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Saturday, February 28, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Blank Slate Edition

Yes, a blank slate. That's what your hostess has today, preachers: a Word document blank but for a title. And since the title is "In the Wilderness," perhaps it's appropriate that I still need to find my way through it.

How goes it with you?

I have clementines to share and oatmeal, and I'll keep the coffee going.

Join us in the comments and let us know what's keeping you busy today, what's serving as a distraction and what must be done, a.s.a.p!


  1. I'm thinking about wilderness experiences in the Bible overall. It seems to me that they all begin with a remarkable moment of God's intervention, then the wilderness is where folks are re-formed and have time to live into the new direction God has pointed them. And always there are angels and beasts nearby to remind them of God's presence. The wilderness is a time of testing but the point of the tests seems to be to strengthen the faithful for what lies ahead - Noah, Abram and Sarai, the Israelites, Jesus, Paul all had wilderness experiences after God's coming into their lives. I suppose one has to wonder why Jesus needed this experience but then he didn't need baptizing, either, eh? He pointed the way for the faithful.
    Okay, I have a little something but not enough for a whole sermon. Back to the drawing board.

    I have echinacea tea for those fighting off colds and flu but the cupboard is pretty bare.

  2. Perhaps this was his baptism into the HUMAN experience?

    I'm just giving the dog breakfast and will put the coffee on to share with all who want some.

  3. I've had a "domestic" morning, making bread and soup and catching up with laundry. And then we all went out for brunch.
    Yesterday I started gathering thoughts for the sermon using the Noah text, so I have ideas about covenant about New Orleans and Tsunami - covenant broken? and about Lent wilderness experiences. Need to find a way to either bring things together or dump them. Anyone for lentil soup made with boiled ham for stock - Oh and some warm bread. Even though I've just had brunch, the aromas are making me hungry again.

  4. I'm thankful to be done. My sermon's on Mark, focusing on "believe in the good news" and the good news the congregation I serve needs to hear.

    I am compelled to grocery shop today, to take a long walk and check in here...

  5. all of you have some terrific ideas! liz, i can hardly beleive you've already had brunch! it's only 7am here and i'm barely moving. i definately need some of Margaret's echinacea. thanks so much!

    i'm preparing to spend the day at a 5th grade basketball tournament and hope to squeeze in some sermon prep during those moments where val is hanging out with her friends between games.

    we're supposed to have a double date tonight but i don't know if i'll be up for it tonight or not. this cold is just beginning to take hold--yuck!

    blessings on everyone's sermon prep today. i'm looking forward to entering the wilderness this Sunday!

  6. I'm off to a Borg/Crossan lecture all day today and then a quick swim. Sermon is as done as it will be. Wilderness and Mother Teresa. Not much in terms of good news, but hope in the wilderness (referencing Hebrews and faith is the evidence of whatever the rest of the verse says)

    Last night with Borg and Crossan was terrific: Jesus and Paul Continuity or Discontinuity.

  7. I'm had a taste of wilderness myself in my church this week. But, I'm going with Genesis and Noah - just searching for some inspiration now. It is hard to preach (or prepare to preach) when you are aggravated at your congregation.

  8. I've also got the title "In the Wilderness" on the page. Not much else as a dear saint of the church died this week and I spent a lot of time with the family and then did the funeral on Thursday.

    I'm up earlier than I would like to be on a Saturday, but the manse hot water heater is being replaced ... woohoo! It had started slowly leaking and thankfully my session voted to replace it.

    Praying for you Chilly Fingers.

  9. I have to say that it is lunch time here, but it was one of those days when the sermon simply flowed! My only problem now is practicing what I'll preach:-).

    Prayers with all who are preparing, have a great day. I'm off for a walk now. Will chck back in later.

  10. I'm so far behind--just waking up and the only coffee I have is half a cup left over from yesterday. Time to throw a sweater on over my jammies and head to the DD drive through!

    As far as a sermon... I think Mark is very short on details, so I'm leaning toward fleshing those out in a creative sort of way. I mean, who spends 40 days in the desert and has nothing more to say about it than "I was tempted and angels ministered to me?" I'm going to reveal that I've just discovered the journal that Jesus kept during those 40 days and plan to share some of the more interesting parts with the congregation.

    But right now, I need coffee.

  11. Alter ego - what a fantastic idea - an undiscovered journal. I'm going to store that away for future ref.
    Meantime I'll have to do some shopping. I'm setting up a chocolate fountain in the sanctuary tomorrow - yes, I know its Lent - so I need some strawbs and marshmallows and things to dip in choc. No further forward with the sermon though!

