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Saturday, November 29, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: Hoping, Waiting, Keeping Awake Edition

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;

And sore must be the storm

That could abash the little bird

That kept so many warm.

I ’ve heard it in the chillest land,

And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,

It asked a crumb of me. ~ Emily Dickinson

Oh, preachers. I don't know about you, but I had a lovely, somewhat-recycled-and-lightweight-though-containing-heavier-content sermon all ready to go. And then the news came from India, and got worse and worse, and now it seems the world needs addressing in a more particular way and that means we're really doing some work here, despite our post-Thanksgiving tryptophan hangover.

How's it going with you?

Stop by for coffee, and later turkey sandwiches, and perhaps a slice of leftover pie. Let us know what you're up to both today and for tomorrow.
And despite the texts, let's try and get some sleep tonight, too.


  1. Oh...I knew that one day I'd be bound to be first. Coffee most welcome, and there's some highly inappropriate chocolate cake which was part of Hugger Steward's "one night at home only" celebration yesterday...
    Today is scary.
    I have Messy Advent crafts for families all pm, for which I'm due to depart and set up mid morning..I have tons of copying to do for tomorrows services...I kind of need a sermon for both as well (Advent Eucharist and the dreaded Christingle...)...I'm having rabbit in headlights syndrome already but It Must Be Done.
    Oh Lord, yes, it surely must!

  2. Hot on Kathyrns heels- must be a UK thing- I have to dash out to a Church Bazzaar ( grrr)...Messy Advent crafts suddenly sound appealing even to this non-crafty person!

    I did pause to re-read the I saiah passage though and was really struck by the power and angusih in the writers heart...

    I am no Emily Dickinson, but I penned my thoughts here.

  3. Woo hoo, I'm the first American to post.

    I have some chocolate hazelnut pancakes to share. They are yummy!

    I also have some hazelnut coffee brewing.

    Is today really Saturday.

    Peace and love,

  4. Good morning, All!

    I am still getting the sleep out of my eyes, but the smell of chocolate hazelnut pancakes is perking me up!

    I'll read some commentaries this morning and let the Spirit twirl around in the back of my head before I start writing later this afternoon.

    We are definitely making room for lament this Advent - and especially this week. Our former Congregational Life person died on Thursday after her year-long battle with cancer.

    We are certainly a people (and a world) in need of HOPE and a SAVIOR.

  5. g_g, i agree, this week has messed me up so much it can't possibly be saturday! But alas, it is.

    I have two sermons to write - one for a funeral at 10:30 this morning and the other for tomorrow, although i have a good start on tomorrow's.

    The part that scares me is the rest of my day.

    I was supposed to help out with the church decorating for advent/christmas starting at 10 - but the funeral put a damper on that. Then, we are heading to my in-laws for a Thanksgiving dinner that I was absolutely convinced was going to be on Sunday. which means now I'm missing ALL of the church decorating.

    Who knows where in there I will find time to finish tomorrow's sermon.

  6. God_guurrlll, it surely is.
    Pancakes sound delightful.
    Kathryn, your day exhausts me! Bless your heart!! (That's a Southern thing people say, and I mean it.)
    Sally, you are very poetic.
    This sounds like bullet points.
    I need coffee in order to accomplish narrative...

  7. Oh, Bethany, I'm so sorry to hear this!
    Katie Z, sounds like a very demanding day.
    I only have to get two dogs and three (older) children to gather and stay still for a picture.

  8. I'm up, sermon is mostly done, focusing on Isaiah. I am just hoping to make it through - two of my girls have had the stomach flu in the past three days, and I dearly don't want to be the third. I preach tonight, come home (about an hour's drive) then get up tomorrow and head back to preach twice, at 8:45 and 11. Survival is high on my mind.

    Kathryn, prayers that you make it through yours as well. Sally, I look forward to reading what you have after I take the dog out for his morning walk! Hello to God Gurrill and Bethany, yes I would love some pancakes! Katie Z, my life seems calm in comparison. And good morning Songbird! I don't have much to offer in the way of food, besides jello and ginger ale for sour stomachs. Hopefully some more yummy items later.

  9. Must finish sermon--barely started--by noon at the latest because I have a funeral at 2 pm. It will be a large "town" funeral with lots and lots of people who nothing about church. So the afternoon will be hectic, and then I have a service at 5 pm. I went shopping for Advent supplies last night to make Advent wreaths after church tomorrow, but I couldn't find enough candles of blue or purple so I'll be out looking for more tonight I guess.

