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Saturday, April 11, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Easter Vigil Edition

Well.

Tomorrow is the day. Except that every day this week has been the day for many of us and for some of us even today is the day, if you're observing an Easter Vigil. And this day? Exists in a funny, in-between energy. If we want to celebrate tomorrow, we need to prepare today, but at the same time, we're not quite there yet.

How are you holding up? (Even these lilies look like they could use a nap, don't they?) How many services will you be part of tomorrow? Do they begin at sunrise?

Let us know in the comments and tell us what you're preaching about, which text you chose, and how you're going to explain Easter to the children, always a tough assignment.

And how are things on the home front? Are you filling baskets or hiding eggs or hosting guests tomorrow?

Meanwhile, have some coffee. Breathe deeply. We will get through this, together, and tomorrow? He will be out of the tomb, I promise.

206 comments:

  1. Holy Saturday service at 9:00 and then baptism instruction for six kids at 9:30. And then off to Salvation Army to cook and serve lunch. The Easter sermon will have to wait until after lunch!

    Breathing deeply sounds like a good idea but I'll skip the coffee as I've already had my tea. I have lots of Panera bread left over from Thursday's Agape meal if anyone is interested. Otherwise, the cupboard is pretty bare as I get ready to leave for Italy on Tuesday!

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  2. Thanks, Margaret! Italy sounds wonderful. I'm counting down the days to BE 2.0; I leave for Arizona very early on Thursday morning!
    I have two services tomorrow and two pieces to write, a brief reflection for the Sunrise Service and a full-fledged sermon for the 10 a.m. service in the Sanctuary. It's grey and rainy here today, so my hope for a good walk doesn't seem likely to come true. I'll have to walk the dog, but it won't be evocative of spring and new life, particularly.
    This is the first year I have no major Easter responsibilities other than church: no company coming tomorrow, no eggs to dye, no baskets to fill. I did a care package for my student at boarding school and mailed it Tuesday, and bought a pretty basket for my daughter. We're going out with a clergy friend after church tomorrow. I must admit, it's a relief.

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  3. nothing this morning. no. thing. I'm not preaching tomorrow, but we have a Vigil Service tonight, at which I believe I am telling the story of the crossing of the red sea.

    even though I'm not preaching, I feel mentally exhausted with the stress and sickness here. the boys (my husband's boys) won't be with us for Easter, so I called my brother and asked how he would feel about just going somewhere instead.

    I'm breathing deep, and even though I'm up, I'm avoiding doing ANYTHING for a little while.

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  4. Thanks SB for hosting today. Margaret, you have a lot on your plate...I'll take some good bread for my dinner, if you don't mind.

    Marathon day here. Brown Eyes' fifth birthday party is at 11 - here. I still have to make the strawberry shortcake and find a craft suitable to keep five five year olds busy. Then Freckleface (who is 7) has her first soccer game of the season at 1. Then it's off to church - rehearsal at 4 for the Vigil at 5:30. This is the first year we are trying the whole Vigil - fire in the courtyard, remembrance of baptism, communion...and a sermon that I wrote yesterday that needs to be cut in half or more. I really.don't.like.it. and even WisePastor my senior pastor couldn't find much good to say about it when I emailed it to him this morning. He says something good about everything. So. I am in trouble and need a big dose of the HS right about now.

    I'll make some extra strawberry shortcake for you, and there will be mac n cheese and carrot sticks as well (five year old lunch!)

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  5. Hi, Diane.
    I made a To Do list. That's about it so far here.

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  6. Oh, Mumpastor, that is too much day!

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  7. Good morning everybody. I slept in this morning hoping to get some sermon mojo going. I wrote half my sermon yesterday and I hope to have the other half finished this morning.

    This is my first Easter Sermon so I am a bit anxious. I keep praying to God to give me the words of resurrection to a congregation that is struggling.

    My lovely partner is cooking up some oatmeal. Would anyone like some, I've got bananas and brown sugar to go with it.

    Peace and love,

    ps. only 4 more days til BE2

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  8. I am at zero on the sermon. Zero. Luckily I have all day to write it,and no responsibilities today other than writing it and packing.

    I have only the one service tomorrow, and we are leaving for The Hoosier State right after church, coming back late on Wednesday, then I have a massage scheduled for Thursday. Ahhh...

    This morning I have a family room full of 18-year-old girls. When they leave, I'm going to Shred. Wish me luck.

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  9. Ah, good luck on the shredding!

    My sermon lacks a story. I mean, other than the one about Jesus.

    Okay, it also lacks words.

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  10. Good morning pastors! I am so glad to see that other pastors haven't written their Easter sermon either. Mumpastor, I'm praying for a healthy dose of HS to come your way flooding you with insight and enthusiasm. IS anyone else feeling overwhelmed by the need to say something new and fresh about resurrection, especially with so many Easter/Xmas attenders and potential new members stopping by? My love is playing piano for us since our volunteer pianist resigned a few weeks back so it will be a family affair. I'm also preaching to a small struggling congregation who can use the good news of resurrection but I don't want to scare off the newbies that are coming to worship with us hearing they've come to a "dying" church. prayers for yall today.

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  11. Nutella, I find this the most challenging sermon of the year, for the reasons you mentioned. There is no build up to Easter for those who come twice a year. How do we pull this off, preaching a message that means something to both the regular attenders and the once-a-year mystery seekers? (Or hat shower-offers, for that matter.)

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  12. I'm heading out to walk the dog and do an errand or two. Can I bring anything back for anyone? I have a notion about handing out bulbs to the children--of course, I have no idea how many children there will be.

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  13. OK, I have a question - how many words is a 10 minute sermon? I just threw away 2500 words of my three thousand words I wrote last night. I have no idea how long I usually preach for, but I know it is less than 20 minutes...If I have 1200, is that about right?

    It's Vigil, and more than 10 will be too much, but 5 seems like too few.

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  14. Songbird,

    Perhaps some diet coke for the journey.

    I'm still stuck, looking at what I wrote last night but unable to make the transition to the resurrection hope.

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  15. No sermon words yet. A title no words. Preaching at a community service at 6:30 AM tomorrow,(for the first time) then
    normal Sunday services at 9 and 10:30.
    Then dinner at my sister-in-laws (bless her!) and the celebration of four April birthdays at the same time.

    So today is writing a new sermon titled "A Morning Like This" for the community service and then possibly rewriting an old Easter Sermon for other two sermons.

    It is also Easter Egg hunt day at 1:30, the day I call my son's friend's mother and tell her we will not be going in with them on a graduation party at a local bar- even though my son would like to...

    Then to bed early (HAH!)

    Oh yes- and a birthday cake for my son... hmmm.

    Oh yes and the dog has just come in to remind me we need to go for our walk... Sounds like that should be the first thing.

    I have lots of yogurt to share. And some Constant Comment tea with dark honey.

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  16. MumPastor: Our seminary prof of homiletics always said that about 100 words should equal 1 minute. So, using her formula, it would be about 1,000 or so. Unless you talk faster...

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  17. Thanks Cheese! Thank you thank you. I have 1050 words! Yay! And the birthday party hasn't started yet! Now to see if Starman my hubby will take a look at it...

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  18. I see everyone is busy today...prayers for all of you preaching and writing children's sermons...all I am doing tomorrow is pastoral prayers, and the welcome. So, I will be holding my revgals in my meditations....also, I am asking for prayers for Fiji, which is going through a military coup...this request from Wendy,(I am not sure if she is a revgal or not, but I think she found my blog through us) She writes: Can your congregation tomorrow say a special prayer for Fiji which is going through a horrendous time with another coup, (on Good Friday of all days!) now the President's (ghost-writers) abrogation of the constitution. This was the military's reaction to a court case that decided the interim government is illegal. It's all so sad as ordinary people wanted elections. I wrote a bit about it on our babasiga blog. Here is her blog: http://www.blogger.com/profile/01165668047817341837

    Peace be within...all of us.

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  19. ack! 3 services tomorrow beginning with sunrise. preaching at all... and a wedding tonight!

    at the wedding i am preaching on that very thing songbird... how this day is inbetween and how most of the days of their married life will be the "inbetween" times... not the moments of darkness, not the celebrations but days like today... when we ask uhm what's for supper? etc.

    peaceful preparing pals...

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  20. Back again for a minute to say thank you to Nutella the HS has come down! And now that my crisis is past, I can be in prayer for the rest of you with your crazy busy days as well. You gals (and pals) rock...like the stone that was moved away...

