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Saturday, January 24, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Are We There Yet?

I don't know about the rest of you, but this has been a big week for me. I am ready for Sunday, except for one thing: there has not been a minute to do more with my sermon than choose texts and give it a title.

We have resistant Jonah finally bringing God's warning to the Ninevites, and the citizens of that not-so-fair city taking a chance on God's forgiveness. We have the first four disciples abandoning family and commerce to follow Jesus, and poor old Zebedee left behind in the boat. The epistle warns us that the old ways are passing, while the Psalm gives us some solid and familiar images of the God we follow.

What thread are you following this week? Are you there yet? Anyone leading up to an Annual Meeting? Have a great idea for a Children's Word about leaving home suddenly? And what stands between you and your writing today?

Share your thoughts, inspirations, questions and snack foods in the comments; I promise to keep the virtual coffee going until we're ready for a Diet Coke later!

(That's Jonah, as imagined by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, with a surprisingly small fish.)


  1. I'm posting this just before midnight and going to bed. Early birds are welcome to begin partying!

  2. Well, what a nice surprise to see the party already going. I'm partying late Friday night so I can go hang out with some friends tomorrow.

    I have a rambling sermon on the gospel. It needs some...something. Hopefully I'll have time sometime tomorrow to ponder and fix it up.

  3. I'm fairly certain this is a sign of the imminent return of Christ. I wrote my sermon last night and tweaked it this morning. It's done. Granted, it's a bit shorter than my usual because I have a man coming to talk about the new homeless shelter for women that is opening in our town, but still. Since I'm asking for a little congregation participation around the subject of kids' first words in my opening, it probably won't be too much shorter than usual.

    Anyway, you can find my sermon on the gospel over here. Can't believe I won't be with you guys much tomorrow - - not even in the late night party!!!

    (Celebrated by going to see Slumdog Millionaire with my husband tonight. The first movie I have seen in a theater in over 18 months. GREAT movie!)

  4. My title is Stuck in the Belly or>>>
    Contrasting and comparing Jonah's reaction to listening to God and the disciples willingness to follow God's call. How often have I wanted to hide rather than follow God's call. Still needs lots of fleshing out. Hey She rev a movie in a theater sounds great. Glad you had fun.

  5. Bishop is visiting and I'm not preaching :-) However, I mentioned Tuesday about the (unused) wooden pulpit in our church, a major misstep in a remodel 20 years ago. It would be perfect for preaching Jonah, because it looks like a giant gaping mouth; as a result, we all call it "Jaws." Anyway, should you be trying to procrastinate, I don't have a good photo, but you can go to and watch the slide show on the home page. You can see it somewhat in the photo that's taken from the back of the church; look to the left toward the front. Doesn't give the full effect, but you'll get the idea! I guess I just have to wait another 3 years for Jonah to come around again...

  6. I'm up late trying to get a start on the sermon, because I'm going to Toronto tomorrow for a wedding and won't have too much time tomorrow to write.

    But after a long and busy day, I'm very tired. Let's hope this one comes together quickly. I may be around tomorrow if I can find internet access on the road.

  7. A line from Feasting on the Word keeps coming back to me. We can't separate the message from the messenger. Jesus and his proclamation are one and the same. Jonah wanted to separate himself from the message and it didn't work. We often do the same only we want to be Christians without doing the work of being Christians.
    And that's all I've got as I head up to King College for the Buechner Institute and Barbara Brown Taylor. Even for Episcopalians, that's going to make for a very short sermon!

  8. It's morning! It's morning!
    Other than fretting over my son's travel to his audition at Juilliard (flight canceled last night, new flight this morning, audition at 4 p.m.)--wait, that's pretty much all I can think about until I confirm the first flight is in the air.
    So I'll just be over here making coffee and trying not to spin wildly in a maniacal circle, okay?

  9. Wow, I'm not usually up this early, but I fell asleep for a few hours in my chair and now I'm trying to get some thoughts down before getting ready to go to this wedding.

    Songbird, you remind me of my mom when I'm traveling and having difficulties--even without an audition. I hope his flight takes off soon!

    Margaret, thanks for that insight about the messenge and the messenger. That might really tie what I have so far together. Whew!

  10. Good morning, preachers! I'm up and brewing my favorite coffee. I have a worship service at another community church at noon - they are dedicating their new building. I don't know how long that will take, but I'll be checking in and out today.

