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Saturday, March 21, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Tapping the Tree Edition

This morning my son and I will visit a farm a bit north of here where the family has been tapping maple trees all week. I read that it takes 40 gallons of maple sap to make *1* gallon of maple syrup! It reminded me of the way we prepare our sermons: many hours of study, conversation, contemplation and writing, in varying proportions, distilled into 12-20 minutes (what, you preach longer?!?!!) devoted to sharing the sweetness of the Good News with our congregations.

Where will you be today? What will become part of your proclamation?

Stop by and have some pancakes, with real maple syrup! Coffee, tea, or maybe a glass of milk for me.

Many thanks to Sally for posting this despite the desire of Blogger to label us as Spyware,
Your Hostess,


  1. thanks to Sally! I love real maple syrup!

    I'm not preaching this weekend. I don't even have the children's message (our intern does). But I will be attending a "visioning session" of the church council in a little while, so pray for us.

  2. As is true for several UM conferences, there is a push for "professions of faith" in our conference. So John and Ephesians are going to lead into an Evangelism sermon of some kind. I memorized the Ephesians passage as a part of the Evangelism Explosion class I took a long, long time ago. I no longer hold the same views toward "being saved" but EE did give me tools to share my faith in a way that is more comfortable for me -- and I think more gracious.

  3. As is true for several UM conferences, there is a push for "professions of faith" in our conference. So John and Ephesians are going to lead into an Evangelism sermon of some kind. I memorized the Ephesians passage as a part of the Evangelism Explosion class I took a long, long time ago. I no longer hold the same views toward "being saved" but EE did give me tools to share my faith in a way that is more comfortable for me -- and I think more gracious.

  4. Look Blogger liked my comment so much it published it twice!

    I have an all day workshop so I'll be back late as well ...

  5. It is Mothering Sunday here in the UK, and I am taking the text of Exodus 2: 1-10, looking at mother's as risk takers and then tying that in with the gospel reading of John 3 to show God as a risk taker...

    Then we have the President of Conference ( Methodist) designate visitng one of our Circuit Chapels in the evening and I am assisting at the communion service there.

    Busy day! Right now I am in full procrastination mode, following my eldest son's problems yesterday (he was assaulted), and a drive up to Lancaster ( 450 mile round trip) to collect my youngest son who is home from University for Easter!

    I need some time out to be mum, and not to preach... but that is my call, so help....

  6. I'm up and at'em. Today is a very busy "Chicken and Biscuit Dinner" day at our meeting. Come on in if you want REALLY GOOD food!
    I have no real sermon thoughts yet. Just a title "Snake Bitten People". And about 3 hours before I report for potatoe peeling duty.

  7. I'm off in a few minutes to teach a make up class for one of our confirmands. Tomorrow is the Bishop's annual visit and confirmation so there are swedish meatballs and maybe bon bons to make this afternoon.
    But I have to preach at 8:00. Yesterday morning, the woman leading devotions for the African Childrens Choir - they stayed with us for three days - told a story about a boy becoming a man, having to climb a mountain and stay the night by himself. A poisonous snake asks to share his shelter as it is very cold on top of the mountain and he has no heat of his own. I'm sure you can guess where the story goes. The boy is kind, sees this as a test of his manhood and not only spends the night with the snake but carries him down the mountain the next day. Eventually, the snake is warm enough to be lively and, yes, he bites the boy. The boy asks why and the snake replies, "You knew what I was when you took me in but you did it anyway. I'm a snake. I bite. I have to be what I am." And the boy dies.
    Her point was that we do choose to sin and it will kill us. She and I had talked about the lessons for Sunday and I do wish she had gone on to talk about Jesus being lifted up to save us from our sins but I will do so tomorrow. And likely use her story, too! If I get a chance this afternoon, I'll post the long version on my blog.

  8. Hurray! I'm in!
    My son is finally awake and getting ready to go. I'm not sure why Blogger wants to think I'm a virus, but at least the family desktop passes muster.
    Shall I bring you back some maple sugar candy?

  9. Having just eaten pancakes topped with syrup straight from the tree (or as straight as it can be) I am now onto what I am hoping to be a pretty laid back Saturday. There is still a chill in the air and plenty to be done around the house.

    Sermon... Snakes on a Plain.
    And except for some research and a wisp of an idea, that's all I've got.

  10. I love the syrup analogy! I am trying to get motivated to preach - the sermon is done, because my mother is coming for a visit in a few hours. But, after having a few days off, I'm not quite as inspired as I had hoped to be.

  11. I got in too--I logged in via my blog then came over worked, anyway!

    I'm waiting for a dentist's office to open...I lost a crown last night and discovered this morning (google can be a wonderful thing) that this is considered a dental emergency (if the crown is out more than 24 hours, the teeth move too much and it can be very difficult to get the crown back in). There is your dental lesson for the day (or maybe month!).

