Visit our new site at

Saturday, September 26, 2009

11th Hour Preacher's Party

On this day, the last Sunday in September, many of us are facing straight into fall. For many fall means cooler temps, changing colors of leaves, sweaters... For those of us in the desert SW fall is peculiar. It's most striking characteristic is the end of the rainy season...gone are the monsoons and the awesome lightening. Instead we face days on end of cloudless sunny skies and slightly cooler temps, if the 80's and 90's can be considered cool...

Our readings this week offer a similar contrast of elements offered on the same day: for example, the reading from Esther: So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. 2On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” 3Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request. 4For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” 5Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?”

and the reading from John John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us." But Jesus said, "Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us.". How to make sense of it all?

Perhaps you have chosen to focus on Numbers? Or James...Psalm 19 or 124?

Regardless...many options today but little that hangs together with similar expressions of a common theme. Alas, where are you headed as you prepare to preach?

And as you ponder that I offer up plenty of options for, tea, scones, toast, name it, I just might have it. Let's get this party going and help each other become the lightening rod that brings forth God's word this day!


  1. Thanks, Mompriest, for leading us in the party!!! I'm pulling my all-nighter tonight instead of tomorrow night since I am not preaching this week. I leave in just a few hours on a retreat with my session. I'm staying up all night mostly finalizing my plans - - at least my plans for Saturday. Sunday's plans will partly be determined by Saturday's work, but also, well, I've got Saturday night to work on Sunday!

    I'm a little nervous about how this will be received since I've never done one myself, and I didn't really ask for "professional" help. We have several members of the church, including one or two on session who are professional strategic planners. I did not want this to be a secular process, so I'm going for it on my own. Even the Alban Institute stuff I looked at (albeit briefly) seemed to be corporate world planning sprinkled with prayer.

    I'm pretty proud of what I've developed so far - opening with essentially writing a Psalm of Thanksgiving, a la Psalm 136 - giving thanks for the blessings, ministries, and works of God that have taken place in the life of the church, especially since the last time a strategic plan was drawn up.

    Moving to a study of parables and writing of a parable for our congregation - - What does/could/would the corner of the kingdom where we are placed (our congregation) look and act like when we are doing it the way God wants? (Sort of like a "vision" statement - where we understand God wants us to be)

    A short evening discussion of call - F. Buechner's definition of vocation with our gifts and the world's greatest need - but mainly brainstorming those two categories

    Sunday morning will be sort of a synthesis of the parable piece and the vocation piece. What specific ministries or steps do we need to take in the life of this congregation to move us closer to the life described in our parable? What does that look like in next year's budget? What does that look like as we focus our ministry and mission and ALL of our resources (time, talent, treasure)?

    So, I'm not preaching a sermon, but I'd covet prayers and inspiration just the same, for me in my leadership, for the session in their discernment!

    Blessings on your all. We've got no internet where we're going, so I look forward to being with you again, soon!

  2. She Rev, good luck and prayers for your retreat. I'm hoping to start some strategic planning in the new year, and I'd be interested in hearing how yours goes.

    Very unusual for me, I finished a draft of my sermon yesterday afternoon b/c I have to be at an all day Safe Church training today. But when I get home I'll look at it again and see what I think a day later--a luxury I don't usually allow myself. I focused on Mark and James, and asked what salt would be like if it wasn't salty--without its essence or reason for being, and then proposed salt as a metaphor for what the essence of being a Christian community meant, with James' community illustrating "saltiness" and the disciples risking losing their salt. Then I talked a bit about some of the wonderful "salty" things I've noticed here in the few weeks I've been here, and challenged them to look at areas where they might have stumbling blocks, conscious or not, especially in the area of stewardship.

    I have no idea how the stewardship piece will go over. This is a congregation that hasn't done a real stewardship campaign in almost 20 years, but is undertaking one this month (planned before I got here, so the leadership at least knows the need). We'll see how it goes.

    Happy writing and preaching. I'll be back tonight just to see what everyone is doing.

  3. Hi all,

    Its a full Saturday for us. First is Angel Food Ministry distribution day. And while we are there the girls will get Acolyte training. They are now old enough to be acolytes,can't believe it.
    2. I am officiating a funeral at 2 with a sermon on "Strong Women of the Bible." going to be interesting. 3. Families with children from China's New Moon Festival is at our church at 5pm. All three kids are dancing a traditional Chinese dance and we are eating Chinese. Hope I make it back in time for that. After all that I will polish up the sermon. I now have a beginning and somewhat of a ending, but what will be said in the middle is the question. Oh yeah, I am preaching the Mark passage focusing on stumbling block or salt. I only have coffee right now to offer. I'll be picking up doughnuts later for the church members helping distribute. I'll make sure I get some for us too. Have fun writing....and partying.

