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Saturday, March 28, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Grain of Wheat Edition

"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."

We are coming up on the 5th Sunday in Lent: closer and closer to Palm Sunday and Holy Week; closer to the grave and closer to the empty tomb. You can get a glimpse of our discussion on Tuesday here.

Those of us here in the northern hemisphere are also getting closer and closer to spring: cardinals calling, crocuses valiantly through the earth, days getting longer.

In my congregation we're keeping our eyes peeled: we're looking for God in the signs of spring, we're looking for God in ourselves and in each other -- and we're especially looking for God in those who are neglected and turned aside.

How about you? How goes your Lenten journey? What seeds have you buried? What is your preaching task today?

I've got blueberry pancakes for breakfast today. I know, it's not very Lenten, but have some anyway. I've also got the required fair trade coffee. So, pull up a chair, share a story, a children's message, a prayer concern, a sermon idea, a seed.

A family was driving by a local cemetery when suddenly their small son pointed and shouted out the window, "Oh! That's where we planted grandpa!"


  1. anybody for a cup of coffee??

    (just checking)

  2. coffee would be good. So would a sermon!

  3. hmmmm, let me see what I have brewing....

    here's a cup, Margaret.

    My husband appears to be sick today. so I'll be nursing him today, between hospital visits, assisting the intern tonight, and first communion classes.

    I'm trying to remember what the A in the BRAT diet stands for.

  4. Count me in on coffee.
    Oh I have dee-wish-us blueberry scones from the bakery that is only open two days a week.
    The hour has come, seed stuff,and Lent. Nothing is in my brain today.
    But maybe this planitng and burying bussiness might produce something like a sermon.
    This is one of those weeks when I would go for an Instant Sermon. Open pack, pour in bowl, add water and a heaping spoonfull of the Holy Spirit and stir. Micorwave for 1 minute. Volia!
    They really should sell that at the Festival of Homies.

  5. Wouldn't that be nice? 1-4 Grace, a blueberry scone would be delicious! thanks!

    here's a cup of coffee for you, too.

    I think insta-sermon would be a great hit.

  6. Coffee! Yes! And those pancakes sound heavenly.

    I'll get to the sermon in due time, I suppose. Right now we have wounded hearts in this house--my stepdaughter informed us through an email that went to all of her 100 closest friends last night that she is pregnant (baby #2). She doesn't answer our calls, return our calls, or respond to emails. We don't know what has led to her withdrawal from us, which confounds matters a bit.

    Anyway, not to carry on, but that is what is on my heart this morning. Whatever has died here doesn't look to be bearing fruit.

  7. Diane--it's applesauce.

    And that's the only intelligent thought in my head this morning. Back later with more, hopefully.

  8. ((((altar ego)))) prayers ascending.

    that's all I can say right now. I wish I were there.

  9. oh altar ego... prayers!

    i am tired... having slept fitfully waiting for a phone call last night that never came. augh!

    coffee's on and off to a packed day in which really i must squeeze in a nap!!

  10. Here's a little something to entertain you all as you write your sermons.

    I'm probably going to go to hell for this.

  11. (((Altar Ego)))))

    I am preparing for a meeting and forum I must moderate this morning, then possible lunch with a friend, then home to finish the sermon.

    My First Page Thursday endeavor was rather skimpy since we had a sudden and significant death in the congregation that morning. I'm almost wishing I did not take my Sabbath yesterday, but I'll stop that silly talk right now!

  12. I apparently hve to make a run to the city because Beloved's sister-in-law is being "difficult" so we have to get a bunch of stuff out of the house she and Beloved's brother just bought out from under mom. Isn'tfamily wonderfu at times????

  13. (((altar ego)))

    hopefully you will connect soon. Prayers ascending.

  14. I'm here, but have to leave and do necessary errands for my son (who returns to school at the crack of dawn on Monday), then meet with the search committee at church. I'll be back later in the day and hope to find further inspiration in the meantime.

  15. Good morning! I am sitting in the breakfast area of the Hampton Inn in Jackson, MS. A friend and I decided that we would learn to enjoy where we were more and take trips around the area. Our goal for this trip was Natchez via the Natchez Trace. We both got bored along the road (though it was beautiful) after about two hours. So we drove to Jackson to spend the night. Decided to spend our time here. Had a draft before I left. Will get up early tomorrow morning to complete. Using Romero as a grain that fell to earth, died and bore fruit.

  16. Good morning! I am sitting in the breakfast area of the Hampton Inn in Jackson, MS. A friend and I decided that we would learn to enjoy where we were more and take trips around the area. Our goal for this trip was Natchez via the Natchez Trace. We both got bored along the road (though it was beautiful) after about two hours. So we drove to Jackson to spend the night. Decided to spend our time here. Had a draft before I left. Will get up early tomorrow morning to complete. Using Romero as a grain that fell to earth, died and bore fruit.

  17. (((Altar Ego)))

    Prayers for you and stepdaughter...

    I have absolutely nothing going on today except writing the sermon and praying for Strong Heart, who is candidating this weekend. I would also like to do some reading--I got a Cokesbury delivery of two very interesting books--one on interim ministry and the other on the "seasons of ministry." Will let you all know how they are.

    Blueberry pancakes sound great! And of course coffee.

    As I have only some vague idea of covenant as the theme of my sermon, I had best get to it!

  18. just did our denomination's online health survey. i'm bummed because I think I'm doing better, but my results were marked worse.

    maybe I was just more honest this time???

