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Saturday, July 04, 2009

11th Hour Preacher Party: Fireworks Edition

It's the 4th of July, so for those of us in the U.S. it's Independence Day! And while we may love the holiday for its own sake, it may also put some pressure on our worship planning. But it strikes me that this week's texts from both Ezekiel and the gospel invite some comparison to the holiday, because the appearance of a prophet will usually light things up, just like fireworks.

Let us know how you're celebrating, if you are, and share thoughts about tomorrow's sermon. I've got marshmallow squares to share and later I'm going to try a new recipe for Blueberry Buckle. How about you?

Join the discussion in the comments; let the fireworks commence!

83 comments:

  1. A happy Independance Day to those of you 'across the pond' from where I'm sitting quietly sweltering in Edinburgh :)
    I'll be doing a 3 part sermon based on Mark and prophets without honour: first 2 bits are narrative and I've persuaded 2 kind folks from the congregation to do them:
    pt 1 is the viewpoint of a villager in Nazareth
    pt 2 is Peter, thinking about the experience in Nazareth, ending up with 'I'd never reject him'
    pt 3 is a wrap-up sermon which you can find
    here

    I can offer the joys of peaches and nectarines for breakfast this morning :)
    Happy sermon writing folks!

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  2. Thanks, Nik!
    One of the churches I'm serving has a fundraiser on the lawn today, selling refreshments including strawberry shortcake. It's usually a busy, happy day there; the town parade passes right in front of the church. Unfortunately, the weather is pretty gray this morning.
    I have a sermon outline, but it's not a good sign when I start the day by saying, "It's only a Communion meditation, it doesn't need to be long!"

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  3. Good morning preachers! I'm hoping to make our parade today if the sermon is done by 10...at this point it doesn't look good. I'd thought I would do something on taking the message we've been given into the community (aka evangelism) like good prophets, but it's unraveling, like most evangelism attempts. arg.
    I have fresh brewed coffee to share and AC for those of you sweltering in places without it!

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  4. Hello preachers and friends!

    I have a few notes and ideas, nothing more. I'm using the the Mark passage, and I think I will focus on the second part, about taking what we've learned and going into the world with it. It fits, as we have three new members joining tomorrow!

    However, I'm going to have to write two versions--or add a few paragraphs--as I'm also preaching at Host Church, and they aren't bringing in new members...

    And the person who usually does the bulletins is on vacay this weekend, so I have that to do, as well as a few errands, one of which is our local Farmer's Market. I'm hoping for some more sweet cherries like I had yesterday. Anything people would like me to look for?

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  5. Here's a backet of freshly picked sugar-snap peas from our garden--the kind you can pop in your mouth and eat, sweet, crunchy pod and all!

    My mother's family has an annual gathering--for the past five generations!--at an old family campground in Western Washington state, where the steep slopes of my great-uncle's Christmas tree farm meet a sweet, cool little riverbend. There'll be homemade pie and fried chicken and watermelons cooled in the creek. There, among the lush grass and tall evergreens, we swap stories around the campfire and relax into a deep sense of peace.

    It's the kind of abundance and contentment few prophets ever enjoyed. Would Ezekiel have seen his fiery, wheeling visions if he'd lived next to a good swimming hole and surrounded himself with dear kith & kin and homemade pie?

    I suppose some of us eat pie just to keep from seeing visions-- we surround ourself with simple comforts to keep the persistant fears and pressures of the world at bay. It's so hard to maintain a prophetic stance, to live between worlds instead of settling for, settling in...

    Where, on a national holiday, is the true prophet's place? On the grandstand? Marching in the parade? On the church lawn, serving food to the hungry masses? On a blanket on the ground inn the dark, holding a child's hand, covering the baby's ears and explaining, for those old enough to hear, what the fireworks are really all about?

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  6. I don't know about the prophet, but MaineCelt belongs in the pulpit...

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  7. I'm headed to church, I'll be back this afternoon!

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  8. i'm headed to the farmers market, to run a few other errands and then to spend the afternoon with David (from the Bible). It is communion sunday which = short, and I'm only mentioning the holiday in passing during the prayers.

