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Saturday, June 14, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Friendship Bread Edition

Good morning, preachers!

Last Sunday at coffee hour, a dear lady at church served a loaf of what she called Friendship Bread. I must have been the last person in the world to know about the notion of a sweet sourdough starter you pass on to friends along with the instructions to keep it going. I was delighted as she explained it to me, looking a little worn out as she explained that she had several pouches at home.

So perhaps it should have been no surprise when she turned up at church on Tuesday morning, bearing a ziploc bag full of weird goo!

We've been enjoying Friendship Bread all week. I'm finding it's a great metaphor as I consider both the hospitality of Abram and Sarai and the evangelism of the disciples.

I hope you'll pull up a chair and enjoy a piece while you prepare for preaching. Let us know what you have going on today, and have a cup of coffee or tea, too. Whether your sermon is a fully-baked loaf or still a hopeful bag of goo, you have a place at the table (just don't gloat if you finished on Tuesday, okay?).

(If this is a foreign concept, visit One Hot Stove, where there is a great post from last summer explaining the whole concept and containing a picture. I fear ours was all gone before we took any. After all, kids are home.)


  1. Definitely only a bag of goo here at this point. Or a bag of ... something.

    Feeling less prepared than usual, and (if possible) less focused.

    Pass the coffee, please?

  2. Up early this morning to finish preparing for a funeral at 10. I got very few stories for the homily at the visitation, since at 92, the lady had outlived most of her contemporaries.

    Going to a wedding of a couple of clergy friends late afternoon, and may sneak in a hospital visit or a nap in between.

    Oh yeah, and somewhere in there I need to write a sermon.

    I don't even have a bag of goo at this point.

  3. well, it's been a long time since Friendship Bread for me! sounds good though...

    I'm not preaching today, but I do need a children's message, and to get ahead on NEXT WEEK'S bag of goo, er, sermon, since we will be gone part of next week.

    oh, also writing Monday's funeral sermon

    pass the coffee here, too.

  4. earthchick, here it comes!
    Kim, that is tough. We like to make it personal but sometimes the circumstances don't allow that. You can trust the Holy Spirit, though, I promise. I remember doing a service for a 90+ lady whose kids/grandkids didn't get why talking with me ahead of time might be important. I devised the service based on what church members told me (and given her age their stories were old, old, old), but somehow it all came together, not through any particular brilliance of mine, but by the grace of God, and the family was touched.
    We have a Bean Supper at church at 5, so my goal is to be finished when we leave here at 4:30, so I can spend the evening with the kids.
    I have a bag of goo, which is to say, a title and about six sentences that are not related to each other, not just yet.
    Also, a very sore shoulder, so I'll be sitting around with the hot pad before I do much more typing...

  5. Diane, how clever of you to work ahead!
    I'll be using the bags of goo at the children's message tomorrow. I wish I could send one to you.

  6. I don't think I've ever been this early to the preacher party. We have VBS kick-off party today (but it doesn't start until 6/22) and parsonage walk through (aka inspection) this afternoon. I have to pick up the lawn mower before all that otherwise I'd still be sleeping. I'm preaching Matthew for my personal context today all I hear Jesus saying is, "You've got stuff to do. Get busy." Maybe something more theological or beneficial will come to me as I go get the lawnmower.

  7. Isn't strange that on a Sunday with two very vivid stories, more than one of us is feeling out of focus/clueless! We've just finished a week of VBS, had a wedding rehearsal yesterday and the wedding today after making dinner at the Salvation Army for noon.
    Maybe the message really is that in the midst of seeming very busy and feeling relatively unprepared, we manage to spread the good news anyway.
    So I could use some goo here. There's no time to make it into bread.

  8. Songbird, I hope you know that once you take a bag of goo you're bound to be given dozens of goo bags. And, if you don't have time to make bread, you can throw the goo away. Bags of goo are kind of like zucchini- once a parishioner knows that you'll take one, you're sure to get more, more, more!

    I'm not preaching this weekend. Just wanted to stop by and say good morning. Blessings to you all.

  9. Third (next to last chemo) yesterday. So, I'm feeling a bit woozy. I'm preaching on the Matthew passage. Friday night, sleepless on pregnisone, I got inspired for both this week's and next week's sermon. (I suppose there are blessings in steroids, though I hate the sleeplessness.)

    So, I got the easy part of the sermon written while poison was flowing through my veins (my chemo takes 5 hours, much longer than anyone else's). It begins with an Ellen DeGeneres ad with Beyonce and contrasts celebrities' "people" with Jesus' "people" and then moves on to the sending of his "people" to spead the good news to the yucky people. I used someone's idea on rebgalblogpals that unclean was like being yucky. Sorry, I forgot who it was and didn't chase down the person, so if it was you, let me know!

    I'm trying to lose weight, so I don't have any goodies to share. Just bran cereal but with fresh blueberries and fresh raspberries.

  10. The goo also freezes. I have 2 bags in my freezer and am thinking it may be time to pull one out.

    I have a wedding today that needs a homily and worship tomorrow that needs a sermon. I took some time off the last few days and am now going to pay, I fear.

