Visit our new site at

Saturday, October 24, 2009

11th Hour Preacher's Party:The Who's Responsible!!! Edition

The Desert, photo by mompriest

One of my favorite Jewish mystics is Lawrence Kushner. A number of years ago I have had the honor of being in his presence for two days at a clergy conference in Chicago. It was, to say the least, awesome. He is a fabulous story teller and connected deeply with this all Episcopal Clergy group drawing lines of relationship between the rabbinic understanding of scripture and faith and the Episcopal. Here is an excerpt from his book, "Invisible Lines of Connection, Sacred Stories of the Ordinary" Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004.

"I am fascinated that the word 'responsible' has two different meanings. One connotes guilt, blame, punishment, as in 'Who's responsible for this mess?'; the other seems to focus on the present and connotes moral maturity as in, 'She's a very responsible woman.' The former means, 'blame'' the latter draws its meaning from able to respond,' that is 'respons-able.' Thus, one who is guilty but denies it, is not able to respond. And, conversely, one who is not guilty nevertheless might still be responsible. Every day, situations arise which require the action of a responsible person." (page 84)

Our readings this week, I think, point us to look at what it means to "respond" and from that where our "response-ability" is. The readings from Job and Mark seem to point us toward the idea that responding to God transforms us. They especially seem to indicate that responding to suffering, taking action to move through suffering, as both Job and Bartimaeus do, is faithful, and therefore transformative, even, healing.

This is just one direction a preacher might take with the readings this week. There are, I'm sure, many more. Where are you going? And, how can we help?

I have Fair Trade coffee and organic yogurt and granola to share. All of us together will have lots of love and support, ideas and yes, even frustration, to share. We're in this together, friends. Yes, you might say, we're all response-able for breaking open the word of God tomorrow.... So, let's get this party started!


  1. I don't think I've ever been the first middle-of-the-night commenter!

    I've been up since 3:00 local time, unable to sleep.

    The sermon was completed a few days ago, in anticipation of a wedding later today, and an installation I'm part of Sunday afternoon. Also, a Meeting of Unbloggable Doom I had this week.

    I'm going with Reformation Day, mostly because using themes is helping me to keep from going crazy.

  2. Finished, and it is only 9.30pm on Saturday night! Not sure if I have asked too many questions, but asking who do we try and silence, keep on the edges. What do we do to help break down the walls - of fear/hate/ etc
    Jesus gives the man dignity by allowing him to voice his desires, and does the same for us. what do we need to speak to Jesus/God?

    I still get excited about some of these gospel stories, there are so many things I'd love to explore wiht the congregation.
    also a Baptism, and a stewardship day.
    but it will proabbly all come together, usually does.

    Cheesehead, praying for you.

  3. Cheesehead - just love the adjective 'unbloggable': my blog is really just my preaching log & I have been wondering whether to broaden it out, but have concluded I think that so much of the acute stuff is unbloggable!
    I've gone with Bartimaeus & I'm done but not yet happy with the end... will come back to it when I've finished some domestic stuff this afternoon!
    Best wishes to all.

  4. My colleague and I have response-ability for the worship at our Association meeting tomorrow afternoon. We're planning to do something brief and humorous about the contrast between old and new ways of doing things and the search for a vision that incorporates both, a re-forming theme for Reformation Sunday. We're reading the Bartimaeus story. I'm supposed to outline something this morning and we'll figure out the rest tomorrow. All I have so far is that I'll be using Twitter just as we're supposed to be getting started. Can I time the little Twitterific sound effect to be just right?
    I'm also leading children's worship tomorrow and need a brief message for that. Well, really I need the whole thing. Our over-arching theme for the year is respect for others as an expression of the Great Commandment. Since that's the text for next week, I can certainly use it. Or I can talk about Bartimaeus and the way people tried to shush him, and as I type that, I think it's where I want to go. The trouble is, the adults in the church really want the message to be one about behavior, not motivation.
    As I write this, it seems like sticking with Bartimaeus all the way around makes sense.

  5. Aw, Cheese. I'm sorry you were up in the middle of the night. It's been a tough week.
    pearldownunder, good for you!
    And Ruth, my rule of thumb is I don't blog anything I wouldn't say in a sermon -- in terms of family or personal or church exposure. That leaves a surprising amount of leeway most of the time, though some weeks it means a lot of writing about my dog. :-)

  6. Hi all,

    In case you were wondering, here is a blog post on how my candidating sermon went last week. Needless to say it didn't go well.

    I am preaching tommorrow. I am going to dust off an old sermon and new it up a little for a pulpit supply sermon. Just not feeling the mojo this morning.

  7. I am off to a day-long workshop and then back home. I'll check in again after supper, whilst I try to turn my early week thoughts into a coherent sermon

  8. I need to write a very short sermon for tomorrow; we're moving into a time of a congregational forum to discuss and upcoming expansion project after we receive the offering, so I'm keeping it very short. I saw someone note earlier this week that Jesus asks the exact same question to Bartimaeus that he had asked to James & John, so I'm thinking of talking about the ways in which Jesus opens himself to us to hear what we are requesting from him, but that we need to be aware of the kinds of requests we are making -- are we truly furthering the kingdom of God with our requests, or are we serving ourselves? Maybe this awareness of what we're presenting before Jesus will help us to align our priorities with God's priorities? That's just a thought; we'll see how it develops in the few short pages I have to flesh it out.

    I have some Green Mountain coffee this morning and some Fiber One chocolate chip granola bars (not too exciting, I know), but you're welcome to them!

  9. ((((Cheese))))

    I've been thinking about you and praying for you.