    I'll tell you what I bring back!!!

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  9. i'm headed to the farmers market, to run a few other errands and then to spend the afternoon with David (from the Bible). It is communion sunday which = short, and I'm only mentioning the holiday in passing during the prayers.

    I'll tell you what I bring back!!!

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  10. The sun is finally out here (!) but I am stuck inside sermonating. Preaching on Mark and faith, and that's all I know right now. Thursday morning in a small group we had a good discussion about Jesus' power being limited when he was surrounded by those with no faith, and I'd like to incorporate some of that.

    The only 4th of July ref in the service is to sing America the Beautiful for the closing hymn, and thanksgiving for our many liberties in the prayers.

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  11. I have an outline and a text, but must weed it down by about 5 minutes.

    I'm preaching this week on the 2nd Commandment (we're doing the 10 as a summer series). I was also assigned my theme, "embrace a bigger God" - a kind of positive statement of the prohibition.

    I'm using the concepts of rejecting all other "g" gods in our lives, remembering God's jealous love and choosing to commit every area of our lives (vs 5-6 are hard because of the "curse" to our children's children, but I am going to talk about it anyway.)

    My closing is the concept that when we do choose another "g" god, we don't accept the overwhelming love and promises to us - we only want $3 worth of God. I'm shamelessly using
    Wilburg Rees poem by the same name. Will probably raise eyebrows because so many are very "comfortable" with a low-ticket God.

    I'm also announcing (by way of the bulletin -- maybe people will read it) that I am resigning this position to work as a T.A. for my last year of my M.Div. So this is a bittersweet swansong for me.

    As far as Independence Day goes, someone is leading a prayer for service personnel. I said that I wouldn't be weaving it into the 2nd commandment (though it was tempting.) Since I'm a pacifist, it would have been something along the lines of worshiping might and power.

    We have fair trade coffee which benefits an orphanage in Nicaragua, and fresh peaches from the farmer's market. The whole kitchen smells like peaches!!

    Back to editing. Less blabbing. More work. ;)

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  12. As I saidn on Tuesday I am going with knowing when to quit. Do we know when it is time to change tactics -- as Jesus obviously does? DO we know when it might be a better use of our energy to look in another direction, another place -- as JEsus tells the disciples to do? OR are we so wedded to the comfortable horse that we haven't noticed it has stopped moving??????

    Having watched Fiddler on the Roof last night I think Tevye references will appear. And also the different approaches taken by Rebel pilots in the Death Star trench....

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  13. I've got some warm cinnamon rolls to share. Just finished rewriting the sermon on the Mark passage.

    I'm looking at Jesus' independence (by way of rejection from his hometown) and his call to interdependence in his calling and sending of the 12. It's ultimately a mission sermon with plenty of examples from this season we call short term mission trips as well as a call to the congregation to continue to embody long term partnerships in their mission and outreach.

    I'm practicing it and then letting it sit while I head down to Center City Philly...lots of rich history here to experience today!

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  14. I ended up with more of a biographical sermon on the Apostle Paul, focusing on all of those horrible things he encountered, plus the roller coaster experience in today's passage. Yet he still kept doing what God called him to do, because God's grace was enough. So that is our story, too - experiences of Paradise and being brought back to earth, along with the challenges with our culture, our time, our finances, not feeling like we're especially gifted, etc., yet we are to still keep doing what God called us to do, because God's grace is enough for us too. It's not great, but oh well.

    I worked hard to be mostly finished by last night, because tonight will likely be crazy with the neighborhood kids setting off fireworks in the street. I'm debating if I should be the mean ol' lady and say early on that we would appreciate it if they would stop at midnight because we are very early risers on Sunday.

    So today I will do some tightening of the sermon plus work on other church-related stuff, in between the town parade - where the motto is "don't be late, or you might miss it" - then lunch at the VFW for the traditional bbq pork sandwich, homemade potato salad, cole slaw, and ice-cream cup with the little wooden spoon; then the cast iron dinner in my church's town, then back here for the city fireworks.

    I have cobbler made with fresh blueberries and blackberries to share.