  11. Thanks, SB! The fish must be a "big MOUTH" bass.
    No sermon hee yet. It was a long week of dealing with a lot of junk this week.
    Anyhow, sermonizing has been limited due to "other ministry" stuff.
    Cats got me up early for breakfast and are now ready to take a nap. I on the other hand must get ready for a new day.
    Anyhow, Jonah and the dsicples are on the front burner, but are a slow simmer thus far

  12. I'm not preaching this week, but I'm looking for a good children's message. (I have some not-so-good ideas)

    I'll be back in a little while... got Bible study in a few minutes here...

    I'm also preparing to go on a Women's Leadership Training next week...

  13. I am working with the question of hope coming out of crisis times (based on the fact that, according to MArk, Jesus' ministry starts when John had been arrested). OR at least I will be. Right now I am getting some laundry done and preparing to go out for a pancake breakfast in celebration of national literacy day.

    WE aren't reading the Jonah pasage but I may tell the story for children's time.

  14. I've got hazelnut coffee ready -- fully caffeinated, of course!

    Our Annual Meeting is tomorrow, and it will be my first with this congregation.

    I am preaching on the texts for the Conversion of St. Paul, who is our patronal saint at this parish (Acts 26:9-21, Galatians 1:11-24, Psalm 67, and Matthew 10:16-22).

    I am thinking about contrasting New Years' resolutions with conversion... that we are called to be transformed by God's Word, by our encounter with Jesus as Paul was.

    Have some coffee, preachin' friends!

  15. I'm working with Mark, and am on the same page with Gord (which is a nice place to be...)--being called in a crisis situation. At the same time, the call never comes when it's convenient, but in the middle of life's "stuff." Not quite sure what the form will be, yet.

    I also want to get it blasted out (along with finishing an article for a scholarly journal, which, if accepted, would be my first publication!!) because tonight, on Lifetime TV, the movie Prayers for Bobby premiers. Besides the attractions of the movie itself, tt was partly shot at Big Sister City church. No, I didn't get a walk-on...

    I have coffee and bagels to offer...

  16. I have precisely an hour and a half to put my notes into an outline for tomorrow evening's teaching service. I have an out of town wedding all day today, morning AND afternoon commitments tomorrow so it's now or never. . .and never isn't an option.

    I think I can, I think I can. . .

  17. No walk-on, RP? Rats. I was hoping to see your smiling face in a shot somewhere when I watch ...

    I'll check back in later, after I have more coffee. Maybe waaay later --got a lunch meeting today.

  18. Songbird, hope that flight's well in the air - maybe even touched down where he needs to be (USA geog and distance not too wonderful, I'm afraid).
    Sermon is not started yet - procrastinating by doing some house work. Tomorrow is the 250th birthday of our national bard, Robert Burns and I thought it would be a good idea to do something with him but still using the gospel text from the lectionary - not so sure now that it was a good idea. We'll see. But, since I'm going to an iconic Burns event tonight, I nned to get a move on. Will check back later.

  19. I’m heading out in a little while to go see a friend who's thinking about going to seminary. This should be interesting. The last time I spoke with someone about that... I think I scared them slap out of the ballpark.

    I'm preaching on Jonah this week. It is what it is... and my offering can be found here.

    I have homemade chili... cheezy shrimp... to offer up for those of you who might be hungry. There's lots to go around... cuz I'm eating Chinese!

  20. Baby Girl is contentedly playing by herself in her exersaucer, but she is so adorable, I'd much rather be watching her than sermonizing.

    I too am looking for a children's time--but will try to finish sermon first as I need that for tonight's service but won't need children's time until tomorrow's.

  21. Good morning, all. I'm preaching for the first time in a couple of months tomorrow (am technically on a leave of absence from my part of the pastoral work - dh [co-pastor] has taken on my share this year - but he is out of town this weekend preaching elsewhere, so I'm up). It's our Annual Meeting tomorrow as well. I'm preaching Mark and don't have anything written yet, and only have a few vague ideas. Am happy to be partying with you guys today!

  22. My sermon title is "When Justice Meets Compassion." I've got Jonah and Tarshish and Ninevah and Rick Warren and Rev. Lowrey and the Bush girls and the Obama girls and a memory from my childhood about being told to "change my attitude" all swirling about in my head! Whew!

    I'm waiting for pancakes that Blue Eyes is making. Then I have to get dressed, work on the sermon,make a hospital visit later, then be ready to leave by 5:00 or so, dressed to the nines for Blue Eye's company party. Just typing that made me tired and a little panicky!!