  4. Wow! You all have a lot on your plate today. Prayers for all of you.

    As for me, I had intended to have something of a draft done by now, since I am taking the boys to a birthday party after lunch, and with the drive (it's out in the country) we will be gone for 3 hours or so. Hubs is doing a wedding late morning so I will be responsible for getting them ready for the party, fixing lunch, etc.

    But my sermon prep time was eaten into b/c I had to stay home from work 2 days this week with sick kids (strep). Now I'm feeling sick myself (7th sickness in the past 8 months - we are concerned that I have a problem with my immune system). Anyway, I am on page 2 of a sermon on James and am not feeling particularly good about my work so far. Nor am I feeling particularly inspired.

    But I'm just going to keep plugging along and see what happens....

  5. earthchick, sounds like your kids are at that age when they bring everything home from school and YOU get sick. If so, your immune system will catch up, never fear. Altho you may get strep a few times along the way...
    I've got a funeral at 11 but finished first draft of sermon before I crashed last night. I should've checked and seen that She Rev was up. sounds like some great ideas for Session.
    James is my text and I'm focusing on anointing. Our tradition practices it both individually and corporately and I'm inviting everyone up for anointing for the "strengthening of faith" at the end of the service. Hopefully, I can explain it well enough or i'll be standing up there all alone with many strange looks coming my way. ah well.
    best to all, I'll check in later when I'm back to edit. Only coffee here so far, but maybe they'll be time to whip up some oatmeal, yummy.

  6. hi Mompriest. Thanks! I'm not preaching, but wanted to check in. We have a special stewardship emphasis starting TOMORROW.

    It's a busy day here, but not mostly with work. We're going to an antique show this morning, to a 60th anniversary this p.m., my sister and her family are coming in to see my dad tomorrow.

    Workwise, preparing a lesson on Praying in Color, which maybe nobody will come to (sigh).

    oh, and prayers for you, earthchick. hope you and your family are feeling better soon.

  7. Good Morning everyone! SheRev, what you have planned sounds wonderful, prayers that the gathered community will engage in it well.

    RevDrMom, love where you are going with saltiness!

    Abi, what a day - hope the funeral goes well and the festival and dance is awesome!

    Earthchick - I had a year like yours once, strep throat went round and round from kids to me and back. It eventually passed. Hope all goes well and the potential sick is not that at all.

    RevNancy, I've done corporate invites to anointing and its gone well, although only about a 1/3 of the people came up the first time, more came on other occasions.

    Well. Let's see. I have a funeral at 11 and an installation of a new rector to attend at 7pm. And, I'm trying to write my final sermon for this congregation, as I have resigned my call here.

    It's basically just awful and I feel so fragmented and broken. But I have some ideas for a sermon and feel strongly enough that I have to speak, that I will pull something together.

    That said, I'll be in and out all day checking on the party. More coffee anyone?

  8. Diane, welcome to the party! Blessings on you prep for tomorrow.

  9. A busy bunch today, like most preacher parties! Prayers and encouragement for all who are wrestling and juggling and tending.

    Thanks, mompriest, for the sustenance for the body as well as food for thought.

    I've always been partial to salt as a metaphor, so I will spin that somehow, but don't know yet how. I'm also in the process of devising a liturgy for a service of remembrance and thanksgiving for breast cancer victims and survivors. I'd appreciate any input anyone has related to that. You can read that post here!.

    In the meantime my husband and I are taking a family from Malawi grocery shopping. They are here attending a local university and have very limited resources. One of our parish ministires is to the international students at said place of higher learning!

    I'll check back in in a bit and hopefully have something productive to contribute to the conversation related to tomorrow!

  10. I have some solid notes and general ideas which need to be fleshed out. But the best part is: last night I had a dream that it was Sunday morning and I had not prepared my sermon and as I started to panic I began discussing my passage (Colossians 2:1-7) with a friend. The amazing thing is I said some really insightful things in my dream which I have written down and will use in my sermon! God is so good!!!

  11. the roofers are here so it's not quiet... although right now they are on a coffee break...

    the sermon is 2/3 done... on salted with fire... only i forgot where i was headed. i may have to wait until the roofers are done for the day to finish up...and excuse me, but now it is time for my own coffee break.

  12. I'm not preaching since I'm on maternity leave - though my hubby will have to try to concoct a Sunday sermon while totally baby-exhausted, poor guy! I just thought I'd check in and offer chai tea, snickerdoodles, and oreo mint cookies. Good writing everyone!

  13. P.S., I'll take some of the chai tea! Thanks!
    Sounds like many of you are quite busy with non-sermon-related church business. Blessings on your days and sermons later if you're preaching.

    I'm taking the Mark text and going with an idea I got from sermon brainwave, on witnessing to where I've seen God at work. I'm hoping to have a collection of stories, especially ones where we're surprised to find God at work: through people we wouldn't describe as "christian" or perhaps they're "those other brand of christians" Jesus chastizes his disciples b/c others are casting out demons who aren't "one of us." Liz (I think) on Tuesday leanings had an excellent quote, "Good deeds done without being done in Christ’s name are still good deeds. Good works done without being labeled “Christian” are still good works."