    I have a sermon to write, a potluck I should go to tonight, and this dental urgency to deal with.

    I'm using the Gospel passage, and not sure where I'm going with it. I want to talk about the judgement aspect, but also coming out into the light...not sure right now how to link them.

    Here's hoping for an early appointment at the dentist!

    Oh, and I have coffee and cinnamon sweet rolls--and oatmeal, if you want to cook it.

  12. diane, sally, rainbow... prayers for you!

    heading into ephesians... avoiding the snakes this time... focusing on "made us alive together with christ"... uhm yah. something about community...

    where's the coffee?

  13. I am trying to figure out how to use the AIG and NORTEL bonus scandal into my sermon on whether we see money as the goal, a way of keeping score, or just another tool in life. Maybe (as I blogged yesterday) I should ask for a retention bonus myself?

    Or maybe not since the other big item on my day's schedule (apart from sermonizing and the rest of the family returning from their MArch break time away) is a phone interview. Geographically I am not sure this is the place we want to go but we shall see what the interview brings...

  14. Working on the snakes, with a touch of the gospel. My ever-so-boring title is "lifted up." Trying to muster up some energy after a graveside/funeral/lunch extravaganza yesterday.

    Also...a snake children's sermon, anyone?

  15. All this talk of maple syrup has me thinking waffles for breakfast, with strawberries ... and a little bacon or sausage.

    But I am drinking some coffee first --Trader Joe's French Roast anyone?

    Regarding the texts, here's my first random thoughts of the day: Nicodemus was challenged to seek Jesus in the light, in a way that was transparent to those around him, instead of by cover of darkness. Nicodemus was challenged to "lift up", to display his desire to know more about Jesus, instead of hiding behind Nicodemus' own authority, knowledge, status ... because those things wouldn't stand up to scrutiny in the light of the gospel.

  16. I'm going to ask, what in our church needs to be cleaned out?

    Sermon is done, at least as done as it will be.

    Plans for today: cook a Mexican pot roast that looks to me like ropa vieja (a beef and tomatoes dish), setting up my strength training program and swimming a mile this afternoon. And sitting in the hot tub.

  17. Post-St.-Paddy's Day corned-beef hash here, for all you hearty eaters!

    I'm assisting tomorrow...pleased to report that I have my Prayers of the Church ready to go.

    I was going to play in my new herb bed today, but it's SNOWING...hmmm...well, so much for that idea.

  18. well, it's 930 am, and even after breakfast and tea and petting the kitties and checking in on facebook, I still feel a bit like the Vicar of Dibley in the Christmas Lunch special, when she sits at her desk 12 hours before the service and says "now some frightening facts: ..... and I have absolutely NO IDEAS." Except thankfully it's not Christmas, just snakes.

    My sermon title is listed in the bulletin as "Daily Bread, Again????" as I apparently had some ideas about whining??? But now I'm the one whining...I'd rather be shoe shopping, I'd rather be cooking, I'd rather be doing almost anything than trying to find inside myself a sermon about the snake story. I can see a couple of potential avenues: 1. facing fears/brokenness can lead to healing; 2. something about idolatry?; 3. Don't whine or God will smite you.

    I suspect that last one isn't going to work....Especially with me, whiner extraordinaire, standing very unsmited in the pulpit!

  19. Teri,
    FWIW I'd go with #1. In fact I am going there once or twice during Easter Season (once on Easter Sunday about fear and then on Easter 2 about woundedness).

    SO, laundry is all on the way, I transplanted the bean Princess planted in a cup at school into a slightly larger pot, checked out fb, played the RGBP trivia game...

    Guess I should really get into reviewing teh Needs Assessment report for my interview in 2.5 hours. Oh and the sermon thing too.

  20. I've learned why I don't like sermon titles...mine this week, as part of our "Journey to the Cross" series is "Guided by Compassion."

    I have no idea what I was thinking other than getting caught up in Jn 3:16 before I thought too much about it and the context...(sigh)

    I want to bring up the sin-snakes -- and Margaret, I would really love to hear the long version of that story (along with permission to borrow?). I also need to address eternal life as the person preaching for me last week equated it to heaven without any kind of here and now impact.

    Prayers for all as we party on toward Sunday!

  21. I'll be praying Diane - our church has been doing "the V word" (visioning since Jesus was in diapers. Oy.

    Vicar - sounds good - that'll preach.
    Sally - you're right, mothering itself is a risky business isn't it?

    QP - Chicken and Biscuits....yummm!!!

    Kathryn - LOVE the title.

    I'm feeling highly distracted by that peckish feeling...I'm hungry for pancakes. Go figure.