    I'm not preaching tomorrow, but have a wedding this afternoon. nice young couple. They wanted Matthew 5:14-16 as their gospel reading.

    so, I'm preaching on that.

    otherwise, I'm just reallly tired. there's no intern this year, and I have lots of files on my desk that I can't seem to complete and file, and been musing a lot about vocation and ministry lately.

  10. Thanks for this... I've been trying to get to the response aspect of both Job and Bartimaeus' stories. Now to put it on the page. The hubby's at the store this AM. Perhaps he'll bring home a treat I can share, as the pantry is a little light at the moment.

  11. Today's to-do list is totally insane! The sermon for sunday is done (it has to be done early to get artwork for the contemporary service) and I am glad - -Monday is my first memorial service at St. SweetTea and the head of staff and office admin are on vacation. The parents will be here to hear me preach tomorrow, so no pressure there, and the house is a disaster.

    Step 1 - coffee. Can I offer anyone a refill?
    Step 2 - laundry while I clean the downstairs.

    That should get me to lunch!

    The sermon is here

  12. I'm currently sitting in our diocesan convention where we will shortlly have Eucharist and then commence to elect a bishop. I'm banished to the balcony b/c I haven't been in this diocese long enough to vote. And I'm wishing I'd brought my laptop so I could be writing a bit since. But I didn't--at least I have my iPhone!

    Preaching on Mark--on sight, on what we want Jesus to do in our lives. Not sire where all that is going but I hope I get home at a decent hour to work on it else it will bea very late night.

  13. And all typos and weird looking words are dur to how badly I type on the iPhone!

  14. (((cheese))) 3:00 am sleeplessness is awful. Been there. Enjoy the wedding today and tomorrow's installation. So very sorry about the Meeting.

    Good plan to stick with Reformation. You can't go wrong with Reformation. Come to think of it - perhaps you could nail 95 GOOD IDEAS on the door of St. Stoic and then go for a double cream grande latte somewhere. Maybe some people would buy a clue.

    Me? I'm done. Sermon is on the Mark passage and I actually kind of like it. I'm working with the question, much in the way that pearldownunder approached it. Jesus gave B the opportunity to name his own needs (as opposed to making assumptions) and therefore gave B his dignity. I also ask in the sermon how we would answer that question today?

    Has anyone else ever wondered how Bartimaeus got to where Jesus was standing? It says in the text that he threw off his cloak and went to Jesus. Did someone help him? Did he follow Jesus' voice? I've always wondered about that....

    Now - off to my workout and then a massage.

  15. What color stole are we supposed to wear tommorrow. I've heard green cuz it's still ordinary time but then there's red because it is reformation sunday?

  16. God_Guurlll -- in my tradition (I'm Lutheran) it's for sure red tomorrow. I'm not sure that the other protestant denominations deal with it in the same way.

    Once we nailed faith statements to a door on Reformation, had a few people share.

    I have a baptism tomorrow, I'm happen about that. for some reason, I'm always happy about baptisms. I'm just a baptizin' fool.

  17. In my church study for another couple of hours, trying to get a handle on Sunday AM. As usual, it is perfect in my head and I dread to begin writing as I will have to trade perfection for reality. I have an Alpha retreat to join up with for the afternoon but I imagine I'll be back with you ladies this evening.

    Smarties in my candy dish for everyone!

    (I'm preaching Exodus 5 & 6, as we are off lectionary, doing a whirlwind tour of the OT before Advent. Crazy? Absolutely. But fun.)

  18. Good morning, all. You've been so busy already!

    I'm preaching Mark, sermon title is The Question, and I'm contemplating the question that Jesus asks both Bartimaeus and James and John - "what do you want me to do for you?" Their responses to that question were, of course, totally different from each other, and that meant Jesus' response to each of them was different as well. We tend to have so many questions about healing/miracle stories, but the real question in them seems to be a question for us - what is it that we really want from Jesus? Do we even know? Do we take Jesus seriously enough to even think there's anything worth asking of him? Do we believe he'll respond with what we need? And what do we do with what he does for us?

    So those are where my thoughts are, though I don't have anything written yet.

    Btw, if you have the book A Chorus of Witnesses, there is a *fantastic* sermon in there on this text from John Fry (from 1969). I thought the end reduced the text a bit, making it too much about how we respond to people in need, but otherwise I thought it was really well done.

  19. definitely going with reformation... and i am the worst kind of cheater's cheater... using short homilies prepared by someone else... a prepared service if you will. might have to beef it up later... but considering my throat is way, way sore... short might be good...

  20. Checking in quickly before I jet off to a First Communion thing and then off to do a bunch of errands before I can finally sit down and sermonize.

    We are definitely doing Reformation tomorrow, and celebrating First Communion for a variety of people, which is almost as good as a baptism!

    I'll be back later. I already have an idea--thank you Jesus--for the sermon, so hopefully it won't be a super-late night. (Stop laughing.)

  21. Hey friends - I'm thinking of you all - GG, and Cheese in particular - and what it means to minister for/with hostile people. Hard stuff. So many blessings to you both today as you prepare for whatever tomorrow will bring.

    I havent preached for several weeks for a number of reasons (nothing bad, just coincidence) and I'm having that feeling this morning that I actually have no idea how to write a sermon. But I do, right?

    My title is Calling God's Name. Not sure what I meant by that. I'm preaching on Bartimaeus - not reformation - and there seem to be so many possible directions, I think I'm feeling a little overwhelmd. HOwever, there is a baptism tomorrow (I'm with you Diane!!), so discipleship is probably a good place to start...

    Anyway, bottom line, I'm glad you are here, pondering too. Ok, I'll check in later.

  22. Cheese, many a night I am up at 2 or 3am...sigh...and a big hug

    pearldownunder: seems like you are asking some good questions.