  19. .... I have to say, I do occasionally miss the days of no Saturday night sermons.

  20. Prayers for all of you experiencing family related difficulties.

    The only sermon I have tomorrow is the children's sermon, my first in this congregation. 6 to 8 kids, ages 5 to 8. Usually.

    I am trying to decide between 1. talking about seeds and how God's love for us is hidden in our hearts like a seed is hidden in the ground that will one day grow into something beautiful and tasty or 2. the Greeks in the text asked Philip to introduce them to Jesus --if someone asked you to introduce them to Jesus, what would you do? What would you say?

    What are you all going to do with your children's message?

  21. I thought of bad (to me at least, any of you can steal these if you'd like) ways to start my sermon here.

    But as of yet, no real inspiration. I haven't even read something I can steal.

    Waiting for the snow up north, too.
    My prayers to those whith family issues, in the middle of that walking on eggshells thing.

  22. 'm just dropping in because it wouldn't be Saturday if I didn't (even if I usually just read and not write). Not preaching today, I got the weekend off to enjoy Spring Break with the girls who are right now outside pogo-sticking their little hearts out. The sun is shining, and spring is, dare I say, here!

    Altar Ego, many prayers for you and the situation. And for you as well Gord. Yipes. I'll take my boring life right now.

    Blessings to all and all my good writing vibes going forth!

  23. I was fortunate enough to have breakfast made for me this morning by the fine cooks at Robin's Restaurant in uptown Outer Podunk.

    No preaching/processing responsibilities tomorrow. But I am contemplating seeds -- am planting some of my veggie seeds indoors today.

    And I'm chuckling at "You've Lost That Lenten Feeling." This is most certainly true.

  24. Ugh - - heading out for a shopping day in Minneapolis with the fam. My entire plan for tomorrow went up in smoke Thursday night when I was told the youth from our ecumenical mission trip a few weeks ago can't come to speak/preach in my service because they were speaking in their own services. Why none of them (or their parents) didn't seem to know this in time to tell me before THURSDAY NIGHT I don't know. So. I'm preaching after all without a clue of what I'm going to be doing. We shall see.

    I kept yesterday as Sabbath and didn't think or stress about it one bit. Today is a family day and tonight will be a late night! Woo hoo.

    I'm scheduled to be off-lectionary and will probably stick with that plan.

    See you all later!

  25. I'm checking in for the morning...and sympathizing with those with difficult family situations...sigh.

    I actually managed to get started last night, with a long list of thoughts and ruminations, and now I just need to get them organized and into some kind of sermon, preferably in time to go make a visit and go to the school musical tonight.

    The downside? It's a beautiful day and I'd really love to go ride my bike instead of all that...

    I'd love a scone, thanks!

  26. I don't have any new and different yummies to offer this morning--though I always have orange blossom honey and jasmine tea and dark chocolate on hand--but if you stopped by I could perhaps read you a little something from Terry Tempest Williams' latest book, Finding Beauty in a Broken World.

    In my reflection at The Painted
    this week, that grain of wheat really grabbed my imagination. The image, and what Jesus does with it, prompted me to step back a bit, do some deep breathing (and a little napping) at this point in the Lenten season, and ponder a while. These have been intense weeks--I know that's been true for so many of us (blessings, Gord and Altar Ego!)--and my experience is that the lections that Lent gives us both reflect the intensities of these present days and also take us deeper into them.

    Lent is a lot of work. And rightly so. ("Lent is not for sissies," I wrote in my blog reflection.) But that grain of wheat that Jesus evokes this week got me thinking, what if it's not about working so hard but about letting ourselves give in, fall into dirt, go to ground? At least for a little while?

    I'm not exactly sure what that means for me, but that's what I'm chewing on...

    And, oh, yeah--I found myself writing about Barbie dolls, too... Oh, where these lections take us!

    Blessings and gratitude to everyone!

  27. Altar ego, you are in my prayers and I know where you have been.

    YOu've lost that Lenten feeling?! So true, so true. It's good to know there are many of us struggling with tomorrow's lessons/sermons. So I'm praying for group inspiration.

    Did one of you write Tuesday about God writing *on* our hearts rather than *in* because when our hearts break, God's love enters in? I like that idea, am wondering if I can get it to preach, maybe link it to having to break ground to plant the seed?

    Okay, I've napped (new antihistimine) and need to shower. Showers usually inspire. ;-)

  28. Hugs to alter ego, gord and all dealing with (what we used to call in seminary) The Dreaded FOO.*

    SheRev - maybe a riff on the psalm (What do young people need??) might be in order.

    I'm skipping part one of a Diana Butler Bass workshop this morning to work on sermon and tend to sickies around here (ugh! I"m very tired of March!) and so hoping for inspiration.

    We have a seminary student jumping through one more hoop tomorrow (Ecclesiastical Council). He'll be in worship from out of town, so I'll be keeping him in my thoughts as I preach. I'm going with covenant ala Jeremiah and how part of doing what God would have us do is to keep making and remaking covenants, even when they are broken on the other side.

    Oh, and eggwhites and dry toast is all I have to offer - back on watching our weight around here.

    *Family Of Origin

  29. I have a sermon written. short as all my Lenten ones have been due to other elements in the service, such as prayers for healing and anointing - and no way could the service last longer than an hour - so short homilies.

    Anyway. One is written. It totally uninspires me, even though I really like the story I'm using from here....

    that said, back to work...

  30. also, off topic, this is a sweet story maybe to save for when you're talking about To The Greeks, I am a Greek, etc...

