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Saturday, May 24, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Birds and Lilies Edition

Good morning, gals and pals! I'm just back from the Festival of Homiletics (for the first time held in my home town), and re-orienting myself to the church office, to the Sunday worship services, and to the scripture lessons. This Sunday will be our first of the summer season: so we will be out on the lawn at 8:00 a.m., weather permitting. (That is, if it doesn't rain.) So, of course, I am thinking of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, as we usually share worship space with them all summer.

This morning I have fair trade coffee brewing (as usual); I have banana bread and muffins, and tea for those who prefer it. I also have a cozy table and an assortment of chairs -- napkins and placemats. I like to make things nice for you. So: please come and visit. Tell us your worship plans, where you sermon is heading ( or isn't heading), what you are anxious about, what nurtures you, what mysteries hold you in thrall, what birds sing a new song with you, and what lilies happen to be blooming where you are.


  1. hey! I forgot about Memorial Day. Let us know if you if do anything in your congregation for Memorial day as well.

  2. Yeah!!! I am the first commenter, well technically I am.

    My day helping my partner drop off her car at the mechanics. Working at the library for a couple of hours where I will write my sermon. Put lime out on my garden plot (yeah!) and write some more sermon.

    Our church is going through some anxious times around percipitous loss of membership and financial worries. I am going to preach about how anxiety can cripple us from following our true passion and mission. God doesn't want us to obsess about our survival, God wants us to spread the good news.

  3. god_guurrlll -- I want to read that sermon, when you are done.

    I myself am anxious right now, though about other things than the sermon...

  4. Well, the title of my sermon is "What, me worry", but my sermon is about seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and God's righteousness. I'm using Sara Miles Take This Bread (thanks for the wonderful read!) as an example of what is the kingdom of heaven and what is God's righteousness. I'll have a short intro and then ask the question, but what is God's kingdom and God's righteousness and tell the story and then ask the question again.

    It will be my first time preaching bald, so a bit of trepedition.

    We had before Advent been doing the Wholeness and Healing liturgy (from the PCUSA Book of Common Worship) during the service. It was unbelieveably well received. We are doing it again this Sunday.

    I had forgotten it was Memorial Day. In the church I pastored in MI, I read the names of all those killed in Iraq in the last three months. It went on for ten minutes. People were amazed. I made no comment. I don't know whether I'll do it here. The service will be long.

    I'm making homemade chocolate ice cream in preparation for making homemade peach ice cream with real fresh Georgia peaches my sister brought.

    Recovering from second chemo is wonderful! You can justify all sorts of pleasures!

  5. Good morning, y'all! I woke to the sun shining and the prediction of 70-something-degree weather, which is a welcome change from the cold grey we've had most of the week. Spring: bring it on!

    I am going with Matthew, title is "The Hard Command." I have nothing on paper yet and not much in my head either. Such a great text, and such a particularly appropriate word for me, but I'm not sure yet of what exactly I'll say. The title comes from my sense of how difficult it is to do what Jesus is saying here - do not be anxious, trust God. So much easier to do other things he might urge us to do. Usually, when someone tells me "don't worry!" I find it very exasperating - and not very helpful!

    Am thinking through how stepping back and reflecting on God's creation - consider the lilies - may help us make room for the trust that's needed to move into a non-anxious place.

    Now for some coffee, to see if I can get my brain pistons fired up! I've got french roast to share, and this amazing tropical fruit called cherimoya - anyone want to try a bite?

  6. My notes for my sermon are at my blog - it is about Jesus and money and wealth - his second most favorite topic (after prayer) - about the difference between planning and being anxious and about Myanmar/Burma.

  7. Joan, what a great idea and title for a sermon! Prayers for you as you get up in the pulpit this week.

    also, earthchick, I need that sermon too.

    and Ann, I'll be over.

    Muffins, anyone? or Coffee?

  8. I haven't even begun to write.
    Supplying a tiny church tomorrow, and lots of commencement stuff all weekend long. But I have to get myself out of the house for some strong diet coke and then begin writing.

    I'm doing Matthew, which was written for me this week.

  9. Another one chiming in to say I'm apparently preaching to myself about not worrying. If only I would listen to myself! And that worry itself can become an idol (read that somewhere this week, but I'm sorry to say I can't remember where, nor find it again).