  12. I have a sermon about, um, something. Noah and covenant and new creation and the myth of redemptive violence and probably too many things for the 1000 words I have time for tomorrow (between a new song that we'll be singing each week and communion, not much time...). anyway, I'm quite desperate for some feedback. I'm headed to the ballet today with my dad and won't be home until after dinner, but will be editing like mad (rewriting?) then, so let me know what you think....

  13. Ha, Altar Ego, I love that idea. (I also love your blog name.)

    I am not preaching tomorrow. My chaplain husband is sharing the sermon, his last chance with this congregation.

    How appropriate is today's wilderness passage, considering yesterday's Friday Five? I just want to note to those who participated that I was unable to comment at some places (Blogger demons?) but read every one, and I found them profoundly moving and encouraging.

    I do get to dedicate a baby boy tomorrow, the son of a teenaged mom who came to our church when she was about 3 mos. along. The church, bless them, responded to her in such wonderful ways. They did it just right (hooray) and she is starting a new life of faith as she starts her life as a mother.

    One of the first things I did ten years ago was a funeral. Now I get to exit with presenting an infant to God. Seems fitting, and I am glad it isn't the other way around.

    Anyway, I want to tweak my usual dedication, so I will be working on that today.

    I have a turkey quiche for anyone who has not yet had breakfast.

  14. just in from shoveling 6 inches of white stuff that fell during the night... drinking coffee to warm up & sitting in my thermals. thankful the sermon is done.

    i meander all over in a mishmash of Gen. 1Peter & Mark - taking a jab at how we are to reflect the beauty of wearing our baptismal garment (*ahem* being the hands; feet; heart of JC in our communities)... and be much less concerned with the beauty of our reflections in the mirror. or uhm something like that...

  15. Good morning. I have missed you all these last months when I was so frantically preparing for the Saturday Service that I didn't have time to show up here. I do have a few words written on Mark, mostly taken from some of Tuesday's comments, but essentially I too have a blank slate this morning.

    Mostly what I have this morning is gratitude that our new seeker service has been moved from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon effective this week. And for that service Kathryn's Tuesday comment that Jesus has done nothing yet to earn God's love and yet receives it in abundance is perfect. Certainly it will also work for the Sunday morning folks who have been going to church for as long as they can remembers. It's just coming up with all those pages filled with words . . .

    Meanwhile I have to leave in about an hour to spend the day at a regional meeting to discuss Church Transformation and how our new worship service is coming along. I'll be back this afternoon to see what wisdom I can glean from the riches here.

  16. I finished my student sermon last night and am doing laundry today...

    However, I did read the lectionary this week as part of my studies. Wilderness times always come on the heels of new insights or blessings. Moses. David. Jesus. Ruth.

    I was thinking about people I know right now who are in that wilderness - in pain, confused, hurt, sometimes dragged and left there. What would I want them to know?
    That they are "never alone"...

    Barlow Girl song here:

  17. I'm catching up on laundry and nursing a sick little boy who woke up with a 101.4 temp about 2:30 this morning. Hoping to go to a birthday dinner for a good friend tonight. We had a good storm here this's a great day to be lazy and not feel too guilty about it!

  18. I have pages of notes...but no idea what I want to say...and given what's going on here I am tempted to say nothing - but invite us all into silence and prayer.


  19. Feeling good about how Ash Wed and that sermon went. I have tomorrow off from preaching because the bishop is visiting. All I really have to do today is bake communion bread. Bish prefers real bread (and so do I, just hadn't gone there yet), so this is a good opportunity to try it out and see how folks respond.

    Prayers for all of you as you prepare to preach tomorrow. I know people will be engaged by what you share with them. I may check back in later to see how everyone is doing.

  20. Minds do run alike. My sermon title, chosen last Monday, is 'Into the Wilderness' and instead of writing a sermon yesterday, I found myself overhearing the first conversation between Jesus and Satan at my home.

    But, I don't think I'm going to use that dialogue. So it's back to the drawing board with coffee and an upset stomach. Better ditch the coffee and find the gentle herb tea.

  21. I'm using the Noah story to talk about God's covenant and what that reveals about God...noticing how the bow in the sky is a reminder to GOD about the future. And then hoepfull tying that to God's covenant being renewed in Jesus, and proclaimed in the baptism.

    I love how in Mark the temptation story is so stark,(we don't even know what the temptations were) and how the angels waiting on Jesus get just as much weight as Satan tempting him, but I'm not sure that will fit with the direction I'm heading now.

    And I feel behind, so I'd better get back to writing!

  22. Altar Ego - Love that idea! It'll preach, for sure.

    Rev Maria - good to hear from you!

