Visit our new site at

Saturday, May 10, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Embarrassment of Riches Edition

Happy Pentecost Preaching, Gals and Pals! This week we who follow the lectionary have many, many choices: Numbers or Acts, 1 Corinthians or John (7 or 20). And such riches are appropriate for the day that the Holy Spirit descended (and not too delicately) on the apostles as they gathered. Of course, there's also Mother's Day, as well, not to mention (where I live, anyway) the Fishing Opener. And of course, there are many choices for those who are off-lectionary.

I have banana bread (warm from the oven, but I was saving it for mom), Good Earth Tea or Fair Trade coffee, and oatmeal (as always). We are trying fancy oatmeal now: Banana orange Date and Blueberry Crunch and Apple Cinnamon. Anyone?

Pull up a chair, let us know how you're doing, where you're going, where the Spirit is leading, or pushing, or falling. Share a children's message idea, a story, a dream or a fear. It's Pentecost, after all: Season of dreams and visions, from the least to the greatest of us.


  1. YEAH!!!! I am the first comment. I am so excited.

    I am not preaching tommorrow, but am presiding over a wedding today. I am thrilled and honored to be doing the wedding because it is for two long time church members. It will be a truly holy occassion.

  2. great, god guurlll! glad to hear it! let us know how it went.

  3. Have been waiting for you all to wake up. It is 12.45pm here in England. Have been cutting out loads of red flames for the family service tomorrow and have baked a chocolate cake. The children are going to say, 'the Lord be with you' as they light each birthday candle. We will reply, 'His spirit is with us'
    I'm also presiding at a wedding in an hours time. The church looks beautiful. Lots of red lilies.

  4. Red lilies! that sounds beautiful. I have a baptism, and am preaching at 5:00 and tomorrow as well. Wish I had the red lilies.

  5. oh, and the cake. shortly, off to Bible study. The dog got me up twice in the middle of the night because she was sick. so I'm a little sleepy still.

  6. god_guurrlll, you're going to make those of us with sermons to write cry!

    Who is out there desperately seeking sermon?

    I'm only up to desperately seeking coffee...

  7. I am! I am, Songbird!

    I have to get at it, because I am fulfilling a 20+ year dream tonight, and going to the live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion!!!!!

    We have to be in our seats in the Big Mean City at 4:45.

  8. I envy you, Cheese! Have a wonderful time!!

  9. oh, I haven't gone to Prairie Home Companion for a LONG TIME. Make sure you write a message for us, Cheese. I'll try to listen during the intermission...

  10. I'm headed for ordination today. My good friend is being ordained a deacon in the Episcopal church. 900 are expected in the crowd at the cathedral. 11 ordinands will become deacons. Sermon?! What sermon? I DO have a title:
    Mothers and the Church; an Outpouring of the Spirit

  11. Songbird, are you doing Pentecost, or still on your sermon series? Inquiring minds want to know. I've got about half a sermon on 1 Corinthians. I know what I want to say, but feel like I need a few more, oh, what? details?

  12. oh, and Quakerpastor, that sounds like an intriguing title.

  13. I'm thinking an ordination would make a great site for a remote broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion....GRIN

  14. Hi all,
    I am not preaching this Sunday, have a guest in to celebrate Pentecost, Mother's day and my ministry at St. John. But I do have a plan B in case something happens, and I think it involves me preaching one of my old Pentecost sermons.

    Hope everyone is doing okay? Bob is making some special pancakes this morning, so who would like some?

    godgurlll, the wedding sounds awesome.

    Sarah, I like your plans. Hey, you can always get started. Um are you sharing the "Spirit" cake with us later?

    Diane, go get some red lilies, they do sound lovely, or red flowers of some sort. I am going with red balloons.

    Diane, hope your sweet Doggie feels better.

    Hey Songbird, I'll give you one of my old ones if you want it.

    Ooh Cheesehead, you will enjoy it. I did that one time when in the big city myself for a conf. Always glad I did. Enjoy! Yeah write a message and we'll listen for it.

  15. Good morning, preachers. I hope you all are well. I brought some grapefruit.

    The sermon is complete...I think. I have a denominational (regional) gathering today, and there is the issue of the Thesis That Time Forgot as well. So, I had to work on the sermon earlier in the week.

    I explored how we receive the Spirit. Receiving is interesting...receiving praise, receiving love. It's often the most difficult part of love because it asks for vulnerability. So, what then does it take to receive the Holy Spirit? It is a free gift poured out upon the Church. But it is a gift we have to receive...willingly.

    Anyway...Peace to you all. There's a lot going on today at RevGal! Enjoy.

  16. I am finally up and at 'em. I am preaching but less on the lessons but trying to put together
    2.Confirmation of one teen
    3.Affirmation of Baptism of 7 new members
    4. Birthday of the Church
    5. Beginning the use of a new hymnal
    6. Mother's Day

    You would think that preaching on the lessons would be a good alternative! But I want to talk about commitment.

    This is my first confirmation--I have never done that before since that is reserved for bishop's in my tradition. I am going to wear my pink shirt!

  17. I have some crescent rolls that I've stuffed with butter, cinnamon, and sugar! MMMM. I'm hoping to plant a few flowers, clean a little in my house, and then head over to pray at an Eagle Scout Ceremony. Tomorrow, I am 'officiating' for a vow renewal service. I've never done that before, so I'm kind of pumped. The fun thing about it is that the wife is a friend. She and her husband are taking a Caribbean trip, and several of us are hosting a surprise lingerie shower for her. That's been so much fun to plan. I think I have dispelled any myths that I'm a ministerial prude.

  18. Hey y'all, 2pm here in Scotland. I have spent the morning tracking down paper doilies for the service tgmorrow. They are incredibly hard to come by- the pound store (dollar tree?) came to the rescue. We are making origami doves using the doilies. I just tried one because I'm not usually very skilled at origami but, thankfully, this is a simple fold and tear formula. All age worship so doing a baptism, the doves and also a talk using all shapes and sizes of jugs and containers to illustrate how the spirit comes in different sizes and shapes etc.
    Oh and tomorrow I announce to the congregation that I'm moving on - so a very tense time. Until I make it public I can't release all the excitement that's bubbling up in me about the new charge but there are some folk it will be really hard to leave - such is life, such is calling.
    Posted a pentecost poem on my blog earlier in the week if its of any help to anyone - you're welcome.
    Blessings on all those slogging over sermons.

