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Saturday, March 14, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Zealous Jesus Edition

Well, gals and pals, we are about half-way through the season of Lent here in my church; in yours, too? I had thought about calling this Saturday's party "angry Jesus" edition, but then I read the text again and the word "angry" doesn't enter in. I always got the impression that Jesus was angry when he drove the money-changers out of the temple. Maybe it was the whips. What do you think?

Zealous, Angry, Foolish. Unusual adjectives for Lent, but they are the ones I'm thinking about today. As I read texts both on and off lectionary, as I look at the world as it is, I realize that there is a lot to be angry about, and that, in the face of it, the gospel is a kind of foolishness.

As you travel through lent, as you prepare to preach this weekend, what adjectives come to your mind? Zealous, angry, foolish? Earnest, Powerful, Gracious, Intriguing? And what directions are your thoughts taking you? What needs to be driven out, and what needs to be invited in? What are you angry about? What are you intrigued by?

I have fair trade coffee and oatmeal with blueberries here: also English muffins. I have some orange juice too. What about you? Come and eat, come and share ideas, come and travel through Lent with me. I think we do better traveling together, don't you?


  1. Coffee's on. hope there are takers!

  2. I'm ready for a cup!
    I'll be bypassing the epistle and the whole foolishness thing, drawing a connection between the commandment about idol worship and the zeal Jesus felt for keeping his father's house as a house of prayer. What practices and/or people do we idolize inappropriately? Something like that.
    But first things first: coffee, walk the dog, and so forth. And later, the bean supper at church.

  3. I like it, Songbird. I'm interested in how it will play out. I'm off lectionary this week. We have a series called "noticing the neglected." The neglected one I have gotten is Tamar, daughter of DAvid.

    I'm finding it difficult, to say the least.

  4. songbird, you go to a lot of bean suppers.

    i'm preaching the psalm because i never make things easy for myself (i've preached the gospel and the epistle previously) i haven't a clue where i'm headed with it...

  5. Susan O, once a month, but they do seem to roll around quickly.
    All the materials out there were related to the psalm (UCC online, Seasons of the Spirit), so I am breaking with the trends and you are with them!

  6. Welcome, Susan. Will be interested in your Psalm sermon! I'm getting ready for a first communion class as well, so I will check in a little later.

  7. I'm here this week! Will be posting on my blog a bit later about why I will probably have more time for my blog...nothing bad, I promise!

    I've got a per-wedding session this morning and later on a At. Patricl's Day party--assuming I get the sermon done, of course. Somewhere in there some laundry needs to be done as well as some other household chores.

    My focus today is the gospel...not at all sure why I chose it for today, three months ago... Oh well . I like where you're headed, SB and may go that route myself. I have a few notes here (somewhere) from earlier in the week.

    I have cinnamon buns and coffee to offer--the oatmeal sounds good!

  8. I'm heading off to a vestry planning session, where the whole "idol worship" vs house of prayer is exactly the kind of thing that needs a little attention. I appreciate that early insight, Songbird! Chances are good that I will incorporate what comes out of this meeting into something along the same lines to preach tomorrow. I'll tune in later this afternoon when I get home.

    Sorry I can't linger for breakfast!

  9. I'm up this week, and jumping in on a series on the Lord's Prayer. My part this week: "Thy will be done..." Hmmm....I've got some ideas but no structure. Actually that's pretty true about most things in my life.
    I do have a quiet house for an hour or two, and good coffee to share.

  10. Farmer-style fried potatoes (certified organic, no less) and locally-laid eggs here...line forms to the left!

    I'm neither preaching nor front-in-center liturgically this week. But ironically this Gospel lesson comes at the heels of my reading numerous blogs by folks who want less let's-all-hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya in sermons and more kicking fannies/taking names. I wonder if the Gospel lesson provides a way to do that, and if there's a way to connect the lesson to what we've (re)learned recently about national/worldwide financial shenanigans and human greed/materialism at all levels of society.

  11. I am off to a seminar today at presby...working on sermon in head.
    I then have a dinner/surprise bday party in another city.
    So it will be late night. I am taking laptop so I can work on in between times. too much trouble to drive all the way home and then back@!
    Anyhow, I am doing the extrema makeover idea I was inspired to do on Tuesday.
    See y'all tonight!

  12. Oh help yourselves to coffee and apple butter

  13. Altar Ego's thoughts on Tuesday really sent me off in the direction I am still playing with for the sermon - what needs to be driven out and overturned in our own lives and what needs to be invited in? The thought of driving out anxiety and resentment and all the other things that get the in way between us and God seem to be foolishness to the world around us (who isn't anxious) - and yet this is where God's true wisdom is to be found through the cross. Somehow, I hope to tie it together with the comment by John reminding us that the disciples looked back and remembered what Jesus had said - so that even as our tables are being overturned and we declutter our lives, Jesus doesn't leave us without a real sense of hope. Still struggling with how it will come together. I'm actually off to scavenge for some breakfast because other than dogfood, my pantry is bare.

  14. Diane,
    LOVE the marshmallow story over at your place = perfect.

    I have a GENIUS idea thanks to Dylan, natch but no time to execute it.