    My sermon is pretty much done. I just have a bit of tweaking to do. I'm using Joy Jordan-Lake's "Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous: Ten Alarming Words of Faith" as my starting point for the first 5 weeks in Lent.

    Tomorrow's words are Resurrection and Community. I'm weaving both the Genesis text (God's promise and the hope of the resurrection) and the Mark text (basically - community trumps wandering in the wilderness any day, but also comes with some hard responsibilities....).

    I need to tighten up the whole thing and make it about 3 minutes shorter as we have communion tomorrow as well. Heaven forbid anyone should be at church for more than an hour! Oy.

  23. We gave up the lectionary for Lent over at my place. We're doing a sermon series on:
    "He carries our sorrows." This week: "He carries our worry." I pretty much wrapped it up yesterday. Sunday morning, I'll add a bow and we'll be good to go.
    Blessings to all y'all in your MANY different tasks this day.

  24. Prisca@Peace, I just read your dialogue. I think it would make a wonderful sermon/dramatic reading. I'll have to file it away for another day (with your permission, of course).

  25. Wow, what a turnout!
    I've been out to a meeting and errands and now have a dog walk to accomplish before I start writing. Since the topic is wilderness, maybe we'll head for the woods. (And the mud, the snow is melting a bit, just in time for more snow tomorrow and Monday.)
    Singing Owl, so glad for you that the end will be a beginning, a sign of life.

  26. Well in case there wsn't enough to worry about with a sermon not yet formed and a funeral for one of the congregational saints on Monday morning....

    About 9:15 the neighbour called to say she could see a puddle forming on the street in front of the house. At -30 this is not a good thing :). By the time the town had the water shut off an hour later the house was essentially an island. The front yard is a lake, driveway is a river and we have water in the basement (although not as much as I feared). ANd now we will be without water for most of today--guess teeth will remain un-brushed--and an automatic boil water advisory until Wednesday or so (which should make the funeral luncheon on Monday interesting)

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  28. Gord - you have your own flood story!

    Dancing - file it away. Your internal voice may need to adapt the dialogue. This one just came to me. Interesting that it was easier to predict what Satan would say than Jesus.

  29. Chilly Fingers, prayers for you; it's tough to preach and not pounce when the irritation level is high.

    SO, that's lovely about the dedication tomorrow, and the way those two events frame your time there.

    I'm on with the families again tomorrow; borrowing an idea I saw elsewhere, I think I'll work along the lines of the wilderness as a place where we face our fears, with a little bit of intro to Lent worked in. Earlier in the week, someone mentioned an AW service with the beach glass, markers, and font, and I am still toying with that instead, as I loved the idea, but I think it's telling me to save it for another time!

    Today is sort of our anniversary; we were married 2/29, so this is as close as we get most years. The boys are going off with their aunt for the mid-day, and I think we'll take a picnic hike with the dog. Unemployed husband means a simple celebration, but it will still be lovely.

  30. Oh Gord - not another flood!!! Nooooo!!!!!

    Mind you, Prisca does have a point about having a flood story...

  31. Hmmmm, how to work this flood story into my medi-sermon Creation-- Care and Choices???

    THis is the beginning of my stewardship series that will never include the "why you should give mmoney to this church" sermon. 5 weeks of talking about choices and managing what we have and why/how wedo that...

  32. Teri, I just read your sermon and I think it's great! I love the line about the flood being God's tears of grief and anger, and then the way you develop the whole theme of love, not violence, being the way of change and new creation. If I heard this in church tomorrow, I'd feel fed indeed.

  33. I'm in the wilderness this morning...the internet connection went kaput over a billing error and they say it'll be Wednesday before we have service again. Argh.

    Here I sit, unshowered, unmade in the neighborhood coffee shop. I didn't get to post on my church blog last night (part of our Lenten observance) so I had to hurry and get that done. I'm hoping I can scrounge enough inspiration to get a sermon pulled together before the Cub Scout banquet this evening. Argh.

    Our theme for Lent is "Journey to the Cross" and this week, we are looking at our need for courage on the journey -- working with Mark and the courage of Jesus in the wilderness...not that Mark tells us much about that experience. We shall simply use our imaginations!

    Prisca, loved your dialogue and AlterEgo, I may borrow from your discovered journal idea a bit, if ok? What a creative approach!

    While I'm at the coffee shop, can I get anyone a chai tea latte? It's yummy! The pastries look pretty tempting too...

  34. Good morning everyone! Singing Owl, that is so cool about the young mom and baby at your church!

    FiestaBoy and I are heading out in a bit to work at our parish feeding program. Then I will try to get some more revisions done on the book manuscript--this week I made some great progress.

