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Saturday, January 10, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party -- Coming Up Out of the Water Edition

Good morning, preachers!

With Christmas and Epiphany behind us, those of us following the lectionary move to the beginning of Christ's ministry, and the story of his baptism as told in Mark's gospel. Ten days into a New Year, we're all coming up out of the water of the holidays and breaking the surface of our routines.

What does your schedule hold today? What are you pondering for tomorrow? Have a great idea for a Children's Moment? Or an angle on baptism the rest of us may not have considered? Please do share!

Meanwhile, there's coffee, and I should hope after yesterday's yummy Friday Five there will be virtual pancakes as well! Chime in via the comments and let us know how things are going.

(I've been looking at images of Jesus' baptism, and I love this one for its humanity. I found this picture via Google, but you can find more artwork at Textweek; many thanks to Jenee Woodward for making these resources available!)


  1. What are we doing up at this time in the morning? Really sisters... Anyway I am thinking about the next two sermons an a trip I'm taking for two weeks to India.

    What I think strikes me this time with the Baptism story is...This is my Child(son) with whom I'm well pleased.
    This blessing is what so many people long for and spend lots of time and money trying to find. A hole in our hearts, "that only God can fill". And yet we offer this blessing to others why do we not accept it as our own...
    You are my daughter, with whom I'm well pleased. Not a crowning but rather the blessing we seek.
    I've always thought it a bit amusing that the males think that God's blessing is for them only. We know that Jesus was God's only son...but God has lots and lots of Daughters.
    Remember Martina McBride's song Reluctant Daughter. Here are the lyrics,

  2. I'm on my way back from my vacation. I'm recycling and it's mostly stories, so I'm planning to preach without notes, assuming I make it back today. Continental in its infinite wisdom rescheduled the first flight and now I have 64 minutes to get off the plane, clear customs, go through security, take the tram to the furtherest end of the airport and walk to the end of the concourse (from the end of one arm to the end of the other). And when I asked about rescheduling my flight from Houston, the woman told me they had no seats on any later flight. But that 55 minutes was a legal connection time for an international flight. (What are they smoking?) So I may or may not be preaching. A friend has agreed to stand in for me if my vacation extends.

  3. I've not got the Baptism of Christ. Because I've moved to a rural part of England we have PLOUGH SUNDAY tomorrow when a plough and a milk churn and a big trough of earth gets brought into church and we bless them for the coming agricultural year and hear the parable of the sower. As a townie... this is a bit of a challenge!

  4. Sarah, as a suburban girl in a country setting I am LOVIN' Plough Sunday and can only imagine how hard you will be working to keep your eyes from becoming too wide.

    I am 3/4 done on Baptism of the Lord Sunday which is also my candidating sermon - meaning after I preach the sermon I leave the room and the congregation votes on whether they want me to be one of their pastors or not.

    I think if you count what is in my head, I am more like 9/10's done but I need to finally get it down out of there. It's been swirling around since Thursday when I wrote the first part of it.

    Coffee brewing and french toast promised to my munchkin when he gets up. There is also a dusting of snow which I hope grows into more... but of course not SO much more that things have to be postponed tomorrow.

  5. This is a full day around here! I have leadership training at the local seminary, then a hospital visit to a parishioner whose funeral I will probably be doing in the next week or so, and a sermon to write. The plans for confirmation class will have to wait until after church tomorrow. Oh, and we expect lots of snow today. Not enough that the leadership training has been cancelled of course...

    Here is what I posted at my blog on Tuesday:
    It’s baptism of the Lord and I am playing with this quote from Henri Nouwen, that I ran across in Imaging the Word:

    [“The one who created us is waiting for our response to the love that gave us our being. God not only says, “You are my Beloved.” God also asks: “Do you love me?” and offers us countless chances to say “Yes.”

    Not sure if I will use it, but it asks interesting questions about our response to being baptized. I’m wondering how we live differently as baptized people, how we encounter the world as the children of God, how we live day to day knowing that we are God’s beloved. Thoughts?]

  6. Prayers for you Kathrynzj!

  7. Oh, Bobbie, I promise I was not up! That was the miracle of Blogger, scheduling a post in advance.
    The church I'm serving decided to worship in the downstairs meeting room for the rest of January and all of February to save on heating costs. Since this is the first Sunday we will do it, there are still logistics to be settled. Naturally there is also a strong chance a search committee will send someone (or ones) to hear me preach, and an equally strong chance it will happen later in the month, all of which is very unsettling.
    I'm grateful for the texts, which connect to many personal stories for me, and that's my thesis: there are two baptisms, as Paul says, but I'm calling them personal and mystical. As I was, oddly enough, baptized twice myself, and because I have a good story about a particular toddler whose baptism seemed to be merely personal (the parents wanted the baby "done") but turned out to be breathtakingly mystical, I've got a lot of good content with which to begin.
    Because it's a more intimate setting than the sanctuary, I'd like to be in a position not to lean on a manuscript--don't even know where I would put one!--but that only adds to the sense of being disoriented tomorrow.
    And have I mentioned it's the bean supper at church tonight, so we can't set up the space until about 7 p.m.?
    Coffee. Must have coffee.

  8. kathrynzj, your team will be here pulling for you!
    joan calvin, that expectation really does seem unreasonable.
    Sarah Brush, what fun!
    kp, that's a great Nouwen quote.