    There's yummy fruit salad, soy milk and cereal and organic fair trade coffee for those who need breakfast or a mid-morning snack.

  11. I'm not preaching at my church tomorrow - though I am doing the children's message which I've based on Romans: starting with how does something get proved in court (testimony and evidence) and how could I prove that I was here this morning...? Then, there's something that God wants to prove to us to - his love for us... for you. And he proved it by sending his Son, Jesus ("God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us"). And not just for the good and nice people - because he wouldn't have found any good enough - but for all of us.
    Jesus came to help us all get rid of the barrier of wrong stuff that keeps us away from God (illustration of car park barrier that not even James Bond could smash through!). Other illustration - two outstretched hands with book on one representing the barrier of sin, which on the cross was put on Jesus (switch it to the other hand).
    And then when God's done all that -he POURS his love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. (Will have bowl with heart on and big jug of water and demonstrating pouring, which we'll then pray for).

    Well, it'll go something like that!
    The person preaching at my place is hopefully coming to the other church first too (where I'm presiding) to preach the same sermon, but they haven't said yes for definite yet, so I've got a stand-by sermon on the same text just-in-case though I'm not very happy with it.

  12. My bag of goo is half-baked this morning. Sermon on the Romans text, focusing on the "suffering-endurance-character-hope" piece. Though "focus" is a relative term at this point. It needs some help, but the husband is out of town, so I'm solo-ing with the sweet baby all day. We'll see if half-baked gets fully cooked or not.

  13. Hi Everyone. So nice to see you all here.

    I have an extra deadline tomorrow - a column due for the little neighborhood newspaper, where I am debuting a new religion column.... This is a new format and new audience for me (most unchurched) so I am trying to Say Everything even more than usual.

    So the bag of good (er, goo - what kind of Spirit-led typo is THAT do you thinkg?) metaphor is helping.

    Off to do 600 words. Then get started on a sermon that also has to do everything. Hmm, maybe coffee isnt neeeded, I'm sort of hyped up enough already, as much as nice cup of tea.

  14. WHen we talk about someone having "character" what do we mean?

    Can we teach character or is it like being a moral person, we teach related skills/information but the development has to happen within oneself?

    ANd how do we deal with Paul's suffering building character and rejoicing in suffering without idealizing suffering?

    Once I have answers to these questions I should have a sermon...

  15. 2 mornings without coffee.

    1 sermon half-baked.

    7 hours ahead where i'll be holed up in the art studio. should you phone - leave a message. i'll leave food in the fridge... slaw, beans, burgers, fruitsalad, beer -help yourself.

  16. I'm going with my upside-down Saturday again: goofing off this morning,then working in the afternoon.

    Spouse has his cross-country solo flight today. (Which does not mean that he is flying across the country, but that he flies over a certain number of airports.) His destination? Iowa. So first he has to find out if the airports he will fly to/over are flooded or not. Air traffic is letting him know within the hour.

    I will be nervous during this flight. Sayers of prayers, please send one up!

  17. Yeah, Gord, cant help thinking about those scriptures in light of what's happening in China just now. I think we have to be very prayerful/careful with that suffering = character equation.

    I'm getting there with my column!

    Beer???? Good heavens, it's not even 8 am here :)

  18. All goo here too - I'm liking this image.

    Gord, do you think there is a difference between suffering with or without hope? That hope based on God's unswerving love for us, which we can do nothing to alienate and nothing to deserve...Seems that hope might help with some of those fun questions and the way hope can shape all our decisions, how we respond to others, and the way we see life... Not sure if this helps, but that's where I am in the goo - trying not to lose hope! :)

  19. definitely a bag of goo here...interestingly, friendship bread/hospitality is a little of where I'm going. I plan to talk about Abraham's hospitality (the sermon title is "Extreme Hospitality") and how it wasn't just "would you like some water?" but "make bread...slaughter calf..prepare calf..."--more like barbeque and bread from scratch! That's willingness to open your home and self to someone. Wow. Then I plan to talk about how worship is where we practice for real life--it's where we experience/practice real extreme hospitality so we can do it when we encounter the stranger outside the sanctuary walls (ditto praise, prayer, community, etc).

    The whole time we will have bread baking in the sanctuary (thank God for bread machines and generous people!) and at the end of the service we are adapting the celtic tradition of sharing oatcakes by sharing bagels. So people will be given a mini-bagel on their way out of the sanctuary and invited to break it in half and share half with someone they don't know (or don't know well). Which means that little hospitality-practice will form the children's sermon as well. Senior Pastor is out of town so I'm on my own...good times.

    umm, snacks....I have lots of cereal, and about 5 ripe strawberries on my plant outside...I'm better with lunch when I have farm fresh greens of all kinds to share! I'll be back to share a couple of hours. :-)

  20. I'm back with a second pot of coffee, wishing I had watched Battlestar Galactica before being spoiled by an irresistible article at, sending out zero point cyber treats to those preaching and being abstemious, and wondering how many times I have to mush my bag of goo before it becomes a loaf.
    What else can I get for you, friends?

  21. Well, I join the unfocused. It was an incredibily sad and difficult week, and the last thing I want to do is preach. No sermon yet. But perhaps our collective unfocuused state means we will end up with amazing Holy Spirit inspirted sermons as we speak them forth.