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  21. Well, the new and different parts are over, so, in a way, Easter, all that's left, feels like just another normal Sunday. I am very proud of the fact I made it through Holy Week without the kind of stress and procrastination I'm used to on busy weeks. I guess one of my Lenten disciplines has sort of taken root. Granted, I didn't have NEARLY as much to do as many of you did. Just Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

    So, today it's egg dyeing with the kids, yardwork with the whole family, then an evening (but hopefully not too late night) sermon writing session. My husband has to be out the door at 7:00 a.m. to help cook the Easter breakfast at church tomorrow, so I have to be ready to take over kids by that time. Usually he's the one on-duty with them at that hour. My plan is to go to bed with a sermon written no matter how late/early that is, so I can wake up and just focus on the kids.

    I'll poke back in later to see how everyone is doing!

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  22. Ooh, Margaret, Italy! Enjoy!

    GodGurrrl--I'm about halfway too. And I would love some oatmeal!

    I need to finish writing the sermon, put together some prayers and the announcements for tomorrow, and some other odds and ends--all before 2 pm, when I'm meeting a friend for coffee. I would really like to take this evening off if I can--but I have a feeling I'll be working on that sermon...

    Tomorrow there's a sunrise service at 7 am, which I may or may not attend--it's at the one church in our group that is WAY out of town, and I hate to feel like I'm being lazy, but... I am. Then our regular service at 1:30 and dinner afterwards with friends.

    I'm with several of you--how do I preach resurrection joy to a shrinking church? Historically, we don't have very high attendance on Easter, because our service is in the afternoon, when people tend to be with friends or family.

    But that's the direction I'm taking--resurrection and stones being moved for us before we realize it (Gene Robinson's sermon at textweek.com really affected me).

    I can offer bagels and cream cheese...

    And the Palestrina video from Friday has inspired me to dig out my Bernstein's Mass CD. Odd choice for Holy Saturday? Oh well.

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  23. Hi ho Hi ho it's off to textweek I go.

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  24. Picked up teh kitty who is yet un-named. She is doing well.
    Baking a lemon blueberry pound cake now, cleaned up a bit for company later. We have our egg hunt/ hot dog lunch in about an hour.
    I am already tired!
    And the sermon is coming along. Not sure where it is going, but it is...
    We hae sunrise at 7, which means we put chairs out at 6, whcih means I get up at 5, which menas I really do not need to stay up unti lAM to finish my sermon(as is my practice).
    sigh.
    I iwll bring home left overs. For now I have cranberry scones.

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  25. Hi All:
    Glad to see that others are in the same boat I'm in.
    About to do Holy Saturday liturgy, make a pastoral call and then come back for our Vigil Rehearsal and then, a few hours later, the Vigil itself. I'm pretty stressed as I don't have an Easter Day sermon yet. I've started several, but don't like any of them. Like Songbird...I don't have a story...other than the obvious one!!

    I'm eating apples and cheddar cheese and diet coke. There's plenty to go around!

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  26. whoa. look at this. only 10 a.m. it promises to be a long day! I know how you feel about Easter sermons. On the one hand, I really want it to be special, when I get to preach. On the other hand, I suspect that for most people, the music does it. humbly I suspect that.

    I think the last time I preached I talked about "google earth" and also the Japanese martyrs, and how they thought they killed the church in Japan, but as it turned out, it didn't die.

    I'm finally reading The Shack, now, too (a little).

    A little later, we'll go to the hospital to visit father-in-law, who is still in intensive care, and then to practice for the Vigil.

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  27. Holy Saturday services here and preaching on Ignatius' idea of a day without prayer.

    Then setting up the church for Easter Day. Our Vigil begins at 6 a.m. Sunday morning with the new fire, the procession into the church ("The Light of Christ -- Thanks be to God"), and the readings in the dark, eventually greeting the sunrise with shouts of, "A ..." (not there yet).

    Easter sermon finished and preaching on Fear. Mark 16:1-8; "So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."

    What are we afraid of?

    Blessings to all this weekend.

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  28. Wow. Most of you have MUCH busier days than I - sending energy vibes out to all of you.

    Cheese - good luck with *shudders* "Shred" *shudders again*

    Anywho - I need to write the most concise (as in short) Easter message ever. We have a baptism AND communion, so that leaves me about three to four minutes tops to proclaim the good news on the highest holy day of the year. No prob, right?

    Sheesh.

    We had a wonderful shared Good Friday service yesterday and our vigil started immediately afterward. We will have folks in the church right up until the sunrise service at 7:00, then we have our usual 10:30.

    By noon - I'll be home and ready to nap. In-laws making dinner (Yay!) so all I have to do is set the table later in the day.

    I leave Wednesday for BE 2.0!!! I'm staying with a friend for one night before the event starts - so exciting!!!

    Okay - so how do I get this three minutes message/sermon done? I was thinking of saying something about how proper it is to have a baptism on Easter because that was the practice of the early church (my folks love that early church history stuff), but then what????.....I'm clearly stuck.

    More coffee please...

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  29. Oh, Mugsy has an announcement at the MEOW blog

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  30. Haircut, harp lesson for younger son, errands here and there, laundry (no clean clericals for tonight and tomorrow, so that's a must do!)...lots of small things here. I'm going with my balloon popping idea for the family service tomorrow; having gotten the idea, I now need to round up some words to go with it. I tested overnight to see if I can blow up the balloons tonight and still have them be inflated tomorrow...yes! Then off to the Vigil this evening, two services tomorrow, lunch at sister-in-law's, and a week of vacation :-)

    Blessings and peace on all as you write, officiate, pray, and pastor (oh yes, those people who decide to tell you on the way out of church, with a long line of folks after them, about their major crisis...), and celebrate!

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  31. WE are off grocery shoppping for now. The sermon is, well, early thoughts. Luckily it gets to be short since we are viewing a message from the moderator and having communion.

    LAst night our Good Frida Service had 400% more people present than last year!

    (Mind you last year one person showed up...)

    My post-easter travel is not nearly as exciting as Italy or the BE. I get to go to a Coference Executive meeting--yay!

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  32. For all of us who are stressing about how to say something new about Easter, this brought me great comfort this week from "Feasting on the Word":

    "The Easter Sunday sermon should be the year's easiest sermon to prepare. Those who come to church on Easter Sunday morning come longing to hear one proclamation and one proclamation only, "Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!" For the preacher, the homiletical task is that simple - announce the good news of the resurrection." Then later: "The good news of Easter for the preacher is that on this day, there is no requirement for homiletical invention. Familiarity contains the seeds of exultation."

    As for me, I'm going with another idea from FOTW - that after the resurrection, Christ is made known in the spoken word, the breaking of the bread, etc. Still fleshing that out - alot.

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  33. Conference Exec doesn't sound too bad Gord. Just getting away after a busy Lent/Easter is good in itself. I'm glad your Good Friday service went well.

    1-4 grace: I'm dyin' from the cuteness over at Mugsy's place. Dyin' I tell you....

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  34. I'm also using the Mark text and I'm struck by the idea of fear... and what we are afraid to say.

    Recently I read a statistic that said United Methodists only invite someone to the church once every 38 years. I have no idea where that comes from, and it's probably not limited to us, but it's striking. What are we so afraid of?

    I'm also thinking of my own personal fears. I'm afraid to put myself out there theologically before the congregation for fear of rejection. I'm afraid that they won't accept me as their teacher when they hear what I really think (especially in light of all the hot-button issue controversy here in Iowa in the last two weeks). So while those own fears are in the background of my thought - I'm wrestling with how much to bring them into the sermon.

    Above all - it's about a fear to really proclaim that God is in control. Because if God is in control, then everything we (try to) hold fast to is uncertain. Those women fled from the tomb - because even the reality of death was thrown into the ringer.

    so as bank accounts dwindle, tornados sweep across our country, fears about governments take over... all of the things that we have absolutely no control over, we forget that we aren't in control anyways. But God is.

    i'm getting there... it just hasn't all gelled together quite yet.

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  35. Sue - how incredibly short! Any way that the service could run over by 5 minutes.... that would give you 2-3 times as long to preach!!!

    I was also struck by the comment: how do we preach the resurrection to a shrinking congregation.

    Our UM Reporter this month had an interesting article on small churches. The biggest thing these churches need is empowerment. They need to be able to not just sit back and die, but live right now - live out the resurrection in their own lives! Ken Carter at the Christian Centuries Theolog wrote something about practicing resurrection (from Wendell Berry) that might be helpful!!!

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  36. Hey gals and guys,
    After fasting yesterday I had to take myself to IHOP this morning in order to get the juices flowing to write my last in the sermon marathon called Holy Week.

    Katie Z. May I use the UMC stats? I am sure it is even longer for Episcopalians--and only mildly different for Lutherans.

    I want to look at the fear to acknowledge ourselves as Christian in the face of the growing secularization of society and the loss of the general story of the Resurrection.

    Meanwhile, keep the faith. It is almost finished and vacationn time is coming!

