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Saturday, April 26, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Marketplace of ideas Edition

Good morning, gals and pals! Today I am contemplating Paul, standing in front of the Areopagus, making a his defense for the hope that is in him, as I prepare to stand in front of my congregation tomorrow: a much safer place to stand, I think! (unless I don't have a sermon to preach). I am also looking out on a gloomy, rainy AND snowy (yes snowy) spring day, looking for those small signs of hope, like "I see that the grass is getting greener, anyway."

Where are you finding hope today? In the Advocate from John, and the promise that we will not be orphans? In Paul's expansive and intimate God, the one who made heaven and earth, but who is not far from any of us? In Peter's admonition not to fear what others fear, but to be ready to share our hope? Is the rain making the grass greener where you are, too?

Today I have put the coffee on, I am having my ritual bowl of oatmeal, but also toasting some English muffins and setting out an array of muffins for you all, setting the virtual table for conversation on the various scripture texts and pastoral concerns.

Pull up a virtual chair, and join the community. Share food, ideas, and concerns today. And if you are ahead of the game, and the sermon is all wrapped up, try to let us down gently, ok?

And remember:

If you cannot preach like Peter/if you cannot pray like Paul
you can tell the love of Jesus/And say he died for all.


  1. well, I really thought the idea of Paul in the Areopagus was a great idea earlier in the weel, but today: not so much.

    blueberries, anyone? They're full of antioxidants!

  2. I think it sounds great, Diane. I wish I were talking about it myself. But I am on week three of my Nouwen "Life of the Beloved" series, and I'm using the gospel lesson to go along with being broken. The disciples must have looked longingly back to that last evening with Jesus, and there must have been a temptation to dwell in the brokenness of their loss. But they didn't. The power of love was strong enough to move them forward, informed by their loss but not limited by it. A friend told me earlier in the week about a Barbara Lundbland sermon from Day One on this text, using a reference to Camelot. I'm picking up on the Camelot idea, though I have not read anything beyond the first paragraph of her sermon while Googling it just now. My oldest, preparing to graduate from college, once played the little boy at the end of Camelot, and remembering it certainly makes me nostalgic for other times, times that will never come again.
    Otherwise today, I'm going to Weight Watchers, taking the dogs out, and attending (but not officiating) at the Committal for a daughter of the church who had become a Baptist. Most of her family still attends the church I'm serving, and I want to be there for them. In between, a sermon will appear, I feel sure!

  3. Songbird, welcome! I just got back from early morning dog walking in the snow. I have Bible study in a little while, and then I'll be working on "The Unknown God." I actually like my opening, with the street corner preachers I've seen downtown, but after awhile it sounds a little -- instructional.

    Later on I'm going to a nursing home.

  4. Hi Diane, I am right there with you in my virtual seat, virtual coffee, virtual oatmeal and banana, and virtual sermon. Wait a minute, what sermon? What are we talking about here? What is my theme? Oh my.

    Hi songbird and the rest. I got to crackin, got a full day of ball games, Angel Food ministries, time with the kids, and somewhere a finalized sermon prep.

  5. Hi, Revabi! Looks like you have a full day ahead! and of course banana with oatmeal is great! (potassium). check it often. we're with you.

  6. Good morning. PROM day dawns, and I had every intention of having my sermon done, but is not.

    I have half a sermon, though, so that is farther than I usually am. I have plans to leave here at 11:00 to take WonderGirl to her hair appointment. That's about 3.25 hours from now. I should be able to wrap things up by then. Wish m luck!

  7. Good morning. I have Equal Exchange love buzz coffee...some soy milk, strawberries and kashi...haven't even written a word, yet...but since it is a prayer and healing service AND stewardship season...(weird combo, I know)I feel confident that the text from John will all tie in. Somehow. right?
    Think I will go walk some dogs...

  8. I'm doing some last minute housecleaning before my mother arrives. She and I are teaming up for a wedding tonight - she's an excellent pianist! I'm be preaching from John tomorrow - something about obedience and never being alone! Jesus is so wordy in bidding farewell that I'm calling it "Never Can Say Good-Bye!"

  9. Diane,
    The idea of preaching in church being safer than Paul in the Aeropagus doesn't quite fit here just now. But preaching on obedience anyway. Just have to keep dodging the virtual missiles. Have to get finished up quickly - in 30 mins I'm off for a final rehearsal for a gig I have tonight. That should distract and, I'm sure lift me.
    On strawberry and banana smoothies right now - anyone?

  10. I chose to use Paul's sermon mostly because it is the passage recommended for Earth Stewardship Sunday. I'm not entirely sure how it ties in with Earth Stewardship though. Maybe some coffee will jog my brain.

  11. Tomorrow I have the all-age Pet Parade Service (an inherited annual tradition). While it's a service with a quite particular focus (animals, not surprisingly!) I want to make sure it's still predominantly a place to praise and worship God and hear good news. Readings will be Psalm 104: 10-25 (amazing creation and provision of God) and Matthew 6: 25-33 (if God can feed the birds of the air... seek first his kingdom and his righteousness) - though I was still umming and ahhing over whether to stick with last year's Genesis 1 reading instead!