  22. I love Friendship Bread, Songbird! It's funny because I have had a hard time in the past getting people to take the bags of goo when it comes time to pass them on. Or sometimes I get too busy and forget to pass them on. I feel responsible, though, for the goo and don't want to let it "die", so then I start babysitting all the little bags I'm supposed to pass, and then I have more bread, and then I have more bags to try to pass, and then I have more I keep, and then......

    You see my problem with Friendship Bread. I love it too much!

    (See if you can find a metaphor in THAT!)

    So, I'm here early this Saturday, and hope I will be very productive in a short amount of time. It's Godzilla's first birthday, so we opened presents this morning and started a mad dash to clean up the house. I just can't live in this disaster much longer. It always gets out of hand for us.

    Now I've sent EconoMan and LadyPrincess out to run errands while Godzilla takes a morning nap. Hopefully I can get my plan down on virtual paper so I just have to type tonight after everyone goes to bed. We're not really doing a party (poor second child), but at least half of a couple from church who are kind of our church grandparents for the kids are coming over for dinner. The wife was sick yesterday, so she's not sure she's coming yet.

    I'm working with Matthew, and liked earthchick's thoughts from previous years (that was you on Tuesday, right?), but then had another idea midweek that I really liked then. Too bad I've forgotten it.

    I think I need to do some explaining of why I'm calling this series "Radical" discipleship. Apparently some folks thought I was trying to be political or too "hip". I think if I talk about our discipleship being who we are at the root of our lives, I can also tie it into some of the "as you go" stuff I liked earlier.

    Oh yeah! Some of my midweek thoughts were about disciples turning into apostles and the nature of discipleship is not just about learning, but about being sent.

    Lots to think about. I need to narrow things down.

  23. Well, they say that God works in mysterious ways...I too was just recently given a bag of Friendship bread goo, and have been pondering the hospitality of the Genesis text. Every day there is something...even if just a little something...that has to be done to prepare to be able to share bread and goo. Every day we need to be in prayer and in the Word...even if just a little...and then there is the whole aspect of this unseemly bag of goo becoming something yummy and connectional...
    Lots of unformed, still in the "goo" stage thoughts, but thanks Songbird and others for helping them begin to take shape and bake. Blessings and prayers for all as we work in the grace "goo" of God. ;-)

  24. Oh yeah - - I will have birthday cake to share later - - dark chocolate cake in a single big cupcake-bottom-looking cake pan, topped with cookies 'n' cream ice cream molded into the shape cupcake icing to sit on top. I'll share after we blow out the candle!

  25. Ooooh, Joan, the people ad! I love that ad in general, but I particularly love your idea to incorporate it. It works.

  26. wedding meditation finished. Can I borrow the HS for about 6 minutes during the ceremony and hope it preaches? Then I'll send her right back to the sermon writers, I promise.

    Oh yeah, children's sermon. Only had 3 kids last week. The theme is "we give" so I'll have to figure out a way to illustrate that. Wish I had about 10 bags of goo in the freezer - -it would make a great children's sermon "give away."

  27. Who else out there is doing the Psalm? I know one or two others were planning to on Tuesday. So - whatcha got?

    I'm having a hard time getting a handle on exactly what I'm going to say, even though I'm on page two. Hard time concentrating now following a total meltdown by one of my 4 year-olds while dh was off talking with a family for a funeral on Monday - and I did not handle it well. So I'm feeling a bit ungrounded at this point.

  28. earthchick - sorry...

    doesnt always work, but very occasionally I will inject a meltdown or distraction into the sermon. "Just when I was feeling so holy and spiritual and wanting to tell you about the lvoe of God, I lost my temper with my 4 yo. So I thought, forget it, I cant be a minister. Then I thought, maybe this is just what the psalmist as going through when..."

    I mean, I havent even read this sunday's psalm, so not sure if this will help. Also, you dont wnat to do this every week or anything. And, my rule of thumb about telling kid stories is to make it about what I/we can learn, not abotu how cute/horrible the child is.

  29. Oh, column down. Time to meet with a family re a memorial, then sermon this afternoon.

    Dang, when am I going to get that PAINTING done?

  30. This seems to be the day for planning memorial services. I got a call just after I last commented saying that one member of a family had to leave town by 12:30, could I come to the church and meet them right away? So, I went. Now I'm home, I've eaten lunch, and I really need to write, because I have to be back at church before 5 to give the opening prayer at the Bean Supper. Yes, I'll be making two 35 mile round trips much for better stewardship of mileage.

  31. yay! I have a children's message! it's a nod to Father's day without making kids without fathers feel bad. I think this is going to work. (whew)

    Now, to funeral ...
    and next week...

  32. Evening I am again in last minute mode, though for some reason that feels much less daunting today.
    I need a shorter homily for the 8.00 congregation at Church in the Valley (the Reader is preaching at the parish Eucharist) and then something not alot longer for Church on the Hill, where there will be the Baptism of a delightful baby, who has made her presence loudly known whenever I have encountered her to date. She is bringing a large crowd of unchurched supporters from far and wide (including her own father) so I feel distinctly challenged...
    It's been wall to wall wedding preps thus far today...a wedding conducted by my colleague, which I attended as a chorister, a rehearsal for one I'm doing myself next Saturday, and an interview with a prospective couple too. So only now am I putting some ice in the elderflower cordial, opening a bag of lime doritos (it's Saturday night, folks, we need to zing a bit!)and switching on my preaching brain. Not sure I have enough ingredients to even present a bag of goo thus far, but we'll have to see.