  9. Thank you SB and as someone who felt the Holy Spirit as you led us in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup in a room usually used to play cards in on a cruise ship, please let me say with 100% assurance that you will be amazing and absolutely rise to the occasion. Because you are you and God has got your back.

    The Boy is awake and french toast has been promised so I am headed towards the kitchen to both cook and de-clutter (can you do both at the same time?). I am a little disturbed that the in my head to down on paper ratio of my sermon errs a bit to the former, but I am not panicked yet.

    Now, 1,2, or 3 slices of perfectly cooked and crunchy on the outside French toast?

  10. Due to looking after 3 congregations I have my 3rd Methodist Covenant service tomorrow, so apart from printing out the orders of service I have no preparation to do this week. Feels odd and lovely! Focussing on our personal commitment to God works well at this time of year, but does mean we have to focus on Christ's baptism on other occasions (usually when a baptism takes place in the church).
    Next week - back to the lectionary and the blank piece of paper (screen!).

  11. By the way, how's the weather out there? I just noticed a red Weather Bug on my screen and discovered we may get six inches of snow tonight! Will it come after the bean supper and before church? If only the forecast could be so specific...

  12. we had freezing rain & then snow... yesterday. the forerunner to your snow out east.

    sermon... 1/3 there and it's in circles she is. unpacking our baptismal liturgy and why we reference the stories over and over (creation; noah; parting of the red sea; jesus' baptism)... we'll see if it makes sense.

    coffee now. followed by teaching 3 hours of catechism class and seeing if the kennel has an opening... *sigh*

  13. Okay, breakfast served.
    Kitchen cleaned.
    Small boy wants to go outside but refuses to get dressed so... sermon it is.

    Until he gets dressed that is. Even a dusting of snow is still snow.

  14. OH, how I wish I got to play at the preacher party today! Alas, I'll have to keep you all in my prayers and party on the inside. Tomorrow morning I (and two youth leaders) are skipping worship to get on a plane to NC for a three-day youth leader conference. And today I get to spend 7 hours at church for a session/deacon/PNC retreat, with my only responsibility being morning devotions and then to not show my frustration the rest of the day. (sigh) At least I set it up so there will be lots of snacks....

    So, friends, happy preparing and preaching. I'll miss you and dream about you while we talk about the budget (tight) and our new mission statement (awesome) and other much more boring things.

    KZJ and SB--you both rock, so I have every confidence you'll be awesome! :-)

  15. knittinpreacher--

    I like the quote. I'm going partly in that direction; sometimes we need to be reminded that we are God's beloved, to hear it clearly and then rest in it. But also not just stop there--what if we saw every other person as God's beloved child too? How would we treat one another?

    Hope to have a draft soon.

  16. It feels like it will be a full day for me, as I see it already is for so many of you.
    I am preaching/teaching at our evening service. Co-pastor is taking the Markan baptism text in the morning and I get to come in with the Lukan text in the evening to talk about it's distinctives and what difference it makes. Because it's a teaching, I just have to outline the notes I've got. I also have to prep for an Adult Education class and for visiting a Bible Study Small Group. But, for now, the snow coming down out my window is gorgeous, the tea is steeping and I'm looking forward to some quality quiet space. Perhaps I'll see you all later.

  17. Stuck at home with a major snowstorm here in NE OH. I am hoping that I will be able to make it to church tomorrow.
    Am preaching on Mark and our unmistaken identity by our baptism in Christ.
    Here's my children sermon:
    new $5 or $10 bill(s).
    How do we know how much this money is worth? How do we know what country it belongs to?
    There are couple of other identifying marks on these bills that tell us they are real.
    (Hold up to light and point out water marks 5 on $5 and portrait on $10 and security stripe)
    We, too have a water mark that identifies who we are. Does anyone know what it is?
    Our Baptism.We were marked with water and spirit at our baptism that marks us as God's as Christians, as those who believe in Jesus Christ.
    When Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River, God's Spirit came upon him like a dove and God's voice called out from heaven, that Jesus was God's beloved Son. Our identity as Christians is marked by the waters of our baptism as well which makes us beloved of God also. Our watermark as Christians is seen whenever we live, love, forgive, serve and forgive like Jesus did.
    May we always live in ways that our watermark identifies us as Christian.
    Dear God,
    Thank you for making us your beloved children by the watermark of our baptism.May your Spirit help us to live so that others can see Christ in us. Amen.

  18. Blessings and prayers and peace to kathrynzj and songbird...transitions (and possible ones) are unsettling, no matter how good.

    After only one week of vacation, I am still floundering. I got clever (I thought) and ran together this week and the next two weeks into a "voice of God" miniseries. So I've been trying to put together the Creation story and the Psalm and the Gospel and tying it together with the Voice of God. But without getting too sidetracked on the Voice, because if I say it all this week then what will I do the next couple of weeks? Ugh. So I have about a third of a sermon with no clear direction yet.

    The weather? This is a question I can answer...cold front is coming through, down to 53 here. Sunny and windy.