  19. I get to think about the message I want to write tonight! That should definitely aid in my procrastination! Awesome.


  20. I am not preaching tomorrow either, but we are gathering in our joyful responses offering our resources for God's work. We will affirm our baptism and then as people come forward with their joyful responses, I will sprinkle water from the font on them.

    We will have seven bright red candles of various sizes on the altar, and red geraniums throughout the sanctuary.

  21. busy day around here!

    Tomorrow I am not preaching--however, we have about seventeen things going on. We have the origami dove installation. We have a new banner. We have dedication of time-and-talent surveys (spring stewardship!), which I think I have to do. Mother's Day will likely only show up in the prayers of the people, which I am responsible for and which means (since moms are a tricky subject for many, including me) that I will need to write them ahead of time.

    and, of course, children's time. We are handing out to everyone as they enter a red pinwheel. Somehow I am supposed to do something with those during the children's time--something that also incorporates the adults, since one of the services generally has no children (overlaps SS), but we still have to incorporate pinwheels. Any ideas? My one idea so far is terrible! help!

    When it's lunchtime I have a feast to offer you all--we had thai food at youth group last night and I brought home the unopened extras--pad thai with tofu (a little spicy!), vegetable fried rice, and cucumber salad! :-)

  22. Nearly 3.00 here and I'm only just starting. Sat up far too late last night watching Miss Potter from amazon rentals, which meant, of course, that the day began alarmingly early with a phonecall from husband of lovely old lady in hospital, who seems to be fading very fast now...Got back from there just after breakfast time, and spent the rest of the morning with the Dufflepud at a local sailing club that is having an open day. He's serious about joining, so this was a good experience - but I'm home without a thought in my head and with a huge and genuine need to sleep..I want to combine Pentecost with Christian Aid week, which begins tomorrow - so think i'll major on our dreams & God's dreams for the world and our dreams and God's dreams for the church here.
    Last week I asked people to wear something red if they hoping to use that as a visual focus to remind them that the Spirit can and will touch each of us if we'll only allow this.
    But right now, I think I may have to sleep.There's elderflower cordial on the yourselves.
    Ooh...and Liz, I'm so glad that things are moving for you at last. I know it has been tough for a while.

  23. i'm up to pounding rain and thankfully hubhc was up before me and at the market and came back with coffee in hand...

    now the writing may continue.

  24. Wow, a lot of people are up and at 'em, and BUSY. But not many preachers yet. Love the origami dove idea. Really love it.

    Muthah+, our confirmation is NEXT Sunday. I'll be thinking about you tomorrow. I was confirmed on Pentecost. :)

  25. I'm finally up and more or less awake after a long and interrupted night with the baby. We've moved her from the bassinet to the crib, and she is not really in favor of this idea.

    But, here I am, with a draft already finished. I haven't looked at it in a couple of days, and I'm pretty sure it could use some serious renovation. I ended up focusing on the Numbers passage, with the idea being that we can't limit to whom the Spirit is given--we can't even keep from getting it ourselves. I think that's what I said, anyway.

    To atone for the faux pas of having a sermon finished so early in the day, I offer homemade chocolate chip cookies--calorie free, of course.

    Am, as always, on the lookout for children's sermon ideas. I expect we'll have some kids because of Mother's Day, but I'm looking for a Pentecost children's to review the Tuesday comments.

  26. Diane,
    I was confirmed on Pentecost also, come to think of it! It makes the day oh so important!

  27. Cheese,
    I will be listening tomorrow when PHC is broadcast while I am driving home from Church. It will be fun to know that you were there.

  28. Cheese, I am jealous, too, and yes you should be sure to say hello to all the Revgalpals! Garrison Keillor will love it.

    I get to baptize three babies tomorrow--they are all 1-2 years old so it should be lively.

    And I'm preaching on Acts and John 20--not sure exactly what but something about how the Spirit empowers us to speak the Word so that the world can hear it--just like in Jerusalem. We'll see how it turns out....

  29. And we'll have red balloons, and birthday cake for the church, and hopefully people will wear red.

  30. Good Morning!
    This is my first post here - I'm offering strawberries & cream for a healthy alternative!
    We decided to go "green" and offered potted red & orange geraniums for sale (instead of balloons) and they will line the steps of the chancel; created 14' swaying poles and attached variety of red & orange ribbons/streamers that will process in and for the gospel reading and recess out.
    I'm preaching on 1st Cor. 12:13, and the overarching theme is "diverse peoples unified in Christ through baptism". The bulletin cover art is an image I found years ago (while going through international adoption) that I call "a morph" of children of the world. (see it on my profile) It is circular in its shape and the 1st Cor 12;13 verse is circled around the image. As part of my internship requirement, I must incorporate multi-media into a sermon at least once and so found an awesome video on youtube "He Reigns" by the Newsboys. Wonderful imagery & great lyrics! We'll sing "one bread one body" for communion song.
    So now, to write the actual sermon!

  31. Okay, I'm about half-way done. I can't believe I am doing this, but I am telling a birth story. Yeah. On Mother's Day. It's rather unlike me, but I am going to try to draw parallels between the wildness of the birth process and the chaos of that Pentecost day.

    Or I might trash the whole thing and talk about wind and flames. Wish me luck!

  32. i'm stuck... once again the week after the derby i'm writing of horses & the galloping of the spirit into our lives, the unpredictability, uncertainty of the outcomes...

    pass the coffee please.

  33. okay, so I checked out last year's Pentecost Preacher Party and discovered the idea of handing out pinwheels and inviting people to blow on them anytime they hear the word Spirit.
    I also discovered a description of a trifle I had at a birthday party--I've been thinking about it because I want to try to re-create it for a party I'm going to on Monday night.
    And I also discovered that last year semfem said that this year she'd be doing confirmation and would light a fire in the baptismal font!

    None of this really brought me any closer to a pinwheel children's time that is also adult-friendly, but it was amusing. :-)

  34. Wow what a busy bunch of preachers we are today, and tomorrow. Welcome to lmm. Wish I had thought of going green, per se for tomorrow. But I do like the idea of a birthday cake for the birth of the church.

    Off to ball games, and picture day for the ball teams. It promises to be a long day at the ball field.

    I have been ironing, washing, and cleaning. Anybody need some ironing done? Oh yes and packing as well.