  33. I am doing pulpit supply for two churches tomorrow. For some reason...the spirit brought me to scripture other than the lectionary texts...and to two different sermons.

    I've got both sermons written, my pryaers done, a litany for Father's Day, and...the benedictions prepared.

    Both churches are UCC and share a pastor normally...yet they are both different in their practices. Doesn't make it necessarily easy for pulpit supply.

    We're celebrating Fiesta Days here in town, so I'm off to partake in the fiesta (even though I'd rather have a siesta!)

    God is Love! Blessings to you all!

    PS: Feel free to take a look at my stuff

  34. Its really sluggish at this party today.
    My wedding this afternoon was at 1:30 rather than the 2pm I had in my diary. Fortunately I managed to sneak in surreptitiously just as the bride arrived traditionally late.
    I decided earlier in the week to use the Matthew text from The Message as a Lectio Divina, but I know that some folk simply won't get it, so now I feel the need to sermonise even just a little.
    But first, some comfort food - fluffy scrambled eggs anyone, on wholewheat toast?

  35. I was thinking about the Matthew passage this morning while waiting for lunch to bake. I read a commentary earlier in the week that stressed that the disciples were being sent to the Jewish community - perhaps a case of starting with what/who you know? - and that the comments at the end about being flogged, etc. also reflect a Jewish audience since flogging was what Jews could do.
    Then I was thinking about the whole "dust off your feet" part. I think this is not so much permission to shun or condemn as it is Jesus telling the disciples not to leave any of themselves there, to back away when met with resistance. Sort of a first century don't take it personally or let it distract you from the mission kind of thing. I know I havve a parishioner who will hate my playing with the text that way but then she always does - didn't like my Trinity Sunday reference to God as mother, either.
    Okay, I have the twenty minute drive to figure out what to say in the wedding homily. Best be off!

  36. Well the lawn is cut and the lawnmower oil has been changed.

    NOw time to go to a 50th anniversary tea. Well soon anyway.

    I think there is something about suffering in hope versu without hope. But still suffering is suffering -- and too many of us count the little stuff as suffering and think how good it is for growth.

    Luckily I have a motion from our recent conference agm that will fit nicely into the discussion around building character (you cn read it here). During the debate on it one person asked how character education could be limited to providing calmer, more well-behaved/ obedient students as opposed to those who were prepared to speak their mind and hold their ground.

  37. I'm brain-fried from planning a trip to France. My mind is like friendship bread goo where sermon is concerned (I love friendship bread, first had it and brought home the starter from a Bed & Breakfast in WI).

    We're doing a special liturgy for a high school graduate tomorrow which involves giving a walking stick (symbolizing the journey of life and support of God and faith community).

    A shorter sermon would be better to keep the service from running too long. It'd be better to have more of a full text so I know how long I'm running. But first I need to figure out a main idea.

  38. After several weeks more or less off, I am once again back...

    I am discovering what a difference it makes to have a significant other in the house. In some ways, it's easier (she makes me BET sandwiches, does the laundry, bakes the muffins we're to bring for coffee hour...etc.) and in others, more dificult (at the moment, I'd rather be working in the yard with her, or shopping the local mega-yard-sale with her, or...).

    However, I have started the laundry (SH is still on weight-lifting restrictions), had a sandwich, caught up my virus protection, gone grocery-shopping, visited the church's table at said mega-yard-sale, and even picked up the plants for the yard. I'd like to be done with the message fairly soon, as we have yard, dinner and maybe mojito plans for later...

    However, all I have is a bag of goo at the moment (oddly enough, Boss Pastor--where I work as an administrator for a second job and SH is clergy-in-training--used Friendship Bread for his sermon last week; he calls it Herman, as in, "don't forget to feed Herman!"). I'm going with Matthew and the Message. That's not usually my first choice, but there's something very basic and direct about the instructions to the disciples. "You don't need a fund-raising campaign" is especially jumping out at me today.

    I have some wonderful trail mix, yogurt-covered raisins and coffee to offer, with oatmeal cookies out of the oven soon...

  39. RP, I totally know what you mean about the blessing/curse of having a significant other in the house. It is nice to have someone else taking care of necessary things, but boy I'd like to be spending this beautiful day with him!

    As for me, I got a strong gust of inspiration and got a whole lot of sermon banged out. But now all of a sudden, I'm wondering if what I've got is a bag of poo.

  40. hee hee hee earthchick. I think I might have a bag of poo too. Perhaps a nap is in order.

  41. Oh my Lord, Liz...that's of my worst nightmares. Thanks be to God that weddings are the one thing I always get there at least 45 mins early for...I'd still be shaking if I'd had your afternoon's experience, and as for planning a sermon now.....