    Sermon. Done. Still working through Joy Jordan-Lakes Ten Alarming Words of Faith. This week?

    Blessedness and Worship.

    Both very well timed for me personally, so I'm hoping the same is true for at least a few in the congregation.

  22. Children's story is almost entirely lifted from Kirk Byron Jones in "Rest in the Storm" where he talks about a colleague who talks about how much God loves each of us.

    She pours out a fist full of salt into her hand and asks the children if they could count each grain. (of course they say no).

    I'm going to add in a touch of spring and ask if anyone has ever sat around a campfire and looked up at the stars and tried to count them. How many were there? (too many to count, right?)

    Well, that's how much God loves us too - more than we can ever count, more than we can ever measure, more than we can even imagine.... something like that...

  23. I too love real maple syrup...

    Now my question is, Where did the week go? And why is my sermon still mixed up in a pile of notes some thoughts in my head?

  24. Mmmm...what a tasty maple syrup metaphor...thanks, Songbird. I can offer some Moroccan mint tea this morning, or, if you stop by this afternoon around teatime, some jasmine green tea and a side of dark chocolate. It's a delicious spring day in Florida, come on by...I'll even throw in some Zyrtec so the pollen doesn't overwhelm you.

    At The Painted Prayerbook this week, I got curious about the serpent that slithers through the gospel text, and how Jesus draws with such intention on this story from Numbers that's steeped in a few layers of ancient folklore. The gospel texts in Lent focus intensely on challenging/inviting us to consider what we give our attention and energy to, and this week's gospel does it in an especially intriguing and creative way. Amid the fangy dangers of our world, where do we turn our vision, that we may live?

    Blessings as you ponder, pray, preach, or whatever you're doing with the Word! So grateful for the ways you wrestle and play with these texts.

  25. okay, some further snake sermon options.... 4. opportunity for healing doesn't mean no pain/not getting bitten; 5. physical manifestations of psychological/spiritual phenomena (I think someone mentioned this on Tuesday....going back to read it and also to watch Buffy, which in my opinion is all about this very issue).

  26. My crown is back where it belongs!

    The marinated shrimp, feta and olive salad for the potluck is marinating!

    The sermon is--oh yeah...Knew I was missing something.


    Isn't it time for lunch or something?

    OK. Back to the sermon.

  27. The snake story is now posted on my blog. Enjoy!
    Pancakes sound awfully good as I spend a day working to get back on my diet. ;-)

  28. Still contemplating the snakes representing sin & brokeness and needing to be acknowledged, seen, brought into the "light" to be healed, a la my Tues Lectionary Leaning comment.

    Rented "Snakes on a Plane" last night. :) But for some reason decided to watch "Capote" instead. Interesting to watch him explore the crime, feel something in common with one of the murderers, and wrestle with his own "stuff" and the situation in general. I don't think it will be brought in tomorrow, but could make for future sermon fodder.

    Spent some time this morning reading several chapters of "Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair," based on her blog: I recommend it. :)

    As soon as clergy shirts are done washing I'm off to an ordination this afternoon. Might pop back in later this evening when I settle in to do more work.

  29. Well, it's been a pretty awful morning around our place.

    But I do have a sermon to write, broken heart or no.

    And WonderGirl's drama banquet is tonight, so I have a built in deadline.

  30. Great analogy.
    I can't beleive it is Saturday again.
    I have just gotten Tom Long's newest book, hot off the press!
    Anyhow, it is wonderful.
    I am on the Gospel text with the emphasis on John 3:16 being a sign of Good News for us, not the usual bad news, your gonna burn in hell(if you don't beleive) sign that it is usually taken as.
    Any ideas or helps to get me to 12 minutes?

  31. Oh many thoguths for Cheese and WG.
    Also, thoughts for all who deal with difficulty of your own today.
    My fab Admin Asst is at hosptial with her dad. He has had tw strokes and is in bad shape at this point.
    Looks like it may be a long haul for them of rehab, nursing homes, etc.
    Prayers appreciated for her and family

  32. I read Jan's blog, The Painted Prayerbook, as I do most weeks. (Love it)... It made me think of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Spiritual Exercises, especially the examination of conscience...which I am connecting to the Israelites as a way to talk about where we focus our lives.

    I have a draft, now I'm going to take a break and do yoga...and maybe make some pancakes...

  33. I should add, the Israelites and their complaining and then change of heart...

  34. Between being pregnant and my husband's pending deployment, my mind is just not where I need it to be right now. I'm finding that familiarity breeds contempt with the lectionary readings this week. Oh, the pain of the newly ordained to NOT have any kind of "files" to draw on- even for inspiration. Plans today include going to the library to write a sermon, taking a walk and cooking some kind of comfort food.