    I was thinking about going with the economy and some of our dear ones' well-remembered Great Depression stories of helping others in need (guy comes to the door, mom gives him a plate of food...) and looking for places that kind of thing is happening today. Seemed to fit cause it has to do with money, kind of, and foolishness compared to the world's wisdom.

    But then, on reading Dylan, I was reminded that really Jesus' point was to change the whole system, and yes, little acts of kindness get us there, but how are we empowered for a whole new thing.

    So this article led me to info about Common Security Clubs. And my question is, how can the church be one? How can we be a place where people can talk openly about the effect he economy is having on their lives and more importantly, be empowered to work for systemic change?

    See, so exciting! But alas, I am off to a workshop (also exciting, Enneagram!) from 10-4, then a long-promised haircut and dinner date with my little boy. So I'll be back burning the midnight oil with whoever does that these days.

    I've been going more with notes than manuscript lately, but this idea feels like it needs some more careful fleshing out, so I'll be back. Anyway, have a great day of writing, everyone, and I'll see you in 12 hours :)

    Oh, and for childrens time, I'm doing a thing about How To Act In God's House, and How that is Different from How we Act in the Rest of the World. Worship team has requested less noise in worship - I bet that NEVER happens at YOUR church - and this is my way to make it as theological and non-scoldy as possible.

  15. goodness, what a long comment. but I really must go now....

  16. Continuing with my Covenant theme, I'm going with the old 10 commandments. But first an email tug-of-war with a June wedding couple who cannot find time to meet with me, because other (wedding related) things are more important: limo, flowers, band. I've been rescheduled for all of these this next week. Argh!

    I'd love to go to performance #2 of WG's play at 2:00. We'll see.

  17. wow, there is some diverse stuff out there today, I'm preaching at a rare evening communion service, and co-presididng for the first time (note not concelebrating, we are sharing the liturgy not delivering it together).

    Any way, the evening Lectionary is Matthew 10, sheep amongst wolves, persecution etc...

    But before I get to that through a cold medicated haze I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who left such wonderful comments yesterday. I knew I was held in prayer, and it is a long story but my dreaded meeting went well, so my new call is going ahead, I will move up to Yorkshire ( not quite Bronte country but close) in August.

  18. does seasons of the spirit take a password, i guess?

  19. I'm losing my annual battle with my sinuses. But my sermon is as done as it will be. I'm doing modern saints and last week's gospel (we had a snow day and so I'm a week behind in the lectionary because I had already put together ideas for the following two weeks). So this week is Bonhoeffer and cheap grace. Next week: cleaning the temple and Dorothy Day.

  20. Pass the coffee Diane, perhaps intravenously.

    I'm still working on my sermon series based on Joy Jordan-Lake's "Why Jesus Makes Me Nervous." This week's words: Holiness and Peace.

    I'm leaning toward a theme of both holiness and peace not always looking the way we perceive that they ought to look. Sometimes peace isn't about lack of conflict or the absence of bombs, but about standing up to what we know to be wrong and unjust. Stuff like that.

    Now, if I could just pull all that together. I worked most of yesterday on a sermon that is simply awful, so I'm starting over entirely. I really hope that the sermon behind Door #2 is better!

  21. currently, all I have to offer is a giant box of honey nut cheerios. Just eat them by the handful. That's what I do. BUT as soon as I post this, I'm up to start hot water for tea & some coffee. . .I'm feeling very caffeine indecisive.

    I mostly finished my sermon yesterday and I'm excited about it. Jesus carries our guilt, using the story of the woman caught in adultery. The point is that, by writing in the dirt (texting, if you will) Jesus draws attention away from her shame and makes himself the object of their scorn.

    I'll edit and practice it through on Sunday morning but, oh dear revgalblogpals, its already been a 50+ hour week for me and Sunday is going to be chaos -- the sermon incorporates two visual/experiential pieces that I have to trust others for. AND Lord's Supper. Then its an additional lunch and couple of hours for the abbreviated "day away" we are running in conjunction with Alpha Express for our 11 o'clock adult education. Thankfully, I have NO responsibilities in the evening service. Unfortunately, its not my co-pastor preaching (who would tell me I don't need to be there) but some visiting missionaries we support, so I'm afraid I won't be able to beg off.

  22. Made from scratch biscuits available here ... although I see it is almost lunch time for some of us.

    I am looking at the gospel and trying to decide which one among so many possibilities to address. In my initial planning [waaaay back in January] I thought the theme would be "prepare for challenges." But I am feeling something a little different.

  23. Lots going on out there, and I have yet to take my morning shower - all of us got up late today, and then I took a lovely walk with the dog. I think there are still some pancakes left and lots of yummy strawberries, and if you drop by, I'll make you a delicious cup of cocoa!

    I need help! I have a sermon, titled "Turning the Tables" - I was happy with the concept, that the commandments help make us free, that the cross is a symbol of hope and not death, that Jesus is helping to clear the way so we can really worship - but it ISN'T tying together, and I have NO witty stories to tell that help make my point. NONE. The sermon is as dry as my sore and raw throat. Can anyone help?