  23. once again, not preaching this week but have Children's Time duty. We have a funeral this morning (I need to go get ready, actually) and then, post-luncheon, I have to try to figure out a children's time using Mark. It seems like an easy week, a slam-dunk even, except that Youth Sunday borrowed this text just two months ago and explored it pretty thoroughly, and I don't want to just steal something they did (it was a memorable Sunday and also was not very long ago). We do have the Annual Meeting this week, which probably means most people will attend the 930 service (the one with no children's sermon b/c it's during sunday school) so maybe there won't be any children to children's-time with....which might be worse. (sigh) any calling-the-disciples children's ideas out there?

  24. Just noodling around the 'net while working on a few things here and there.

    I have my second (and final) annual meeting tomorrow.

    I'm preaching the gospel and Mark's take on the calling of the fishermen disciples. "Follow me and I will make you fishers of people."

    I got to thinking about that. These guys were career fishermen. They cast their nets and worked together to bring in the fish. And now Jesus is asking these fishermen to change their focus and bring in people to the kingdom.

    Nice image . . . but what about the fish? When you are a career fisherman, the fish you catch and haul into the boat die. Now Jesus is asking these guys (and us) to fish for people and haul them into the "boat" of the church -- which implies that these people caught will die.

    So my sermon revolves around the idea of being ready to die to our old ways so that we can live in the boat of the church.

  25. Oh, Songbird what an annoying week you are having. Really, you are most justified in stomping your feet around the house a little, or whatever you do when you're annoyed.

    Gord - I'm on hope, too after hearing a guy say re Obama that re gitmo he was "putting hope before reality" (ummm, you say that like it's a BAD thing....)

    Anyway, how to be hopeful but not a way that makes you ignore the yucky stuff, how to live in a reality but not a way that makes you a hopeless cynic? I am finishing the last few pages of this good book on the subject "Though the Fig Tree Does NOt Blossom: Toward a REsponsible Theology of Christian Hope" that I started a while ago.

    Then I"m going for it, in between taking a car in for service (3rd time, same prob), going to a basketball game and having dinner at some church folks' house tonite.

    Sigh, so hoped to be She-Rev-ish and not be working on a Saturday, but I AM off next week, so here goes.

  26. Sounds like you gals (and guys) have some great sermon ideas in the mix. I wrote mine last night on Ps. 62 and the need for listening to the sound of silence to hear God. (Yes I plan to use a music clip.)

    I'm also reading the Mark text and pulled a children's story idea from Clergy Journal about playing "Turn Around" and explaining the call to "repent". Seasons of the Spirit congregational life adds the idea of asking kids when they've been asked to 'turn around' and do something different. When are we called to change our ways? Hope it helps. I'm going to make some more Green Mtn. French Roast before I head into the office to wrap things up and do a couple visits. Best wishes to all, and especially traveling children!

  27. oh, childrens time.

    i want to talk about how sometimes when we feel very hopeful, all we can do is burst into songs.

    and then, maybe sing with them some of the songs from this week - "simple gifts" and "this land is your land" - bec I want to talk about "the other side that didnt say nothing that side is made for you and me" in the sermon...

  28. Okay, I have a long list of ideas and even a tentative sermon outline. Off to make a run for the (northern) border and hopefully squeeze in a quick hospital visit on the way.

    I may be back late late tonight, but hopefully I'll be done. Good luck preachers!

    (Oh, and I have annual meeting #1 tomorrow as well. Sigh.)

  29. jonah... went with jonah and the gist is that mercy and compassion are always gifts from God... so who are we to stand in the way or rail our tiny little fists about it (as did uh jonah)...

    even mention' the closin' of gitmo; the boonieville area school consolidation debate; and some other stuff... uh-oh... on the day of the annual meeting. *sigh*

    we'll see how it goes...

  30. LIke She-Rev, too am done. Just have to touch up some details later. In the meantime, I have work to prepare for a worship committee meeting on Wednesday, coffee with my sisters later on and an invite to an anniversary celebration tonight.

    I have been given honest permission by the hostess to bow out if I feel too tired or just lacking energy to attend, which is so gracious.

    Cheese - I'll be thinking of you today and this evening. After this week and all you've been through, please be good to yourself.

    I'm going with Johah and the theme of God's persistent love even when we God is always present and loving even when we get caught up in the minutiae of life. I also love working with this passage because it shows so starkly the profound grace of God's forgiveness.

