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Saturday, March 20, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: Wasteful Edition

We are rounding the bend on Lent this weekend. Next week is Palm Sunday, and then it will be Easter! (No pressure, though.) But as for today, it is the 5th Sunday in Lent, and Mary, Martha and the newly-resurrected Lazarus are hosting Jesus at a dinner in their home.

God is doing a new thing, indeed.

So as we continue in Lent this weekend, are you making a way through the wilderness? Or wasting a whole jar of perfume on Jesus' feet? Are you with Paul, counting everything as loss for the sake of Christ? Or is your Lent taking a whole different turn this year? Please take a moment to check out the texts and the discussion here.

I have blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning, and fair trade coffee (French Vanilla or plain) and tea. I have orange juice too, and lots of chairs for sitting in and lots of curiosity for those who need fellowship, ideas, an ear of support. Tell us how it's going for you: on this weekend in Lent, and as you travel toward Easter.

oh, and is it spring yet where you are? How can you tell? (I hear the birds, and caught a glimpse of crocus.)


  1. Aaaand let's try that again... this time, with feeling...

    Crocuses abounding in these quietly thawing frozen wastes of the north, Diane :)

    I'd been teasing out the notion of a 'smelly sermon' hopefully not of the 'it stinks' variety. Laughter about the possibilities of doing a 'scratch 'n sniff' style sermon followed and, later that evening, she emailed me with an article she remembered reading a wee while back. Here's the link:
    for something 'heaven scent'

    Mmmm, blueberry pancakes, thank you! I have toast and home-made plum jam to go with a large pot of freshly steeping earl grey.
    Hope the creative juices flow for all you today!

  2. Nik, I would love a cup of tea...sounds perfect this morning.

    I am up early, because of an incredibly horribly busy week, and I am just getting to my sermon, but I have to leave from 7:30-4 for a confirmation retreat. Plus, one of my doggies is in the hosptial and will come home today, minus one eye due to severe glaucoma. Poor baby. We haven't seen here since Thursday, and I MISS HER.

    All I have is a title, "Pour". Just to give me lots of room to go with whatever. Mary has been following me around all week, but I haven't been able to give her much attention, and I wonder why does this story matter in the lives of my congregants who are part, as I am sure yours are, of a very busy culture...ooh, long post. Enough.

    I have leftover pizza with pesto on it to offer to the party. Not great, but....

  3. Almost finished , or I hope I am - it is Saturday evening and close to 10pm. summarising where we have been with the Lent readings, and thinking about God doing a new thing in Jesus. A religion now of inclusion rather than exclusive; women and children as well as men, love rather than shame. and the stewardship angle of generous gracious extravagant love.

    There are lots of yellow cherry tomatoes, but watch out for added protein in some of them. Here it is coming into autumn, though after a 30+degree day, it doesn't feel like autumn. We did get a few cooler days and nights, but warm again now.

  4. thanks for the link, Nik! (also for the tea!

    and welcome to all...

    I like your title, revkarla, and am praying for your dog, and your confirmation retreat.

    and Patty, thanks for the autumn update as well.

  5. Good morning, y'all. 1-4, I don't have a Mary monologue, but I do have one from Martha's point of view. Since I mentioned it on Tuesday's post, quite a few people have written about using it. It's still available if you want to email me for the link,
    My colleague is on to preach tomorrow, but he is traveling back from a mission trip today and has two connections to make. I'm grateful to have that monologue in my pocket, just in case!
    For today, I'm leading a women's group this morning and officiating at a wedding this afternoon and in between enjoying having both my husband and my 19yo home for breaks in their work/school schedules. Of course at this point they are still asleep. My husband has been on nights for the past month, and I'm guessing his transition is a lot harder than the one we've all made this week to Daylight Savings Time!

  6. Songbird, thanks for your link! I found your monologue thought-provoking. would love to try something like it someday.

    Welcome home to Don as well.

    There are transitions everywhere. more later.

  7. I'm headed off in a few minutes for a breakfast Bible study (Luke 7), so I'll refill your coffee cups now (or tea) and be back in a little over an hour.

    Talk among yourselves.

  8. @RevKjarla I'll have some of that pizza. Breakfast of champions!

    I have spent the morning tidying the house to make room for a peaceful preaching space. Great way to procrastinate.

    I'll probably preach on Isaiah, although Songbird's monologue intrigues me. I'll be sending her an email.

    Check back with you all later. In the meantime I've got rootbeer to pass around. Yep it's early in the morning here, however it's afternoon somewhere in the world.

  9. Preaching tomorrow (field ed church) but spending the day at a program on 12-step and Ignatian spirituality so the sermon is basically finished. Lots about the intertwining of life and death in the last week of Jesus' life, with life and love triumphing. (Still preaching way ahead of myself.) Something more than a nod to the experience of Mary and Martha in losing and then regaining a sibling (joy pervading the meal), the former having happened to me, to my children, and surely to many in the congregation.

  10. I am having a hard time getting started on this. I must admit, I have had a hard time keeping folks in Lent with the readings we have had the past 35 days. Trying to figure out what annointing means is perhaps a topic.