    Will mention Memorial Day in the prayer, as my folks are about 90% retired military.

    I'd love some cherimoya, earthchick! And a nap, someone? (yes, I know it's only 8 am here, but a nap would still be good).

  10. I can't drink coffee anymore because of my acid reflux, but I'm brewing a pot of Irish Breakfast Tea if anyone is interested... a little cream on the side.

    Oh! and english muffins with homemade peach preserves from a congregation member.

    I'm struggling with an "in" for my sermon. Because we are doing so many baptisms this morning, I want to talk about how these infants are just like those birds of the air and flowers of the field - unable to care for themselves and utterly in need of God's love. They are not forgotten and WE are not forgotten by God.

    I also want to talk about how our responsibility begins there. Unlike the flowers and the birds, we are able to respond to God and to seek our own good. And too often we turn to things like money to satisfy us and to provide for our families, rather than seeking God's righteousness. I hope that it will be an encouragement to all of these new parents as they begin to nurture their children in the Christian faith.

  11. Good thoughts, katie z!

    I am sitting here looking out my window, watching the family across the street load up their car with everything they need for a Memorial Day weekend trip. Man, wouldn't it be nice to leave on a sunny Saturday morning, and have a real 3-day weekend? *sigh*

    But now I'm going to get down to business on my sermon. For real this time.

  12. Good morning all.

    Yep, I too am in that preaching to myself boat as well. But also many of my congregants have much upon their plates about which they might worry too.

    This might be a good Sunday to incorporate the serenity prayer in worship: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

    I also may incorporate a page from a Hazelton resources calendar I saw while house sitting for a friend once. Since the page was several days old by the time I saw it, I thought someone [or Someone] had saved it just for me. I have kept that calendar page to this day: "When I learned the difference between being in control of my life and being in charge of my life, things became easier."

  13. I'm preaching on how we are not to worry even in hard times. The economy here in Michigan is worse even than most of the country. I finished my sermon yesterday, which is a record!!! Oh, and I used Robert Frost's Poem, The Road Not Taken. I love that poem!

    We will recognize people for Memorial Day, but nothing too big. Just a little thank you from the pulpit.

    Here is my sermon.

  14. Morning, all. I have some energy bread with pumpkin seeds, mocha frappiccino and no idea what I am going to do with the texts.

    I have had 2 whole days off this week, making up for the numerous times I put in over time. I don't even know what to do with myself!

    So I am off to and will be back through the day.

  15. We are also going through declining numbers and financial issues but my folks have started saying they have hope - we are participating in our denominational transformation process in order to re-vision ourselves and our mission. My sermon title for the Matthew passage is "Hope with an Attitude", which is my favorite definition of faith. Of course at the moment all I have is a title. :-)

    My doctor has me on cholesterol lowering foods, so I have lots of fresh fruit to share this morning.

  16. ummm,mmm, fresh fruit. sounds good. looks of Matthew and "worrying" text. It seems that I am not alone in my worry.

    Katie Z, I LOVE what you say about the babies.

    I'm thinking about getting a vase full of dandelions (they are proliferating here) and talking about "the dandelions of the field" for the children's sermon. God takes care of them. Are you not of more value than they?

  17. now is the time in the morning where I say to myself, "Oh Sh*t, I gotta write a childrens sermon"

    diane I like your idea of the dandalions. Can I use it?

    Esperanza you are a woman after my own heart. I wake up in the morning looking forward to a nap. I'm worse than my cat.

  18. god_guurlll: please go ahead, and use the dandelions. I'm sure there are enough for everyone! :-)

    slow morning! How is everyone doing?

  19. Yeah, it's pretty quiet around here! Must mean everybody's busy actually writing sermons - right? ;)

    I finally got the tiniest of starts. I'm about 100 words in. I have a couple of things I know I'm wanting to say but otherwise am feeling a bit direction-less....

  20. Thanks to Tuesday's discussion, I have what I want to say tomorrow pretty well in hand. Weisser's commentary on Psalm 131 helped, too, wherein he says the psalmist has come to this place on God's breast through struggle with his own issues and self-importance.
    Then a parishioner's mother died out of state and is being buried here where said parishioner and his wife are the only "churched" family members. So I am doing a funeral at 7:00 tonight and having to "design" the Episcopal liturgy to fit - I need to go find my copy of the liturgy for one who is unchurched.
    And tomorrow morning I am doing adult formation. The topic is the St. Andrew's Draft of the Anglican Covenant so I am reading lots of scholarly papers whilst sitting in the sun and breeze - so much napping is happening instead. I've moved to the comfy chair in the living room so I can nap without getting a sunburn. ;-)
    I have ginger snaps and herb tea when the rest of you wake up from your own naps.