  19. Midafternoon here already, and I've barely started - though my task is slightly easier than usual as the diocese has given us a quite specific steer in our preaching for tomorrow, as part of a campaign to encourage congregations to lift their eyes from the parochial to the wider picture of church membership.
    We have some sermon notes to draw on if we see fit, and having been part of the discussions that produced these they feel quite all I have to do is write the thing. Or walk the dogs. Or tidy the study. Or go and hug Hugger Steward, who returns to uni tomorrow,one more time...Stock-piling, you understand.
    I'm certain that both Kathrynzj and Songbird will be wonderful (and I totally echo Kzj's words re Songbird on a cruise ship)...hope that you get home safe Joan Calvin...sympathise with Sarah B(while marvelling at how I've escaped Plough Sunday myself in church on the hill) and, of course, I envy Bobbie hugely. 2 weeks in my beloved India. How fabulous. Give the country my love, please

  20. Good morning, friends. I slept late which is a miracle considering the terrible insomnia I have suffered this week.

    stinuksuk, what a wonderful kid's message idea! May I borrow?

    I had a rather tough re-entry week, with a deathbed-that-turned-out-not-to-be-one-after-all (what a story that will make in some later pulpit down the road!), a couple of challenging meetings and the annual report to compile. So I'm kinda starting from scratch here.

    KJ, you will knock it out of the park. I just know it.

  21. Sure,Cheesehead and anyone else who wants to use the children's sermon and edit it anyway you want to. Actually, had a bright idea for it this week. Help yourself!

  22. I have steel cut oatmeal to share, with various things to put in it if you wish: honey, cinnyum, Simply Fruit preserves, dried fruit...what can I get you?

    I love that "Saying Yes to God," idea.

    I'm working on annual report doc (as a lay ministry leader I have a small one to do); vestry report for next week; and a Sunday school lesson to lead later this month. Also planning ahead for the Spring with a confirmation class to teach (just one of a 13 week series, but still) and a bunch of reading for the training work I'll be doing for my professional group.

    In addition...I arranged a Meetup group ( for folks to meet and knit once a month at the local Barnes and Noble. The first one is Monday evening...and all these people keep joining and saying how excited they are to LEARN to knit. Um....we'll see about that! So I'm prepping some simple diagrams and instructions for that.

    :) Am I nuts!?

  23. That sounds such fun Mary Beth...I wish I were within range, though I guess a knitting circle would be yet another means to evade whatever it is I ought to be currently doing....Can anyone remind me? I think it was something to do with ...ummm....

  24. Good morning all! I don't have much good food to share today, beyond three really large and really good-looking grapefruit - but you are all welcome!

    So I wrote a fair-to-middling sermon yesterday on the Mark baptism text. Focusing on the power of the Spirit in baptism, and why we baptize babies, and grace in all of that. BUT as stinuksuk said (btw, I haven't seen you here before! Happy to meet you!)...there is a major snowstorm going on, and WisePastor, just back from 12 days in Key West, called me and told me he was going to go in early and preach my Saturday night service, then stay overnight to preach his two tomorrow. Then, after discussing the frail health of most of the Saturday night crowd, we decided to cancel! So, some phone calls to make in a bit.

    I am kind of sad not to do this service - I was going to do a reaffirmation of baptism that I was really looking forward to. But WP is right, I don't really want to drive back down I-90 in the snow. He and I live 2 miles apart, 38 miles from the church we serve.

    SB and KZJ, prayers with you, but after reading your blogs for a while, I know you will both do really, really great.

    Blessings to all in their preparations! Now I get to spend the day de-Christmasing the house. Bleah.

  25. I say "yes" to my "beloved" sisters kathrynzj and Songbird, and to the experience of the Holy Spirit powerfully moving as we shared the Lord's Supper aboard ship. God is at work - trust and proclaim in God's name.

    I too find myself in a similar situation; have not talked about it here to this point b/c I have been holding it all in prayer and discernment.

    But with all the snow here in our area (6-7" now, 5-6" more coming through the day) I do not expect anyone to be traveling here to listen tomorrow. But at some point, they will be here...

    Cannot say more...but deeply coveting your prayers+

  26. Not preaching this weekend, just popping in to say hi.

    And SB, don't they have to tell you if they are coming to hear you preach? Yikes.

    And Kathrynjz, a candidating sermon and then a vote? Yikes again. Good luck! And may God have your back, too!

  27. I had a fabulous baptism sermon, that would be perfect for tomorrow, but alas, I've aready stolen 3/4ths of it for a sermon I preached a year ago at this church. *sigh*

    I'm struggling with what baptism means for us as we grow older, especially for my all 60+ age congregation that are dying a slow death as a group. I'm sure there's something about discernment in all of this, but I'm drawing a blank connecting it all. I could go the route of "sit back and remember that God loves you" which people always seem to love, but that feels a bit cheap. Then again, maybe we can never say that too much. maybe one day we'll all believe it and start acting like it...hmmm

    prayers to you all this day, and tomorrow, especially those of you candidating and standing in the hall while they tally the votes!

  28. Somehow I missed that part about a committee coming tomorrow to hear you. Songbird, and only saw "later in the month." Blessings on you as well. You will do marvelously, no matter what the physical space.

    And, since we are being so open, I am a long way from that part of the process, but the process has begun for me as well. Looks as if '09 might be the year of changes for many of us.

    Blessings to us all as we discern, seek, and preach!

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. I love the childrens sermon idea!!!!!
    I just compleed elder training, and finoalized stuff for tomorow with them.
    I am offto buy stuff forbeach trip, finish sermon and meet with cat sitter...
    and return the pants to JCP that i did nto try on first...too tight in the hind quarters!
    Tomorrow is elder bfast, SS, worship and then a presby meetign to discuss changes in our constitution. Previous moderator of denomination will lead us in worship. I get to hear another person preach!!!!
    And, then, Mondya mornign I am on the road...yeah!!!!!!