    Meanwhile, I hadn't thought about including current goings on either, but perhaps I must...I was working with an Advent theme of anticipation.

    And I still have to do Prayers of the People...yikes.

    I have pumpkin cheesecake here..

  10. Okay, I've had coffee now. Kathryn, what could EVER be inappropriate about chocolate cake? I'm sure it's delightful!
    I'm working on my piece for Monday's Virtual Advent Retreat. Look for it mid-morning, if you think on an East Coast Schedule.
    This morning I'm also retooling the sermon I prepared for tomorrow. You see, I've been taking vacation this week, so I got it ready ahead of time. But in light of events in Mumbai, it seemed too lightweight and frankly too personal and navel-gaze-i-ish, so it's under the microscope this morning, too.
    Besides, what would I do if I didn't spend Saturday writing with all of you?

  11. Hi all.

    I'll eat whatever you're sharing, so long as I can eat and run!

    This is my first appearance at a Saturday Preacher Party in a very, very long time.

    Memorial service today at my old church. Tomorrow is my first sermon as Pastor at my new church.

    You can catch up with me here.

  12. I've been thinking about Isaiah. I'm doing Isaiah during Advent. My title is a Krispy Kreme Kristmas. It's about yearning for God. (I think). I've got to visit a parishioner today, pay some bills, write a sermon and walk. I go back to work full time today after almost three weeks of absence, so it's a challenge. I'd rather laze around. I'm also trying to diet off Thanksgiving and my son's visit, so no goodies for me this morning.

  13. ack! I simply cannot focus this morning.... must finish funeral sermon!

    Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers today - I'm going to need them. In some ways I'm kind of resentful at my family for scheduling our meal today - we had originally decided that Sunday would be best... and i was looking forward to relaxing over a great meal after all of the church stuff of saturday was done. I even said yes to the funeral (not one of my parishoners) BECAUSE I thought our meal was on Sunday.

    Now I'm whining. Instead of writing. doh! Prayers for patience.

  14. Mumbai rearranged my thinking for tomorrow, to be sure.
    Isaiah 64 + Mark 13 are speaking to me as places where God hears our lament and can be trusted to respond with grace and presence. Staying alert for the arrival of the one who is more powerful that the despair we are experiencing will be my take on both I finish heloing with the hanging of the greens!
    Gingersnap lattes for all!

  15. I'm working on a paper on "The Ancient Church and the Ordination of Women." The prof wants quotes from original texts... thank heavens for on-line libraries!!!

    I just brewed more coffee (sounds like we all need it) and Henry (one of the cats) will share his Greenies because he's too full of turkey.

    I will def. be peeking at your sermons once my paper is done because I am preaching on Dec. 28th (when no one else wants to) and my topic is "HOPE"...

    Back to editing, praying for you preachers.


  16. Just back from the Bazzaar.... not so bad, managed to pick up a few presents for the girls...

    Songbird have you drawn breath yet???

    As for coffee that sounds good right now!

  17. That sounds like an interesting paper Deb. Your choice?

  18. Hi preachers. I'm not usually here, not a regular preacher, but my colleague is sick and asked me yesterday to fill in. Okaaaay.... I do have an old favorite to recycle, but it will take some work. Approaches the "maybe-too-lightweight-and-about-me" sort of sermon. But has a great illustration in it about an expired passport....

    After reading about your days I will stop feeling sorry for myself and get to work. I have a smidgen of banana bread and more coffee to offer.

  19. well friends, here I am feeling very odd as I didn't preach at all in November (except the evening interfaith Thanksgiving) and am not scheduled to preach until December 21...I'm feeling like only part of a pastor somehow.

    I'm on children's-sermons-and-prayers-of-the-people duty every week until advent 4. I'm using quaker pastor's huge-box children's sermon for all four weeks of Advent (the one where on the 4th week there's a real live baby inside the box...good thing a baby was just born in our congregation about a month ago!). I don't know exactly how it will go, but it will be something about waiting and anticipation and unexpected gifts.

    I have applesauce defrosting, ready to be warmed for a mid-afternoon snack today....and more green bean casserole, butternut squash soup, and mashed potatoes than anyone can possibly eat alone! help yourselves. I'm contemplating the potato pancake possibilities...may just decide to eat cereal as it's easier.