    Thanks for the decaf, Diane.

  11. I have tea and TWO (AND COUNTING) RIDICULOUS INCHES OF SNOW. how long to BE3 again? sigh.

    We have a choir thing tomorrow so no preaching here, I just thought I'd pop in and say hi before I try to get started on exercising off the ridiculous amount of food I ate yesterday (mmmmmmm, Cheesecake Factory...) and then go help out at the rehearsal for tomorrow. Two choirs, steel drum, 2 marimbas, drumset, various african hand drums, and goodness only knows what else means I have to pay attention to sound/balance for the choir director and also try to figure out how to navigate the chancel for the liturgy! Best do that ahead of time, I need to be surprised when I trip on a djembe or something. LOL.

    Hope you all have lovely writing days, productive and filled with the Spirit! Help yourself to any of my 50 kinds of tea, and all the accoutrements (honey, sugar, milk, lemon, whatever you need!). I'm planning a risotto for dinner so if I actually get that far (without being so depressed by snow that I'm the Lazarus who needs raising), I'll be back to offer it to you! :-)

  12. Preaching on Mary's anointing of Jesus' feet and starting with a sermon I preached in the seminary chapel my senior year...needs some serious reworking but it's a start.

    It's been a crazy busy week, including a crash of my work computer (!)--luckily my data was backed up. Today is our "soup and book" sale to raise money for Haiti relief. I have a pot of Southwestern Sweet Potato soup simmering on the stove. I'm a little worried, though, because the jalapenos I put in it seem significantly hotter than usual--hope someone is up for spicy soup.

    I'll be in and out all day; besides the to-do at church I have to pick up the Kid in nearby Ivy City--he took the train yesterday to visit his best friend at DrabColor University. Tomorrow is the end of his spring break--it's been really nice having him around the house this week.

    Meanwhile the weather has been gorgeous the last few days...I could almost belief spring is really here....but I know better than to hope for that in New England.

  13. I actually get to preach AND preside tomorrow - so excited! Of course that means I have to wrap my head and chest cold around sermon prep...I'm trying to preach on the idea of God doing a new thing using a bit from Isaiah, the Psalm, and John. As a former massage therapist I'm also thinking about oil...particularly the viscosity of oils and how an oil can glide or resist when used for massage/anointing. Don't know if that will lead to a sermon, though...

  14. Good morning, all!

    I'm preaching Isaiah, and all I've got is a title, "A New Thing." Exciting, eh?

    I've been reading a really intriguing book, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, by Sean Carroll. I saw an interview with him (on either The Daily Show or Colbert Report, can't remember), and was so taken with what he had to say as a cosmologist about the nature of time. I saw some direct links with the Isaiah text - forget the former things - and what he was saying about why remember the past but not the future, even though in terms of physics the past and the future are on equal footing.

    I've been devouring the book and have some hazy thoughts for my sermon but nothing concrete. Which is a shame, because I really need to get cracking!

  15. Good morning folks! The day is quickly slipping away here. I am feeling that nice tired of playing soccer hard last night with my Moms In Black in the over 30 indoor league...and not ready to preach tonight and twice tomorrow. The sermon is basically done but I have to organize everything else - liturgists, prayers, etc. And it would be nice to do some housecleaning. And my girls and husband are off this afternoon to go see a community theater production that I must miss.
    Lots of trouble brewing in my congregation and I am wondering if next year I will even have a job there. First time I have felt that way in a long time.
    ANYWAY, I have a wonderful banana cake with chocolate chips that a fellow mom gave me last night, and I am happy to share. It's breakfast, right?
    Welcome home to PureLuck and Snowman SB! And blessings to the rest in your preparations. Robin, I wish I could come hear you preach...

  16. Good morning all! Husband and daughter are baking sugar cookies and it smells like they will be out of the oven soon.

    No preaching for a while since I was up last week, but lots of teaching and research work on my plate. I will also go to my music prof friend's house at some point to use her piano and finish nailing my Holy week chant solos...That's not for two weeks but practice with the choir director is tomorrow!

    Excited for you too, Mompriest, and hope the cold doesn't slow you down too much.

  17. woohoo MomPriest--have a great time! and (((MumPastor))) I hope things calm down soon.

    I just remembered there's a potluck after worship tomorrow....any ideas what I should bring????? I'm lacking the inspiration on that front...

  18. Yesterday, last day of winter: glorious Spring weather! Today, first day of spring: cold and rainy with a chance of snow. Gotta love it.

    While not preaching, I have been thinking this week about my extravagances and how they make me feel...why do I do that type of thing. Now I am thinking about the Gospel in that light too.

  19. welcome, all! wow, just see what happens when you go to a Bible study!

    Now I'll be leaving again in a few minutes for first communion class.

    I'm preaching on John, but your comments have made me wish I had taken more of a look at Isaiah. plus, my title "Measuring our Lives" -- yuck.

    I'm almost done with said sermon, not quite tho.

    be back again after 1st communion class...

  20. Not preaching this week - shared worship with Other Church and their pastor is preaching this time around. I'm doing Children's time and the Pastoral prayers.