    At bible study this week I was struck by the contrast between Mark's wilderness and the stories in Matthew and Luke. The latter are much more spelled out and imply 1)40 days of hunger 2)one really big temptation at the end 3) angels comforting afterward. But Mark doesn't even mention fasting and he makes it sound like the temptations and the angels and the wild beasts (could be scary, could be an Edenic harmony experience) are all mixed up together for the whole forty days. That's a lot more like my inner landscape! Also like discernment as described by Ignatius, which I am admittedly obsessing about at present because of the retreat I'm preparing. Which reminds me that there are a pile of handouts and bibliography waiting to be done for that....

    Look forward to reading Teri's and Sally's sermons and maybe there will be others up by the time I get back. (Or maybe I missed some cause I'm reading fast and cooking breakfast). Baked eggs topped with cheese, anyone? I have with yolks and without, jack cheese and extra sharp cheddar. And some raspberry Danish on the side.

  35. Hi All,
    I'm only sporadic here these days, but today is a Saturday writing (and some other things too) sort of day. I'm thinking about being with the Wild Beasts and the Angels in the wilderness - certainly we have both in our wilderness experiences, yes? And I'm thinking of God's words "I will remember" in the Noah story. And I'm thinking about what tempts us. Not sure how (OR IF) they all go together, but trusting by the end of this very long day it will sort itself out.

    Prayers all! I'll check in as I can.

  36. Hi, I'm not preaching this weekend, but I have enough on my plate. Finishing the Lenten bulletins (prayers after the sermon), preparing a workshop on Praying in Color tomorrow (and thus shopping for a few things today), and a meeting with a couple getting married later in the afternoon.

    Oh and getting prepared for a b-day party for my stepson tomorrow.

    And shoveling.

    And i woke up not feeling so hot today. Back and head aches.


  37. My older son, who will be 23 next weekend, just called to say that his girlfriend of three years broke things off last night. He is *really* in the wilderness, bless him.
    Gord, so sorry about the flood, how awful!

  38. I preached a mini sermon on this week's lectionary at our local nursing home on Thursday - so I feel pretty good with where I am so far.

    I'm preaching about the 40 days being a time of blessing. Something that is blessed is set apart and declared holy, sacred, worthy.

    Noah and his family and a few animals fit this bill - and the rest of creation (which, honestly, would be us) was swept away never to be heard from again.

    I'm going to talk about how most cultures had a flood story like this in the Ancient Near East - but that ONLY OUR GOD has a divine epiphany at the end.

    I'm going to use God's promise in the rainbow as a sign that God desires not the death of a sinner but that we all repent and live.

    Jesus then becomes our model. We are baptized and the Holy Spirit strengthens us. We may be led through times of trial and isolation and wilderness, but God will even send angels to wait on us. We may be tempted, but we know who we are walking through the wilderness with. And because of that promise, we too are blessed.

  39. Oh it gets better. They can't dig to fix the watermain until tomorrow morning. Guess it's out for supper tonight....

    Oh and to divert the stream they have blocked off the entry to our upper parking lot and have it running down the entrance to our lower lot so neither lot is currently usable. Hopefully that changes by tomorrow morning

  40. Compared to Gord, anyway, a relatively calm Saturday in the Esperanza household. Baby is currently pretending she has never taken a nap before and wonders why she has been put in bed. Preacher husband is out getting the dry cleaning. Preacher wife is working on the, reading blogs and doing facebook. I'm re-working an old one, called, yep, "In Our Wildernesses," working on much the same theme as many of you.

    I'm open for children's sermon suggestions, as always.

  41. Just a quick check in before I get back to it. I am trying something new this week - -finish BEFORE supper rather than start after. I tend to spend a lot of time procrastinating, so I am playing for 10 minutes and writing for 20. So far so good!

  42. I wonder how long a sermon really needs to be....will 700 words suffice if we are also praying the long Great Litany at the beginning of the service?

  43. esperanza, I did a special Ash Wed. service with our kids and read them, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad a way to help them look at Lenten themes of brokeness...

    I imagine, Where the Wild Things Are, would do the same job...

    you may not be able to get away with reading the books to them, but you can still tell the story...if that helps?

  44. oh dear Gord!!!!

    you seem to be taking it in stride, though.

    How do you do it?

    Songbird, sorry to hear about your son and his girlfriend.

    so hard.

    Now, on to the lesson plan.