    Consider me your intern--ready to fetch coffee/diet coke/sermon fairy when you need me. The passive-aggressive side of me says that won't be different from how I'm feeling at church these days. The mature side says it's me anchoring myself in normal routine while I'm feeling strangely adrift after all my big programs finished their fall craziness. (yay! no more Youth Sunday for a while!)

    anyway....I'll just be cooking and reading, so call if you need a snack!
    (my word verification is "amusea" that a sign that Europe is calling trying to amuse me? we can only hope...)

  20. I'm not preaching this week, so will take the time to pray for all of you as you prepare. May Advent be a time of hope in your hearts.

  21. I am here. After I quit grumbling about the Mk reading and why it comes on 1st Advent, I will get down to task. Joan, I like the Isaiah theme you are using.

    Keep awake! Guess I could do something with that.

  22. Sorry about your news Bethany. It is so difficult when those strong faithful members take their journey to the life beyond this life.

    I'm with Songbird here - I thought I had something to work with, but then the world saw another terrorist disaster. It changes the whole thing.

    Our theme for Advent is Be Not Afraid. Right. Somehow in the next two hours I have to make all of this work, then I have to go and help decorate the church for Advent. We now have a Worship Committee of two (myself and and the Music Director), but I think a few others will show up to help.

    Back to it...

  23. Good morning, all - I've just finished up the morning sermon and am now moving on to the Hanging of the Greens - I'm going with the Isaiah text and have posted it here here if it's helpful to anyone.

  24. I'm with Sue and Songbird too; we must take events like the Mumbai attacks seriously, and grasp the opportunity of advent to speak into the worlds troubles...

    I am struck by the juxtaposition of tinsel and terror that fills our TV screens....

  25. I'm leaning this way:

    The first of Advent is always apocalyptic anyway, right? It's always difficult to preach hope within the framework of the lectionary's "the world is a mess, it's all going to end before you finish your coffee".

    So for me, the task is to find the good news in the midst of fear and uncertainty.

    We aren't doing the Hope, Love, Joy and Peace theme - we're going with Wait, Watch, Prepare, and Proclaim. This is the week of Waiting. What are we waiting for? As individuals? As a faith family? As a global community?

    It might be one of those weeks when I leave a few questions hanging out there for folks to answer for themselves....not sure yet, but that's kind of where I'm at.

  26. I found hope in "we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand." God isn't finished with us yet.

    And now I have to shower and get dressed and get outta here.

  27. Sue I often leave questions hanging, and this is one of those weeks where that should be possible, if not necessary!

  28. my sermon is mostly finished...or at least a good draft. Way too much going on here at the parish - emotional all of it - and strong pulls for homeostasis (in all the most unhealthy of ways)...sigh...

    so. maybe I'll go back and put in a bit about Mombai and chaos...and maybe I'll make a reference to the clay and potter - it is such a fabulous image....but mostly the sermon is already too long and is a teaching sermon about the Eucharistic prayer we are using for the season of Advent....because I'm dealing with the basics here...

    in the meantime, I need some breakfast! many prayers for those busy folks today, may you find some peace in the midst of it all.

  29. There's a New WOrld Somewhere...

    THat's my title. ANd following the title??????

    THe theme for this week is Be NOt AFraid, a New World is coming. ANd all things considered, it could please come soon?

    "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away..."

    Mind you it didn't help that I was away from WEd noon until yesterday at suppertime. OR that prepping for that trip (interview) consumed much of my mental energy before leaving.

    Basically I am at the same point as when I wrote this---on Monday

  30. Oh I almost forgt!


  31. Good I think.

    I felt good about it anyway.

    I actuallly have another one in a week (different place). Hopefully by the turn of the calendar I will have a clearer sense of where I will be next Advent

  32. Can anyone explain to me how any sale can be so good to not only line up at 5 in the morning but then to trample, to death, a worker at the store. ANd then complain when the store announces it is closing in light of the incident!!!!!!!!!!!

    THat new world (not the new world order--tht has other connotations) really, is it coming soon? BEcause some days I really start to lose hope in this one :(

  33. Greetings all--been a while since I made it to the party.

    Not preaching this week or next week. I had my 2nd chemo on Wednesday and it's hitting me harder than last time. I'm nothing much but tired. Good thing I already had a guest speaker lined up for World AIDS Sunday.