    Now on my way to yoga. Good and Spirit-filled sermonizing to one and all.

  21. Teri - last night I made a delicious salad from organic baby mixed greens, mandarine oranges, a packaged dried cherry/cranberry/honey glazed whole pecan salad topping blend, gorgonzola cheese and raspberry vineagrette. Easy and delicious and all from the local Target on Randall Road. - we need to find some time to meet for coffee this week. I'm planning on coming out to the barn one day to ride - will let you know if that happens!

    I can't believe it's already after 11am here and I haven't written a word.

    But, I did make pancakes...still snowing here.

  22. I am allowing myself the fantasy that spending a long time on sermon prep--including reading all posts here today and from Tuesday, and checking out all links--will result in faster sermon writing later (that is a very vague later...). I'm preaching on Isaiah, and for me it is the sort of text that encourages me to dream and let my mind wander; too bad preaching requires having concrete thoughts!

    Not much to offer around here, which suggests shopping needs to be on today's list. I have plenty of bagels and cream cheese, however, and would be glad to toast them for anyone who wants one.

  23. A busy Saturday for many. One of my best friends came for the weekend and so I worked extra during the week and just finished tweaking the sermon.

    We are off lectionary, but this week the woman who annointed Jesus, in Mark's gospel, was a key turning point for Judas' betrayal.

    You can find my offering, here.

    I'll make some extra soup for lunch...

  24. It may be Spring but it's Snowing in Oklahoma... that's just wrong..

    Women with names... and gifts to give Jesus. What is so precious to us we would give it as the greater gift to/for Jesus? What is holding us back?
    also listening to Everythings' alright from Jesus Christ superstar

  25. all this snow, and it's supposed to be spring! thanks to all who are making soup.

    just finished first communion class. now working on a passion Sunday drama, and tweaking the sermon.

    plus, I just have to bind off on this sock, and I can't get the three needle bind off, and I keep having to rip stitches out. In theory, it seems easy, but in practice....

  26. The sermon is started but the motivation to finish has cooled like the temperature outside.

    Two days ago, I walked a little more than 3 miles geocaching with a friend in lovely 70 deg weather. Today is it currently 37 deg and falling. gag.

    I have some errands to run so I'll check back later.

  27. I've brought procrastinating to a new artform.

    First I made myself a lovely omlette. Then I tidied the house. Then I went shopping, quite unusual cuz I hate to shop but I needed new clothes for the cruise.

    Then I connected my netbook to my desktop computer over a wireless network so that I can use my DVD drive to install things on my netbook (no drive on teh netbook) and now I am updating my word processing program on my netbook.

    So I've run out of things to do. Guess I'll start sermonating.

  28. welcome, God Gurrll -- wish I could have had some of your omelette!

    glad you are joining us. it's never too late (I think).

  29. Ok. After much effort I have a draft. I'm going to let it perculate awhile. I think I'll have a cup of tea, to ease my throat ick, and then take the dogs out in the snow. I'll be back later to read drafts and maybe to post mine...

  30. Ah Betsy - yes, reading all posts from Tues and all ones here essential spiritual preparation for sermon-writing and not a sign of procrastination AT ALL!

    Think I may have written the world's most ploddy sermon ever here

    - but it's at least the bare bones of what I feel I need to say about how to follow and worship Jesus and not letting things (even - shock, horror! our worthiness) get in the way.. hope it makes some sense! Just spent my day off at synod, so feeling a bit weary: but happy to share my fairly-traded mini eggs that are left over from helping me through the afternoon!

  31. I am alte joining the party. We had a yard sale at church today. Raised over $1100 for a local charity group which helps women and their children. After hearing testemonies of these ladies, I have been impressed. So happy to help out.
    Anyhow, I have left over baked items( blueberry pound cake, bird's nest candy, brownie, blondies, and grahman cracker bars wit hwhite icing).

    Speaking of Graham crackers. Did you know they were invinted by a Presbyterian minister? He came up with a "bland" food to eat, as bland foods will squelch one's sexual appeitite. You heard it here on 11th Hour PP!
    So, I am still at work on the Mary monolugue. Trying to get inside her head.
    But, Good Golly, I am so tired. Awakened at 630 b/c nobody had a key to get in our storage building. Uh, hello!?? Why did'nt y'all think of that yesterday when I was there saying, " Do you need anything else? What do you need me to do?
    Actually, I did not have a key either. After that the cats were insistent on having B-fast and by then i was too awake to sleep anymore.
    So, I am watching B-ball and thinking of doing this monologue.
    Can somebody come and rub my aching feet? They are clean, I promise.

  32. OK - but positively no hair-wiping!

    Though you've got me remembering the time I washed the feet of another minister at a Maundy Thursday service - a man I liked but didn't know well. I found it really hard to do, it felt so incredibly intimate and a VERY inappropriate thing to do in front of a congregation!
    Meanwhile massaging the feet of a loved one is a pleasure and a privilege. It's got me thinking but it's too late to re-write the sermon!

  33. ok, I am going to go with what I've got for now, and maybe revise it after the chapel service at 5:00. I'll be back in a little while to post. Not in love with it, would love comments...

