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Saturday, April 03, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: The Biggest Sunday Ever Edition!!!

A church in my general area advertises that tomorrow will be "The Biggest Sunday Ever!"

No pressure, preachers.

It's just the biggest Sunday ever.

Meanwhile, here we sit in the funny place between.

The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment. (Luke 23:55-56, NRSV)

That must have been an uncomfortable day. And in our own time, while God is dead, the flower committee certainly is not.

How is it with you today? Are you writing a sermon? Preparing for a vigil service? Will you be up at sunrise? Leading multiple services? Singing or hearing the "Hallelujah Chorus?" (Exhausted yet?) Chime in via the comments and let us know. Tell us what you're preaching: Luke? John? Acts? And if you have a great idea for a children's message, please share it!

There is coffee cake to share, and coffee and organic green tea (all Fair Trade!). Whatever else you bring to the party, bring yourself. We are in it for the long haul today and will join in the hymns of praise when Easter morning dawns!


  1. Thanks Songbird!

    I'm still winding down from Good Friday and a Tenebrae service with a slight fire incident. All is fine, but it was a little exciting there for a moment.

    As for Sunday, I'm preaching Luke and have a glimmer of an idea, but nothing fully formed yet. Will be back in the afternoon (after a massage and mani-pedi! I decided to splurge and have nice nails for Easter).

    I love Easter Vigil, but fortunately for my sanity, we don't do one.

    Can't wait to see what's cooking with you all...and how many comments we end up with when all is said and done. :)

  2. Ooh, sweet! I hope to have a mani-pedi after Easter. You remind me to get it on the schedule! And would you like to tell us more about the fire?

    We have two services, and they are completely different. I'll be leading worship at 8 a.m., preaching the John text. My colleague will preach Luke at 10 a.m. I'm happy to have the chance to write a sermon and do some liturgy, too. I wrote a Call to Worship using John 20:1 interspersed with part of Psalm 118, and I really like it. (If anyone is still waiting to do a bulletin and wants to see it, let me know.) We will gather in the Narthex and have the Call there, then process with the Christ candle, which was carried out at the end of the Tenebrae service. Our Choir Director will be in the balcony, unseen as we enter, singing "Were you there when Christ rose up from the tomb," and I hope it will be thrilling!

    For now, I really ought to sleep. We're having the last session of Soul Spa, the women's group I've been leading, at 9 a.m. So good night for now.

  3. Thanks for the early kickoff, SB! I assissted with a Good Friday service today and sat in on an interview with another choir director candidate. Uh, it was, in a word, interesting.
    Sunday I preach at sunrise service, but the other pastor wrote the liturgy. It is long liturgy. My sermon will be short, short. The service itself is 30-45 minutes usually.
    Then, regualr Easter Sunday service.
    Now for the kicker. Many of you talked about having members pass away between T-day and Christmas. Today, one of our long time, beloved members had a heart attack and died in his driveway.
    T opended the church, early, every Sunday. he made the coffee, and took attendance for sunday school and he counted the money. He stayed until the very end and locked up each Sunday. He had two near death experience, once as a child and one as an adult. Both times he saw St Peter at the "gate" and was told it was not his time and to keep going.
    This was a story he told frequently to any and all who listened. Today, I guess St Peter welcomed him home and said, "Well, done good and faithful servant."
    So, I have a eulogy and sermon to work on for early in the week.
    Busy times. Oh and egg hunt tomorrow, followed by funeral of a friend's father.
    I am hanging in and think all will be good, but will be glad to read any ideas and thougths on your easter service. Still need a lightbulb moment.

  4. Oh, SB!
    We are doing the last verse Were You There too!
    We do not have a balcony, so she will stand at back and sing.
    She sang it for Maundy Thursday during the "stripping of the church."
    I think it will be really thrilling

  5. we too are beginning with were you there when he rose. Preached Thursday and Friday -first time for both, usually just have reflections. Now having trouble settling in for Sunday. Sunrise service in the park, one of the Lay preachers leads, and I lead the morning service at church.
    We are using a couple of skits from Iona resources, one of 3 women going to the tomb, the other a dialogue between Peter and Mary.
    The sermon so far consists of 3 questions, and I am feeling so blah about the whole thing I am thinking of just putting them on the screen and leaving it for people to reflect on while some music is played.
    Where do we look?
    What do we find?
    Who do we tell?
    the bit that got me from Luke is "why do you look for the living among the dead" and the way we think we know where to find God/ life/ peace/ etc, and then it isn't where we expect.
    also Peter goes home, Mary tells what she has experienced. Just no sense of a sermon anywhere, and at 5.30pm Saturday a glimmer at least would be good. But the rest is done, except for children's talk, which is also me. I usually talk about Easter eggs and then have the children hand out eggs, but bought a heap of bulbs at the church bulb drive recently [here it is autumn] so have enough to give away tomorrow. And husband save a dead flower head from a sunflower for me - think I'll take that and we can talk about death and new life. actually I think we have some small sunflower plants in the garden, not sure that I can pull it up and then plant it again?
    maybe a cup of tea will help. anyone else wnat one?

  6. Just enjoying a leisurely breakfast - tea and toast to share before ploughing on with laundry. Hope to spend the day packing for a trip that starts sunday evening - to Virginia! Can't wait. Leading a womens retreat on Playful Spirituality for a few days and then hanging out with friends.
    Back to tomorrow. It's done. All age so no preaching. We'll let the alleluias loose - I have a soundbyte from the Alleluia chorus to play as the box is opened and the now colourful alleluias are released. Other than that we have an easter baptism and confirmations. Tonight, I'm off to a wedding reception. As well as regular worship tomorrow I have a dawn service and an Easter celebration early evening. I'll be really glad to see the airport hotel tomorrow night.
    But lots of celebration to be had in between. Look forward to sharing the day with you

  7. all done. decided a slightly expanded children's talk and no sermon. the biggest Sunday ever will be that without a sermon!
    Part of the panic was Sunrise service in the morning - leave home at 5.30 am - and daylight savings finishes tonight. I always have trouble working out which way the clocks go and I was thinking we had an hour less sleep but it is an hour more ! hallelujah! all the best revgals - chamomile anyone?

  8. Chamomile would be lovely, PRL. So glad you had the extra hour!
    1-4, so sorry for this loss!!! Hugs to you.
    Liz, your trip sounds great!!!

  9. Semfem, indeed, do tell all. I-4, yes, huge will be an interesting day for you all tomorrow...and the Liz the retreat sounds fun!
    We've had a lovely week of liturgy--no preaching. A Tenebrae/footwashing on Thursday, and last night a prayers and petitions at the foot of the cross. Our seminary intern who has GORGEOUS voice sang this beautiful haunting song at the end called "God Weeps" from the new UCC Sing and Praise book. Blew me away.
    I get to preach on John tomorrow...and we will do communion.
    SB, I wish I could drive up and attend the early sounds really cool, esp. the CtW.
    I will be emailing you.......

  10. I am off to church shortly to preach the Holy Saturday service. Usually there aren't too many people other than the Altar Guild which is chomping at the bit to clean and decorate. I'm going to talk about the Lamentations reading.