  35. Margaret, thank you! I would very much (ok, in light of the readings--I would SO) like to use this story!

    I had a thought and am wondering if it's too corny or shallow...please tell me what you think. The cross comes into our "sin-sick" lives and becomes a "sin-sTick" for us to find/receive healing and wholeness.

  36. I'm back! I brought home a cute little bottle of their maple syrup, shaped like a maple leaf. If we get to 100 comments, the 100th commenter will win it as a little prize.
    We stopped to see cousins on the way home, and I am eating a quick lunch before getting to the sermon. My title is "Black and White," and my thesis is that we read 3:16 and forget to include 3:17. It's easier to root for the familiar than to expand our scope of thinking. Something like that.
    I've also made plans to leave right after church tomorrow to visit my husband, who is working in another state. This means getting everything ready for the dog and the kids and myself before leaving for church tomorrow morning. He's been gone five weeks, so it's worth the effort, just wondering if there are actually enough hours to get it all done?

  37. Well the interview is done. And I am more or less convinced it isn't the place for me. Meantime we'll see if I make the next round of cuts there.

    Now, money, how do we view it? how do we use it? what is it's role in our society? WHat might the "Godly" answer to those questions be? Once I answer those I think I'll have a sermon.

  38. "Snakes on a Plain"...I love it!

    Songbird, yum on maple syrup candy, a favorite of mine from childhood, when my grandmother in Maine would send it to us.

    Gord, prayers for discernment. Have you been reading Singing Owl's serial story of the same?

    Snake story is excellent; isn't there a similar Greek one about a scorpion getting across a river on the back of a fox or something? But this one has a snake, which preaches well! Thanks for posting it.

    I'm preaching kid-friendly at two services tomorrow, and maybe a third if our early service preacher can't find a way across the Pasadena Marathon in time :-o Seems crazy to have to set out at least an hour early to go less than 15 minutes!

    I like the salt idea. I've also toyed with something along the lines of follow the leader, Jesus held high on the cross so we can follow him, something like that. Alternatively (and looking more appealing by the minute), we have a chalice with symbols of Holy Week inscribed around it; I think we are close enough for HW for me to talk about those symbols and the story. But if I'll need that for one of the weeks to come, I don't want to use it up tomorrow.

    Older son is munching away on the tortilla chips I planned to offer; TJ's candy cane Joe-Joes, anyone?

  39. Toiling away at it, but have just been informed that I need to make an emergency "hair implements" run for WG.

    I'm experimenting with a guided imagery for the last 1/3 of tomorrow's sermon. St Stoic is definitely not a "woo-woo" kind of place, so we'll see...

  40. I'm working on tomorrow's sermon -- I'm guest preaching. I took Ephesians, thinking to go one way, but am now confusing myself and my outline and starting over actual text. AAARGH. At least this isn't for the prof who wants us to memorize our sermons, because it isn't done yet.

  41. SB thanks for Maple Syrup analogy - stirs beautiful memories of a trip to Virginia - Highland County - and seeing the maple trees and all the paraphernalia required to extract sap and make syrup.
    Just getting here after a day spent visiting with both our mums ahead of mother's day tomorrow. We're having an all age service. That means no preaching as such - I'm going to bake a cake (in the microwave) and talk about all the ingredients that go into mums or carers or something like that. Cake has worked in a practice run - need to flesh out the text though so I can talk as the children bake. It should be fun if nothing else.Reading is from Colossians 3 - being bound together with love.
    Sally - prayers for some mothering time.
    Cheesehead - prayers for some space to mourn.

  42. My title is impatience costs. Not sure if I am love with the title but anyway. Talking about the serpent on the stick. When we are impatience and worried things seem worse than they are. A church member loaned me a huge stuffed snake, I am going to some how sneak it into the Church main aisle. Things look beggier and out of control when we don't have faith trust and patience, wide up with the serpent to the stick the contained image is not as fearful and serves as reminder to slow down have trust, though it could be viewed as an idol I simply things its is a reminder where as Jesus on the cross is a symbol of the freedom we received because Christ died on the cross for our sakes

  43. Okay, I've successfully avoided both the sermon AND the housecleaning long enough. It's time to get to work on one or the other!

  44. Okay, I definitely need some post-nap coffee, because I just read revie's comment as "Christ died on the cross for our SNAKES."

  45. Songbird that was great! I don't think I was quite there yet! Thank you

  46. Must be in the air, as I read Liz's comment about "as the children bake" and immediately thought, "Why is she baking the children?" :-D

    Kitchen is cleaner and the trash is out, but the sermon is no further along.

  47. Songbird, rereading your comment and mine even though you may need coffee I do too! You are on to something, I think the snakes do represent the brokenness in our lives, the pain the baggage. So Christ died for our sakes and for our brokeness, Maybe I went to far with it.