  45. Gord, talk about the flood...I hope you get some good news soon!

    Esperanza, the story at the bottom of this page is the idea I'm working from for the family service. I'll adapt the story a bit to match my style, but I like the basic idea. I'll be doing a little bit of Lent 101 as well as I talk about Jesus and 40 days in the wilderness, because what the kids really notice are the changes in the church.

    Mompriest, if you are doing the Great Litany (as we are at our other services), by the time you get to the sermon everyone has already heard a lot of words; I think 700 more sounds like plenty. Ears get tired too!

  46. For the children's sermon we will be planting dead-looking bulbs in pots that we will leave in the sanctuary during Lent where we can watch them grow each week. I may have to swap them out with something that is blooming by Easter. This goes along with our Living Promise theme.

  47. Ok, it's a little longer than 700 words, but, here it is

    now off to do yoga, walk dogs, clean house, and read the other sermons here...oh, and do some shopping for tomorrow...

  48. Songbird, I went through that kind of a breakup with my daughter and her long time boyfriend, last is so sad and hard...and, well, part of growing up too...sigh.

    Gord - a flood, oh my, at 30 below? many prayers for you.

  49. Just ran into my home office and was delighted to find that I own Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

    Children's Sermon: Check.
    Sermon: Working on it.

    Thanks mompriest!

    KP, I was wondering why I hadn't seen you on facebook ... happy productivity!

  50. Mompriest, I've been worrying about the shortness of what I want to say tomorrow totally forgetting the Great Litany - although I only rehearsed with the Chorale for three hours this morning so I'll have enough voice for the service. I like what you have written.

    Gord, I am struggling with likening the recession to the wilderness, hoping that during this time we can come to realize what is truly important for us and what we really can live without all the time and not just Lent. It seems to me that your flood and the congregation's response to it will be a sign of what is important. Do we value our time together enough to make the space where we meet flood-proof? Is the community more important than a new car despite the fact that dealers are advertising 0% interest loans - I'm struggling with this one myself.

    I have to say that reading all of y'all's busy schedules makes me feel like a true slug. We might have one funeral a year, a wedding every other year and baptism twice a year. On the other hand, I do have more than one diocesan job that can overflow all that "extra" time but rarely on Saturdays.

    Okay, time for a cup of tea and some basketball. It *is* March after all in less than 24 hours!

  51. I went out to get some water and some waterless handwash for the church and got back to find out the town has asked us to cancel since they will be digging up the road right beside the church at aroun 7 tomorrow morning. SO that settles it I guess.

    Luckily I can (likely) combine the first 2 themes of my series in some way...

  52. I'm planning to use Where the Wild Things are with the children tomorrow. I just hope I remember where it is...
    It may actually be with my books at church, since I used it in my last interim. I might want to take some time and look for it, mightn't I?
    Thanks for the kind thoughts, #1 Son is pretty miserable at the moment. And we love his girlfriend, so this is hard all the way around.

  53. so of all the sundays not to get to do the children;s sermon! I love the where the wild things are idea! but a church member is doing it, and she will be really long, and the kids will misbehave and after this week there is one more. I have asked her to please keep it short (around 3 minutes) and somehow she is closer to 9-10. UGH. But what can you do (rhetorical question!).

    progress is being made. I have lots of words, including a story about the oregon trail and the pioneers, but really not much to say. ah well. time for a quick break and then back at it. This break included unloading the dishwasher...

  54. Gord, they asked you to cancel your just seems well, incongruous...even if it is practical. So, what will you do with your unexpected day off? clean up???

    OK, I've unloaded the dishwasher and done some yoga. Now to walk the dogs...and run some errands...

  55. praying for all you preachers today, and for those who can't preach (Gord, what a mess!) and for those who are hurting (Songbird and #1 Son, and the girlfriend as well, painful times for all)

    I have finished the sermon, just now writing the prayers and girding myself to make the trek (about an hour) to the church for the 6 pm service. The cold and the snow have come back to us, and I am NOT happy about it, although it is only February, after all. I'll post my sermon later, but for now, peace!

  56. On another note entirely, I will be informing my current congregation's leadership tomorrow of my next Interim job. I'll be splitting my time between the two congregations, May through July, then moving on to the new job on August 1. After wondering where I would work next for quite a while now, I am relieved that things are settled!
    I had to make calls to key leaders today, at both churches, to iron out some details of the arrangements, and while that is all good, none of it is getting my sermon written.
    How goes it for the rest of you? Anyone need coffee? Diet Coke? Popcorn? Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches?

  57. Songbird - glad you've got new post all lined up - they are a blessed people.
    Just starting to make sense of my jumble of notes. Glad I'm preaching twice tomorrow because I've got two quite different themes going on - one about wilderness and Lent and the other about flood and covanant. There probably are ways to combine them but I'll settle for exploring both separately.