    Anyone have stories that witness to God being at work through unlikely people or places?

  14. well, here I am as usual with 0 words and almost as many ideas...i'm doing something with the gospel and the title is "one of us" and I *think* the idea was some kind of insider-outsider thing....but I think that could maybe work with the cut-off-your-hands part too (if taken as a body of Christ metaphor and not literal self mutilation)...but I'm not sure. I have been trying to sleep in, and it's gray outside, and I had such a fun day yesterday, that now I don't even want to get moving on this. Maybe I'll run some errands first--farmer's market, buy a rug for the new children's worship area in the sanctuary, get milk at the grocery store--and then come back in the afternoon to stare at the screen and will something to come out that makes "cut off your hand or go to hell" sound like good news.

    So....anyone want anything from the farmer's market?

  15. Hi, all.
    I am running on empty. I have had 2 clergy conferences in the past 7 days. I am pooped!
    There is a temptation to mumble like the Israelites--I was without clergy companionship for a while and now I have too much! Grin!

    Iam trying to do something with salt. I am also trying to do something with those who are not of our group that is also teaching what Jesus teaches.
    But I think I am going to talk about mumbling in the desert.

  16. Hi Altar Ego, hope your liturgy search goes well, share with us what you find.

    Tara - how cool, that dream!

    HC - coffee break sounds like a good idea - hope the roofing project is over quickly and you can get back to some quiet reflection.

    PS - hope the maternity leave is going well.

    Nutella - like where your thoughts are taking you...

    Teri - sigh. But as always, words will come to you!

    And you too, Muthah!

  17. She Rev, sounds great! MomPriest...prayers for you these next two days...Teri, would love some sweet potatoes from the Farmer's Market...EarthChick...yuck on the sickness--take care! RevDrMom--I am preaching on those same passages, but haven't at all started...RevAbi, I am waiting for those donuts! Teri, I dreamed I didn't have a sermon at all and it was 20 minutes before worship and I was sitting down to get started...and ...
    o.k., hi to everybody else, I guess it's time for me to get started.
    I have no virtual food to offer, but the coffee is good and strong....and lunch is soon! I am thinking quinoa with chopped oranges, a little lemon juice, feta, and maybe celery or something greener...

  18. Hey karla, welcome!! Thanks for the prayers.

  19. SheRev, prayers for your planning process; I think your design sounds like a breath of fresh air to the meeting weary.

    Earthchick, I hope you fight off whatever is attacking you, and that it's simply been bad luck these past months.

    Diane, we did a praying in color evening last Lent and I was astonished by how people got into the process and shared with each other; even if you have only two or three gathered together, may the Spirit be in your prayer.

    Mompriest, I hope this will be a turning point so that the fragments of you can start to come back together in a healthy whole.

    I'm working with Esther; really, this story ought to be a graphic novel for grown-ups! It is so over the top. I keep coming back to "for such a time as this" and wondering how often we hold back, telling ourselves that now isn't the right time.

    Warm brownies and freshly baked cinnamon tortilla chips on the kitchen counter for anyone who'd like some!

  20. Hi, Not writing today - yeah for guest preacher! - but sticking my head in to say hi. I have sausage that I found delicious but that the kids would not eat (sigh, picky eaters, please save me from them...).

    Sherev - that sounds like an amazing day! I hope it goes really well.

    And prayers for all of you in prayer and prep. I'll think of you as I'm taking a kid to soccer, working in the yard, washing the car....a weirdly normal Saturday for this preachers family :)

  21. Wow. It sounds like everyone has a VERY busy weekend for this final Sunday of September. Blessings on all of you.

    SheRev - your retreat sounds perfect. I hope it goes well.

    Nutella - you were asking about God being at work in unusual and unexpected ways/places. I have a story from my return home after BE 2.0 that you might find helpful. It is over here.

    I'm preaching on the James passage mostly. It's only roughed out and I have a LOT of work to do on it today. Better get to it...

  22. Greetings to all and blessings on your varied and busy-sounding day!

    I'm staring at a blank screen with a vague idea about prayer a la James. I've learned that a story I shared a few weeks ago (the village of Le Chambon) was interpreted as me calling some of the angry get-rid-of-the-pastor folks, Nazis. I had no idea and that certainly wasn't my intention...

    So I'm a little paralyzed right now by how things get heard and interpreted. Any suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated!

  23. RevSis - I'm kind of in the same boat with James. Here is what I found in the resource "Awaken" re: the James reading...

    "Whatever you do, pray. That is the message of James 5: 13-20. Sick or well, alone or together, suffering or cheerful, whatever the situation - pray. There is an important element to prayer in this text that in our society where the individual is king, (or queen, as the case may be) we might easily miss. Prayer, for the author of James, is a corporate activity of the whole body of believers."