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  37. This morning finds me finishing preparations for tonight's Easter Vigil @ 8 PM, which is one of my very favorite services of the whole year. Quiet. Contemplative. Invites people to remember that Easter begins in darkness (I love how John tells us that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb "while it was still dark"--my inner night owl quite enjoys this). I lead the service with my sweetheart, who is a wondrous singer-songwriter and has created original music that intertwines among the ancient readings for this night.

    I've been feeling the effects of a very intense season, so at my blog this week, I gave myself a break (a stretch for me!) and just wrote a single reflection that includes links to the Holy Week art & reflections that I offered last year, including one for Holy Saturday--an intriguing, in-between day, as Songbird named. The day always stirs memories of a Holy Saturday years ago when I led a graveside funeral for an infant, and, in that awful place, searched for words to name the God who is present to us even in this day between death and life. The day also makes me think of the drive-through Stations of the Cross at a church in Minnesota, where, through Plexiglass, you can see a life-size version of Jesus lying in the tomb-!

    A blessed in-between day to everyone, and a joyous Easter. And blessings to all going to BE 2.0!

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  38. Back from the doctor's appointment (really, you don't want to ask; I am fine), Hubby and Sweet Baby are back from the breakfast and egg hunt at his church and are napping together on the couch. To do today...sermon. And children's sermon.

    I have a draft for a sermon in which I painted myself into a corner. It goes something like this: the women said nothing, but yet the good news of Easter got spread because it is God's good news and nothing can stop it. But then...doesn't that let us sit on our behinds and be silent, trusting God to spread the good news? The paint, and the corner. I need to fix that.

    And I need to get one small idea for the children.

    Alas, Hubby procured a ham for dinner tomorrow, so my order pizza plan has been thwarted.

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  39. esperanza, it's a dramatic device designed to make the hearers WANT to spread the good news! (That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.)

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  40. Katie Z - with both sacraments, the service will already be over the ever-sacred United Church "one hour of worship" law. *rolls eyes*

    I can probably get away with a five minute reflection, but after that I'll be cutting into some serious brunch appointments. We don't have too many who complain about longer worship services, but when they do, they kick up more than a bit of a fuss. Oy.

    esperanza - I'm glad you're okay.

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  41. okay, I have no idea what's going to happen tomorrow. But I am hopeful that the HS will show up soon to let me know!

    I also have to clean my house today, do laundry, and pack for sunny southern california. I leave after worship to go visit my aunt, uncle, cousin (who turns 4 on Tuesday!), and grandparents. We plan to visit all the good stuff in San Diego and hopefully I'll get to eat yummy food and relax some too!

    Having said that, in order to go on vacation tomorrow, I have to also finish the meditation for next Sunday. Otherwise I'm going to have to take my computer and work on vacation, and i DO. NOT. WANT. TO. But because $$ is tight, if we don't absolutely NEED to pay a guest preacher, we won't. Which means I have to be here on Sunday morning next week, ready to go. (sigh) No BE for me this year, but at least I get to be gone for a few days (5, plus a travel day, to be precise).

    I also have no food in my house. I'm not willing to buy food when I'm leaving town, so I'm scrounging around to find things in the pantry and freezer. If any good comes of that, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I may have to mooch food AND sermon ideas!

    I think I'll start the laundry and then maybe find some lunch...then deal with the kitchen and then vaccuum and THEN work on sermons. That should give me plenty of opportunity to come up with a brilliant idea, right? And to all those people who preach the virtues of mindfulness (Buddhists, i'm looking at you!): too bad. Today I will multitask.

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  42. Anyone want to procrastinate by helping me? For our family service, I need to come up with a list of assumptions people might have had about the Messiah. I'm going to write a key word or phrase for each on a balloon; the balloons will be in a large box, and as I mention each one, I'll pop the balloon. In the end, I'll have the empty box/tomb...all our "dead" assumptions are popped/gone and we can celebrate the real, living, loving Lord (or something like that!).

    I have some, but would like more. Ideas??

    Here's what I have so far:
    be born in a palace, not a barn;
    pay attention to important people, not the poor and sick and outcast;
    make his friends from among the rich and powerful;
    arrive in might, not on a donkey;
    agree with the religious leaders;
    be honored, not teased and rejected;
    live a long time;
    die with dignity, not crucified as a criminal;
    stay dead.

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  43. Teri - you crack me up! I agree, the mindfulness will have to wait here as well. Too. much. to. do.

    Could you order in some supper? That might tick one of your many boxes for the day...

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  44. Friends,
    Off to the nursery for dirt and tiny pots - then to a tball game. Back later. Still have the same great outline I had on Tuesday night - not a word more, so I"ll be at the late night party, I'm sure. See you then!!

    Writing blessings all!


    PS: Mumpastor - I usually preach about 10 minutes and I think of that as 4 pages, 14 point font.

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  45. And here's where I hit the "follow up comments" button....

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  46. I'm finishing 2 assignments and posting them, (after vegging for a week at the beach), and prepping the house for 35 people for Easter dinner. They are bringing everything. I just have to stow the luggage and misc. messes from the car. The house is clean (my Christmas gift from my family is a bi-weekly cleaning service... and WOW what a gift!)
    This next week promises to be exhausting with multiple projects etc due during the week.

    One thing at a time...

    peace on ya, preachers!
    Deb

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  47. OH
    My husband bought an extra tray of whole wheat hot cross buns... yum. However, we need help to eat them. Please help yourself.
    deb

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  48. Esperanza, if you're still in the corner with paint all around, I decided that someone must have decided to say something because we're all here today still telling this story. Someone must have trusted the resurrection was meant for them, too. I came at that from the point of easter beginning and ending with fear: an idea I've stolen from a TextWeek sermon by Scott Black Johnson. We're afriad of beign changed by the resurrection, or not beign changed by it, and in Mark the women fled in fear of what they were told. Yet someone must have told, sooner or later, because we're all here celebrating. The impetus is on us, the ball in our court, to run with it even as we're afriad, like the women were. Something like that.

    I'm off to find some lunch. Volunteer pianist is downstairs playign my new favorite hymn: I want to be like Jesus.

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  49. Okay, I'm back to sermon preparation. But first, a word or two about preaching to those who don't come very often or wanting to preach when you know there won't be too many people there.

    I spent most of this last week whining. Every service took a fair amount of work and there were very few people in the pews between me and the choir. So by Thursday, when almost no one washed feet and there were 32 total in the church, I spent the drive home complaining to God about all that work and so few who benefited from it. I mean I threw a hissy that would have made Jeremiah proud.
    Then I read DAvid AKA Adams' Good Friday sermon wherein he has Jesus saying, "Are my claims on you, on your life, on your whole being - are my claims on you just?"
    Needless to say, I changed my tune. And then I tried to put it in a sermon but it won't work because if you aren't a preacher, you can't relate.
    But to you, my brothers and sisters, let me just say that Jesus preached to whoever showed up. Jesus loved however many were there. Jesus didn't worry about how the numbers were going to look on the annual report or whether there would be too much or too little to eat.
    Preach your hearts out tomorrow because Jesus has claimed your life and that's what we are supposed to do. And don't worry about who got what parts of the story. Even if you told it all very carefully, someone would miss a piece or two anyway. So stick with the ones we've got to work with, say your prayers and let the Holy Spirit rip!
    Yay, tomorrow is Easter!!!

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  50. I have been mulling the fear idea a lot, and I too have Scott Black Johnston's sermon open in another tab. There's some good stuff in there.

    I'm contemplating using the title "What If It's True?"

    There's also this quote from a page at the ekklesia project (linked on textweek) that is sort of working on/for me:
    "One thing’s painfully clear: none of the disciples expected or even imagined the resurrection. Nothing in their experience prepared them for a world so out of balance, so beyond the familiar. An encounter with the empty tomb and Risen Lord disrupts everything: one’s reading of Torah and the prophets, the way one lives under Imperial occupation, whom one eats and associates with, the way in which one worships and praises God, and so on. The gospels themselves narrate Jesus’ earthly life re-imaged through the lens of the Three Days. Absolutely everything is reassessed. Justice and mercy kiss, order dissolves into transformation, and mystery invites us to explore its bottomless depths."

    what if it's true? hmmm....

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  51. Ok Pals, I don't normally do this, but I posted my sermon on my blog. If you have a chance could you take a look at it. Please feel free to give me feedback via comments.

    Come visit me here

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  52. Well, I think I'm going with the irony around Jesus telling Mary not to "cling to him" - when really, our faith calls us to do just that - cling to him through life's joys and sorrows.

    Easter is our reminder that we are connected through generations of saints who have gone before us to the reality that our very faith is grounded in "holding on" to Jesus whenever and however we need to....through loss, pain, joy, despair - all of it.

    Just a few thoughts at this point, but I think I can turn it into something brief and (hopefully) meaningful...