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  15. Oh, Deb, I hope your last Sunday pastoring this community is truly blessed.

    I am in a swirl of moving and teaching preparations complicated by the fact that the offer is not in hand yet and there is a small possibility it won't come through after my campus interview week after next. If possible I will also try to get back to my feminist Liturgy of the Hours manuscript though--I made awesome progress on the last revision Monday and had a goal for a full clean draft at the end of this week....then I got the call for the first of two phone interviews with two universities at 5:15 Tuesday morning! But I suppose the end of today qualifies as the end of this week.

    Peaches sound yummy. I can offer shirred (baked) eggs, with yolks or without, extra sharp Tillamook Cheddar or Monterey Jack on top.

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  16. Happy Independence Day! The Husband I will be spending the morning and early afternoon with friends, then home again to get back to work on the sermon.

    I am off lectionary for the next several weeks doing a sermon series suggested by The Green Bible, "Creation Care as Justice" It begins with Micah 6:1-8. This series leads up to our General Assembly which is themed "For the Healing of the Nations."

    It looks like it will be pretty hot nearly everywhere so I have some well chilled Iced Green Tea to share and along with a bowlful of mandarin oranges. Blessings on all your ventures today.

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  17. FRiends,

    Seeing lots of resonance with my thinking, which is always encouraging. We dont always do this, but we're singing America the Beautiful in worship, so I'll be talking about...

    (with the FOUR PEOPLE THAT ARE THERE! anyone else expecting record low attendance tomorrow???? but I digress)

    ...how that song is beloved - by those of us on this side of the pond, Nik :) - because it calls us to our very best and most beautiful. And then, how Jesus does that too and how do we respond? Like the people in the synagogue with rejection? Or like the disciples and the villagers with radical faith on the one hand, and with radical hospitality on the other. That's all I got so far, hopefully it will turn into something sermon-lengthed by the end of the day. In between parade (this morning) and baseball game with fireworks (tonight). Oh, and I should probably have a nap sometime today, too.

    SB - I am right there with you about the shortness of a communion sunday sermon. Weirdly, no one has ever complained when I preach an extra short sermon! Ha!

    In case you are looking for quoties, this came in my box today - a UCC daily devotional thing which is today by William Green and sort of sums up where I want to go.

    "Following Jesus is not just freedom from a life we had been leading. It’s freedom FOR a life that makes new demands, not all of which come easily, many of which are puzzling, most of which are, at least, humbling. Becoming forgiving? Loving our enemy? Relying on prayer instead of what makes quickest sense to us? Amid it all, living with uncertainty, never sure we’ve got it quite right?

    We can learn from our nation’s history. We did not just gain freedom from something we didn’t want. We gained freedom for a nation seeking liberty and justice for all, however uncertain and elusive these ideals can be. "

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  18. After reading the wonderful reflections on the Gospel lesson, I'm wishing I was preaching that one!

    Juniper, I'm also expecting a low turnout.

    We're also singing "America the Beautiful" (though our hymnal names calls it "O Beautiful for Spacious Skies". That and a mention of the prayers will be the only reference to the fourth.

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  19. Juniper -
    I believe that a low attendance expectation is why I am preaching this Sunday... I last preached on the weekend between Christmas and New Years' Day. But you know what? I am OK with that. I know God is bigger than low attendance Sundays. :)

    Forgot to mention that I will be baking a birthday pie for my beloved since he is a true Baby Boomer, born on the 4th of July. We will host his mom, and miss our older daughter who is in Germany... but comes back this week!!!!!!!!!

    d

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  20. Hi gals and pals, I have strawberries and devonshire clotted cream in honor of Wimbleton today. It is so rare to be able to get it on this side of the pond. Am taping the women's finals so J and I can enjoy it later.

    Meanwhile, even on the Fourth of July do we have sermons to write.

    I am finding it difficult to write this sermon. I am feeling the barbs of a small church fight that are happening in the congregation at the moment. I need some time to be still and figure out what God's word for this congregation. At the moment I would like to shake the dust...