    As I was ironing, my final sermon for here began to formulate in my head. But have been interrupted too many times to remember what it was now.

    Blessings on all you preaching tomorrow. I think its neat that Baptisms, confirmations and other things are happening. It reminds us that the Holy Spirit is still birthing the church.

  35. I'm finished. I am not especially pleased with it, but need to go off and work with my deacons on prep for a new hymnal and new service setting. Maybe the Spirit will inspire me to take liberties with the sermon tomorrow--but I can't let it get too long otherwise the service will be interminable.

    Peace to all of you.

  36. Good morning preachers and friends! Whoo-hoo Cheese, that's exciting...hope to hear a message! I'm having the usual get a lot of things other than sermon prep done kind of day. I even know the new closet doors I bought will fit, and that I still have some of the paint left over from the kitchen left to touch up those little dings. I have oranges to share and a germ of an idea for a sermon that I hope starts growing. It has to do with trilogies....that's all I can say for now, cuz I gotta go do some thinking and research so as not to embarass myself too much by my ignorance! Talk to you later.

  37. one year for children's sermon - the kids stirred a pitcher of water that had redhot tamale candies in the bottom. the water changed to red of course & we talked about how the spirit changes us. and then the little ones helped me pass out redhot cinnamon brach's candies - so everyone could taste & feel the fire...

  38. Working on my prayers for Sunday.
    I'm focusing on John 20:19-23. Everyone is going to get a birthday candle (like the ones on a birthday cake)to take home so that they can make a wish (a prayer) for the church.
    May the Spirit breathe, inspire and set us all on fire!

  39. Ooh! I'm liking the ideas! So far my shopping list has red hots, candles, pinwheels, and balloons.

    Oops, might need to pick just one or two...

  40. Well, have my sermon done already except for the usual Sunday morning polish. But I'm not here to gloat.

    Instead of writing tomorrow's sermon, I'm working on outlines for the next few months--so I have something to begin with, at least. This was Strong Heart's suggestion, and she is supporting me in this by having made me a huge breakfast, and a fresh pot of coffee, then vanishing to work in the yard so I can concentrate. My hope is that by having outlines done, some of my anxiety will be eased and the pressure will be off, and I can be more creative and expansive.

    Tomorrow, however, I'm talking about sharing the Spirit--we can't keep it for ourselves (Or away from us, as Diane, I think, pointed out) and in fact we need to share it in order to keep it burning. After all, that sharing is the whole reason God sent the Spirit on the other leaders in the first place--Moses was burning out (yes, it helps to have lectionary discussions with a partner who has a degree in Biblical studies!).

    I can offer some coffee, then must dash--the clock is ticking! I have a meeting later in the afternoon, then tonight we're out to my favourite cafe for dinner and a friend's music gig there.

  41. Hey! I pretty much have a sermon, but I feel like a bad person because I didn't even MENTION mother's day. (Am I a bad person?) I'm pretty sure we will have MOther's day in announcements and in prayers.

  42. Welcome lmm. We'll also have red geraniums, but the cut kind. They'll do double duty for Mothers Day and Pentecost. We used to have zillions of balloons, which I didn't approve of for environmental reasons, but the congregation loved. Then the person who used to do the balloons left the church so no more balloons. Since we're making a deliberate effort to Go Green this is a good thing.

    Love quaker pastor's title, especially as I don't have a title yet. Don't have a sermon yet either but I have some "how mothers are like the Holy Spirit/Wisdom" ideas to work with. Like how mothers can understand what their toddlers are saying when no one else can. And the wisdom we receive from our mothers as we grow, then adopt as our own. And how Wisdom is feminine in Hebrew and Greek.

    I'm going to be way busy today. We're driving up the coast to my brother-in-laws memorial service on Thursday so I have to get the car serviced. I'm applying for the Lilly Pastor Rest and Renewal grant which has to be postmarked Tuesday. And there's a meeting of all the pastors who use our buildings this afternoon. But there will be a sermon eventually. I'm praying for the Holy Spirit fall upon me! And on all the other preachers out there.

  43. Well the sausages for Mother's Day post-worship brunch are cooked.

    But I got little for sermon, and little awakeeness since little one was up repeatedly last night.

    Got to run to teh store for a bt, but I will be back. Musing about prophecy and how we react to the SPirit filled among us...

  44. Oh and did anyone else have trouble accessing blogspot blogs this AM? I kept getting a "sorry but we think you are a virus or spyware" page from Google.

  45. Yes, Gord. So it wasn't just you. Or me.
    Although I did run my virus checker just to be sure!

  46. okay, friends, I'm breaking out the Thai food. anyone for pad thai or veggie fried rice? :-)

  47. bold and don't worry about Mother's Day in the sermon.


  48. Diane - i second that motion!!! i already have field complaints that we are having confirmation ON mother's day... did i not know that would interfere with family dinners?
    *eye roll here*

  49. Gord - -thanks for asking about the blogger pages -- I was beginning to panic and wonder if my computer had been attacked. Now I can breathe easy while I procrastinate.

    No sermon ideas, congregation member in hospice and at the point where when the phone rings I jump, and a field trip to pick a new oven and dishwasher for the manse before a hospital visit. Oh, and still coming down from the high of a great few days away at a conference surrounded by good colleagues.

    Playing with ideas of fires. I was watching man against wild last night (Bear Giles on the discovery channel) and he was in the Everglades. When he made a fire he talked about how half of survival in the wilderness is not physical, but due to morale. And a good fire can boost morale and make survival possible. So I am wondering what the Holy spirit ignites in us, and how it sustains us. Or something like that.

    Children's sermon idea: last year I bought cupcakes (red) and put the joke candles on them that don;t blow out. We lit the candles, sang happy birthday and tried to blow them out. Talked about the birthday of the church and the holy spirit as wind and fire. The cons -- needed to have a pitcher of water for the candles, red icing everywhere, and now we have kids with food allergies who can't eat the cupcakes.

  50. Oooh, Good Earth tea! I love the stuff, and I can't get it here. Is the Good Earth restaurant still up and running?

    I have omelets, and some muffins. It's almost lunch time for me, but I was really tired and slept in.

    I'm continuing my OASIS series, and this week we are on the A, which is for ADVANCE GOD'S KINGDOM. I'm trying to relate it to the power of the Holy Spirit that came to the church at Pentecost.