    Any great thoughts from anyone - remembering it's an all-age message?

    I've been thinking about God's goodness and the great diversity of his creation; of how he provides for the tiniest of his creatures - and within all this he's given us a special role in caring for and nurturing this creation. (For those at church with their pets, that begins with the animals in their care... and extends out to a shared responsibility for all creatures).

    Thought I might also end with thanksgivings for all that animals give to us... working animals on the land, comfort of family pets, the sight of guide dogs for the blind and hearing of dogs for the deaf etc... (Will probably avoid mentioning food!)

  12. Have had the ritual Cheerios and milk (that's my ritual every morning). Working on the "living stones" passage from last week's lectionary, because for some reason it really intrigued me last month when I chose it...if only I could remember why. I have a draft of a long rambling sermon, or perhaps three sermons, on being living stones that must be fit together into a spiritual house. It needs some renovations--the sermon, not necessarily the house.

    Will also be single parenting the baby, as clergy husband is at a humongous festival at his church all day. I'd rather be home in any case.

    Thinking about some strawberries and yogurt next...

  13. Wow, lots of diversity out there in planning! Welcome, all. A pet parade tomorrow sounds intriguing. And I wonder why Acts was chosen for Earth Day too.? Maybe because Paul begins with "The God who made heaven and earth."

    I think I used this illustration before, but while I was in Japan I heard a story about a WWWII who later on became a Christian and always sat in the same place at this Lutheran church in Tokyo. What was it that convinced him that the Christian message was "right"? Our creation stories tell about the the God who created the whole heaven and earth. Japan's creation stories are only about the creation of Japan.

    A wider, more expansive God -- the God of everyone... I think that's what Paul is getting at.

    anyway, liz, praying for you as the virtual missiles go by. That's awful. sometimes the church isn't a safe place.

  14. busy day all around! i stayed up last night late in hopes of pounding out the sermon so today would be free... hah!

    working on John - trying to piece together storeies about connectedness, how the Spirit is the connecting factor... but it's tanking my friends. back to square one.

  15. Hey everyone.
    I haven't been at the preacher party in a long time (I haven't preached in a long time)! I'm working through the gospel text trying to tie together both the commandment (pulling from John 13 to love one another) and the theme of theosis, of how we are drawn into the love of the Trinity through love of Jesus.
    Right now it sounds rather like an academic paper. Time for some serious revisions, while one kid sleeps and the other watches a movie.

  16. I just used ennui in my sermon.

    I excitedly told my spouse about it.

    He is very "meh". That is usually a good sign.

  17. Hello-- I'm a regular weekly reader though starting my own blog is still on my "some day, when I have time" list.

    I also am intrigued with the Acts text, wondering how we treat God as the "unknown god" instead of the intimate and transcendent God. But I'm not sure how to unpack that question without it turning into a rant.

    Besides, I had planned to include a rogation theme this Sunday, though we won't have a procession through the nearby fields because they're blanketed with 8" of snow from yesterday's storm. I think I can use the "care of creation" theme to talk about both the intimacy and trancendence of God, and I will probably move through both the Gospel and the Acts text with those themes.

  18. Welcome, Barbara! glad to have you with us at the party today! ah, I remember rogation services... but 8 inches of snow! we just have a little coating.

    My problem with sermon isn't so much the rant aspect, as it sounds kind of intellectual, toward the end. (sigh)...

  19. A quiet day ahead (I hope). The boys are on a campout, daughter is at a special study session at school and I'm at the public library so as to not waste time or gas while my daughter is at the school 15 miles from our house. I saved an hour of time and nearly $4 worth of gas.

    The agenda today is to work on the sermon and two papers that are both due this week. These are my last papers for my MDiv, both due this week, and I just want them DONE!

    For the sermon, I'm looking at suffering as in the epistle, and tying it to the "God will not leave us orphans" in the gospel. At least that's where I think I'm going.

    No food with me right now - I'm at the library, after all, but I'll pick you up something a little later. Anybody need anything in particular from the store?

  20. My SIL is visiting so I wrote my sermon a few days ago. Just re-read it, and with some tweeking and revisions it will be ok. I can do that later. we are having internet connection problems (of the wireless variety) sigh....

    I am actually referencing Acts, 1 Peter, and the Gospel in my sermon - which almost never happens - I just found a thread that weaves through them.

    Well. Off to spend time with family, back later...Blessings all!

  21. Weeks ago when I was worship planning I chose the Acts passage because I love the image of people groping for God when in fact God is very near. This week I got a little "meh" on that, but felt I shouldn't run from it just 'cause I felt like it. Sermon is mostly done - just lacking some polishing and a good closing sentence or two.

    But I'm not bragging about being mostly done! It had to be done, because next week is Presbytery which means we'll leave Wednesday and not be back until late Saturday. I need to have next week's sermon mostly done before we leave. I'm also preaching at next Saturday morning's worship service at Presbytery, so today will be polishing that sermon, beginning study for next week's sermon, and then cleaning house, 'cause I hate coming back after a long trip to an empty house.