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  21. Gord, I love that image of not noticing that the horse isn't moving. If I use it, I'll be sure to credit you. (Everyone there knows you, so they'll all nod and smile - if you pay me a small cut, I'll be your PR manager!)

    I'm preaching mostly on the gospel, with a brief intro on the coronation of David. The theme is Holy Power. What is power? Typically, when we think of power, we think of control and of who is in charge - but what if the real power of Jesus was that he knew who he was?

    Maybe "real" power is knowing who and whose we are and walking in that light come what may. When Jesus wasn't welcomed in his hometown, it didn't get under his skin because he knew who he was - God's Beloved. So he basically flipped his hometown the bird and moved on.

    I also used a Star Wars illustration about power being a choice for good vs. a choice for evil. Again - that internal spiritual power of self-knowledge and the understanding that each of God's children can help to transform the world helps when faced with hard choices (such as getting off the horse if it's not moving...)

    Still tweaking. Happy sermonizing. Happy 4th of July to y'all.

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  22. Back from the errands... Farmer's market disappointing, so stopped at combination plant/veggie stand and got cherries, as well as green pepper and garlic bread twists to go with chipotle smoked sausage for dinner...

    Deb, blessings as you say farewell to this congregation--in my experience, it's always bittersweet, no matter the circumstances.

    Now for a quick lunch before plunging into the sermon!

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  23. Prayers for you, Deb, as you announce your move.

    I can offer some lovely little very sweet tomatoes--Sungold Cherry variety, I think--that are perfect for popping in your mouth straight from the vine.

    We use the Independence Day propers, and I'm doing a family friendly sermon at 2 services. I'll start with talking about my 10 fingers all working independently then demonstrate what chaos ensues when they do so on a keyboard (guaranteed, since I don't play piano at all!). One of our pianists will then help me out by showing the difference when 10 independent fingers are trained and work together. Independent, but interdependent by choice, makes better music...then on to the comparison with our human interaction.

    At one of the services, we have a family that is about to pass along a well-loved and severely disabled foster baby; I'm going to tie their role in her life and prayers for her and them into the theme at the end. Their care for her has been one step in a whole community and process that will help her grow as a beloved child of God. I know it fits; I just have to figure out how to say it well!

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  24. Blessings on you Deb. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow.

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  25. Juniper - -I am expecting a VERY low turnout. Last week's numbers were about what I would expect for a secular holiday weekend, as lots of people left last saturday so they could get an extra day of the week (with the Federal holiday on Friday, most people took last week off). but tomorrow they will be returning and have other things to do. In the summer our attendance drops by half on average, and half again for the 4th of July weekend.

    I'm wondering why we aren't doing a hymn sing, and then remember that with such small numbers, it is a painful experience for everyone involved.

    Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered, right?

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  26. knittinpreacher - I wonder how many I will get at 5:30 tonight? As it is, I am sending my husband and daughters off to two separate parties without me...so I can completely understand if we only get two or three.
    To make it more fun (for me?) I am playing a Hebrew National hotdog commercial from 1975 to start the sermon, which I called "An Even Higher Authority"...the commercial features Uncle Sam, deferring to that higher authority who makes Hebrew National hotdogs be kosher. Kinda fun. Blessings to all, here in the U.S. and elsewhere - we could use some sweltering weather over here Nik!
    Our CSA share today includes beets, caulifower, zucchini, radishes, lettuce and some new potatoes. Come and help us eat them!

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  27. Just realized that after today, I won't be writing a sermon for a month! Next week is "house church" (group discussion), then I'm gone to our regional church conference, then I'm on vacay for a week...

    It should motivate me, but somehow it's not...

    I'm trying to find a hook. What I want to talk about is the tension between the ideal for evangelism that Jesus gives the disciples and the reality of the world. Taken literally, people would board the pastor, but the pastor wouldn't get a salary and would even be dependent on the congregation for clothes.

    There's a balance between taking it too literally and not being serious about what we are doing. I don't think a pastor should be wealthy (ah, but define "wealthy," which has a different look in, say, the big city US than in rural India), but "the worker is worthy of his/her hire," too.