  24. Working on finishing up my sermon on the foolishness of the cross. My congregation doesn't do Ash Wednesday or Good Friday, so this will be my opportunity to talk about death and the cross.

    Any children's sermon ideas out there? For either the epistle/cross or the 10 commandments?

  25. Yes, Susan. I'll send it to you.

  26. I have a gallon of Florida orange blossom honey that I can offer...goes great with English muffins!

    In my reflection over at The Painted Prayerbook this week I found myself intrigued by how Jesus presents his own self as the temple. It's an audacious, outrageous claim that he makes, and one that fits in with a point that John makes throughout his gospel--that Jesus has taken into his own self the purpose of the temple as a meeting place between God and God's people. It got me thinking, too, about the variety of ways that Jesus offers his body as something both radically incarnate and also mind-bogglingly symbolic: this fleshy, embodied God is light, bread, living water, threshold, passageway, sacred space...

    The clearing-out-the-temple story offers provocative questions about what it means to be the body of Christ, both corporately and individually. In our congregations, in the wider church, and in our own lives, how do we find and embody the congruence between form and function that Jesus was so passionate about?

    Thanks so much for all your thoughts and insights and questions. Blessings and peace (and some good nibblies) as you prepare to preach!

  27. I'm thinking about Borg's thoughts on the table-turning narrative. He says in "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time",

    “In the message and activity of Jesus, we see an alternative social vision: a community shaped not by the ethos and politics of purity, but by the
    ethos and politics of compassion.”

    It seems to me that while Jesus may have turned the tables over and freaked out about the injustice of this particular situation, it actually reflected his entire ministry.

    Here he turns over tables. In the bigger picture, he upends and turns over the whole world.

  28. Thank you Sue! I think you have me moving in the right direction. Shower done, I'm going to get the laundry going and get to work! I need to leave for worship in about 4 hours...yipes!

  29. I think I'm going to tell my favorite bad Ten Commandment joke:

    "Moses comes down from Mount Sinai and decrees to the Hebrews, 'Children of God, fear not, for I have been given the Law. I have good news and bad news to share with you. First the good news: I have managed to get the list down to ten laws!'

    The people cheer!

    Someone cries out: 'What's the bad news?'

    Moses, hangs his head and says, 'The bad news is this: Adultery? Still on the list.' "

    Remember: I said it was a bad joke.

  30. Cheese - that is really bad. A total groaner. They will love it!

  31. hey friends! I'm out for this week and the next from worship - I'm recovering from gallbladder surgery on Wednesday.

    Prayers for all of you as your finish preparations and putting thoughts on paper for worship! May the Holy Spirit be with you!

  32. searching for sermon somewhere in my head and on cyberspace. Is it breaking a commandment to steal Cheesehead's joke? Is there a difference between borrowing and stealing?

    I'm working on the big ten today, and how that's a picture of covenant life with god and one another. But like another pastor, it's feeling seriously dry. Last week my sermon really touched my heart and the hearts of the congregation, so I'm feeling like this week needs to be semi-good and not just another dry sermon from me.

    I have fresh biscuits and strawberries and real whipped cream to share.

  33. Thanks to Juniper's mention of Dylan Breuer, and Jan Richardson's comments, I'm changing my mind about the direction of the sermon and will be preaching about house cleaning and how the only temple that matters is the temple "made out of living stones", the body of Christ.

    This is definitely a timely shift in the sermon for my congregation, which IMHO tends to have a bit of an "ediface complex". It is also becoming clear to me, in the 4 months I have been there, that they're a little unclear about what it means to be church instead of do church, and what kind of church they want to be.

    Speaking of which, I just read on Yahoo news that the Obama family has several folks "vetting" several churches in the DC area that he can attend without generating too much controversy. This is the article.

    If churches are places where Christ turns the tables on a regular basis, would any church be politically safe for any president?

  34. Joan Calvin, we have a Bonhoeffer stained glass window in our church; I'd like to see your sermon if you put it on your blog. The school kids especially find it fascinating because one of the symbols in it is a noose...

    I discovered an old sermon on these lessons that still works well. I'll rewrite a bit, but the bones are there. I realized that I'd preached it just a few weeks before discovering I was pregnant with my first son, 15 years ago, so that was a little trip down memory lane!

    The theme is taking a spotlight to find the parts of our life that need cleaning up, the sin in those metaphorical cobwebbed corners and jumbled back closets and grimy stacks in the garage that we all try to pretend aren't there or don't really matter. Jesus (the light of the world) shone a spotlight in the temple. The 10 Commandments--more often thought of in a negative way as fencing us in--do it by holding our lives up to the light of their standard. Good thing for us to do in Lent. I need to find a new story with which to start, but the rest holds up well.

    Delicious leftover lasagna to share; I have a pineapple-carrot bran muffin recipe ready and I'll put those out later!

  35. Juniper, thanks to the link to Dylan's blog; I used to visit there regularly, but recently had neglected it and it really helped me get unstuck.

    Still working, but I'm using Dylan's idea that Jesus came not to cleanse the temple, but to replace it. Building on the notion that the Temple had become an end in itself rather than the means to an end, and our risk of doing the same thing. Something like that, anyway.