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  53. I had a little snoozle, and now I'm going to try and polish off my reflection for the sunrise service, then move on to the sermon. How's it going out there, preachers? I've got the Diet Cokes chilled.

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  54. There is a great contrast between clinging to a material past and holding onto a spiritual truth, isn't there, Sue?
    (It's always great when I have clearer thoughts about other people's sermons than mine...)

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  55. Hi all you dear RevGals and Pals, I'm just poking my head in to send some love and some more prayers! Hang in there just a little longer! Hugs to all.
    Tomorrow's music (selections from Pinkham's Easter Cantata) is as ready as it's gonna be, so I'm going out to help the Scientist spread a new load of crushed granite on our walkway and patio.
    Easter's coming! So is next Thursday! Arizona, here I come!

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  56. Thanks, everyone. Scott was my preaching professor. Not sure I do him any credit, but I'll go check out his sermon. He's generally brilliant.

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  57. Just a quick check-in...

    Confirmation lock-in was last night.
    Need two sermons for tomorrow, one sunrise (John), one regular (Corinthians).

    Special baptism service between the two...my own son, in the creek, gonna be cold. I have waders and a robe. He doesn't, but dad will be standing by with a flannel quilt to receive him.

    One additional confirmation at the little church, two confirmations and a youth baptism at the other church. Expecting big crowds because of Easter AND confirmations and baptisms.

    Trying to clean house because my parents are on the way.

    The sermons will get done, and they can be very short with everything else going on.

    Ham will be in the crockpot for Easter dinner.

    I probably won't be checking in much more today, but y'all have a blessed Easter.

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  58. I am almost done with my Vigil sermon which is a good thing since I need to go to work in an hour or so.

    Yesterday I had to rewrite my GF sermon in under an hour after my laptop died. I am VERY grateful to Sophia for her inspiration in what she wrote about the cross.

    Nine services down, 3 to go,and I'm not preaching tomorrow.

    Tonight I am baptizing my little granddaughter who just got woken prematurely from her nap when the smoke detector went off b/c of the fire in the fire place.

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  59. I am reading Wil's book today and writing the Eucharistic Prayer for the BE closing worship.

    Tomorrow we go to my folks' for brunch but tonight we're having my ordinand over for dinner followed by the Easter Vigil at our church. (Chrism mass substitute--some day I'll do one!) So some cooking and cleaning needs to happen.

    Prayers for those who are preaching....I especially salute all of you who are keeping the sermons short and sweet and letting the rituals speak (Sure wish my rector would do the same but I'm expecting the usual close to 20 minutes, which is too long for a regular week much less the Vigil. Oh well).

    Right now though I am heading out for a quick beach bike ride with my sweetie....We haven't had a babysitter in forever so it's an exciting new thing to have kids old enough to stay alone for an hour and a half so we can have mini-dates!

    Oh, and daughter Ladybug is generously offering her Easter Egg hunt candy to share--so dig in.

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  60. RDM--so glad you were able to reconstruct the sermon--and that my reflections could help!

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  61. I've just an hour before the Vigil & have spent the day feverishly producing service sheets....now need a fool proof idea for the All age slot tomorrow & some time to write about God unconfined for thr 11.00
    But there is no time.
    aaaaargh

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  62. I have a tremendous headcold/sinus thing going on. At this point, I'm glad there's a cantata for "big" service. I still have to have something to say for sunrise and early service. not really feeling the resurrection right now

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  63. Holy Cow (Week)! 62 comments and it's only 2:05 here!

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  64. We hit 245 last year on Easter weekend, so we're only a quarter of the way there!

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  65. I confess to procrastinating. I don't know how to start, so I'm not starting. I'm facebooking, twittering, blog commenting...

    I still need to vacuum. That's up next. Dear God, please let me find a sermon beginning while doing that. If that doesn't work, then it's on to watching last night's Dollhouse and cleaning the kitchen. (sigh)

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  66. Words not said here to a young man.

    Tomorrow the youth will act out Wagnerin's 'Ragman' parable - they did it for a Midweek service and it was moving. All I need to do it write an intro and conclusion and practice my dramatic reading.

    It's been a quite quiet three days.

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  67. Prayers for all those preaching tonight and tomorrow. And RevDoc -- how AWESOME to baptize your granddaughter at the Vigil tonight! :-)

    Just 3.5 hours 'til we'll be at the Vigil, and I finally posted my Easter lectionary reflection. I really wanted to spend the time taking each day of Holy Week as it came, working with the Stations of the Cross that I was taking each day. This has been a wonderful Lent and Holy Week for me, and I'm so excited to finally get to go to a Great Vigil.

    Joyous Easter blessings to all!
    hedwyg

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  68. Rev Kim - - Thanks for posting that piece from FOTW. I was thinking last night about how intense I was last year while preparing my first Easter sermon. It was also still a very early sermon in my tenure with my new congregation. As an associate pastor in my first call I had been ordained 6 years, but never preached on Easter.

    Anyway, this year I'm feeling very csual about it all, not dismissive, but not stressed. For one the music is big, the flowers are big, and clothes are big, everything is big. Frankly, right or wrong, not TOO many people are TOO concerned with what I say. And as some comedian has said about love scenes in movies - - anyone looks good while they're doing it with music like that in the background!

    I don't plan to blow off my preparations, by any means, but the stress I put myself under last year is unnecessary, I think, for all those reasons, and because this is the day of the most basic message we have. I can worry about how to say it in a different or better way than the last time or I can just be glad that we have this consistent, timeless truth to preach.

    (Feels good to say that now, but we'll talk at midnight tonight and then again in 10 years.)

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  69. I don't know. If it's that easy, why do we struggle with it? Which smartypants wrote that in FOTW? If it's so easy to take for granted, what's the point? I find every year I am paralyzed with wonder, and that feels just like the description in Mark of the women at the tomb.

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  70. A service at each of my three churches tomorrow; 6;30, 8:30 and 10:30. Hubby's are at 9:00 and 11:00. Then we collapse! Today I took Lil' Princess to an Easter egg hunt and got the grocery shopping done. And now, my lack of Easter sermon stares me in the face!

    I have many options for procrastination...boiling and coloring our Easter eggs, cleaning a train wreck of a kitchen, preping the fruit salad (YUM!). All of those need to get done. But I just want a nap!

    Like many here, I'm caught by the fear at the end of the Gospel lesson for tomorrow. I keep thinking about the verses in one of the Epistles that say something about God not giving us a spirit of fear, but one of...? I need to find these verses! Stupid exhausted head, can't remember anything. Hmmm, now where did I put the concordance?

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  71. I'm preaching the Mark text tomorrow at one service... with a baptism. The fact that we are having only one service... is enough to convince me that Jesus will be out of the tomb tomorrow! I posted the sermon here. It isn't my best offering ever... but it's going to have to do... the sermon-writing switch is off.

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  72. I like that perspective Songbird - that'll preach!

    Teri - I love that quote from Scott, though I have to say I laughed through the first part about how the disciples didn't expect the resurrection.

    All I could think of was the Monty Python skit about how "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition."

    Time for a break, I think....pass the diet coke....

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  73. Esperanza and Nutella - - I like Juniper's thought from earlier in the week (and I summarize) - - so maybe they didn't tell. Maybe they didn't speak the good news freely and willingly at first. But something in the way they lived their lives must have shown there was something different going on and maybe someone asked and maybe then they got to tell.

    (Very summarized, but you can find her comment in Tuesday's stuff, I think.)

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  74. Hi all.

    I made an egg casserole for my church's Easter breakfast tomorrow, and now I am back to thinking about the sermon, which I have had the luxury of time to think about for most of the week.

    We have lots of good music tomorrow, our church choir is doing two numbers, and the contemporary Christian music band is performing.

    I am on the John text, and using Barbara Brown Taylor's essay "The Unnatural Truth" as an organizing principle for my sermon, the idea that we can't cling to Jesus because he must be free to take us with him "into the white-hot presence of God who is not behind us but ahead of us, every step of the way."

    BBT's essay is available on textweek. :) It is a great essay, and I commend it to you.

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  75. Back from hunt. Taking a nap next.
    I iwll be back at the party after I get 20 winks.
    Lemon Blueberry Poundcake on counter and drinks in fridge. Kittycats in need of rubs and skreetches

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  76. Have taken a small siesta and read Scott's sermon. That may get me out of my corner yet. Hubby and Sweet Baby are playing in the living room. Somehow Hubby's sermon got finished well before mine...

    Just a little help in the comment count today!

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  77. okay, I vacuumed. I even used attachments and vacuumed in corners, and the curtains, etc....still no ideas for how to begin.