  31. Cranking away...
    Today's an exegetical analysis of Matthew 11:25-30, and get a draft done of my NT paper on the "tax collectors and sinners" in Mark 2.

    Plus laundry, kid chauffeuring, baking for the pit orchestra, and more stuffity.


  32. It is almost noon and I am just now getting down to sermon. I spent the past couple of hours checking my blogpals. I finally got yesterday's five finished.

    Now I am struggling with the final baptismal promise about doing justice which fits into tomorrow's readings.

    I had my Activia and grapenuts and am wanting lunch now but coffee would probably be better to make the 'little grey cell' work better.

    I have been experiencing vertigo for the past 3 weeks. It isn't debilitating --it is just annoying and distracting when I want to be on my toes. I could use some prayers, sistahs.

  33. Oh... "BRAT" diet is


  34. Hello to all! Blessings and prayers to Altar Ego,

    Saturday is Sabbath for me. Sunday EVENING's sermon is about 1/3 of the way through, which should be fairly quick work to tidy up tomorrow afternoon, between Profession of Faith meeting @ noon and Missions STAY (we are serving our community here) meeting @4:30. Looks like it'll be a LONG Sunday. But for now, my kettle is screaming and I'm ready to dive into some reading & craftiness.

  35. Kids and families again for me tomorrow. This particular service is best when we're hands on, so I'm working from Jeremiah and God writing on our hearts. Everyone (30-40 people, 50% under age 9) gets a heart cut-out, to write or draw something that represents God on the front. On the back, I'll ask them to write/draw things that represent themselves, with the idea that God doesn't abstractly love all of us, but loves each one of us personally in our uniqueness and with our individual quirks, gifts, and shortcomings. Hmm...probably do that in the reverse order...personalize first, then add the God part. Obviously, I need to do some fleshing out!

    Altar Ego, peace and prayers for you in the family situation. Gord, hope the city trip goes as well as possible.

    I need to get outside to do some yardwork and throw on a load of laundry. I have a very bare pantry...cold cereal, anyone?

  36. muthah- that is so hard! I had a bad bout with vertigo last year. In case you want advice, I had it cured by the Eppley Manuever (google it or check it out on youtube if you want to see it done) - it's really easy and gentle and a PT can do it for you the first time, then afterwards you can practice it at home.

    My goodness, anything to stop thinking sermon today, evidently. At least I'm staying off Crackbook (for now...)

    Oh, and in case you'd rather have a link, here it is to that sweet story I was talking about before.

  37. is what I have so far

    Any thoughts about what might help this little reflection?

  38. Well I'll be singing "I've lost that Lenten FEeling" for awhile this morning-oops, afternoon. About to dive into Thursday rough(!) draft and get on with it.
    Rainy day here makes reading on the couch sound better than sermonizing and I haven't touch my blog in a week. sigh...

  39. The Gospel text from John as so much going on in it I'm having a hard time staying focused.

    And looking up seed biology and finding Seed magazine telling me we're creating cylons doesn't help.


    too spooky!

  40. I love the SAturday 'check in' here. YOu all make me glad..

    My sermon for tonight and tomorrow is focused on "We want to see JEsus." Because we have a conference meeting tomorrow on our mission in the city, my sermon is about how we, as a congregation, show Jesus to our community. And how are we doing with that?

    It isn't necessarily Lenten.. but mission. A difficult nut to crack for many... many in my congregation unconsciously see the congregation as 'theirs' and think that outreach is unnecessary: if outsiders want to come to church, fine.. but don't rock the boat too much.

    I think Jesus rocked the boat of the establishment in a big way.. are we up to that task?

    Just thinkin' out loud.

    Pass the coffee....

  41. ((((AlterEgo)))))) (((G)))))
    Hugs to all who are needing them. SYmphathy to Sherev for having to sermonize on a day you had not expected to preach. UGH!!! What is with the people?
    Is that all you eat in the BRAT diet? Can you have butter, jam, jelly or cinnamon and sugar on toast?
    Is whtie rice okay?
    Can the bananas be dipped in chocolate and nuts?
    Funeral is over and I am back to try and write a sermon.

  42. Early afternoon here and that scone sounds DELICIOUS!

    I have good thoughts on the sermon but nothing solid written down. Focusing a lot on the falling of the wheat - no one chooses to fall and no one does it gracefully... blah, blah, blah.

    Just packed up 5 boxes to send to sister who is pregnant and ripe for hand-me-down and sorted out stuff for consignment and the church rummage sale.

    Off to recycling then... not sure. But I am guessing it ain't the sermon!

  43. Wow, I just wrote my conclusion. Maybe I should do it this way all the time.

    Hoping to have a draft before the visit at 3...I have Lady Grey tea and almond MnMs for those who wish to spoil their lunches or dinners...:)

  44. I have a solid rough draft and had have lunch. Now to read a bit and let the sermon "stew." Maybe a blog entry too--I'm way behind on that.

    Lovely sunny day here although the temp is chilly.

    I have turkey stew in the crock pot...I'm experimenting, so no idea if this will be good or a disaster!

  45. I am now fortified by a yummy blt (thanks, hubby, for making lunch!), and I think I have a germ of an idea.

    In Jeremiah the Lord says (essentially), "I'm trashing the prototype and starting over (where have we heard that before?). Everybody gets a clean slate, or a fresh plot of ground, as it were. Sins will be wiped into the compost pile and used for fertilizer. Plant the seed of who you were and feed it with redemption. Watch what grows. Yeah, that's a better model for relationship with the model. Let's see if this one works."