  58. I have an opening paragraph and a few ideas to work in about new creation, the bow in the skies being a reminder to God (not for us) and the covenant being n act of love.
    Anyhow, my folks are on their way to take me to dinner at the OLive Garden.
    Any requests while I am out? Salad, breadsticks, appetizers, wine, or dessert?

  59. Prayers for Gord and others in floods, prayers for SB's son and others in wilderness and prayers for those who are on Lenten Journey's of their own

  60. 1-4...I'm with you...Saturday again already? How's your kitty with breathing troubles?
    I was thinking along the lines of covenant and lenten discipline during the week, but now, as I struggle to keep my eyes open, am thinking I will go with wilderness and lenten discipline, since it will be easier. Is that because I have spent so much time in the wilderness????
    Sorry for the ramble, and nothing helpful to add for sermon prep...just wanted to be a more "present" part of this beloved Saturday community, I guess.

  61. Songbird - -I'll take the diet coke and ice-cream. Apparently my mojo decided not to come back from our last break and the munchies thought they would fill the void.

  62. You are more than welcome, kp.
    I'm most of the way through, still wrestling with some parts, trying to get to a message that will be both challenging and uplifting, when I really want to tell about three people to just get over themselves! Time is running out! If you're still mad at each other, we need to work through it instead of enjoying the ugliness so much!! Blech. I hate that.

  63. thanks for the wild things idea! I'm totally bagging what I had planned and going with that.

    and KZ - thanks for the reminder about wilderness times being a blessing - a good way to start out.

    Prayers Gord, SB, Diane,

    Funeral. Check. Sanctuary decorating - next. Auction - after that. Sermon - ???

  64. Well, once again I find myself approaching the end but with no clear idea of how to get there. Going to make steak quesadillas for dinner though, yum!
    Like many of you all, we're in the wilderness this week too, similarly talking about it being a time of testing and faithful response to those trials. Also tying in the OT theme of covenants. God gives us covenants when we are wandering in the wilderness to help guide us through, etc.
    So, if the sermon fairy has been to your house, please send her my way next!

  65. Okay, I've got this, and I'm going to take the dog out again. He is restless. Wish I had figured that out before dark!

  66. Thanks Songbird! Sounds like an interesting congregation.

    back to work. must focus.

  67. Hi all--had a busy day today. Wedding in the morning, followed by a memorial service in the afternoon.

    I decided discretion was the better part of valor, and am basing my sermon for tomorrow on the sermon I wrote three years ago. I'm changing the point of it, though, if that matters--I've come to see things differently now. I'm using the Genesis passage, and comparing life, Lent and Noah's voyage, with some Toy Story thrown in...

    This is to be a sample sermon, as I need to have one recorded for the inevitable pulpit search. No time line on that, but I can see the writing on th wall, and think it best to satrt preparing. Sigh.

    I have Chicken Stew with Rice to offer, and Thin Mints for dessert...

  68. What sort of a boost do we need around here, preachers?
    I live to serve you.

  69. Everybody seems to be having such a productive day. I've got the sermon done and I'm ready for Sunday School (I think), and I'm ready for what might be a difficult meeting after church. I've got to be the professional tomorrow - hope I can pull it off!

  70. I'm back from an afternoon of yoga, walking the dogs, (laundry), and I bring with me DQ chocolate dipped ice cream cones....who'd like one? Oh, and diet pepsi...

    now, back to sermonizing...because, alas, it is Saturday.

  71. tomorrow i meet with our newly formed 'stewardship team'... resurrected from the big fat tomb of commmittees that served NO function... now that i'm sitting here to come up with an "agenda"... i'm asking what in the world was i thinking? aren't you supposed to let dead committees lie... oh wait... that's let sleeping dogs lie or something...

    i have a devotion then perhaps the covnersation and ideas could just flow? could i be so lucky?

  72. Songbird, do you have nap cots? Comfy enough for a short break, but not as sleep-for-hours inducing as my bed? Prayers for your son and all of you as negotiate a way through the pain of a relationship ending.

    I have some cheese, salami, and a nice bread leftover from our hike; I bet I could find some wine to go with that if anyone who is still writing dares to touch it!

    I'm thinking it's time to work on a project for one of our school chapels next week, a task that is far more interesting than tomorrow's sermon. Of course, I appear to have thought that laundry, housecleaning, boxing up some clothes and toys, paying bills, and Wii bowling are as well...