    And then to somehow tie that to membership... That all of us, as members of Christ's church, are meant to tell others about God's love, but that those of us who act as the apostles, the designated leaders of the church, should be focusing on the message rather than what it brings us.

    And I heard a factoid that I can't find again--that one of the highest rates of bankruptcy in the US is among clergy. Makes me wonder why...decreased giving so no salary (or not enough) for the pastor? Poor investment/savings practices on the part of clergy (or salaries that don't allow for it)? Not sure how to put all this together yet.

    In the meantime, have some of the wonderful sweet cherries I brought home!

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  28. Deb- i feel for you. Sounds like a good decision to be a TA as you finish your MDIV. I understand being the fillin pastor and such, but it is difficult when you are called to be a preacher and don't get to preach. our best to you tomorrow.

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  29. Thankfully I don't have to "preach civics" this Sunday...our own national holiday was decently buried on Wednesday!
    We have Samuel -- David unifying the kingdom; Psalm 48, Zion and the bulwarks thereof; 2 Corinthians, power and weakness and the thorn in the flesh; Mark, the prophet in his own country, sending out the disciples w/o kit.
    I think I am going to talk about longitudinal views of the quality of one's life, jumping off the recent article in the NYorker? Atlantic? and look at the OT, Ps, 2Cor, and Gospel "takes" on The Good Life seen at the onset, seen at the close. My own ministry is drawing to its end, and we are installing a very new curate tomorrow...so we can "make 'er fit" without getting too big a hammer.

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  30. Done. Off to shower and get dressed. Like some of you, I am wondering how many will show up for the 5:00 service. Besides the holiday it's the first really nice day we've had all summer.

    SB, I wish I could come have some of your strawberry shortcake. Instead I think I'll be looking for a lobstah roll tomorrow to celebrate!

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  31. Wow, this sermon is like pulling teeth... It came so easily last week! Why so hard this week?

    I have about half of it. None of it is singing. Ugh. I really wanted to do well by Host Church and our new members.

    Maybe if I let it sit a bit, and go do something else for a while...

    Oh, and anyone have a good children's time idea? I don't usually do them, but Host Church does, so I need something (anything?!).

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  32. Finished my beloved's birthday pie (peach and blueberry), cooked the potatoes and eggs for the potato salad, and now it's back to the sermon.

    I need to time it and make sure it's not as long as I fear it is.

    DO any of the rest of you get off on rabbit trails? I am not supposed to "read" it but can have an outline. And most of it should be memorized...

    d

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  33. POO! Big long post lost. Maybe that's good for you guys, though. The short, sweet version - -

    Off lectionary and talking about music and it's role in the life of faith - - ideas that came from my continuing education event a week ago.

    We'll be playing a little "name that tune" game with movie/musical soundtrack songs to get us started. A hymn sing at the beginning of the service will surely pull national songs in to the service which I'm counting on for parallels in my sermon.

    I LOVE the direction you're going, Gord, with Mark. I'll tuck that away. I'm going to play around with the lectionary for the rest of July since I missed 3 weeks in June. I've got like 7 weeks to choose from for 3 weeks of preaching before I leave town again. I'm going to rearrange stuff to see what feels like a good little "mini-series."

    I'll do my writing tonight. We're done with the 4th festivities around here. My town did it's fireworks last night. The fam did the carnival then, the parade was today. We're chilling the rest of today. Nice!

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  34. I'm now officially procrastinating. Took a nap and am really wanting to knit on a prayer shawl for a dear friend. But it is almost 4 and I have nothing on paper.

    Maybe I play for another half hour to get the groggies out and then write? Sounds like a plan!

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  35. I have been gone all week. I took my laptop but used it for other things (that means geocaching) not sermon prep or much else since the wifi was spotty.

    Juniper, I'm thinking I may follow your lead since we're singing that one, too.

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  36. Well, I've been home for hours, but all our Time Warner things were outaged: phone, internet, cable. I'm happy to say we've been restored to civilization! On the way to church, I pulled together some thoughts and have outlined them, and I think I'm going to keep it informal. I expect a small-ish crowd (as mentioned earlier), especially since most of our faithful spent a good bit of today working in front of the church selling the hamburgers and lobster rolls.
    The latter, by the way? Delicious!!!
    Now, can I get anyone a Diet Coke?
    (And if you think I won't write a text in the end, you haven't been here before, I'm guessing. Because I always do in the end, right?)

