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Saturday, December 27, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: "Wait! We Don't Have the Day Off?" Edition

Friends, I'm sitting at St. Casserole's kitchen island, trying to adjust to a different time zone, which is no excuse, since I ought to think it's later than I do. We're drinking coffee with Fat Free half-and-half and eating biscotti.

I'm on vacation, but not completely, as I have a sermon to -- cough, cough -- "finish" for tomorrow, to give at her church. I'm going with Anna and Simeon. You? If you have the day off, good for you! If it's Lessons and Carols, good for you! If it's your turn to preach, FINALLY, then GO YOU!!! (You know who you are.)

Chime in down in the comments. I'll be in and out today, hoping to breathe in some humid air that feels as good as a vaporizer along the way. Let's party!


  1. I have a seminarian preaching at 10:30 and I'll do something at 8:00. I have old sermons on Galatians and John but haven't figured out which way I'm going to go. Preached about John and Hebrews Christmas morning so I feel like I've done John. Since I need to reread a textbook on church history for a class I'm teaching next Saturday, I'm not really focused on the sermon. So I think one of those old sermons will get reworked tomorrow morning about 7:00!

  2. I'm bringing some shortbread cookies made with love by a dear friend of mine to the table today ... they are delicious!

    I bring too some aftermath of panic. As I started to really work on the sermon today I realised that I had been musing and preparing with the Gospel from the UMC/Anglican lectionary (Luke 2) but - shock horror - the Lutheran church where I'll guest preach in tomorrow isn't following the same page.


    One phone call later it was sorted (but not after a lot of sweating and panic) - I got permission to preach from Luke 2 as opposed to celebrating the feast of holy innocents (and martyrs) with 1 Peter 4 and Matthew 2 (Herod killing the infants) phew ...
    but I'm really nervous now how it will all come together ...

    anyway, I've got an outline and am half way through with a draft ...sounds quite impressive until you realise that it's already dark here (4pm) ...

    so more tea and another cookie anyone ???

  3. Wish I had a day off. And next week is busy cause I'm going on vacation on Friday and want to have the sermon ready for when I get back.

    I'm liberally stealing from a famous preacher's sermon (I'm telling the congregation I'm liberally stealing), but I still want to get it in my own words and add and subtract stuff. Basically his structure and ending. I hope he doesn't mind. I'm sure he's been stolen from before. I worked on it a bit Christmas day. I'm meeting with a family to plan a memorial service this afternoon. Feeling a bit resentful, but that's the way it is at this time of the year.

    Songbird and St. Casserole have a great time!

  4. I am going with Anna and Simeon.
    Am not sure how it will all work out, but I am starting with talking about traditions (inspired by Tuesday LL) and then wander about the text some, and then wind up somehow, somewhere with a point.
    My title is "Holding God" What the heck was I thinking two weeks ago?

  5. I am on of those "GO YOU" people Songbird just described. Pulpit supply in a town about 40 miles from where I live.

    I did a "preacher's perogative" in choosing texts and went with the eastern mystics trip to Bethlehem.

    I used a bit of T.S. Eliot's poem, talked about what it means to go home another way...especially for the church in today's world.

    Still have tweeking to do. A couple of places do not flow quite as well as I would like.

    I am thinking scrambled eggs for breakfast. I'll share.

  6. I'm bringing some fresh fruit and yogurt to the table - in repentance for everything else I've eaten in the past few days! But I have to admit shortbread cookies sound enticing...

    Being a first-year minister, it didn't dawn on me how much energy I wouldn't have for putting together a sermon today. Hubby did Christmas Eve, so I figured I'd be all set. Hopefully after a little more morning vegetation I'll be ready to write.

    I'm working with Isaiah and Luke. I've read up on Isaiah, but fell behind on Luke.

    It is another typical Saturday here - all about sermon writing!

    Blessings to all - whatever your preparations may be today!

  7. The Work of Christmas
    by Howard Thurman

    When the star in the sky is gone,
    When the Kings and Princes are home,
    When the shepherds are back with their flocks,
    The work of Christmas begins.
    To find the lost,
    To heal the broken,
    To feed the hungry
    To release the prisoner,
    To teach the nations,

    To bring Christ to all,
    To make music in the heart.

  8. I have the Robert Fulghum story at my blog. I am not preaching but felt that story had elements of the light coming into the world of the Prologue to John.