  21. I am not preaching tomorrow. Looking forward to reading what all of you have to say for the day. Blessings all...

  22. I am not preaching tomorrow. Looking forward to reading what all of you have to say for the day. Blessings all...

  23. Good morning preachers! I have been to the FoH and have been well fed all week! I feel so full of wonderful ideas, now if I can just settle down and write something. Diane, it was great to see you again! Sermonwise so far I am mostly in Matthew with a little dip into Isaiah, as I cannot resist the line about being inscribed on the palms of God's hands. It keeps making sense in my head, but nothing is really quite together yet. Soon I hope, as I am wanting not to get anxious about a sermon about not being anxious!
    In addition to soul feeding we did a little body food shopping this I have some dark chocolate covered edamame and some organic banana chips to munch on... it's brain food, help yourselves!

  24. We got some lilies of the valley starting to bloom!

    I was also at the Fest this week, but I took tomorrow off as a Con Ed Sunday. I'm not preaching this week, and I'm still trying to decide where we'll worship in the morning. Do we stick around town to try out one of my colleagues congregation or do we go exploring in another town? Or do we see how the "other half" live and praise God from our kitchen table in our jammies? Hmmmmm....

    Anyway, blessings on you all! I'll stop by later to see how things are going!

    I had a craving for frozen pizza and tater tots, so that's our treat kid-friendly lunch here momentarily. I'll share what we've got!

  25. RevDrKate -- good to see YOU again too. and your brain food sounds heavenly!

    yes, everyone must be writing sermons. ;).

    me, I'm making a lot of phone calls, too. And I have some hospital calls.

    checking back later!

  26. Aaahh relief, just got off the phone with senior pastor and he's going to do the children's sermon tommorrow.

    I just finished my sermon. 1961 words. I'm going to have to pare it down a little. Sometimes the editing is more painful than the writing.

  27. Diane I emailed a copy of my sermon to you. I am reluctant to publish sermons on my blog because it would my "superblogger" identity might be revealed.

  28. I was at FOH all week. For me it was AMAZING. Fed me spiritually to be there. For lack of a better description, it fed me to be on the *receiving* end of the gospel and let it work on me that way... from the outside in, rather than the inside out. Also came away with lots of ideas.

    The music was great! The music and the book I'm reading, "The Jazz of Preaching" reminded me of how I connect to music... so went to Borders last night for a couple Jazz CDs and spent some time on Itunes this morning. Have discovered an artist named Eric Bibb (CD title "Get on Board" and his fun bluesy song "Spirit I am" had me dancing around the house this morning - that and the sunshine outside).

    Ran across a great theme song for Saturday sermon writing by Mercy Me: "3:42 AM (writers block)". Heh!

    As for my sermon... it's tough to settle down after all I was absorbing all week. Not sure where exactly I'm going yet.

    I connect to the NT reading and being stewards of mystery (how cool is that?) makes me think of Michael Slaghter at FOH comparing us to being Medicine Women and Men - not CEOs, and of course the Gospel message about worry, as we all worry, even though we are advised not to. As an exercise on the plane yesterday I wrote in my journal athings that I worry about off the top of my head. Not sure if I'd share them specifically, or use them to talk about general worries we all may have, or both.

    Now that I've got great music to listen to, maybe a little walk in the sunshine will help get the ball rolling.

    May check back later.
    Prayers for inspiration and Holy Spirit, especially if you're still working on your sermon.

  29. Hi all. Thanks for the delicious treats this morning!

    I'm not preaching this Sunday--glad to have a Sunday off!--but wondered if
    my brother's experience this week
    might help anyone looking for a sermon illustration. Also, I posted a video of Mahalia Jackson singing "His Eye is on the Sparrow" in connection to my brother's blog entry.