    Tomorrow, I am preaching Luke and the sermon is based on "Remember what he told you." I love the fact that Jesus does not appear in this reading, that the first thing they are told to do is remember what Jesus told them. That's what we have to do, too, particularly because we cannot be there at the resurrection and because we are to remember that Jesus is coming again.
    Anyway, we'll see how it turns out. We do two services on Easter just like every Sunday. This one will be followed by an egg hunt and big reception. Then home to crash. What kind of wine goes with an egg salad sandwich??

  11. Margaret--whatever kind you have!

  12. I'll be gone all day to celebrate Easter with a BBQ--we're having gorgeous weather!--with my family, and meet my new brother-in-law. I have charge of the sunrise service. The liturgy's all done, bulletins printed, but I have no idea what I'm preaching about. I'm using John, but it feels like there are so many possibilities, it's hard to know which direction to choose!

  13. Good morning all! Wow, you gals have been busy already!

    1-4 Grace, I'm so sorry for your and your church's loss. Such a blow to lose a church leader any time, but especially at this time of year. Prayers for you.

    This week has been up and down for me. We celebrate Maundy Thursday and Good Friday afternoon with other churches, and I am not always thrilled with the worship choices that are made. I usually have to wait until Good Friday evening when we have our Tenebrae service before I can really feel connected to the realities of Holy Week. But yesterday afternoon's shared Good Friday service really blew me away. My husband preached, and it was the best Good Friday sermon I've ever heard. Then our organist played Albononi's Adagio and WOW. I was weeping. It touched me on such a deep level, and it was so nice to feel ministered to in such a stressful week.

    Now, on to Easter. Whew! I'm preaching Luke, struggled with a title all week, then settled for the decidedly lackluster Not Here only because it was 8:00 Friday morning and I had to turn something in for printing. Finally came up with a first line of the sermon yesterday afternoon, only to discover late last night that it was almost word-for-word a sentence that opens a reflection I read in Feasting on the Word. Guess that had been rattling around in my subconscious all week. So, back to the drawing board.

    If I could just get my opening, I think I would be off and running. My sermon needs to be on the shorter-than-usual side because we are having an extra-long piece of special music, plus we always all sing the Hallelujah Chorus, plus we are celebrating communion (we only celebrate once a month).

    I have very little food to share, but my husband might be running out for breakfast burritos shortly if anyone wants one!

  14. Friends, I'm off to church for a program, will return later this morning. Beth and earthchick, welcome!
    revkjarla, always glad to get an email from you. :-)

  15. I've got a loose collection of thoughts around Luke.

    Holy week for me has been a funny one this year - I'm still not settled in a non parish role when it comes to the big occasions but our joint walk of witness for Good Friday really gotme yesterday with a wonderful dance group of young people with Down's Syndrome bringing me to tears.

    I think I'm going with finding ourselves in different parts of the story.When I delivered some greenery to the flower team I told them they were the women preparing the spices and it blew them away so I think I'm going to build on that.

    I'm about to gather loads more greenery for the easter garden we're building with an unknown number of children at 5pm and I'm hoping that gives me lots more fuel for my sermon too.

  16. Morning all! Glad to have lots of company on this busy, busy day.

    I've got nothing but an idea about preaching about the empty tomb from John's text. The title I went with earlier in the week is "Show and Tell." Having nothing in the tomb is the greatest show and tell from God ... or something like that.

    First, chocolate chip pancakes. Pull up a chair if you want some :)

  17. semfem - - fire incident? Yikes!

    I had my glimmer of insight about 3 weeks ago now, but haven't done anything with it yet. A church member offered to take my kids weeding at the labyrinth at church this morning, so I MAY have time to work on it this morning, but really I'm leaning toward going shopping. I have only bought 1 item of maternity clothing this pregnancy, so I think I owe myself a dress for tomorrow.

    It's my first time since the last call that I have two services on a Sunday, meaning two sermons - - sort of. At the last call it was always just the same one twice, but this time we're doing two different services. The sermon will be similar, but I'm doing a more conversational/interactive version at the first, and a "normal" version at the second. The tough part for me will actually be keeping both of them to "communion length." Must do it!

    Oh well. Dealing with family and egg-type stuff first, then the sermon later and probably tonight!!

  18. Oh yeah - - and my sermon is going to be around that whole question in Luke "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" and something about the tombs we tend to try keep Jesus in when really he is out among the living. Or something like that.

  19. Hello pals,

    1-4 grace sorry for your loss. It is so hard when a church loses a loved one especially during the high holy days.

    I have a bit of anxiety as I approach writing my sermon. I am a part time interim pastor and I work as at a our conference library part time. I was just told on Thursday that I will be laid off my library job end of June, so I'm reeling off of that news. Sure made for an interesting time this Holy Week.

    So I am as I preach about new life in the midst of my anxiety, I think about the John text where Jesus tells Mary Magdelene to not hold on to him and Isaiah preaching about how God is about to do a new thing. Life is about change, one such change is resurrection into new life as Jesus shows us on Easter morning.

    Well those are my initial thoughts. Lets see if I can turn them into a sermon.

  20. Good Morning all!
    Sharing peppermint tea and fresh baked cinnamon rolls (thanks Pillsbury) today!
    For my first Holy Week, it's been amazing, tiring, high emotional input and output, some stress, and overall awesome!
    The week has already included Children's Chapel, First Communion class & rehearsal, Maundy Thursday service - footwashing, first communion and stripping of altar, Good Friday Family Service w/ ways of the cross, and Tenebrae service.
    Tonight is the Vigil (first time for my church) and tomorrow we only have 2 services with a breakfast and egg hunt between.
    I'm praying that my allergy-induced sore throat will at least not get worse in the next 24 hours.
    For my sermon tonight, I'll read St. John Chrysostom's Paschal Homily. So only need to work on tomorrow's sermon - same for both services.
    I'm preaching on Luke and the word 'remembered'. Maria-Luisa Rigato has a short word study and shows 2 ways of remembering. (from New Proclamation p. 9) One is the memory flashback to an event, the other is having a 'lighbulb' moment that leads to total comprehension.
    But first - off to have my nails fixed then celebrate my 9 year old's Adoption Day with lunch at her favorite restaurant then perhaps go to see How To Train Your Dragon before the Vigil. So sermon needs to happen in my head while I'm running around! Praying for Holy Spirit to be present and available today for me - surely she's not too busy!?!?

  21. OH MY! Sorry for the humongous post!

  22. 1-4 grace: sorry for your loss. It is so rough during this already full weekend...

    GG - sorry about the library job. You know I'm praying for you.

    Sermon's done for me. If I go back to it, I'll get all anxious and start changing it, so I'm having coffee with my sisters instead. It's Easter. It is both the easiest and the most difficult sermon of the year to write.

    The C&E people want to hear what they have heard every year, but the fact is that the church (at least our congregation) takes a much more post-post-modern approach that the C&Es might think they've wandered into the wrong building.