    This is the trouble with being a writer in this way--people who write outlines or plan form or whatever have something to start with, even if it's not the beginning. But for me, I just start at the beginning and work through to the end. It all just flows out....once I have a beginning. but with no beginning...............
    nothing.

    time to clean the kitchen and see if that helps. or maybe fold some laundry and get the next load in.

    (sigh) I know it's in there somewhere....but where?

    (aside: I wonder if that's what the women at the tomb thought? "I know he's got to be in there somewhere!!?!?!?" And if so, does that imply that the sermon is NOT in there? oh dear.)

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  78. Whoa....what a morning...only two things left to do....

    my homily for tonight..

    and my sermon for tomorrow...

    that's all..yeah.

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  79. I am also going with the fear in the story (actually I went with fear 3 years ago to, but in a slightly different way).

    Easter is terrifying. Resurrection, new life, dying to the old. Terrifying.

    As I have things planned, this week will be about choosing to believe despite the terror. Not forgetting the fear, but choosing to believe anyway. Only then can we live into the Easter truth. Next week (somehow) will be about resurrected yet still wounded and E3 I will go off lectionary to use tomorrow's John reading to talk about transformation--resurrection is not recussitaion.

    But back to fear and believe anyway. In 6 minutes or so.

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  80. Okay. Errands run, "Shred"...um...shredded. 850 words down. Half way-ish there.

    I'm going with Mark's story and I can't get something Juniper posted last week out of my head--a story in People (of all places) about the Hudson River miracle. The title of the sermon is "Brace Yourself!"

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  81. Okay, last time today, I promise (it must be the effect of seven sermons in eight days, I can't shut up!).
    My sermon is posted here. I'm going to take a break before writing the next sermon. Y'all get ready to shout out those A...'s now! It's almost time.

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  82. I find preaching Easter to be "fake easy." It sounds easy until you actually start to try to preach it.

    AND, what if you have to have more than one sermon on Easter Sunday? Do you just say "He is risen" twice?

    although, with Easter cantata, I may actually get by with "He is Risen" for the last (and largest) service because while Jesus is Lord, really, the Clock is the Ruler

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  83. Can I get out of my painted-in corner by just taking off my shoes and tiptoeing through the paint?

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  84. You said it Vicar - Clock is the Ruler.

    *McSigh*

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  85. Hi, everyone. Thanks for all these thoughts today! I have two services tomorrow morning, but they're forcasting big time rain here in the morning, so who know who will show up for the 6:45 am sunrise service.

    I'm almost ready, but whatever possessed me to go with Mark for one service and John for the other, I'll never know!

    For the children's time, I'm adapting something from Moira Laidlaw's liturgy site where you present the symbols of Easter, explain each one briefly and then after each symbol say "Christ is risen!" and the children answer "Christ is risen, indeed!" She didn't have this listed as the children's time, but I thought it would work nicely.

    My 8 year old son made a nice cross with twigs and twine for me to use, but has been throwing up all day, so I'm not sure if he'll make it tomorrow. Bummer....

    Blessings as you preach the good news!

    (Arizona in 4 days! Yippee!)

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  86. Back from coffee!

    I finished up a good draft before I left, so now will polish is up so I can relax tonight.

    My frustration over preaching to a small group isn't about not having a lot of people to preach to--I'm not whining about having a small congregation, I knew it was small when I came here. The largest group I've ever preached to was c.150--and that was singular (the one time I preached to my teaching church, a very large urban church). It's usually been less than 50 at a time.

    My worry/concern is around speaking to the range of people who are likely to be there--the stalwarts and the first-timers and the holiday visitors. They have different needs and understandings, and how do I speak a word that is clear to them all, at least at some point and in some way?

    It's *because* I feel the responsibility of this sermon so deeply, the core of my call--telling others the good news of God's love for them--that I am fretting over it. It's not about me--wondering if it's worth it to preach to just a few--it's about how do I do it well. It's much more difficult to preach to 20 than to 100, I think.

    I never give less than all that I can give. My call demands no less.

    TIme to go polish that sermon.

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  87. Hi All,
    Post tball, and I have the house to myself for another few minutes, so going to get into the yard for an hour or so before I have to come back and get at it in earnest.

    Cheese - we have the same title :)

    Margaret - thanks for those encouraging words about it doesnt matter who shows up - I was kind of fretting about spending the whole day renting and setting up a labyrinth yesterday that 6 people walked on, but maybe those were the right 6, huh?

    Maybe next year I will try a Vigil - you all are inspiring me :)

    There was angel food cake, but I ate it all. Still got plenty of that whip cream you spray out of a can if anyone wants to do shots.

    Hugs all around - see you later!

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  88. Stop Press!
    He is risen indeed...
    Just back from lovely Vigil. Tiny congregation but God all over the place,
    Hope He sticks around to help with the sermons

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  89. Okay, Juniper, now that I know you have chosen that title too, I feel 500% better about it! Great minds think alike!

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  90. A few years ago I began a sermon with "I have nothing to preach about today..." Oh, the looks on the faces in the congregation! I then headed off in the direction of nothing being everything: nothing in the tomb (forget the angel and/or burial clothes, please) was the good news, etc. But what fun it was to catch everyone's attention that way.

    Still trying to think of ways that Jesus didn't fit what everyone expected.

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  91. whip cream shots sound like a great appetizer to me!

    wonder how they'll go with the glass of wine I am about to pour???

    A productive day thus far: laundry is done (and most of it line dried! spring must be here!), groceries purchased, dog "prizes" cleaned off the lawn, garden perimiter cleared to encourage teh garden to melt off, supper almost ready

    what's missing??

    oh right, fear and belief and resurrection. are we sure the story doesn't speak for itself?????

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  92. Songbird - the piece I quoted earlier from FOTW was from Gail R. O'Day, Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and Prof. of Preaching and New Testament at Candler. While I'm too busy finding words myself to justify someone else's, I don't think in any way she was saying that preaching the Easter gospel is so easy that we can take it for granted and that we shouldn't stand in awe at the empty tomb. I think she was saying, in part, that we don't need to come up with a *new* message, that when we hear the story again we experience the gospel anew. I can't do justice to her reflection, but it helped me at least to focus and settle in on preparing this Easter sermon.

    Iris - my first Easter I preached the John passage at the sunrise service and Mark at the later service. It seemed like a good idea early on, then that week I thought, what was I thinking? The good news is that three years later you have *2* sermons to look at for possible revision. :)

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  93. I'm seriously reconsidering my call to preaching at the moment.

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  94. ((Songbird))

    I'm right there with you.

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  95. I have to say that having a very active, somewhat unpotty-trained puppy who is into everything, and having a spouse who is at his own church preparing for the Easter Vigil, is not especially conducive to sermon-writing. Just sayin'.

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  96. Holy Cow (Week)! We're going to hit 100 before dinner time. I love High Holy Days at the Preacher Party!

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  97. I just realized I forgot to pick up a prescription yesterday ... off to epic procrastination as my children travel with me to the pharmacy and store. maybe the sermon will have been delivered before we get back

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  98. The homily for tonight...done, thanks to John Chrysostom...

    but tomorrow, I fear there is no help for me....I am stuck...with too many differing ideas...and nothing inspiring...why can't it Thursday and I'm getting ready for the BE2 with all of this a distant memory?

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  99. Besty...I like that idea...nothing to preach about....nothing in the tomb etc. I also got captivated by Jan Richardson's little book, Garden of Hollows...but this year I just can't seem to get into a quiet enough interior space to pull up what I want to say in anything that resembles prose or poetry...it's just blah

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  100. Vicar, RE your comment from a while ago about two services...what if you have FOUR? (we have 8, 9, 1015, 1115.) (sigh)

    I'm only preaching two of them, but somehow that's just as much work as preaching all four, only I'll still be able to talk at the end of the day! Which is good, because if I was totally silent at the airport, people might think I'm bizarre or a terrorist or something.

    I kind of like the "I don't have anything to preach about" opening. I may go with either that or "is that any way to end a story?" (with the idea being that it's not the end of the story). at the moment I'm leaning toward the latter, because then I think I can get to the fear, the "what if it's true" and then ultimately to the ever-widening circle of grace (from our mission statement)--even if the women didn't tell, the circle still managed to grow beyond them.

    Or something.

    Maybe I should unload the dishwasher--perhaps the sermon will be inside, all shiny and clean.

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  101. Teri, maybe my sermon is in your dishwasher as well, let me know...

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  102. OMG, i was number 100! I'm never 100! so exciting.

    who will be 200? :-)

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  103. I'm actually starting with a similar phrase, wondering where is the rest of the story?
    But I wonder if any of that matters to people who come once a year? They don't care what we say, which is the negative side of what Kim said earlier. It's not that I'm in it to be memorable for my own sake, but gosh, I'd like to represent!