  34. irony alert = I'm writing this as I sit in the salon getting my hair colored and highlighted.

    I have lots of themes and now trying to decide if they hang together AT ALL or not - so much richness in these texts! talking to the church about our congregations journey is not something I do much - but have had some conversations the last coupla weeks that make me think it's time. want to talk about how the old things pass away, we honor them but do not dwell in them, and that each moment of passionate, intentional worship is what God asks of us. Maybe weave in Paul? = the old stuff wasnt bad, but the new stuff is even better?

    I have 960 words, so not bad for this time of day, but hoping to have some r and r this afternoon, so better keep going :)

    I have WW approved Peach Cobbler - please help me eat it!!!

  35. irony alert = I'm writing this as I sit in the salon getting my hair colored and highlighted.

    I have lots of themes and now trying to decide if they hang together AT ALL or not - so much richness in these texts! talking to the church about our congregations journey is not something I do much - but have had some conversations the last coupla weeks that make me think it's time. want to talk about how the old things pass away, we honor them but do not dwell in them, and that each moment of passionate, intentional worship is what God asks of us. Maybe weave in Paul? = the old stuff wasnt bad, but the new stuff is even better?

    I have 960 words, so not bad for this time of day, but hoping to have some r and r this afternoon, so better keep going :)

    I have WW approved Peach Cobbler - please help me eat it!!!

  36. Some good progress though less than I had hoped by this late in the day.

    Much stress from the fact that I picked a good, but challenging for undergrads, book on Muslim feminist theology. So now I am trying to make adaptations so it will work for the last unit, while simultaneously finishing up the study guide and exam for the second to last unit. Step 1: dropped chapter 3, which should help a lot. Step 2: Brain cloud about what else to cut and creating the study questions for each day's reading. Step 3: Solved, or at least postponed, by trading the "work on your research paper day" from late in the term to the Tuesday of Holy Week. Thankfully Maundy Thursday is a holiday, a welcome break even with a daily choir or cantor gig Thur-Sun.

    Also researched retreat dates and have a half filled in online reservation form, but this requires final commitment on when and where to go, which also means deciding whether a possible family wedding trip is a go or not, which is affected by tax refund....More brain cloud.

  37. all, right here's my offering. such as it is.

  38. Well I got up this morning and spent 5 hours (round trip) retrieving our primary vehicle from being serviced (for the second time in as many weeks, for the same presentign problem -- but I am not bitter)

    A month or so ago I decided to preach on Isaiah and the new thing. Which turns out to be very fortuitious since afer the worship service I am announcing that I have requested a change in Pastoral Relations -- the congregation which is calling me is having their meeting to vote on the issue tomorrow as well so it is a bit ofa leap of (well-founded) faith. Once all is confirmed I'll put more info on my blog....

  39. Not preaching tomorrow; it's the deacon's turn. That has caused a pretty lazy week topped off by days of watching basketball.
    I know it is at the same time as BE3 but is anyone planning on going to Kanuga for the Episcopal Preaching Conference? Lauren Winner, Tom Long, MArtin Smith, Katharing Jefferts Schori, William Willimon and Bill Brosend. All for $300.
    It is spring here and was yesterday too. I'm doing short bouts of yard work before coming back to the basketball games. First day in shorts and t-shirt, tho.
    No food whatsoever to offer, alas. I'll be shopping soon for tomorrow's Lenten soup supper (last) so come on by MOnday for leftovers.

  40. ooh, MP, that sounds like an amazing salad. I might be able to make a little adaptation of that with stuff I have around (spinach, gorgonzola, pecans I can lightly glaze, and maybe some strawberry balsamic vinegar...). I thought I could make lentil soup, too...since we're apparently having winter again, and I have all the ingredients for that on hand. Then it just needs a little quick re-heat and it'll be good to go. Maybe I'll do both!

    I just came back from listening to the choir/percussionists rehearse for tomorrow and it's going to be AWESOME! then i remembered that I haven't planned a single moment of the confirmation class for Sunday. Sigh. Just when I thought my most pressing problem was what to bring to a potluck....

    I'm about to make a mushroom risotto with fresh parmesan so if it's getting close to dinner time, or a late lunch time, come on over and help yourselves!

  41. Gord, prayers for you, and may the Spirit guide and protect you.

    Juniper, that's taking multi-tasking to a new level!

    Nik, how are the smells going?

    Mompriest, enjoy both preaching and presiding tomorrow.

    Ruth, the whole foot-washing practice has been on my mind. We haven't done it for several years in our congregation, and before that it required arm-twisting to get participants. I wonder if part of the problem is that in today's world, or at least my part of it, it is such an intimate action but without context. I've been trying to think of a modern practice that is comparable, showing love and service and hospitality, but nothing comes to mind so far aside from serving a meal, and that one is already covered.

    Who knew playing solitaire could be sermon prep? Well, probably you did, but it truly helped me! As I played, I was pondering the new thing theme. It occurred to me that too often we think of "new thing" as being like dealing out another round of solitare, when really that's just the same game with the same cards rearranged in a new way. God's new thing is a whole new game! I can work with that...