  51. diane - -

    I will not mention mothers day in the sermon either. The kids sing a mother's day song (while I try really hard not to point out that Mother's day is NOT a religious holiday, or ask why we don't do the same for father's day). I find a brief mention in the prayers-- more for those who have a hard time on this day than those who love it.

    I also do not adjust my service time to accommodate brunches!

  52. We decided last fall to have confirmation on Trinity Sunday instead of Pentecost because of Mother's Day. Not so much because of brunch but because we were concerned about kids who go to visit their grandparents (most live within a couple hours drive) for Mother's Day and wouldn't be here on Pentecost. Lame, I know, but reality.

    Still trying to figure out what I'm going to do with these darn pinwheels....

  53. I'm not mentioning mother's day, per se, but I am telling a birth story. Well...two birth stories, since the birth of the church counts.

    My sermon is done, only about 30 minutes after my original target deadline, so I feel okay about that.

    Now a bath, a trip to the store, and getting ready for my date with Garrison Keillor!

  54. Bit of a late arrival for me today (it's 6.45pm here). But I'm finished and it's posted here
    Ours is an all-age service tomorrow so it's an all-age look at Pentecost! Comments would be gratefully received.

    Just going to eat some dinner then I'll be back to read through and see how everyone's doing.

  55. Hi everyone. Just after lunchtime here in rural MN. I have fresh pineappl and strawberries to offer.

    Teri - Re: pinwheels... I'm making fire-spirit-things out of lengths of red, orange, and gold ribbon glued to the end of a chopstick (it's what I had without driving an hour to a bigger town). I'll give those to the kids during the children's message and have them come with me to the center of the congregation to wave the fire-wands while I read the Gospel. You could do something similar with the pinwheels, inviting people to wave them when the lesson talks about the Spirit coming like wind. Dozens of pinwheels spinning at once should make a good sound effect for the text.

    LMM - I love the image in your profile. Just curious... which seminary in the Midwest? I'm a 2007 grad (second-or-seventh career) of Luther Sem in St. Paul.

    As far as my sermon, my mind was hooked earlier this week by a Marcus Borg article in which he refers to Pentecost as the reversal of Babel. I think I'll use that as an entree to talk about 1 Corinthians and how the Spirit creates unity out of our diversity.

  56. Fruit tray for tomorrow is now made! AMazing how organizing a brunch provides procrastination tools :)

    Mother's Day will not be in the sermon or in the children's time here. Church School is doing something Mother's Day-ish and we are having a brunch after teh service, that will do. Certainly Hallmark isn't going to trump Pentecost for me.

    Sermon, well luckily it can be short what with Communion and the aforementioned brunch. I can't help but think that the SPirit moves us to do and say things that go beyond what is considered "normal". ANd that makes the SPirit terrifying to some. Certainly it can be a reason for disdain, condemnation, laughter...

    But we are called to be SPirit-filled, to blow where it blows, to burn brightly with its flame. How do we do that in the face of pressure to stay within the lines?

  57. ALmost forgot, not all the fruit I bought fit on the tray. Canteloupe, honeydew, watermelon, grapes and strawberries are on the table over there...

  58. ok, I was gone for a while doing a baptism (don't ask), but am back. avoided the virus thing.

    We always do Confirmation on the Third Sunday in May, no matter what day of the church year it is. It has only occasionally fallen on Pentecost. I like Confirmation on Pentecost, BUT a lot of churches have switched to fall, to avoid any confusion with graduation (as in, graduation from Church.)

    Having just come out of the confirmation retreat, though, I did talk a little bit about that.

    All righty then!

    Barbara, your breakfast sounds good. I think I'll break for some lunch, and check back later.

    Any orders?

  59. Hi everyone. Checking in to encourage and procrastinate from the housework. Cleaning while the baby naps. Still haven't re-looked at the sermon nor written the prayers. Still lots of time, right?

  60. Well, it's getting of for 2:30 and all I've done is think of what I might say, based on Acts. I just got back from ten days of vacation yesterday about this time, have done all the laundry and have company - well, family. I'll do the Pentecost service in the morning and then we have another service in the afternoon. I'm being installed as rector after a little more than a year as priest in charge. So I think I'll talk about waiting, listening for the Spirit and now feeling the fire of that Spirit move through our new life together. The afternoon lessons are totally different and a good friend is doing that sermon. All I have to do is say a prayer and receive gifts, trying not to cry the whole time!

  61. And we are back from the softball game and picture taking. We lost, again. The girls are playing better and didn't just get blown away this time. Kate and Kara scored, and drove in some runs! Hot dog.

    I worked on my final sermon at the field in between things and talking with the moms and dad.I must say I will not be able to preach it out loud, at least I am getting it down on paper.

    So how about some hot dogs, baked chips and diet coke? Any takers? And how are the rest of you all doing?

    I don't think preaching about mother has to be done. Leonard Sweet has a good sermon using mother and Pentecost, if one feels like they must.

  62. oh my oh my
    Sermon outline turned in on time, but I just practiced it and it is TOO LONG!!!! ACK ACK ACK

    I had a meeting this morning with other leaders... and God showed up. It helped to encourage me.

    I have leftover fresh fruit salad (no dressing, just fruit juice) and brewed some fresh iced tea with mint. the first of the year!

    Now, I just have to refine refine refine...

    Transitions are my undoing. I either go too fast or babble. ack. ack ack...


  63. it's late and I've still got nothing to show for the day...Very thundery headache inducing weather, so I'm fighting sleep. Have also had daughter emailing essays for uni in the hope that I can assist her in shedding excess words, which was fun and interesting but hasn't got the baby bathed.
    I love the thought of all those churches with flowers and windmills...I suggested that the congregation might wear red tomorrow but suspect very few will oblige. OK. Pentecost. Christian Aid week. Dreaming dreams....Here goes!

  64. Margaret -- welcome! let us know how you're coming on your sermon. and prayers for your tomorrow afternoon as well.

    I'm done, but I think it will be tweaked a little upon preaching. Not too much though, because I have a mother's day lunch to plan! Still have to make white jello and a couple of salads.

    Barbara, I like your opening idea. I used the story of Rainbow Fish, sounds kind of dorky, but I like how at the end Rainbow fish shares his glittery scales, and the sea becomes more beautiful...