    Ruth and Songbird, yes, don't blog anything you wouldn't preach about, good blogging boundary. I am one who has blogged about a lot, but oddly enough, I also preached all of it in one form or another. Well, except some of the Friday Five meme content...I don't usually preach about pajamas and shoes :-)

    Godgurrl, even you don't have the mojo God will step in and help you today and tomorrow. a big hug to you too

    Sarah, sounds like you have a good transition from sermon to discussion

    Diane, sigh, yes, lots of musing on vocation and ministry....I've been pondering my fantasy vocation..

    welcome, Elbee, hope the pantry becomes full of good things, food and otherwise!

    knittinpreacher - sermon done! wow....enjoy the day, and here, let me get you a refill...

    RevDrMom, that would be very frustrating to be in a new Diocese and unable to vote for the Bishop....hope you all elect one that is a good call for you! And quickly too, so you can get home.

    Welcome Meg, and thanks for the book/sermon suggestion.

    Ok. I'm sure more have arrived since I started responding. Hope I welcomed everyone as I scrolled through this. It's a bit tough being on the other side of the time zone and waking up to the party all ready in full swing. My day, sermon sermon sermon, cuz I'm recording it for a search committee...

    more coffee anyone?

  23. Welcome Hotcup, SemFem, and Juniper...! JUniper, it's like riding a bike.

    HC - go for it. And SemFem, I hope you do not end up burning the midnight oil....

  24. Ooh, RevDrMom, which diocese are you in? I have a good friend in the running for bishop of Connecticut and I know the election is soon - perhaps right now? I am saying lots of prayers for her.

  25. Actually, I just checked, and the election is this morning!

  26. This might sound cheesy but I'm really glad to join you all: still so much to do..
    sermon to have another look at (if I get this right, it's here)
    all-age service which at the moment exists in my head & not on paper to write out
    a desk I keep promising myself I will try to find under these bits of paper
    & domestic stuff too boring to list
    BUT this community helps be feel I'm not alone and it IS worth doing.
    Thanks, friends!
    & God bless & inspire & use you all tomorrow.

  27. Yes, Earthchick, that's where I am. Wish ihad a vote. Balloting will start soon. I hope.

  28. RevDrMom, oh cool! I wish you could vote too. Keep us posted, okay? I'm very excited for my friend - she would be an amazing bishop.

  29. I've been away and glad to be back. Good comments already - but then it's later than I thought.
    Daughter was married last weekend and all went well in spite of the rain and need to move wedding indoors. Then the dog knocked me down on thursday and I am now the proud owner of a stormtrooper boot on my cracked ankle. Our biggest sunday 'ever' is tomorrow for the organ dedication and we've got an extra 100 folks coming in for it. I'm on crutches and trying to figure out mechanics AND need to get my meditation thoughts into the computer. AND I need to ask for every thing, even a refill on coffee, so yes, i'll take one thank you mompriest. I feel like i can say more here than on my blog - little things anyway. thanks to you all and blessings for the sermons to come.

  30. It looks like you have a great site here. I will be checking back often. I think you would enjoy my website (
    so please check it out.

    Once again, Great website, and great writing.

    God Bless,
    Pastor Dan

  31. Checking in before retreat time. About halfway finished with a fairly clear view of the finish line. But the Alpha Retreat is calling so I won't be back to it until after 6. Hopefully I'll have some better eats by then.

    Blessings to all as you sermonate!

  32. Hello friends, I just read quickly through the posts and sent up some prayers especially for Cheesehad and God Guurrill - the injustice of it all, especially in the church for God's sake, pains me.

    I am mostly done with the sermon, trying to get my own mojo up as I have a "Little Lambs" service to lead with the Christian Ed director at 4 today, then services tonight at 5:30 and tomorrow 8:45 and 11. But then I am off for a week, since my normal preaching slot is Saturday night and next Saturday is Halloween, so the sr. P is preaching for me.
    Today's topic is on "blind spots" - how Job sees God by the end of Job, how God sees Job...I didn't even have space for the gospel reading once all was said and done.
    Blessings and prayers for all!

  33. Gord!! Welcome

    Pastor Dan, welcome as well.

    Nancy, good to have you back, mumpastor, too.

    Meg, hope the retreat goes well.

    My sermon, well, it's long, and that's just for Job, thought I'd add a bit about the Gospel too...but that requires editing. Serious editing.

  34. Hi everybody. I went back to bed at 6:00 and slept for a couple of hours. Big mistake. Now Blue Eyes is working on his Saturday Projects and I am a zombie. Also, rethinking a sermon that's been in the can for three days.

    I'm using the Reformation Day texts from Jeremiah 31 and John 8. They are about the law written on our hearts and the truth setting us free.

    I'm presenting the reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, et al) not as guys who tried to start new denominations, but as prophets who were unwilling/unable to avoid the truth.

    Prophets and prophetic preaching are touchy subjects in these here parts. As they should be, I guess, else why bother?

    I'm tinkering tomorrow with the story of the "reformation declarations" the kids made a few years back, which I proudly display on my study door--and, which someone(anonymously) tried to throw away recently. But even if evidence of the truth is done away with, truth that is written on our hearts cannot be denied.

  35. I'm off to the parish/school fall fair today, doing a booth stint as a school parent and then wandering around as parish priest. Nice weather, so it should be fun. New rector gets to do the dunk tank this year, so I'm off the hook ;-) I'll pick up some goodies at the food booth to bring back here tonight!

    I have the family service tomorrow; I'm going with some variation of the idea at Sermons 4 Kids, about being clear and bold in asking God for what we want. I think I am often way to hesitant to actually put into words in prayer my deepest desires...and some of the little hopes, too.