    Yes, I'm being a tad irreverent, but it helps get the juices flowing.

    Now to let the fertilizer work on the soil that is what passes for my mind...

  46. Ugh, forgive me, I got so excited about having an idea to share that I forgot to thank you all for the prayers and support. Family crap is so icky. I'm so glad I can come here and let it spill onto the blog.
    hugging back

  47. Sigh, why don't I learn to preview first?

    That should read (two posts above):
    Yeah, that's a better model for relationship with the creator.

  48. As it's a 5th Sunday tomorrow my 2 churches combine for worship (which probably means that attendance will be down from both congregations :( ) & my associate is preaching BUT we have the Annual Meeting as Church in the Valley tomorrow pm so I'm supposed to be writing a review of the year, which seems ridiculously taxing atm.
    BUT I have some yummy scones a friend baked - do help yourselves xx

  49. ok, first communion went well. one mom cried when she told the class why her daughter was ready for communion. then, I found out that our internet was down at church. I found the nursing home (pretty area, but I always get lost, as it is near one of our Lakes), but the woman had just gone home!

    so now I'm home, making tea for hubby. stopped and got some BRAT things (we have bananas, tho) and gatorade, which my nurse friend highly recommends (she also recommends popsicles).

    oh, the "on the heart" rather than "in the heart", I think is might be a midrash.

    So, I'm on-line again until I have to go preside at communion.

    Also, I'm stressing about all the phone calling I should be doing for a meeting Tuesday.

    sigh. just want to take care of husband and knit right now.

  50. I always feel not so alone on Saturdays when I check in here! The sermon is mostly done, and now I'm pondering how to nicely say, "Grow UP!" before a church meeting tomorrow afternoon. I am feeling the need to give some reminders about good communication.

  51. That's what we're here for, Chilly Fingers.

    You are not alone.

  52. My title this week is "Heart-Cleaning" using Jeremiah and the Psalm. I had my husband dig out one of his dirty old carburetors to use for the children's time. Clean and rebuild the carburetor to get the car to run right...something like that - it's like the heart of the car.
    Otherwise I'm having a lot of trouble getting motivated to write. There is supposed to be a big snowstorm coming, parts of the state already have FEET of snow. Will there even be church tomorrow?
    Hubby and son are camping in this mess with the scouts, and daughter had six friends over last night to watch Disney movies. It was fun.
    Must write now. Really.
    Tea to share.

  53. Yay, another Sunday when my associate is preaching. But had to check in on the party. As usual, loads going on. Offering prayers for comfort and inspiration for all struggling this week - with life and with the texts. Have some yummy Spaghetti Carbonara to offer - and the sauce is Weight Watchers. Now, I'm going to practice making some Easter bunnies and chicks out of wash cloths with my daughter. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all saturday nights could be spent in such trivial pursuits?

  54. Well, I've got the durn thing outlined which would be good news except the outline seems more for a 10 page paper than a 4 page sermon.

    We shall see.

    First, I think I must respond to the siren song of the couch. :)

  55. (((altar ego)))

    (((Gord)))) - oh my. So sorry to hear this.

    Sermon done. Working mostly with Jeremiah. Still need children's sermon and prayers. I've spent the whole day avoiding the computer because I just don't feel like doing any work today.

    Looks like I too have lost that Lenten feeling. I posted about it on my blog when I was feeling much more energetic and like I might actually make it through this incredibly looooooooong Lent. Today? Ugh. Not so much with the energy.

    I may just go and nap and come back to it later. Yes, a nap sounds good.

  56. Kim, I LOVE your children's message idea -- much better than mine, which involves seeds and little containers, but no dirt (too messy, I thought). Our OT lessons are off lectionary. We're talking about Naboth and unethical business practices in the adult sermon. But I just couldn't get my brain around that for a children's time. (give them pennies? take some of the pennies away?) so I went with something based on the seed thrown in the ground....

    just a matter of making it simple enough...

  57. oh, and I wish I could take a nap, but I might not wake up in time for church.

  58. oh diane... i hope tomorrow afternoon at least you find time to knit and just be with your hubby.

    sermon needs a "tweak". i used the midrash thing on the jeremiah text... now walk the dog or take a nap?

  59. Back from the salvage run. Apparently s-i-l has already discarded two boxes of dishes grandma had given to the girls (at least they weren' in the spot they were supposed to be). Not. Impressed.

    Now to the sermon. A stewardship one about building community being the point not feeling goood about our giving or giving to ensure the buildng exists, or giving for a tax receipt. Given the current uses of the word I am not always sure "charity" is the reason for us to give.

  60. Feeling slightly better since one of the youth still answered the questions in written form - the only youth from our church, who works in the nursery at another church (don't even get me started on how annoyed I am about THAT!).

    Anyway, my series during Lent has been pretty off-lectionary, well, totally off lectionary as we have talked about different spiritual disciplines/practices as ways of "Giving in to God." Instead of thinking about Lent as just a time to give something up (a divine diet), it's a time to grow closer to God and others and here are some concrete ways to do that.

    It's a short series since I missed the first 2 Sundays in Lent for said mission trip, but we've talked about keeping Sabbath, listening for God (via 1 Sam 3), and this week will be about serving others. I hoped the kids would preach 90% of the "sermon" with their reflections, but now I have to do that. I have the writings of one to assist me though, so I'll take what I can get.

    I think next week, on Palm Sunday I'll keep the theme going one more week and talk about worship. We'll see.