    My reflections these past couple days (with no conclusions yet) have been on the tragedies in Burma/Myanmar and China. And the ongoing tragedy of famine in Ethiopia and around the world. I am wondering how I can better incarnate God's eyes and hands to help provide for others in an aching, suffering, starving world? I do worry: that I'm not doing enough and never can do enough.

  30. Still haven't started. Yikes.
    I went shopping....looking for something to wear to commencement. No luck (but I did buy a sweater that is very nice for work, but not....)

    Anyway, lo these many minutes later, I need to get cranking.

    Here goes it!

  31. i am having a hard time, today, too...struggling with just getting started writing, you know? Have done lots of reading, thinking, forming, letting the texts sink into my body...but...
    maybe the gorgeous weather outside has something to do with it.
    I am focusing on Isaiah, with dips into Matthew...My title is "My Mother's Tatoo"

  32. I'm preaching this Sunday while HoS pastor is in Ireland visiting a semianry classmate who is slipping into dementia. Sad backdrop...

    I'm going with Psalm 131 and 131 alone (our youth group used the Matthew passage at a youth service a month ago).

    I'm trying really hard to walk that fine line between being content as we are cradled on God's hip, content with where we are, who we are, how God is supporting us, not asking too many questions, etc. but without making people feel like I'm advocating simplistic faith.

    I saw Prince Caspian this week, and the image I can't get out of my head is Lucy standing up to the whole Telemarine army with absolute, perfect, fierce childlike confidence, and how that moment stops the big bad telemarines in their tracks. So many questions she could ask, but she is just completely comfortable in her skin and confident that Aslan has her back. So, I'm also trying to work that in without turning it into an entire retelling of Prince Caspian.

    I'm writing in the library, so all I can contribute to the stash of food is a really yummy cranberry orange powerbar that I smuggled in.

    And, I'm trying to write really really fast because I'd like to spend a few hours out on my bike enjoying the birds and lilies.

    Saturday blessings, everyone!!!

    (And, ppb, I can't tell you how much I love that you procrastinated for writing a sermon on Matthew by going clothes shopping!!!!! I would do something like that myself!!!)

  33. Oh, I may have gone clothes shopping, but I wasn't WORRIED about it.

    This sermon, however---oh the irony, the irony!

    I'm actually ending up using graduations as an example. Big, Fancy U where I work graduates on Monday, Hiptastic, where Songbird's son attends graduates Sunday, and medium-ish local college graduated locally, one can't avoid the day (traffic, restaurants, hotels, the Secret Service in town.....)

    And all the kids are worried about falling on their faces or having their parents hate their boyfriend.

  34. Oh my life! I've just realised that though the Reader is preaching at the 2 main Eucharists, I still have to find a thought for the day for the 8.00...and for some reason best known to itself the C of E readings this week are not those from the RCL. Bother.
    It has been a bit of a relentless day and I have lots of bits and pieces to sort in order to allow us to head off on the narrowboat tomorrow I'm devoid of ideas, devoid of energy, and short of time too (it's now 8.15 here)
    Kate, please may I have some of those organic banana chips. Nothing worth offering here, on any level, I fear :-(

  35. Hey,
    This sunday is the biggie for me - I preach and my prospective new congregation get to vote on whether they want me or not - what kind of crazy system is that? Therefore I tell you not to worry - its a text I need to heed. Thanks to this party, I discovered a lovely story that chilly fingers used on Pentecost about calling a pastor - it provides a great lead in. Sermon is posted at (still having no success trying to provide link)

  36. It's clouding over here, so maybe that will help. :)

    Need to re-write prayers with another hospitalized.

    need to make more phone calls for Big Event Next Week.

  37. I puttered the first part of the day away...went tree shopping with a few parishioners, walked over to church and made bulletin inserts (enjoying the weather on the way), started a load of laundry, stuff like that.

    Now, if I can actually GET STARTED right now, and be fairly productive, I might not be up all night!

    I think I'm weaving in all of the readings...but mostly focusing on Matthew...which is sort of a shame, I hate to not use the others. Here are my main thoughts so far (some shaped heavily by colleagues):

    1. We are stewards of mysteries, not owners of certainties.
    2. Anxiety puts up a barricade to grace, and therefore to action.
    3. What is the difference between concern and worry or anxiety?
    4. Being inscribed on the palms of God's hands...bears an eerie resemblance to the wounds on Jesus' hands.