  42. LIz, I'm with Kathryn. But now that youve LIVED the nightmare, maybe you dont have to dream it at night....

  43. Br Cody - Blessings tomorrow on multiple preaching!

  44. That's really funny - i do have nightmares about that - or did. Maybe you're right juniper, now that its happened I can stop dreaming about it. And Kathryn, the bride did remark on how I was shaking more than her. Still, all is now well - except for the sermon.
    Well, you can't have everything I guess.

  45. I'm pretty sure I had an idea earlier; anybody know where it went?

  46. It has enticed mine off for an evening of revelry, Songbird...I've sent out a search party demanding that both ideas return home without delay, but thus far there's no sign of mine.
    And I'm tired, now. Too many changes of tone and direction today.
    But there will be tuna pasta in a minute, if anyone needs some supper/lunch/incidental nourishment

  47. It's that British accent. My ideas simply cannot resist...

  48. Well, you might tell yours that my idea has an earlier curfew. Only 2 hours till bedtime, and I need to have it confined to paper before then....This is, in all seriousness, absolutely DREADFUL!!!! Nothing to say that I can possibly offer for the Baptism. I seem to have got hung up around Julian of Norwhich for the 8.00ers, which might be OK, but beyond that....aaaaaargh

  49. Well, I picked a title to which I simply cannot relate. And it's driving me crazy. Do I change it and go another direction? Or do I wrestle it to the ground and try to figure out why it inspired me earlier in the week?

  50. Kathryn, I preached for a baptism last Sunday and it's on my blog if it's (or bits of) any use at all!

  51. I have a bit of a title-mismatch as well, Songbird. I think my title is sort of general enough this time though that maybe no one will realize I actually did nothing related to it. (here's hoping!)

  52. earthchick, I wonder if anyone pays attention anyway. To the title, that is.
    I'm doing a little stream of consciousness writing and hoping I get somewhere. part of the problem is I decided to include the Genesis lesson, which I will cover in the children's time, but it will be read after. Although maybe I could just read it to them? And jump over having the lay reader do it after? That might work.

  53. Well, I have a rough draft, partially inspired by an article in the New Yorker of a couple weks ago about the Episcopal Church of the Holy Apostles in Manhattan (

    The ending is weak, but hey, I have one. I'm off to plant, will be back after the plants are in the cookies cooled...

  54. Thanks heading over there without more ado. Oh I am SOOOO glad there's no custom of declaring a title in advance in these parts...I'd never ever manage to keep up with it.

  55. Okay, so I have an idea but no way to begin. If only I could get the first sentence or two, I feel like the whole sermon would jump out onto the screen. But where is the way in?

    I feel like that should be a veggie tales song for preachers.

  56. What, you mean something like... "Oh where is my sermon*, oh where is my sermon, oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where oh where... is my ser-mon?"

    *based very loosely around a certain song about a hairbrush! ;)

  57. For once, I actually have a title before 10pm. (I write, type, and print the bulletin so am not on anyone else's schedule) Anyway, it is a goofy title, so I don't know if I will have the courage to use is "It Only Takes a Blob" as in friendship bread in the old church camp song "It only takes a spark" (collective groans heard!)

  58. Done now...and posted in case anyone else is struggling. I've put bits in brackets to use at the Baptism only, and can but hope

  59. now I am singing "oh wheeeerrreee is my sermon!?!?!?!" and also "it only takes a blob, to get some bread a-baking..."

    But I still have no way to start.

    Also, I am wondering a little if the practice of hospitality has been basically lost to us and delegated to the "hospitality industry." I don't think people entertain much in their homes anymore--they go out whenever they want to entertain. I'm noticing it right now as I have a houseguest who keeps saying "we can just go out--you don't have to cook!" But how opposite that is to the Genesis text...perhaps "extreme hospitality" is a better sermon title than I realized. It sounds extreme to us, but is relatively normal for Abraham. He barely bats an eyelash (ditto Sarah and the servant, though granted their opinions don't seem so important as the MAN's....) while preparing a feast for strangers who happened to shelter under the trees near his tent during the heat of the day. hmmm....

  60. Well I have a draft done and posted here . I am not really wild about it, but it's what I've got for now. I have so much to do to get ready for Monday, when I leave for a weeklong writer's workshop (in addition to the usual nuttiness of getting out of town, plus the pressure of actually preparing for the workshop, I feel a lot of responsibility to get things ready at home for my family to be without me for a week). While I putz around the house getting things ready and while I cook dinner, I'm hoping for some inspiration to tweak the sermon in some way...

  61. Well, having read kathryn and earthchick's offerings I think they'll both be a blessing to those that hear them... bring it on Lord!

  62. I'm completely out of sorts today as well!

    I had some things planned out already - things like hymns and prayers and like I said Tuesday, want to focus on "You have received without payment; give without payment"

    But I'm mostly out of sorts because I'm in Iowa, and have spent the past two days in Cedar Rapids - the area of the state that has been suffering from flood waters. The waters were 9 feet higher than previous flood records in the town... 9 FEET! not inches. It is really unbelievable.