  31. I'm back! I've been chopping up butternut squash for a Curried Squash and Apple Soup.
    Cheese, I have no idea whether it will be tomorrow or later, just know it could happen as soon as tomorrow. I would love to know in advance, but that may not happen. This committee is local enough to come and visit instead of asking for a recording.
    And speaking of recordings, in the continuing saga, my Sound Guy came last week and made a recording, but I can't get the CD to play on my computer. Aargh!

  32. Sorry, that was my comment above that I deleted. Dave thought I said too much about our current situation, in the event that someone from our congregations happened to stumble across the preacher party on this particular Saturday, and happened to read through all 30 comments and found mine, and happened to make a connection.

    Yeah, I'm feelin' a bit snippy. I'll get over it.

  33. Praying for the Spirit to let those of you who are in discernment processes--and those who will listen to you--to be as clearly revealed as in Jesus's baptism.

    stinuksuk, that is a great children's idea; I am tucking that one away for the future.

    If you move faster than Teenboy's appetite, I have some delicious white bean, ham, and thyme soup left from last night that I'm glad to share!

    21 years ago, my 1st year as a priest, I baptized a young man who died of cancer a week later. His dad did the reading, which was the baptism of Jesus. Not a dry eye in the chapel as he read, "This is my beloved son..." The love of the father for the son he knew would soon die...that experience has forever colored my understanding of this passage.

    But tomorrow I am doing children's/family sermons at two services. I was so drawn in last week by the idea I'd heard before but never really taken hold of, that of blessing chalk for people to take home for blessing their homes, that I'm going with that. I need to figure out how to tie it in a bit with tomorrow's gospel--maybe the Spirit blessing all of us--and then I'll go from there. So thanks to all of you who planted that idea in my mind and heart; I think this is likely to become a parish tradition!

  34. RevKim, at least those of us who read it will be praying, and hopefully those who didn't, as well.
    RevHoney, that sounds mysterious and exciting!

  35. Well, we are in from the Great Snow Dusting of 2009. Late lunch and hopefully a nap (short for me, long for him) are on the agenda.

    Sounds like everyone's days and careers) are clicking along.

  36. Songbird, thanks! Praying for you, too.

    Kathrynzj, praying for you as well.

  37. what a beautiful story Betsy!

    am attempting to write a sermon about the voice of God and how God always speaks first. in response to God's claim on us as beloved children, how will we respond.

    lots in my head, none on paper/screen. i keep getting distracted by the snow outside (beautiful) and the new yarn i bought (very fun).

  38. Prayers to you Kim, SB, and K.
    I know and understand bits and pieces of each, so prayers for you in what you must deal with now and peace of christ.
    Cat sitter has come and gone, Mugs loves her, Mel is reserved in his thougths for now.
    I am watching a B-ball game and thinking of sermon thoughts..
    then, I must go do running around.
    Still working on the connection for Baptism and Ordination, I know the obvious is there, but where to go with it.

  39. Mysterious, yes Songbird, because it was completely unbidden. I received a phone call from a judicatory official who said, "There is a congregation ____________ looking for someone like you. We don't want to you to leave, but it is clear to us that ___________ needs to at least have the opportunity to interview you."

    There are so many reasons why I could say "no"...want to say "no", but I keep hearing the Holy Spirit urging me not to close the least not yet...

  40. Bother...This ought to be easy - such a rich theme and with outline notes already worked on, but distractions are taking over as they so regularly do.
    Praying for Rev Kim...I'm sorry that things feel tough right now.
    Would anyone like some mini cheddars? Good to nibble as we pray for inspiration...

  41. Prayers in abundance for all in a time of discernment, change, frustration, and all the other joys and burdens of this ministry we share.

    Blessing kathrynzj!! The Holy Spirit has your back as always and we're with you.

    I'm pretty much done the sermon, which to quote the ever-brilliant Cheesehead, "doesn't make me want to jump off a bridge". That's likely as good as it's going to get this week. We're celebrating my father-in-law's birthday here tomorrow night, so I desperately need to vacuum etc.

    Also, we may have Son #2 overnight b/c the home he is renting had a carbon-monoxide leak yesterday. Thankfully no one was home at the time, but he's not sure he can go back to his place for a few days because of furnace/gas issues. I'm just so thankful everyone is okay.

  42. Okay, about halfway in and I found my focus paragraph:

    "It was into this soup of potential, this dark and deathlike chaotic, primordial mess that Jesus willingly stepped first at his incarnation and then again at his baptism, willing himself to be made anew in his commitment to the God he knew as his loving parent. When Jesus emerged from the muddy waters of the Jordan, he was new all right, but don’t we suppose be brought up some of that muck with him? I picture him as he comes back up with little bits of flotsam clinging to his hair, his robes—the detritus of humanity stuck to him and carried around on our behalf the rest of his time here on earth. He allowed himself to get his hands dirty that we might be changed as well. He dipped down into the ordinary messiness of the universe that we might be also transformed. And he did it because we are not chaotic nothing. We are oozing potential."

  43. oozing potential... now there's a sermon!

    i am telling the tale of "walnut santa" this week... i'll post later. meanwhile time for tea...