    That's my starting point for now. I'm approaching prayer from a "both/and" perspective. It must be a personal spiritual discipline, but it also must be a part of our faith community. If we keep up our personal discipline of prayer and devotion, it can only benefit the larger community.

    That sort of thing....that's as far as I've gotten...

  24. Finished Angel Food distribution and Acolyte training. Oh my were all the kids wild. And of course it is now pouring down rain. Now to finish up funeral sermon and funeral prep. Not long to go.
    I now bring you tasty pastries for anyone who dares.

    How is the sermon writing coming along?

    Earthchick hope you and the kids feel better. I hate strep. The flu is going through our school but our kids haven't had it yet.

    Mompriest thoughts for your feeling awful and broken, hope it gets better. And I can feel for you with your big plate ful too.

    I gots to write and I'll check back in with the rest of you all later.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Brunch today over here -- have some cherry-pecan link sausage and homemade rye bread, and wash it down with fresh apple cider!

    My worship responsibility tomorrow is assisting, so my only writing assignment today is the Prayers of the Church. But I keep thinking about our lessons in Numbers and Mark, and Kelly Fryer's observation, in one of her books, that "Whenever you draw a line between 'us' and 'them,' Jesus steps over your line."

  27. checking back in. sigh. It could not be any more GORGEOUS outside. and I am in...trying to sermonize. I was going to use an introduction from a sermon earlier this summer that was perfect...but guess who can't find it on her computer ANY. WHERE.
    Oh well. Cobbling from memory is fine, too.

  28. Checking in for just a quick moment before I head over for the funeral. Welcome all of you who have joined the party! Back with you all in a bit.

  29. Hello everybody,

    I'm at my BFFs house about to practice my sermon with her.

    Pray for me. Dinner with a search committee tonight. Neutral pulpit tommorrow. My head is spinning.

    love and peace,

  30. A shower later, and the sun is shining here...which means it's getting hot out there...again. *sigh*. Guess I'll stay inside.

    Sue, thanks for the story invitation, but I think I also need a blog invitation to view it. If it's easier, you can email it to me at Please no spam ladies!

    My better half has just made lunch. We have tortellini and watermelon to share. Prayers for yall as the day progresses!

  31. back checking in for a little while before going over to my aunt and uncle's 60th wedding anniversary. It's rare day when I don't have to be in the office on a Saturday. later this evening I'll be going over the Praying in Color plan, and tweaking a kids' message on Prayer -- any Ideas?

    thanks for reminding me about 2 or 3. Basically something else was scheduled for the same time, and I have had a couple of people tell me that they were sad about missing this session.

  32. I'm kind of going in an interesting direction and I'm going to talk about how we need to be Christians outside of church.

    I'm starting with the question - CAN we be Christians outside of the church? and hoping to jar some people into thinking about our faith in new ways.

    Esther certainly was being faithful outside of the established religious traditions. She had even abandonded her practices and yet there is this idea that perhaps she is where she is, doing what she is doing, for such a time as this. Even though God is never mentioned - we think of her actions as one of a faithful person of God.

    In the instance of the gospels, the disciples are troubled because they see people acting outside "the church" - outside what they believe to be the prescribed boundaries of their community. Jesus' response: go and do likewise. Who cares if you are in the community or outside the community - if you follow me, you'll act the same in both places.

    PUtting the pieces together and getting it all written down has been my struggle today. I'm a big fat lazy butt - enjoying some coffee w/ chocolate raspberry creamer (and I'll share!).

  33. back from the farmer's market (no sweet potatoes yet, but I got the last of the raspberries and some amazing green beans! and you should see the size of the leeks for sale today! holy cow!), Target, and the grocery store...really need to get to work as this is a little bit ridiculous. But first I think I have some kitties that need petting and some FB games that need checking...and then it's work work work all the time. What happens if your brain is what's causing you to engage in sin (in this case sloth)? Does that mean I should cut off my head? hmm....

  34. Sorry Nutella!! I've sent you the story and an invite to the blog.

    Off Topic: As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had to go private because some hackers were using my blog name and image to spam all over the place. Rather than lose the rights to my domain name (which I own and have paid for), I just went underground. It seems to have kept the hackers at bay.

    If you would like an invite to InnerDorothy, PLEASE don't hesitate to let me know and I'll add you to the list.

    Just email me at suecan at gmail dot com

  35. LutheranChick, I love fresh apple cider! When I was young, innocent, and in seminary in NY, I had no idea cider could go hard, until I got quite the buzz from a jug I'd left sitting out!

    I'm not sure how much of what I have is useable. I've recounted the whole book of Esther in relatively short but vivid form (I am definitely a storyteller by nature) and I'm drawing a few brief conclusions. The first of those is simply that it's in the Bible and most people in our congregation don't know it but now they will. With the huge range of human emotions and behavior, it's proof that whatever we experience today, not much is truly new. Finally, as I said earlier, a bit about Esther seeing "such a time as this" as the moment to risk all, and what that might look like for us.