    Anyway, naptime around here has been in stages. Toddler slept first and preschooler second. Now the toddler is blowing bubbles in the office. I should probably stop this, but it's so cute. I guess I'll just clean up the sticky wood floor later instead.

    Had a good day shopping in Minneapolis, hit an Asian grocery store to try to stock up for our new Asian cooking hobby and a wine store because there was a sale. Yea!!!!

  61. hey. just about ready to head back to the church, where there is no internet service right now. Will see if sick hubby wants me to pick up anything on the way home.

    I'm having trouble getting phone calls done from home, so will probably do that from here....

    I'm not preaching but I'm feeling fried... ordination Sunday night about an hour away.... Monday is day off, but i'm not sure I can take it as a total one.... am obsessing about a reflection I need to give on Tuesday at the public forum. it's faith-based, but a little outside of what I usually do.

    anyhoo... sorry to take the space here,

    I'm probably having chicken noodle soup for supper. What about you?

    As there is sickness here, I don't want bad smells to set anyone back.

  62. Well, meeting/forum were very productive--the kind of morning that makes me very hopeful for the Church!

    The Greek lunch with a friend--ate way too much.

    Then home to send off some very important paperwork.

    Now sermon...ooh shiny!

  63. dear preachers,
    cat on arms
    cannot write sermon

    please send hnelp


  64. Cheese, you crack me up!

    Sermon is...well...done, I guess. Just not too sure about it. I'm going to let it sit and look it over again tomorrow morning. It was almost too east to write, you know?

    I have turkey stew if anyone's in an adventurous mood. I totally made up the recipe, and have no idea if it will taste good. Don't I make it sound inviting?

  65. Kim, I like the carburetor idea; after cutting out a bunch of construction paper hearts, I'm committed to my one for tomorrow, but I'm keeping yours in mind for the future!

    Songbird, I think you will just have to resign yourself to being a prisoner of the cat for a while...enjoy ;-)

    At home we have just begun a new attempt to do on Saturdays the stuff we usually do on Sunday afternoons, so as to get a sense of Sunday sabbath (yeah, I know, what a concept). The interesting thing is that in doing the chores Saturday, I am less resentful because of my anticipation of freeing up Sunday afternoon! Not done with today's list yet, but making progress.

  66. I'm back from The Neverending Visit and now pondering writing a middle to the sermon (I have an intro and a conclusion...weird) vs. making some dinner. Right now dinner is winning out. Hungry. Turkey stew sounds doubly good because I'm craving the meat I gave up for Lent. (Yes, this has been a loooong season.)

    Whine whine whine, sorry. Glad to hear sermons are being finished (and hopefully at least begun) across the land...

  67. Is it bad that I'm so unmotivated to come up with a children's time on one of my most favoritest texts ever (jeremiah 31) that I actually plan to just ask kids what they know about God, hope desperately that they say that God loves us, and then ask what God hopes for from us, and hope that they say that we should love God and love each other, and be done?

    We really need a short children's time this week...and that's all I have energy for. My mental energies are being siphoned off by other people/groups in the church, it's supposed to snow tonight, and all I want to do is curl up with a book--no washing dishes, no laundry, no vacuuming, no taxes, no responsibilities of any kind. What are the possibilities I can get that? ;-) no? hmm...

    well, I have ice cream to put out today, but you probably don't want it quite yet so you can get it from the freezer--mint chocolate chip and caramel macchiato. yum!

  68. Teri has snow and we have much needed (but an awful lot) of rain. It has been a grey day here and hard to find sermon mojo.
    Now watching basketball

  69. I was just reminded on spacehook about Earth Hour. Lights out from 8:30 t0 9:30 tonight.

  70. I have no sermon mojo either...sigh. Long day - supposed to be a work day at the church but when I arrived I learned a saint was at the ER and spend most of the day there. Just got up from a mini-nap and am staring at a blank sheet of paper.

    Margaret, your story last week was amazingly well-received! Thank you! I had written a bit on Tuesday about the Hasidic tale involving on the heart vs in the heart. With the seed, I had thought about how a seed germinates, that it must break open for the roots to find nutrients and for the shoots to work their way up towards the sun. The heart opens to receive and expand, the seed opens to be transformed and to grow. Now, how can I offer that in a way that it has meaning to my people?

    Prayers for altar ego, gord, and all who are working through challenges.

    Can someone add a generous serving of sermon mojo to a cup of coffee and send my way???

  71. Outline cut down to size - I think. I have good thoughts in my head - I think. But need to wait until Boy Bedtime to put things down on paper - I know.

  72. My sermon mojo was missing earlier today too.

    So I cut out construction paper hearts for the children's moment and wrote the covenant on them - side 1: "I will be your God" and side 2: "I will love you" with a piece of aluminum foil "mirror" beneath it.

    Being way too crafty seemed to get the sermon mojo flowing and I've not got 3/4 of a sermon.

    Praying that the sermon mojo shows up for others who are needing it ...

  73. RP, I assume SH is done now, but I prayed anyhow. And for others here too. I get to stop in at the preacher party today because I am preaching tomorrow. I'm going to prison. This means three sermons (if I preach the same one three times the third one is bad) and also something meaningful but simple. Still pondering and struggling a bit. Maybe will do one or two sermons about the grain of wheat and a third on something else.

  74. SO, thanks for your prayers for SH--not too late, as this is an all-weekend deal--meetings and interviews today, sermon and vote tomorrow.

    I've gone back over the sermon again and decided I've done what I can for tonight.