  44. Well, I don't hate it. I don't love it. It might have some potential, but not enough to ooze, I don't think. Baby is awake now, so no more working for the time being.

    Now for a children's sermon...I'm not really focusing on the baptism, so I'll save that one for later. Hmmm.

  45. my goodness, what a lot of excitement around here. Good luck tomorrow, K and SB!

    I've been thinking about baptism and the genesis scripture as connected - creation of good things fresh starts (being daily or hourly, not oncely like the baptism) and this story I read that Luther used to, when he was feeling annoyed with someone, say "I am baptized," as a way to get his center back. I think I'm going to give everyone a piece of paper with that on it, and encourage them to hang it somewhere where they can see it.

    and for the kids, I'm reading Big Momma makes the World, because I never miss a chance to do that.

    What I really want is to tell a great story about someone who had a chance to make a fresh start, and took it. Any ideas about that?

  46. Boy is napping. I just got up.

    Sermon, sermon, sermon, sermon....

  47. Checking in...

    I had leadership this morning, small group coaches this afternoon, and now am finally getting to my homework! I am doing a basic analysis of parts of Luke 1 and 2
    (the old "observation, interpretation, application") but not as a sermon but with word studies and greek roots and other heady things. yahoo.

    Praying for you preachers.


  48. I've decided to go to the church now, and make a diagram of the set-up of the chairs, so I won't be stranded indefinitely AFTER the Bean Supper later, when it will likely be snowing. How's that for thinking?

  49. Checking in really really fast on my way to the hospital to be with a family as they discontinue life support for their mom. I have not done this since CPE and that was a very different context.

    I'll read comments when I get back later to actually write.

  50. Prayers for the family, kp, and for you. I only had to do that once in CPE as well, but never for someone I knew.

  51. Cheese, I am in awe. You are brilliant.

  52. Just home from a presbytery meeting without much more than I thought about on Tuesday. Things felt pretty formed then, though, so I'm hoping tonight isn't horribly late. The kids are napping, but I don't know for how long, so I'm going to focus on my adult ed class first.

    I'm taking this week and next week to do an intro to Mark since we'll be with him a while this year! Not sure EXACTLY what I'll cover tomorrow. I meant to bring home my Oxford Annotated to see what basics are covered in that intro. Forgot it, though. Maybe if we go out again sometime this afternoon or tonight I'll grab it.

  53. I am DONE! Cheesehead, your paragraph opened some doors for me. Thanks. Stinuksuk, I loved your children's sermon. I only wish there were children at our evening services.

    As I said, I'm preaching the Lukan text, so I'm not sure how helpful this will be. But I used a two-fold purpose of Jesus (and our) baptism: Commiseration and Commission. For thoughts on commiseration, see cheesehead's paragraph up a-ways. For commission, I focused on this being the beginning of Christ's ministry. (prolly work better in Luke but, if it helps at all, I'm happy.)

  54. Thank you Kim. I hope it helped,Meg.

    I have a draft I'm okay with.

    I really need a shower...

  55. Prayers kp.

    Beautiful cheesehead.

    One of the amazing gifts of the preacher party for me each week is not only the comradary as i write/pound out a sermon. But also the opportunity to hear someone else proclaim good news!

    Thanks so much for this gift ladies (and any gents around).

    Now back to my sermon ... though i just came in from shoveling 6 or so inches and it is still coming down. The possibility of canceling church tomorrow does not make concentrating very easy.

  56. Having wasted inordinate quantities of time and energy worrying about a lost phone, which splendid son has now discovered, I'm still not getting on too well with the sermon. And it's nearly 10 and I'm tired.

  57. I would LOVE to live in a region where the possibility of cancelling church b/c of snow existed. I'd also gladly shovel any Revgal's porch for her. I do miss the snow.

    I also miss having a sermon done by 2pm as is usually promised to spouse. I have a decent beginning which word-count wise stretches into a middle but which is feeling extremely dry for a sunday when we're supposed to be emphasizing the wet. Banging head against computer hoping the sermon will pop out.

  58. Good stuff Cheese! Wow.

    kp, praying here for you, and of course for the family.

    Songbird - brilliant idea. Blessings on you tomorrow.

  59. This is my first time posting and my second week of reading. I have gotten much insight and encouragement so far. Well here i am struggling how to get everything to fit together. My four year old and her little friend are decorating me in paper jewelry. Quite a sight to see. Needless to say, it makes it harder to concentrate than usual! Where I am stuck is the this is my beloved with whom I am well pleased. How do we help folks to see that they are God's beloved and what if sometimes in

  60. It's still snowing.

    So, I am working my sermon around a liturgy if that makes any sense. I am trying to get at the ethical aspects to Baptism...trying to meet my liberal moralists where they live perhaps so that they will begin to hesitate a little when they want to divorce the symbolic from the real. Ah well., meaning, ethics, practice...something in there is helpful. I'm still mulling over the sermon. It's not as easy this week as I would have hoped.

    Thank you for the Nouwen quotation. I think that it'll help.

    Have some cocoa. It's on me.

  61. Bother it, I'm so tired now...and a bit emtional as I contemplate the fact that when I get back from church tomorrow Hugger Steward will have gone again.
    The sermon is 90% done, but I'm so not a morning person that I really must find a conclusion here and now...there will be quite enough of a scramble to be ready for the 8.00 anyway.
    Thanks, Tripp...the cocoa did help but I still can't find the lost paragraph...