    It's a different approach from usual for me, relying on the congregation finding the story as inherently intriguing as I do without much interpretation...and that always makes me very nervous. It's one thing to be a big believer in letting folks find their own meanings in a story; it's another to follow through on that in such a big way!

  36. Sue, what a lovely story. Thanks so much for sharing. I'll see if I can fit it in!

    a lovely day is slipping by and I MUST finish this sermon. so back to work I go. Prayers for yall!

  37. Mompriest, you have my prayers for tomorrow and beyond.
    Betsy, i want some tortillas!
    Sue, thanks for the addition to my sermon, just what I needed.
    Grapes anyone? I left you a few and there's a little chocolate to help the writer's bloc.
    now back to my screen, no cutting off heads today, Teri.

  38. prayers for you, too,GodGurrl.

    well, I have a finished draft. so I went for a jog with my beloved, cooked dogfood, and now am back to do some tweaking.

    4:30. Hmm. Too early for supper, so you will have to hold out, but I am thinking homemade pizza and and pumpkin beer, since there were no sweet potatoes at the market. Thanks for checking, Teri!

  39. Hi all. Back from the bday party and trying to get my head back in the game.

    I'm about to head to the kitchen for my newest discovery - Jello Pudding sugar-free *mousse*. I've got Chocolate Indulgence and Caramel. Anyone want me to grab you one?

  40. Hello, Gals and Pals!

    Looks like another busy Saturday/Sunday across the City of God. (I've got "You are the salt of the earth, O people!" playing in my head in preparation for worship tomorrow!)

    Thanks for all the treats making their way to the party. Just came back from the grocery store with sermon writing provisions - toffee almond chocolates - I'd be happy to share.

    I am wrapping Mark and James together around the theme of community - especially fitting as we welcome new members as well. Still a long way to go tonight.

    Also have to get a kick-off session together for our first Confirmation Class meeting of the year with students and parents. Not sure where that's going to come from, but God is good!

    So glad to be able to drop in every now and again, to revel in the camaraderie of our shared mission. 11th Hour Preacher's Party prevents a Woe is Me Pity Party.

    Thank you! And blessings to each of you as you continue to follow where you are led!


  41. Back from the funeral. It went well. In a little while the munckins will be coming for the new moon festival. It is going to be wild with all the chinese kids.

    Now to try to write a little on Sunday's sermon.

    How is everyone coming? I have fruit and cookies to offer.
    God Guurrll, I got you covered with prayers, hope it goes well tomorrow.
    RevSis, so sorry that happened to you, I can understand staring at the blank page. I pray God gives you the words to say. It is hard when there are church members out to get rid of you to preach.
    Mutha+ hope you get the energy back you need.
    My team lost, so I got to focus with out that football glow.

  42. Prayers esp for Godgurl.
    That is always a tough spot, but prayers for it to go well.
    Also, prayers for the non sermon stuff and then for those who are writing away.
    My laptop battery is about to die and so I am plugged in. I ordered a new battery(it has been over a year on this one) and it should be here early this next week.
    I am working on James one last time(this go around) and trying to incorp the stuff from Xian Century. It is very good.
    Trying to grapple with prayers, our faith and how we deal with prayers that seem to go "unanswered."
    No Garth Brooks song though.
    Did I mention the football games?

  43. Honey Crisp apples anyone?
    They are so delish

  44. Finally checking in here, after a v. lazy day procrastinating reading. The feeling of unmotivation is palpable...

    Mompriest, you are held in prayer. God Gurrl, you are as well. And I must ask again for prayers for the situation I alluded to last week--the tense Saturday meeting went okay, but things are more tense than ever and there's another meeting tomorrow night.

    I think I'm preaching on Esther (which we covered in adult Bible study recently) and Mark.

    At least I have a massage scheduled for next week.

  45. okay, seriously. I've watched this week's Glee (silly wednesday evening programming--don't people know that us churchy--and often music-y--types are often busy then?) But I still have a blank document with no ideas.

    perhaps a snack. apples? pears? raspberries? mashed potatoes? ;-)

  46. Hi everybody. It is nearly 4:00 here in the midwest, and I am just now sitting down to the computer.

    Spouse and I spent the morning together, a rare indulgence, which also included cleaning the family room and watching some TLC. I just got back from running some errands and he is out mowing the grass, so I really have no excuses.

    I got started on Thursday, and got about 1,000 words in, but I've yet to open up the document and see how much is salvageable. Thoise who follow me on Spacehook might have noticed that I was rather punchy on Thursday.

    I'm preaching the alternative Numbers 11 lesson, and at one point was contemplating calling the sermon this: "Children of Israel: 'Wah.' God: 'I'll give you something to cry about.' "

    Yeah. Punchy. But I'm going instead with the story of God's sufficiency for all our needs, even if not all our wants. Every time the Israelites complained with their mouths full, God responded with generosity, even though what they were asking for was what eventually made them sick. They just couldn't see the bigger picture.