    Tried the turkey stew--eh. It's OK. Needs something but I'm not sure how to zing it up. Dried cranberries, maybe, or a thickener.

    Off to read--look for book reviews at my place soon!

    Prayers and thoughts for those still working--may the mojo descend!

  75. *STOP the preacher party*

    Teri? they make caramel macchiato ice cream?? how could i not have known this?

    *let the partying resume!*

  76. hey! no update from Songbird? I'm worried that perhaps she's being held hostage by that cat.

    the ice cream sounds heavenly, Teri.

    There's something important that I can't find right now, and it's depressing me.

    I got seeds and pots for the children's message. can you tell where it's going?

    need to check in on hubby now.

  77. Still very few intelligent thoughts in my head, but there is a sermon on paper, more or less. Lots of covenant talking, and thanks for the midrash/hasidic story on Tuesday's post. That made it in, too.

    Working on prayers and children's sermon. Distracted by several unbloggable things--nothing bad, just extremely distracting. Must concentrate.

  78. Wish you all could have had an inspiring day with Diana Butler Bass - only prob is now I have TOO MANY ideas!

    Ok, off to it. I forgot all about lights out tonight! So I really ahve to get moving!

  79. I'm here! I escaped the cat, finished my sermon, gave the kids dinner (my two plus one visitor), went to the video store to rent Hitchcock movies and am now settling in to watch Vertigo with the young people. I'll be editing my sermon, kind of, at the same time. It did not turn out to be what I planned earlier in the week, at all. I started writing with a phrase that came to me in the night on Thursday, and let it take me wherever it wanted to go. (Kicking and screaming along the way, of course.)

  80. Songbird: God often drags me kicking and screaming.

    I'm curious as to the outcome -- and the phrase.

  81. Songbird,
    Glad you were freed from the cat.

    Hope DH is better soon.

    All others,
    How can I resist an offer of Yahtzee from a 6 year old in batman jammies? Answer - I cannot. Back in an hour.

  82. RevSis,
    One good story deserves another. Thanks for the story about the rebbe. It will be the basis for my sermon tomorrow. Somehow, I want to work it around to God doesn't cause bad things to happen but we are more open to God when we are hurt and vulnerable - fertile soil ready for planting so to speak.
    I'm glad the story worked for you last week. I used it at the early service, leaving the Bishop to do his thing at the late one.
    And now back to 15th century England. I have five centuries and 2/3's of a book to digest and spit back out as a four hour lecture next Saturday. So you all work extra hard on *next* week's sermons cuz I'll be checking in late for Palm Sunday inspiration.

  83. Okay, I'm going to let it rest and enjoy "Vertigo." It's a little eccentric, but so am I.

  84. P.S. If RevSis turns up again, I owe you a prize for being #100 last week, don't forget to contact me!

  85. I came, I ate a microwave dinner, and I checked on my husband again. he says he feels marginally better.

    how is everyone else?

  86. margaret, I thought about your story when I heard one of the indigo girls songs on the new cd--it has a line that says "a snake will always bite the hand that feeds it....even if you save its life." it's a good song, too. Too bad it didn't come out until this past Tuesday!

    The caramel macchiato ice cream awaits you, friends. enjoy--it's shockingly good! (I didn't know they made it either, until a friend had it at a party last night and sent it home with me afterward!)

  87. SB,
    We love you in all of your ecentricity.
    1-4 G
    I figured out most of the Maundy Thusday service, including where to put the music.
    Now the sermon stuff for tomorrow. Oh, and I am told there is a "banner" for teh sunrise service that we "always" put out by the road. Uh, problem is, nobody knows where it is and so now to find it.
    I'm the interim. I have only been here since June.

  88. teri,
    what brand is the ice cream?

  89. Teri, I'll take some of that ice cream. SOMEONE has to eat at our house.

  90. I'm here and settling into my writing station for tonight. Ugh.

    I put the Mark passage about who will be first and greatest must become the servant, etc. in my "bulletin," but during Lent we are bulletin-less so I guess that could change. I don't intend to though. I want to stick with my serving others theme even if the way to carry that out has been tossed completely.

    I have done no other planning at all, so I am starting from the very beginning of the process tonight - - at 8:45 p.m.. Yuck.

    (Oh yeah, and did I really just "etc" the Gospel of Mark?)

  91. the ice cream is starbucks brand and it seems to have been purchased at the regular grocery store...


  92. Wait!!!!
    Starbucks MAKES ice cream?????
    Wow....Did I mention I live in small town where the grocery store does not have Mint Chocolate Skinny Cow Sandwiches?
    Time for trip to the big city.

  93. Since I have no worship responsibilities tomorrow, The Entertainer has a church friend spending the night -- rare for Saturday night! I had to help the count since it's so close to 100. Blessings on your Sunday

  94. I'm off to bed--the sermon is what it is for tomorrow!

    Blessings on those still working!

  95. My sermon title is 'on the necessity of a broken heart,' using jeremiah and the gospel text...but I think my central piece will be a story from Kate Braestrap's 'here if you need me' (she's a chaplain to the maine warden service) when she describes the worst death notification she was ever a part of--and she's delivered some terrible news, children/husbands/siblings): she informed a group of 10 people that their family member had been found dead and they said, 'he was an a**hole, when can we get the snow mobile?'
    I want to make the connection to my folks that we can only LIVE the gospel if we are willing to have our hearts broken for love of others--and the alternative (not loving/not being broken) is not living at all...and Jesus understood this--willing to be completely broken for us rather than forsake his love for us.
    any suggestions on how to edit the comment to avoid horifying the little old ladies? If I were braver I'd leave it--it makes the story as terrible as it is...