    If I were preaching, though, I think I'd be leaning to Isaiah and the change in the world...And I am wilth Gord--horrified at the world we are in, wanting that new world.

    I have an assortment of goodies, thanks to my food fairies--pumpkin pie, free-trade coffee, whipped cream (for either of the aboce), maple sandwich cookies (great with tea), and even sushi (don't know how well that will go down for me...).

    Anything I cna help with, let me know, since I'm just reading today!

  34. Thanks for your expressions of sympathy and support. Saturday will be the first Memorial Service I preach for a close friend and treasured mentor.

    But, for now - getting things pulled together for tomorrow. Back from my running around and going to absorb some more from the commentaries. Followed by a nap. Then I should be good to write the night away.

    Sounds like many of you are also challenged by illness, schedules, and the demands of balancing it all. May the Good Shepherd lead you through!

  35. Dear heaven - that such a thing should really happen, Gord...I'm stunned.
    Home from Messy Advent, paracetamol are starting to kick in to deal with mega headache that came home with me, sermons...tra la la...what a lovely day...sermons? me? surely not....
    I think I'm heading in much the same direction as Sue. What are we waiting for? Do we have a real expectation that Christ will return? And what do we do while we wait..
    As you can see, there's some way to go. Coffee, anyone?

  36. O Gord that is terrible- we must model another way of living and being...

    I can only pray!

  37. Gord, I can't even take that story in, though I have read it several times online last night and this morning.

  38. Yup, Sally, I wanted to do this topic (I keep telling myself!) because I am so frickin tired of reading that women can't celebrate the Eucharist because Jesus was a dude (a rough translation of in persona Christi)...

    Hey! I've made it up to the Nicean Councils! Progress! ;)

    My spouse ate the last piece of pumpkin pie, but I do have apple pie that warms nicely in the microwave... help yourself!

    Prayers for you Rainbow Pastor, to be refreshed and renewed as you heal...

    Back to work...

  39. yes, that mauling at the mall completely stuns me...not to mention India...

    Rainbow, somehow I missed the fact the you are undergoing chemo treatments...many prayers for you!

    Gord, been down that road of trying to be in one place while interviewing for others....prayers for you too

    katharine, hope the headache eases...

    now. back. to. the. sermon.

    (oh...and word verification...."reest" - is that a hint?)

  40. Good for you Deb....I took a module in feminist theology last year for the same reason, it really helped my thinking- my prayers are with you as you write!

    On the subject of the Black Friday mauling.. I am still praying, I have reflected here, we Brits are no less guilty of pre-Christmas insanity!

  41. Friends, I'm back after wrangling children and dogs for a Christmas card picture. In 28 tries, we got two passable shots. That is a pretty poor record, but frankly typical. My daughter did not smile until I mentioned making gingerbread cookies later...
    Anyone making photo cards online? I don't like the choices at Kodak, so I'd love a recommendation.
    Rainbow Pastor, hugs to you!

  42. Rainbow Pastor, I too missed your health update until today. Peace to you and yours from a fellow survivor...

    On the sermon front, I think I'm done. It's too long, but oh well. Now for Sunday School prep.

    I'm sick of turkey. Let's all go out for dinner

  43. I'm pretty much no where. I did a tiny bit of musing last night running with my original plan to focus on the paradox of power (or how God uses power) - - Israel wants God to split open heaven and come shaking mountains, etc., and God comes as a baby. God's tremendous power is shown in giving so much of it up, essentially. Good ol' Texts for Preaching talks about Advent being about deep desperation and bold trust and hope at the same time - - another paradox. I think the Mumbai tragedy, Black Friday shopping disasters point to some of that deep desperation. Believing the promise of Christ's coming is the bold hope.

    I'll have to go grab this quote from the movie Grace is Gone that I was also a watching last night. It was a great about hope in the midst of desperation.

    When I will actually type is another problem. The Gator game is on in 30 minutes, so while this afternoon I have a quiet house with kids napping, husband and brother-in-law at a movie, now is not my typing time. Unfortunately my brother-in-law is also sleeping in the office this trip and the laptop is at the shop being fixed. Not so sure what to do. He might get the boot to the couch!!!