  36. Nutella, you need not steal: I freely give! (FWIW)

    You can easily substitute another sin for adultery if that is a touchy one. But it does get the most groans.

  37. I'm back from first communion class and helping one of the first graders prepare for the prayers tomorrow. Think that will be a good thing.

    Now I really have to get going on my "noticing the neglected" sermon about Tamar (not the Genesis one, the 2 Sam. one, the one who was raped.)

    I have now the story from a parish member; I feel a little skittish about this in a "but there are children here" kind of way. Not wanting to beat around the bush, but what's appropraite for children?

    It's not a good story. But if the church can't speak life in a situation like this, what good are we?

  38. remind me--how many words doth a sermon make? i seriously haven't preached in 4 months!!!! I know I'm not done, but I'm wondering if I'm even coming close!

  39. Katie Z - feel better soon!!

  40. by the way, Juniper, thanks for the comment RE: the marshmallows.

  41. Also, I'm having a little sinus trouble, myself. Ouch, Joan.

  42. thinking on sabbath keeping, and how that's an oxymoron for the very ones called to lead the people in sabbath keeping...does anyone know how Hasidic (sp?) Jewish rabbis work through this dilemma? I don't htink this has anything to do with my sermon...just wondering...

  43. Susan O--it all depends on how fast or slowly you preach! I've had to learn to speak more slowly because our sound system is terrible...and it's also enabled me to justify shorter sermons word-wise. So I think you write until you've said what you want to say, and then you speak faster or slower to get it fitting in the right time-length.

    or you just write what you want to say and then you say it, and if it's only 5 minutes long, well, I haven't heard too many complaints about sermons being too short.

  44. Susan, for me 1200 roughly is what I am for, give or take 100 or so in either direction. My sermons are generally about 10-11 minutes, standard in my church but I know short for some.

  45. I usually go in the 1400 word neighborhood, although for tomorrow I am at 1500 and have not made my main point yet! Eeks!

  46. 1200 with an anthem, 1500 without. And getting done "on time" all depends on the prayer request time. Sigh.

    Significant touch ups on the sermon for tomorrow, a memorial service to prepare for sometime next week (waiting on the military cemetary to schedule the burial), another saint in ICU. Busy week around here.

    And someone needs to go grocery shopping, so thank you for the snacks!

  47. I'm just now checking in, as I've tried to have nose to the grindstone in order to be finished so that I can attend a wedding that Dave is performing and reception later and not be worried about putting in a late night. "Tried" being the operative word, as things like potty-training the puppy and wrapping the ginormous wedding gift of a cooler have taken up time.

    Count me in the 10 Commandments crowd, or "The Ten Teachings" as BBT refers to them in Feasting on the Word.

    Cheese, I've heard that joke before and was wondering about telling it. I might change the commandment - I think my people have a harder time with keeping the Sabbath and coveting. But you're right, "adultery" does make the joke.

  48. I aim for 1500, though I've been going longer recently...

  49. back for a minute everyone. I have told the awful story in my sermon, and now am turning to the response... healing and advocacy...I know what I need to say, but finding the right words is not so easy....

  50. Y'all sure had some fabulous breakfast items on the table!

    I just got back home from packing my final box of books at my (former church) office. I do have to go back Monday for a few things but will not need to be there for long.

    Needless to say, I am not preaching this week. If I were preaching it would be along the same lines, sounds like, as Songbird.

    So instead I am praying for you all as you prepare and preach.


    My plans for tomorrow are to sleep in. Not going to church anywhere. I won't make a habit of it, but I want to do it just once, and just because I CAN.

    Feels weird. :-)

  51. WEll I have the special music chosen (when our choir doesn't sing I generally play a piece from our new hymn book supplement) and have the words ready to copy when I head to the church shortly.

    ANd I think I know where I am going. I know I will quote the moderator when he reminds us tht we can't spend our way out of the recession. I know I will tell the congregation that we live in a sick world, one that has a cancer called consumption/consumerism.

    And the prescription is to get off the treadmill of buy buy buy. Even when we are told it is our civic/patriotic/economic duty to buy we need to ask if it really is the good choice ot make.

  52. I'm usually in the 1500-1800 word range. As an affirmation for shorter sermons, on a recent Sunday I was away a Session elder who is also in the commissioned lay pastor training program preached. She tends to preach in the 10-12 minute range, and the feedback she received was positive - "short and to the point, we like that!"

  53. Closing in on my attempt to explain God's will, with thanks to Al Winn who cites George Buttrick saying that the Lord's prayer petition is that God's will be done TO me and THROUGH me, and FOR me and all people. Will be mentioning our child that we lost shortly after birth, and hoping that I don't lose it....
    You Presbyterians: somewhere I have seen a Brief Statement of Faith printed in a responsive reading format, but can't find it now. Any help?

  54. I found an article (that I haven't actually read yet only skimmed) on textweek that mentions a temple cleaning in Nehemiah. I didn't know that. Is that new to anyone else?

    Regardless, I wonder if that will give me something to say?

  55. My sermons run 5000-6000 characters (without spaces), which I think is about 1100-1200 words. I preach on the shorter side, but no one has ever complained. "The mind can absorb what the seat can endure"!