    The one thing that I have begin to understand about my congregation during the past months I have been here is that we are a congregation who knows how to pitch in and make a difference. And there are a lot of "harassed and helpless" people right now in our area - although most of us are not among them. So, what can we do? we can give back, we can do something, we can be laborers sent out into the harvest (or in this case the flood waters). I have a feeling this is going to be more of a commissioning/encouraging to serve type of sermon than anything else.

  63. Okay, I have a draft up. It's not my best work ever, but perhaps I can edit later tonight or tomorrow?

    Comments coveted, in spite of what the commandment says.


  64. Hey, we're back from the bean supper, have fed and walked the dogs, and now I'm taking the kids out for ice cream. Which is to say: I have a draft! Thank the Holy Spirit!!!
    I'll go 'round and read yours when I get back.
    Meanwhile, who needs a Diet Coke?

  65. Checking in with an encouraging word: Go preachers go!

    I have a guest preacher tomorrow (praise Jesus) so am not writing frantically. But having a guest preacher always throws my rhythm off. I feel like I am forgetting something huge and it will bite me tomorrow.

    Maybe I will prepare some very brief comments in lieu of a sermon, just in case the preacher cannot get there. I am a tiny bit bummed I don't get to preach on Abraham and the three visitors.

    Or then again, maybe I will find some dinner and clean up the house a bit. Or work ahead a week. Or go find someone with a bag of goo (I have a lot of "Herman" recipes somewhere if you want to make anything besides bread with him/it!).

  66. Oh, Katie - prayers for you and yours. Hope your home and church are above water....

  67. My own church and home are... but there are three Methodist churches, and at least one catholic church that I know of near the river that are completely under water. I'm not familiar with the other churches there - I know there are others, and so many many people are without faith homes right now.

  68. Well, it's done for the night...going to let it rest overnight and see what it looks like in the morning--the advantage of not preaching until earl afternoon!

    Blessings to all still writing--see you in the morning!

  69. Good sermons!
    I have been reading Wm. Loader's piece on Text This Week about the Romans passage. It seems to work well with the gospel.
    Katie, thanks to you and your congregation for going to Cedar Rapids for all of us who can't get there. Those who respond to tragedy are to be in our prayers as much as those who have suffered loss of home or business. Here in the mountains, it is hard to imagine flooding; however, I remember the Mississippi being at the top of the levee just north of my house on the West Bank of New Orleans, of watching what seemed like the entire Midwest rushing past in the brown swirling waters. When we preach about those who wouldn't hear the good news the disciples were sent to proclaim, maybe we ought to wonder why. Maybe they were so overcome by the tragedies of life that there wasn't room to fit good news. Maybe they were so sad that having someone show up with good news was a slap in the face. Maybe we need to remember that sometimes we have to do what you and your congregataion are doing before there is a chance that anyone can stop long enough to hear/remember that God is there in the tragedy as well as in the triumph.
    Thanks for going to Cedar Rapids, Katie.

  70. Coming late to the party, with some pasta salad (whole wheat rotelli, a can of garbanzo beans, a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, diced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes and some Greek salad dressing).

    I have my sermon in my head; just have to write it down. (All you verteran preachers can start laughing out loud now.) I also just found out that one of the beloved nonegenarians of our congregation, who's been in a nursing home battling Alzheimer's for awhile now, has now joined the saints in light..I've figured out a way to briefly weave that, and Father's Day, into my lectionary-based sermon (again, when I actually get around to putting it on paper).

  71. LutheranChick - -that sounds yummy! I'm still here writing, wishing mine had been more in my head when I began. Hope your words come quickly to the page!

  72. Katie Z, my thoughts are with you.
    cheese, how did the flight go?
    I'm pretty close to turning in, friends. Can I make a last pot of coffee or get you a popsicle?

  73. LOL at teri and praying for Katie's folks and all those in the midwest who are experiencing floods. We are okay here--a wet basement--but otherwise fine.

    I won't go into detail, but the weirdness here just keeps on. Good gets all messed up with bad.
    I am doing something I never do. Hmm, guess that was an oxymoron. I am preaching a Father's Day sermon, and it isn't even totally original with me. Please don't tell.

    I did do some things, however. I have a power point, an outline page for the bulletin, and a sermon on paper.

    Please God, can I just NEVER have a week like this again?

    Hmm. God didn't answer. What do you think that means? ;-) I am about to eat a delicious blend of meat, onions, peppers and mushrooms over whole wheat pasta. There will be leftovers, and I'll share if you'd like.

    Then I am taking Tylenol and heading for bed after a prayer for you, preaching friends.

  74. Wait.
    It's Father's Day tomorrow?

    Just kidding. I knew.

  75. Back at it now. Funeral this morning went well, as did the wedding this afternoon. I would much rather be watching Monsters, inc. than writing right now, but write I must. Even though Monsters fits with my title for the Genesis text of "Why Laugh?"

    It's been a hard week to laugh. A death of a 92 year-old on Monday (today's funeral) and heart-attack and sextuple bypass suffered by my ppr chair. She seems to be doing well despite significant high risk factors. I promised I will kick her butt to exercise when she gets home. Here she told me on Monday that I needed to cut back some and get some rest, and later that same day she had a heart attack. That certainly didn't lighten my workload. It's nice to have a PPR chair I can talk that way to.