    Can we?

  47. I'm back!! And wondering, is it metaphorically significant that one of the last things I am doing here as the priest and pastor is a funeral? Well, considering I've done some 50 funerals in 18 months, probably not.

    OK - so the party has doubled in size - welcome all! As usual lots of great sharing and support going on - whoohoo!

    Now, on to tweak that "final sermon" in which I graciously say good bye. Yes. really. I am trying very hard to be gracious. I'll even let you read it in a bit, if you like...

  48. 1-4! me! Honeycrisps are fabulous; they just showed up here last year and bumped Fujis from my #1 spot.

    Revabi, have fun with the dancing :-)

  49. Well. Here is my final sermon at this church. Please stop by and give me feedback Be the Salt.

  50. Mompriest, you have had 50 funerals in 18 months and they want to get rid of you?! I'm praying for you -- and for them. They need something, maybe to turn their hearts...

    oh, RevSis, I'm praying for you too, that the right words come, and for whatever situation you are finding yourself in.

    And GodGuurl, prayers and, as I always say, "break a leg."

  51. For those of you preaching James - I'm not - Christine Bartholomew has a very good piece in CC for 9/22. Her basic question is "How does the Lord rescue someone from sickness when the sickness may still remain?"
    I started working on my sermon Wednesday night at a campus Eucharist. I like the idea of casting the mutilation talk in body of Christ imagery. Then the dilemma becomes Jesus telling us that there are no boundaries but we are cut out that/those who would lead us away from God. Yes?

  52. oh gals... so many transitions! no wonder jesus wants us to be so salty...

  53. mmm!! honey crisp apples!!

    Cheesehead, I'm so glad to hear other people get punchy. I'm especially punchy when I'm struggling with a sermon (and by extension God). Prayers thta you find a way to peacefully but with courage and strength preach the gospel God places on your heart.

    I'm still struggling to find a story where I can see God working in a place we wouldn't expect: through a muslim community or among athiests building schools in afghanistan or buddhist monks speaking out against tyrranical governments (ok, so I do have that last one)...problem is, the news online or on TV never tells these good stories. *sigh* maybe it's time for me to get out of my house and find God working in my community. so I'm off to a belated b-day party. Maybe I'll find God there. Are you there God? It's me, Nutella!

  54. as I read through the posts I missed, I think I just found God on the internet. Bless you ladies. And the commmunity God has formed here. Prayers for those of you facing difficult parishes where there is no sign of God present in the lives of those you lead.

  55. Wow, Lutheranchik, I LOVE that quote--and I do believe it to be true. Even if our adversaries seem so, so wrong, Jesus would still love them, and we should try to, too.

    I mostly finished up my sermon yesterday; I need to give it a good look now and make sure it says what I want to say. I'm looking at James as offering practical advice for the faithful, and equating it with FlyLady, if anyone is familiar with her! I don't know if it will all hang together for my people, but I think it will at least get their attention and make it a bit more palatable.

    Prayers for everyone as you continue to work. I have some Wheat Thins and Diet A&W to offer, as well as some apple dumpling and fudge we brought home from a fellow local UCC church's "PA German food fest" (also known as, a celebration of all the foods I grew up with!)

  56. crap. supposed to be somewhere in less than an hour.... the sermon is not done. the cake... runneth over in the oven. said cake to be brought with me in less than an hour...

    i've salted the kitchen with smoke... hopefully no fire will be forthcoming.

  57. go on, I'll run over and clean up...

  58. oh no mompriest... you've got to reserve your energy for tomorrow! a cookie sheet is holding the mess of a cake in the oven now... *sigh*

    really should i give up on cooking all together? the sermon came together at the last minute... yahoo! now if the cake will... all will be well. i can have my cake and eat it too!

    gads i'm punchy. i think it's time to watch some football & be mindless... *sigh* oh wait i was mindless... others call that "cooking" right? arggghh

  59. Godgrl, hoping all goes well tomorrow!

    Semfem, yikes...sounds like you and I might have somethings in common? (parish-conflict things, perhaps?)How can I help? What shall I pray for?

    Katie, I like your question about being Christian outside the's a good one to wrestle with.

    Besty, I hope your story goes well tomorrow - I love the idea.

    1-4 Grace, what are honey apple crisps? sounds delish taken literally.

    Cheese, here's hoping the punchiness produced words of grace?...

  60. mompriest, have you been in my neighborhood and I didn't even notice? I'm sorry! Next time we should meet up! Honeycrisp apples are a WI/MI variety that has become popular the last few years. They really are amazing!

    i still have nothing written. I need a way in that will work for all three services, and the one I am imagining will only work for the later two. Once I have a way in, I am hoping the rest of the sermon will follow, though I'm decidedly lacking in focus/function this week. Usually I have something of an idea about where I think it's going, but this time I got nuthin'. Even listening to the music I picked for the early service isn't helping--usually that reminds me what I was thinking when I picked the title, at least! sigh.