  56. By the way, I have written a total of zero of those words thus far today.

  57. I keep singing Jesus Christ Superstar over and over in my head. "Roll on up for my price is down..."

    I've got the sermon outline down - I actually know how I'm going to start and where I'm going (from God's anger to our anger as the body of Christ) but I'm trying to dance the delicate dance of staying truthful to the biblical accounts of God's anger and not making God sound uber scary.

    As well as the image of me dancing, I bring peanut butter scones. My friend E makes them and they are delic!

  58. Hi all. Checking in and seriously considering brewing some Starbucks (I know, I know) coffee and making some cornbread. No, that's not procrastination, really.

    Also, unless I am missing something, my 2 cents would be that if you have had adultery committed against you... that joke hurts. Maybe it would work with one of the other commandments?

    The bad news? You STILL can't say the Lord's name in vain.

    Okay. Done with that... I have a little boy at home and ideas and threads for a sermon that has a better title than substance at the moment. I am hanging out in the NT this week with foolishness and a dollop of Jesus in the Temple.

    If only I knew what I was so excited about a couple of months ago when I decided not to use an 'pre-owned' one.

  59. back to write that stick last paragraph. I'm at about 1300 words, I think. It's a little short for me right now, but I'm not feeling too bad about that.

    Welcome to more newcomvers. peanut butter scones sounds yummy

    Singing Owl, sleeping in! wonder what that feels like?

  60. The first sentence just came to me like a poem - Mr. Madoff plead guilty this week.

    Then I'm touching on our anger about economics - and why Jesus saw economics and spirituality connected. The connection is greed - and not only madoff and his like are greedy, but we all are.

    Then back to Jesus - his answer - himself - hope in three days. A reborn temple - his body. A reborn community - his church.

    I hope to post it at in a new key

  61. Diane, I have no idea! I feel like I will go POOF and disintegrate if I stay in bed on Sunday. I'll let you know after I do it. LOL And I hope that the following week I will be listening to Cheesehead preach.

  62. Pals, sermon done but I'm thinking about the number of words following this discussion. but no special music... oh well, i'll look again.
    Cheesehead, the local seafood restaurant has a sign posted, "Thou Shall Eat Seafood"
    No. 11"

    I was going to use it but it doesn't really fit, maybe it will follow your 'bad' joke.

    Jan, I'll take some of that honey! I'm on the Psalm this week and highlighting how we approach God's "torah/teaching/law". I'm using the framework of a skit the kids are doing based on the Simpsons (who don't know what to do with a Bible). It's not 'heavy' but hopefully will make a few points. THen I invite everyone to take a honeystick home from the worship center at the back of the sanctuary. Bible/honey jars, honey comb and honeysticks. So maybe the gift will make up for what the sermon lacks...
    I still haven't updated my blog tho.
    Nutella: our SS class is studying Marva Dawn's "Keeping the Sabbath Wholly" You can read a bit of it on Amazon.

  63. huh.
    Just wanted to say I'm going in to practice right now, pray for me.

    This may change again before tomorrow morning. It depends on how painful it is to preach it.

  64. The time change messing with anyone else ... ?

    As in it's still very light and day-looking right now, but it's just about dinner time so the sermon should be done ...

  65. Please pray for me fellow preachers. I never did come up with a story, and this sermon feels like the worst I have written in a long time. But on I go to preach the Word and lead worship in 20 minutes before I can head back home and nurse my sore throat and aching muscles. OK, enough self-pity, here we go!

  66. Bah. I have a very rough draft on the gospel/epistle but I'm really stuck this week with absolutely no motivation to write or to preach tomorrow. Which is hard to admit because normally I love preaching. Office dynamics have been really difficult lately, perhaps that has something to do with it. Maybe a peanut butter scone and cornbread (the best comfort food) will make it all better:)

  67. I feel guilty dropping in when I'm not preaching tomorrow - but wanted to leave hugs & fair trade choc available for the workers. May the Spirit move, the words flow & teh Clooney smile on you all xx

  68. MumPastor, when you've got a dog, WALK IT PROUD! Prayers ascending...

    My sermon is genius in my head. Only one problem....

  69. Well, I'm back from the play, and done with the sermon. It borders dangerously close on the dreaded, deadly "Three Points and a Poem"* but is joke-free, so there's a mixed bag for you.

    *Known to those of us who went to the semi-famous theological skool as "the thing that will get you flunked".

  70. Okay, I have a beginning now. But I don't have an ending. Or much of a middle.
    And the one I preached on these texts three years ago? Not so great. Read a passage from "Farmer Boy," I kid you not.

  71. Hello! This is my first time posting here--I am so happy to know that other people are out there working away on a sermon just like I am!

    My sermon is almost done but I am not totally thrilled with it. I am working with the gospel and the epistle. Fleshing out the cleansing of the temple and talking about how foolish/crazy Jesus must have looked to the people there, especially after he said that he could raise the temple in three days. What a nut! Then I am going on to talk about the "wisdom of the world"--what the world offers as as good--versus the foolishness of the cross. Basically wrapping it up with how the Christian life is a constant embrace of being called foolish, living a counter-cultural example of the kingdom of God, one foolishly loving, believing action at a time.