  48. Christ died for our snakes works for me!
    Anyone is welcome to the story as it isn't mine. I borrowed it, too.
    All you clean kitchen people are welcome to come to my house. I finally got all the dishes done this morning from seven days of various company only to remember I needed to make swedish meatballs for tomorrow's reception. So I'm back to at least some dirty dishes and things to be put away. Argh! If only the NCAA tournament were more interesting, I'd have a distraction.
    My hound/pointer puppy has her ear spread across the right side of my keyboard. I think that's a subtle suggestion that I stop doing what I want and tend to her needs. Good thing I am fairly certain of what I want to say tomorrow, eh?

  49. Hello preaching buddies, I am here with 45 minutes to go before the service. Have a sermon that I am not feeling TOO badly about, called "Facing our Fears" with thanks to the Tuesday group that got me thinking in that regard...and so, a little bit of snakes, a little of the cross, and there you go.

    Rainbow, when I read "my crown is back where it belongs" my first thought was "of course, on your head" - smile.

    Blessings to all and SB thanks for the maple syrup imagery - YUM!

    I don't have much to share here in my office - a bit of grilled chicken and feta salad, and some Dove Dark Chocolate - but you are welcome to it!

  50. Been thinking here for a few hours, but having trouble getting started writing. I'd like to do something with the "looking" aspect and facing our fears/sins/snakes/whatever, but just not finding the hook I need to get going. Hrmph.

    Prayers for Cheesehead and family...and for us all, those sermonating and those preparing to preach...

  51. I haven't even thought about dinner for me yet. The kids are out socializing, and I am writing while laying in food for the dog to eat during my two day getaway.
    On a bright note, I *am* writing!
    But eventually I'll probably eat the leftover chicken and peanut sauce I made last night.

  52. We have a looonnnggg way to go for 100 comments. If we don't make it, I'll just have to keep the maple syrup myself, tragically.

  53. sermon is done... went with the gospel afterall. felt like i cheated tho'... used my (as of yet) unpublished newsletter article and a devo from Henri Nouwen and it all came together in pieces... which was great b/c i've had a slammin' headache all day.

    chicken with wine sauce, steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes coming right up...

  54. In that case, I'll update you on my progress. Um. Well. You see. Ah. Yeah. I haven't made much progress.

    But, I did find a good children's sermon ( about how we could measure God's love. A measuring cup, a tape measure, etc. And that God's love is really un-measurable. It'll work for my crew, I think.

  55. Esperanza-- I've used that one. It went over very well.

    I completely redid my outline and now it's coming together. I think.

  56. well, I wrote something. It's awful, though. And by awful, I mean *awful* like not preachable awful. So I'm making dinner (butternut squash curry, served over rice, ready in about 45 minutes for anyone who wants some!) and will come back to the sermon post-food. I suspect this will be a delete-all-start-over experience. I'm having trouble getting started...and also having trouble whittling down to just ONE idea about the snakes. Or at least tying together a couple of ideas in a way that makes sense. I think I want to go with BOTH the physical-manifestation-of-psychological/spiritual-phenomena AND the face-it-as-way-to-healing options, as I think they fit together. But I'm running into two or three little issues....among them--a way in! and transitions! and an ending! and also not using the gospel text, even though now I want it. (sigh)

    after dinner. hands up for curry?

  57. Teri, what would happen if you--gasp!!--read the gospel lesson, anyway?

  58. Hand up here; that curry sounds delicious! No clue what's for dinner tonight; younger son is at his aunt's, so maybe I'll make older son's favorite cashew shrimp recipe.

    I've done the "measure of God's love" sermon too, and it worked really well; I think that's a great choice. If I thought I'd done it a bit longer ago, I'd probably be using it again! In the meantime, I still can't decide which way to go. I really need to decide. Why is it that the only time housework seems appealing is when I am avoiding a sermon (well, maybe taxes too, but they are already done)?

    Just picked some grapefruit from the neighbor's tree; there are plenty more, plus lemons and oranges. Drop by and get a few!

  59. curry's ready! :-) i have enough for, oh, 20-50 people, so come and get it! :-)

    SB, i could probably just add the gospel at the point where I need it, it's true. I have to watch the length as there's a substantial moment for mission and some long hymns, plus we're singing the prayers of the people. but since i'm stretching to make it not make sense, might as well add that and cut some nonsense stuff!

  60. Sounds delicious, Teri!
    I can't believe it's quarter to 8 and I have so little done, though I have spent my day very usefully where other things are concerned.

  61. While some may think that there's a long way to go to get to 100 comments, I think it's closer than the number of words to get to a done sermon for me.

  62. Unless, I just get up and talk using the hints of ideas that are in the 2nd comment.

  63. I very nearly just licked my plate. I think that's a sign that....umm....I should just bring food for my congregation rather than the Word. What do you think?