    I'm going to stare at the screen until I have something--no more procrastinating, I swear!

  61. Sarah, interesting direction with James, Flylady...

    Margaret, that's a good question about sickness...are you going with it in your sermon?

    Sue, how is being back at work?

  62. Teri - yes. My daughter works in Crystal Lake. We had dinner last week at Breakers. Next time I'm in town we'll have a meet up. Jennifer too.

  63. Teri - I need to stop procrastinating too! I told myself no TV until I had a sermon so I sketched out an outline earlier today and then started a novel ... I'm now seven pages from finishing the book and nothing further on my outline. Looks like we both need a solid dose inspiration and focus!!!

  64. Ok, I have to head off to attend the installation service of a, keep the party going, I'll be back later to turn the lights off.

  65. sermon that is basically an introduction of the practice of anointing and invitation to corporate anointing service is done. Now I'm 1/2way thru the other worship pieces including the introduction of the annual stewardship campaign.
    We (thanks to my creative team) are going to do the stewardship "moments" as "Latecomers" skits. Each sunday at the end of announcements but before the prelude 2 people walk in "late" discussing traffic and such and on into a stewardship theme. All as they walk up the aisle to sit down. Is that cool or what? I just love our creative group.
    Best wishes to your creative juices as you finish. I have stirfry if you want some.

  66. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. MP--oh, are you the one whose daughter works at Tievoli? (my brain is only just now catching up--I'm slow at remembering stuff...) that's right by my church! We must have a meetup. :-) And, of course, if your daughter is looking for cool 20-something friends, I know some. ;-)

  68. Mompriests,
    Here is a link:
    Really quite good and are perfect for just cutting up and eating.
    My other fav. is Mutsu. I like to eat them or use them for Apple butter.
    Which it is time to make.
    I was about to ask what was up with textweek, but like two minutes later saw the post on Spacehook. So glad that is fixed. Saturday is not a good day for Textweek to go down. They were really on top of it though. I am impressed!
    After a day of football, I am sitting down (steak and potatoe dinner digesting) to finish the sermon.
    Oh, and my laptop battery seems to have revived itself.Better still

  69. Well, that just serves me right...Facebook is denying me I guess I have no choice but to work on the sermon. Tricky!

    Mompriest, it sounds like we do have some similarities in our situations...except that in my case, it's some work I'm doing for a congregation on the side, so it's not my bread-and-butter call...but it's still causing anxiety.

    The good news is that I found some almond MnMs in my pantry to share! The bad news is I still have 0 words.

  70. Phew! It is hard to keep up with all the Party fun!

    Since prayer plays a prominent role in the preachable draft that's done, I would be remiss if I didn't add my prayers for each of you in the situations you will find yourselves in tomorrow. :)

    I am challenging our folks to be vulnerable enough to let us pray for them...and working out a way to pray for specific requests during the Prayers of the People. This is an edgy thing in this context - Spirit, make it fly!

    Many blessings to all, and to all a good night!


  71. **sermon-done-good-mood bubble burst**

    Still have new members introductions to write and a parent meeting to prepare for.


  72. So are we gonna hit 100 before midnight(EDT)?
    Come on preachers! Keep the comments going

  73. Sorrymy last till morning. I can't print any more since my printer decided it didn't like landscape which is how I print my bulletin with my parts in it. ah well.
    'nite all, good luck

  74. For those using James.
    Nice illustration with the Queen Anne's Lace. I really
    did not realize it has to have the bugs infest it before it can open up.
    Anyone remeber taking one and putting it in water with food coloring?
    Watching it change color?

  75. Doing my part to get us to 100 but I think this'll be my last post tonight. I just finished a draft and am putting it to bed for the night. Nasal congestion is making it hard for me to think straight at this point, so I'm just hopeful that it hangs together reasonably well. I hope to look at it with fresh eyes in the morning.

    Prayers for those of you still working.

  76. Well, back from a wonderful New Moon festival. the kids danced well. Good food,and everyone had a good time. Have been going through the good night routine with kids and I find myself wanting to say goodnight too. But duty calls and I must finish this sermon.

    How's it going? Everybodyelse finished?

  77. haha, Abi! you are so funny...finished...I wish! Alas, I'm only about halfway there. And I have absolutely no idea where I'm going from the half that I have. awesome.

    I'm beginning to get hungry again--perhaps time for a late dinner? (do the mashed potatoes I had at 4pm count as a snack or as dinner? hmm...I might be about to have second dinner!) Anyone need a snack? I have all kinds...