    Moral of the story: Ya can't please all the people all the time. It's Easter. I do my best, let the Spirit do the rest, and count down the number of services until I can say "aaaaaahhhhh - done."

    blessings on all of you for a joyous Easter season.

  23. Hello, my friends! I can't beleive it has been so long since I posted! My usual weekly schedule has changed do to life circumstances and so I generally have my sermon done on Saturday--or done enough that it just needs tweaking and a print-out.
    But not this week!
    1-4, so sorry for your loss--it is so difficult when a pillar of the church goes home.
    So here I sit with some notes and an idea of where I want to go with it--remembering what we never witnessed, or else (more doable, I think) resurrection breaking the bonds of the reality we know as it broke the bonds of the grave.
    And all to be done in the next hour or so, as I have shopping to do, hair to be cut, eggs to hard-boil and color and an Easter vigil to attend tonight. Yikes!
    Cinnamon rolls and tea sound lovely, thanks!

  24. We are celebrating the Great Vigil of Easter sermon is done for that one (truth be told, a couple of years ago I did GF and Easter Vigil sermons that were a matched pair and I'm recycling them this year, with some minor tweaking. But since I've preached 5 times this week already, I don't feel badly about that at all.) We have Luke tonight but John tomorrow. Earlier this week I talked about "characters of Holy Week" and two of them were Peter and Mary Magdalen, so I am picking up on that tomorrow with the addition of the Beloved Disciple to talk about how they all experienced the resurrection differently--so how do we experience and how do we find Jesus? Something like that.

    But first I'm going over to the church to see how the decorating is going. This is the first vigil here in more than 20 years, and I think a few folks are nervous about it.

    I've been pleased with the response to my very ambitious Holy Week I hope this Vigil goes well. It's my favorite service of the whole year.

    As an added bonus the weather is GORGEOUS.

    Be back later!

  25. Tomorrow morning will come early - living in the only country in the entire world to have day light savings time begin tomorrow.

    There will be one Easter Service at 6am (or 5 depending on how you look at it), everyone is the congregation will be dressed in all white (which is actually an amazing sight), and later everyone in the church will head to the city park to gather for fellowship and a "Road to Emmaus" retreat.

    So different from what I grew up with, but it is so wonderful to be able to share the traditions and experiences of others.

  26. wow there's a lot going on! semfem, I'm dying to hear about the fire incident--especially since we joke about "accidental" fires during worship that would allow us to get a new building!
    1-4, so sorry--this will be a strange Sunday all around, it sounds like.
    Liz, are you going to the HerStory conference????
    GG--there's nothing like timing, is there? sorry for your coming loss and for the way they told you. :-(

    I have tea and McVitie's biscuits and...umm...milk. And makings of Easter dinner--all the ingredients for a seitan "pot roast" and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole! yum! but I can't share that until tomorrow, sorry!
    Tomorrow we are having our normal Sunday Schedule instead of the insane Easter schedule, due to lower attendance patterns of the no-pastor-period AND spring break. I'm glad to have just the usual 3 services (all with communion and LONG special music, 2 with Hallelujah chorus!), so there's a 20 minute break between the second and third so I can visit the Easter Breakfast cooked up by the men's group! mmm, pancakes...

    Before then...must. write. sermon. My title is "Crazy Talk" and I'm doing something with the "idle tale" (aka BS..."lairos" in greek) business. I think. I haven't started, so....who knows.

  27. Forgot to mention that I am including the Emmaus pericope in the Gospel reading--the lectionary doesn't actually have the resurrected Jesus in it, after all. Which is where the remembering/recognizing comes in--Jesus is recognized in the breaking of the bread, as they had seen him do many times, most recently of course right before his arrest.
    I also need to put something in about membership, as we have five people joining tomorrow.
    This is beginning to look like an impossible sermon!

  28. 1-4 Grace, sorry for your loss. I presided yesterday for a beloved member of our church (and especially beloved to me). may you be shored up by the Spirit.

    this week has been a one day at a time and i'm clueless for tomorrow i am praying that the Spirit will hold me and speak through me because i'm feeling pretty empty.

    thankfully we had our egg hunt last Saturday! this will be our first Easter morning without Merkin. she's going to be at a lock-in and serving breakfast at another church (the breakfast is a fund-raiser for their summer mission trip). i'm going to miss her!

    i'll have 4 services tomorrow which is double for me. sunrise, our regular 2, and then it's my turn for the nursing home in the afternoon. i always struggle with the last--i can't imagine i have much to share when they've lived so long, i'm just a young whipper-snapper in comparison!

    thanks be to God that we are not alone! that is the best news i know--can i just say that and sit down?

  29. Teri, I like your title! I wanted to do something about the Idle Tale in my title (since I'll be spending part of my sermon time on it) but kept coming up with crap:
    The Nonsense Gospel
    Good News of Nonsense
    The Gospel of Delirium

    I love that part of the story (obvs) and will be doing something with it.

    Okay, I got a tentative beginning and am on page 2. Might get to dye Easter eggs with the boys after all. (otherwise dh is doing it)

    Have let myself off the hook about my big Easter meal plans. It's just the four of us tomorrow (first time in years that we haven't either hosted or been hosted), and I realized that I am the only one putting pressure on myself for a big ol' feast. We'll do something a little fancy but not the all-out meal I had in mind. Here's to lower expectations!

  30. I'm just here to check up on my dear RevGals who are up again tomorrow (some of you even tonight yet!) I got through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and co-pastor is preaching tomorrow. Sometimes the strangeness of Holy (Cow!) Week actually works in our favor...

    But, 1-4 not in your case and I'm so sorry. Prayers for you.

    All, I am headed to the store in a few minutes, can I pick you up anything?


    PS -- Thanks to those of you who were so kind last week about my cat gone missing. What is lost has been found! Bridget showed up Tuesday morning. If she ever gets out again I won't be so worried because I know she knows the way home (something about that last sentence just might preach...)

  31. Haven't been here for awhile but, goodness, the party is hopping early!

    Would love to see your CtW, SB! Is it posted on your page? I'm still working on bulletins and can use all the inspiration I can find!

    So sorry for your loss, 1-4.

    I've got everything ready for tomorrow except bulletins, sermon, and kids other words not much is ready! Plus I still need to get out and pick up lilies and get the sanctuary ready.

    Is it nap time yet?

  32. All kinds of things going on out there! Blessings in your preparations and coping - personal and corporate.

    Fighting a nasty cold...thanks for some tea!

    Counting on hubby to hit the Easter story during the Children's Message. I'll add Acts and Isaiah from the pulpit.

    Working with Eugene Peterson's "Living the Resurrection" . Just scratched the surface (it arrived Tuesday). Pulling in some resurrection wonder...making opportunities in our lives away from the controlled, product oriented to allow room for wonder, mystery, and awe.

    Easter flowers just arrived from Mom and Dad...complete with truffles!! More than happy to share!

    Hubby is at church helping with Work Day and the mountain of mulch is spread and pews are cleaned. I am on my way over very soon for the Egg the sermon rumbles around in the back of my head.

    Blessings one and all!