  9. I love Anna and Simeon but I'm not preaching tomorrow: our intern is! And I'm not preaching next week either, as I preached on the 21st, 24th and the 25th, and I think Sr. Pastor thinks if I preach on the 4th, he will have gone too long without preaching. And I'm not preaching on the 11th, as we are going to Arizona for a week.


    Songbird, I almost posted a Preacher Party, when I saw there wasn't one up!

    But I had to do my morning Bible Study first (john 11). Good thing I waited.

    Today and next week, I will be "organizing the new year", at least I hope.

    Looking forward to our intern's (and everyone's) offerings on Simeon/Anna, whoever.

  10. I have a funeral in a few hours, sermon for that is finished - or at least as finished as its going to be....since its for a man I never met....also, sermon for tomorrow is in draft form will need some work this afternoon. I think we're using the readings for Christmas I but I better check and see what was published in the booklet...or I'll end up like Lorna... :-)

    My bigger concern is trying to get our daughter home today....after 7 hours on a plane yesterday, much of it delayed on the ground, after circling Ohare 8 times they were diverted to St. Louis....she has a flight to try and get home from St. Louis to Chicago at 2pm today...we'll see....the weather doesn't look good. Prayers for her will be appreciated, she doesn't deal well being alone and having these issues arise...

  11. Morning all,
    Songbird and St. Cass, hugs to you! Wish I could be there to hear that sermon. I am doing John tomorrow in two places, mine and the nursing home. Have things pretty well done thanks to a quiet Christmas day to cogiatate and write. This morning I'm off to be kind of backup and moral support to a pastor friend who is presiding at a funeral while feeling under the weather "just in case." Then it's tweak the sermon and run the bulletins if and when the organist ever decides if he is indeed playing. Ahem. No feelings about that of course. We may be singing a capella tomorrow. Have some banana bread for the table and prayers for your traveling daughter, Mompriest. Will check back post-funeral.

  12. I just need to tweak a few lines in the prayers, but otherwise, we're going with lessons and carols.

    Blessings to you St. C. and Songbird as you enjoy your (now) annual visit!

  13. This week it's peanut brittle for the table. And Simeon and Anna for the sermon. I *made* myself refrain from working on Christmas Day (it was just the three of us, at home). Now I'm not so sure that was a good idea. Some friends are stopping by today and we're headed out of town on Monday.

    I'm doing something about how Simeon could see the Messiah because he was really expecting to see. We see what we are expecting to see...but I don't want it to sound like he was inventing the Messiah. Ugh. I seem to have painted myself into a corner.

  14. I am the seminarian preaching tomorrow. I'm preaching on Anna and Simeon. Lots of info, no structure. time to pull it all together!

  15. I'm bringing sausage balls and muffins for my first Saturday morning joining you here. Like many of you I preached Christmas Eve, took Christmas off entirely and spent a large portion of yesterday with my husband and children and we have a family get together in another town this evening. So panic has set in.

    This year we used an advent liturgy from one of Ruth Duck's books and the candles were named: Wait, Prepare, Witness, and Let It Be. It seems to me that Anna and Simeon show us what it means to do all those things and each of them does it differently. And they also show us the end result of those disciplines.

    Now I better quit talking and eating and get busy writing.

  16. Thinking of using Ralph Milton's retelling of the Anna/Simeon story during Children's time.

    ANd then during the sermon time a brief meditation on the beauty of intergenerational connections and how the church is one fo the few places those intergenerational connections can happen these days.

  17. St. Cass & Songbird, you gals have a wonderful time!!!

    I'm trying to rid the house of the holiday sweets, so I bring you Martha White Buttermilk Biscuits and caramel pear butter (homemade by Elastigirl!) Please help me polish them off.

    Hope your sermons all get polished off in short order. Welcome, Sherill!

  18. I have the blessing of a retired pastor/congregation member preaching tomorrow. He is also preaching on Simeon and Anna. I am presiding. He is happy to be helping; I am happy to have a lighter load this Sunday, and then to be on the way to celebrate Christmas with my side of our family. Life is good!

    Hello and blessed Christmastide to St. Casserole+

  19. Gord,
    Is the Simeon/Anna story in Milton's Family Story Bible?
    Or a separate story?

  20. I have a nice breakfast casserole made with challah, sausage, cheddar and caramelized onions (left over from Christmas morning, but it gets better and better every day!)

    And some "Crème brûlée" flavored coffee with cream and sugar to share.