  31. Just to be clear, we don't hate you if you're already done.
    (Not much, anyway.)
    My son's second flight is due to land in a few minutes, so it seems he will make it to the audition. I'll update when I know more.
    Meanwhile, my sermon consists of a title and two scriptures and a few ideas I left as a message for myself on the answering machine while driving home from Weight Watchers. (Down a pound, for a total of 7 in three weeks!)

  32. SB, yay for your son probably making it to the audition! And yay for the weight loss! WOW! - you go! (also, you are brill for leaving notes for yourself on your answering matchine).

    I surprised myself by just plunging right in without any angst, and now I'm 500 words in. Hope I can keep it up (though I've been on extended break for the last, oh, hour or so). My boys are being very needy today (with hubby gone) and they are adding to my distraction (not that I ever need help in that dept.).

  33. songbird - so glad to hear that he is THERE! such an exciting day...

    ok, back from the car dealership and ready to go to town.

  34. I'm at 879 words, kids, so we all know what that means---time to find a point!

    I took a short break to show WG my new dress, and shoes, and jewelry, and she approved and even lent me some earrings that will go perfectly. What am I going to do when she moves away??? Wah! It's not fair! Oh wait...that just might be my point!

    Back at it...

  35. Yep, my errands are run also; trying to decide if I'm hungry enough for lunch now or if I should get the outline done first...

    Lunch here is also chili, Strong Heart's first attempt at it which turned out stupendously good! There's cheese for it too...

  36. ooo, cheese pictures please! that sounds fun - I hope it is

  37. Word count: 1405

    Sermon points: maybe 1/2

    If it were Fat Club that would be good, but in a sermon, it stinks!


  38. My older son says he has our second son in his "clutches," and they are looking for a sandwich near Lincoln Center. Phew! I am relieved. Hope over fear: I guess I wasn't paying attention to my sermon title.
    I've made some sketchy notes, but now we are headed to a command performance: the birthday party of the Grandfather of my Children, who is getting a surprise gift of a trip to hear Peter play in a concert next month, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.
    None of which will get my sermon written...
    see you all later!

  39. well. I am not preaching tomorrow. that's good. I have needed this week to recover from the last several. We have a member of the diocesan staff coming and he will preach and lead the adult forum.

    I'm really glad, SB, that your son will make it to the, and fed! Can't wait to hear how it goes....

    blessings on all of you as you make hospital visits, write sermons, have annual meetings (mine was last week, sigh)....and do whatever else you have to do.

  40. Not preaching tomorrow, thanks be to God and the Reader, but I ought ot be finalising the liturgy for the Bishop's visit next Sunday...Instead all I can think about is a couple (good friends of my predecessor here) who have emailed me about "A rumour" which they want to discuss face to face...but because he works shifts it seems that this may not be possible for a while. As another couple have just left the church because they are out of sympathy with the direction I am taking it(though with the entire approval and support of the PCC)and I've also had a bit of a drama with a neighbouring colleague, I'm not a great fan of this week. Oh, and the washing machine is broken.
    All of which makes concentration fact, I feel rather as if I'm inside the Great Fish myself this evening :(
    But there are clearly going to be some fab sermons out there and prayers for those writing and preachign them. xx

  41. Sorry...I seem to have mistaken this for the Wednesday Whine. Apologies all you lovely people xx

  42. Oh, Kathryn, how perfectly stinky. I'm sorry for all of that. "I want to talk with you about a rumor" is perhaps the meanest way to give someone a heads up!


    I'm working on a presentation for Sunday school tomorrow on my relationship with my spending, belongings, and consumer debt. Is it any wonder that I am breaking it up by cleaning out our worst closet?!

  43. Kathryn, hang in there. You are in my thoughts and prayers

  44. Just got back from a team meeting for a Chrysalis team here in MD! (Chrysalis - part of Cursillo and Walk to Emmaus, but for teens.) And I gave my practice talk on the Holy Spirit (God Empowers.) Thanks be to God, it went well.

    I'm doing an exegetical analysis of Matthew 4. (Temptations of Jesus) and then...
    MAYBE, just MAYBE I will get some time with my beloved who came home from his silent retreat yesterday.

    Praying for all you preachers...

  45. Songbird...
    Prayers for your son's audition! It's nerve-wracking enough, without worrying about missed flights, etc.