    Sigh. Sorry this is so long for my first post! Keep up the good work!!

  72. Sigh.....

    I can tapdance a little bit.
    maybe I could do that to replace the 2 or three paragraphs I need to get from what I've done to the ending?


    I've started and scrapped a total of 6 versions so far. I always do this (false starts I always do...tapdancing not so much.)

    Just a handful of paragraphs...that's all I need, and i know my conclusion and sha-zam!

  73. Getting here a little late - (11pm in UK). But that's because I've been enjoying some good family time, so no complaints.
    Katie Z- hope your post op recovery is swift.
    Singing Owl - look forward to hearing about your Sunday under the duvet - providing you haven't been vaporised!
    Kathryn, don't feel guilty. We'd wonder where you were if you didn't at least pop in. Hope you're healing well too.

    As yet, I have nothing on paper but can offer a Ten Commandments joke:
    By the time Moses had dragged himself up the mountain, he wasn't feeling so good and he'd had plenty of time to think on the way up. So he says to God: Its about time you helped me out. My life has been pretty rough - a mum who floated me on the river as a baby, a stint in the palace, trying not to get found out, all those plagues in Egypt, dodging the Red Sea and now I'm responsible for all these grouchy folk - my head is splitting... And God said - Here, take these two tablets, that should help.
    Now, I really must get down to some work.

  74. Well, how's that? Thank you Kathryn ZJ - the prayers appear to have worked! We had a bunch of visitors tonight, which got me more worried, but I did walk my dog proud, and afterwards got some good comments. Phew. And my voice didn't go until the last hymn.

    Praying for all who AREN'T done, which would be most of you, wouldn't it? Now back to being a mom, driving the girls home and tucking all into bed. Tomorrow - two sing at the Episcopal church in the choir, and then I head out here again to go to the funeral of a friend's dad. Praying for P and her family.

    Hot tea with honey and lemon anyone?

  75. If I create a scenario about buying Girl Scout Thin Mints to be received at worship, do you think people will give me cookies?

  76. ok, blogger ate my comment. really.

    so, I preached once (whew) maybe only minor changes.

    what's for dinner? I can't think of anything!

    I know I'm hosting, but give me some ideas, people.

    but how about ice cream for dessert?
    ben and jerrys imagine whirled peas.

  77. popping in with pizza and trader joe's sparkling french berry lemonade for those of you still working...enjoy! I'm off to see a High School Musical (but not High School Musical) tonight. It's sold out, so it better be good. "J-J-J-Joseph..."

    Songbird, I mentioned my favorite treats in a sermon one time and people have been bringing them to me ever since. Try that out! :-)

  78. Diane, I am serious. I just bought some and have it in the freezer. I stood and looked at all the Ben and Jerry's and came home with that exact flavor!
    I have a draft; I'm going to read it over. At least it's better than the piece o'crap I preached three years ago...I hope.
    Am I the only one who finds Lent enervating?

  79. songbird: what can I say? great minds think alike.

    break a leg on your practice.

    ok, we're having soup.

    but later, ice cream.

  80. ice
    i have cheddar cheese crackers and diet coke to offer. sorry, that's it.

  81. Ice cream...Thin Mints...TJ's sparkling lemonade...I have no incentive to leave here and do my sermon!

    Katie Z, healing prayers; I hope you already are feeling much better just from getting a bad gallbladder out of your body.

    The day has been one of those when every well laid plan has gone astray, but I think we are back on track and no one is the worse for wear.

  82. I've posted the sermon. I hope it's good to go. Now I'm making room on my lap for a cat and trying to figure out if she'll let me eat ice cream. Or knit. I'm thinking not.

  83. Hubbahubba fixed buffalo wings and fries for y'all for supper.

    Jesus clean househere. Comments and concerns are welcome.

  84. We had leftover turkey stuffed into pita bread, followed by gingersnap cookies, tea and a nap.

    Now I'm off to watch the semi-finals in the men's curling.

    I don't have a children's story. I am not anticipating a lot of children because school break started Friday and I know that many of them are away. The remainder that possibly WILL be in church are the really young ones (ie not tall enough for the rides at a certain theme park yet).

    Any ideas anyone?????

  85. Welcome Liz!

    I am back and engaged (with the sermon). I have high hopes of something preachable by 10.

    Then we'll go from there.

  86. Oh, Sue. Drat. Children's time. Of course I don't have any ideas, I never do.

    Our own "too short to ride the rides" one is down for the night (please, Lord). Now to polish sermon, plan memorial, pack for trip, and...oh yeah...get to bed at a reasonable time. Hmmm. At least the laundry is done. What is it about planning a trip out of town that sends everyone in the congregation straight to the hospital?

    Good thoughts, all around, everyone. Happy sermonizing and relaxing.

  87. I had presbytery today that lasted until about 4 p.m.. I guess I could have been writing my sermon there in the back row, but instead I was playing Mah-Jong solitaire. I do actually pay attention while playing, AND it keeps me from making smart-arss remarks when debate gets contentious. We were voting on amendments so there was debate.