    Note to self: play games on the computer more often as sermon prep ;-)

  42. Betsy, have you ever tried the option where people, to their comfort level, get to wash feet as well as be washed? I love it, as do my kids; in fact, we feel quite frustrated and left out in parishes where the clergy do all the washing, and heartbroken where it is dropped altogether.

    It sounds like an even bigger step than the traditional way, but it actually is more comfortable for many people. We have been in many parishes, Episcopal as well as Catholic, where the broader participation is unbelievably popular. I think this is for several reasons: 1) it really validates lay ministry and full discipleship in allowing everyone to serve each other as Jesus asked us to 2) many people are more comfortable washing than (just) getting washed 3) having several stations means that all attention is not focused on the pastor and the few people up there with her 3) the intimacy factor is addressed by the fact that you can go up with your family or dear friends and take turns washing each others feet--a tremendously powerful experience.

    If the feet just don't feel right for your folks, though, some churches also do hands--not a common cultural practice but a less intimate one if that is part of what's scaring people off.

  43. I've tried to leave two comments and the internet keeps eating them!

    Trying this one now just to see. Am only 25% through my sermon, which has gone rather metaphysical on me, and though I'm having fun, I need to make sure I can get it back to something people can relate to.

    Okay, publishing now....

  44. Sophia, thanks for the tips on hand/foot washing. lots to think about.

    MP, your salad sounds awesome. I want some. I'm so glad you are preaching and presiding tomorrow.

    Now, I really have to bite the bullet and practice for tonight. I don't know why I am feeling so meh about it.

    be back in a little while again!

    what does anyone want for supper???

  45. earthchick -- metaphysical, hmmmm. sounds very intriguing...

    and Gord -- also, prayers for the transitioning...

  46. My pleasure, Diane.

    In reflecting more on the difference between people getting washed by pastor or washing/getting washed by each other it occurred to me that the former is performance/drama meant to be watched and the latter participatory meant to be acted out by those who choose.

    Performance/drama can be a very powerful way to illustrate a point--in this case the love and humility of Jesus washing the disciples' feet--but it might also account for the discomfort many laypeople feel being up front/"on stage" with all eyes on them.

    Just got a call from friend with piano so I'm off to practice at her place.

  47. Sophia, that's exactly what we've done in every parish I've been in (5); I actually hadn't even considered any other way. And over time I've seen fewer and fewer people wanting to participate. I think you are exactly right that when it is only the clergy doing the foot-washing, many additional layers of barriers are added! I suspect there is a lot to unpack in the whole event.

    Off to take a complaining teen to get his haircut; he wants to do this, but he also wants to take the trip out as an opportunity for me to spend all sorts of other money on things he wants...

  48. Betsy and Sophia, I've never seen it done with only clergy and, like you, Betsy, had never considered doing it that way. That would feel wrong to me on so many levels.

    I really miss participating in footwashing rituals, but don't feel my current congregation would be open to such an intimate ritual. Maybe with my college students though. Hmmm....

  49. I read something today about footwashing and the issue of cultural context--that our feet don't get dirty the same way they did in jesus' day, that footwashing isn't a common occurrence and so seems weird and uncomfortable when it shows up once a year (or less)...the write suggested instead that we in the West think of it more like a shoeshiner--Jesus takes the role of servant/person we don't really look at unless we're inspecting the job they've done, and does something we find a little a shoeshine boy setting up shop on the sidewalk.
    It was an interesting comparison and certainly a more accessible one for most people I know. It lacks the intimacy of the footwashing ritual, but then again I'm not sure that a servant-offered footwashing would have felt terribly intimate in those days either--it became so because Jesus was doing something someone else should have done and so made the disciples take notice.

    Just a thought to share...there's also mushroom-and-fresh-parm risotto for any who're hungry! :-)

  50. Because we have a busy day tomorrow our "Sunday dinner" is today -- a lamb roast, covered in garlic and rosemary, with Greek roasted potatoes and steamed spinach on the side. Passing around the shiraz...or some A&W rootbeer (gotten on a distractionary excursion...)

    I'm preaching tomorrow, and having a very hard time focusing my thoughts on our very meaty Scripture lessons. I am leaning in the direction of talking about responding extravagantly to the call of God, in a society where people are off-put by "religion" but seem to have a hunger for spiritual meaning even if they can't always define that. Or something.

  51. Re footwashing--I think our discomfort is part of the point! And for that reason, I don't particularly like the handwashing substitution.

    A couple of years ago I incorporated that notion of how uncomfortable we are with our feet and the intimacy of the footwashing into my Maundy Thursday sermon...need to dig that one up and take a look at it again.

    Tomorrow I'm telling O. Henry's story, The Gift of the Magi as an intro in my sermon b/c I think it really illustrates the kind of generous, sacrificial giving that Mary acts out in the gospel. I have a draft but it needs some polishing before I post it. Now I am off to pick up the Kid at the train station in Ivy City.