  46. Oh my totally messed up what the scripture was for tomorrow, don't know what I was thinking UGGH

  47. Oh Kathryn... how perfectly awful! may you find time this day, this evening to rest, relax, and reassure yourself of your gifts... before tomorrow's events arrive...

  48. Songbird -- glad your son made it!

    Kathryn -- oh, yuck. Prayers for you.

    I can't concentrate, that is I'm having a hard time concentrating. Good thing I'm not preaching, but I still don't have a children's message....

    back later....can I get you anything?

  49. Wow - I've got something like a draft done. Hard to believe. Am going to let it sit and steep for a bit while I go pay some attention to my sons. I feel terrible for the amount of time they've spent in front of the TV today.

  50. Love that picture Songbird, I am dropping by after an exhausting study day in Cambridge. I worked on my sermon which is designed to wrap up the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, on Thursday, a draft is here, thankfuly it is for tomorrow evening, so I'll take a look in the morning.

  51. Well, I have a draft. Going to take a break and let it sit for a bit before revision before The Movie.

    Kathryn, what a difficult week! You are in my prayers!

    And Songbird, your son should be in the audition as I type...prayers going up!

  52. Thanks, RP! It's 4:45 now, and I got the message after I posted last that his slot was at 4:30. I do hope it's going/gone well!

  53. And thanks to others as well, I'm hoping the boys will call me and check in!

  54. Yay Songbird for the arrival of Son #2. I hope the audition goes well.

    (((Kathryn))) - you can whine on Saturdays too. Srsly.

    I had a lovely afternoon with my sisters but now I'm completely spent. I'm glad the sermon is done, someone else is doing the Children's time and I have the evening to rest up. I can't believe how one afternoon of socializing can make me this tired.

    This whole aging business is for the birds. I'm just sayin....

  55. I've heard from the boys! Peter feels good about the audition, and now they are going out to dinner, compliments of their father and grandfather. Thanks for all the good wishes!

  56. Once upon a time there was the beginning of a sermon. It was entitled "Call & Response." It was going to talk about the differing kinds of responses to different kinds of calls. That was then...This is now.

    Friday was one of the suckiest days I have ever lived through. A parishioner was on trial for two murders. I was there for the whole trial. There was not a shred of evidence and I was confident of his innocence. The jury found him guilty of one but not the other, and even the judge was confused as to how that was possible, since both happened at the same time in the same place.

    The family was distraught, the inmate was distraught, even the bailiff cried as she returned him to the jail.

    Since I was the only one allowed to visit outside of the weekly family visiting time. I went to visit him, and sent others to care for the family. I spent two hours with him, and he spoke of things a dying man would. Gave me messages for friends and members of his family. Asked me to contact his attorney to draw up a living will for him.

    I'm holding it together better today. I had to go see someone I trusted before I could go see him. I had to cry first and find the words of God's hope that I could give to him. All I could share was that the picture is much bigger than we can see, and that great theological insight that "sh_t happens."

    Today I woke up with one of those illnesses that keeps me running to the bathroom. Again, sh_t happens.

    Sermon? Psshh. I have to find ME again.

    The intro to the party did give me an idea for the children though. What do you take when you go on a trip? What if you had to just drop everything and go, like the fishermen?

    There will be a sermon tomorrow. It just isn't here yet.

  57. I started out this week with a plan for where I would go with the Gospel. And ended up nudged, pulled, tugged in a different am working through how hard it is for us to really follow Jesus when we'd much rather set our own course.

    For those of you who have had sucky weeks - and I'm raising my hand, too - I found this post helpful.

    Congrats to your son, Songbird! I'm glad it went well, especially given the stress of trying to get there!

  58. I'm always amazed at how much sh*t lots of us juggle through the week, yet, come Sunday, we're up there strutting our stuff just the same. Kathryn and Kim in KCK - and others - so sorry about all those heavy duty pastoral culdesacs and praying that hope will filter in and keep you and those you care for afloat. Sending love and prayers.
    Its almost sunday here so I really should get down to that sermon...

  59. Kim -- prayers for you! That sounds so hard.

    Sermon? What;s that? I had hoped to be done by now, but its not done. But it is still early - ish. I am too anxious about the annual meeting tomorrow to get this written.

    how do you preach come and follow me to those who don't want to?

  60. Oh, Kim, that is so hard.

    Yeah, Songbird!