  33. Tomorrow's sunrise service is based on John while other services are based on Luke. We usually have communion on the first Sunday of the month & that will be true tomorrow. Some thought we'd move communion to another Sunday but no one has fussed when I said "that's just not right" either. I plan to put the Emmaus road into the communion liturgy ... but right now that is all I have, a plan, no actual work on it.

    Before I can settle down to those tasks, I need to go to the grocery store with "everyone in the county and their cousins" (as mom would say). Hope I see you sooner rather than later but I'll probably be here later, too.

  34. (((god gurrl)))
    Oh my. Prayers for you in writing and the lay off.

    I am back from doing errands--we had to go and buy a new bed frame thingy because our antique bed frame couldn't hold the fancy new mattress from a year ago and it just collapsed...then off to get vittles for the animals...

    and back with Mary in the garden. And the gardener.

  35. Teri, I'll be leading a retreat Monday through thursday and then chilling with friends in the shenandoah valley throughout the next week.
    Can't find info about this year's HerStory.
    We're all really busy today when it seems the rest of the world who aren't preachers are having an Easter break!:)

  36. 1-4, your beloved member's Easter has come a bit earlier than ours; what a difficult time for all of you.

    God Guurrill, I'm sorry about the job...a shock, I'm sure, and very hard to get your head back in the game for tomorrow.

    Meg, hooray on the prodigal kitty's return home!

    Rev Dr Mom, have you run across any of the material suggesting that the beloved disciple was Thomas? Very interesting and with a strong argument. How wonderful to have a pair of sermons you can recycle so you can catch your breath for a moment.

    I'm mostly done with my sermon for the Vigil; we have a baptism, and I am talking about how difficult it is for us to believe--in a world where almost everything has a catch--that the free gift of baptism is truly free. Got the idea for that while avoiding sermon-writing earlier in the week by watching a Ginzu knife demonstration, complete with all its "free" gifts! Family service tomorrow; I'll open the sealed up Alleluia box and talk about who was saying alleluia and why.

    Lots of leftovers in the fridge, so if you are in the mood for grazing, help yourself!

  37. Hi, I'm back! Briefly. My poor dog needs a walk! I just posted the Call to Worship on my blog.
    God_Gurlll, I am so sorry to hear this news! What awful timing.
    My sermon is still notes on paper taken during the Good Friday vigil. I'm going out with Sam Dog and start writing when I return.
    We've given up on cooking here and will go out to lunch tomorrow with a colleague!

  38. Hello Gals and Pals...just a brief check in here. I am trying to get all my ducks in a row for Easter Vigil in a few hours. Just realized I forgot to get the fire permit for the little fire pit fire we will have in the courtyard. Hope we will be ok without it. Sigh. My sermon is "Looking for the Living Among the Dead" and is based on an article I read in this week's Christian Century about what happens on Holy Saturday and that asterisk'd line in the Apostle's Creed "He descended to the dead" - how Jesus has been there, and so we don't need to fear going there. PRL that line got me too! Has to be quite short since my retired mostly widows mostly don't like to sit through a long service and can't move around much.

    1-4 and G-G, praying for you both, and all as you prepare. After tonight, I am on for tomorrow but just for the pastoral prayer, some reading, and the children's moment. I'll miss seeing my girls all dressed up in their finery since they will stay home and go to HomeChurch with my dh. He will sing there, and then we will all be back together for an afternoon of rest, egg hunting, and a shared delicious dinner with friends. So glad the girls have Monday off from school!

  39. wow what a party! I miss being with ya'll on saturdays!

    Today was the egg hunt, followed by some funeral prep with our head of staff for tomorrow afternoon's funeral (after our normal 3 services), and now I am off to go do a pastoral visit and meet 2 new baby horses and some chicks.

    Ok, so I need a children's sermon.... for lots and lots of hyper kids who will have eaten the candy out of their baskets. Any thoughts that will keep their attention?

    Blessings on the writing!

  40. Here's a little video of Anna Carter Florence talking about leros. I liked it a lot; maybe some of you might find it helpful too.

  41. I'm feeling a little guilty, my Holy Week work being largely done...we had a small but thoughtful crowd at our simple Good Friday service last night, at which I presided/preached. Tomorrow Fellow Traveler and I get to enjoy the Easter service as worshippers; a rare event these days while our pastor is on leave.

    Hey -- we're making five-spice chicken wings for the MSU game tonight...stop in for wings and an Oberon, or some iced tea on this unseasonably warm day here in Michigan.

  42. I'm preaching on Luke, but not much written yet. That mention in Christian Century about "descended into hell" caught me also, and I'm also intrigued by discussion of "practicing resurrection".

    I'm doing one of my favorite Easter children's sermons - a variation of an egg hunt. I hide plastic eggs all around the sanctuary and invite the children to go and find them during the singing of a hymn. Gives them a chance to move around during the service. They put the eggs in a basket and we open them during children's time.
    Some years I have put a slip of paper with one line of a prayer, or scripture, in each egg. This year one of my folks made a puzzle for me of a picture of a determined looking chick standing next to the broken-open egg. We'll put the puzzle together, talk about eggs and make the connection to the empty tomb and risen Jesus. (We've also printed a picture of an empty tomb to help with the connection.)

    Early afternoon I'll be out to dinner? with a nearby colleague and her husband. Tomorrow she gets to announce that she's leaving, being appointed to a new place!

  43. Knittinpreacher, thank you for mentioning the children's sermon!!! I needed to stop and pick up a few things for mine and had forgotten. I saw your email on my phone and made a detour to the craft store.
    I'm adapting a suggestion from Seasons of the Spirit, handing out pieces of colored paper to the children then telling the Easter story from Luke with colors added (black sky in the early morning, brown dusty path, green hillsides in memory of Jesus teaching, grey stone at the tomb and several others). The Seasons version was a first-person account of the John story, so I had to make changes to match with what will be read a few minutes later. We'll pass the papers out as kids come in and have them lift up their colored paper and wave it when their color is mentioned.

  44. I've got a draft with a couple serious holes awaiting compelling stories of modern resurrection.

    Lot's happening here tho. Hugs and prayers to all, especially for loss of such a key person in the church. What a day to celebrate resurrection amidst the sadness.

    I could use a children's story. Something about eggs. I'm going to dye a couple and have a raw egg, hard boiled and chocolate. what I"m going to say about those eggs remains a mystery.

    At least the egg hunt is done and my voice isnt' too bad. My cold is getting better and if I keep water nearby and some drops I should make it thru tomorrow. back to work...

  45. Hi Gang:
    I'm still in practicing resurrection mode. I don't love my sermon but it's coming to a close, which is good because I need to get ready for the vigil in a bit.

    @Eileen--Nora Gallagher has a great quote on practicing resurrection (I posted it a few days back on one of the earlier discussions) and there is, of course, Wendall Berry's great poem, Mad Farmer Liberation, which uses that phrase as well.

    I'm trying to weave together some real images of what it means to practice resurrection--I'd welcome your thoughts!!