  22. ah yes we do have rogation celebrations tomorrow... no snow but it's wet & muddy. farmers are not happy campers right now b/c they want to be planting... so perhaps it's good, really good we'll be praying for 'em!

  23. ok, kim you're not bragging. Good for you! as for me, I'm avoiding the re-write. back later!

    and yeskim in kck, pick up some sandwiches on your way home, 'kay?

  24. Diane -
    I'm having the same issue - too much lecture, not enough proclamation.

    Its time to make more coffee, unplug, and hit this with a pen or pencil. Somehow, writing with a different medium shakes things up.

  25. Um. I'm admitting my ignorance here. What's rogation?

  26. Rogation -- from latin "Rogare" to ask. It was always this time of year, and the priests would ask for blessings and protection on the parish, and particularly on the fields,crops, the boundaries of the parish. I have never encountered it except in a rural setting. ONe year we blessed the seeds we were going to plant.

  27. for rogation - we ask God's blessings on the seeds, the soil, the stewards of land. Farmers bring tractors to church. church is decorated with farming things & gardening tools (inside & out). Children bring plants; seed packets; or toy tractors to get blessed.

    sermon's conclusion? argh! elusive at best.

  28. I decided to go off the lectionary this week. I'm preaching on Deborah. There sermon is here.

    I have peach pancakes. Dig in!

  29. It's gone half six, i have been in for an hour from an all day diocesan healing workshop (which was mostly VERY GOOD despite my gloomy expectations) but I have not a word written nor a thought in my head...I wasn't expecting to preach, but as one church is going off Lectionary for Rogation day the Reader elected to opt out of preaching there.
    I guess it's a follow up on prayer, after last week's initial salvo...but quite what to say I'm not sure.

  30. Baby is napping and I am soooo sleepy. But this is likely my only chance to finish sermon today, so I really should get to work. But what am I saying? I have no idea.

    And I need a children's sermon.

  31. ooh, children's sermon. anyone out there? I don't have one at the tip of my fingers.

    just got the dog in where it had caught a small animal and was playing with it as if it were a bean bag or something. (sigh)

    back to work!

  32. Hi all, So Chelley if I bring my dog of a sermon to your service would you bless it? It is, to steal a blog title "Good in Parts" but doesn't seem to want to get its act together. Bleh. Have to wrap it up soonish as we have a performance of My Antonia tonight. Maybe a little more caffeine would crank it up....or some of those pancakes sound good.

    Cheese I'm impressed! Have to pop over and check that out.

  33. here's what happened to me. My screen froze when I tried to print the sermon, and I had to shut down. I got a backup copy, mysteriously missing the last paragraph. They asked me to rename the sermon, which I did, and now it's gone I do have a printed version -- of everything but the last paragraph.


  34. Hehe revdrkate... but is it really a dog... I'll bet not!
    I'm no nearer the sermon - though at least the whole service is on the laptop now (all Powerpoint for the main service at my place).

    I did think I might end with 7 pictures printed of animals beginning with the letters A M A Z I N and G so that when the pictures are turned round they spell amazing - what God's creation is of course. No words to take me there yet though!

  35. Tomorrow is a big day. All week we have been getting ready for Vision Sunday. This kicks off several weeks of our OASIS theme. I posted about it a few days ago. Anyway, my sermon is done. I posted it and I probaly will post the subsequent sermons.

    I admit, I was getting used to using lectionary scriptures and pondering with you all. But for I will be talking about our vision and mission. If you would be interested in taking a look,and giving any feedback (criticm and suggestions always welcome) you can read it here.

    I'll be back later to check on you all. I'm leaving some barbeques ribs if anyone is hungry.

    Now I'm off the help with the final touches of an oasis we have contructed in our entry, complete with a small water fall and a pool of water. I'll try to get some pics tomorrow. This has been exciting and fun and may well spell the future of our congregation.

  36. Singing Owl! Ribs! I'll be over later.

    after I retype my sermon.

  37. Ooh Diane I HATE it when that stuff happens! Good I guess that it was "only" the one paragraph.

    Chelley I have lost perspective, but I think I just heard it woof at me.

    Singing Owl, I think I want to come to your church.

  38. Phone just rang. Slight crisis--I guess it was bound to happen. Our beautiful oasis is leaking--we have a sort of wet entry. SO...a slowdown will occur while we mop up and try to discover the problem. Prayers appreciated!

  39. Not sure how it happened, but inspiration for the Earth Stewardship sermon from the Acts passage had my fingers working all morning. That usually doesn't happen until 4 am on Sunday!