    I am working on a sermon for the 8 & 10 tomorrow, with the Episcopal RCL readings -- so, John 1:1-18.

    So far, a blank page, but the thoughts are beginning to circulate.

    Best wishes to all!

  21. The one I am using is in "Is THis Your Idea of a Good Time God?" I am not sure if he has included it in other books..

  22. I got Anna and Simeon too.
    Title is Simeon Says and I am trying to play off the idea that Simeon, thrilled to at last see the Messiah before hedies, gives this foretelling of Jesus' death and the pain it will bring to Mary.
    Not exactly the future a mother is to look forwad to.
    Anyhow, I gotta find a way to bring it 2-gether.
    So, glad you are visitng St Cass. Hope you do not party to hardy

  23. I have the John text tomorrow. I focused some on the word becoming flesh on Christmas eve as I explored "to you is born this day... a savior", so I don't want tomorrow to sound like a repeat of that.

    Right now I'm pondering what it means to be at the beginning, the beginning of the Gospel, the beginning of Jesus' life as a human, the beginning of the Christmas season when many folks are dragging trees out to the curb.

    But I also have random thoughts about light, becoming children of God & what it means to receive Jesus and receive grace upon grace.

    So the actual sermon is a bit of a mystery at the moment. But thanks Ann, that Thurston poem expands my thoughts on the fact that we are at the beginning of a season, not at the end.

  24. We're serving home made dim sum for lunch here! Have the idea for the sermon- Simeon's song is the ultimate "Now I can die happy" and so can we.

    Happy preaching, resting,and everything else!

  25. Ann- thanks for the poem. Brilliant!

  26. We have a big party at our house every year on the 26th, inviting people to bring their leftovers for a potluck. So now I have leftover leftovers to share, most still very delicious...take a look through the fridge and pick whatever suits you!

    I'm doing the family service tomorrow, so with plenty of preaching latitude, I'll be taking advantage of a church full of poinsettias and telling my own version of the story of that lovely plant, a la Tomie dePaola. Simple and easy, which is what I need.

    Blessings especially to all of you doing funerals today, and those of you still digging your way through snow!

  27. Oh and did you know clergy have their own tartan?

    Check it out here

  28. I am preaching for the first time since September; not sure I remember how to do this whole sermon-writing thing ;) Since I didn't preach on Christmas Eve, you'd think I'd be farther along by now, but mostly I just have some very vague thoughts about waiting. Simeon waited a lifetime for Jesus...maybe the important thing about that isn't just that he waited, but also how he waited. He didn't sit around on his derriere being despondant; he put his life to good use while waiting in hope. Not a bad example for those of us who spend so much of our lives waiting for something.

  29. Sermon is ok. But my brain is fried. Cannot think of a prayer. Don't even want to think of a children's sermon. I must need some chocolate.

  30. Love the poem!

    I'm either preaching Anna & Simeon or doing a "Carol" sermon. What that really means is, if this Anna & Simeon sermon doesn't come together soon I'm falling back on an old Carol sermon

  31. I stopped to go for a walk - took my camera and dropped it (it's working but no view finder) ... still got some semi decent pics though ...

    then we made pizza and now I just polished off the sermon

    I wove the story of my getting the lectionary wrong with starting a new tradition of a Lutheran church using the Anglican lectionary on the feast of Holy Innocents (so much easier) ... and then using the idea from Tuesday talked about tradition and how as Christians we need to find out what our identity really is - and what we need to hold on to (what we can afford to let go of, albeit with some pain or reluctance) ... that's very applicable in the church tomorrow as many of the people are from different backgrounds - aliens living here in Finland - or married to a Finn with the clash of cultures.

    Anyway it'll preach and for that I'm truly thankful.

    skipping off to sit by the fire with a book - all the shortbread cookies bar one are gone (sorry!) so I'm leaving some beautifully sweet and tangy tangerines for you to feast on ... while you put the final touches on your sermon.

    blessings all :)

  32. Gord, where can I get one of those scarfs?

  33. I'm on in both churches tomorrow as my associate is on holiday for 3 Sundays now...But I'm cheating and revamping one from 3 years ago - the Common Worship lection gives us Luke 2, so this was once a Midnight Mass offering, now reworked to include Holy Innocents and nightmares in Gaza.
    I'm very much in Christmas lasts TWELVE days, into doing as little as I possibly can. The Dufflepud made a wonderful Christmas cake which I'm bringing to the table along with spiced Christmas tea and some extra tree chocolates. Please help yourselvs...