  46. Okay everyone, I'm back from my massage-mani-pedi and various errands. So you want to hear about the fire story?!

    We added a new component to our Good Friday Tenebrae service--Adoration of the Cross, where we had handheld candles, gathered around the rough wooden cross and sang "Were You There?", then placed our candles in containers of sand and went back to our seats.

    Well, first we spilled sand all over the floor. So Easter will have an unintentional "beach" theme. Then a candle fell over and lit a plastic candleholder on fire, which melted into many different fiery bits. You get the picture.

    However! The end result, when the final electric light was put out and the only light that remained was the candlelight from the foot of the cross...AMAZING. And worth all the hassle and hazard.

    Now I'm back and hoping to get some sermonizing done (and let my nails dry) before I run over to church and do some last-minute errands. Y'all have got me intrigued with the "idle tale" now.

    1-4 Grace: so sorry to hear about your congregation's loss! It seems like there have been many deaths around Easter this year.

    GG: very sorry to hear about you being laid off. Talk about a tough week to get news like that!

  47. Wow, great party.

    Hi everyone. Hugs GG and 1-4 G - extra hard to have extra hard news this week.

    semfem - fire! goodness! adding to the clamor of Those Who Want To Know More :)

    Songbird - I wish I'd heard you describe that childrens time before. It sounds much better to me the way you say it than it did reading it in SOS.

    My sermon just has WAYYYY too much going on. I'm thinking of talking about Caprica, and how the avatars they make are based on certain things about them, but they are not real and how Christ really lives int eh stories people tell about him. What do you think? Too much of a stretch?

    Trying to remember that even though some folks will be in church for the only day of the year I dont also have to try and explain The Problem of Clergy Child Abuse In the Catholic Church AND How We Are Not Like Those Who USe Christianity As a REason To Slay Police Officers. Maybe, those can be better woven into the pastoral prayer? Or just forget it?

    Off WW for the weekend, so I have homemade lemon cupcakes and store-boughten coffee cake - help yourself!

  48. PS: For childrens time, I'm doing that thing with the candle that you blow out and then comes back on. And then passing out little cards with this quote on it (thanks Songbird) and a candle taped to it. Hope i wont get in trouble for distributing flammables.

    As you have the light,
    believe in the light.
    Then the light will be
    within you and shining
    through your lives.
    You’ll be children of the light.
    John 12:36 (from The Message)

    Wow, little bit ANXIOUS today!!!

  49. Juniper, I'm planning to reference the "flash sideways" plot on Lost, so I think you're in good company!

  50. okay, seriously. I took a nap (which did not provide the inspiration it usually does) and now it's both sunny and 3pm, so I really need to come up with SOMETHING. Must. Discipline. Self. To. Write. No more Facebook...

    ....for a few minutes, anyway. LOL.

  51. Sometime between the evening communion service on Maundy Thursday and early on Good Friday morning we had the lead stolen from our church roof. It rained heavily overnight inside church. Today the sanctuary carpet and pews have been drying out. None of the ancient wall paintings have been ruined thank goodness. Tomorrow we WILL celebrate the resurrection even if we have to have umbrellas in church! I'm just putting the finishing touches on a sermon to transform our grumpiness about this into Easter joy.

  52. Sermon is done. Not a barn buster but I think I conveyed the promise of new life adequetely. Please read and comment. Let me know if there is anything I can do to make it more exciting, relavent, eastery etc.

    You can read it here.

  53. oh, glorious - that is really a bummer! I'm so sorry and and impressed with your graciousness. I'm virtually shaking a fist at those lead theives on your behalf.

  54. Sarah, it was your post that got me thinking about practicing resurrection. There's a good sermon by Joseph Pagano listed on textweek on the theme, and he tells a great apartheid story about resurrection. I also googled "practicing resurrection" and got a couple of things: (and another is linked at the bottom of the page) (scroll down to "RElevant"

  55. has anyone else seen this???????

    trying to work out if it might fit for me. LOL.

  56. teri - i dont know whether to laugh or cry....

  57. So do the odds of winning a car go up if you get saved?

  58. I'm finding it a bit challenging to get the sermon for tomorrow written when tonight's Vigil is so much on my mind! It may be a late night tonight.

    The church looks lovely, and I think (and hope and pray) that I've remembered everything for the Vigil.

    Hugs to everyone dealing with losses and preparing for funerals!

  59. Here is Easter sermon to bring joy out of grumpiness at lead theives.

  60. Rev Dr Mom, I have trouble writing sermons "out of order," too. Not that time always allows the correct order for writing and preaching

  61. Teri, some of my altar guild ladies were talking about that today... crazy! I can't help but think that Jesus would be appalled.

  62. So if my early service is supposed to last 30 minutes, and there are two hymns and a pastoral prayer and an opening prayer and a call to worship and an introit/procession and an offertory, how much time do I need to fill with my meditation? 8-10 minutes? At most?

  63. OMG, songbird! i hadn't heard about that!

    I'm thinking of opening my sermon by asking people to think of the most outrageous thing they've ever heard...maybe I'll toss a couple of these in as examples!...and then move into resurrection being the most outrageous thing we've ever heard, actually--so outrageous that the first people to talk about it were accused of BS.

    Of course, if I would stop reading all the different articles going around FB today, maybe I'd actually have something written. How outrageous would *that* be??

  64. The headline I like the best: "The Jonas Brothers help sell out an Easter service." I wonder if the pun was intended.

  65. Vicar - - Thanks for pointing out what I can't believe I missed. I've been so focused on the resurrection part of the Luke narrative that it didn't even occur to me to work Emmaus into communion. Now I have new incentive to get my sermon in order. It's priority #1, but if I have time, I will write the communion liturgy myself instead of just doing it from the book. I like that a lot.

    1-4 and GG - - my prayers have been added.

    Songbird, will tuck that children's sermon away for another year since it's not my turn this year. I like that!

    So, the morning without the kids is done and they are now sleeping. They went down later than usual which means they'll get up later than usual which means to get everything done we need to after that they will again go down later than usual. I'm just hoping that DOESN'T mean I will be writing later than usual. Need to use this naptime wisely.

    Wondering what I did with my Easter CC since it seems to be talking at least a little about what I was going to write about. I could spend time looking for it, or I could start my own stuff and see how it goes. Will procrastination win?!?!?!

    SO - - I think I'm off to think about looking for Jesus in tombs when he's really alive.

  66. Wow, Maybe I can still get off and fly to texas and win something big for Easter, Yikes, what a comeon, for heaven no less...

    Well, I finally have my sermon title, except its not the one printed in the bulletin. The best I could come up with yesterday morning was "Breaking News: Resurrection" the REAL title is much better, "Hope in a hole". I finally got my take on things and spit it out. Now to finish worship. If I get around to posting it, I'll put up a link later.

    best to all, i'm trying to stay off FB for now.

  67. Eileen --

    I like that egg hunt idea and will remember it for sure when I can coordinate it ahead if time, and can see how crazy Easter is here - -it's my first year in this place.

    Songbird, I like that idea a lot too - -I could adapt that one.