  96. Kate M -- when I want the effect of a *stronger* word, I sometimes pause and say "I cleaned this up but you'll get the point"

    For this story, I'd follow with something like "he was a [pause] jerk"

    they'll fill in the blank well enough

  97. Just finished watching "Vertigo" with three teens who thought it was hilariously awful. "The pace was so slow!" "Why did he treat her that way?" "I like my horror movies to have a happy ending!" Yes, they are part of the fully actualized jump-cut generation.

  98. ok, I will be going to bed soon.

    anyone need anything? (you all already have ice cream.)

    I can leave some tea and tea bags out.

    What Kind would you like?

    SheRev, I might check in once more, after I take the dog out.

    and check on my husband.

    anyone else out there working?

  99. What a loooong day...I'm back. Did not get to walk dogs or do yoga...spent the day in the car driving from here to there and back - for about 4 hours...that after I went to the I'm eating a veggie pizza with creamy garlic sauce and all the veggies you can imagine - spinach, zucchini, mushroom, artichoke hearts, onion, tomato - it's quite delicious and I'll share!

    well. my sermon. it is what it is. I'm going to print it off and then use the lights out Earth Day hour to take a long hot bath by candle light....with a cup of tea....would that be wrong?

  100. 100!!!
    I'm going to give *myself* a prize.
    What should it be?

  101. I am working havig turned lights back on after my latened version of earth hour.
    Anyhow, I am about 2/3 of the way there. And going to fix chicken for tomorrow's lunch.
    You cook it in the slow cooker with wine, onion and cream of muchroom soup. Yum
    oh, am i 100????

  102. SB, go for some of Teri's ice cream!!!

  103. It was mompriest. We went from 94 to 100 really fast. I was trying to come with something profound for it, but the Spirit didn't strike. Maybe she's saving up all her inspiration for a really great sermon which will be delivered momentarily. I know it will. I got NOTHING right now.

  104. Lights are now on, well at least the light from laptop monitor and tv screen--otherwise the candles are still the light source.

    But that hour of quieet and dark has me reaaaaaaaaaalllllllly sleepy now.

    still needing some more thought about stewardhsip as building community, not giving to charity. You'd think that would come much easier to me since the Deuteronomy passage we are using is blatant about why share your resources --and it ain;t for the support of the temple!

  105. Winding down with a glass of wine and checking on you all at the day's end. Would anyone like a glass of 3 Buck Chuck Cabernet? It is surprisingly tasty.

    It was a beautiful sunny day here in the land of God's Left and Right Hands, so DH and I went hunting for her ancestors in cemeteries about an hour or so away out in the middle of nowhere.

    Not only do we know "where we planted Grampa," we know where Gramma is too. Several sets of them, as it turns out.

    Blessings on the process for those of you still working. I'm going on to bed and rising earlier than routine tomorrow to finish up.

  106. Gord, can the story "stone soup" help any?

  107. Mint chip sounds good to me! In fact, when I go to the store shortly (because we need more than that), I may just get some; alas, it will have more calories than the virtual kind.

    Glad the kitty let you loose, SB!

    SO, 3 different sermons? Ouch. I occasionally need two, but three would be a real test.

    Off to finish up the week's menus--I love, love, love it when I actually do that!--and supervise older son and algebra, then to the store. Blessings on all preachers tomorrow; if the mojo is weak, may the Spirit be strong!

  108. Well, the good news is it is done (until the 5am-Holy-Spirit-edits) the bad news/GOOD news is it scares the shit out of me.

    The hour has come...

    I guess it is cheating to have my delayed earth hour in about 30 minutes when I go to bed, right? Oops.

    Carry on folks, remember the Holy Spirit has got your back!

  109. Good night, preachers!
    Good night, preachers!
    Good night, preachers,
    I'm going to leave you now.

  110. there's a prize for 100? where have I been?

    songbird, we have to talk.

    I had no idea!

    I'm going to bed, I guess.

  111. I'm back, this time from The Neverending Musical, although it was excellent. Settling in with a vanilla Coke to write a sermon middle, although I'm a little distracted and need to quiet down some.

    Yes, that means Facebook. Or knitting.

  112. Hi There,
    Back after bedtime and some unfortunate wasting of time (curse you, Facebook) and now violating earth hour, since I really do have to work now.
    Sigh. Who's up still?

  113. Right here. I was on FB for too long and then decided to play one Webkinz game. Didn't know it would take 50 minutes. (I'm really getting good at that pizza game.)

    Now - - to a blank page I go.

  114. *waves at nightowls*

    Found sermon ideas *and* a sermon from 2006 (wasn't preaching often then, but did a search because it felt like I'd preached this before). I had some ideas already for this time, but let myself get sucked into some housework today. So here it is late, I'm tired, and I was deciding if I stay up a bit longer or sleep and get up early. This discovery makes life less stressful whatever I decide. :) I'm thinking a quick snack & some sleep after I print these to look over.

  115. dude. it's that scramble that's killer for me. if I get a good score, then I think I'm on a roll and should try one more time. if i get a bad score, then I think I cant quit on that.

    I know it's bad though, because my kid came thru the dining room and asked "are you playing that GAME again?" in a voice of dripping scorn.

    Sighing again.