  65. Deb -- it's always good when God shows up. Blessings on your sermon "tweaking."

  66. Well four hours, three hundred sixty words and a couple of hobbit trails later, I am not making much progress. Distracted by the idea of shiny things (tongues of fire, ribbons on sticks...anything in my path pretty much). I love the readings, I have thoughts, but they are not coming together! Argh!

    Pastor Barbara, I wanted to say hi, I am less than an hour down the road from you. Are you going to the FoH? Looking forward to meeting you!

  67. Checking in on this beautiful spring afternoon...there IS a lot going on here!

    Teri is right--I am still planning to light a fire in the baptismal font, at least at St. Larger. Still need to practice this, but I have all the stuff for it. Hoping to get some more done on the sermon first.

    But yesterday and today has been filled with getting ready for our special stuff aka worship gimmicks. This would include:
    --paper flames on sticks, stuck into styrofoam...people will each take one as they head back from Communion
    --Bibles, handbooks, certificates, crosses, flowers, Bible verses, and cards for all the people being confirmed (plus bulletin inserts for the rite itself)
    --and hopefully a fire in the font.

    As for the sermon, I think I'm focusing on the gifts that we are all given by the Spirit, to be used for the common good. Each of the flames has a "gift of the Spirit" printed on it. And working in the fire by talking about the Spirit lighting a flame in us at baptism...and now there will be responsibility to tend that flame. Trying to walk a fine line between personal responsibility and works-righteousness.

    Oh, and I have peanut butter-filled pretzels to share with everyone!

  68. Oh, and as for Mother's Day, it will get a brief mention in announcements and a petition in the prayers, but that's all I plan to do around it.

    Unbeknownst to me, someone appears to have planned a kids-hand-out-flowers thing, but I'm playing dumb about that one until I'm told otherwise.

  69. I love all of these visual ideas! But I'm frustrated! It's too late this year. I'm writing them down so I have a variety of choices NEXT year.

  70. UGH
    DOwn to 45 minutes. NEeds to be 25 minutes.

    I almost want to start from scratch.


    WHen you preach twice a year... and teaching and preaching is a passion... it is hard.


  71. Well, I'm back from the store. I got inspired to make red velvet cupcakes for the kids, with red frosting and red sprinkles and candles. We'll have a little birthday party for the church during children's time.

    But the kids will have to wait until coffee hour to eat them. Don't want the Sunday School teachers mad at me.

  72. I'll come back after everyone's in bed tonight. I'm doing something a little different, and not a traditional sermon, but instead a group sharing/testimony time. Should be interesting. I'm praying for a receptive congregation with lots of participation. Otherwise it'll just flop. I'll read and share more later tonight. Hopefully, I won't keep the party going quite as long as last week, but I'm here for anyone who wants it!

  73. Don't forget about the RGBP Trivia Challenge! 27 played yesterday, how many will play today?

  74. Hey, Interested in the Mother's Day angst. In UK we celebrate mothers day on 4th Sunday in Lent , (usually around annunciation and 9 months before christmas etc). Its been our tradition to invite all recently baptised families back to church that day. This year Pentecost coincides with christian aid week but I'll focus on that next week since Pentecost is enough to cope with. Hope the spirit is making an early appearance in all your preps.

  75. Ah, well I must admit, Abi, I'm not actually preaching. Just hate to start the day out saying that to friends who are without sermons. We're having intergenerational worship, and my only responsibility other than participating in the advance planning, is giving the Pastoral Prayer. So thanks for the offer, but I am not in need!
    Our only planned reference to Mother's Day is the quote on the bulletin cover, which came from our own Questing Parson, who described growing up under his mother's "tongue of fire." He ends on a note of how her words, like the Holy Spirit, have remained a comforting presence. I liked that.

  76. Haven't preached in a couple weeks due to being on a trip to Greece and Turkey. I am hoping to include some of my impressions of what I experienced on the trip. Being in those places where the early church began was pretty awe-inspiring.

    Had a mission project earlier today with some of my deacons. We adopted and renovated a room at a local homeless shelter for families. The two little girls who would be living in that room with their dad helped us and were so proud of their "new" room.

    Not a word written on my sermon. Hopefully something will come soon!

  77. I've just returned from the Boy Scout event and am going to sit on my back porch and read for a little while! My favorite luxury! The sermon is here if it is helpful to anybody.

  78. LOVED yours, Chilly Fingers (it showed up in bloglines when I was procrastinating earlier!)
    Mine isn't as I'd hoped, but it's 11.30 so it will have to do.
    Blessings on all still writing, and prayers for joyful worship tomorrow. Sweet and spirit filled dreams xx

  79. Tomorrow is my first sermon in my new call, so I'm definitely nervous. It's almost done, but I need to go back and make sure it actually makes some sort of sense! I'm focusing on the gift of the Spirit and how that gift accompanies us, no matter what life throws at us (this congregation is going through a lot of transition) while at the same time enabling and encouraging us to speak the word so that people can hear it. At least that's what I'm hoping I wrote yesterday!

  80. Go jpgrmeck!...may the Spirit be in your words and in this new call for you!

    Momentous news on my end...the sermon is actually done! It will need another readthrough or two, but to be done while the sun is still up...let's just say that almost never happens around here. It's more common for the sermon to be finished as the sun is COMING up.

    So, I'm off to go practice lighting my church on fire. Er, my font. Lighting the font on fire. a fire in the font. There!

    Be back after fire practice and some supper.

  81. RevDrKate--

    Yes, I'll be at the Festival, and have already marked the gathering on Tuesday at 4PM on my schedule. It will be great fun to put faces with names.

  82. Well, one is done, 3 (tomorrow) to go. I'll have my sermon up soon, after a few small repairs. blessings. I'll be back.

    my husband and I are eating pizza now with the homeless people who have been staying here all week....

  83. jpgr, more power to you tomorrow.

    I practiced with my deacon--I am having such a hard time unlearning the sursum corda as I have sung it for 50 years and learn something that is almost the same but just enough different to make a difference to the choir. Oh well, who says old dogs can't learn new tricks?

    Is there more angst about Pentecost sermons than others--we have had more discussion today than ususal, I think. Prayers for all of us!

  84. Two hours since my last post and I think I have a sermon. That must be some kind of record for me - no rabbit trails, no tangents. Still don't have a good ending, but I'll let it sit for awhile. I have loads of time yet.