    (word verification: burphem)

  44. Hi everyone! I wrote my sermon titles six months ago, while in a planning frenzy. The title for tomorrow is "At The End Of Our Rope."

    I begin by listing all the things I could not have possibly known about this week six months ago when I wrote the title, (and man-o-man it is quite a list!) but somehow I knew that we would be at the end of our rope (and not just because the lectionary told me) because that is our story, a la Isaiah.

    That's as far as I've gotten.

    I've got the usual T-giving leftovers, plus pirouette cookies to share. Seriously, take the cookies from my grubby little hand!

  45. Well my sermon hearing the story anew" is posted on my blog....comments welcome!

  46. We've gotten awfully quiet here. Who needs a late afternoon snack? Hot Chocolate? Cup of tea? Diet Coke?

  47. Welcome back Gord - I'm glad the trip went well. Sort of. (I'm kind of selfish and would rather have you all stay here in our Presbytery, but that's just me....)

    I'm back from decorating the sanctuary - there were six of us altogether, two of whom were eleven and full of energy, thankfully! They energized everyone else and we got the place ready in no time.

    I still struggle with the fibre-optic mitten tree, but these things are beyond my control.

    Sermon is done - I just need one quick review and it's ready to print. I'm using Gord's "Be Not Afraid" theme - difficult in these uncertain times, but not impossible.

    I'm still leaning toward an unresolved ending that asks, "What are we waiting for?" - it is pertinent for our congregation for many reasons, but also applies in a more general sense.

    Songbird - I laughed out loud at the image of your family Christmas picture. I'm guessing the ones that didn't work would be just as much fun to send with the Christmas cards as the two that DID work.

  48. Gord - I was equally shocked by that horrible Wall-M*rt (Evil Empire) story. I still can't quite believe it.

  49. The WalMart massacre AND the shootout at Toys R Us. I'm having a hard time getting out of bed. This is not a good time of year for me.

    Grateful that I can say it to you all, and that you are working on something to say about it to God's people.

    Songbird - you ought to do an online card with a slideshow of all the pics...The Gingerbread Smile to be the last one...

    Go, Deb! Go, preachers and those NOT preaching!

    I have sugar free spiced cider on offer, as well as Apple Pie, a liquor made with juice, cider, sugar, and Everclear. It's good for what ails ya.

  50. You may see some of our "outtakes" over here.
    I'm thinking I'll have the best one printed and stick it in a card this year.

  51. I just made a cup of hot lemon juice (with honey) to try and stave off whatever is attacking my throat.

    Oh... I just found out I'm leading the Communion meditation tomorrow... how very like God that I have been asked to stand in persona Christi... There is a sense of history and joy for me.

    I'm down to footnotes (blick)...

    Preach on, preachers!

  52. Really flagging here...Such great readings, such important themes, and the whole "Staying awake" thing is challenging me almost beyond endurance.
    I'm ashamed of myself, but that's the way it is...fragmented, unfocussed...I just need to go to bed. Pathetic. Bleh

  53. Came up during halftime to see if there were huge lightning strikes of inspiration. Maybe everyone is watching football?

  54. Friends, god_guurrlll had a terrible loss today, her kitty has been put to sleep. She writes about it on her blog, and I feel sure would appreciate your comments.

  55. I drove in from NC a few hours ago and the Chrismon tree is now decorated at church. So I'm back to thinking about the sermon. Feasting On The Word, the new commentary series edited by BB Taylor is really super.
    I'm going to talk about how we are not preparing for the birth of Jesus in Advent. We are watching and waiting to see how God will manifest Godself in the world next. Isaiah asks for what he knows God has done before. But God doesn't seem to do the same thing twice, does he. Even the prophets have different experiences. I suppose Elijah and Elisha do parallel each other to a point - so I won't mention them ;-) - but, for the most part, we don't have a God who always comes in one particular way. Even Jesus borrows old language to talk about the next coming because there's no way to describe what hasn't happened yet.
    And, I'm sure all of you who read here, know not to expect a baby next time.
    But we are told to expect God to come again. We don't have any of the details of that coming so we have to watch and wait, anticipating something new.
    And part of anticipating something new is celebrating the times God has already come. We Christians center that celebration on the last coming because it has the most meaning for us. But we aren't to forget all the others - Adam and Eve's story, Noah's story, Abraham's, Moses', and all the others down through Elizabeth and Mary.
    Advent really isn't about Christmas so much as it is about God coming again, about the time when the kingdom here and the kingdom to come will be one and the same.