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  104. I've been lurking here all day and now headed off to get ready for church...Vigil at 8:00 and it is a LONG service. Then two services to sing tomorrow.

    Just wanted you to know that I am praying for you all and will carry on.

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  105. bad news: no sermon in the dishwasher. Good news: dishwasher unloaded and reloaded and running again (I know, I know--who knew one person could make that many dishes by herself???).

    I'm going to focus now, I swear. No dinner until I at least have a first paragraph.

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  106. Stop the pressess again! I think I have someting I can live with...curious? Check it Gardeners of Love (OK, I can change the title)...

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  107. Amazing how those sermons can hide; none in the party aisle at Rite Aid either.

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  108. Teri, I always found a dishwasher would have been useless when I was single simply because I would've run out of dishes before ti was full. Mind you, now that we are 5 in number a dishwasher would be a great blessing. Maybe teh next house.....

    Supper is done. Clothes for the morrow are ironed. One slide to insert into the PP for the service. And then to pull my random thoughts into a tight 6 minute meditation.

    Hmmmmmm, here comes the tub!

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  109. Cheesehead! I'm so glad I bothered to read back through the whole day's post. Thanks for reminding me about Juniper's Brace Yourself post. I forgot that's what got me on the train of though I've been riding as this sermon has been building in my head. Back to the article and post to help give my mental outline some meat!

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  110. Sigh. Sweet Baby is in bed. Not asleep, mind you, but in bed. It has been a long day here for some reason. Teeth? Yesterday's fever was gone, but its companion crankiness did not depart along with it. And the crankiness is apparently quite contagious, as the other two members of the family also have it.

    Sermon, painted corner and all, might just have to do. I think there is a teeny tiny path of unpaintedness that I can use to get back to the doorway.

    Children's sermon...oh dear. Maybe it is in the dishwasher here?

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  111. Its 1 am here. All age talk dome (not well, but done) now patching together my thoughts for the 11.00 sermon.
    really need to sleep...could i borrow a nice comfy tomb, d'you think? one careful short term owner...

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  112. Okay, maybe I'll keep preaching.

    If I went to bed right now, I could sleep almost 8 hours, but since I still have to gather up materials for the children's time, I'll aim for 7. Or 6.

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  113. aakk, I gotta write a childrens sermon. How do you explain the resurrection of Jesus without creeping them out?

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  114. Blessings to all as the Spirit weaves scripture, themes, and thoughts together.

    I have the children's sermon tomorrow as hubby is preaching.

    Here are some ideas (linked through textweek) for those still looking.

    http://talks2children.itsforministry.org/t2c/seasonal.asp

    I am going to go with the egg theme...one of the ideas from above. I am looking forward to smashing a hallow, blown-out egg with a racquetball racket. (Surprise! There's nothing in there!)

    May all our efforts be used to God's glory.

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  115. I have 15 minutes to sit before I have to throw on my "work" clothes and head back to church for the Vigil....my sermon for tomorrow is in good enough draft form to let it perculate until I return in a few hours...

    Oh, and Teri, I checked my dishwasher for your sermon, but it was empty..,maybe the wind and rain will blow it my way, if so, I'll let you know!

    Ok, now I have 11 minutes...

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  116. god_girl...good question...? someone I know once preached a sermon about God's love in her daughters teddy bear - which went every where with her - to school, etc....not sure what you'd do with that but it was a great sermon!

    now, I'm going to go see what Teri found....ah. wrote..8 minutes remaining...

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  117. I just got a chance to catch up on all the comments after a beautiful day outside with hubby and friends. My body is tired, but my mind is racing!

    blessings on all of you ... i have to finish dinner before I can finish the sermon!

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  118. In the midst of your procrastinating don't forget the RGBP Trivia Site

    So far nobody has got all ten right today? Will you be the first??

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  119. oh - and whoever asked if they could use that UM statistic - go ahead! I wish I could tell you where it was from!

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  120. Teri, I like it! Much better than "something"...it's the good news delivered in good form (and with a good ending). Good point about Mark not having much finesse with either the beginning or the ending. Just one thought: you used the word rampaging to describe God's liveliness in the world; that's a word I tend to connect with wanton destruction. Perhaps another word there?

    Hooray for you, and for all of you who are done and on the last loop of the roller coaster! It's dinner time here, then off to the Vigil.

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  121. ooh, I did REALLY badly on the trivia quiz...umm...because I was thinking about Mark and the questions didn't specify which gospel. Yeah, that must be it. ;-)

    I found a frozen pizza in my freezer (where they belong!) so I am off to have dinner. Thanks for the feedback and camaraderie here, friends--I know I couldn't do this without you all.

    I'll be back to edit in a little while, after I eat, finish the laundry (one last load to put in the dryer!), and start thinking about the packing process...

    anyone want some four cheese pizza?

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  122. Sermon done, back from dinner/video store with Blue Eyes and WG. Two scenes:

    Scene One: hibachi restaurant. WG and I watch in horror as the chef very casually dumps her vegetarian tofu&veg meal right on the spot of the hibachi where he just cooked meat! (They cooked her another meal in the kitchen when we brought it to the waitress' attention.)

    Scene two: video store. WG and I pick out "Hamlet 2" to watch. BE wonders out loud, "Did they ever make a Hamlet 1? Were the same characters in it?"

    WG and I start laughing, and he does "What?" WG answers, "Shakespeare much, Dad?"

    And scene!

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  123. Ahhh...sitting down at the computer FOR REAL now. Or almost for real. First a bowl of ice cream, then the rest of my second glass of wine, then a game....then a sermon! All and I hope to be done by midnight. I hope my mental outline flows on paper as well as it does in my mind.

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  124. Sweet Baby is now actually asleep, after another bedtime snack.

    I am still children's sermon-less. What do you think about this? I'm preaching on the women keeping silent at the end of Mark...what if I have them hold their hands over their mouths, so they can't talk and then ask how they would tell someone about Jesus? Not very exciting, but nothing else is exciting me either. I think I'm tired. I don't know how you service-a-day and Vigil people manage. Truly.

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  125. Esper,

    I like this childrens time idea :) Go for it.

    I got pinwheels for the kids (3 for a dollar at the dollar store!) and I'm saying something about Jesus is here even when we cant see him, but we can see the effect he has on people. Just like we cant see the wind, but we can see the effect it has on the pinwheel.

    Hmm. I liked that idea when I thought of it, but now that I write it down it sounds not too good.

    What do you all think? Our kids are mostly VERY small - our biggest group is 2 year olds.

    Oh, well, it's probably not the right time to be second guessing plans. Better to just go with what I've got.

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  126. Y'all, I am hitting the hay. I've got to be up at 4 a.m. to get ready for a sunrise service, etc. My sermon is over here, and I hope it preaches.
    Blessings to all of you tomorrow. I won't be back online until later in the afternoon, but will be praying for you.

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  127. Juniper, I think the pinwheels work, but if you decide not to use them tomorrow, save them for Pentecost.

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  128. I am not able to read all 127 comments that precede mine, but I'll tell you -- those that I've read have brought me Easter hope.

    I too have a child with a birthday this week, and while I refuse to host a birthday party today, I appreciate those of you who have done that for your Holy Week babies.

    I'm still writing . . . and still studying . . . at the 11th hour because I took some much-needed time today to go on an Easter egg hunt and a train ride with my kids. It was a community church thing, but still, I got to relax and enjoy it.

    So I'm hoping for sleep tonight, but also thinking about the idea that resurrection is not for those who die, but for those who are caught up in our grief after losing someone we love. The question is: will we even recognize resurrection?

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  129. One last thing: esperanza, I LOVE that idea. You could end by having them shout "Christ is risen!"
    I may add that to my "empty egg" message (which includes handing out candy, because I am shameless).

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  130. How is everyone?
    I am here after a quick trip to store and making potatoe salad for lunch tomorrow.
    Still on the sermon,but getting there.
    Just had a message from my crazy CD. It seems that the trumpet player who is listed in the bulletin to play, will not be there.
    She had a commitment for her home church.
    However, the choir director had given us her name and requested a check for her.
    But, as I see now, this was never confirmed. (((SIGH)).
    I had been surprised the young lady had agreed to play, and now we know, she never agreed. The CD jsut thught she was playing since she had not called back.
    Ugh, O well. it will be a lovely service without the trumpet and the girl will really bless her church by being there.
    Okay, that off my chest and back time to write sermon.
    Anyone want a piece of cake or some M and M's or Palmer praying hands/ Yes, I got a set of chocolate praying hands for Easter this year.
    Odd, but it is Plamer Krispen.