    I have to leave in a hour to the dinner thing and I'm really not as far as I'd like. Fooling around with ITunes for the last hour did not help :)

  61. Hmmm, iTunes. Do I need to fool around with iTunes?

  62. (((Kim)))

    I should have cleaned my house and thought about children's times this afternoon, but instead I popped the laundry in the machine and snuggled up with my cats on the couch for a couple of hours. Now I'm headed to a friend's house for dinner and have just looked at They suggest follow the leader as an illustration, so I'm contemplating actually playing follow the leader during the children's time. That way if there aren't many children, adults can do it just as well. What do you think? Could it work?

  63. Teri, I think that's a great idea. Can I forget that I wrote a title suggesting something completely different in the bulletin?

  64. [[[Kim in KC]]]

    You made the right choice in visiting this poor man.

    Dear God, we pray --we yearn-- for your righteousness, not ours.

    For this my sister, and the others of us who have been sorely tried this week by bad news, help us to remember the good news and speak it to those who are hungering and thirsting for it.

    Maybe, O God, we need to hear it first ... Help us to hear.


  65. Teri -- I played follow the leader with my kids last time this came up and they loved it! I had a couple of plants in the congregation, and so they made arches across the aisle for us to go under and two put their scarves down and we jumped over them. It was awesome! Go for it! Just know that when they all sit back down, they will not be listening to a word you say.

    I have a question for all of you. FomerBleovedPastor's spouse is a famous preacher - -preached at the festival of homiletics and preaches in these parts once a year -- my folks go to see him/her. My congregation is very very familiar with the work of this person, and several are in contact with the family still (BTW the family left here over 5 years ago). Do I dare quote one of this person's sermons or writings in my sermon? I'm worried about the distraction factor. I thought about saying " a famous preacher has compared this to..." or "as a colleague said..." but have a feeling someone will know the reference.

    I may now be obsessing as a form of procrastination...

  66. knittinpreacher, if the quote really works, just say who said it. I bet they will be tickled, as if you had told a familiar story.
    I am finally getting somewhere, although it's not exactly the road I had planned to write myself down...

  67. A query on behalf of the Sunday School teacher (with whom I happen to share a bed):
    What would be a good scripture passage daling with planting seeds and getting growth? They will be using a story about an acorn growing into a mighty oak and then shedding its own acorns.

    ALl that keeps coming to mind is "lest a seed falls into the ground and dies" and I am not sure that is what she wants.

  68. I am back home after a very long day out of town in Lansing, to help Fellow Traveler do some specs on stained glass supplies -- this is a new vocational direction for her, but something she's wanted to do for years. And we had a lovely lunch of different African foods at the Travelers Club and Tuba Museum restaurant in Okemos -- anyone traveling in mid-Michigan, check this place out.

    No phone calls from the nursing home about my aunt, who when I visited yesterday was pretty much the same; I was going to go there after we got home, but I have a headache and am just too tired. I feel somewhat guilty for enjoying myself out of town today, but...I'm no help when I'm at the care facility, or when I'm here brooding.

    All of which is to preface...I haven't begun my AM prayer. But it will address the many facets of change. Somehow.

  69. Knitting preacher: you asked how do you preach following to people who don't want to follow. What occured to me is there are people in scripture don't want to follow and drag their feet, and Jonah is one of those people. So maybe acknowledge that it's not necessarily easy to follow, and we may not want to, and we aren't alone in that. Maybe we can be inspired by people who did difficult things like leave their father and fishing job behind in those moments when we also feel challenged?

    Kim... that sounds so hard, but it also sounds like you had some support for yourself through this. I'll share the same advice I received regarding the suicide this fall... caring for this person and family are going to take more energy than your realize in addition to wearing on you personally, so try to be intentional about your self care.

    Prayers your way and also for others who are juggling responsibilities or have had hard weeks.

    I had my first Annual Meeting last Sunday, so this weekend has a little more breathing room. Still working out my sermon.

  70. Gord - what about the mustard tree?

    I know there are others with plants. What about Genesis where God creates all the plants?

    I think I'll get something to eat before getting the thoughts rolling around my head to gel better.

  71. Knitting preacher - on the whether to quote person because you're afraid they may go off on a mental tangent... I'd say that if it's a quote you think some will be familiar with, then it might be more distracting for them if you DON'T mention the preacher's name. So maybe know that you may lose them for a few a seconds, and build in a little space for that and then do what you can to bring them back. Sometimes if I'm quoting someone who they may be unfamiliar with, or if it's something I know I read somewhere that didn't origninate from me but I can't remember who said it, then I may use a generic "one preacher, or one author, or one theologian has said..." But usually I will try to name folks, in case it's someone they find interesting and my want to read more about later.