  56. So sorry to hear of god_guurrll's loss. Our cat is our constant companion.

    Hang in there Kathryn! As you know, God has this miraculous way of making something out of our nothing. (I am writing this for myself, too!)

    I am coming along but am probably going to need another nap soon. I'm not sure how all these threads are going to end up woven together, but I am again going forward in keystroke at a time!

    I might have to run to the store for chocolate. Anyone need anything?

  57. hey friends,

    well, we've been reading the Wonderful Wizard of Oz at our house, so I had an idea about comparing the yellow brick to road to advent, and what we think we need/are heading for is not actually it after all..

    But terrorism and trampling comments ar reminding me to dig deeper.

    Hope you all are doing well out there...

  58. ok, got a decent outline - thanks again for all your wise words here. now heading out to dinner and back here by 7 for 2 hours of writing, after which it will just ahve to be done.

  59. I'm making a pot of vanilla tea...anyone want some? and, of course, for those of you not freezing, I do have fried ice cream (yay Breyers) since all the pie is gone...

  60. We're over here working on gingerbread cookie dough--I'm making the most of my last evening of "vacation," even though I spent part of the day rewriting my darn sermon.
    Juniper, that was one quick draft!

  61. Sue, given our choice we would rather stay in this PResbytery too--preferably in City on the Lake. BUt as you know there aren't places.

    Well just got back from the Christmas parade and we got kidlets to bed. Now has that new world arrived yet?

    I figure if it arrives by sermon time tomorrow the sermon wil be reduntant and I won't have to preach it

  62. Well I have six pages of tomorrow's sermon but no neat and tidy ending. And then I'm preaching on Monday at the Seminary. Really tough text- Revelation 15. Only a few pages there....

    After having turkey for three meals in a row- we're offering up tuna sandwiches here.

    And after reading the notes here- many prayers heading upward.

  63. Gord, I am quoting the Moderator (from a review of his book that the Conference sent around this past week) - perhaps you could find something in there?

  64. Heidi, we took a break yesterday and had tuna melts for lunch. It steeled us for turkey.all.weekend.
    At this point, we have stuffing, turkey and a little cranberry relish, so I guess we're looking at sandwiches for the last round.

  65. I'm offereing up dirty rice... kinda spicy... and some iced tea. Pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread for dessert.

    I posted a sermon for tomorrow here. Comments are welcomed.

  66. checking in - one service down, two to go, girls all in bed, stomach not so good. So off to bed I go. Prayers for all as you continue, for Rainbow Pastor as you endure chemo and associated nausea (bleah!), for G_G in the loss of your kitty, and for all who preach and all who worship tomorrow. You make me realize how calm my life really is!

  67. Hello everyone! Checking in on this not-so-easy to write night.

    I have a list of notes and some general ideas, but that's it. Thinking about centering on how we like to think that Christmas is for children, but the coming of Christ described in Isaiah and Mark is definitely NOT child's play. Neither are the needs of this world.

    There's more but it's not really formed yet...let's hope it gels soon! Oh, and I am also focusing on the "God in the sky" image because it fits into the rest of Advent...God in the sky, God on the earth, God among people, God within us, God born through us.

    First I need some pie.

  68. Hi.
    As I read SB's poem, was reminded thatyou can sing Dickinson poems to tune of Amazing Grace or Gilligan's Isladn theme.
    So sorry for thsoe who suffer loss of your team on this rivalry Saturday and congrats to those whose team won.
    Decorations are partly up at home and at church. Soup is on for luncheon tomorrow and sermon needs a good ending that has to do with hope.
    Tree in Little Church in the Wildewood is huge...I mean like 15 foot high.
    I am working on Mark text and lookign for a happy ending, but also scrapingthe part about waiting in lines on Black Friday due to the increidble amount of violence present in various palces.
    I know it is a big day, but after the loss of life, I vote to ban it from now on.
    Looking for an endign to sermon., Wish me luck

  69. Y'all, I'm going to post a draft and hope I can call it good. How are you doing?

  70. Teri, I'll have soem tea.
    Here's a good quote for those on Isiah passage:
    Advent is mostly about the God who "breaks open the heavens and ccomes down, all the way down (not stopping halfway) to us in our sinfullness, down to a manger bed, down to a cross, down to a grave."
    This is James Brenneman in XianCentury.