  62. Is that anything like the lost chord?

  63. Well, I've tried looking down the back of the sofa...

  64. The Boy is with his Gram for the night and I am in the office. My sermon reached the point where I had to print it out to see it and play with it and of course my printer at home is not working. Sigh...

    I could make what I have preach, but I feel like I am missing something or not piecing something together right that I already have. Hopefully the new view will help.

    I am also trying to appreciate the irony that I could sleep right now, but at 4am I will be awake, mind racing!

  65. I'm joining the party quite late. It's been a busy day, and thankfully, the sermon is done and I'm hoping to relax a bit tonight. I took the liberty of playing with the Lectionary, and I am preaching about Epiphany tomorrow. We have a Board meeting, and I wanted to discuss fear - Herod seems a good choice. Our church has undergone growth in this past year, and that has scared some of the long-time members. I'll post the sermon some time tonight.

  66. Seems pretty natural to be edgy about now, kj!

  67. kj I'm done now...on so many levels...but I won't sleep till i've put up an extra prayer for you, that all goes well tomorrow (and that you sleep tonight too) xxx
    Blessings, all others as you toil at the word-face

  68. Best wishes kzj and sb!!! I'll be thinking of you both tomorrow.

    Chuckle of the day here at Chez Oz:

    We have a very clear bright sky tonight with a VERY bright full moon (or at least it looks full), so hubby starts singing "The moon in the sky's like a big pizza pie, that's amore...." (you know the rest)

    Over my glasses as I'm reading a few more resources just in case I missed something good for tomorrow, my response, "On a Saturday night? - in your dreams babe."

    Is it only me, or does romance just not happen when one's brain is already engaged in tomorrow's pulpit? Ah, a question for the ages to be sure...

  69. hee hee, not just at your house, Sue.

    Focus, focus, focus, esperanza. Children's time.

  70. Oh. Children's time. Oh.
    I had an idea for that, I swear I did.

  71. Just for laughs, some baptism quotes from one of the funiest movies ever, O Brother Where Art Thou.

    Ulysses: Baptism! You two're just dumber'n a bag of hammers.
    Pete: The Preacher said it absolved us.
    Ulysses: For him, not for the law. I'm surprised at you, Pete, I gave you credit for more brains than Delmar.
    Delmar: But they was witnesses that seen us redeemed.
    Ulysses: That's not the issue Delmar. Even if that did put you square with the Lord, the State of Mississippi's a little more hard-nosed.

    Blessings on your evening, I'm off to get sushi since spouse is out tonight.

  72. Songbird, you could do a little tour of the new worship space with the about what makes a space "holy," something along those lines.

    Sigh. I can think of ideas for *other* people, just not for myself. When I have something spiffy planned, no kids. When I have nothing, or something boring, planned, here come the children. Someone must think that is funny. Thanks, God.

  73. That's a good idea! Now, we'll see if any kids come; we're going to have a storm, supposedly.

  74. Revie- welcome to the party! I love the sweetness of the paper jewelry story and maybe you can tell that one tomorrow? It's just paper, right?, like the baptism is just water but given with love it means so much more.

    I just figures mine out in my head just in time to take E to his basketball practice. Let's hope it sticks tip I can get home to a real keyboard. iPhone is great but only so far.

  75. Juniper, that is brilliant. The paper jewelry and the water, and really there are many ways to take that as I continue to splash around looking for a children's moment.
    Revie, I love that image! Glad you are here with us.

  76. You are not alone, Sue!

    Cheesehead, I love the chaotic nothing/oozing potential contrast. Thanks for sharing that bit with us.

  77. I am inching... ever.... so.... closer...

  78. Back from the hospital and have eaten super. When I left the woman was still alive, and we were not sure how ling it will be. The family (her 3 daughters) wanted to be alone with her. They are very angry with the hospital, and the ICU nurse in trying to be helpful just made things worse. Not that this gets better, but you know.

    so I am mentally drained, wiped out, and still have 0 words pn paper including the scripture. Well, I have the quote I posted this morning...

    wonder what's happening on facebook?

  79. Well, I cannot get on fb, but apparently that is just a 'me' thing.

    I have decided to print and let this thing be. God is good and if we have gotten this far, I am quite sure the Lord will take us the rest of the way.

    Feel free to wonder if I will be feeling the same at 4am. ;)

    G'night all and thank you!

  80. I'm back now that the kids are in bed, but STUPIDLY accepted and invitation from the secretary to enjoy a bottle of wine with her while we fold bulletins for tomorrow. There was a printer crisis this week that messed things up. When she called I could have said no, but, well, I'm easily distracted and it sounded fun and yummy. I'm off. I'll be back in no more than 2 hours to start this sermon. I will!!!

    (I have no will power.)

  81. All along, I planned to write a manuscript, I just hoped not to need it. But now that I'm close to finishing it, I feel strangely fainthearted, darn it.
    I wish I could have ice cream, but all we have these days is those Giant Latte bars.

  82. done with the sermon for the night. not because it's finished, but because i can't look at it anymore. at least i don't hate it. don't love it at the moment, but hey. there's still tomorrow morning.

    prayers for those who continue to toil.