  52. I'm thinking about the underlying theme of the Lenten stories as being about that one who stands just outside, looking in - the Older Brother, Judas, the tree which needs time, the wild chicks of Jerusalem. So many stories about Jesus and his relationships to those who don't get what he's about. Maybe it's a stretch, but my contribution is here

  53. Ok, one down, two to go (tomorrow). Sermon on "Do You Know New?" went pretty well despite my tiredness. The Saturday night crowd are my people, though - they have loved me into my ministry for the past 4 years. Tomorrow, on to the "big" main services at 8:45 and 11. I used both Isaiah and John this week. I loved what BBT said about the John text (you can find it at Day One) and what Katy Huey said about Isaiah at the UCC website. I am so glad that Textweek has been listing recent Christian Century articles on their website each week too.
    Hope everyone is doing well...I'm going to drive home listening to Garrison Keillor and then tuck myself into bed ASAP! I'll share some Trader Joe's dark chocolate nonpariels (sp) with all who need to stay awake!

  54. I've been playing too much this week. That's why I've only just gotten around to finishing up something for tomorrow. Went more with the gospel than I anticipated earlier in the week. Hope it does the job.
    For children's time, I'm going with scented candles and the idea of a little managing to pervade a lot - Mary's act of love being retold throughout history.

  55. My draft, Oil of Love is here. Now, finally, some time to read yours!

  56. done with the "early edition". still feeling kind of meh, but did fix it a little... but going home for supper, etc now.

    pizza anyone? or is that not lenten enough?

    since returning from AZ, I've been yearning for a prickly pear margarita.

  57. I just visited the website of the church where I (hopefully) will be going. They have posted the report the Search Committee is giving to their meeting tomorrow.

    Maybe they chose someone else ;), because this person sure sounds like a great choice!

  58. Teri, I am fascinated by the shoeshine analogy, and it really does come much closer to what I see as a parallel. Do you know where you read that? I think that when Jesus washed his disciples' feet, the point wasn't intimacy but turning the tables on servanthood. For a variety of reasons, footwashing in today's world has the strong potential to put the focus on unexpected intimacy, and for me the call to serve gets lost in that emotion as a result. Obviously, as some of you attest, it can work, but that has not been my experience. We've joked in our staff about washing each other's cars as a contemporary version!

    Liz, I love your scented candles idea; I need to file that one away. Could work with incense in a church so inclined as well.

    Lutheran Chik, is there room at your table for one more? That dinner sounds great!

    Mum Pastor, I really liked Katy Huey's article as well. I thought I was going with Isaiah, and I sort of am, but I'm really looking at the theme of newness represented in all the readings and how hard it is for us to set aside the past and imagine/allow a new thing.

    I forgot about the large ham in the garage refrigerator, so come help yourselves; there's plenty for sandwiches, omelets, or simply eating out of hand.

  59. Betsy,

    I read it in todays daily Lenten Devotion from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. You can find the whole lenten series here and then you have to scroll down to today (they're in order, starting Ash Wednesday and ending Easter).
    I don't know the person who wrote it, but it seems to be a seminary educated man who attends there--perhaps one of many retired pastors hanging around here?
    I hope you find it helpful! I agree with your reasoning behind why that metaphor resonates--I don't think footwashing was nearly as intimate a thing in Jesus's time, since it would have been normal and expected. What was unexpected was the *Jesus* was doing it, not a servant, and then teaching us to put ourselves in that position of humility/service as well.
    My two cents. They may come up in my Maundy Thursday sermon! :-)

  60. Gord, That sure sounds like a mighty fine pastor they've found! Praying for both congs tomorrow as they receive the news - and for you as you prepare to transition. blessings

  61. A big thank you to Songbird for the inspiration. My sermon is here. It is a telling of the anointing story of Jesus from the perspective of Mary of Bethany.

  62. Diane, I just read your sermon...wonderful! I found that both your story at the beginning and your different ways of looking at what feet represent spoke very clearly to me.

  63. Just popping by on my way to bed to say congrats to Gord - that is one great pastor those folks are going to get! So glad it is you!

  64. Music practiced, daughter read to, and I am back to combing through beloved but baffling medieval texts for a conference paper proposal. Not due till May but there's a lot of other writing in May, and a lot of teaching between now and then, and it's just a page--so stress would really decrease if I can finish it. Or even just come up with a snappy title.

  65. Oh, people! You gals are finishing up left and right over here, and here I am still struggling through. [too bad She Rev is on vacay! I would feel better reading that she hadn't started yet! ;) ]

    Before I actually started writing, I had a bunch of fairly whimsical ideas that I had a lot of energy around. But once I got into the sermon, they seemed not so much whimsical as frivolous. And what I've got now I'm just not feeling much energy around. Phooey!

    I feel like I'm at the point where I need to wrap it up - even though it has turned out about 25% shorter than usual - but I can't seem to find an ending. The one I had originally planned - whimsical! - no longer works. Bah!

  66. Earthchick, I'm not done yet! While this is my first ever comment here, I've been lurking at the party since I started my first call last August.

    Anyway, I'm working on the Isaiah text and stuck a bit. I'm thinking about water and our relationship to the past and God's new thing ever in our midst.