    And I keep whistling Don't Worry, Be Happy. If more people knew it, that could be my opening.

  38. i found my "catalyst."

    There is this video series out there called Nooma... ( and the first one in the series is called Rain. (you can actually watch that one on their website). It is about a father who is on a hike with his child and it begins to rain and the child crys out in fear. I'm going to briefly recap that, and then talk about the way the father calms the child - by holding him close and whispering in his ear "I love you buddy" "we're gonna make it" "I know the way home" I'm starting with that... and using those phrases to close the message and then again as the benediction.

    Oh! and for memorial day, my prayers of the people is taken from a prayer listed on the umc board of discipleship website (accessed through I'm going to invite people to come up front and light candles while the prayer is being prayed if they wish.

  39. {{{ Kathryn }}} Yeow. Hope it comes together for you.

    I've been trucking right along and have now realized that I have too much stuff I'm trying to fit on. There was a bit I've been planning on using for days and now it looks like there will be no place to put it. I sort of feel like I'm close to the end, but I also feel like what I've got may be kind of rambly and disjointed. Not sure. I may take a bit of a walk in a bit - I think being outside may help me get some perspective.

    A couple of things others of you might find helpful. First, I am using an *awesome* poem by Wendell Berry - "The Peace of Wild Things." The fit with the text may not seem obvious to you, but it is fitting in my sermon right well, and I thought others might find some value in it.

    Also, my husband preached this text three years ago and I was quite taken with what he did with it. There are bits in it that others mind find helpful as well, so you can check it out here if you like.

  40. I fear ppb has outed my reason for not participating today. I'll be at Commencement tomorrow morning!
    I'm working on some thoughts about the gospel lesson, though, because I am a committed, I mean maniacal, preacher type and it's on my mind.
    We can't leave until later because we have to pick up the second son at Beantown Airport tonight. Too much time on my hands. I might even end up ironing things.

  41. Semfem - I like your points, especially the difference between concern and worry.

    Katie Z: I *love* the "Rain" video from Nooma. I've got a whole boxed set of the series... ummm somewhere in a box still. Darn... guess I need to do more unpacking. Anyway I also really like "Rhythm" and "Dust." Actually, like them all. What I like is that much like gospel texts I keep finding things in them and they keep speaking to me in new ways.

    Having puttered away the morning and part of the afternoon, it now looks like I'll be working into the evening.

  42. OK...not sure how I feel about La it... borrowed day I'll have time and space to write a sermon all of my own, but meantime I'm too tired to think more so it will just have to do. Night night, my friends.

  43. Liz -- prayers for you also on your big day.

    blessings to all on commencement. safe travels.

    I like the "stewards of mysteries, not owners of certainties" idea...

  44. oh, and anyone want stir fry? Stepson was going to eat with us, but, long story, not he's not, so we'll have extra :(.

  45. hey all... i worried over the sermon to be all week... anxiety dream and all on the "be ye not anxious" text.

    i managed to draft something on the drive home from the getaway on which the youth group took us this weekend.

    it is posted here. I welcome feedback.

    sorry to drop in as a beggar. i am sooooo wiped out and looking ahead to a week with something major going on EVERY day. sigh.

  46. wow, two helpful comments so quickly! enough to give me the courage to print and let it go. hallelujah!

    and... i called and asked the sunday school super if she would do the children's sermon and she was thrilled to. so... now just have to finish prep for the amazing race for the youth group tomorrow and straighten up the house...

    y'all are the best. blessings all.

  47. I'm feeling iffy, but here's my draft for now. Any feedback is welcome.

    Now onto my next writing deadline (of which there are two - both Tuesday - bleh! Not what I'd like after a holiday.)

  48. After several false starts, it's done and posted. It's not at all where I thought I was going and I am not sure what that means other than the Spirit had other ideas, so there you go.

    Off now to read those of you who have posted, then on to see what's left of the day. Thanks for the company. Blessings on your preaching, commencing, forming, baptising, fetching, etc.

  49. My friends, here are my thoughts on the gospel, as directed toward our graduate. Blessings to all who preach tomorrow!

  50. Joan C. I have the same title, but I threw in question marks after each word. I kept thinking of Alfred E. Newman in MAD Magazine.