    I'm vaguely remembering a children's sermon I did once that involved cracking an egg on someone's head (stay with me here)
    I pinpricked the ends of a raw egg and blew out and rinsed the insides ahead of time so it looked like a whole egg but was empty. I I put a towel on the head of my volunteer, and asked the kids what would happen if I cracked the egg on his head - what was inside that would come out..... then, I cracked it and the shell broke into pieces (but the egg was empty)... just like the tomb was on Easter. The women who went to find Jesus were even more surprised that he was not inside than we were that Volunteer does not have eggs all over his head. What we remember today is that the tomb was empty because God resurrected Jesus from the dead.

    Now if only I could remember if it went over well...

  68. Ho hum. I liked my thoughts 3 weeks ago, but now I can't seem to find a way in or around inside this sermon. I do, however, really LOVE Ted Wardlaw's "Living the Word" in CC. Hmmmm....the title would still fit if I changed directions.

    I feel like I should give the "looking for the living among the dead" a fair shot first, but I can't seem to make it work the way I thought it would.

  69. I'm finally writing. I'm aiming for 6-8 minutes (600-800 words) and a poetic tone. After all, there are lots of other things to do in 30 minutes!

  70. Sunrise service went well - the Lay preacher odd a great job again.
    just realised how late it is - shower ad off the church.
    blessings to you all.

  71. I have a title, and a plan to build on last Sunday and Friday. But now I am afraid that I'll just sound repetitive -- at least in the opening part of the sermon.

    ANd with a title of "Can't Stop the Kingdom" I now have this song running through my head and it is less than helpful (and this one I found when looking for the first isn't much better)

  72. The theme of this party should be "what will they think of NEXT!?"

    But there'll always be something.

    Hugs and prayers to GG and 1-4 and all of you working so diligently. I'm off to Easter Vigil but I have left you Butterfinger Easter the pantry. Have a pick me up!

  73. Breaking into the easter candy for inspiration is allowed, right?

    I love the cracked egg KnittingP. hmm, it's better than just talking about eggs. I may have to go and try to blow one out. thanks.

  74. Yay! The front just went through and the temperature dropped by 30 now I can comfortably bake a coffee cake!

    Sermon? Um...I have a detailed outline, but not quite preachable yet. But I have paid bills, debated installing a new doorbell for tomorrow (right now signs point to no), and sent a bunch of e-mail.

  75. One done! Too bad it's tomorrow morning's and not tonight's :-o

    Those Butterfinger Easter eggs are sounding very good right about now...

  76. Thanks for the kind thought everyone.
    Meg, so glad she made it home. I panic when Mugs runs out I have a woodsy area to side of house, but a main road out front. Neither one good for a little cat with little knowldege of the outside.
    GG- Sorry for the lib. job.
    I am working on one thing at a time and breathing now.
    Thinking of taking Tuesday off for some R and R.

  77. Jonas Bros. Yes, I saw that earlier this week, and posted it on my blog. My sister said that there were TONS of cars with bumper stickers that said "Easter at Saddleback".
    Sort of made her sick on her stomach.

    I missed the Texas church, though...hmmmm.

  78. OH KP!!!!
    I did the egg trick here last year and everyone loved it.
    I got a saintly church guy to "volunteer" and he helped me to play it up very well.

  79. How goes it?
    I have a draft.
    My daughter and I are watching the 2000 Jesus Christ Superstar for the first time. Anyone else know that one? (Gosh, those disciples are all pretty!)

  80. okay, I wrote somethingthat is the length of a sermon.

    Now I guess I'd better wash the dishes and stuff so I can actually cook tomorrow, huh? If I find any food while i'm in the kitchen, I'll bring it to the party!

  81. Went to pick up the car from its oil change and suddenly the last bit of the Vigil sermon revealed itself. The guy didn't look at me too oddly as I stood at the counter frantically scribbling on the back of an envelope! But I wonder if I'd picked it up earlier if I might've been done earlier... Not the most inspiring of conclusions, but it is what it is, and best of all, it's done. Sure helped to have you all keeping me company today.

    I'm fixing something with smoked turkey sausage for dinner; drop by in 45 minutes or so if you'd like some of whatever it turns out to be :-)

  82. Our power went out over 3 hours ago. Plans for pre-Easter baths and hair washings for my boys went by the way side. Dinner plans, too (we went out). I'm racing against my laptop battery to get an ending to this sermon. I've been so close - for a couple of hours now. UGH.

    Looks like I might be spending this night in the dark, in so many ways. Fitting, I guess.

  83. The sermons for tomorrow are completed. The prayers are in process. The communion liturgy ... I think I need some supper ...

  84. The heart of the sermon is posted at my place. Now I'm off for some down time and to figure out which blouse to wear tomorrow. Blessings to all. Hang in there Earthchik, type fast. do you have a dc charger for your car?

  85. When the last 23 seconds of this game are over, I have to go to the church to get the book I forgot to bring home last night. Then, I'm going to find something to eat. See you later.

    PS: What time EDT do you think we'll hit 100?

  86. Thanks, Rev. Nancy. No charger in my car, not even for my iPhone. So I'll soon be utterly disconnected. I'm in the red zone on my laptop battery so I'm shutting down until the power comes back up. I have a draft - rough one. It's not where I wanted, but I'm leaving everything to the Holy Spirit now!

    Blessings, y'all. Hope to see y'all soon!

  87. Oh, dear, earthchick! I hope your power returns!
    Vicar, we're close, I think this will be 90. But one of our Easter parties broke 200, I think.

  88. Just got home from the Easter Egg Hunt, and subsequent nap a good time was had by all. At the Easter Egg hunt that is..

    Sigh...the Sanctuary looks great, I've got the claritan ready and it will be beautiful.

    My husband at my invitation (also a minister) will serve Communion with me tomorrow. We haven't done that since we were co-pastors ten years ago.

    My son and daughter in law are here.. Yes!

    and it's Easter sermon for the 32 time as minister. Thanks be to God.

  89. It looks like my work is done. Supposing you let me know what you think?
    And now, who would like raspberries on vanilla ice cream?

  90. I'm guessing 9:32 EST for the 100 mark. Anyone else want in on this pool? Gotta be better than your basketball bracket.

    So, kids are in bed and I'm ready to get to work. I don't even have the TV on. I'm trying to remember what was so cool about my idea I had 3 weeks ago. Now it just feels like I'm picking on people - - the women in the story, academics, anyone seems fair game in this one and that's not what I meant when I started down this road.

  91. Coffee cake is finished, dinner has been cooked and eaten, people have been contacted as needed, errands at church have been postponed until tomorrow (I'm hoping to get an early start...we'll see), and I need to make a final push on the sermon!

    Earthchick...well I guess you're not here, but I hope your power comes on soon! Racing against the laptop battery is no fun, I've done that before.

    Congrats to all who are finished!

  92. well, we're close to 100 anyway.

    ugh, sherev, i HATE it when that happens. I re-read somethign I've done and think "now WHATs the good news again??" I'm sure you are doing great, though.

    I'm now at the office, allowing myself 20 more minutes to tidy my desk (a#1 procrastination as it feels like REal Work) before I buckle down and finish off the service.