    Now I'm back for my first night of sermon writing after a 2 Sunday break for a youth mission trip. Hard to get back in the groove, so mostly I'm just thankful both kids are in bed and quiet at 7:30 p.m.! I also think I played enough games all day that they shouldn't be too much of a distraction. Too bad the wireless signal was too weak so I couldn't get FB out of my system.

    Oh well - - I'm go a little less biblical (by my standards) and talking this week about the spiritual practice of Sabbath-keeping. I'll be honest that I'm not so good at this one and not "up" on all the good reading on it. I'm armed with Dorothy Bass, though, and have some ideas. My title is "Holey, Holy, Wholly" meaning the way we keep Sabbath is usuall holey at best, although the call is to keep it holy (set apart), which means keeping it wholly, with our entire beings. At least that's my basic idea.

    I might pull some of the foolishness language in, too, since the things God does and asks us to do don't make much sense according to "normal" human standards.

    We'll see where this goes.

    There are already 86+ comments so I'm not going to be able to read them all to catch up. At least not now. I'll go back over them during my breaks.

    I'll take the virtual Thin Mints. Somehow not one of our Brownies or Girl Scouts sold to me this year and I completely missed the whole ordering season. I hope I bump into some girls at a grocery store or something (I promise I won't know them over).

  88. She Rev, I love the title! And I hear you about the Presbytery meeting--ours was last weekend.

  89. I'm printing, and if I can get through it without crying, I think it'll preach. I really don't want it to be about me. Any hints on how to get through the potentially emotional bits? (telling a tiny bit of the story of the son we lost, so tiny a bit that I might squeak through it, but the read-through with Mr. Incredible was wavery....ugh.

    Oh, and some brownies for y'all....

  90. Susan O - love to see how the tapdancing turns out! That's a completely legit form of proclamation.

    Sermon is done. Thanks largely in part to Teri and E of the great scones fame. It's a couple hundred words longer than most but I just can't seem to find a good place to cut.

    And now for a children's message. On God's anger... yeah, this could go very, very poorly.

  91. ok, I'm going to eat ice cream and write something ELSE, and then tweak the sermon just a titch.

    How's everybody else?

    I'll be checkin' out some sermons too.

    I really really don't want to stay up too late tonight, as my sinuses are hurting, and I don't have any medication right now.

  92. How about asking kids if there are ever good reasons to be angry?
    Yes, I'm a risk-taker.
    I'm also sleepy, so I'll catch y'all later! Or earlier. Or something. Good night!

  93. just home from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which was pretty fun...and just remembered that just because I don't have to write prayers of the people doesn't mean I don't have to come up with a Children's Time about the 10 Commandments! Oh, internet, please come through for me--I also have to wash dishes tonight OR.ELSE.

    Trader Joe's Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream over here...mmmm....

  94. Here I am, back as promised. I had good sermon writing time in a coffee/ pastry place between presbytery office and the place for the bday party. So I am almost, not quite done. Anyhow, I am suffering from tummy ache due to rich food I am unaccoustomed to eating.
    It is cold and rainy and would have been perfect to be home with kittycats, but not meant to be.
    So, I am here, still working on the idea of the makeover Jesus did in the temple and the one we need to do in our own lives in order to allow for more meaningful r'ship with God and one another.
    Oh, but a hot shower will fill good and maybe soem tea.
    Hey, we may hit 100 before midnight. Yay!!!!
    Don't know why that is such a big deal to me. I am weird.
    Love the 10 Commandment jokes!
    Anyone want a banana or a cookie?

  95. Teri, I did something not too long ago about rules (like do you have rules at school, at home, etc). Ten Commandments as God's rules about how to treat God and each other. I think I wrapped up with Jesus's greatest commandments.

  96. Oh boy, I was so FIRED UP this morning, and after a hard day (mostly unbloggable because it occured in a confidential setting but let's just say that combinations of certain personalities can be exhausting), I feel all wrung out to dry.

    Come, Holy Spirit, come! I've miles to write before I sleep!

  97. "Way, way back many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began..." You've got me humming; I know practically all of Joseph by heart, first learned when I was in elementary school. You should've seen the look on my matronly 6th grade Sunday school teacher's face when I began to explain about Potiphar's wife!

    Children's time thought, from my adult sermon: I'm talking about using the commandments as a spotlight to help us see the messy/dirty/sinful parts of our life, so we know where to ask God to help us clean up. What about taking in a big flashlight and hunting around in a few corners of the church, or up in the rafters, behind the organ, in the hymnal racks, and under the pews to see what you can find (I know from experience kids love seeing me on hands and knees looking under pews!). Translate to some of the "corners" of our life when lit up with the commandments, etc. etc. Does require kids old enough to get analogies, although the younger ones will still understand the flashlight and cleaning up notion.

    Think I'll have a few more scoops of all this ice cream being offered up before going back to work! Breaking news in the parish tomorrow that may cause some short term distress, so I feel the need to fortify myself tonight.

  98. I like the Children's Time idea about asking if there is ever a time it is OK to be angry. I'd use it in it second, but I'm not reading that text or doing CT. Poo. I'll mentally file it away for another time. I have wasted time playing minimal games, but watching the Daily Show interview from Thursday night. Great stuff!