    PPB: I went shopping today, too, ostensibly to get my son new shoes - his feet are now exactly between the sizes where kid shoes stop (6) and men's shoes begin (7). I ended up buying myself a suit (on sale), a blouse and a skirt (both on clearance). They all go together, though, and are in my pallet, so I felt justified, though not in a theological sense.

    I have a great story that would fit perfectly in my sermon, but I'll have to save it for another time when I am at another church since it involves members of the current parish. I have been visiting a member in jail and he has told me that since he has been there, he has felt embraced by God. He has an incredible attitude and is counting on the system to work the way it is supposed to and that the charges against him will be dismissed. My family helped his family move out of their house today, and though it didn't take as long as I expected, I still haven't worked on the sermon. I did wake up with some thoughts and I did write them down immediately, so all is not lost.

    I also have to do a community memorial service at the cemetery tomorrow. They want 8-10 minutes of a devotional, and I have no idea what they are expecting. Anybody got any ideas to share?

  51. Wow look at all these riches! if you didn't guess already, I'm not preaching, but will read all ... you go, too!

  52. Kim in KCK -- is it a Memorial Weekend service? I don't remember much about what we did at ours, except a youth usually recited "On Flander Field." So, there was some praying re: war dead.

  53. hmm....

    I need a children's sermon from the gospel! Ack! Lock-in last night and mission trip prep meeting this morning, then lunch with friends and crashing for a long nap this afternoon....just woke up! Have two hours before I need to leave to pick up my brother at the airport (he's visiting for a week--he's a little high-maintenance and requires lots of entertaining. We'll get home right around my bedtime and right now I have nothing nothing nothing to say to the kiddos.

    I think the SP is preaching on how when you see a bird or a beautiful flower, you can't help but praise God, which takes your mind off anxieties or makes them manageable or something? Also maybe on how Jesus says we are to continue to praise and to do good even through our doubt and fear (which is one of his three sermons).

    Everyone knows by now that he is leaving, and he'll have to address that in the announcements and sermon as well...oh boy.

  54. teri -- I plan on having dandelions in a vase, and talk about how god even loves dandelions, for a simple children's message.

    does that work for you?

  55. I think, I too will add the dandelion illustration into my sermon. Thanks for the great idea, Diane!

  56. I fell asleep at my desk...good thing my guy called and woke me up. After dinner, I've settled on a less-than-great catalyst and have an outline. (I feel like I have good material--I just don't know how to craft it so it will actually be heard.)

    I can feel this one is going to be a slow one to birth. Ugh.

  57. Well the sermon is done, thanks to a couple of angels on the web (you know who you are) I was able to de-personalize the sermon so as to not be too exposing of myself.

    Liz you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    To all who have kiddo's graduating, congrats.

    Prayers and pizza for all who are working on the sermons.

    Peace and love!

  58. Checking back in. I've been on fast forward today, trying to take care of the baby, do some church stuff, and cook dinner. No shower so far. Yikes. My sermon was finished yesterday, but likely needs some help today. Still need to write prayers. Much thanks for the children's sermon, diane. I hope I can find some dandelions or something--it's been so dry here that not even the weeds are growing.

    We have leftover chicken fajitas to share.

  59. Semfem.... we're here for you.

    Everyone, weather is great here. does anyone want a juice bar?(aka popsicle?)


    Or, she reminded me of the great illustration I needed. YAY!

    I might not be able to use it without weeping a little, but that's okay, I think.

  61. Thank you Diane...I'm not out of the woods yet, we'll see how this goes, but at least I have an illustration to work TOWARD. :)

  62. Done a few hours ago, took a bike ride, had dinner...

    Which makes me worry that this one won't be any good because usually I agonize and worry until it's preached.

    Oh, well.

  63. Hey Semfem, I'm so glad something I said sparked a memory of something you can use. Woohoo!

  64. I like the dandelion idea...unfortunately I can't seem to find any dandelions. What about pictures of different flowers/birds/etc? Hmm....

  65. I am thinking that almost 9pm and exhausted is not a good time to start a sermon... but I am trying not to worry about it.


  66. Is anybody still up? I'll put the tea on...

  67. Just got back from my son's wedding shower. But I posted what I think I'm supposed to say tomorrow here. Keep the congregation and me in your prayers.

  68. Not up writing a sermon, but I'm getting my general preaching plan through September down on virtual paper. I worked most of it out on paper and note cards at the Festival, but now I need it electronic so I can pass it on to musicians and educators. I'm fired up that I have a plan.