    Blessings on all those still writing!

  67. Mir, welcome!! Thanks for coming out of lurkdom. :) I'm glad to have a buddy still slogging away on Isaiah. ;)

  68. Mir and Earthchick, count me in your number; the incisive, inspiring thoughts I had about Isaiah earlier are looking much too pedantic in print, and I need more of them no matter what. Good to have company!

    Others are all out at a movie, and I am trying to fight the temptation to go to TJ's (ah, c'mon, it's only 1 mile won't take long), watch TIVO'd shows, or nap. Don't know how much longer I can hold out.

  69. Tired. Headachey. Hungry. (Whiny.) And not a word of the sermon written yet. My day consisted of a three-hour drive with a two-hour hospital visit in the middle of it. The patient: a 17-year-old girl with some serious problems.

    I'm thinking about starting the sermon by wordlessly taking down my long hair. Just to make a point about unexpected actions that have intimate implications. Or do you think that would be too weird for people?

    But first...some of that pizza and risotto (not to be greedy) would be GREAT!

  70. OK - really late to start but enjoy reading what's up with ya'll!
    Re: footwashing - one of our worship team members volunteers at local faith based assisted living and shared a unique way to do the footwashing from there. Using a silky scarf-like piece of fabric, the footwasher merely passes/floats the fabric over the foot - eliminating the need for bare feet. Although I like the vulnerability aspect of using water and a basin, this just might work for us. We'll give it a try for Maundy THursday but wonder if I might 'tease' it out tomorrow somehow first.
    And then this week my mind has been stuck on the movie 'Chocolat' - specifically the abundant generosity Vianne offers to all in town, especially the outcast.
    In our current global recession, there is an understandable fear of scarcity among humans; yet, God offers us abundant and generous grace. How might we understand and live in that abundant grace?

    All this and going through the Prepare/Enrich training and my first pre-marital counseling session today and discovering a sale on some favorite jewelry (which is unusual as I'm not really a shopper - esp. for jewelry).

    And the funny of the day was my husband's call to tell me that our girls are celebrating Christmas by bringing out the nativity set due to the snow. I wonder - does this present a theological conundrum, given the close proximity to Easter? Or merely a visit to incarnational theology?
    Now to tuck in the Christmas girls and then begin the sermon!

  71. My sermon is having a hard time a-birthing, but I'm on what I hope is the final page. I am approaching the Gospel lesson as an example of the sort of extravagant love for God that touches people outside the community of faith and moves them inside -- the kind of authentic experience that so many of them seek on some level. I am reminding our people of all the times in their lives they may have experienced the loving/saving/healing power of God, and encouraging them to live and love like they mean it, with the generosity and unself-consciousness and devotion of Mary.

  72. hey. back here for a little while anyway, doing a few minor revisions before bed.

    Thanks, Betsey! I'm feeling kind of meh lately, long story, I'll be able to share in a couple of weeks, and don't feel totally "on." I was supposed to preach Easter this year but now I'm not....

    I'll try to read some of the other sermons in a little while, too.

    and I'm so frustrated not being able to complete this sock! I get the three-needle bind-off in theory, but when I try to turn the sock inside out, everything gets screwed up.

  73. Diane, prayers for you as you wander a bit right now. Maybe that sock is a good example for today's lessons; it all made sense until God turned everything inside out!

  74. Diane, could you possibly Kitchener it instead?

  75. Whew! I finally finished. Good grief. This is kind of late for me. I can't believe what a struggle this one was, esp. since I actually thought I had a better grasp on what I was doing than I often do. Plans changed as the sermon came together though. Golly, I'm glad that's done!

    Now. On to Sunday School planning. Phew!

    Blessings on those who are still struggling. Diane, I wish I could help you figure out the 3-needle bind-off. Maybe if you look at it tomorrow with new eyes?

  76. Hilarity insues at God_guurrlll's house. I usually practice my sermon with beloved partner but she was too pooped to hear it by the time I finished. So I preached to my cat. I never saw him fall asleep so fast in his life. His head was down and he was breathing deeply before I got through my first page.

  77. OK - have now marked the video clip from Chocolat (preparing for and enjoying the birthday party). My spouse is perplexed with my procrastination (as usual) and wonders why I didn't get this done earlier in the week!! tee hee!

    So I'm contemplating a run to big box store to purchase Hershey's hugs to hand out as an example of God's extravagant abundant love for each of us. Perhaps the SS children could distribute them during the sermon.

    I do have an outline for the sermon. I hope to fine-tune it in the morning.

    Blessings to you EarthChick and Lutheran Chick...hope your sock works out Diane; blessings Gord on your day tomorrow - hope to hear good news about that new pastor!

  78. LMM I like the scarf idea. My tradition practices feetwashing (we choose the feet rather than foot...) You might want to make a demonstration part of the worship service where full feet/foot washing is done, then show the scarf example. It could be powerful enough that people will 'feel' the feet being washed by the scarf.