  34. Interesting....

    One of my tasks for today is to get most of the prep for Monday's funeral done so the bulletin can be copied when I go to church tomorrow. ANyway, to my memory I have not confirmed hymns with the organist, just said, "I'll get back to you" 2 weeks ago when I confirmed she would be ready. Couple hours ago I got a call from a long-time friend of the deceased whose health won't let her attend the funeral asking for the scriptures so she can have a private prayer time concurrent with the sevice. Then says she already got the hymns from the organist...

    Guess I should call the organist and find out what they are?

  35. Songbird and St. Casserole - have a blast and scritch the critters for me! The katz send Christmas Greenies.

    I am preaching from Luke 2 on the story of Anna and Simeon - it is the last in the Christmas sermon series at our church on "Tuning into Christmas". I have been tweaking because it is too long, now that everyone on teaching team weighed in and told me what to add. sigh.

    So I'm timing and tweaking. Timing and tweaking.

    My outline is the same as what I posted Tuesday...
    Tuning into Hope
    Big Idea: Hold out for hope by Holding on to God
    1. Refuse to hope in the wrong things (people, things, our abilities)
    2. Understand the character of God
    3. Discover the promises of God
    4. Hang out with hope-filled people.

    I'm using a quote from Brennan Manning to talk about the character of God and His infiniteness:
    "We can no more catch a hurricane in a shrimp net or Niagara Falls in a coffee cup than we can grasp the infinity of God's reality." (from Ruthless Trust)

    I think I may end with Thurman's poem (Thank you ANN! I needed something to end...)

    I believe that focusing on the Character and Promises of God are the reasons why we can hope in God.

    As for sharing treats, I have a freshly cut up pineapple that is so sweet and delish. I think later it will go swimming in a whiskey sour, but for now it is quite nom-nom-able.

    Back to timing (p.s. I love my online stopwatch!

    peace all -

  36. No idea Vicar. It was a gift from my parents who live 2 provinces away.

    However it was made in Scotland according to the tag.---James Pringle Weavers of Inverness

  37. preaching on Anna and Simeon using Paul Scott Wilson's 4 page method.
    1. already but not yet of Jesus (trouble in the text) Anna and Simeon we see the light, but live in the shadows. (trouble in the world)
    3. but there's hope because the light has come to the world as witnessed by Anna and Simeon (beyond the creche scene to Jerusalem)
    4. We too have hope the same God is with us, moving, casting light in the darkness...

    The title is nunc dimittis. The outline just needs more flesh and a good illustration or two.

  38. Oh heavens! Thanks, Gord...I have a funeral on Tuesday for which I've not confirmed the music either. That reminder was hugely timely and much appreciated...still have the address to do but that can hang on till Monday for sure.

  39. I'm going with Anna and Simeon, but as of what direction, I have no clue!

    I have a wedding in four hours, so I should be able to put in a couple of hours or so writing before the bridal party arrives at the church. Emphasis, of course, on "should."

    Yes, I was nuts saying yes to this wedding between Christmas Eve & Sunday, but there are unusual circumstances - next month both bride & groom will be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, repsectively.

    Gord, I have one of those scarves, too. I found mine in a Scottish store in Salt Lake City. Our Executive Presbytery has it sewn on his clergy robe in some fashion, though I can't remember how.

  40. Y'all are welcome to our leftovers, particularly the coleslaw that we completely forgot to put out on the Christmas buffet. Plus we've got Godiva liquer to grace your coffee, which will be flowing freely all day.

    My guests have graciously absented themselves with a day trip up to the mountains, knowing that if they stuck around I would rather hang with them than study and so would end up not sleeping tonight as I write the sermon.

    I'm leading with Simeon and Anna. But there's a bit of perverse disappointment that our lectionary offered up the slaughter of the innocents last year, when I wasn't in the pulpit. I enjoy the challenge of unpleasant texts.

  41. Thanks, Gord. I don't have that version, but will look it up. I love your clergy tartan, and of course, now is an object of my desire. ;-) Hope you got the hymns by now!

    On to finishing things up.

  42. karlajean,
    Ralph included it in last Sunday's edition of Rumors. And Rumors is now on a blog!