  78. Well our congregation is having a special meeting to hash it out over it's reaction to the ELCA Churchwide decision to "do not stop them" and let congregations themselves decide if they want pastors in committed same-sex relationships. It's a conservative church and it's not going to be pretty.

    And so I have been thinking lately about Esther and the words "Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this." about myself and sure enough Esther comes up as the alternative lectionary so I'm preaching on the whole story of Esther, not just the selected texts.

    Hereis what I came up with

  79. 836 words so far.
    Working away, but slowly. I am dragging just as the dreary weather.
    I am all up for a snack Teri. What's on the menu?

  80. tonight's snack menu:
    fresh green beans steamed and topped with a hint of parmesan! raspberry vanilla sorbet/ice cream bars from Trader Joe's! watermelon! dr. pepper! brie and pretzel slims! sparkling pomegranate juice!

    (can you tell I'm excited about snack time? If only I were so excited about my sermon...which is similarly non-coherent like the snack menu, actually...a symptom of the gospel text's seeming lack of coherence?)

  81. Joelle: THANK YOU. We are in similar places, with tough congregational meetings *cough* and sermons about God's working behind the scenes...except that I still have zero words except my opening prayer.

    I, too, have been thinking about Mordecai's words to Esther and the implication of what we must risk to answer God's call.

    So...preach it sister! My prayers are with you.

  82. Sue, thank you for giving me something to focus on! And thanks to the rest of the gals and pals for prayers and kind words.

    I have lots in mind but still zero on now going to try and write this out before heading off to bed.

    Did I miss any good children's time ideas??

    Have dark chocolate macadamias to share...and a nice cab...

  83. I brought a mango for the party. It is just right(ripeness wise).
    Can you tell I like fruit?
    Oh, prayers appreciated here.
    I had vowed I would not take an associate job EVER again, unless the match seemed perfect and I really felt good about the SP.
    Well, after looking at many calls as a solo or in non traditional roles, I ran across an AP job. Actually, I got recommended by someone else.
    And I read it, and I like it, and the SP seems great. Next step is to talk to the former person(who was in school with me)and has now moved away, which is why she left the church.
    Meanwhile, back to sermon ON prayer.

  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

  85. I have too many words; anyone want a few of my spares? Of course, you'll have to help me figure out where to cut them ;-)

    I need to tweak and twist a bit without adding many more. Just home from a wonderful potluck with friends; what I really want to do is go to bed. Oh, yeah, and forget about the almost totally clogged plumbing that revealed its ugly face just before we left for dinner. Outhouse, anyone?

  86. okay, I posted something resembling a sermon, told entirely from the perspective of confused disciples. I admit to being confused myself. And now I must go to sleep, and edit in the morning.

    happy sleeping/preaching/vacationing/writing/whatevering to you all!

  87. I was well over my typical 1400-1500 words.
    I had restated part of my scripture in the context of sermon. I find this to be effective, but not totally necessary.
    So, I cut that part as well as a little history on our own denominations practices.
    I am down to a little less than 1500 and calling it a night.
    Peace to all,
    Opps! Almost used my "real" name. I am tired

  88. back from installation...and thinking that I really need to go to bed...but first:

    Teri - yes, that is my daughter who works at Tievoli...

    Semfem - glad it is not your bread and butter place, hope it ends well.

    Everyone else - I am so tired or I'd read sermons and keep the party going.

    But. I have to call it a night.

    Last one up, get the lights?

    And many prayers for all y'all tomorrow.

  89. looks like that's me to turn out the lights. got 'caught' up watching fried green tomatoes AGAIN
    but feel clear about Sunday
    Blessings Sisters

  90. Ugh. I fell asleep in my chair and just woke up, with the majority of a sermon still to write. Sigh. At least I woke up with enough time to write...I we go...

  91. Okay, I'm trying to bring this puppy home now. Almost done, I think and hope. Any early birds out there up yet?

  92. Whew, I think I'm finished (thanks to Joelle's sermon, which helped a lot!). It's a bit long but we'll see what I can trim away before I print.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation today.

  93. Good morning all. Whew, semfem! Glad you got finished, esp. after the unplanned nap!

    I guess I'm ready to go do this thing. My voice sounds *awful* (I don't seem to have strep, just another bad cold compounded by my asthma). I really hope my voice and my sniffles won't be too distracting for listeners while I preach.

    Blessings on all who preach and lead and worship today.

  94. Morning everyone. I feel a bit like someone who is almost at the top of a very high roller coaster and about to round the curve and drop to the bottom...this afternoon it will almost all be over. save moving a few boxes out of the office and turning in the keys.


    Thank you to those who have offered words of support and prayer for all of us here this week, me included.


    Still, I will be praying for all of you as you proclaim the word this day, may they have ears to hear.

  95. You know those Sundays when nobody says anything on their way out the door--not even the dreaded "good sermon" or anything? i just had one. And I think I'm okay with that, because at least nobody said "not your best..." or was too very angry. LOL.

    on to confirmation class...


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.