  36. I am here and staring both Job and a bored 5 year old square in the face. The weather is windy with sporadic rain which makes Mom/son activities all the daunting.

    As for Job, tomorrow is wholeness and healing service so there is the blessing of a meditation and a title that sums up where I want to go, 'The Awful Grace of God'.

    That is all that is written and although I would like that not to be the case, looking at the past week I don't see too many places where sermon writing was possible.

    So... I shalt not sacrifice my son on the altar of the perfect sermon which means I will definitely be back here later lamenting and hopefully writing.

    First, we lunch!

  37. Rev Nancy - OUCH!
    Hang in there...

  38. Cheese - someone tried to throw away something the kids made that is on your door...oh my. yes, preaching a prophetic truth is tough stuff...been there....look where it got me :-)

    Besty, welcome to the party!

    My sermon sucketh....sigh...out of practice (ok it is like riding a bike but that doesn't mean it comes easily or well done)

    and just a wee bit anxious about recording it for a search committee...a request that just came in....sigh.

  39. kathryn, welcome! What's for lunch?

  40. Triangles for lunch (known to you and I as grilled cheese sandwich).

  41. yum! grilled cheese....(scurries off to kitchen)...

  42. I preached last week so I'm only here as a bad influence... I have a contest over at my place!! come ply when your brain needs a rest - just read the last two posts & it will become clear.

    RDM - i think I know one of the candidates there- wouldn't wish that on anyone. 'nuff said.

  43. So I'm following the election of the Episcopal Bishop of CT on Twitter and see that no nominee had enough votes after the first vote was tallied. Now they're doing a second vote. Episcopal friends, how does this work? What gets said or done between votes to try to get people to change their minds?

  44. wow, we are a busy bunch today!

    I have about an hour more of cleaning to do and I will call it done. It will be the stage where I can shut the door to my room and Mom will never be the wiser.

    Which means in about an hour I shower and then start writing the Memorial Service for Monday - unless I go to the grocery store first, which probably will happen.

    Can I bring anyone anything? My grocery store has wine and beer if the late night crew needs some...

  45. Earthchick no campaigning is allowed. After results are announced we pray and then vote again. People start to shift their votes as they see how things are going. Sometimes it takes a long time. They are counting the 2nd ballot now.

  46. Thanks, RevDrMom! I'm totally unfamiliar with how these things work and very interested to see how things unfold.

  47. elastigirl - you mean I didn't win with my brilliant offers (LOL) :-)

    not following the bishop election but, yes, no politicking, at least not publically....but lots may go on behind the scenes amongst the varies parish delegations...praying for the Spirit to speak and the best candidate to be elected...what ever that may mean

    ok. I have worked on sermon, but more work to do, (sigh), I have exercised - core abs, arm weights, yoga, walked dogs, took a short bike ride on this beautiful, and more sermon.

  48. I've been following the bishop election on Twitter and the results were announced a few minutes ago. My friend didn't get elected. Prayers for the man who did!

    I'm plugging along on my sermon but not feeling particularly focused....

  49. We have a new bishop!

    Not your candidate, Earthchick

  50. I have my email open waiting for EpiscopalNewsOnline to tell me who was elected.....since uhm, twitter doesn't like me and won't talk to my phone and I can't seem to download an ap for it...sigh

    anyway. It's always good when the election is over quickly, shows that the community is able to make a decision and is less divided about the choices.

    now....where was I with that sermon?

  51. OH, wow. I only know of him what I've seen on the media when he became one of the spokespersons for TEC after Gene Robinson was elected. But it seems he would make a good Bishop? Balanced, middle of the road, HIGHLY educated, slight leanings to the right? perhaps? or was that just the way he came across in the media years ago?

  52. So... that's a no then on iClinic. You know, like iPod and iTunes. ...sigh...

    Arts and Crafts with The Boy have been completed and Gram is home so it is off to nap I go. I have a church gig this evening and my almost 40 year old self just not recover from late evenings like I had last night so easily any more.


  53. I have to have a sermon ready in 2 hours to preach in about 6 hours for Walk to Emmaus. Then there's tomorrow's sermon that has not one word written for it either. I've been thinking about the WTE one for a few months so it will be fine. The other one is the last in a series on 5 practices of faithful congregations: Extravagant Generosity. Any "stewardship" stories would be most welcome.

    And, now, to jump in the shower 'cause I can't do that on the way & I can still work on thoughts for sermon on the way.

    semfem, see you later tonight! :)

  54. Ian Douglas is a great choice! That said, who knows what kind of bishop he will be. I've known the election to change people, oddly enough.
    Our bishop has announced his retirement and we meet with our consultant from the national office this week. It will be interesting even though it will be very sad to say goodbye to Charlie in a year or so.
    So I've had a day of naps so far, recovering from the discernment retreat for priest postulants. It always amazes me how exhausting sitting and listening, praying and discussing is.
    In any case, I am planning on talking about Bart, what it meant for him to call out, jump up and follow. Somewhere, I plan to talk about our own blindness, often chosen, and whether we are willing to do what Bart did - change everything about his life. I like the comment in FOTW that throwing off his cloak was walking away from everything he had been up to that point, like baptism/confirmation is supposed to be for us.
    But first, I need to see that the youth get off to the corn maze - haunted, of course - with the check to cover admission and go to a concert in which I was supposed to sing until my sinuses decided to attack.

  55. Welcome Margaret, sorry about the sinus seems to be all over.

    Hey Vicar!!! You are one busy woman/pastor...I'll be around for some of the night.

    Now, before I head back for a look at what my sermon has been doing in my absence (will it write itself, she wonders?)...I think I'll make a grilled cheese.