  85. muthah+, we almost always see more activity on weeks we have annual events: Pentecost, Transfiguration, anything that comes back year in and year out with essentially the same story to tell.
    So glad we can be here for each other!

  86. okay, so does anyone think this could work? (I'm still in my pinwheel-block...)

    Tell the basic story, maybe talk about how ruach means Spirit and also breath and wind (this has come up a few times in sermons in the last month or so...).
    Then have everyone turn, in their pews, toward the aisle. Hold the pinwheel near the head of the person next to you. blow on it (yes, it'll be kind of far away so they'll have to blow hard!). From the other side, it will look a little like tongues of fire dancing on everyone's heads, and it will sound like a rushing wind. right?

    afterward, encourage people to blow on their pinwheels anytime they hear the word Spirit (to keep it up through the service).

    hmm....maybe it's back to the drawing board on this one...

  87. I have re-timed it - have it down to 27 minutes. Chopped the HECK out of it. Ugh.

    I am supposed to be as note-free as is possible.

    No pressure at all -a hahahahha

    Lots of visitors AND
    it's "critique the intern" SUnday.

    I am trying not to get myself caught up in performance anxiety. It's God's WOrd. Not Deb's

    (saying that over and over)

    Husband made chocolate chip bars in case any one wants dessert with their decaf! :)


  88. Teri -- I really like the pinwheel idea. and blowing on it when they hear the word "spirit." I'd say -- go for it!

  89. Diane says:

    "my husband and I are eating pizza now with the homeless people who have been staying here all week...."

    This is a whole sure-enough sermon, for me. Thanks, Diane.

  90. On the pinwheel (ruach, etc.) idea: Here is something I found on the United Church of Canada website:

    Just as the wind of our breath activates the movement of a pinwheel, God's breath or spirit activates people to share God's love and justice in the world.

    Peace to you preachers! The Spirit will show up.....

  91. I am thinking that I can incorporate the whole "the pinwheels move because of the air, and we move/do God's will/proclaim good news because of the Spirit" thing. Hopefully.

    I have this vision of how funny it might be to see people trying to carry out my instructions. I'm not sure my own amusement is a good reason to use that idea....but maybe! ;-)

  92. Here is my sermon for tomorrow. Have at it, friends.

  93. Lots of great ideas here today! I've got most of a sermon, but no ending yet. Thanks so much to Cheesehead and her comment about using a birth story in her sermon. It got me thinking about how the birth of a child is more than just an "event" in our lives, but is the beginning of a relationship that completely and totally changes our lives forever. In the same way, Pentecost is more than merely an event we celebrate once a year and then set aside, but a reminder of the arrival of the Spirit that empowered and enlivened Jesus' first followers to turn the world upside down- and this same Spirit is present with us today.

    Thanks, Cheese, for the inspiration! Now, a way to wrap it up....

    Not sure the glass of wine I just drank will help matters, but the bottle's open. Help yourselves!

  94. Have finally finished up and posted it. Have read the other sermons posted....fine efforts all! Appreciated the company of all of you today. Blessings on your preaching, waving, blowing, burning, etc.

  95. I am about to review my part in a dialogue sermon with leaving intern. Any staging hints out there? Should we both be on the floor? One in the pulpit, one on the floor? Switching in and out of the pulpit seems bulky to me.

    I think we will both need our notes.

    Deb... CUT you're at 27 minutes... dang!

  96. Deb - when I was an intern, it took all I had to get up to 20 minutes. and NOTE FREE. hahahahahaha. you go girl! (wait, it's God's word...)

    I just finished making white jello for Mother's Day, now will start the pasta salad. I think I'm keeping it simple this year.

    will be posting the sermon shortly, too.

    anyone need anything? I'm boiling water. I can make tea.

    Will smama. don't switch places in the pulpit, I've tried it, it was awkward. Do you have a lecturn? you can do pulpit/lecturn, possibly.

  97. Deb, you are already ahead of the game; a sermon to cut AND intern preaching on Pentecost. Sounds like an honor, add the extra dose of Holy Spirit that Pentecost is bound to bring and you are set!
    I'm not preaching and have just finished all the prayers and worship parts that I lead for tomorrow so I'm ready to relax.
    I love the mother/birthing ideas. Quaker Pastor trigger the idea in me earlier this week and I added it to my site-
    here here. Blessings to all for the wind of the spirit to blow.

  98. It's after nine p.m. here and I've been gone for several hours. And boy is it busy at the preacher's party! One of the reasons I left was to go try to find pinwheels! I am scared it will be a small disaster, but I'm trying it. And I will be using some of the other ideas next year. You guys are the bomb!! ;-)

    Deb, I'm praying for you, and I will pray for you first thing when I get up.

    What on earth, Sem Fem is FINISHED?

    I'm going to work on my sermon, which is mostly done, and go read those that are posted, even if I don't comment.

    Yum, strawberries!

  99. I'm back from APHC and a great dinner downtown with Spouse.

    I don;t know if he read my message or not--I was in the potty line a the time. But it sure was a good one...

  100. I know it's late, but here's my Pentecost offering

    If anyone is still up, pop by.

  101. By the way, is anyone still up??? It seems like we're done early? could it be possible? I'm still cleaning and will check back.

  102. I'm still up, at least for now, but I'm just putting the finishing touches on the sermon and printing it out.

    The fire in the baptismal font has been rehearsed and was a great success...except for the neighbors calling the police on me while I was practicing. FUN TIMES!

    I also have a bulletin board to design for tomorrow, but that's not the end of the world if it doesn't get done.

    Good job preachers!

  103. We have a very reformed look, therefore the pulpit is in the middle. I think I am going to have intern there and I will be below by the baptismal font since she is fire and I am water.

    Of course, now that makes us sound very close to the Wonder Twins... oh well.

    Hope everyone has a firey day!

    And I mean that in a good way...

  104. or like captain planet groupies!

  105. Tongues of fire to everyone!

  106. I've been checking in all day - still tweaking here -
    I have chocolate almond clusters if anyone needs a sweet snack to get done!

    I am a procrastinator, but this one has been worse today - this may be the last sermon I ever preach in my home congregation, so I am toying with not only Mother's Day and Pentecost as the birthing of the church, but also how this particualr church has birthed me and raised me to pastor - but it's hard to work around the fact that the diocesan level folks don't want me...maybe if I leave out that last part...