    You can find the story in this post (you'll have to scroll down a bit to find it)

  43. Gord, I subscribe to Rumors but it sits unread in it's email folder, so I deeply appreciate you pointing out a resource I already have but just haven't used. Especially since I just started on this sermon today

  44. It's Anna and Simeon for me as I preach at a friend's church. I can't help but see the contrast of not expecting to preach tomorrow (since I was just visiting my daughter)and needing to scramble to prepare as opposed to Simeon and Anna who were waiting with anticipation, prepared for God's fulfillment of their dreams.

  45. Lorna, there are very few saints' days that supercede Sunday so Episcopalians should be using John 1:1-18 unless they didn't read the calendar section at the front of the Book of Common Prayer. I do know that lots of clergy will use other readings on a Sunday even though it is technically verboten. The lessons for Holy Innocents were read at my deaconal ordination even though I was ordained on the feast of St. John (today seven years ago!) because the bulletins didn't get proofed.

    Ordinary girl, I'd love to have your breakfast casserole recipe. And one of the things that strikes me about the John reading is that in order to talk about the new thing God is working through Christ, John has to go back and talk about the "first" new thing God did because Christ/Word was there at that new beginning, too. The Isaiah reading talks about a new beginning for Israel and harks back to the 7th chapter's devastation of the vineyard. Paul's talk of adoption is another new beginning/new thing. I hope that all works because I'm going to try braiding it together tomorrow morning!

    And now back to church history. If anyone wants to drop by and relieve me of the cookies and candy on my kitchen table, that would really be an act of kindness. I'd offer eggnog, too, but I managed to finish it off last night. ;-)

  46. Thank YOU to whomever it's appropriate for the Thurman story ! I've got just a short liturgy to do tonight - Sat - and had the Thurman poem already so I'll do them together. Blessings ! This blog almost always helps me pull something out of all the thoughts/inspirations I'm having and get it to paper. I just found out a beloved old (literally) retired priest of the parish died last night - please pray RIP for Whitey.

  47. Gord, that's a lovely thing indeed!
    Well my oprganist is a'coming and this is good because he tells me most of the choir is not. Well a girl can't have everything I guess. Sermon is done, bulletins, ditto. About to post the former and fold the latter and get ready for a little night off for myself. Blessings on all your writing and preaching. I'll stop back tomorrow to see what all have wrought

  48. Hey, everybody!
    I'm back from shopping and lunch, St. C is thinking nap thoughts, and I'm trying to peck away at my sermon. Meanwhile I am chugging the Essential C version of Vitamin Water, trying to get the better of this darn cold that will not end. I was worried about not having more written until I realized my computer is still on Eastern Time, while I am on Central!

  49. Got hold of the organist who had talked to the widow. ANd was given different hymn suggestions than when I talked to said widow (well only one was different). SO now I am off to the church to re-copy hymns.

    ANd I suppose I really should eat some real food at some point today--the rest of the family left for grandma's this morning so it is just me and the dog for the next 4 days....

  50. I'm trying to finish up on simeon and anna and am easily distracted. I have popcorn and some chops thawing for later. perhaps I'll make the point and cook yet. SOmething about finding fulfillment in the church - of all places!
    Two well-know COB pastors died this morning on the icy roads outside of INDY. Please be careful all you travelers and say a prayer for the Rieman family please.

  51. Just back from the sauna (well this is Finland) and almost ready for bed ....

    Nancy, sorry to hear of the deaths on the icy roads :( will keep the family in my prayers.

    Gord, hope the dog enjoys your company!

    Margaret I'm in Finland - and to be honest I don't know what lectionary they follow ... As far as I know (and I'd totally forgot) they always run with the feast of innocents on the Sunday after Christmas. I don't get it. I think that's why I blanked it out. Luckily the new pastor - who graciously invited me to preach - also graciously thought we could run with Luke 2. Phew. She was so sweet about it too :)

  52. Rev Nancy, so sorry to hear of this loss, how terrible!

  53. May I digress from the topic of tomorrows sermons just to say, in reference to the wedding photographer for the wedding that is in about one hour, with whom I met with a few weeks to go over our photography policy, to whom I specifically said, "you must stay behind the last row of pews, or stay off to one side. You may not walk from side to side in front of the first row of pews," what part of "you must" and "you may not" does he not understand?!?

    While I do not wish to cast aspersions against all wedding photographers, if I don't work with another one again it will be fine by me. Add me to the ranks of those pastors who prefer funerals to weddings.

  54. I'm still having timing issues. About 5 minutes too long. And I am supposed to preach without notes.

    Pray for me.
    While dinner is cooking, I'm doing another run-through.