    Whatever you decide, I hope it goes well. :)

  72. Knittinpreacher, I'd go ahead and quote, but attribute it to him by name. Straightforward, and those who know him will be drawn in by hearing his name. I pretty much always name the folks I'm quoting, specifically because when I'm listening to a sermon, if the name isn't given I mentally wander trying to figure it out!

    Kim, hugs and prayers for you. I have been down a similar path twice and it is heartrending, confusing, and very draining...for a long time, too, as these are not short term situations. Wise of you to seek your own support first. I'm sorry your body is reflecting the nature of the situation :-o

  73. So as I was obsessing the funeral director called to tell me one of my church members died today. There's some perspective.

    Songbird, thanks for the reframing. I had not thought of it that way.

  74. and to you Betsy and By the Sea. Usually I go with the name, but when the person you are quoting has preached in the pulpit and is known from picnics and BBQ's, not just books it feels different. I may say something like "some of you may know a preacher by the name of XYZ... -I hear s/he preached here on occasion..." in a humorous tone, let them giggle and then get back to it.

    Thanks for the advice! I believe it was Jed Bartlett from the West Wing who said it best -- "Break's over."

  75. Yay! I have a sermon! Let me eat cake!! (Really, because we have cake, too. Want some? They made my daughter bring it home from the party.)

    I'll be back in a few minutes to catch up on your comments. While eating cake.

  76. Oh Kim--praying hard for all...Lord, have mercy!

    I am finished with the sermon--early this week--and now am going to tackle a humungous pile of dirty dishes. Just stopped in to say a quick "hello" at the party.

  77. Singing Owl, you make me grateful that I loaded the dishwasher earlier.
    Who needs a Diet Coke, or a cup of tea, to get the juices flowing again?

  78. I'll take that Diet Coke, thanks! I SO WISH I had a dishwasher! Okey, now I really have to get off this computer and go get sudsy.

  79. Oh my Kim how hard, bless you as you are in ministry with him and his family. Songbird yeah for your son's audition.

  80. Well, after a week of several, many hours-long hospital visits, a 3 hour glucose tolerance test (blood drawn every hour), session meeting, presbytery meeting, and the no-snow snow day (school was still canceled due to the 'threat' of 2-4 inches, so I had to stay home with the kid who was completely disappointed that she didn't get to play in the snow), I am finally writing a sermon.
    Last word count was 847, and like Cheese said, that means I need to get to a point. I'm using the motto of the national Presby. Disaster Assistance team--"Out of Chaos, Hope," as my title. Lots of good Obama lingo in there, change, hope, etc. Just not sure where it's all going yet.
    I'm dead tired, and like many of you, also have annual cong. meeting tomorrow. It's a struggle.

  81. Friends, I fear I am going to leave you early. I hope you will avail yourselves of any needed food and drink, and I'll be back with coffee in the morning!

  82. [[[[Kim]]]]

    I let my sermon sit for awhile and never came up with any huge new inspiration, so I went ahead and posted it .

    Now to make some choc chip pumpkin muffins for Annual Meeting tomorrow. G'night y'all!

  83. Kim, I can't imagine walking where you have been walking. You and your parishioner are in my prayers.

    I said briefly this morning that my sermon tomorrow would in some way be about not being able to separate the message from the messenger. I have just returned from hearing Barbara Brown Taylor talk about speaking what we feel. It seems to me that, if we are to be the messengers God has called us to be, we can't separate ourselves from the message. That means, for me, that we have to preach from the place we are in the message we have been given.
    So how do we let our congregations know where we are and that the feelings that seem to be consuming us are part of the message "this morning" and yet the message is still true and life giving as is the messenger?

    I have been accused of having a second sermon at the announcements when I need to say something like I'm having health problems but the lectionary texts don't seem open to saying it in the sermon. ;-) The only time I remember the texts speaking to exactly what was happening in my life was when my son went to prison. And so I talked about it in the sermon.

  84. ((((Kim))))

    I just checked back in briefly and wanted you to know that I was praying for you.

  85. Thanks to SOngbird I got the intro to my sermon "It's the end of the world as we know it".

    I'll have to reference Obama in the sermon.

    WHEre is our hope in the crisis/chaos of the world today?