  56. Hi, y'all!
    After my morning program, I spent an hour or so working with my colleague on our conversational message for tomorrow afternoon. It was fun working it out together. I've never done a dialogue sermon before.
    I'm thinking about my children's worship for the morning now, and moving in the direction of a dramatic, interactive message.

  57. Hey, partying preachers. Just getting here because I had a wedding for two Mature members(both in their 70s). It was lovely and, at their request, I sang a hymn as a blessing on them - I've never been brave enough to do that but it seemed to go well.
    Tomorrow I am lucky to be preaching elsewhere as part of a presbytery visit so, after a week in which I have conducted 5 funerals, I am unashamedly recycling last week's sermon.
    I. too feel comfy sharing snippets here that I wouldn't on the blog and I do love being part of this supportive network where we can uphold each other practically and prayerfully.
    I have some plums poached in mulled wine to share if anyone wants a boozy supper.

  58. SB, glad the discussion was fun, I hope it goes well tomorrow.

    Liz, plums in mulled wine sound delicious!

    Really must check in on that sermon....I left it in the slow-cooker, guess I better go see how its doing. sigh

  59. Sorry, I should've said it was Ian Douglas when I posted. I think it is good that it went on the second ballot and people seem genuinely happy with the outcome. And the truth is that the search committee presented four excellent candidates.

    Now I home and must write a sermon! Inspiration seriously needed.

  60. Doing the Reformation game too and trying to figure out how to make it pop. Don't want to do a boring history lesson.

    I think I'm going to include some Jesus tweets and suggest that while they may seem odd to us, perhaps that's a similar feeling that some 16th century folks had about putting the Bible into everyday langauge instead of Latin.

  61. I just had a strange thought....what would Luther put on his facebook page? The 95 status updates?

  62. G_G - that's hilarious!

    I'm back from both workout and thai yoga massage (awesome!!) plus a wonderful phone conversation with a dear friend.

    Now - the sermon still looks okay, but I have zero ideas re: children's story. I'm working with the Mark story.

    Any thoughts out there?

    Note: If I were a really good Presbyter like Gord, I would be at the same workshop he's at. But alas, I'm not. I spent last Saturday in a church basement. This week - well, let's just say that wasn't going to happen two weeks in a row. I'm thinking I'll get the highlights from Gord next week. :)

  63. The Rev. Dr. Wil GafneyOctober 24, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    I'm preaching a Women's Day from texts of my choice. "Building on the Begats: God's Legacy of Faithfulness to God's Daughters" I'm using genealolgies "begats" including the stories of the daughters of Zelophehad.

  64. Well, seems something did cook up while I left it is my sermon draft

    As I will be recording it for a search committee I would really appreciate feeback, comments, suggestions, etc...

  65. Hey Wil, welcome! Love the begats - will be a great womens day, I'm sure.

  66. Hmm...time to see if I can go set up a food drive display at church before it gets dark.

    First I need to design a few things for a bulletin board. And get some colored paper.

    Sermon?'s in the queue...somewhere...

  67. Semfem, you need an assistant to do some of the stuff you do...but then, I know the feeling...

  68. I preached two sermons, both adequate. Would I ever let you hear them? oh no. nooooooo....

    SO I still have a paper due tomorrow and a sermon due in 2 weeks. Must be 15 minutes long, recorded and submitted via DVD by Nov. 15. All the dudes in my class have churches. All the women do not. Does this sound equitable to you?

    Yeah. Me neither.


  69. My meditation is done. "A Feast of Faithfulness" thankfully it follows a great storyteller with the story of our organ project. I've handed off children's time due to lack of mobility and plan to sit on a stool for prayer and meditation. I can put enough weight to balance now, but not walk w/o the crutches. All will be well.
    I love the twitter and FB references during the sermon but much of my current congregation are not so hip. I suspect some of my references fly right over top but i refuse to give up.
    I also want to know where to buy one of those sermon-slow-cookers. It would save so much time.

  70. Praying for you, Cheesehead. And just stopping by with some just-out of the oven Amish Friendship Bread to share. Don't forget, preaching friends, to stop by Monday for the book discussion of "A Church of Her Own."

    Missing the party and feeling like an exile....

    Preach well tomorrow, Gals and Pals.

  71. OK, back again after a bus tour of some local public housing sites taht have been much improved by the same kind of grant for which our neighboring project has applied. Fun, and learned lots and think I got a good story for the sermon, but still have to write.

    We have little colds here, so I got lots of tea and honey. And there are a couple of neighbor boys over playing legos, so I'm sure I'll have cheese pizza or popcorn or something soon.

    Gonna write for an hour -on a timer - then go out and rake leave while it's still light. It's such a VERY beautiful day here!!

  72. Fair trade coffee and pumpkin muffins for all. I am not sermonizing today/ Guest pastor tomorrow, who is actually our own seminary student.

  73. Oh Cheese. So so sorry. And I really would like to punch the annonymus person's lights out for trying to throw away the declarations on your door.
    Don't mess with the kids and don't mess with the stuff on the pastors door.
    You are right, forever written on the hearts though.

  74. Ugh. I have a sermon in search of an ending, which makes me feel like I have a sermon that doesn't really know what it is trying to say.

    Meanwhile, it is yet another Saturday night without a meal plan. Which means the hubs has gone out to pick something up for us. I get so tired of relying on take-out and delivery, but I can't ever seem to plan well enough in advance to get all our meals taken care of (esp. for the nights I'm doing sermon work).

  75. ok, i've got an outline, so that's a start.

    oh, earthchick I hear ya aobut dinner. we have lots of "snack dinner" here - everyone likes it better anyway, but I do worry about raising a child almost entirely on carbs.....sigh.

    owl - NEVER an exile :)

    little boys
    "what if star wars was real?"

    other little boys

  76. Day off of preaching and presiding tomorrow--yeehah! So I had a lovely little retreat day driving to see my anam cara amid changing leaves and Godspell, having a lovely time of prayer and sacred conversation with him, and stopping at a convent/shrine/retreat house I've always wanted to see on my way home.