  55. thanks all for the prayers for the Riemen family.
    As for wedding photos, i need to book one for daughter's wedding this fall and it won't be the one who wanted to crawl into the baptistery and shoot the wedding thru the curtains! geez, what they won't try.

  56. busy day! I am almost done with the outline, and it will flesh out nicely after dinner. I'm using the Luke 2 this week and John 1 next.

    Deb, why do you have to preach without notes?

  57. Oh, how wonderful. thank you so much, Gord...and hope you have something fun to eat.

    Prayers for the Rieman family, how awful...

  58. After reading some commentaries I'm still wrestling a bit trying to get something to gel (learned or was reminded of interesting things re: John 1, but a bit more heady & academic than where I envisioned going). Some dinner is in order and then I'll go from there.

    Sounds like others are on a roll.

    I'm so sorry to hear of the deaths and traffic accident.

  59. Rev Nancy - I actually heard about the horrible weather and driving conditions from family in western Ohio. They said that there were bad accidents... I will pray for the families. These things seem so... unbelievable.

    I have to preach without notes because that is the model the teaching team uses. I can have an outline, but am not allowed to read a manuscript. Period. My last sermon was in May and I haven't been given an opportunity since.

    There's lots going on relating to opportunities that has nothing to do with me, per se.

    God is in this. I know that I know that I know I am called to preach. Moreover, I know that there are things God wants me to say about hope that I want to say well...


  60. Prayers for the Rieman family; how very sad.

    Rev Kim, some years ago my husband was at a wedding at which the priest (now our diocesan bishop) who is a former pro-football player and police officer, and definitely a man to be obeyed, finally had enough with the photographer's antics. He stopped the service, pointed to the photographer, and simply said, "You. Out." And for the first time in their short relationship, the photographer listened and obeyed!

    Deb, I sometimes do preach w/o notes, but I sure wouldn't want to be forced into it; I hope that goes okay for you.

  61. . . .almost. . .there. . .

    I have chai tea, lemon drops and mint oreos to offer, which is not to say that I am imbibing all those things at once.

    I should have my sermon posted by 8pm over at my place and would LOVE some feedback before it goes to preach. It is on John 1, btw.

    I'm off my usual course with this sermon, which is making me more anxious than usual. More nerdy and teach-y -- but I want the proclamation to be strong, too.

  62. There's lots I can't go into...

    I am very grateful for an appreciative and supportive group like RevGals.


  63. Deb, sounds like you haven't been given much elbow room. How was your run through?
    I'm finished with a draft; if you want to read and give feedback, that is appreciated, as always.

  64. Well I found out earlier today that the readings I based my sermon on are the wrong set....seems the Communications Director chose Christmas I readings including I have been trying to rewrite a sermon to fit the prologue instead of Luke and the naming of Jesus in the temple...and to do this without writing a whole new sermon from scratch....because I am just too darn tired...a funeral and an intervention with an alcoholic family member of a parishioner, combined with no sleep last night as we tried to help our daughter fly home in bad weather and mulitple delays and diversions...sigh...I'm tired...and the sermon will have to do as is.

    I've spent an hour or so on revising the sermon. Now on to making dinner and then I'll tweak it some more....

  65. Songbird, I like your open arms theme and the different ways you play upon it.

    Our church has a creche with a Jesus like the ceramic one you have pictured, one fixed in his manger. Each Christmas Eve we invite a young member of the congregation to carry the baby Jesus in the procession and place him in the nativity scene. Last year, I asked a 6 year old who has Muscular Dystrophy to bring in Jesus. Before the service, I wasn't watching and he was playing by standing the baby upright and having him "walk" on the cement sidewalk outside, with the result that baby Jesus ended up with a chipped foot. I was struck by the fact that Jesus--who came to share fully in our human experience--now, in our creche, shared with this little boy in having legs that aren't perfectly whole. This year's Jesus-bearer was another 6 year old whose father I buried a few years ago; again, I marveled at our baby Jesus sharing in the hurt this young boy has experienced. I want to ponder in my mind and heart how these thoughts of mine mesh with yours about the open-arms-Jesus, because I think there is some connection there...

  66. Just a bit more pondering here: if you go to , down to the "Merry Christmas" entry, you'll find another wonderful story that has much the same theme. This blog is by the first little boy's dad, who also has a younger daughter with Down Syndrome (who, more than any person I know, resembles the "open arms Jesus"!).