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  37. Here's a children's message from Ann Scull's Message Seeds. I'd love to use it, but I don't know whether I'll have any children (in addition to really low attendance!) I'd hate to get all the props ready and not have anyone there - although, now that I think about it, maybe it would work into the "regular" sermon...hmmm - I'll have to ponder.

    Anyway, here's her post:
    "Kid's Talk:
    Have someone come in dragging the biggest suitcase you can find, packed absolutely bursting to the brim with all kinds of things one may take for a trip away - make sure there is some improbable stuff such as a toaster, or a beach ball, or curtains, or a tool box or whatever. Ask the person what they are doing. They tell you that they want to go out into the world to share the good news about Jesus and so they have packed a bag ready to go. Have a conversation, with help from the kids, on what we really need and don't need in order to share the good news."

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  38. Hey friends,
    Back from teh parade and then lunch with friends, and now ready for a nap, then I've got 2 hours to pull it toghether before we head out again.

    Childrens time, childrens time....
    Oh, I think I'm going with something I read somewhere about what Jesus asked them to carry in their bag -- take out all the unnecessary stuff and then you got nothing but faith. And that's EVERYTHING.

    Ok, napping while the house is quiet!

    Good writing all!

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  39. Oh eileen, we were posting at the same time - I like your idea alot! Funny and the grownups will like it too, if there are no kiddos.

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  40. Checking in after a Sunday off last week! Our city's festivities are centered around tonight, with the big fireworks show over the lake. Not sure if I'm going or not--often a parishioner invites me to see them somehow, but that didn't happen this year (probably because I was on vacation immediately before the 4th!).

    So I've already slept in (still not back to this time zone yet), done a bunch of copying at the church, watered flowers, and now it should be sermon time. I pulled up what I did three years ago and it's surprisingly not-bad, so while I will not preach it verbatim, I may well draw from it.

    I'm pondering the point made on Sermon Brainwave that often the answer to prayer is "no." And that doesn't necessarily mean our faith is lacking. Moses, David, Jesus, all of them were told "no" at some point. Sometimes the time is simply not right.

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  41. when I preached the mark text several years ago, it was right around vacation time. I packed my carryon with all the stuff that is usually in it (minus Marie Clare and my tolietries) and began by pulling all the stuff out one thing at a time and naming it. You can guess where the sermon went from there.

    I'm going to get some chips and apple/tomatillo salsa and really write now. There is enough to share! Songbird, may I take you up on the diet coke?

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  42. I'm happy to provide!
    I remember now that I did not preach on this Sunday three years ago, because I was holding a neutral pulpit. And the candidate did indeed unpack a backpack with the kids. She was lucky to have one little cutie who liked to talk!

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  43. Eileen, thank you a thousand times! You gave me the hook, the theme, I was looking for! Perfect!

    I now have the metaphor of a suitcase or totebag, full of all the stuff we think we need to share God's love (good looks, charisma, influence, a good location, excellent music, etc.), but all we really need is that faith. If we share that, we've done all we can do. If we don't have it, we might as well go home.

    Yay!

    Chipotle-smoked sausage with peppers and onions on garlic rolls, anyone?

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  44. Urgle. Not...getting...anywhere! Been a quiet day for us, we missed the parade in the next town over because of sheer laziness. We'll set off some of our own fireworks later. But I have no excuse for not being done, there's been plenty of time! Ah well.

    I've got fresh strawberries to share, picked fresh from my neighbor's patch just an hour ago. And a few Twizzlers left in the bag...though they're going fast!

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  45. Forgot (how, I am not sure!) that I have some hand-cranked ice cream in the freezer from 2 nights ago, along with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, whipped cream, and bananas. Time to split, anyone?

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  46. As predicted, I'm writing it, but we're going to take a break and go out to dinner--Mexican! It's Quattro de Julio, right?