    Didn't have time to check in before I hit the road but joined the party in spirit and prayed for all the preachers on the way. Now to check out some posted sermons.

    Break a leg and lots of prayers, MP!

  77. Oh, Singing Owl, love and consolation of the Spirit to you in the exile.

  78. Ok, I got a thousand words rough draft and NOTHING MORE TO SAY.

    GOing to
    a. eat some cookies and then
    b. go out for some raking and hope something really wise gets shook loose.

    Teh boys have now moved to the garage where they are banging on teh drums - another good reason to get out of the house for a while. Sheesh - loud!

  79. Nancy..I missed what ever it is you did to yourself that requires crutches...soooo sorry.

    Sophia, thanks for stopping by.

    1-4 Grace - welcome!

    Singing Owl - No exile, no...most weeks I stand in solidarity with you, as one of the preachers without a pulpit. But, we are NOT in exile. (Can I have some of that bread???)....

    ...dinner...all I had in the slow cooker was my sermon...but other than trying to cook up some reaonsable food for thought...not much else - does that make me a poor hostess of this party? better scrounge around for something...let's see...oh yes I have chocolate.

    are there carbs in chocolate?

    will chocolate be a healthy dinner?

  80. Thank you, those who stopped by my blog and left comments on my sermon. I soooo appreciate it!

  81. Okay, I finished a draft. But I'm having some internet troubles all of a sudden and can't get it posted. Will let y'all know when it's up (if it gets there).

    Now on to prepare for Sunday School class on Philippians and try to find a babysitter for a campus ministry event we have tomorrow night. I thought hubs was taking care of it (since I'd already struck out 3 times); he thought I was handling it. Ugh.

  82. eartchick... crockpot recipes are a staple for me for the busier days of the week. even tho' i just cook for me... i'm trying to plan menus. *sigh* tomorrow is meatballs & gravy over noodles... anybody?

    mompriest... will read in a sec.
    cheese... if you have to fight unbloggable doom i recommend red leather boots like wonderwoman to kick some... oh wait i'm lutheran we're about grace.... ooops!

    better get that straight so i can finish tweaking the canned sermon... why i left it til now? who knows...

  83. HC - you know I love me some red leather boots....and Cheese, I could send you a pair of cowboy boots with really pointy toes...if that would help...

  84. Okay, I got my draft posted here. I wish I had a snazzier beginning but I can't seem to find one.

    Okay, still need to get on Philippians, and a babysitter, and finishing up a Halloween costume for one of my sons for a party tomorrow afternoon. Blessings on all who are still working!

  85. Sue, I don't know if you saw my earlier post in which I mentioned using the basic idea from Sermons 4 Kids for tomorrow; if not, you might check it out. Easy and some good conversational potential. There's a good index there too. I don't always take things in quite the same direction he does, but I've gotten many a good starting point. Hope you find something that works for you!

    Homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookies yourself :-) Best of all, they were homemade by someone else, so no messy kitchen to clean up!

    Prayers for Ian Douglas and the Dio. of CT; it is always exciting to have a new bishop. 2 ballots is very quick. In L.A., we will be electing two suffragan bishops in one diocesan convention, the first weekend in December; two at once is highly unusual. Many of us listening closely for the Spirit's direction.

    One parish member, 51, had a heart attack Thursday night and I just found out this afternoon that another, age 37, is back in the hospital with serious problems after a heart attack this summer. Since my 48 y.o. dh has had heart problems for about 5 years, this hits close to home; I can minister to them out of my experience, but I have to be careful to keep a bit of space.

  86. Good evening, all!

    I did a quick scan of the 84 comments before me. Looks like all kinds of challenges - may God bring peace and healing.

    I am borrowing the "situational best" comment from Thursday's "Ask the Matriarch" conversation and applying it to the sermon tomorrow!

    After 2 full days of seminars, I am just scratching out a draft. We are celebrating the retirement of 2 long-time music staffers, plus a touch of Reformation Sunday.

    And, everyone will assume the red paraments are in support of a local sports team!

    I am working with Jeremiah and Mark - singing in praise for all God has done, no matter the weather. And hopefully, our other response is to follow him!

    No clue how this is going to wrap together, but the Spirit always works it out somehow.

    Sermon writing food tonight includes yummy chocolate chip cookies and ice cold milk - or there is always Chex mix!

    It is always good to drop in and feel like this crazy, off-beat life of clergy is normal in some circles ;)

    Blessings, Gals & Pals!

  87. earthchick --
    nicely done! I don't think it needs a "snazzier" beginning - it's good as it is!

  88. Well, I am home and fed. By chance does anyone have a sermon on Job and possessions and stewardship lying around to borrow???????

    Thought not.

    Why oh why did I think this was a good way to use Job? My thought process keeps leading me to "if you are faithful GOd will reward you"--NOT what I want to say.

    I am very curious as to how tomorrow will work out...

  89. Thanks Betsy! There are some good "seeds" to work with there....

    Cheese - I'm watching a program filmed in Edmonton about middle-school bullying. You, my friend, are being bullied. No question. All of these "anonymous" people are nothing but cowardly bullies. Taking down children's artwork??????? Unbelievable. I'm just so sorry that all of this is happening. (((cheese)))

  90. GG,
    sorry last week wnet badly. But better to not go then have it go well and end up in a bad place right???

    since you attended LtW a couple years ago I doubt you missed much. There was some new stuff but a lot of repeat for me. ANd most of the clergy were absent.