    Okay then, after some water and feeding the kitties, back to work it is.

  64. Or post random sentences, one at a time, until reaching 100 comments. Because random comments are more readily accessible to my brain than any number of words, sentences, or (gasp) paragraphs for a sermon to preach tomorrow.

  65. I told a story about God’s grace that’s based on the Ephesians text here.

    All I have to offer... at this time of night... is chocolate... and Bailey's.

  66. I could use some Bailey's, but think I better have tea instead. Masala Chai, anyone? Goes with curry. :-)

    I'm getting back to work now, and seriously thinking of starting completely over. If only I had a good beginning besides "well, this is a weird story, isn't it? I've been saying that a lot lately, cuz everything in the book is weird!"

  67. Well, it IS a weird story!
    I'm plugging along but have to stop briefly to pick up my daughter, who is now on her 4th Saturday night social outing in a row. Yes, she's 13. I guess there is a lot more of this ahead of us.
    I miss the good old days, having anti-social sons who liked to watch sci-fi with Mom on a Saturday night.
    Not that Mom can watch anything unless she wrestles these snakes to the floor.

  68. for some snake wrestling action, I recommend watching Wednesday's Daily Show on hulu. ha!

    okay, for real. I can't go watch that again, because I won't be able to use it in my sermon even if I want to. That doesn't count as "research."

    Maybe I should pray. Where's the Holy Spirit when you need her? Probably out playing again...

  69. Well the taxes are done and e-filed.

    And apparently I made it to the short list after the interview this afternoon. Now they want to know when I can come out there (easily a 3 day trip once travel is factored in given that they are 4 hours from the nearest airport and flights from our nearest airport are not plentiful)

  70. do you think that, if I am planning to mention Buffy (the Vampire Slayer) in my sermon, then it counts as work to watch an episode? Or does that count as procrastinating?

  71. How are we gonna get our sermons done with all the basketball going on?

  72. Caffe Latte anyone?
    Apple cream cheese danish?
    Anyone? Anyone?

  73. We're getting there, SB, we're getting there...

    Perhaps I'll snack on an apple cream cheese danish and some Bailey's while we bump up the numbers.

  74. I've been gone all day (work and fun, both) and would really like the Bailey's please.

    Also, re: taxes. not quite. MONDAY is the day. and will I be relieved.

    I'm memorizing a prayer tonight, (short one), so I can concentrate on learning the sign language tomorrow.

  75. Back again, and enjoying a maple scone from the farm trip this morning, delicious!
    Teri, if I'm reminded of a line in Big Love, but not planning to quote it or reference it, is watching the episode again research?
    I didn't think so.

  76. I am watching Duke right now, so does it count as research, if I make a referece to folks who hold up a John 3:16 sign at ballgames?
    I have yet to see one this year, but I do keep looking.

  77. 1-4 Grace, make a sign as a visual aide then it counts ... right

  78. see, I really am planning to reference Buffy. I swear. But I'm not watching it--at 43 minutes per episode, and given that I pretty much KNOW them, I couldn't justify it. Listening to the music for tomorrow instead. :-)

  79. I'm back.
    I know.

    Hold the applause.


  80. I am opening my sermon with that rainbow haired dude... and how it would be great fun if he made a poster typo and instead it said John 3:14... or 3:17.

    Don't worry. I don't like it either.

  81. I think I'm opening my sermon with the story of Snakes On A there was all this net-fueled excitement about was re-shot because it was anticipating a great audience...and then once it came out, it totally and completely tanked.

    Once it was in the light, we saw it for what it was.

    Or something like that. I'm not really pleased with it, either.

  82. All this talk about food has made me hungry! I'm having a spinach salad with romano cheese and a sweet dijon mustard dressing and a piece of left over pizza - creamy garlic sauce with artichoke hearts, zucchini, spinach, roma tomatoes, and red onions....and a glass of chardonnay...sermon is done and posted, all except for the perpetual tweeking of phrases and words...

  83. My procrastination was three loads of laundry. Last one's in the dryer. I want someone to invent red clothes that don't turn other clothes pink, then I wouldn't have had to do a red load and I would be done. I apparently would not know how to avoid run-on sentences, however.

    How's that for a comment? Back to sermonizing and must remember to collect things for children's sermon now. That's what I get for planning ahead.

  84. 1-4, I'd say you need to watch the whole game so that you have researched the subject thoroughly. In fact, it's possible it's been slipped into any of the shows y'all are an address, or the beginning of a phone number, or who knows what. Keep up the good work on the sermon prep, everyone!

    Finally made my choice; now I have to figure out what to do with it.

  85. I'm starting with that scary Whole Foods spider story from this week. Sort of a "things that give you the creeps" intro.