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  47. is it too late to place an order for a margarita?

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  48. Eighteen hardy souls showed up for worship, which has been averaging about 27, so not so bad! Rev Dr Mom, hope your 5 o clock went well! Juniper/Eileen what a GREAT idea for a children's moment! Thank you! I will file that away...

    Heading home now, and still have some chocolate chip cookie bars left over from last night - please have some! I'll even get you a glass of milk.

    Please keep a friend, Kelsey, in your prayers. She was in the youth group I led in my previous church, and she is having a really, really rough time right now. Thank you.

    Blessings to all and hope those who stay up late at least get to see some fireworks!

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  49. Suz - - I know you're done, but did you see this post from Shane Claiborne about interdependence?

    rev maria - - Thanks for that point to the suggested sermon series. I've had a request for something like that about sustainability in general, care of creation being one part of that. It's not my area of greatest knowledge so I appreciate any aids I can get.

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  50. Birthday Pie is consumed. We also had steaks and organic corn on the cob, plus my first stab at a potato salad in years. Now.
    Back to timing.

    Songbird, the lobster rolls.... oh my.... YUM.

    deb

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  51. Sermon is done, thanks to a couple of you RGBPs!

    I'm off to do one last bit of Facebooking, check email and BED!

    Blessings on those still writing--and walk it proud!

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  52. I really need to finish this thing. What do you suppose it will take? Focus? Drive? Antonio Banderas?

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  53. I really need to finish, too. And by finish I mean start.

    Songbird, when you're through with Antonio, send him my way, would you? Thanks!

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  54. SB -- I'm no Antonia,b ut I will be your cheerleader:
    Wrap it up!
    Wrap it up!
    WRRRRRAAAAP! IT! UP!


    Sherev - thanks for the Claiborne link.

    I've got an outline that will preach ok, and now I'm off to a minor league baseball game and fireworks :) Not much sleep tonite, I'm thinking.


    Anyone still looking for ideas? I thought this thing about the pledge of allegiance was interesting, but not sure what it has to do with anything.

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  55. Okay, that worked! We're going to watch a video, but I'll check in before I go to bed!!

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  56. so very close!! I just need a last paragraph. I'll go write communion liturgy and finish in the am.

    Night all!

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  57. New approach:

    Chocolate chips. Lots of them.

    And pondering that even Superman was powerless on his home planet.

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  58. I am late checking in. No great sermon tonight, but it is okay.
    It has been a busy, busy day. Had cookout tonight and just finished cleanup.
    Now i need communion liturgy and fine tune the sermon.
    Nope, not being patriotic in the sermon. We are singing For Beautiful, for spacious skies and I have a few words in the prayers of the people for Ind. Day.
    I have a very upset fellow becuase I did not want him to sing American Trilogy. Uh, hello, it IS NOT a RELIGOUS song!!!!!
    Ugh, and he is an elder!

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  59. I've just watched two episodes of Babylon 5, from season 2, and have learned that War=Bad. Thank you, B5, for teaching me. (My husband is very excited about watching these shows.)
    Now I think I'm ready to turn in, or at least get in bed with a book. Can y'all manage? I'll be back in the morning with a fresh pot of coffee!

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  60. OK. I'm here. It's almost 10 pm so it's time to open a blank page. My husband took the technical job for me and put together the "Name that Tune" movie soundtrack game. I hope my excitement over that little bit of fun in worship doesn't take over.

    Trying to remember, like others with once a month communion, that this one can/should stay shorter.

    OK. I'm gonna go get something started, then I'll check back in!

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  61. Still here Sherev. I am trying to stay short with this one for the same reason (Monthly communion).
    But I am sort of chasing a rabbit right now.
    I wish I could come play Name that Tune movie songs.
    I love trivia, movies and music.
    The bed is calling me! I am ready to hit the hay with the kittycats.

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  62. whoa its bedtime, i'm hoping that coffee after the ice cream was decaf! We sit on a hill overlooking DC so the neighborhood civic association jointly sponsors fireworks watching with the church. the hill was packed and lots of ice cream was consumed and the sky was lovely.
    i must leaflet the neighborhood! so many kids, so many families, hmmm,
    time for bed. good preaching to all!