    Daughter is at Theater in the Park, and she will be home late, so I have an excuse to wait up.

  76. well, the lawnmower wasn't completely repaired but I managed to knock down the weeds in the front yard with it anyway. The VBS kickoff didn't include any "extra" kids and only a few of our regular kids. But they had a great time! The parsonage is inspected and the folks were supportive and helpful regarding the maintenance needs. If I'm really lucky there will be a new dishwasher installed before I return from church camp. The sermon is a reworked old sermon and the prayers are printed. I've got to finish packing for camp as soon as some clothes come out of the dryer. I think I'm outta here for the night. Blessings on your Sunday

  77. I am still writing my sermon, and the house is filled with the smell of freshly baked friendship bread to take to church tomorrow. It smells really good! Help yourselves...I'm sure it would be good with that late night cup of tea...fuel for finishing sermons.

  78. I probably took a different approach with Matthew text than most folks would take. I hope that it is theologically sound. I've posted it here and if I blew it... say so. This is the longest sermon I've ever written... and I'm not sure that it's not putting words into Jesus' mouth.

    May worship be a blessing for each of you tomorrow... and thank your for your prayers today.

  79. Pooo---Our sirens are going off. To get the kids downstairs or not, that is the question. Everyone's sleeping soundly. Looks like strong storms and lightning and high winds, but no tornados anywhere. Ugh. I'll probably be better safe than sorry, but that does nothing for my sermon prep. I don't have a word down anywhere, so a delay is not great for me. I was just reading everyone's posts and a couple sermons!

  80. Oh... I forgot... I have an ice-cold 12 pack... a giant bottle of Bailey's... 2 bottles of vodka... and some lemonade... if anyone besides me needs it. I also have 20 ounce cups.

  81. Goodness, SheRev. Adding prayers for you, too.

    Went to dinner with parishioners, now back with nothing written down - I got two hours or so before I REALLY shoud be in bed, so pray for the HS all :)

  82. prayers for all preaching tomorrow - i'm lurking about just in case the person assigned for the children's sermon is out tomorrow (happened last week & I had no idea what the gospel was :(

    now i have veggie tales in my brain - good thing i love veggoe tales!

  83. hey elastigirl! glad you are here - it was feeling kind of echo-y at the party this late at night.

  84. Storm has passed. Glad we didn't bother to move everyone to the basement. Still have NOT. ONE. WORD. written. Oi.

    (My word verification is channeling something Hawaiian - oaiaipi)

  85. she rev - so glad all is well.
    I'm in the same boat and I"m thinking "surely I have a great story to tell about a DISCIPLE for cripes sake that could be illustrative and one of those story sermons everyone likes and also avoid all the writing and writing...."

    sigh, back to it.

    :) J

  86. Oh yeah! I promised birthday cake! Here it is, dark chocolate topped with cookies and cream ice cream. I started Weight Watchers Tuesday since now that he's a year I'm techincally (slowly) weaning Godzilla. It's probably outside my Points to go grab some more ice cream to aid the creative process. I'll let my favorite late-night ladies have some though!

  87. Feeling uninspired.....singing that to no particular tune.

  88. I hear ya, sister. I've given up sermon writing and am writing email.

    There's sort of a back log....
    What have I been DOING all week is not answering email?

    Well. Let's just chat then. Is the weaning going ok?

  89. The weaning is interesting. With my daughter I had to practically force her to nurse on her first birthday just so I could say I made it a whole year! She was done. I didn't have to try to wean.

    This time around my son is still pretty darn happy still nursing. He's fine taking a cup when I'm not around, but if I'm here and especially if it's night time or nap time, or actually more importantly if he's just woken up from either of those, he'd rather nurse than anything else. And you know? I'm OK with that. Never thought I would be, but I am.

    I guess we don't NEED to wean fully. I needed to be done pumping. That was old. I was sick of it. It is not fun. Not to mention I have no curtains on any of the windows into my office so I'm done baring my boobs to anyone who pops in for a visit at the wrong time.

    Nursing when we're together, though? This could go on a little while longer which I didn't expect and don't know exactly what to think about it.

    I'm definitely more emotional about my son turning one than I was about my daughter. I've been doing a lot of replaying of the last days and hours of my pregnancy over in my head. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of those first few days in the hospital when we got to chill out in the bed with no one else around.

    May I should move this to my blog since it's TOTALLY OFF TOPIC!

    Anyway, the weaning is going. I sort of limited the amount of time we nursed at one point, and after he settled down after waking up I gave him a cup of milk instead. I don't know if I'll do that again. Maybe I'll just keep going with what's working for us and pick another time to finish this weaning. With my daughter my supply was so weak it never would have survived like this, but this time around it seems to be doing OK, so maybe we can do it.

    (My mom will freak. Maybe that's half the fun for me! God help me when my little girl grows up!)

  90. I think we're the only ones left at this party, so the topic can be whatever we want now, right? We're like the last stoners at the college party, talking about the True Meaning behind the lyrics to some Grateful Dead song or something....