    I don't really like it either, but I'm keeping it anyway.

  86. esperanza, I'm doing three loads of laundry tonight too! Only mine is for my soon-to-be 25 year old son who is waaaaaaaay too busy this weekend to do it himself. (translation: he has a life beyond laundry - imagine!)

    Anyway, when he bats those ridiculously long lashes at me, what am I going to say? The lashes have worked since the day he was born....

    Sermon - done. I almost like it.

    Hair - I'm a "Crisco Kid" as my sisters used to say. It's off to the showers for me.

    Blessings all..

  87. I'm focusing on the snake story...and think i'm going to open with 'makes you think twice about praying, doesn't it?'
    I want to tell the story from the perspective of the people--thought they were getting milk and honey, instead, nothing but sand, etc. and then retrace the story from God's perspective (God promised & delivered them spectacularly many times, deserved their trust)
    and then talk about our natural feelings of alienation from God, and suggest that faith is less about intellectual assent to orthodox theology than about TRUSTING the God who delivers us. The ancients...and us...are living between the promise and the fulfilment--and if we choose to go back to Eygpt and slavery, that's certain death. God won't let us go, and won't be our vending machine either (take away the snakes, beam us up to the promised land RIGHT NOW)...and I want to briefly distinguish between prayers of anguish that are 'right' in God's eyes (looking at some of the agonizing and angry psalms) and grumbling against God... and lift up Jesus' prayer in the garden as the model...please take the cup away, but not my will but yours--b/c its a prayer of trust..i.e. true faith.
    And I also want to talk about the idea of looking at the things that kill us...
    so that's about 7 sermons, my congregation is SO LUCKY to have me.

  88. So if someone had been bitten by the Whole Foods spider...would they have needed to look at a bronze SPIDER on a pole? Hmm!

    In other wonderings, anybody referring to the Rod of Asclepius in their sermon? (The snake-rod-symbol of the medical profession.)

  89. Dang...I'm really trying to make the 100th comment...sigh..

    ok, here is another sermon feminist theology blog from another blog I host...perhaps it will speak to a few of us?

  90. Close, but no maple syrup.

  91. My research continues!
    But, was reminded of something I just read in Tom Long's new book (very goodby the way).
    Anyhow, it seems Augustine wanted his sermons to do 3 things:
    to teach, to delight, and to persuade.
    Tom goes on to say this describes seasons in the history of preaching, we have been stuck in the delight season since the50s.
    But, going back to Augustine. If we put our focus on sermons that will teach,dleight, and persuade, I think it is much easier than trying to do the loop, or three points and a poem or any or method.
    Just teach, delight and persuade.Hmmmm.
    back to my research with the Duke game.
    At some point and time the time clock has showed 3:16.
    How's that for a sublimenial message?

  92. Ooohhhh...checking in for maple syrup as we near 100!

    Sermon, mostly done...maybe.

    Time to go preach to the bubbles and see whether I'm off to bed or back at it...

    What're the odds we'll be dreaming about snakes tonight? Hmm...

  93. I do have smoked ribs (hubby's specialty) to offer with a side of beans and pasta salad...and a lovely cab sauvignon, anyone?

  94. our own bit of March Madness for Maple syrup

  95. Congrats to Rev Sis on being #100!!!!!

  96. one short phone call & my sermon mojo completely deflated.

    I'll be back later

  97. sem fem, I used the symbol of the medical profession 3 years ago. It was helpful for that sermon... nothing is helping this one.

    I go away for 5 MINUTES and someone SWOOPS in and grabs the syrup.

    tough. crowd.

    My sermon is crappeth. I am going to bed anyway. Up at 5 to channel HS. If said HS thinks it's good enough, then it's good enough for me.


  98. everyone...will share, though!

  99. oh, man, I missed it! I do have something though. It's not great but it will probably do. I could definitely use some feedback. I think I need to tweak the Jesus section some--it's not terribly fleshed out, but since I just decided tonight that I wanted to use it, that's not surprising. I think I need to add more trust language...thanks Kate M for putting words to that. I have a little but not much and I think it could help the Jesus bit.

    anyway--up next (post curry here now!) is trader joe's mint chocolate chip ice cream!

  100. Congratulations, RevSis! Shoot me an email at with your address and I will send your prize!

  101. semfem, I thought a lot about the medical symbol and also asclepius. Ultimately, they weren't quite where I was going this time, though the potential is there.

    I think I just karmically committed myself to preaching this text again in 3 years. gag.

  102. Teri, that curry sounded delicious!....

    ...guess I'll have to get my own maple syrup...wonder if syrup can be made from cacti - oh wait, that would be prickly pear candy...or jelly...which somehow just does not sound nearly as appealing as maple syrup...