    Hope the dandelion folks remember that dandelions don't save well overnight. Don't pick them all because you will probably need to re-pick in the morning. My daughter loves picking dandelions for me, but then gets so upset when they are wilted in the morning!

  69. wow, good for you she rev. that's inspiring.

  70. Still sermonizing away over here. But I think I'm approaching the finish line!

    Wondering how will smama is doing...

  71. I'm glad to hear it semfem. but will smama, how are you? we will leave the light on for you. and welcome any other latecomers to the party. but I have 8:00 worship and have to pick dandelions in the a.m.

  72. Diane--

    Sadly, I'm not only still up but still trying to wrestle my sermon into something presentable. I was so grateful to be at the FoH (and to meet so many of you). I went to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market early this morning and loaded every corner of my car with plants for my garden, lots of herbs, even a couple of lilac bushes! THEN I got a phone call that a parishioner had fallen and broken her femur while working in her own garden. A detour to do a hospital call on the way home has put me quite far behind in my sermon writing.


    I also love The Jazz of Preaching by Kirk Byron Jones. On the subject of not worrying, one of his other books, Addicted to Hurry, is very good as well.


    You were smart to take tomorrow off. I wish that I had been that clever.

    Help Request!!

    I am intrigued by the phrase in Psalm 131: I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother. As one who has never had children, I could use a little help with this image. I would have imagined the image of calm would have been a nursing child with its mother, and that weaning a child would (at least temporarily) undermine that sense of security. But since I've never nursed or weaned a child, I don't really know what I'm talking about. Can someone share some insights? Thanks in advance.

  73. I'm watching "Pride and Predjudice" and still hoping that inspiration will strike (I'm on mountain time). A flock of goldfinches visited our back yard this week, to our delight, and they will serve as a sermon illustration for me tomorrow. But the majority of the sermon is still not done. Urghle!

  74. Well I think I have something for the community memorial serve. I was just about to give up and began jotting some notes with a pen, and through the freewriting, it just began to flow. I may have to try more of this and then edit as needed when I type.

    Now I think I will take my journal up stairs with me, and try the same thing with the notes I have already jotted down for the regular services. Then I'll get up early and pull it all together. I'll put the hot water on when I get up about 4.

  75. I'm up.
    My head is pounding.
    My sermon sucketh.

    I did Matthew last week with the youth and so I am focusing on the Isaiah and I Corinthians passage. I have 'what are we so afraid of' brewing in my mind as far as same-sex marriage and immigration and other hot topic issues but I would like to leave here on my own terms and not with tar and feathers.

    Just trying to own it and say, rather than come off pointing fingers.

    Or... I'll preach a friend's.


  76. (((will smama)))
    I know what you mean.
    I know that doesn't help.
    praying for you from here.

  77. Whew, I'm done! And my ending is already making me cry, so it will be a weepy time tomorrow, I fear. But it's done and I'm not against preaching a tearjerker now and then.

    will smama--I do like your twist on the fear and anxiety piece, although I hear your concerns as well. hoping the Holy Spirit is guiding you through the suckiness.

  78. I'm working on the "two masters" with a slant toward John Wesley's General Rules because they are really about serving God.

  79. I was going to offer the loan of a very awake baby to anyone who was still up working...but it looks like almost everyone has already turned in. will smama--you're welcome to a snuggle from the Sweet Baboo, if it would help.

    I'm turning off the computer in the hopes of going to bed soon. Blessings to all still working and you early birds in the morning.

  80. I love babies! That's better than sermon writing any day or night!

  81. thanks all...
    I might try to see if I can sleep off this headache a bit, set my alarm and take my chances in the AM.

    I am outlined...ish.
    And actually do have a friend's sermon I could rely on and tweak a bit.

    Just not sure Memorial Day here is the day to pick a fight, especially one that is not as thought out and theologically sound as I would like it to be since life this week was consumed with interfaith wedding, potty training, admin leaving, piddly solo pastoring stuff, my Mom coming home from the hospital, etc...

    You know - life.


  82. Rest is an important part of sermon writing, ws. May the Holy Spirit inspire the morning

  83. Oh gosh...I'm not preaching so I'm not worn out by the text which means maybe i could offer something...but alas I have not thought about the text I can't offer a thing...well except prayers...