  71. 1-4 Grace, I like that a lot. I may use it in a couple of weeks.

    Tomorrow we have a lot happening. Angel Tree (presents for children of inmates) starting up, a monologue (NOT from me--yay!) about hope from the point of view of Anna, a beautiful video about hope, and a short sermon from me using Isaiah, but a different passage than the lectionary.
    It is almost done.

    Waiting for son to arrive for our late Thankstgiving celebration. He will be here late tonight and stay through Tuesday morning. Don't get to see him much, so we are anxious for his arrival. He called this a.m. unable to talk for crying--his beloved companion/buddy, basset hound J.J. broke his chain and ran into the road and was struck by a car. After an agonizing time at the vet, J.J. died. Josh is very we are all trying to stay up till he gets here so we can all hug him....

    So...still working on sermon, and will have time to get it done before the boy arrives. Tomorrow may be a tough day, partly from not a lot of sleep, and partly because of J.J. and Josh's sadness. Ah, dang those dogs and cats--they die and break our hearts. J.J. was a sweet and funny 3 year old.

    I have apple cake and decaf coffee to share if anyone would like some.

  72. I'm having the issue tonight not of nothing to write, but of too many ideas and not enough focus. Where I seem to lean is more about preaching "Advent" instead of Isaiah during Advent. KWIM?

    I like the idea that I need to get this one done in time to let my BIL sleep in the office tonight, but at the same time, I write better when it's midnight, not when midnight is my ending point!

    We'll see. Maybe I'll just finally start typing and see where it goes.

    I know I need to end leading into a baptism. I've got this one scheduled at the end of the service instead of the beginning. Maybe the baptism will sort of be the "how we know the promise is sure" and we're not just waiting for Godot (That's the play where they wait the whole time and he never comes, right? I don't plan to use it or anything, but it just came to me and I'm not a very literarily savvy person!)

  73. Hugs and symphathy to son on JJ's loss. There's been a lot of sadness due to loss of beloved pets lately.
    Much thanksgiving for our pets and what they mean to all of us.

  74. Oh, Singing Owl, how heartbreaking! I am so sorry for your family's loss, poor little guy.

  75. SO - sorry about the pup, and the son...sigh...

    well my left over turkey dinner just about put me to sleep....but after a piece of pumpkin pie and some Tazo tea I'm awake I stopped by just to catch up and read some sermons....

  76. Hi All,
    Back from dinner and have to flesh this outline out into Something.

    Prayers for GG and SO on your pet losses! So heartbreaking, both.

    Wish me luck!

  77. Many have mentioned Mumbai... I just read this at the Yahoo! news site:

    Sebastian D'Souza hears the gunfire at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus from his office across the street at the Mumbai Mirror tabloid.

    He follows the sound through the sprawling station, slipping unseen through parked trains. When he first catches sight of the young men, he doesn't realize they are the gunmen. They look so innocent. Then he sees them shooting.

    "They were firing from their hips. Very professional. Very cool," says D'Souza, the newspaper's photo editor. For more than 45 minutes he follows as they move from platform to platform shooting and throwing grenades. Often, D'Souza isn't even 30 feet away. The few police at the station are either dead, in hiding or had long fled.

    There are billboards everywhere, signs of India's economic boom. At one point, he photographs them standing beneath a tea company sign. They appear to be having a calm conversation. "WAKE UP!" the billboard reads.

  78. WOOT! A draft is done. I have to tweak and tighten 13 pages down to 12 (this prof will NOT read past page 12... sigh...) but I have three days until it's due.

    Now I only have...
    1 project
    3 essays
    1 paper
    2 finals
    and the semester is a wrap.

    And the first outline of my sermon is due Tuesday to the "dudes" (aka teaching team...) If you need to pick just one of my list to pray for, that would be the one...

    Preach it, preachers! God's in the House!


  79. Y'all, I am heading to bed, but I want to offer you fresh baked gingerbread cookies before I go. Last one up, get the lights?
    I'll be back in the morning to put on the coffee!

  80. goodnight songbird!!

    who else is up?