    Ooops, for the sunrise communion I accidently got grape/pomegranate/blueberry juice. Hopefully it'll be so early no one will notice, but they will feel uplifted and oxidated and not know why.... (What is UP with pomegranate anyway? You cant swing a cat without hitting it. I was speculating recently that pomegranate farmers are the only ones thriving in the current market...)

  93. Easter service over - slightly more attendance than a normal Sunday, but less than some Easters. I wasn't going to preach, then inspiration struck in the shower, I wrote a few words on a scrap of paper as I got dressed - and just spoke to the congregation - how do we respond to what God offers us in Christ.
    very different to the theological theories about crucifixion and the work of Jesus on Friday. but there is something about standing in front of the congregation and just speaking to them - not that I could do that every week.

    So many good ideas floating around - not sure if I should starting preaching a week behind on the lectionary.

    Now to pack and have a few days off. and back for a four day long denominational meeting next weekend.

  94. oh friends! It's been far too long!

    Asides from just not being on here much, I took Lent off from preaching. I went on vacation in the middle and so throughout the season we had lay people reading first person narratives from the perspectives of those close to Jesus at the time of the passion. It was really powerful!

    But tomorrow will be my first time back in the pulpit in 7 weeks! I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. We are also kicking off our vision/mission discernment process.

    I got a bit of a head start when I preached an off the cuff sermon on Maundy Thursday.

    I'm really feeling that phrase "why are you looking for the living among the dead." I want to focus on how we can't keep doing the same things... that we have to lay aside what was before and look for God in new and surprising places. I want to also use the cocoon/butterfly imagery, as I think that the cocoon is a really good metaphor of this whole time of discernment we are beginning.

    I have so far still to go!!!

  95. PRL - that's what Maundy Thursday was like for me. As I ran to the kitchen to get a towel (which i had forgotten for the hand washing) during a hymn, God moved me to speak about service and humility and whew - the Spirit took us all places I never expected! I am too self-conscious to do that every Sunday... but maybe I shouldn't be.

  96. Katie - - that is exactly the direction I just started going with that same question a little while ago. I had some ideas before my vacation a few weeks ago that were sort of like this, but I couldn't get them going. I started to make the turn here and it is flowing better.

    Some rough thoughts in this direction:

    "Why do we need the resurrection? So we don’t go back to the tombs, the places of death and hopelessness in our lives to live them over and over.
    The resurrection means we don’t have to dwell in the places of hopelessness in our lives, looking for comfort where none is to be found."

    From here I want to say that it doesn't mean we can forget completely those places exist (I don't want to sound like I'm saying grief is something you should just blow through and forget, or places of devastation and poverty should be ignored.) But because of the resurrection we know that the hopelessness doesn't win. Life wins. New life that comes out of these tombs wins.

    Something like that.

  97. Just returned from dinner with a parishioner and visiting family. Good time, good food, good people but no one wants to preach tomorrow.
    So I guess I'll stick with my earlier thoughts about remembering.
    I really want to watch the rest of the WVA Duke game but don't know if I'll make it. Vestments have been washed and dried, taxes have been paid, church is decorated and I'll remember to take an antihistamine before I go or the chant will be more than scratchy - it's a mozarabic Sunday.
    Peace to all of you and blessings on all your worship and preaching endeavors tomorrow.

  98. I posted my question & left. Came back to 100 comments. How about that?

  99. Why is it still March Madness in April? I thought it usually ended before this. Did they change it?

  100. Good stuff SheRev. Can you just mosey on over here and preach my sermon for me.
    Hope all is well. Glad we hit 100, think it will be 200 by tomorrow AM?
    I am baking for tomorrow. I finished the Deviled Eggs. I am intrigued with the naming of these little gems and their use on Easter. I know part of it has to do with the fasting from eggs for Lent and the preparation being an "acceptable means" of eating them. I also know Eggs and Easter are just "a thing" even if you are not religious.
    I digress. Anyhow, I am finishing up sermon stuff and hitting they hay early. I may see if the WV/Duke game gets a little better.
    But, after egg hunt today and a trip to a friend's father's funeral, I am beat. Interesting service. For all the Lutherans out there, it was my first time at a Lutheran service. Very cool.
    So, keep the comments coming. I may not see y'all again until the AM.
    Blessings to all

  101. Oh, Vicar. It is MArch Madness even though the thing ends in April. Not sure why, I guess by the time you get the Final Four, most of the madness is over. I always thougth it was named funny. But the final ends up being the first part of APril(Sat and then Monday).

  102. Juniper - my communion prep person bought grape/pomegranate/blueberry juice for the Maundy Thursday service. Tasted pretty good. Not sure if anyone else noticed the difference. I could certainly smell the blueberries in it while I did the big pour during the words of institution.

    Blessings on those who continue to work. I'll see ya at 6am for my final edit.

  103. I'm spending my evening watching Angel on DVD (yay Joss Whedon shows) and maybe working out. or maybe sitting on the couch. anyone need hot cocoa with vegan marshmallows?

  104. I'll be around for awhile even though I'm finished with both sermons. The service prayers and Easter Great Thanksgiving are in the works. If I'd quit messing around, I'd be done with them, too. But, it's still early :)

  105. Ha! I got an outline. It makes sense! It fits where I think I was going originally with a little less of a chip on my shoulder, which is definitely a good thing. Or maybe it's not so much about a chip that had been on my shoulder, but a sermon that's for the congregation and not for me. My first one was probably a better Easter sermon to preach to preachers. This will work! Now, how much can I flesh it out tonight, especially so I can hopefully turn one version into a conversation-type sermon for the early service?

  106. I am totally using the Jonas Brothers and the car-giveaway-church stories for my introduction...what do you say to something OUTRAGEOUS like that? Leiros! Idle tale! BS! Get OUT!

  107. she rev... i got to thinking about this whole what is dead thing and starting wondering if I should open it up to the congregation to help me preach it?

    I want to ask them what are some dead places that you keep going back to try to find Christ? I think I might open up with an example of a KJV bible. In so many ways it's a dead language and so when we read it, do we really understand the text? do we really find Jesus? why are we looking for the living among the dead?

    I am wracking my brain for some other examples from our church life... and I'm hoping that my people will help!

    Our sunrise service was originally going to be a lectio divina / preaching by the congregation anyways... maybe that will just bleed into the second sermon, or perhaps I'll get some good examples to use there.

  108. semfem - brilliant! an idle tale instead of an idol tale?

  109. oh where, oh where is my book of worship when I need it? I think it got lost somewhere with my "guide to prayer for all god's people" both are needed today and neither are to be found.

  110. LOL--semfem, I am using a similar take, but then saying that "he is risen" is even more outrageous even than that--and that's the good news we are called to live, however crazy it seems.

  111. oh, right...communion liturgy. Probably need to write that...