  84. I'm off to shower, do a final readthrough, and sleep. Thanks to those who have helped me (earthchick!!) and those who have prayed and been present. Good luck to the early morning crew.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching and proclamation tomorrow.

  85. Okay, if semfem is going to bed then I am too. Maybe.
    Hopefully something will percolate during REM stage... it's happened before!

    Vicar, thought I heard your laugh today at a wedding reception... was bummed when I realized it couldn't possibly be you.

  86. How am I still the last one up and I'm not preaching?!?!?! :)

    Got details through July down and themes for church through middle of October. Everything is subject to the change of the Spirit, but at least it gives me a start. I've got another Con Ed week in July. I'll check in with my plan during that break and see what still feels right and put more meat on some of those bones. Tomorrow I'll solidify things up to that week off!

    I saw that question about the weaning child piece, and as one who is beginning to dread (don't think he'll go easily, but we need to do it for more mobility and separations) that process with my son, I'm struggling with that text, too.

    Maybe the focus isn't on the weaned part as much as it's just on the child part. Maybe the weaned part just gives an age, and isn't the focus of the why the child finds comfort with it's mother. I imagine a weaned child (particularly in years gone by) being of the age that stretches the limits (preschool-elementary age) and is fairly comfortable moving away from Mom, and in fact relishes in the ability to do that. However, when the #$*( hits the fan even the weaned child comes back to Mom for comfort, reassurance, stillness.

    So maybe the focus isn't on the nursing or not, but on the older child who wanders more freely and independently really not being that independent after all.

    Don't know. Haven't put much thought into this, but it's a thought.

  87. she rev, you're not the last one up ... and I am preaching

  88. I'm up too. Just got back from the F of H plus a day doing something else, and I am struggling with a sermon I thought was done last week!

    I am SO tired! I have to stop and hope I wake up early enough to finish this bow wow of a sermon.

    Yawn...but once I get caught up on sleep I'll be a preaching dynamo, I am sure, after all that amazing spiritual food in MN. ;-)

  89. 5am est and I am up. Again.
    And continue to be uninspired.


  90. I'm here, too, will smama, no sermon yet, and I just realized I have to make the CD for the little church, and I'm not sure where I put the performers accompaniment CD. ARRRGHHH!

  91. I'm up too, and after feeding the managerie, my sermon is pretty scattered. oyyyy!!!

    I was looking at comments, and re: weaned child in Psalm 141--in Hebrew, the word is not weaned, but "dealt with bounteously", so probably more than likely a satisfied child who has finished nursing. (Laurel Dykstra, Living the Word, in Sojourners May 2008)

    Back to tweaking. Wish I had a friends sermon to preach.

  92. Blessings to all this beautiful morning. As I sit here, I'm listening to the birds of the field singing their hearts out (or perhaps scoldng me for my week-long absence and the pathetic state of the bird feeders). It's heading for the low 80's in western MN today, with the chance of rain ending around noon. It should be perfect weather for graduation and the endless buffet of open houses.

    Thanks, Karlajean, for the word study I didn't have the time or focus to do last night. And thanks, SheRev, for reframing the image of the weaned child! I think I can preach the image of being children who go off t explore the world, maybe even to "find where demons dwell," but are always able to return to "safely in his bosom gather" (from hymns we will sing today).

  93. Well, it could have been better but I think it is the Word and that is good enough for me.

    I will trust because I know the Holy Spirit has got our back.

    peace, friends.

  94. ok! Let's get out there and Walk those Dogs! eh? I'm off to pick dandelions.

    It really rained here last night. don't know what that will do to our outdoor service.

    Praying for everyone this a.m., for the Holy Spirit's fire and wind.

  95. peace, and may we all be held closely by Spirit this morning.

  96. Good morning everybody. I rehearsed my sermon twice, I am on my second cup of coffee and now I am reviewing the notes for my meeting this afternoon. uuuggghhhh I hate Sunday afternoon meetings. But it was the only time we could all meet yada yada yada.

    Prayers for all of us as we spread the good news of God's love and grace to all!

  97. Was sort of hoping to wake up with some brand new idea for a little zip to add to the sermon. Am feeling the ending is lacking something. But, nada.

    Oh well. Preach it, y'all!


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