    I better write something sometime soon.

  99. Well, I have 2 sermons.
    That's actually bad news.

    But cutting board is always more reassuring than drawing board.

  100. Juniper, praying for the holy spirit to refresh you for the rest of the evening!

    Songbird, intriguing children's sermon idea. i'd like to hear what kids would say: a good reason to be angry.

    I'm not going to be up much longer, just a LITTLE while.

    I'll check once more, leave some chamomile tea on for you who are continuing, and prayers.

  101. Hello everyone! Glad to see the sermons are gradually being finished, one by one...

    I actually finished before dark this week...shocking, I know! But I did have a three-hour drive home after finishing the sermon, so I'm just now settling in to write a council report and do the final touch-ups on the sermon.

    I went with the John/Exodus combination and used HGTV and house-cleaning shows as my hook into what it means to "clean house" spiritually...the things that once were important gradually become things that need to go (like the temple practices). Et cetera. That doesn't sound very grace-filled, but trust me, I found some grace in there somewhere.

    I believe I have some dark chocolate peanut MnMs around here somewhere if anybody's got the munchies.

  102. Friends, God is good.
    And I'm going to bed.

    Have a great Sunday and remember, the Holy Spirit has got your back.

  103. Well, its 3:30am here. I'm done - in lots of ways. Not ecstatic about it but it will have to do. Posted here if anyone still has energy to comment. I'll be back in just a few hours to tweak.
    Diane, thanks for hosting - the chamomile tea was right on cue - stopped me reaching for chocolate sustenance. And revgals thanks for your company yet again.

  104. ok, 3 pages down, one more to go.

    Someone was asking, and I tend to go by pages, nto word numbers, when I write a manuscript.

  105. if anyone else is still up....

  106. I'm still here! I *had* to make a run to WingStop and then, of course, eat them ... nothing like a late night supper!

    With any luck, I shouldn't have much more work though

  107. With no words yet, I'm still here. I had two Sundays off and I've completely lost my groove.

  108. I'm still here too...the sermon is finished (still needs some polishing), but I'm not picky, I'll even procrastinate on the council report...which is what I'm doing.

    The sermon is at 1508 words, which is a little long for me. I prefer to go for 1000-1200 words. We'll see if I can cut any of them...

  109. Liz, I love your line, "Being attractive to others is not about dumbing down but about loving up." You issue some very good challenges in your sermon.

    SheRev, I hope your words come knocking at the door soon, back and ready to serve!

    I'm picking away at mine...add a word here, change a phrase there. What looked pretty good earlier is seeming a bit too rooted in the head and not the heart now, which probably means it's time to quit.

  110. Finally got an opening down on paper, and I think the rest will flow pretty well. Well, at 552 words my opening is about a third to a quarter of my sermon! I like the way that sounds better!

    So, I'm off to bed to snooze for 3-4 hours. The rest will come in the morning. This is what I said I was going to work on this Lent - - working during my working hours and being present with my family during my family hours (including being asleep in my bed so I'm not unbearable sometime later in the week). This being my first week really home during Lent I see I have a lot to work on in not a lot of time!

  111. I need to come up with a closure, but I am exhausted and ready for bed.
    I will see y'all in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee.
    Goodnight all.

  112. I've got everything printed so I'm headed to bed.

    I have to put the clean sheets on it first ... wish I had remembered that earlier!

    Blessings on your Sunday!

  113. Vicar, when that happens to me, I just pull out the sleeping bag for a night or two. Gets the job done and I get to sleep a few minutes more!

    I have finished the council report and gone over the sermon tweaking here and there. Somehow I picked up a few more words. So much for keeping it short! At least it's finished.

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

  114. Hi, it's me! At 4:10 a.m.! After three phone calls on my cell regarding my son's flight home for spring break today (canceled! rescheduled! too late to get the bus home from Boston!), I am wide awake. Somehow I managed to convince a guy at Northwest to put him on a flight from Detroit directly to Portland, rather than Boston (which is usually cheaper, which is why we do it) for NO EXTRA MONEY!!!!!!!!!!
    Yes, I am relieved.
    No, I have not slept enough.
    Hope the rest of you are sleeping. I'm going to try to snooze for a couple of hours. And believe me, there WILL be a holy nap today. No doubt about it.

  115. Up and here to finish. I set the alarm for about 30 minutes earlier than usual with great hopes that I will be able to crawl back in bed when this is over. We'll see if that happens.

  116. Done and heading to bed for a little while!

  117. good morning. I put the coffee on, for those who are up early and getting ready.

    wanted to remind everyone (as Kathryn has already done) that the Holy spirit has got our back.

    I was going to tweak some, but discovered that I left the sermon at church.

    so, there you have it....

  118. Oh, do pass the coffee. I have a feeling it will be more needful than usual today.

  119. Coffee? Pastry? Yougurt?
    It is cold and rainy here and difficult to get going today. I am on my way out, but oh so, so dreary, weary.
    Looking forward to the afternoon siesta!
    But, for now...
    Here we g revgals, here we go (clap, clap)!
    Here we go preachers, here we go (clap, clap)!
    GO team, GO Holy Spirit.
    Ge 'er done.


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