  83. Its gone 2am here and I've just finished - posted here
    Can't complain - I spent the whole day with family - that has to be good. Taking a moment to pray for all of you with so many different joys and challenges and for tomorrow (or today) and then I'm off to bed. blessings

  84. Thank you for making me feel welcome. I would love to become a regular. I really need a supportive community. Juniper I loved your idea and I am going to take it in a little different direction. It reminded me of after my dad dies and we found a little card I made for him, when I was about 5 years old after 35 years he still had it. It doesn't matter when we are baptized or by what method, just that we were. Encompassed by God's love and grace, and welcomed into a family of believers. My prayers are for each of year as we prepare for and worship tomorrow.

  85. Evening everyone, glad to see all the sermons bubbling around the circle.

    I had a meeting 150 miles away today and drove home in the snowstorm, so I'm really just glad to not have gone off the road. Finding it a bit difficult to settle down in a chilly house and focus on the sermon.

    I think I'm going to focus on the chaos in many of the readings and how exhausting chaos is for us--and how tempting it is to settle back into numbness. I have a scribbled outline that hopefully makes it sound much better than that.

  86. i'm doing something totally different for me--i'm reading the text of Old Turtle: The Broken Truth. Getting it typed out, it's sooo long!! Which means either I have to edit/abridge it so there's at least a bit for me to talk about or...heck! maybe i'll just let the book stand on its own.

    it'a a great story though--trying to connect it to the idea that Jesus' baptism, his ministry begins in the declaration that he is beloved. everything he does, everything he withstands and endures is rooted in that.

  87. i should edit and say that "i'm trying to connect it to Jesus." the book is not a jesus book (at least not directly!!)

  88. How's everybody doing? Anyone need some late night snacks? Or are you still in the dinner zone?

  89. Folding bulletins and drinking wine, SR?
    Sounds fun, but since my secretary makes fun of me because I can't fold 'em straight sober...
    Anyhow, orange muffins are in the oven and I have soem bleu cheese bacon dip in 'fridge and a lovely bottle of wine. Chips on shelf.
    Ah, smell the muffins? mmmmm
    I am toying with the idea of our commitment at baptism and how our lives should be one of gratitude in all things

  90. Songbird - Snacks would be welcome. so would words, lots and lots of them!

    Do you have any alpha-bits cereal? It would solve 2 problems at once!

  91. SB,
    I have some peppermint ice cream (from holidays). it has tiny bits of candy in it and they melt in your mouth. Help yourself.
    Anybody got some choc syrup to go with that?

  92. I'm going to post my text; I wonder if I'll dare to put it down tomorrow?

  93. kp, no Alpha Bits, but I have a huge bag of delicious local frozen raspberries, want some? I think they are brain candy.

  94. Just came back from a basketball practice, haircuts for the men in the family, and Panera - so no snacks for me, thanks, those shortbread cookies they have there are irrestible to me.

    revie - another lovely story.

    ok,hoping my great idea (a dialogue, with my lovely deep voiced husband as God) is as genius on paper as it was in my head.

  95. technical question, which I ask tremblingly since I feel inadequate in the Biblical language department.

    My hebrew teacher used to say that the first words of Genesis would be more properly translated "in A beginning." I've never seen or heard that anywhere else, though.

    how about you?

  96. Also, from the same scene Nutella quoted is:
    Delmar O'Donnell: The preacher says all my sins is warshed away, including that Piggly Wiggly I knocked over in Yazoo.
    Ulysses Everett McGill: I thought you said you was innocent of those charges?
    Delmar O'Donnell: Well I was lyin'. And the preacher says that that sin's been warshed away too. Neither God nor man's got nothin' on me now. C'mon in boys, the water is fine.

  97. Would it make you feel more adequate if I confessed that I never took Hebrew?

  98. Juniper--FWIW, my Hebrew prof always said the beginning would be better translated as "when God began to create."

    I think this is a game every Biblical language prof plays, though.

  99. I can't remember the last time I lasted this late at the party! I have to sleep now, Chiquitas. I will put the coffee on again in the a.m.
    Prayers for all those facing weather or looking forward to a big Sunday--kj, that means you!!!

  100. I'll grab some berries as you turn out the light.

    Prayers for us all tomorrow!

  101. I finally made it home from "pink city" and now need sermon words.

    I'm glad y'all had lots to say while I was gone :)

  102. Back from folding bulletins.

    Entered wine (1 glass, 2 points) into my WW PointTracker.

    Making the commitment to not play ANY games on the computer tonight.

    Cutting and pasting my blogs from Tuesday to see how many words I'm starting with.

    Waiting for husband to finish his movie and free up the downstairs room with the laptop because although it's cold, it's WAY warmer than the office.

  103. Praying for those of you in hard places, in interviews, in snow drifts and in mental blocks.

    Peace and "PREECH IT" as my girlz texted me a few weeks ago...

  104. I could see why "a" beginning is better than "the" beginning since "the" has a way to be signified in Hebrew and the opening verse doesn't have that.

    The other option mentioned and variations like it are also choices. To be more true to the language maybe the best way to say it in a sermon, if you're expounding on it anyway, isn't so much that "a better translation is", but "another possible translation" and what that translation adds to the discussion. KWIM? games means, I might be around here EVEN MORE than usual Saturday nights. Is that even possible?