  91. I've decided to go with this children's sermon from sermons4kids:

    I never know how many kids I'll have, but need to have something. I've used this before, but a while ago with kids who now are too old to come down front.

  92. Gord- Been thinking about that same Job thing... in fact, last week as we discussed the reading for this week, a gal said she wished that Job hadn't had all the "stuff" restored. It would have been better if it ended with him still destitute.

    I think that it has to be addressed at some level. And maybe you have to go with the flip side of the "why do bad things happen to good people" question. Why do good things happen to good people? Or bad people, for that matter?

    God doesn't explain that, either. But we do know that God was faithful to care for and offer restoration and healing to Job. And to Job's friends via Job's prayers.

    It is Job's response, Bartimaeus's response and our response to God's offering of righteousness that is the key. Trusting God to love, forgive and provide, we live our lives in humble obedience and love.

  93. I'm back, and St. Larger is all in order for least the things I can control. The altar guild put fake flowers on the altar, which bugs the heck out of me, but I was a good non-passive-aggressive person and left them there (instead of swapping them for real live plants).

    Now to settle down, take a deep breath, have a snack (but what? hmm) and get started sermonizing. Looks like quite a few people are already done--yay!

    (Can I just show them the Luther movie and call it good? Shoot, I didn't think so.)

  94. (((cheese)))

    I'm a gonna go to your church and kick some bully butt. I can't believe that "anonymous" people would tear down children's artwork from your dorr.

  95. Good night all,

    Sermon done, printed and packed in my bag. Decided to go with Geneva Robe and a red stole in honor of Reformation Sunday. If the altar paraments are green I'll just invite the congregation to live in the tension (that is if they notice) :) .

    Love and prayers to you all!

  96. Ok I confess sisters, I've been distracted much of the day by football and now an EWTN movie on Teresa de Jesus. Not so reformed I know I know... It's in Spanish with subtitles. humm Right now she is just 60... I'm 61... looks like i'll watch the rest..

    I will use the Mark passage and sermon title spring up. Would we spring up if we thought we are healed like Bart and follow or turn away sorrowful that healing brought us to a point where we had to be followers to Jesus.

    blessings sisters...

  97. Teresa movie... uh oh the inquisition...
    no one expects the inquisition

  98. Hey, this is 100 comments and it's not even my bedtime!
    How's it going out there?

  99. Home and about to go retro on my sermon work (stepping away from the laptop and using a notepad for a bit).

    More later. Vicar and semfem aren't here yet so it can't be too late. ;)

  100. mmmm... about 2/3rds done and willing to share some Milano's that I found in the cupboard. Apparently on 2-for-1 at the grocery this week!

    Trying to stay away from caffiene in hopes of sleeping tonight.

    Any other gals & pals still up and thinking?

  101. Gosh- not thinking about Reformation Sunday until just now... is there a prayer, benediction,etc that someone can toss out that I could use as a nod that direction?

  102. Done! Used Bartimaeus as model for discipleship--"saw" who Jesus was, not afraid to ask for what he needed, expected to be transformed, willing to follow Jesus all the way to the cross (ideas borrowed from commentary on Mark at Are we ready to be more like Bartimaeus? What might we accomplish together if we were?

    Relieved to be done, because I am tired and was afraid I might be up much later.

    Good writing and good preaching to everyone! Sounds like there is a lot going on this weekend.

  103. Kathrynzj--I have been here for a while...maybe an hour and a half...but not a word written! Notes taken though, and thoughts percolating. Time to get some tea boiling, some laundry going, and go re-find that great opening illustration I found a few weeks ago.

  104. Checking in to say goodnight. 12 hour day. But I'm pleased with the sermon for tomorrow

    (Cliffnotes: God's name "I am what I am" is an invitation for us to "watch and see" as the identity of the God of Israel is revealed through the narratives of the rest of the book of Exodus. And, of course, we are still watching and seeing God at work.)

    Blessings on everyone who is still writing tonight. I have chocolate. It's on the coffee table. Come on in and help yo'self. I'm headed to bed.

  105. Hi Everybody - I'm back. Still got my stinky 1085 words. Sigh. That does NOT a sermon make, esp since other things are shorter than usual tomorrow.

    But watched an hour of science channel with the boy which was some satisfying goofing off. Goodness, if there's anythign nerdier than that How Things Are Made show I sure dont know what it is.

    I know they claim not to be a Saturday book, but I just picked up Feasting on teh Word (was out sick MOnday, my usual FOW reading day....). Anyway, funny thing about "eleeson me" which AKM Adam says is rendered better "mercify me" than "Have mercy on me..." So might have some fun with that, as it is all about discipleship...

    Ok, back to the salt mines. Blessings all you late night writers --- not even that late here, it's just about 8, but I'm hoping to hit the sack by 9. Still getting over the crud, you know.

  106. Juniper, I'd LOVE to have a 1085-word sermon for tomorrow! Does it say what needs to be said? We are adding a temple talk to both churches and a choir to St. Smaller, so I've got to preach short.

  107. alas no, semfem. I'm a little stuck at the moment. Is our perspective that of the crowd (shushing Bart...) or of Bart himself (per the discipleship note of someone else). Can you preach from two directions like that, or is it just too confusing?

  108. Sorry semfem, and hello. :)

    Thoughts are gathered, I'm off to type and find out whether this is a 1am evening or far, far worse.

  109. I've actually never preached on Bart, so I apologize if this isn't accurate. But I would think you could address those two different connections--us with the crowd and us with Bart--as long as you make it clear that that's what you're doing. Maybe that's part of the point--that we can identify with more than one character in the text.

    I think I'm opening with Roger Ebert's assessment of the latest Luther movie (as per the suggestion in Sundays and Seasons)...he argued that Luther was weak, neurotic, and depressed. Guess what, Roger, he was REAL, not what we expect from a movie star.