  116. Let's race. I"m at 446 words. Sherev? :::vainly trying to achieve the same adrenaline rush from sermon writing as from scramble::::

    BTS - it is SO GREAT to find a good old sermon, better than christmas :)

  117. OK. Maybe that will help me, Juniper.

    Still at 0 because your mention of FB brought me back to Tetris and I have the same problem with Tetris that you have with Scramble. Can't find the right time to quit!

    I'll join the sermon writing race. (I'm sure this is what Paul had in mind when we were told to encourage on another.)

  118. I'm at 1184...but I think it might be cheating if I join the race. However, this does not mean that any of the 1184 words are actually GOOD.

    This could be bad, if my sermon middle doesn't match my intro or conclusion...

  119. Gord, not sure if you ran across this (and I can't remember the source)...granted its more for an American audience but you mind find something helpful:

    U2 lead singer Bono at the Feb 3, 2006 National Prayer Breakfast (US):

    “Finally, it’s not about charity after all. It’s about justice. And that’s too bad – because Americans are good at charity. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can’t afford it.

    “But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.

    “Sixty-five thousand Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. Preventing the poorest of the poor from selling their products while we sing the virtues of the free market – that’s a justice issue. Holding children to ransom for the debts of their grandparents – that’s a justice issue. Withholding life-saving medicines out of deference to the Office of Patents – that’s a justice issue.”
    “A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life”, Bono concluded his talk. “In countless ways, large and small, I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing on my work and my life.

    And this wise man said, “Stop”. He said, “Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing – because it’s already blessed!”

    Well, God is with the poor. That, I believe, is what God is doing. And that is what he’s calling you and me to do!”

    Sermon is done...not crazy about it but am hoping for a visit by the Holy Spirit between now and sermon time. G'nite all -- blessings on your sermonizing!

  120. Well, paul was all about getting the job done... alas, I am stuck at 450. I am good at the first page, the 2nd and 3rd are difficult and the last is easy again usually. This seems to be following my pattern....

  121. Revsis, that is GOOD - wish I was going with that charity/justice thing...

  122. I'm not doing charity/justice, but I am doing serving others. Bono might have given me "my" first words.

  123. Juniper, I wish I were, too! Instead I'm breaking hearts and planting seeds...and already looking forward to the Sunday afternoon nap.

  124. That comment many posts up was not clear was it?

    I'm not doing three sermons.

    I want to do two. I can do the same sermon twice and still care about what I'm saying, but not three times.

    Trouble is, after many hours, off and on, I have one sermon, not two. And I'm off to bed, hoping that inspiration may strick in the wee hours. If not...I feel sorry for the inmates in service number three.

    But I am not complaining! God knows when I'll be at the preacher party again!

    Starbucks coffee ice cream ROCKS!
    Night night.

  125. Rev Sis,
    you need our bulletin cover, it is a lovely collage of muted colors with the word "Service" on it. The foregroudn features a pair of hands washing feet.
    I had picked these out earlier, without doing a lot of thinking at the time. But, this one is nice. Now we jsut need your sermon with Bono quote.
    I ma turning in soon. I do not have an ending and I have maybe 350-400 words to do it in.
    I jsut am not too sure what my "point" is.
    It,s time, this is the hour, uh. Need sleep.
    BTW, the chicken smells really good in the crcok pot.

  126. Here is the recipe. I ma serrving it with steamed veggies and some green and wax beans with a buttery sauce and cranberries (Birdseye brand), biscuits, and tea.
    Have not made it before, but it does at last smell good

  127. My link did not work.
    Here is the recipe:
    Easy Chicken In Wine.
    4 boneless chicken breast halves
    salt and pepper
    1/2 cup white wine, dry
    1 can cream of mushroom soup
    1/2 cup chopped onions
    Cut up 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in about 1 inch pieces. Lightly flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 cup white cooking wine into Crock Pot, add chicken. Pour one can cream of mushroom soup and 1/2 cup chopped onions. Mix. Do not add water as it makes its own gravy. Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Serve over egg noodles or rice
    Serves 4.

  128. OK, Juniper. How goes it? I'm going to need to turn in here shortly, but I am doing happily well, finally. Glad "The Notebook" movie finally ended! That was my last bit of distraction, but I was working through it. A LOT too sappy for my usual taste, but interesting enough to be a sermon distraction.

    Word count? I go for 1800-2100 and I'm at right about 1000 in complete sentences and few more than that in sketchy outline speak. I'm happy. Giving myself about 10 more minutes to make sure I've got everything lined out and then I'm heading to bed for 3 hours or so. Maybe I'll check in one last time before I hit the hay!!

  129. I got sucked into more facebook, even with the challenge, so I'm going to bed now, then finishing up in the morning.... got a good outline and 800 words solid, so I should be good to go too.

    And Holy Spirit's got our back, praise God!

    Blessings on all writers and preachers.

  130. OK. More than enough words in some form so it's time to go to bed for a couple of hours.

    And I thought I'd have this week off.

  131. Oops, I fell asleep there for a bit, so it's time to go to bed in earnest. I have a finished sermon...I think it flows together all right...but at least it's finished.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation today.

  132. Back at it later than usual, but I was up working on it later than usual. At least I have most of it in place.

    Blessings on you all!

  133. Finished - - later than I wish it was, but better than I thought it would be. Thanks Spirit!

    Blessings on the rest!

  134. Coffee(check)
    Cats fed (check)
    Sermon (check
    Panty hose without a run (check)
    Holy Spirit (double check!)
    Away we goooooooo!

  135. Yay! I've got two sermons!

    Blessed day, all!


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