    I have no idea if this sermon makes any sense. I am right now struggling with whether to access some "lifting our voices together" communal memories by singing Amazing Grace, no words, just community voices helping each other out, during the sermon. I have a lot of emotional baggage that goes with that song. Earlier this week I thought I might be able to do it, but now I'm not so sure that I'm in an emotional/spiritual/exhaustion-level place to do it.

    I've decided that when I get a conclusion, the sermon is done. This is one I am going to just have to let go and let the Holy Spirit fly it off to people's ears because I do not have the energy to refine or even turn it from bad to mediocre. I hate that feeling, but it looks like tonight is the night of feelings I hate. oh well.

    Thank God my senior pastor is going out of town on Monday (that means no morning meetings this week!) and I have confirmation field trips, not class, next weekend--that means I can take Monday off. hallelujah!

  153. (re amazing grace, that should say "no words projected"--obviously the song has words...)

  154. Holy cow - - just realized my power source came unplugged from my laptop probably hours ago. My computer almost blanked out on me. Oi! Man, now the screen is much brighter and I can see much better!!!

    Is it really 6 minutes until my appointed bedtime? I'm about a third of the way done, which isn't as far as I could be, but farther along than I am sometimes. I'll catch you all on the flip side!

    Preach it Teri! The Holy Spirit's got you this time (and every time)! I'd have to say I'd probably leave the singing out this time for fear of losing it at the wrong time. I'm not saying I think it's never OK for a preacher to cry in the pulpit, but this time, for you, it might be for different reasons and it might be harder or too hard to recover mid-sermon or mid-service. That's my assessment of what it would be like for me, though. I have to decide if that kind of vulnerability is good for the church or just good for me. If it's just good for me then it doesn't make it into the sermon. I'm not saying that's what it would be for you in this case, but just how I make the decision myself.

  155. Oh Teri,
    I just re=read thru everything. What a day. DItto the supportive stuff already said - praying and pulling for you and glad you are getting a day off.

  156. Teri--yeah, it might be better to try and put tonight behind you when you can! But I like what you're saying about communal memory--like the "flock mentality" that we tend to think of as a downside is also a positive side, too! Hearing the same voice means that we can follow together.

    And we have rev kim too, although she may have just checked into bed. Which sounds really nice right about now.

  157. Okay, I posted it. I wouldn't call it good but maybe not as bad as I originally thought either.
    I decided that I could decide in the moment RE Amazing Grace. I'm not sure I'm in an emotional place to do it so I wrote a paragraph that will work with or without the song. We'll just see how it goes.

    Thank you so much, friends--you have gotten me through this night. There is so much going on, then to have a night like this on top of it, I didn't think I was going to make it to tomorrow morning in one piece AND with a sermon. Glory be to you all and to the holy spirit, now and forever, amen.

    With that, I must try to sleep. This is me, brushing my teeth and getting into bed, attempting not to obsess, to replay what could/should have been, to imagine the conversations to come, etc. Thank you for your prayers. I seriously do love you all, and I've never even met you. Thank you thank you a thousand times over.

    goodnight--happy sleeping and proclaiming and ministering and whatever else is on your plate(s) for tomorrow...


  158. I'm done with the sermon and almost done fighting with this computer. God be with you. night

  159. I've got confused by times again but it's now Sunday morning here...Praying for Teri and for the rest of you as ever...sermon 1 done, sermon 2 in chunks (will finish after the morning round) BUT I could use a prayer or two myself as my Associate NSM, who was scheduled to lead me through this morning and advise on local variations to the normal shape of the liturgy just texted to ask if he can cover a crisis at his wife's church (she is vicar in a nearby parish)...Clearly I have to say Yes...I'm supposed to be a grown up priest in charge....but scope of chaos feels huge.
    Blessings on all of you this Sunday. xx

  160. G'night and g'morning everyone. Blessings on all preparation, preaching, and pondering today!

  161. Good morning! Good morning!

    I'm back to finish up. Wouldn't you know it the baby woke up 25 minutes after my appointed bedtime and what felt like 10 seconds afte I actually fell asleep.

    Before I even moved a muscle I told dear husband exactly what the boy could have in the pain medicine department (he's teething...the baby, not the husband). He got out of bed and dealt with it and the baby's been sleeping ever since. A breakthrough! DH took care of a child in the night before I'm preaching. Hallelujah!

    Looks like everyone else is gone, but maybe I'll catch you morning tweakers!

  162. Closing in on my word count, and a point, but I never got to my second one. Oh well! My mantra is "Don't do too much" so I think I'll save that other one for another day and another sermon. Yipee! Looks like I'll get a snooze this morning!

  163. just checking in this a.m. to say

    -coffee pot's on
    - be careful out there!
    - let's go out there and preach!

    off to walk the dog. i'm going sr pastor-less this morning.

  164. Here's the thing about little boys who fall asleep before bedtime: they wake up roughly an hour-and-a-half before the alarm goes off. Oy.

    Also, it's snowing.

    Also, I'm not feeling so great about my sermon. [You think I might've used the extra hour-and-a-half to work on it, but just b/c I was up didn't mean my brain was awake.]

    Oh well. Happy preaching to all.

  165. I would love to get more products into our Cafe Press store, however we are in need of a clever volunteer to manage it. If you or someone you know might have the inclination, please get in touch with me.

  166. Oh. Wow. I was up at 3:30...just lying (laying?) there in bed obsessing on the sermon. We had a wedding last night at the church and it appears that I cannot do two things at once. So, in spite of the reading and all that stuff, nothing really came together until this morning.

    So, I have an outline on my blog. I'll be preaching "without notes." Oy. Veh.

    Where's the coffee?

    Blessings on all! (171 comments!?!?!)

  167. Tripp, you really wrangled this week, didn't you?
    I am relieved to have a manuscript, not that it's anything new, but still, I'm glad to have one. And if you haven't read mompriest's Sunday prayer, be sure to take a look!

  168. Tripp all I can say is Wow. the only time I preach without notes is at my "Jazz Sermon" Wednesday morning matins time. I would love to preach without notes sometimes, but I'm still too chicken. (the idea would be that I would still have some idea what I was going to say.)

  169. The Tuesday lectionary stuff and the preacher party saved me this a.m. THANKS! TREV GALS AND PALS ROCK!

    And the business mtg. was difficult but not contentious....whew.

  170. Thanks for the kind words.

    Preaching without notes is good practice...and I would love to do more of it, but it usually takes more time out of my week. This week I had the other issue...the ideas were too slippery to get down on paper. Does this make sense?

  171. okay, I don't know if y'all check on this again, but I have this to say: thanks. I woke up this morning (after only a very little sleeping!) with that anxiety-produced sick feeling, but went to church, survived. Talked to Senior Pastor, who agreed the cc-ing was inappropriate and who promised not to respond. Disappointed woman did not come to church today, so I sent her an email saying that I'm really sorry for causing her disappointment and that I would be happy to talk with her this week at her convenience. also dealt with some other issues so they won't be hitting me over the head this week while SP is out of town. Came home, slept four blissfully uninterrupted and good hours. Am feeling better....I know that when I talk with this woman it will be horrible and hurtful, but at least it will be over and I think it will wipe the slate relatively clean. We'll see.

    I seriously could not have gotten everything done last night without all of you here at the party, so thanks. :-)

  172. I'm here, Teri, and so glad to hear all you reported. May the meeting, when it comes, be what is best for both of you.

  173. Teri -- don't know if you'll be back, but wanted to let you know that I'm praying on your meeting.


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