    I've posted This is Our Fathers World

  40. Hi all. The girl's ball game is over. We lost, but they played so much better. I was so proud of them. I got to work in the dugout, getting their helmets and bats and all. Making sure the catcher was suited up or down as the case may be. Make sure the next batter was ready. I really enjoyed the game and the girls much more this time. And all the girls were telling me afterwards they had a good time with me back there. Then it was rush over to the Angel Food distribution, and help there. Then come home and try to work on this sermon some, and whatever else I have to deal with. Well no sermon has been written and the kids got more attention then anything else. Now we are off to Zach's ball game and then hopefully get a sermon written. i don't want to be up until midnight tonight writing a sermon. I am already tired. Oh and did I mention we made an offer on a house this week and got their counter offer and then made another counter offer?

    How is everybody else doing? Hope the sermons are coming together. Hope the prom activities, family activities, funerals and weddings are doing okay.

    I have dum dums and suckers and tootsie roll pops for anyone that wants one along with diet cokes, diet Dr. Peppers and water.

  41. thanks for all the sweet treats, RevAbi! I can't tell who all is working around here -- it's been pretty quiet.

    anyone need a Diet Dr. Pepper or something?

  42. ok got something together. an unusual approach perhaps... but it's done. read all about it here

  43. Back again after supper and a bit of family time...still nothing written and it's 10 pm here. Oh well.
    Can i make anyone some coffee? or hot chocolate?? It feels like bedtime but not without a sermon it doesn't

  44. Sermon is printed out, only marginally in better shape than it was this morning. Have been feeding/holding/playing with baby and now she's napping again. Taking her with me for the first time in the morning, because we are without a babysitter at home. The forecast? Storms, with possible hail. Fun times.

    Still no children's sermon...anyone have a good one from the First Peter text of last week? Anyone?

  45. The posted efforts are impressive. Sorry to here about the leak! I'm going off to run some errands then I'll decide if I'll post it or try again. Anybody need anything while I'm up?

  46. Hmmmm... somehow I have found myself preaching on truth this Sunday. How the heck did that happen?!?

    Right now all I have are a few thoughts, a couple fun quotes - love me some Dumbledore - and a general idea of where I want to go.

    I also happen to be down a pint of blood as our blood drive was this morning.

    Why don't I ever go with the "easy" sermon I see? Why do I always have to pick the tough one?

  47. Ok. Back from morning of random stuff, including a problem with our wireless internet not I am order to finish and print out a copy of my sermon...which can be read here...

    Soon I am driving my very bored 15 year old up to big city to the north so he can have some social time....I'll spend that time finding something to do in order to avoid two round trips of an hour each way (or, four hours of driving)...I'll drop by and read your sermons (which I love to do) as I am able.

    I have iced tea with a hint of peach and dark chocolate...

  48. After a week off from preaching last week, I am having a HORRIBLE time getting into the groove. I didn't have to really write the bulletin either because the Confirmation youth wrote all the prayers and everything based on some general theme I gave them a couple of weeks ago. Therefore, with no bulletin to prepare myself and a more relaxed week last week, I found/find myself completely unmotivated to write this sermon for Confirmation Sunday. How horrible is that?

    It can't be too long since about 7000 different music groups are also leading in worship and we have the Confirmation piece. I should probably turn the TV of ("Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett is on) and blog a little to get my thoughts together, but I see this being a long night.

    I'm working with John mostly, but also 1 Peter, at least the early part of it, particularly about hope being so evident in the lives of believers that we might have to make an accounting for it! My thoughts are that the only accounting we have for hope in a time of despair or persecution (or recession?) is the gift of God's Spirit, the Advocate, that is promised to us.

    The fear I had in the shower this morning was something that sounded like "being optimistic is a sign of the Spirit". I need a good description, illustration, something that talks about HOPE, not just optimism or thinking positively.

    OK, off to blog if the kiddos stay asleep a while longer.

  49. Shoot. Now "Walk the Line" is on and I think a baby is awake. There goes my afternoon.

  50. ok, ready or not, I'm preaching in less than 1/2 hour. may tweak it more later...

    I won't start over, like last time, though.

    Amy and She Rev -- we're here for you! I'll be checking back after worship, seeing if anyone needs pizza, or wine, or more coffee or tea.

    I usually stop at the store on my way home from church. anything?

  51. OK it is official The church NEEDS a new computer!

    At 2:00 I ran over to print off this week's prayer brochure and make copies. A 10 minute job, 15 at most. An hour and a half later I was almost finished un- and reinstalling the printer driver and moving some stuff around in different drives to get the printer to work properly!

    SLow and not working properly, and just generally annoying the secretary and I. Time to replace it. Now just to convince the Board...

  52. I am back, and having looked again decided she preaches as written, as I have to go have dinner and get ready to perform. Have posted it here such as it is. Blessings on all your preaching tomorrow.

  53. I am a bit done in by the theology expressed at the committal I attended this afternoon. (The Lord giveth, etc., and the Lord hath taken away our beloved sister, B., etc. And by the way we need not fear death because, as Christians, we are the only people going to heaven. And so forth.)
    Cemetery work being on both sides of the family, everyone stayed after the service. I got to watch the widower standing in the grave, shoveling the dirt in and making sure it was all "just so."
    His wife's parents belong to my church, but he and his now-buried wife had "gone over" to another flavor of Christianity.
    I have to say I've really lost any sermon momentum I had.