    I finally get to say "i'm not preaching tomorrow..." but I am leading worship for our guest speaker. And I have friends over as house guests so I'd better get to polishing up worship. SOrry I won't get to read all your blogs, perhaps they will make wonderful sunday afternoon reading!

    blessings to all

  79. Oh and congrats Gord, I trust all will go well.

  80. God Guurrlll, that is hysterical! As staff to two cats, I can fully imagine it happening, too. Rest assured your congregation will be more appreciative.

    I am only at about 75%. I know my husband will be home from the movies soon and ask, "Didn't you work on it while we were gone?" Or with any luck, he will know better than to say that...

  81. I don't know how to do kitchener yet.

    yes, everything seems to get mixed up and turned upside down.

    boy, am I tired.

    Gord!!! cogratulations seem to be in order.

    I have some fruit juice with 7 kinds of juices here, if anyone wants some. on the rocks.

  82. It's almost 11 pm and snowing here in Texas! The problem with this is the place I am guest preaching is 55 miles away over some high overpasses... Now I know you northerners will think this is silly, but us Texans have no clue how to drive on frozen stuff. So praying for temps to stay just above freezing and for safe travel.

  83. Congrats Gord! I'll be joining the eleventh hour party more often after July 1 when I will be appointed as a solo pastor. More details in the next few weeks.

  84. Two items for tomorrow's youth cake auction are cooling in the kitchen. I'm hoping the weather doesn't dampen the participation for their fund raiser.

    My sermon has a story about the new Alice in Wonderland that someone else shared in another place and that is the only change from earlier. I guess now is the time to get it finished.

  85. hi I'm back - been sitting at the computer for 1/2 hour, looking at emails and wondering if I should answer them or work on my sermon. I've got a juicy email thread going on that needs some attention, but then that sermon is coming up tomorrow like it or not, so I guess that first.

    I got no ambition at all - think I'll go make an english muffin and some tea and see if that perks me up.

    anyone else still writing?

  86. Juniper, Vicar, anyone's it going? I just need one or two good sentences to finish this off, and they are not coming. Maybe I can find one in someone else's sermon, because they sure don't seem to be resident in my mind right now!

  87. I'm back--I did some researching and came up with more exciting things to say, then decided I needed a brief nap before I could really focus and write. Not sure I got enough of a nap to really do that though!

    Nobody commented on the hair idea, so I am guessing it will be okay for tomorrow. We'll find out!

    Diane, I would pass along links to Kitchener help, but I'm guessing you've turned in for the night, and even if you haven't, Kitchener should not be attempted for the first time this late at night.

    Glad a few of us are still up. :)

  88. hi, I'm still here.

    got a decent sort of rough draft, so may leave it for the morning to finihs up and tie it all together.

    semfem - I liked your hair idea, mostly becuase it made me a little uncomfortable, and I think that story is so unsettling. also, I think there's a tendency to skip over the intimacy of the act that mary performed. even on the working preacher podcast, which I generally love, they were sort of giggly about that part.

    funny thing this reminds me of: (and probably unrelated) but we had a muslim speaker in our church this week and she was talking about modest dress. she said the first time she showed The Sound of Music to her kids, they saw the nuns in teh first scene and asked "oh, are those women Muslim?"

    I think it reminds me of it, because hair is so potent that in many cultures and times, women have actually been compellled to (or chosen, in teh case of our speaker) to cover their hair. All this is a long way to give a thumbs up on the hair thing...

  89. yes, certainly need to work on that ending - so many ideas in this sermon and something must tie it together. BUT I dont think tonite will be the night for that - gonna sleep on it and trust that joy (or at least a little bit of insight) will come with the morning.

    blessings on your writing and preaching. walk those dogs proud, now.

  90. Got it...reading other's words, and finally Liz's, helped me figure out where I needed to go to wrap up mine. Thanks, Liz!

    Now I can look at leisure through the group pictures posted of the very big, week-long school trip younger son is on; only 36 hours gone and I miss him like crazy, but seeing the smiles on his face and those of his classmates is all I really need :-)

    Prayers for all preachers, presiders, and participants tomorrow.

  91. I don't know what I was thinking but I didn't look at email, twitter, facebook or the party until the sermon was completed and printed. Now, everything is done including the dishwasher started and I need to sleep. But I'm kinda awake. So I'm headed for bed and some "sleep aid" meds.

    I hope finishing up goes smoothly for the rest of you.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  92. Thanks for your thoughts, Juniper. I agree, Working Preacher did kind of get giggly about the nature of the act, which is not like them.

    Juniper, Betsy, Vicar--glad you are all finished, or in places where you can go to sleep. I caught a bit more shuteye and now finally feel like I could start writing (with the help of a Coke I had stashed in the fridge). Here goes...

  93. 1239 words and I think I'm done. That's a bit long, but we'll see if I can trim anything back a bit. And I wrote it about an hour--not too shabby! At least it's done.

    Now to quickly put together a council report for our meeting after church, then take a shower and start the day.

    I'll put the coffee on for the early risers!

  94. good morning. sorry I abandoned you all last night. I am up and getting ready for the morning. and am reminding you all (and myself) about the holy spirit, inhabiting our words, our lives, our churches, our sermons!

    blessings on your day.


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