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  131. hi. a long time since I have been here because we went to the hospital to see father-in-law, and the doctor had a long consultation with us, which was not entirely positive. Then we went out to eat with Mother-in-law, who got out of the hospital, and after that I went straight to the church to rehearse for the Vigil, and practice chanting the Exultat. I think this will be the last time I do it. I love chanting, but this baby is four pages long, and it's a struggle to learn it anew every other year. And our new choir director could do this and leave us to concentrate on other parts of the liturgy.

    Please pray for my father-in-law. He had to have a feeding tube put in today. flunked the swallow test.

    he's been in intensive care for a week now.

    I'm tired. have to iron my alb. I'm "only" presiding three services tommorrow, sr. pastor's sermon title: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

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  132. Oh, Diane. That's a pretty intense Holy Saturday. Prayers for your in-laws, and for you and your husband, too.

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  133. Hello, dear preaching friends. It has been an interesting week. I participated in a seder at a nearby church, then we joined in a community Good Friday service (wonderfully presented Tenebrae, except the organist had us galloping to the cross accompanied by pounded out versions of lovely songs...argh!) and now today I spent some time with the family. Tomorrow we will be returning to the church formerly known as mine for the first time since resigning. Wouldn't do it except that both daughter and son in law have significant parts in the service and asked us to please come--also son-in-laws folks are visiting--not Christians. So...it will feel strange, I know. It has been a very sad week for many reasons. It was strange to sit at the Good Friday service out in the congregation for the first time in many years instead of sitting with my clergy colleagues...and no Easter sermon to prepare. Strange! But, once again, I am praying for all of you who are proclaiming life tomorrow.
    Many blessings, dear friends!

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  134. Good night all. It's been fun partying with you all through out the day.

    Blessings to you all tommorrow as we celebrate the promise of new life as shown to us through the empty tomb.

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  135. Finally! I have what I need for the morning written. I was concerned that I would be writing until the wee hours when I need to get up at o'dark thirty.

    Now to make sure the docs made it across the wireless network so I can print them.

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  136. Sound of Music is on, an Easter tradition in my family. And far more interesting than my sermon work thus far!

    Sigh. I have to get to bed early, to be ready for sunrise service. Maybe a completed sermon will find me in my sleep?

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  137. Having already braved the crowds at CrazyMart, we have now discovered a severe shortage of toilet paper ... augh!

    At least the sermons are completed and made it across the wireless network to the computer that can print them.

    There are storms rolling in so I'll finish printing everything before braving the rain and the crowds because I don't need one more thing to do tomorrow. I'd rather go tonight.

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  138. OK, my sisters and brothers. I'm off to bed. Hopefully Sweet Baby will stay asleep tonight. Hubby is getting up early for his sunrise service. And I am saying a heartfelt prayer of thanksgiving that my people would never consider such a thing. They are cooking Easter breakfast, of which Sweet Baby and I will joyously partake.

    Blessings to all of you who are still leading worship, still writing, still working, and still have to get up way too early.

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  139. Thank you all for your great ideas and thoughts and suggestions...I've got most of the sermon written now but am not sure it's where it needs to be.

    Parental units, sister and b-i-l will come over after church for lunch tomorrow and the house is not ready. Laundry on the couch, dog hair on the floors, dust...ah well.

    I felt a real connection to these women over the last few days -- I just want to run and not speak to anyone! I'm tired and a bit overwhelmed at the fullness of this story...surely, God was joking with this call to ministry.

    Off to see if the bubbles in the tub have any feedback to offer on the sermon, then must get sleep -- sunrise service starts at 6:30 am and the Easter lilies are in the back of my car. At least the bulletins are printed...

    I could use a simple and easy (and short) children's message if anyone has suggestions?? Please?

    Prayers for each of you...may we all encounter the wonder of the empty tomb and the hand of God.

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  140. Wow. Busy day, of course!

    I'm finally checking in. I'm not quite sure how it got to be this late. It's been a very productive day, just not sermon-wise, and just as I was settling down to write (about an hour and a half ago), the secretary called needing help with the bulletin. Over to the church. Back again. Trying to calm down and get things started (and praying that bulletin production goes smoothly from here on out).

    I'm preaching Mark, and have discovered a bunch of cool ideas, but now I need to pick and choose which ones are actually going to make it into the sermon. Strangely enough, I am good to go on the children's sermon.

    Ugh. Clearly I need to go do some reading before I can calm down enough to write. Glad people out there are finishing up.

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  141. RevSis--I'd gladly share my children's message, but it requires a number of props I've been working on throughout Lent. I liked some of the ones I heard about earlier in this thread though...

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  142. (Just wanted to let it be known. I have not played one computer game yet tonight. Who is this typing at my computer and what has she done with the real SheRev?)

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  143. Okay, I just remembered that last year the night before Easter, I had to speak at a Celebration of Life (translation: a funeral where people didn't want to be sad) AND attend an Easter Vigil service at another church. So that makes me feel a little better about being rushed tonight.

    However! Just thought of a great opening story, thank goodness, about graffiti on a church that said, "God is dead."

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  144. okay, so was just reminded a little while ago that I still need to write a communion prayer. it's not tacky to use last year's, is it?

    Laundry almost done, finally. Packing about 3/4 done. My house is cleaner than it has been in a while. I should probably take the trash down now, then just take it out tomorrow before I leave, but where's the fun in not rushing tomorrow?

    I'm still doing some tweaking at my place but am feeling mostly okay about it.

    I can tell how much I need a vacation by the way I feel about my sermons lately....(sigh)

    okay, off to finish packing, take the recycling down and bring the water up, and then to edit one last time before bed. thankfully we don't do sunrise, but I still need to get up pretty darn early!

    sherev & semfem, I hope you have loads of fun at this party tonight!

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  145. Teri, your sermon is awesome. Don't listen to the nagging doubts. Preach it!

    Maybe She-Rev and I should compete to see how fast we can finish...although I think she had a head start...

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  146. Definitely not tacky to resue a communion prayer in my book. Definitely not.

    (Thanks for the good party wishes. Are we really going to be it tonight???? Juniper should be back at some point, but maybe she's finding more restraint than I am.)

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  147. Semfem, you're right there were some good children's ideas (ok, the pinwheels and the hollowed egg ideas are beyond my time constraints at this point but go in the future Easter file)...I like the idea of asking the kids to put their hand over their mouth -- thanks Esperanza! (Please say it's ok for me to borrow!)

    The bubbles said it was too long...need to trim about 5 minutes and tweak the ending. Or I could pull a Mark and sit down mid-sentence...

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  148. Oh good! RevSis is still here, too.

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  149. Was it you and I who raced a few weeks ago semfem? No, I think it was Juniper.

    Anyway, I have no sentences written, but I'm putting together my general outline at this point. I'll let you know when I have a word count to speak of.

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  150. I'm still here...has anyone else noticed that the clock is moving faster today?

    Yikes, I have to get up in a less than 6 hours...and be friendly and happy!

    Why couldn't the women go to the tomb after they had lunch?

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  151. I'm here too!!! I have been completely absent from here for a few weeks, but I need some support tonight!

    I have three different threads I'm working on, hoping that one will pan out. And a wonderful prose retelling of the Markan account that is almost finished. I think I need to retell the story, then pick one of the threads and just go with it instead of working so hard!

    I totally forgot about the children's sermon!!! But the idea esperanza posted will go perfectly with where I am and with my kids. I will be talking about fear that prevents us from speaking, so our hands over our mouths are like the fears that keep us from talking, or like the stone in front of the tomb... once that stone is rolled away - once we let go of our fears - then we can shout with joy "Christ is Risen!"

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  152. We're here for you, Katie Z!

    Hmm, an hour and a half has gone by without another bulletin emergency, so I cautiously think we are in the clear. WHEW.

    I have my awesome 266-word introduction, and nothing else. But my project photos are current on Ravelry now. Sigh.

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  153. I"m here. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to watch a few minutes of Stranger Than Fiction while I did my ironing before I remembered what a TOTALLY GREAT movie that is. So I got kind of sucked in....It's still only half over, but I have my back to it, so I can just look for the really really really great parts.

    Also distracted by laundry, dishes, etc.....

    And, unlike you, SheRev I've been a game playing fool the last few hours, too. So now I must get down to business. I do still ahve that same great outline. From Tuesday.

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  154. so, I've realized my "introduction"/retelling of the gospel story (we hit the highlights in the call to worship) is probably going to be about 6 minutes long. Do I cut it? Or do I let the story speak for itself?

    posted here

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  155. i'm here too. just home from our vigil. i have enough of a sermon to pass, but i don't like it. boo!!!

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  156. Back from the Easter Vigil...aaahhhh, I love that service, and how it takes us back to our beginnings and reminds us who we are. Best of all, I think, was seeing the children come to the font during the part of the service when we remember our baptisms. (Their faces had the look of, "We get to put our hands in water in church??")

    Blessed, blessed Easter to all.