  54. Dunnit...and posted it too...and it's not yet midnight. What are things coming to?
    Mind you, i could be about to dive straight into a major disagreement with the Longsuffering Clockmaker, who seems to think that you preach sermons from outside them, teaching stuff you've learned well enough to live...Me, I reckon I can't preach authentically unless I'm up to my neck in the reality of the situation i'm addressing...or at least, that's what I think tonight.
    Love, blessings and chocolate orange slices for those still at the coal face...

  55. Songbird...

    Egads. To both.

    Hoping the sermon mojo gets cooking again.

    I just made cherry cobbler, which is available with or without vanilla bean ice cream. No calories in this virtual treat...anyone?

  56. Oh...and a large sympathetic hug for you Songbird. Really hard situation even when the funeral theology matches your own, but that one sounds really hard to deal with.

  57. Good evening. I'm tired. Last night I went to a play. My wife is the lead. Who knew? I'm biased, and she is wonderful. I live with this ambiguity.

    I too am struggling with Paul's way of embodying John's Gospel. I have too many ideas right now. So, I'm gonna get crackin'.

    I'm going to leave you all with a little e-danish. Enjoy!

  58. (((Songbird))) yikes. I just heard something similar from a congregation member (she told her muslim coworker he's not going to heaven arggg)

    I've done one and am on the way home. will stop at the store. Virtual pizza or virtual anything, anyone? how about virtual inspiration?

  59. Yawn...egad it has been a long week. The oasis' leak is fixed temporarily. We will be okay for tomorrow, but after that we will have to deconstruct it, fix the problem and construct it again!


    However, it looks beautiful, IMO.

    My husband is cooking breakfast, along with another guy, at church in the a.m. But he is hosting an all day Prison Fellowship seminar today and won't be home till about ten p.m. So I am going to be doing a lot of chopping -- onions, peppers, mushrooms, water chesnuts, and cheese.

    Then I plan to drop into bed and sleep till dawn's early light.

    Thanks for being here, gals and pals.

  60. We're here for you, Singing Owl!

    I wonder is anyone out there working? how is it going?

  61. Well, let's put it this way. If a Janette Oke movie on the Hallmark Channel has captured my attention, I am in BIG trouble.

  62. They're all praying in the movie now, even the handsome but skeptical sheriff. Maybe I'll try that, too.

  63. I decided to go to the bookshelf for a little inspiration...EUREKA! Fred Craddock in Cherry Log Sermons and Barbara Brown Taylor in Gospel Medicine both have sermons on this gospel lesson. Time to do a little reading for a new creative angle.

  64. Back at it tonight.

    We lost another ball game. Oh well.

    Had a nice supper. Found my old sermon and the sermon by BBT that Kim mentions. I am going to rework the old sermon for this community. Just got the wee ones down. Now can I stay awake to finish said rewriting.

    i have frozen fruit bars and yes, diet coke and water. Ya'll are welcome to some.

  65. I was JUST THINKING that I would like to read some others' sermons. I need some new perspectives on "the gospel."

  66. songbird, did his prayers work for you???

  67. No. He found the orphans in the storm, though, and that is certainly not unrelated to the gospel. ;-)

  68. But seriously, I'm finding it hard to know what to say, much less how to say it, in this new community. How in the world did I manage this last year? I can't even remember.

  69. I am back. I JUST had to be outside today, and then had to walk the doggies on a long walk two times and had to run errands with Beloved b/c she is running an event tonight in the city and then I had to cook the dog food for the week...and currently now am at 135 words. Yipes. I will be here til the lights go out, I fear....

    SB, the theology at the funeral...well, let's say we all heard some of that at my dear nephew's funeral in January. As one of the clergy presiding, I had to pray, pray, pray, pray and do lots of damage control with a lot of young people, not to mention my family, who were incredibly hurt. Oy! Am glad you could be there with your people...

  70. Liz thinking of you with the missiles being fired at you.

    Hey Mamas welcome back.

    Hey Barbara start that blog and join us.

    kim, hope you are able to get your papers done. Good for you finding a way to save money and gas.

    Oh Gord what an awful thing to have happen. Maybe you should put the computer on the altar for a healing or burial service. We are just waiting for ours to die. i have been talking to them since i got here about a new one. Hope you can convince them.

  71. I pondered. I procrastinated. I published something... not quite sure what... here.

    I have cheesy shrimp... grilled chicken... salad... bread... sweet tea... for anyone still hungry. I'm thinking about asking hubbahubba to go get me some peanut M&M's. Kinda late... but I'm kinda having a craving.

  72. Songbird, I feel for you and the lost momentum after that kind of theology. We get that a lot at funerals down here, and I just about cringe and throw up every time. As for the Janette Oke. Turn it off or turn the channel. Walk slowly away from the tv. Come on you can do it, that's right. We'll pray for you. It is hard to know what to start off with preaching for a new congregation. I feel that as I prepare for this move. Be thinking of you tonight.