  86. if there are any diet cokes left I'll take one. And how is this for irony... the quote I was owndering about using/attributing no longer fits where I have followed the sermon. But it the issue comes up enough that I will use the advice another time.

  87. (((Kim))))

    Be good to yourself. Sorry, that sounds trite and easy, but I don't intend it to at all. Just know that you are held in the light...

  88. Back from a day of fun to a still-scrambled sermon. I think, after rereading it, that I start with one sermon and end with another. But I can't find the place where I went off track. So I think they're going to get two for the price of one tomorrow.

    Prayers for all of you carrying heavy burdens tonight.

  89. much earlier, i was reading via my smartphone but couldn't post

    now, I'm finally here and it looks like the other night owls are already finished. anyone still here?

  90. gord - still wondering about childrens time? what about that scattering the seed parable?

    any late niters out there? and dont we miss SheRev (even tho we're so impressed that you got your sermon done a Friday!!)

  91. I am back from Toronto (the wedding was beautiful!) and here to settle in and finish this puppy up. I have 356 words, a half-decent outline, some regular Coke, and cozy pajamas. Is this going to be enough?

    Prayers for all of us--it sounds like it's been a tough week all around, some more than others.

  92. I've been reading with y'all all day. Prayers for all the stresses and worries.

    Heading to bed. I put my manuscript in a different format for preaching tomorrow to see if it might make it easier for me to wander away a little physically and homeletically, but still feel calm and like I've got something to come back to!

    Blessings to the late night crew! See you next week, I'm sure!

  93. juniper, semfem, good to see you ... misery loves company :)

  94. Well, I'm not writing a sermon, but a Sunday School presentation. I am talking about my relationship with my finances and posessions, and how my spiritual life has influenced them.

    I was asked to do this because of my serious CHALLENGES in this an "it can be done" - then a financial planner will speak.

    I am a good and easy extemporaneous speaker, but this has got me skeered. I think I am over thinking. Maybe not.

  95. just read:
    "I think hope is hard to pin down or respond to with just one word, because it's something that is visceral but perhaps formless, but also as necessary as water."

    from Elizabeth Alexander interview in Newsweek

  96. I just spent too long on fb with a friend from hs that is pretty hopeless ... so cyber pastoral care of a sort. Anyone know of liberal Christians in the Springfield MO area?

    thankfully, the sermon is now printable, I just have to get the prayers together

  97. Back to it this morning(5:30am), trying to preach a kind of social gospel based on the works of Robert Burns but not lose sight of Jesus who preached it in the first instance. Coming together but very slowly.

  98. I just took a brief nap with my head on the table. Back to work. Sigh.

  99. I can't believe nobody has seized 100 yet, so I'll do it now. Closing in on my final point and illustration now, I hope. 1067 words. Juniper? Liz? Vicar? anyone there?

  100. semfem, still here - almost there which is just as well. Almost 9am - time to hit the shower. Blessings!

  101. Whew! Finally got there, getting closer to the wire. Posted here
    Go and preach this and then make a start on sermon for ordination on Tuesday. aarghh!
    Blessings on all our proclamations today - if they only knew the sweat and toil involved they'd be so much kinder, wouldn't they???

  102. Oops, had another short nap. Now I really need to get this finished up. I'm so close but yet so far!

  103. Finally done, with not a moment to spare. Whew! I'll be glad when this day is finished.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

  104. semfem, want a cup of strong coffee?
    I am grateful for sleep but really wish I could keep doing it longer. I worry it's a bad sign when my first act of the day is to start planning my nap.

  105. Oh my, SB!!!!!
    We are on the same wavelength. I kept trying to figure how I could stay in the bed 5 more minutes and now I hope I dont ahve to do anythign after church because the sofa is calling my name

  106. Actually Songbird, NOW is when I could really use the cup of strong coffee. Adrenaline carried me through the morning and the annual meeting--now I have to get ready to preach again at an evening worship as a guest.

  107. I am right here with you. Shall I make it a mocha, with Ghirardelli's chocolate?

  108. I also had a busy week with only glints of ideas -- except that with several folks on their death beds and an annual meeting after the worship service, the "time is now" concept really hit home -- so I preached as Peter's mother-in-law (also including her healing some verses later)recounting their leaving and her growing understading of "why" -- and Jesus's seeing the Rock in a guy who seemed more impulsive ADD at the time and that inner knowing drawing him outward into the world.


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