  110. Kathrynzj, no need to apologize. :) I'll make enough tea to share if you like. I have a hunch we will need the caffeine...

  111. ok. my internet is down...which means I am reading this on the tiny cell phone screen and posting from it too.

    I am also writing my sermon out by hand in case the internet is not up in time to print the sermon out. thus far...4 hours down and counting.
    party on
    and don't mind me over here having a temper tantrum...

  112. I guess you're right Semfem - it would be good to see it from all angles if thats waht I was doing int he whole sermon, but I just cant switch horses in the final paragraph. So I"m re-working my ending.

    I actually really liked that Luther movie. Did you see it? He DOES seem rather neurotic in it, though....

  113. Done for the night.. but I'm sure God'll rewrite all night and in the shower in the morning, as God does... If you're curious, you can see how I wrangled Job and Bart at my place

    Blessing to the late night crew.

  114. Hey all. I'd appreciate prayers. DH and I were headed to bed when one of our kids woke up sick. I have no doubt it's the flu - v. sore throat+weak+102 degree fever. He is 5 years old and has asthma so I'm a little freaked out.

    DH and I are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do abt church in the morning. We both have worship responsibilities plus teaching responsibilities after worship. Don't feel like we can ask someone to come watch him for us since we don't want to expose anybody. UGH.

  115. ok, i got all but that thorny last paragraph, which I'm leaving until morning. I really ahve to sleep tonite if I can, since I was sick earlier this week.

    Blessings, you late nite writers!

    And may the HS have your back in your proclamation.

  116. Oh earthchick - prayers, prayers, prayers.

  117. Internet back up. Semfem, yes please, I'll take a cup of tea...

    earthchick...oh no! what a dilemma...prayers for the boy and you

    to all the newcomers, welcome - my eyes are really tired, can't read any more today.

    last one up, get the lights?

    Blessings, all.

  118. I'm back! I have neither read nor written anything since my last post. My sermon series is based on a book from which I intend to quote extensively tomorrow.

    Hope y'all are either in bed 'cause you're finished or you're here so I have company :)

  119. Kathrynzj - I'm here. It's now that late :)

    earthchick - I've got an asthma kid. I hear you. I've put a sick kid on a pallet in my office, I've held a sick kid while I preached, I've had others cover my responsibilities. Good luck sorting it all out & may the breathing not become too wheezy. You have my prayers

  120. at this point, I'm more tired than inspired. that's not good since I am not a morning person & therefore, cannot write in the morning. must finish before I sleep

    anyone else here or should I go ahead and eat all the chocolate chip cookies myself?

  121. Prayers for you all, Earthchick, and may a workable response be clear by morning.

  122. Those cookies sound good, Vicar...want some milk or o.j. to go with them?

  123. Betsy! I'm not the only one here! Have some chocolate chip cookies

    my family used to give me a hard time about drinking oj with choc chip cookies ... funny you'd ask

  124. Guess it's going to be a late one. Hi Vicar!
    I'm contemplating whether to go personal or not. It will probably take the sermon to a deeper place BUT... I still have knives in my back from the place of my previous employment.

    Tea cookies? Why not.

  125. kathrynzj - I'm sorry you even have to think about it & completely understand

  126. Write well and sleep well, my late night's bedtime for me!

    Grab an avocado from the counter if you want to make a little guacamole to keep you going...

  127. Ugh, I think I fell asleep, but now I'm back. Already I can't wait until the Sunday afternoon nap.

    Where was I? Oh yes, Luther. I did see the movie, Juniper, and really liked it, neurotic Luther and all. I wasn't thrilled with how it portrayed Katie, but hey, you can't have it all.

    Mompriest, virtual tea is on...and Earthchick, prayers for your little one.

    Good to have an larger late night crowd this week...even if that does mean there is less sleep happening for preachers as a result! (did that make sense? maybe I'm still half-asleep.)

  128. Well, it is what it is. I need to get some rest. I think I found a happy medium with the illustration and I'll set my alarm for a ridiculously few hours from now and give this thing one more shot.

    Thanks, friends.

    mmmmmm, guacamole. :)

  129. I love guacamole!

    And ... the sermon is written! It probably has too many stories but I'm okay with that.

    Now to format & print. Then bed, finally

    Blessings on your Sunday

  130. Looks like I'm the only one left here for now...working away with 562 words so far. And it looks like I may be zeroing in on Romans (didn't really know which text was going to end up being my focus).

    Next year, maybe I'll finally remember that I've been thinking about doing a dramatic Reformation sermon for years now, as Katie Luther. Totally forgot this year until a few hours ago...guess that's not happening.

    Anyone else happen to be there?

  131. 1141 words and I'm trying to bring it home here so I can grab an hour or two of sleep.

    Any early birds up yet?

  132. Finally finished with 1376 words, and I'm off to catch a quick nap before it's time to get ready for the day. Whew.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation today.

  133. OMG, this is the first time I've seen the preacher party pull an all nighter. When I was a chaplain I pulled an all nighter once, my supervisor made me get sleep cuz I was plotting ways to call the Pope in Rome to explain some things to me. How reformation like of me. Luther would have been proud.

    Blessings to you all as you preach, proclaim and pray.

  134. Good Morning friends! So, that party went on all least for some of us. Hope everyone got a little sleep.

    Me, I think I'm getting a cold. sigh.

    Blessings one and all on your day, your words, the spirit will have your back.

  135. The Rev. Dr. Wil GafneyOctober 25, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    Mompriest - I love the begats, but rarely get to preach them.
    Gord, if it's not too late, I have quite a bit on Job. You can email me


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.