    I struggle with how to preach to this congregation as I leave. When I moved before it was good situations, i could celebrate and help transition them. Not here. How do you transition a church like this? And by the way the last I know, they cabinet doesn't have someone to appoint here yet.

  73. The good news:
    I muted the movie (actually the next one in the series).
    I started my sermon over again and it may be going somewhere.
    The bad news:
    I am usually headed to bed at this hour on a Saturday.
    My arm hurts, although typing this hurts less than typing my sermon.
    The funeral follow-up:
    During the pastor's final prayer, I prayed HARD for everyone who might be hurt or distressed by the theology. I hope it helped.

  74. I'm back with absolutely nothing yet, since the napping spirit was not with me today. Oh well. I've left the room with the TV on to see if I can make good enough progress to do my sermon-writing trick where I actually get to go to bed before midnight and wake up at 4:00 a.m. That's my favorite plan.

    I'm sure I'll be popping in too often, so you're not rid of me yet!

  75. boy does that cheesy shrimp sound good. oh, excuse me, I HAD supper. I seriously need to get more exercise. It would help if it would finally be spring (it would help on SOOOO many levels). I'm going to take a quick trip out to get a little cloth rattle for our next door neighbors, who just had a baby.

    Here at our house, East of Eden is on. Way heavier than Janette Oke.

    still praying for you songbird!

    and anyone else out there still working!!!

  76. okay, she rev, we'll leave the coffee on for you!

  77. She Rev, I think we must be twins separated at birth. Our sermon-writing style seems to be the same.

    I've read Fred and Barbara, and even some Julian of Norwich - she has a lot to say about suffering, and I'm still getting nowhere fast. Time for a snack...pretzels dipped in chocolate frosting...junk food heaven. Anyone?

  78. I think it is Gail O'Day who says that the commandments Jesus is imploring the disciples and us to keep are akin to getting inside Jesus' skin, being Jesus. The line from 1 Peter about being gentle and kind won't leave me alone. I like the idea of God being known and unknown. And then the Trinity News came from Trinity Church Wall Street and it is mostly about empathy. In a sidebar, Dr. Christina Sekaer "a NY psychiatrist, esplains, 'when you see someone reading out to grab something, somethin gin your brain fires. It makes you feel what the other person is doing.'" In a denomination that is drawing lines - how many of us does that describe? - what role does empathy play in "if you love me, keep my commandments" and being gentle and kind to those who don't know God as we do?
    What actually comes out of my mouth tomorrow morning is entirely in the hands of the Spirit as I am too tired to do more than go to bed. A long day but a mostly good one.
    Thanks for letting me share thoughts with those of you still cogitating.

  79. Another 10pm Sat night and working on sermon. On a positive note I attended a parish tea party with the ladies today, did a little more unpacking with the goal of getting my desktop computer set-up. So now I can print whatever I come up with at home instead of printing at the parish in the morning.

  80. Strawberries and cream anyone?

    Time to celebrate for this puppy is done - well, except for that last closing line that times everything together perfectly.

    I spent about a third of the sermon doing a series of "truth is..." statements - not my normal style. Think I like it this time, though.

    Peace and blessings!

  81. Hey, preaching and non-preaching sisters and brothers. It's been a strange week and I, like she-rev, am trying to get back in the swing after a Sunday away. Plus some kind of allergy-cold thing has felled me. Bleah.

    Today it was a three-person memorial service, lunch afterward, then ice cream with a Confirmation student...then a nap, and now finally sermon. I think I'm preaching about the hope of knowing that we are not alone, as expressed (for me) through my time in the First Parish Project.

    No words written yet, but I do have a bunch of confused notes. I bring raspberry-filled cookies to the table and would love some of that real food out there (my kitchen is still torn up and I'm tired of take-out!).

  82. wow you all have been productive today!

    My SP is preaching in Simon Magus, the part which is cut out of the RC lectionary where he tries to convince Peter to sell him some Holy Spirit--something about how you can't buy God's love, it's given free. There's a baptism at the third service. I have to come up with a children's sermon....and I'm wishing I had more cash so I could maybe give some money to the kids and have them try to buy a friend or something, then talk about how friendship and love is freely given and we see that at the font, or something (I've been saying "or something" a lot today...). Somehow I don't think Monopoly money would have the same effect....

  83. You all are doing some great things out there.
    I, on the other hand, will be in the nursery tomorrow. I am officially still on con ed, but in town (barely) so I signed up to return the nursery favor.

    If anyone sees my luggage please email me!

  84. Funny, will smama, my luggage got lost too when I went on con ed last week. It must be a conspiracy!

  85. I wish I could be in the nursery tomorrow. Thinkin' I need to just slug my way through this in spite of my procrastination.
    Cheesy shrimp and m and m's sound good. So do the pretzels. All we have snacky is popcorn. Hmmm.

  86. well, I'm back from the rattle-finding expedition (boy, have they come a long way! I had a hard time choosing). still have the coffee pot on?