  67. Deb...I first call out of seminary was to a church that would not allow preachers to use notes, let alone a manuscript....our sermons had to be "internalized".....sigh...

    No unsolicited advice from me....but, I'm sure you will be wonderful...and - you will be in my prayers too...

  68. Betsy, thanks for the link, that's a great post.

  69. Well, I am full of vegetarian lasagna. (We had dinner at our neighbor's house. I can run across the drive and get you some leftovers!) SongBird- nice sermon. I have eight pages but only about six that seem finished.

    Prayers for those grieving this night.

  70. I've been sitting with my mom at the nursing home, off and on, since 4 a.m. I did not expect her to last the day--she has pnuemonia and is taking nothing--and I decided against a trip to the hospital. She is almost 92 and suffering from advanced dementia. I'm home for a bit, and thankfully the sermon was mostly completed early in the week. I'm talking about the wise men, and more specifically the religious leaders who could recite the prophecy about where messiah was to be born but missed the event. I'm going over it a bit, and then I'll take a peek in at the nursing home before heading to bed. Sure to be a difficult day tomorrow. Such a mixed bunch of feelings, wanting her to leave her broken body behind, and grieving as I watch her do it.

  71. Friends, we're making brownies here at St. Casserole's. Can we coax anyone to join us?

  72. Well, the sermon and prayers are printed.

    Next up is either:
    1) a movie while working on dissertation
    2) Guitar Hero

  73. Singing Owl
    My heart and prayers are with you. It is probably the hardest thing we do - to release the pain-filled and broken to joy and new life.

    A friend of mine recently described her recently deceased Alzheimer's mom as "frolicking with Jesus"... in God's time may your mom join the dance. And may you have great peace.

    My run through was jagged and rough, Songbird. If I could just tell the story (narrational preaching) I would probably be fine. sigh.

    Yes. Lord. Even in this. I am your servant. I am a student. I am a student. I am a student.


  74. P.S. Vicar.... I vote for Guitar Hero. :)

    Oh - I made mince pie yesterday... with lots of brandy and rum. Help yourself...

  75. I'll take a brownie, please. St. Cass and Songbird, have a wonderful time! Praying for you Deb! Yikes! My sermon is tweaked and printed and I'm off for a quick visit at the nursing home before turning in. I'd think about staying tonight, but I'm already sick and don't want to get worse. sleep is in order. Wonder how much I'll get? ;-) Prayers to all still working, and those preaching tomorrow. Thanks for prayers for my sweet mother and me, dear friends.

  76. Deb, I hope it goes well tomorrow, but I do wish there were more flexibility in your setting. I hope you'll have chances to explore other kinds of preaching as time goes on, too.
    Singing Owl, that is going to be a very hard day tomorrow, you have my prayers.

  77. Vicar- definitely go with Guitar Hero but set the kitchen timer so you don't play until one in the morning! ;-)

  78. (((SO)))

    Well I just got off the phone with the organist. While she sounded rough this afternoon when we talked about the funeral hymns, she didn't sound remotely like herself now. So no musician tomorrow! Luckily the colletion of CDs we have just for this purpose has 3 of the 4 carols planned for the service and we can easily change the 4th. Hopefully she is available for Monday's funeral!

    In other news, I continue to hold my (89 and 10/12ths) grandfather in prayer. HE is in hospital and talking to my dad last night, he will be there for the duration. Seems that some time this winter we will be flying to the coast. Mind you it sounds like it could be a slow slide into sleep.

  79. Many prayers for Singing Owl and her mom at this tough time.
    I had a bit of excitment as soemone got pulled over and arressted right in the front yard of the manse. I bet I get a bazillion ?s tomorrow!
    Still working on sermon for tomorrow, but also watching Miracle. Thsi has been a great day for movies!
    I love the scene where they must run drills after only tying Finland and finally one guy gets it and states he plays for the USA(after each one left claim on their own team name).
    I have wanted to use it in a sermon and may try it on Jan 11 (Baptism of the Lord and the day we ordain new elders).
    Might be a nice tie in with beginning of Jesus's ministry, beginning of elder's ministry and our idenity with our own baptism and calling.
    We are all called to be bros and sis. in Christ.
    But, that is two weeks away. I need a sermon on Simeon and Anna in exactly 13 hrs!
    And I want to sleep.