  107. -Kids are in bed and asleep.
    -Birthday cake for 3 year old is made.
    -3rd load of laundry is in dryer.
    -Kitchen is clean (too bad the house guest left today and never got to see that).
    -My iPod is updated with all of this week's podcasts. (Found where to listen for our greeting on-line in case I don't catch the PHC broadcast tomorrow)

    I think it's time to start my sermon.

    As I said earlier, we're doing something a little different. I'm going to open it up to the congregation for sharing. I meant to "warn" a couple of key people hoping they'd think on the topic a little before Sunday and be prepared to share, but I never got around to that. We're really doing a spirit thing!

    Basically instead of preaching ABOUT Pentecost, we're going to DO Pentecost. Wish I had a flame thrower. KIDDING!

    I've been preaching a lot about the Holy Spirit lately, so I'm going to ask people to share with one another times they have felt the leading of the Holy Spirit, or times they ahve been aware of the Holy Spirit, or times they have known the Holy Spirit was a part of their discernment of something. Then we'll just see where this goes!

    One thing I hope the Spirit brings out is that we see signs of the spirit in different ways - a rushing wind, flames of fire, living water, in diverse gifts of other, through the word of a friend, through the word of a stranger.... There is no one right way to hear or see the Holy Spirit, but we all are met in different ways. Therefore, we need to be attentive and looking for the Spirit's leading through prayer, awareness, and being open to knew and unexpected things.

    To close the sharing/testimony time I will tell them about my hopes to work with the new session that comes on board this month in discerning where the Spirit is leading us as a congregation. I started in January and sort of had a "lame duck" governing board, so now I'm ready to do some discerning and visioning with the new group of leaders. This is sort of a "kick off" sermon for that plan. I hope the session members' will have their ears, eyes, hearts, and minds opened to the many different ways God might speak to us as we lead the congregation together.

    Guess I better get writing! At least all I need is an intro, an exit, and be ready to tell one Spirit story myself to make sure that SOMEONE says something. I think I will share my call to ministry story since it's also a way for the congregation to hear that piece of my own story. I am still pretty new.

  108. (((elastigirl)))

    sherev-- you are courageous.

  109. She-Rev, Preacher of Power, I know you can pull it off! (with the help of the Spirit!)

  110. I think it'll work. I did a sharing time a couple of months ago because I needed an illustration about family businesses and I have no experience in a family business. I was SHOCKED people were willing to share, and it was almost too much actually. I have never been in a church (as pastor or as member) where folks were willing to do that. This is definitely a little bit more personal on the sharing side, there's more meat to it, but I think the Spirit will come. I'm fired up about the idea (truly no pun intended), and I think it'll go.

    My husband is leading kite-making for intergenerational Sunday School after worship. That's going to be my children's sermon - - can't see the wind, but the kite shows us it's there; can't see the Spirit, but X, Y, and Z show us it's there - love, helping others, feeling comforted in prayer, tongues of fire over your head. You know the basics. :)

  111. after a kid scheduled day and a series of minor emergencies this evening, I am finally trying to put the sermon together

    I had this great idea to order a packaged pentecost service with flames to be handed out and a sermon with it, only I don't really like the way the sermon is so I'm reworking the sermon but I have the stuff printed on the flames to follow. So much for my plan not to have to put forth great effort the week after finals! let alone Mother's Day ...

    whine, whine, whine

  112. Hi there night crew - I'm on vacation just now so not preaching tomorrow, but just checking in to say the HOly Spirit rocks and so do you. I'll be praying with you tomorrow morning as I (sigh) sleep in....

  113. I'm still up but not for long. I finished the sermon and posted it. The spoken version will be a bit different because there is a secion that is very specific to our church that is not on the blog. And I never stick to the page anyhow....not sure if that is good or bad...mostly good I hope.

    I have been blessed by you all today.

    Please come back tomorrow and let us know how some of the risky endeavors turn out (okay deb, and she rev, and elastigirl, and...?).

    Just one question: should I pass out the pinwheels with the communion bread and cup....?

    Just kidding. Time for bed.

  114. Vicar--is it the one from Creative Communications for the Parish? If so, yeah, the reflection was all right but didn't feel immediately preachable to me.

    I just printed my sermon out, so I think I'm going to take a quick stab at the bulletin board before going to bed...I'm just too much of a night owl to actually go to bed early.

  115. Vicar -
    Glad to know you are still up also - too bad we cannot meet out on the back deck and process/write together...

  116. semfem -- that's exactly the one. I love the idea but the meditation is a little off for me to preach

    Elastigirl -- the back deck is a great idea! too bad we can't make it work

  117. Vicar--is there a way you can use short snippets of stories to illustrate each of the seven gifts? He uses very generic images (which makes sense for what it is), but some more vivid stories might make it come alive.

    The more I read it, it is definitely a reflection, not a sermon. It doesn't have the unifying thread I would associate with a sermon. But that's just me.

    I think I'm putting off the bulletin board until tomorrow and see if I feel up to it then. G'night everyone, and blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

  118. I haven't been chiming in much at this late party because I want to be able to get some sleep tonight. I have my intro piece at least partly outlined out. I don't want this one to be too scripted because I want to encourage/model/embody a free sharing. I do want to say why we're doing what we're doing, though, and think I have an outline of how I'll do that.

    I know my call story and won't write that out either.

    I think I'll go to bed and write the wrap up piece in the morning, or again, outline it. I'm trying to without a full manuscript this time. I really want to speak out from behind the pulpit/podium and say what I'm feeling called to say. It's in my heart and it's exciting, so I think I can do it.

  119. I'm handing out the individual flames but I'm also copying all of them to put on an insert so everyone has all of the descriptions in writing. With everything else with Mother's Day I'm trying to preach short.

    The "thread" I'm using to try to put Mother's Day and Pentecost together (UGH)is: nurturing one another in the Christian faith through the gifts of the spirit

    that I think I can do but I'm not sure the 7 flames are going to get the attentions they each deserve

  120. Rehearsed and rehearsed
    and prayed and now it's bed

    I WISH I were preaching on Pentecost.
    Instead I'm preaching on parenting...
    But it IS Pentecost and I am SPirit infused

    I think I like the flamethrower idea...
    but we meet in a movie theatre so that could be dicey...