  73. For anyone wanting to talk about the recession as a wilderness time and a challenge to the church, check out this letter from the UCCan Moderator to the church. On the page there is also a link to his open letter to the nation (in that one he calls the economic system a failed pyramid scheme)

  74. OK, here is the letter to the nation

    The reference to the "crumbling pyramid scheme" is in the third-to-last paragraph.

  75. what you won't see on my spacehook status update:

    KP really wishes the HS had not shown up and given her this particular message to preach.

    At least the writers block is gone...

    Apparently we're going where I was more than a little afraid to tread - -here's a preview, as I'm apparently not done yet. Am I brave enough to preach it? (ignore the grammatical problems)

    "What are the journeys you are on this Lenten season? Where are you walking, and what kind of wilderness are you in? Did you look at an ash smudged forehead in the mirror and wonder about your life or your mortality? Did you avoid the service because it was not a question you wanted to ponder? Wednesday night I stared at the image in the mirror for a few seconds, before I wiped the ashes off my face. In those few seconds I wondered not only about my own mortality, but also the life of this congregation. To me, it feels like we may be wandering in the wilderness a little bit. We wander in the wilderness surrounded by the wild beasts of financial problems, and member retention, and interpersonal connections or lack thereof, and committee work. We wonder what is at the end of our journey together, where we as a congregation come out of the wilderness. Or at least I do. Because my friends, we are there."

    gotta love the HS

  76. Songbird, can you send some courage to finish this thing and an ending please? Or teh clooney and antonio if they are not busy elsewhere...

  77. KP, the HS has your back and so does this company of RGBP!
    Knowing what I already know (from previous posts) it is time they heard this message. I say go for it. I will be praying for you!

  78. I say preach it, Sister! Keep following the path that got you to this point in the sermon and see where it takes you. I am praying for you right now.

  79. Oh, Mugsy is doing great. I had to double him up on his Predisone and begin tappering off this week.
    He has loads of energy and doing fine. Maddy is my wild thing and Mel his royal self.
    Loads of good ideas brewing. Wish I had gotten dessert at OG!

  80. KP, that's incredible. I wish I had the guts to preach it to my people tomorrow!

    Hotcup, I'm still laughing at your "tomb of committees that serve no purpose." How I hate being on committees like that!

    Songbird, congrats on the new interim-ate (is that a word? probably not).

    I have been distracting myself by filling out government forms for the wee one. I alternated between being irritated at being treated like a two-year-old and saying "what are you asking???" Fun times.

    Now back to work. Thanks for the children's sermon brainstorming.

  81. Hey everybody! I am DONE with preaching for this week (sorry I don't mean to gloat), but I really wasn't wanting to go out there tonight. I was tired, cold and grumpy. But seeing my lovely little congregation made me much happier, and sharing the Eucharist better yet. I still haven't gotten over myself being able to do that bit (after so many years of watching others do it).

    SB, congrats on your new position! You have a lot going on today, but I am glad you are done with your sermon! KP, wow, you go, the HS has got your back.

    Songbird, what I really could use is a dose of calming medicine for three little girls who need to go to sleep so their mom can go to sleep too.

    You all can have the rest of the coconut dark chocolate brownies I made last week, still yummy.

    For any it may help, my sermon is posted:here. Good night all, and prayers for good preaching tomorrow!

  82. Thanks for the support and the love. I think trying not to preach that was the source of my writer's block, as I now have something preach-able.

    it is here, and I am unplugging for the night. Thanks for the support! Blessing to all the preachers tomorrow.

  83. A sermon is written... finally... and it's posted here.

    I've got Swiss Cakes... yogurt... tortillas and salsa... tea (even that funky bottled stuff that has raspberry flavor in it... too strange for words)... diet pepsi... and beer.

    I'm gonna go crash and burn.

  84. Friends, I've fallen asleep twice already, so I am going to say goodnight and wish you all speedy and stirring conclusions as well as sweet dreams!

  85. Late night crowd, checking in! At least one member of the late night crowd.

    I've been busy with a work party and dealing with a headache all day, so now is the time to turn my long page of random notes into something like a sermon. I'm definitely focusing on covenant, and how these (God-initiated) covenants build us into a people of faith. I really like the emphasis on "remember"...that might take center stage.

    I've got Lady Grey tea and pumpkin bread to share, for late night munchies.

  86. Well, I'm back from the dreaded pot luck. I REALLY don't like going out on Saturday nights, regardless of how worthy the cause, or how much fun the event. Really.

    So a dear friend drove me home early 8:30 and I finished up for the morning. Now I'm very very tie-tie.

    Gone to bed. May Antonio and Teh Clooney show up soon for all who need them - and really - who does't????? (they are often latecomers to the preacher party, so those who hang around get them as a bonus).