    I'm going to go over the sermon one more time and check back in.

    how is everyone doing? semfem? she rev? anyone out there?

  87. Lots of good ideas out there, thanks all. something tells me the Spirit is going to be present in your preaching tomorrow. ;)

    She rev and kim in kck:
    in June I will be 2 years into ordained ministry and most often have not managed to get my sermon done days ahead of time, although I keep hoping and trying.

    At least now I rarely end up with an all-nighter, but it seems I often join you in the bed by midnight up around 4 to pull things together style. With time, encouragement, and intentionality I'm hoping to keep widening/adding on to that sleep time. *grin* In the meantime nice to know there are others out there.

  88. bythesea -- just lately was was starting to be able to get everything done on Friday... and now just lately, I've been running late again.

    I really would like to have the discipline of having the whole sermon done on Friday -- or even before -- someday.

  89. I am so totally using underwear as a sermon illustration. (it's supportive! just like the people of God!)

    anybody else still writing?

  90. This comment has been removed by the author.

  91. Well, I rarely make it to midnight, and this night is no exception. I've nearly finished burning the accompaniment CD for the 9:30 church, and as soon as it is done, I'm headed to bed. The rest of the service is nearly ready, just need to pull the sermon together from the notes I have. Too many threads are there right now...something will rise to the top by morning, I know. I'll check back in about 4 or 4:30.

  92. Well, y'all, it's way past my bedtime, but I do have a sermon. I hope you all finish soon and sleep well!

  93. I am using the moisturizer, and leaving the night light on now, and will be back early in the a.m. to see how everyone is doing.

    you know where the microwave is.

    don't you?

  94. I've made a little progress, but I'm not stressing. Lady Princess (the almost 3 year old) is not sleeping well tonight, so I don't know what will happen to my sleep. That's not true. I know it means I won't either. Even if my husband helps her, it's likely her crying will wake up Godzilla, the 10 month old. Oi.

    I've always been a late night worker. I'm about to hit my 6th anniversary of ordination and this is the only way I know how to operate. It was like this for papers all through school, too. It's just my M.O. I tried to promise my husband that it would change when I took a call that included preaching every week. At least he had the sense not to believe me. I had tried to promise him it would change when we had our second child, before that when we had our first child, before that when we got married. I guess I didn't lie. I did try. I was just unsuccessful.

    This is just how my juices flow, and how the Spirit works with me. I think it will be how I prepare sermons until my health and my body no longer allow it. I'm sure the day will come when I can no longer recover from 4 hours of sleep or less. Until then I'll keep at it.

    I do love the RANDOM times my sermon is done early. I just haven't figured out how to get myself to do that regularly, and the downside of that is, when I do get them done early I have a LOT of time to stress about what's there. It usually means less restful sleep actually.

    Oh well. Off to continue writing - - -

  95. @esperanza--

    This may be WAY too late to help with the children's sermon question, but here's what I did last week: I took some of the small stones (1-2" across) that were used for landscaping around the parsonage and used those to talk about what stones could and couldn't do. Could stones help mark a path? Yes. Could stones be used to build something? Yes. Then I made a transition to living stones: Could stones give someone a hug if they were sad? No (or in the words of one young man, "that's silly!"). Could stones tell someone that Jesus loves them? No. We talked about Christians being living stones because we can do the things that stones can't. It was with some fear that I let the kids each take a stone back to the pew with them. Fortunately, nobody bopped a sibling with their stone (at least, not during worship).

  96. If the number of tears I'm shedding during the writing of this sermon is any indication, it will be a soppy, soggy day tomorrow. Sigh. Just a big wave of emotion I didn't know I had.

    421 words. Plowing ahead.

  97. Well, it's only 9pm in my neck of the woods, but it's midnight on the other side of the, I'm going to post the Sunday Prayer soon, and therefore say goodnight to everyone. I've been out most of the day but it seems like it was a fabulous party...

    OK I AM REALLY HATING WORD VERIFICATION THESE DAYS....every where I go I have to enter the letters three or four times - all because the word verification is making every letter look wierd...not liking it at all

    ok. sorry...rant I'll try again....

  98. semfem...?? I'm still here and will be up for awhile seeing as I am three hours behind you....if you need to talk...

  99. I'm around, too, of course, semfem. Post away!

    (I hear you on the verification, mompriest. I can't read the goofy layout.)

  100. I don't really know what it is...could just be generally feeling crappy physically, could be I'm touching on sad things in the sermon that I haven't really acknowledged, could be just feeling whiny and alone. Kind of like the disciples.

    Probably all three of those. thanks mompriest and she-rev.

  101. I'm offering prayers for you now, semfem. If it is just like the disciples, then you probably don't need to be reminded that just like for the disciples, the Spirit's been promised to be with you. Peace, sister.

  102. thank you, she-rev. I guess I didn't realize that I felt lonely until I started writing. it's good to know that someone is out there.

  103. Well, I see there are a few of us night owls up still night owling. I am however falling asleep as I try to write, so i am going to bed.