  81. Of course, I'm here Juniper!

    Finally put an opening paragraph down on paper, so maybe this will happen before midnight central time. A few less games of FB Tetris than usual and I should be fine!

  82. Juniper and She Rev, I'm in for the late night haul with y'all! I just had a piece of blueberry pie, but just one gingerbread cookie to top it off sounds delish.

    I'm pondering apocalypses...small (losing pets, hearing bad news, losing a job) and large (terrorism, tramplings, shootings). And trying to write the introduction that's been in my head since Thursday.

  83. hey late nighters - I've got a great intro, but now I actaully have to SAY something....

  84. I'm backwards from you Juniper - - NO intro, but I know what I want to stay.

    (word verification - drato)

  85. Anybody else out there?
    does anyone have a great ending with a message of hope?
    Anybody want cocoa or hot cider?

  86. No ending yet, 1-4, but I think I've got an "easy" way out with a baptism following the sermon - hope in the promise that comes in the sacrament

  87. Hey all,
    good enuf ruff draft that I'm signing off for the night - I'll finish in the a.m.

    blessings on your writing.

    see you on the other side!

  88. I think I'm turning in, too. I know my BIL wants this bed before he drives 8 hours home tomorrow. I think I've got enough to sleep on and finish in the morning.

    I'll get up early, and instead of writing here, I'll go in to the church to write. Maybe I'll even get done in enough time to come home and help the fam get ready for the morning. We'll see.

    Good night, all, and blessings on your preaching, praying, and everything else you're doing tomorrow!

  89. Um, I fell asleep in my chair (ironically enough, I was not able to keep awake), but now I'm up and at em with the help of some Dr. Pepper. (I actually had a dream about missing church that caused me to wake up and get going!)

    My intro is coming out rockily, but at least it's coming out. It makes me sound like a total Grinch though. I also really want to use the illustration Templeamma contributed earlier.

    I see many of the late nighters are sleeping for now--anybody else out there?

  90. I am up and trying to tie the threads together for a coherent conclusion - that isn't trite. God woke me up before my alarm, so apparently I have some more work to do!

  91. Hello Bethany! I'm just about to figure out my conclusion too. (hopefully.)

    At least I finished the candle-lighting reflection for tomorrow. That's where I put all the stuff that didn't belong in the sermon.

  92. OKAY! The caffeine has run out and fortunately the sermon is finished. It needs a read-through or two and then a printing. I need a shower and maybe a few more minutes of sleep (?).

    Good luck to all late-night and early-morning sermon writers and finishers!

    And blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this morning.

  93. Ok, so it ended with a twist I didn't see coming - but those are the best kind!

    Blessings to all for a meaningful and peaceful start to Advent!

    (even if not completely rested or healthy...)

  94. I'm up this morning with very little on my page. I took a notebook over to the friend's house to work, but didn't get enough done.

    I was absolutely floored by Templeamma's sharing of that story. I was waffling around about the beginning of my sermon and I may just change it all and start there.

  95. Templeamma, that's an incredible story.
    Anyone need the boost of a fresh cup of coffee?

  96. I'm up later than usual (Man, it feels good to sleep that long. Will it be enough to inspire me to change my habits? Probably not.) But instead of being up at home, I'm up at work. BIL is still in the office sleeping, so I got myself totally ready and came here to finish. We'll see how this goes! I've got about half of a sermon, and, I think, the harder half is written. Off to finish up!

  97. I've got all of the pieces of my sermon together. It is kind of disjointed, and on purpose. They are more of a series of connected reflections on advent and apocalypse and hope coming out of desperation and trust (thanks she rev) that are connected by a simple phrase from that news article. "Wake up" the billboard reads.

    we'll see how it flies - its a much darker reflection than I was planning on.

  98. Katie Z., it's a much darker time than any of us would have wished for.
    Preach well, sisters and brothers!

  99. I'm home..I preached it and though, as usual, there was no reaction it felt OK from where I stood.
    Posted it here and am now changing focus rapidly to be in jolly family mode for the Christingle service this afternoon.
    Blessings on all of you as you preach and pray this Advent Sunday.

  100. Praying for those who preach and those who hear.

  101. You're welcome Katie Z. My thanks go also to Chilly Fingers for a wonderful connection about Advent not just preparing the manger, but looking to the future. Very well said, and just the kind of language I was looking for. The Spirit helped me tweak and repurpose for us here!


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