  105. I have 2490 words in notes which means if they were leftovers it would be stew or goulash but since they are words and stories it means I have 3 or 4 partial sermons that aren't complete enough for a "real" sermon. Good thing I'm a night owl

  106. Hmm She Rev, speaking of "no games," I got a late Christmas present yesterday...a PlayStation2 with Dance Dance Revolution. I sorely want to "test" it out instead of writing my sermon. :)

    There's a great image for you. Preacher's Party complete with a DDR room for the true procrastinators!

  107. semfem, Guitar Hero World Tour is sitting in front of me calling my name

  108. Oh! I LOVE DDR - I just played that for the first time recently and it was so fun!

    Songbird - They didnt really offer biblical languages at my seminary, so my hebrew teacher was this guy a few of us hired to tutor us when when we were taking heb scriptures. It was fairly lassez faire (never had french, either evidently), so I always feel on very thin ice when it comes to languages.

    SheRev - thanks for the help! He liked in A beginning because it made creation seem more dynamic - this was not a one time thing, but ongoing, you know.

    Vicar - my 707 words envy your 2598 (or whatever that giant number was)

  109. Haven't touched our PS2 since we got the Wii 19 months ago. I like Boombox and MarioKarts there. Bowling is just plain fun, too.

  110. My team just royaly lost thier playoff sad
    And, no sermon is not flippin' done.
    Muffin anyone?

  111. She Rev--I have never had a game system that was purely MINE, so even a PS2 is pretty exciting to me. Granted, a Wii would have been even cooler, but I still think my boyfriend did pretty well on my present this year! :)

    Ugh. 325 words. Can't remember how I wanted to get from the intro to the rest of the sermon.

  112. Oh I'm not knocking the PS2 at all. The Wii purchase was one of my husband's "Why don't we make this our gift to each other?" gifts. He's good at that. I never played games after the Atari I had when I was 5-7 years old.

    We got the Wii the day or two before my due date, and, already on maternity leave, I attempted to bowl myself into labor. I did work up some pretty good contractions do it it!

    I'm not much of a gamer though, so I do miss some of the PS2 games that I just knew how to do and didn't have to learn all over again. When the kids are a little older and don't put strange objects into small openings like DVD players and game systems, I hope we'll hook it back up to another TV. Like we need more options for spending our time in front of a screen!

  113. THATs how you know exactly how long you've had it. I was wondering...

  114. ok, I'm getting close to done and i might be getting a sore throat, so i'm packing it in for the night. my prayers go with all you all (or late) nighters.

    You Are Beloved!

  115. I hate it when I read something, don't mark or copy it and later decide I want to use it. AUGH

  116. I hate that too, Vicar.
    Juniper, I hope you feel better.

    I hope I'm almost done. Totally borrowing a lot of material from the Lutheran bishops' visit to the Holy Land to create a conclusion. Something about seeking peace in the midst of chaos. 1021 words.

  117. I think I have enough in some format to be done. Too bad half of it is in my newly written sermon and the other half is in scattered blog entries. Must care enough to finish. Must care!

  118. You can do it, She Rev!

    I think I'm done, although it needs some polishing. 1157 words, but I keep thinking of things to tweak and add. I'm going to scoot and grab a shower before the final read-through.

    Strength to those still writing, and blessings on all pondering, preaching and proclamation this morning.

  119. Goodnight from me, too.

    I'm about 90% done here, if it all makes sense, so I'm heading to bed. I think a 5:00 a.m. wake up will be good enough. Woo hoo! That means 4 hours for me!

  120. I'm about to print, too. Night y'all

    Blessings on your Sunday

  121. good morning!

    I was totally absent yesterday, but not without my own sermon workings-on.

    I'm actually taking a slightly different direction and focusing on the acts text... about the people who missed out on the rest of the story because they went back home.

    My challenge for the congregation is: Now that you are baptized and empowered by the Spirit to go out... what are you going to tell others that they are missing out on?

  122. Good morning, Katie Z, and any other Sunday morning drop-ins! I've got more Fair Trade coffee, English muffins and more raspberries.
    It's 15 degrees and snowing here. I expect a small congregation, and that may help me put the manuscript down. (I don't expect that search committee to show up in this weather.) We shall see.
    Blessings to all who are proclaiming this morning!

  123. Good morning. I'm doing my final tweaks as I try to get my sermon to a husband-approved length. So close!

  124. Done. I think I'm gonna post this one. Here it is.

  125. On the other hand, I guess I'll be spending my morning calling TV stations to cancel church.

  126. I dread having to make that decision. It's 13 degrees and snowing slightly here, with seven inches on the ground from yesterday. I'm positive our older members will stay home, but that doesn't leave too many.

    It's not hazardous to drive, but is it worth it? I'm so excited about doing our remembrance of baptism, but we aren't going to have many there to share it. What to do, what to do.

  127. Hazardous driving conditions were the deciding factor here, Katie Z. Our chair of Trustees has a son who is a snow-plower, and he reported to his mom that the roads were slick under the snow and the visibility was poor. I live in another town, 15-20 miles away from church members, so I have to trust them on this.

  128. Prayers for safety to al lin hazardous weaterh and prayers for a good Sunday to all.
    Okay, let's go do this thing and let's be careful out there

  129. Hey, re-read my sermon by morning light and still like it ok. So I'm ready!

    SB, that is SUCH a bummer. Maybe you can go out for breakfast and see what the rest of the world does on a Sunday morning (if it's not too slick at your place).


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