    But semfem I read what you wrote, and I am here too thinking of you. Sounds like you are in touch with some pretty important feelings or something.

  104. thank you too, Abi.

    feeling alone does not seem to be what's making me emotional. it's the reminder that I'm not alone. you're right, that probably is important. thank you.

  105. semfem, I hope you get some sleep tonight and don't pull one of your all-nighters...especially since that emotion is bubbling up - sleep may be the best place and way to process it so you can look at it with fresh eyes in the morning....

    ...and, you are not alone even though you feel lonely...of course a cyber-hug is not as wonderful as the real thing....but hugs are coming your way nonetheless....(semfem)

  106. I'm still up too. Being a single person who's being a nightowl and who recently moved to a different state, I can relate to the loneliness thing Semfem. Sounds like you're doing some good reflection on it, and in the meantime you've got support and prayers in this group.

    I seem to be making some progress. The Acts searching, groping for and finding God, and the 1Peter being ready to defend the hope that is in us (with gentleness) are speaking to me. I don't know how late I'll be up. Had coffee around 10pm, but I think it's wearing off, which means maybe some prayer and sleep and up early to pull something together? We'll see what the next half-hour brings.

  107. OK. My word count is at 1033, and I just need to flesh out some individual paragraphs after some sleep. I'll be back in 4 hours or so. See the early risers then!

  108. thank you, mompriest and bythesea.

    don't worry mompriest, I just finished the sermon and I'm going to go take a shower and then print the final draft. even more sleep would be good, but I'll take what I can get.

    bythesea, I moved not-so-recently, but have the singleness and the night-owl thing we are in similar places. usually I have a handle on it, but not tonight.

    thanks for the support, both of you. I'm off for the night...blessings on all preaching, proclamation, and pondering tomorrow.

  109. Anyone here? I'm just now getting to the party but I don't think it'll take long from where I am with the sermon to get to the finish.

  110. Okay, it's 1:40am. In thinking of searching for God and being ready to account for the hope in us, I had what at the moment seems like a fun analogy. Talking about searching for God, and helping other seekers by talking about the childhood games of Hide and Seek and Sardines in a Can (kind of a reverse of hide and seek). I don't know if I'll use it or not, we'll see.

  111. sardines is the favorite game of the youth group here

  112. I'm back, sort of. Up to pump some milk; everyone else in the house is asleep, thanks be to God.

    Barbara: Thank you! not too late at all. "Too late" for a children's sermon is in the midst of doing it--I'm often making it up as I go, which makes them not so good. I'll go get some rocks from the yard in the morning...well, later on in the morning, I mean.

    Prayers for all still working.

  113. Hey esperanza! Pump away!!! I've got the Pump in Style sitting right next to me and a plugged... uh... mammary right here to work on as soon as I finish this sermon. Is that incentive or what?!?!? I hope your middle of the night work was productive.

    (Sorry for the TMI folks!)

  114. I see SheRav is back, any one else? I'm here, too. Time to crank away at this sermon, though. I have a sty in my right eye that is giving me fits, so I'll have to make some tea soon, just so I can put the warm teabag on it. Hows the sermon coming SheRev?

  115. It's coming, Kim. Things were going pretty smoothly until the kids decided to wake up SUPER EARLY. I just lost 25 minutes helping to get everyone settled with my husband in front of some early morning TV. Now I need a good 30 minutes to wrap this puppy up, get the confirmation liturgy ready, and figure out a creative way to use the children's prayer requests in worship, preferably also by using the children themselves to pray the prayer requests. Think I'll be doing some Google image searches to act as cue cards for those who don't read!

  116. all right everyone! I'm up and praying. I hope everyone is doing all right.

    coffee is on.

  117. Good morning, all. I hope you are well. May God bless the Word spoken this day.

    My brief entry into the preaching world his here. For some reason I felt the need to keep the exposition to a minimum this week. Only 400 words.

  118. talk about the 11th hour... I've gotten in the nasty habit of putting off the actual sermon writing until the last minute - although I've been thinking and planning all week. So here it is, 7:45 am... need to be at church by 9:15 and I'm still plugging away.

    I'm going to pull in the last verses from John last week (since I didn't preach on them anyways) and continue into this week's reading and talk about the promise of the Holy Spirit, who goes where it will, but also the promise that if we ask for anything in Jesus name - it will be given.

    So as we are looking for our own Vision in the church... i'm inviting the congregation to spend the next two weeks in prayer... prayer for the Holy Spirit to come into our midst and guide us, prayer for God to reveal what he wants us to do next as we live out our mission... prayer for discernment... prayer for the unity of our church.

    it's kind of coming out through a long and windy road, but I hope and pray for the spirit to help translate!

  119. Maybe it's the last names, Katie, but I (another Z) finished my 10:30 sermon with fifty minutes to spare, enough time to practice it once or twice!
    Have a good morning and may your prayer for the congregation bring overwhelming response and results.

  120. hope all went well this am, and we are all having good afternoon naps!


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