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  63. Watermelon all cut up in the fridge, and many dozen hot dogs and buns for our bbq at church tomorrow; if any of you want to grab some, I'm sure we'll still have plenty :-)

    Prayers for all who are still working, whether tonight or early in the morning.

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  64. Leftover cobbler in 'fridge and homemade strawberry ice cream in freezer~!
    I'll have some watermelon. G'nite all!

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  65. checking in on the late nighters or the other time zoners who may or may not still be at it.

    Trying to trust that what I have written will work. I too the perspective of failure(well kind of failure) of Jesus and his warning to us as we go out.

    Any body need anything? No well I am turning in.

    The peace of God to each of you as this fourth of July draws to a close.

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  66. Thanks for all the great food and good wishes and prayers people are leaving for the night shift...I am still working with my Superman theme and into my second page. Having a hard time not getting distracted though!

    I assume She Rev and Vicar are still around here somewhere? anyone else?

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  67. Deb hope your last Sunday goes well.

    Muthah+ so sorry you are experiencing the barbs of small church fight.

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  68. I'm still here. Almost finished though. I'm pretty sure I'll be walking the dog tomorrow. I'm equally sure that the majority of folks will be focused on the VBS kids and then be watching the clock.

    umm, come Holy Spirit ... please?

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  69. You figured right for me, semfem. I'm not only still around, but I have not one word on a page. Having a real hard time focusing tonight. Harder than usual. Ugh. I think I'll work until my husband comes down to bed (probably another 45 minutes). Then I'll quit and try again at the crack of dawn. I wonder if the crazies will still be shooting off fireworks at that ungodly hour.

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  70. I love that revabi sticks around late on Saturday night to encourage us all. :)

    I've got a page and a half, and am now shamelessly borrowing from my sermon three years ago (but refining it as I go). Just need to resist Facebook and blogs for a good 30 minutes and I might be done.

    (yeah, right.)

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  71. I finally just closed the FB page myself, semfem. I haven't played on blogs yet....

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  72. Oh wait. Does this one count? Poop.

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  73. sermon and prayers are printed.

    then I remembered I'm teaching SS tomorrow. drat. gotta read some stuff now

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  74. Last night about this time, I was going to respond as the first comment! FIRST! Alas, it is good to see wise women awake and pushing along. I don't know how many pages I am into it..oooh, just double spaced and its 2.5! I am using "render unto Caesar.." cautions to not becoming worshipful of our country......We have "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" being played tomorrow..I convinced the musician to do it instrumentally. I just have a huge thing with God as military..

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  75. I'm finally going to bed.

    Blessings on your Sunday

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  76. Wow, I just got totally distracted by a blog for nearly two hours. CRAP. This is not good. sigh.

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  77. 1311 words, and I think I'm done. Whew! This procrastination thing is poisonous.

    Good luck to the morning crew, and may Ms. Holy Spirit be with you all. Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation today.

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  78. I'm back to do my writing, which I hope comes very quickly. As has become my new normal as soon as I put it down and headed to the bedroom LOTS of good phrases and organization came to me, so I have the hand-scratched notes at my side to turn into the real thing. Think I can get it done in an hour and 15 minutes, then snooze for another 30 minutes or so? The clock is ticking! Let's see!

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  80. So much for keeping it short! Oh well. I'll adjust as I need to in other ways. I like this one. Will post later!

    Oops - posted this an hour ago under my "wrong" name:
    "709 words and much of the rest is written out on paper, so it's just a matter of moving it to the computer. I might get a little nap!! (If only the kids will stay asleep. At least one has already been stirring, but that may have been the FIREWORK that went off at 5:07 am. REALLY?!?!?)"

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  81. The sun finally came up convincingly here, but since the temperature dropped last night, our furnace came on! Ridiculous!
    I'm drinking coffee, eating toast and wondering whether I want to write out my Communion prayer. I don't usually, but on a sleepy-feeling Sunday morning, it might not be a bad idea.
    Coffee's on, if you need a cup.

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