  103. Friends, I'm going to turn in, it's past 10:30 here on the East Coast. I'll be back in the morning with Fair Trade coffee and maple scones to share (if my kids don't finish the scones tonight...).

  104. I have been quite absent in the blogosphere lately. I have however been getting much better at organizing my ministry so that I'm not scrambling so much and not doing so much at home (except writing sermons. I haven't fixed that "problem" yet, but it is why I've been trying to get my act together.)

    Anyway, I'm not preaching in a traditional sense tomorrow. In my "Giving in to God" Lenten series we're talking tomorrow about Listening for God and I'm going back to pull the scripture from 1 Sam 3. I'll engage the congregation in a conversation about hearing (passive) and listening (active) before we do an "experiment." Next we'll spend a few minutes listening to a cacophany of sounds - 3-4 usually recognisable sounds layered on top of each other (bird chirping, bells ringing, vacuum cleaning, etc.). I'll ask them to try to find one sound to focus on, identify, and follow throughout the time. Some will start and stop throughout the time.

    Then we'll talk about the experience - what they heard, what made it hard, what was it like to try to focus.

    Then I'll read from Samuel and we'll tie it in to listening for God. Did Samuel hear or listen? When did he do either? How was his experience like ours? How can we move from hearing to listening?

    We have our annual meeting after worship so I'll be OK if this is not very long, but I also think it could go longer. I've combined and shortened some other parts of the service just in case.

    The theme will tie into my "State of the Church" address at the meeting. Last year was my first year and we got to know each other's history. This year I hope we can begin to discern our future. That has to start by listening for God's call.

    That's the plan!

    An aside - - - You all HAVE to invited the Rev. Joseph Morris to your churches to present the Gospel of Mark LIVE. I've seen it twice now - the second time tonight. It is amazing. He has even performed it in Britain, so don't consider yourselves out for this one! It's FANTASTIC!!!!

  105. I wanna go to Sherev's church tomorrow.
    But, I think the bulletin has my name on it, so I guess it menas I am preaching.
    Sherev, the sound thing will be so cool.
    I'd like to say I would pick out the chirping bird, but if I hear a vaccummm it will remind me of the spilled cat litter I need to vacuum up.
    Friends, Madelyn is sleeping beside me with her little paw out stretched, it is hard to concentrate.
    G'luck to y'all (Southern Irish)

  106. We'd love to have you 1-4! I've done this one twice in recent weeks in two different settings - once with members of presbytery committees at a training conference hosted by the synod and then a few weeks ago outside in Mexico on a border mission trip with youth. No technology the second time; we just used the sounds of the night which was VERY cool. I'm hoping it's "perfected" enough that I can go "scriptless" since that's my plan!

  107. Preached to the bubbles in the tub and decided it'll do until I tweak it more in the morning. Snakes alive! here

    Blessings on all in your tweaking and proclaiming. Thanks again, Margaret, for the story!

  108. oohhh, preaching 'bout snakes in the bathtub. Scary!!!!

  109. Hooray, I think I'm finished! And not a moment too soon. There's some other paperwork to be done for church, and I need to finish painting my visual aid (an eye, for the importance of SEEING things honestly), but after a quick read-through, this sermon is DONE. Snakes on a Plane intro and all.

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

  110. I'm still up if anyone is around.

    Long day. Then turned on computer a while ago to discover an "update" that downloaded from Microsoft when I was looking for a template on their website yesterday has messed up my computer even though I've tried to stop the install when it starts.

    Depending where I open Word from it looks like they tried to make a new fancy version but once again they've moved everything and succeeded in making it harder to use *grumble* (blue background with "compatibility mode" showing at the top. Also now my printer is no longer showing and it doesn't want to add it, even though the printer icon itself tells me its online. Grrrr.

    Not happy about the time it has cost me this evening and no fix yet.

  111. bythesea, I'm just checking out. Sorry about the computer, I SO hear you.

    I gave up on getting everything written out; preaching from notes tomorrow. It'll be okay, hopefully more than 5 minutes long, not that they would care at all.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  112. Good morning! There's a fresh pot of coffee. Anyone polishing, rewriting or desperately gathering materials for the children? (Yes, that last one might be me.)

  113. Since this day is Sunday for me, I will visit St. James Episcopal Church on Madison Ave. in NYC. I e-mailed the rector Brenda Husson, asking about the reaction to GLBT members, the reaction to the ordination of a gay bishop etc. and she replied quickly in a most welcoming way.

  114. Coffee, plese.
    Anyone got anything with lots of sugar? Muffin, danish, or cinnabon?
    Yawn....I have to go in one hour and i jsut want to crawl back in bed.
    Next, Sunday I will start earlier, finish earlier, and go to bed earlier.


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