    Must. sleep. now.

  87. Sending prayers to the night owls, as I am often one. :) Just at the parish to pick up my alb I forgot I wanted to wash (I have an extra I'll leave here in case I forget to bring it back), and make sure a few other things are done so I have less to remember in the morning.
    Peace, bythesea

  88. I hope things are improving, Gord.

    Prayers for your son, Songbird, and for you tomorrow as you share your upcoming changes. I admit to a twinge of envy...

    Diane, hope your achy head and back are improved.

    The ideas are wonderful this week. How I wish I could hear all of you preach!

    Speaking of that, are there any Episcopalians anywhere nearby? (Think somewhere near Sheboygan County)? If so, please email me at dkgeorge at charter dot net and thanks! I have a favor to ask

    Good night all and a blessed day for all your preaching!

  89. thanks for all your feedback, friends! It looks like I missed a great party here. The ballet was FABULOUS and now I'm totally tired, so I've done a teensy bit of editing (trying to incorporate the suggestions through my tired eyes!) and am headed to bed--the alarm goes off in 7 hours and 20 minutes. (sigh)

    blessings on all of you tomorrow and every day! y'all are fabulous!

  90. Yay--I think I'm finished! It's not a masterpiece, but it's done.

    Not sure if anyone is still up and around, but if so, may the Holy Spirit be with you as you finish.

    Prayers for all the discernment and new opportunities happening around here--and for floods, breakups, and tired preachers who need a break.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation today.

  91. KP - AWESOME!

    I'm reworking my sermon to include a bit more of Ash Wednesday within it. We only had 8 show up for our services and I was a bit disappointed, and I think that we really need this Sunday to have a message about beginning Lent.

    We are struggling with a lack of momentum in the church right now. If we could just get the critical mass in worship or coming to our small groups we might be okay, but getting people to take church seriously enough to even show up every week has been tough.

    So I'm feeling that "wilderness wandering" you are speaking of too.

  92. The thoughts and energy here is great. I am struggling with getting my thoughts in focus. Have great starts to sermon, just can't get it all connected. There have been lots of stresses around family issues and I just feel kinda stuck. Maybe I'm in the wilderness too. I remember the day I visited "the wilderness", in Israel when I was there for my seminary Immersion, it was the day after Christmas in 1991, my then fiance, now husband's mother had just died in the States early Christmas morning. It was decided for me, long story, that I should finish my trip, I was so close to Peggy I yearned to be with Curtis I longed to be in the States, and where that very next day with so little sleep, I find my self wandering the same place Jesus did so long ago. My eyes were swollen from crying as we walked I kept stumbling, even falling several times on the rocks, lost in thought lost in anger lost in whatever emotions were plaguing me. When all of a sudden I think toward the very end of our walk, something came over me. This sensation was of a peace that passed all understandings, a peace which carried me through the rest of the walk. A peace reminding me I wasn't alone. I sensed God's remarkable grace and love encompassing my soul. Feeling alone though in a group, feeling lost though on a guided path, all of a sudden by the grace of Jesus, I realized the symbolism of where I walked, it was as if Jesus' power to sustain is journey had passed to me. Don't know why I wrote all this but anyways peace to all who are still struggling with there thoughts and peace to those who are at rest.

  93. OH!!! So close to 100, but time for bed!
    Lets shoot for 100 comments by midnight next week!
    Say, "Goodnite, Graice!"

  94. Gave up last night but got up this morning and the message seemed to flow. You'll find it here
    Just need to print and then get the chocolate fountain going for youth church.
    blessings wherever you are.

  95. I woke up early this morning and remembered the children will be staying in worship today, and now I wonder if I should have written a different sermon. At this point, however, it's too late. I'm going to have to trust they will ignore things they don't care about hearing. I usually try to be child-friendly when the kids stay in, but I just forgot. They will get their own message, anyway (which will probably turn out to be the thing everyone remembers, right?).

    Singing Owl, this moment of knowing what comes next follows on many months of anxiety, a real wilderness of confusion about my call. Your day will come, too.

    I've got fresh coffee for late finishers or early departers. Special prayers this morning for goodinparts who is leading worship with a fractured arm (including a baptism!) and kathrynzj who is with her new church community today!!

  96. Yay for fresh coffee.
    Prayers for all this day, esp those who face anxiety, fractured arms, and delimeas of all sorts.
    We have rain here, with a forecast for snow at noon.
    And we are set for an officers training day. Fingers crossed for all to go well.
    Bring on the coffee. Cats got me up early, but I laid down a bit longer!


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