    Peace in the preaching
    May GOD be present

    love and thanks
    from the noob


  121. I'm finished here also - good night - prayers for all preaching tomorrow -

    Deb - I'm sure it will be great! Maybe you could have a flame thrower on the big screen?! maybe next year!

    Vicar - hope you get some sleep!


  122. Mine is posted - but I cannot remember how to link it.
    Sweet dreams!

  123. deb, it's Pentecost, so FOR SURE, the Holy Spirit has got your back! Blessings on your Sunday

    my sermon is printing right now with editing options included just in case

    I'm getting the prayers together and heading for bed soon

  124. I forgot to have my children poke out the flames ... DRAT

    So I'm not going to bed yet

    I'll be flamin' for a while

  125. I'm up. 7:30am here. Thought I was "done", but lots of great ideas here. Since we have a baptism I think I'll use some of the birthing and nurturing Spirit theme as I lead up to that. so thanks to all of you. going to get the news of my impending departure over at beginning of service and then, hopefully, have fun with Pentecost goings on. Blessings on sleep and on wakening and preaching.

  126. I'm back. We had a horrible start to the sleeping portion of the night. The baby just wouldn't go down. Don't know what the story was. My husband and I were up and down the stairs each trying a gazillion times over almost two hours. I finally slept for 2 hours and now I'm back, this week maybe to REALLY go back down to sleep some more.

    I just need my "wrapping it up" comments and then my pastoral prayer. That's where Mother's Day will get the slight nod. I don't put it anywhere else.

  127. Finished with EVERYTHING and I really get to go back to bed for 45 minutes or so. YIPEE!!

  128. Good morning, friends. Elastigirl. you are in my prayers.

    The coffee is ready. The cats would not let me sleep in this morning. So, even with the sermon done, I was up at 5:30. Ah well.

    Here's a Pentecost poem for you all. It was read at the closing plenary at the National Workshop on Christian Unity.


    April 26-May 6, 1988

    No doubt the light has shined on our proceedings
    But light alone falls short of what we’re needing.
    Give us fire.

    Sufficient, not illumination lacking,
    Flow thoughts, juxtapositions, logic’s trackings.
    But we need fire.

    Fire, not just inspiring fresh ideas;
    Fire, not merely bright’ning this arena
    Where words are strung together with precision---
    Syntax and tense and text display cohesion---
    O, Give us fire!

    Ignite a flame that kindles in our minds
    And burns the rotting wood; mount in its path
    A holocaust to cool sophistication.
    Fire will warm, but not to warmth confine,
    Fire that destroys, consumes and yields to wrath
    The smallest tinder-twig of resignation.
    O God, Your fire!

    With friction of the Word and Wind entreat
    And sear with fiery tongue and glowering heat
    To melt our will, all hard and ice-encrusted;
    To forge an alloy with no threat of rusting
    Burnished in the white-heat, flames out-thrusting:
    Living fire.

    No sacrifice, however erudite,
    Will ever be consumed by only light.
    Give us fire.

    Jaime Potter-Miller. ©1988. Songs of Quiet Trust 1994-1995, United Theological Seminary. Dayton, Ohio.

  129. Thank you Tripp! And blessed Pentecost to everyone.

  130. Just to follow up, our "testimony" time was blessed! I was very confident about it going into it until the moment came when I needed to ask for volunteers to share. I was going to save my own for a downtime in the sharing so I didn't monopolize the time, but in the moment when I needed to ask for volunteers I sort of FREAKED in my mind with worry that no one would share. I jumped in and shared my own first.

    I don't think it made a difference either way. I worried that it would keep people from sharing if I went first, but then on the other hand I thought it might set an example of what I was looking forward to. I don't know if it was good, bad, or indifferent, but over all it all went well. I liked setting it up by saying that instead of talking about Pentecost we would be doing Pentecost and pointing out that the importance of the story was not just that they all spoke different languages, but that in speaking different languages they told the gospel, they told of their experience of God in their lives, and they shared the faith. Then we did just that. We told of our experiences of the Holy Spirit. It was awesome!

    I want to hear how the flaming baptismal font went because I referenced that in my intro. I told them we'd be doing something completely different than we usually do, but they should be lucky I'm not that creative!!! :)

  131. Yay, sherev! At our place the pinwheels did go over well! They actually--well most actually--blew on them at the appropriate times. I asked them to take them home and put them somewhere as a reminder. The pinwheel is like us. Looks good, has what it needs, but until the wind blows and the breath comes they do not fulfill the purpose for which they were made!

    Then I went to nursing home for lunch with my mom. She was, sadly, mostly not with it today.

    Now for the holy nap, and then a small group later tonight.

  132. Hurray for holy naps, Singing Owl!
    I had a nice long one, with the rain dripping off of the leaves, it was quite "soporific" (to quote Beatrix Potter!)

    The sermon went good the first service, not so good the second. mY prompts on computer slides did not come at the right time - the computer operator spilled her coffee and missed a few. ah well

    What was more important was that Hannah's story - of wanting, of waiting, of pain -- and of meeting GOd in the pain -- that happened.

    The polish and the execution were by someone who preaches twice a year. God is gracious...

    And it is my prayer that people looked past the preacher and heard God...


  133. Whew! The day is done (ala Peter Paul & Mary rendition) and I am ready to share some Chili's Chocolate Molten Cake w/ vanilla ice cream, hot caramel & "hard" chocolate drizzlings!
    Thanks to all of you for the flowing thoughts yesterday. Our services went well today and the best part was that I didn't get any of the "nice sermon today, dear" (said by the older contigency as a pat comment on their way stealthily out a side door).
    Even better, comments ranged from "you've given us something to think about" to "awesome youtube video!". I was blessed by the Spirit actually showing up (again!) and pulling together the words I had written on mere paper.
    Thanks Diane, Pastor Barb, and each of you for your thoughts and ponderings.
    Oh, forgot to mention - I'm serving brazilian mate with the molten cake....come on over!

  134. she-rev--the fire in the baptismal font went PERFECTLY. It burned for maybe 20 minutes or so, and went out quietly by itself.

    The only thing was, everyone seemed totally underwhelmed! I was so nervous about it that I really wanted people to have a big reaction, but nobody really did, except for the one kid in the front row who said, "awesome!"

    But I'll be happy to give out the recipe for others who want to give it a try. It worked like a charm.


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.