  80. I did have Lowcountry Shrimp and grits left over from Xmas Eve. I polished it off, but since it is a virtual meal offeirng, I have plenty for all to enjoy.
    I also have coconut cake and orange b-day cake.
    Anyone need a cup of Fair Trade Coffee?

  81. Ok, preaching four different sermons in one clearly more than I can manage....the sermon for tomorrow is a mere 934 words...and, well, I just don't have anything else to say....but worse yet, what I am saying is simply - not much....big sigh...

    Singing prayers are with you and your family this night...

  82. Praying for the families, for Deb as she prepares to preach, for Singing Owl & family.

    For all still writing and working.

  83. Friends, I may be visiting Central Time, but my bedtime clock is screaming "sleep! sleep!" I hope you have a good time together and get those sermons written! Blessings as you preach tomorrow, especially those with special challenges.
    Good night!

  84. Oh, dear, and for Gord and family, too.

  85. I'm one of those who is off tomorrow, but I'm doing Anna and Simeon next week. I look forward to gleaning from your thoughts next week. Just wanted to pop in to let you all know I've been thinking about you and praying about you today. Happy and blessed final preparations!

  86. finished Anna and Simeon and posted it. although, it still feels unfinished and a little flat. but I need sleep or the delivery will be very flat.

    I have some peppermint stick ice cream, strong coffee, and Frango mint chocolates for any that are still writing/working.

  87. Prayers for you SingingOwl and Gord, and all of you who grieve this day, or are preparing to. I seems to have been a rough one here.

    If songbird left any brownies I'll take one as I head to bed, with the sermon unfinished. I need three more sentences, and, well, they just are not here tonight.

    HS, hope you are getting your rest tonight, as it seems you will have a busy day tomorrow with all of us preachers!

  88. Singing Owl, the antiphon that's used at Compline with the Song of Simeon seems especially appropriate as my prayer for you and your mother tonight:

    Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.

    May you both feel Christ watching, whatever tonight and tomorrow bring.

  89. Prayers ascending for Singing Owl and Gord. And for all of us still at it this late in the day/night.

  90. Well, it's short...but here it is...thoughts, comments, suggestions, HELP....if you are so inclined...

  91. I finished my sermon for tomorrow. Glad I decided to with the journey of the Magi, as a potential church wants a "holiday sermon" in addition to a "regular sermon".

    Many prayer requests and I add another. A friend's son died of cancer this morning at the age of 23...he had been in hospice for 2 weeks.

  92. RevHRod, I finally quit 'cause my hands were hurting and I just couldn't quite beat Ted Nugent ... (GHWorldTour in case you were wondering)

    Night y'all

    Betsy, I agree, a fitting prayer

  93. Is anyone else still out there with any thougths?
    I forgot to say I also have orange spicy pecans to share and about a third of a glass of Chardonay left in bottle/ Any takers?

  94. ha ha and I thought I was the last one to finish this week's sermon. We were away for the day with our Son on his 30th Birthday. He is well.

    We are having a Baptism tomorrow and I'm preaching on the Anna and /simeon waiting and finding.
    Seems appropriate to bring a child forward for baptism on this day when we think of Jesus being brought. What blessings do we bestow on anyone who comes in our midst? Not just as a babe but anyone who walks in.
    Instead of saying Peace be with you...we've been saying. I thank God always for you.
    Perhaps we need to greet everyone because if we don't we might miss the messiah.
    anyway... one more orange then watch the last of Sleepless in seattle and get up in the morning and put ti all together.
    Happy new year friends.

  95. It is five a.m. and I'm off to the nursing home. Time is short. Praying for your family too, Gord, and for all. So terrible about the 23 year old. May the peace of Christ be with us.

  96. Singing Owl, may you find the time with your mother to be holy. May the silence resonate God's presence. And may you and your mother both find peace.

  97. Good morning to all of you and blessings and hugs for all of you above who need them! There almost seem to be too many to name!

    I'm doing a short meditation on anna and simeon, on waiting expectantly and then not being able to keep our mouths shut, and I'm then opening it all up to the congregation to share their stories of Christmas Praise - where the Hope, Love, Joy and Peace of Christ has entered their lives this season. They will also be able to pick a Christmas Carol, if that helps them to praise God better. And then we'll conclude that time with "Go Tell it on the Mountain."

    I think it will be kind of fun... as long as we have people show up this morning (bad roads) and as long as people decide to participate.

  98. Singing Owl, we will be praying for you this morning.
    Friends, remember the Holy Spirit goes with you today, wherever you preach.


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