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  157. Katie Z--depends. How long can you preach for? Are you not reading the Mark reading anywhere else in worship?

    If it's ten minutes, can you make your point in the four minutes that remain?

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  158. we really don't have time constraints. sometimes we go as many as 15 minutes over... and the sermon is normally 12-15, so I'm not worried about that. This will kind of take the place of our usual gospel reading. I think I'm going to use it in its entirety, because it leads in well to the rest of the message.

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  159. Howdy Y'all.
    How is it going?
    Anybody need some ice cream?
    How about a Coke?
    Chips?

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  160. Ok, I'm done...I think. It's down to about 12 minutes, including the reading. And I am expanding our communion stations from 2 to 4 so maybe I'll keep from running too late.

    Teri, thanks for posting your sermon. It really helped me focus more on what I needed to say and cut out some of the not-needed stuff.

    Kid time. Check.
    Sermon. Check.
    Easter Lilies. Check.

    What's left? Oh my..sleep! Off to bed with lots and lots of prayers for all of you offering a word of real hope to those who desperately need good news!

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  161. Good job RevSis! Yay!

    Katie Z, if you have plenty of time then go for it. It's beautiful and people have to hear the story somehow.

    I'm at 648 words and counting...but fear I may be off on a tangent that has to go away...

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  162. My outline is at 462, so my written form would probably be close to 1000. Probably need to start bringing that outline home. My normal is usually around 1800-2000, but no one will cry if this lands closer to 1500.

    Working for 20 more minutes then I'm heading to bed. So much for trying to finish completely before going to bed. The yawns are just too distracting.

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  163. thanks semfem!

    She Rev - prayers that God takes the bones of your sermon and brings them to life in the morning!

    I'm working for about another 20-30 minutes myself, and then it's off to sleep too.

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  164. 899 here, but with a chunk that may need to go. I think I'm shooting for about 1000 to leave plenty of room for all the extra stuff, and driving between St. Smaller and St. Larger.

    It's hard to race each other when we write so differently, She-Rev. :)

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  165. Ok....I'm back...Triduum done! Christ is risen....alleluia...now - back to that Easter sermon for tomorrow morning...I think I left around here somewhere....??

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  166. I'm very impressed with all of you who can preach 12-15 minutes on easter. We are down to 8 minutes because of communion, extra music, liturgical pieces, and crowd control. With four services back to back (at 8, 9, 10.15 and 11.15), no one service can go longer than 45 minutes or we run the risk of not getting people out/in (of both building and parking lot!) in anything resembling good time. (sigh)

    At least I know I'll be done with church in time to catch my shuttle to the airport. :-)

    I made a few more minor edits (mostly based on reading it out loud and seeing what words my mouth wanted to say instead of what I had written!) and now I'm calling it good. I'm going to use last year's communion prayer (with maybe a morning edit or two) and no one will even know, except you all.

    And now it's midnight, I'm mostly packed, my house is clean-ish, the laundry is done, the kitties are fed, my iPod is updated and charged, and I'm going to bed at last, wet hair and all.

    Happy Easter, friends!

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  167. Ugh. The pieces are all here on the paper/screen, but they just haven't fallen into place.

    Oh well. I'm not worried since they're all there. It's midnight. That was my cut off, so I'm going to bed.

    Be back in 4 hours for my own little sunrise service!

    Blessings to you all, and I'll see some of your in a few!

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  168. Found my sermon, re-read it...hate it....sigh...

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  169. oh friends, 565 words and none of tham all that good. I give it another hour (it's 10 here) then I really MUST go to sleep. I hope I can get it together before then.

    Prayeing for a resurrection miracle here...

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  170. Just after 1 am here, and I think I might be done, with 1046 words. I'll do a quick re-read after I take a shower, and then call it good. WHEW. Not the most substantial thing ever, but at least it's got a good ending and a decent story at the beginning.

    The alb is NOT going to get steamed tonight, but it's freshly washed and the wrinkles have mostly hung out of it.

    (Teri, your church sounds like my internship congregation--we too had parking lot problems if we went over at all, especially on Christmas and Easter. We ended up celebrating Second Easter really dramatically, so after all the C&Eers had done their thing, and the regulars had travelled to see family, we would treat Easter 2 as a festival in its own right, without the tight time constraint.)

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching and proclamation this Easter day!

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  171. Ok, 900 words now and starting to come together. Have to go do a little task - back in a few minutes.

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  172. Reworked the sermon - it really helps to let it perculate - 1065 words...and it has a consistent theme, makes a point, not a brilliant one, but it will do.

    Blessings all - may you sleep well - and have a fabulous Easter!

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  173. 10:40 PM PST...anyone want some champagne, strawberries, cheese & crackers, or cookies from the party after the Vigil?

    Prayers for all of you still working!

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  174. do not like my sermon but must sleep for a few hours. blessings all on your praying and proclaiming. Christ is risen indeed!

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  175. 4:30 Eastern, just passing through to write the Pastoral Prayer for the 10 a.m. before leaving for the Sunrise Service. Hope you are all sleeping, but if not, there is a fresh pot of coffee on the way!

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  176. I've returned and hope to turn the chunks of my outline into something brilliant in no more than 2 hours. That's when my husband leaves to go help cook the Easter breakfast at church; it's the men's group's job at this church. I'm on full kid duty as of 6:45 a.m.

    Here she goes!

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  177. Alleluia and Blessings to all!

    6:18 here and I'm on my out to the sunrise service. It's only -8C here which is practically a heat wave compared to last year's -30C temps!

    He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

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  178. 574 written and polished - - good solid intro laying the ground work, now to the meat. One hour left!

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  179. 897 and making the turn into the good news. Fear doesn't mean disbelief.

    Fear=faith

    Those women could have known EXACTLY what had happened - - the entire world had been turned on its head, everything they new to be true - that the dead stay dead - - was no longer true and THAT was terrifying!

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  180. Alleluia! The Lord is Risen!! (And in 6 short hours I'll be in bed for an Easter Day nap--Alleluia!!)

    I'm grateful for this community!

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  181. 30 minutes! It's a race to the finish. The baby (I guess I need to call him the toddler since he turns 2 in 2 months) just started stirring in his crib. He can make it a little longer. I'm slightly concerned that I have NOT heard my husband stir yet. Maybe I need to go poke him out of bed before his ride comes.

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  182. I take that back. It must have been his showering that woke the little one up! Back to typing I go!

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  183. well, it's 6.24 here. Showered, tea brewing, packing finished (in theory...), sermon about to be re-read. dear Jesus, please let it say something about you and good news. please.

    happy easter, friends! alleluias come out with the Christ--hooray!

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  184. "I have seen the Lord!" Mary Magdelane rejoices and so do I.

    Love and peace to you all!

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  185. I just want to say that you know you're doing your Easter Vigil right when the church's neighbors call the fire department.

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  186. she rev, I saw your comment about fear=faith and I remembered a paragraph I typed for my own sermon:

    It is the kind of fear portrayed in C.S. Lewis’ Chronicle of Narnia series, as the people rightfully fear and revere Aslan the Lion. He is dangerous, he is righteous and there is no escaping him, no containing him, no forgetting him. (part of a Charles Campbell quote about the risen Christ) He is wild and wonderful.

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  187. nice Rev Dave!!!

    We just might hit 200 comments!

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  188. just want to wish everyone an "Alleluia. christ is risen indeed" this morning. praying for all.

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  189. That's awesome, Dave!

    Christ is risen and I am out of bed!

    Finished some pesky, last minute going-out-of-town details: filing WGs state taxes, writing the check for our federal taxes, transferring money to cover the check, printing out hotel reservation confirmation, making sure sermon manuscript is on the kitchen counter ready to go, finding pastoral prayer for today, etc.

    Now to finish packing, get dressed, pack cooler for our trip, get family out of bed, and go to church.

    Y'all, I'm wearing comfy pants and flip-flops, sitting in the CRV headed south in just about six hours. Vacay, here I come!

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  190. blessings to you cheesehead! =)

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  191. And a little more than 24 hrs later, we are standing strong. Our sunrise service is done and chairs have been returned to proper places.
    Our Easter Lilies are placed on front steps and we are set to go. I am home for about an hour (in sweats and drinking coffee) and then back to church again.
    Hope all are well.

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  192. We have had the sort of morning that requires washing of babies and changing of sheets. Still working on the Alleluia.

    Still, Sweet Baby is up early, and we'll be off in plenty of time for the Easter breakfast. Mmmm.

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  193. I figured out the problem is I'm trying to do too much in this sermon. I"m going ot whittle it down for the next half hour, then it's wherever it is, call it good.

    Holy Spirit's got your back, ya'll.

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  194. Or as KJ says - If you've got a dog, walk it proud

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  195. I'm going for the 200th post -- can you tell??

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