    Anyway, we have a sort of weird thing in this culture about weaning at 1. It doesnt seem necessary to me. E weaned at 8 months just becuaes he was never that into nursing, but his godsister nursed well into toddlerhood and it was good for her and her mom - it was a nice way for her to be comforted, where with E it was always such a wrestling match. Neither of us missed it at all.

    And you dont ahve to tell your mom. Do you?

    Are you guys planning another one? sounds like you got The Baby Fever to me. :) I'm getting a kitten, instead....

  91. ok, now I'm trying to write a prayer that, without forcing, interweaves our prayers for:
    -father's day
    -pride, and our members marching in the parade

  92. Yeah, we plan for a #3 someday. We can't afford three in daycare at the same time, so the next one will be spaced out a little more. I think that's why I'm getting a little sentimental. At Karoline's first birthday we had pretty much decided we'd be trying for number 2 a few months later. I knew I was getting another baby sometime soon. I think I worry that with a longer break we'll get comfortable with the two and decided not to have a third after all. If that's the case than I worry that I didn't enjoy the baby stage enough to have it be my last baby! That's sort of silly since I actually stayed home for almost 7 months this time since I was changing churches and collecting severance, etc, etc.

    I was pretty stuck to the one year mark as all that is "necessary" until now. It's going OK, so why fix what isn't broken. If it were restrictive to me I'd be D.O.N.E., but at this point we're able to move smoothly between several different options, although my husband hasn't had to try to do a naptime without a bottle. We're completely done with bottles at daycare.

    Oh well. This is not the biggest crisis in the world, and will work itself out. I think we'll continue as long as being flexible works.

    My mom will find out in July when we go to a conference together. Can't hide it from her then when we share a room! I can just imagine the comments now!

  93. Good luck with that prayer. I'm still trying to just CARE about this sermon. I've got a couple of random thoughts and sentences, but none of them are going anywhere useful, and certainly not together!

  94. Oooohhhh...the kingdom stuff at the Center for Excellence in Preaching's This Week sent shivers up my spine. Good stuff.

  95. Blessings to you all tomorrow as you preach (and tonight as you sermonize)!

    I just wanted to stop by and check in before I head off to bed. The early service (twenty minutes away from my home, too) starts at 9. Why can't these Congregationalists do later services?! ;)

    Anyhoo, blessings again, and thank you, Juniper, for your prayers.

    I'll leave you all with a warm cup of hot cocoa with just a hint of mint. Cheers and God is love!

  96. BC - We congregationalists are EXTREMELY pious and an early service lets us have the rest of the day for prayer.

    She REv,I hear ya. Still reading OTHER people's stuff is not getting this sermon written AT ALL.

  97. Right - I just reprinted the text so it's wide open in front of me (left my usual Bible at the church by accident and my childhood Bible at home just isn't staying open well), and I'm hoping to work with my own thoughts now. I think this is going to be my least amount of sleep in a long time. I wonder what's getting at me and why I'm avoiding this. To be pondered at a later date. Now I just need to stinkin' write.

  98. Holy cow. It is way too late for me to have JUST come up with my focus and function. Where did I lose myself this week to make this just happening now at 1:00 a.m.? I'm a late night writer, but THIS is not normal.

  99. Got an inspiration. Got an outline. Going to bed to try to get a clear mind! See you all in a couple of hours.

  100. OK, looks like I'm the last one here. (Although it's only 11 where I am! What a wimp compared to teh mighty She Rev!) I'm off to bed too, so I'm turning off the lights. See ya'll in the morning.

  101. Hee hee - - I didn't leave yet. I've been commenting over at your place Juniper. Someone just unplug this darn machine! Now I'm going to bed!

  102. Back! Too soon! My eyeballs aren't focusing yet!

  103. Good morning preachers! I know others of you are getting close to joining me. I am finishing up, and probably not a moment too soon. The kiddos' eyes should be creeping open any minute now, and then the real fun begins!

  104. Hi, SheRev! Wow, you had a very short night. I am already anticipating a Holy Nappage on this rainy Sunday. I guess we are finally getting the storms that caused the flooding; we had thunder in the night which meant a 95-pound dog in the bed and mostly on me!
    Who needs a cup of coffee?

  105. No coffee here, but I'm looking forward to hopefully having a nap today, too, obviously. We'll see. I had napping priority on Mother's Day, so it's only fair that my husband has right of first refusal if we can't get the kids down at the same time today. Pray for napping children!

    30 more minutes and I should be (have to be) done.

  106. Thank you for visiting my blog, and for the link here. I'm glad you got a chance to try Friendship Bread!

  107. Nupur, thanks for stopping by! I'm going to try your chocolate four more days. It really does teach patience.

  108. juniper, I'm nominating you for funniest justification of preacher party topic drift.

    I am not a morning person at all; I was laughing out loud! Thanks for a great start to Sunday morning

  109. ....good....morning....not....awake.....yet....

  110. bythesea is still grinning about having hummed the theme to "Mission Impossible" twice during her sermon this morning. :)

  111. whew --
    sermon done, prayers done, new member certificates addressed, water in the font, lipstick on...
    and still 45 minutes until worship! What did I forget???

  112. Whew. Tough day for many reasons, but its' done, reworked corny Father's Day sermon and all. Time for a nap. "Sufficient unto the day..."and all that.


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