  112. Say, can I say again how much I like this "new" blog layout - it looks so fresh and clean.

    Well, anyway, my little break turned big 'cause I got into a sort of a project with the custodian. We are having a group from another church stay here with us while on a mission group, so I am waiting around ot welcome 30 people and we wanted to make some things nicer for them. What is it abotu visitors that gets our energy up, huh?

    anyway, now off to the rest of the order before I polish off The Big Sermon. anyone got a prayer they want to share? I was kind of hoping the Sunday one might go up early......

  113. Why, yes, Juniper, you can! Thanks!

    We finished JCS 2000 and are watching the "Making Of." Yes, we are musical geeks.

    Anyone need anything? I'm headed to bed pretty soon.

  114. Yes Teri, I am taking a similar approach to you, but I'll try hard now not to accidentally copy the rest of your sermon! It's good though...tempting...must...resist... :)

  115. songbird - read a review of that movie that said "what is jesus doing in a gay p*** film?" (trying not to use the p word to cut down on spam, but you know what I mean, right?) anyway - what did you think of it? worth it?

  116. Okay, I've texted with younger daughter and finished the service prayers.

    Now, what's left? That casserole thing and merging UM Book of Worship Great Thanksgiving with Great Thanksgiving from Liturgical Year (I think it is Presbyterian, is that right?)

    oh, and there's a boring ballgame on, too. wish it was closer but not very surprised

  117. Back from the Great Vigil of Easter--well I've been home for about an hour and a half now. And it was GREAT vigil. We had 70 people--that is an amazing turnout for this event! And everyone seemed to like it. If only we didn't have an 8 am service tomorrow...

    When I got home I ditched the sermon I had started for tomorrow, and I've written almost 900 words...only need a couple hundred more, but I'm searching for an ending :(

    I love the kids thing with the empty egg--I'll have to remember that.

    Back to writing. I just can't pull an all-nighter!

  118. See, Katie, that's where I was going, but I kept ending up knocking everything we do and I don't think I needed to go that far. Somehow I pretty much had the institutional church as a dead place we go to, and, well, I don't even really think that! Maybe opening it up would get answers that are are the people's instead of mine. It wasn't working for me tonight on corporate level (which is actually where I tend to preach better). It was working better for me on personal levels or even community/global. I was struggling with the congregational examples. Also, I had to back off from the tombs where we put Jesus (or expect to find him) and talk about where we go because it seems like the only place to go -- the only option out there. The women had seen him die. They knew what they had to do. We see the mess around us, and we don't know where else to turn, so we end up going toward the mess, or getting sucked into the hopelessness.

    But the resurrection promises us we don't have to. Jesus, the living one, was not among the dead, so they discover they didn't need to go back to the tomb. Likewise, we don't need, and really shouldn't get sucked into hopelessness because he lives, and if he overcome death and the tomb, then there is hope for all of this. We are called to be a part of God emptying tombs, finding life, and filling it with the hope of this good news.

  119. I think I'm writing my sermon in the comments of this party. I keep typing my stuff here, then copying and pasting it to my Word document. Forgive me my friends, for I know not what I am doing tonight.

  120. She Rev, If you keep doing that we'll be to 200 by midnight :)!

  121. AS I ponder my sermon and its direction I also learned (or was reminded) that tomorrow is the 42nd anniversary of the assassination of Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That ties in well with where I am going about the unstoppable kingdom.

    I have posted some of the thoughts about what I will share tomorrow here.

  122. So, I said the game was boring and then Butler (WVA) got hurt. His coach got on the floor next to him with his face as close as he could get. That's how I see God with us when we are on the floor in pain. God doesn't stay on the sidelines or sitting on the bench.

  123. She Rev, you go!
    Juniper, too funny. They wanted it to be "accessible" for the 21st century, which means the clothes are totally pR0n-ish. We really enjoyed it, nevertheless. LP (14) is really into talking about Jesus and the gospels, so any platform for conversation is good by me.
    Also, our copy of the movie is in the hands of my oldest, somewhere in Brooklyn...

  124. Okay, I'm really going to bed now. God's blessings to all who are still writing. I'll have coffee on early! And remember the two things that matter:
    1) If you've got a dog, walk it proud, and
    2) The Holy Spirit's got your back!

  125. She Rev, i copy and paste my sermons from here all the time =)

    I was thinking of another personal example about a friend of mine who was very successful in business but realized there was no life in his work. He was trying to be a faithful Christian, but it just didn't mesh with the dog-eat-dog business world. So he sold his business and went to seminary! He had been trying to look for Jesus in all the wrong places.

    I think the way that we get around the institution being all bad/dead/lifeless is that we have to remember that in this instituted community - in this gathered body of Christ is where we break bread... it's where our eyes are opened and we see the living Christ who has been with us all along. I'm definately tying in the Emmaus walk leading into communion. The problem comes when we forget to invite Christ into our home to break bread with us... when we live in dead and hopeless ways. Think how easily it would have been for those disciples on the road to turn away from hospitality and not invite him in?

  126. I like it, Katie! I just couldn't get there for some reason, so I'm going this other way, but I like how you're doing it!

    (I know, I said I'd be the quiet one, and now I won't shut up. Got all ready for bed, so that when I turn in in 95 minutes, I can just pass out until my early more wake up. I think I have my whole outline now so this is usually when I turn in. Maybe I'll have very little to wake up and do if I get off here and FB for now!)

  127. First Easter in 8 years that I'm not preaching. First Holy Week in 15 that I didn't go to the Triduum, that I didn't walk the journey from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday, to Good Friday, to the Great Vigil.sigh.

    I hope it's the last year I spend Holy Week without a church.

    Blessings on all of you hard at work. I hold you in my prayers this night and tomorrow.

  128. I am praying for all of you... and feeling a little verklempt because for the first Easter in a long, long time I have no responsibilities... not even usher duty. And it's weird.

    I believe that God will use each one of you mightily and look forward to what we call 'God stories' :)

    Peace on ya

  129. semfem, if there's anything there that's helpful, just take it. most of it sort of poured out on screen, so it's a gift to both of us! :-) And if there's not, well, I hope the HS and sermon fairy both come soon! :-)

    It's now that time when I go lay in bed and pretend like I sleep on Saturday nights. have a great night, all...see you on Easter! :-)

  130. Vicar, that scene in the game where the player got injured was so intense, I actually shed a few tears. The care and compassion that coach showed to his player--WOW. Talk about being alongside someone who was suffering.

    Of course, it could just be striking a chord for me because my brother has had some pretty nasty sports injuries, but nevertheless it was moving.

    I'm at 934 words and have used the phrase "bull pucky" more than should be used in any sermon! Time to find a good conclusion...

  131. Teri - i love that "sermon fairy" idea - lol. If I put my laptop under my pillow tonight, will my sermon magically be there in the morning?

  132. OH!!! The story that fits perfectly with everything I'm doing about not looking for the living among the dead, not looking for life in dead and dying places is "hope for the flowers." It's about caterpillars who are looking for something and they end up making these huge pillars out of one another and try to climb on top of one another to the top of... well - they dont' really know, but they do it anyways. Until some of them by God's grace realize they have to lay aside the life of climbing and let go of the lives they know and build cocoons. and on the other side of that cocoon is new life.

    I think I read it as the children's message two years ago (edited for length). But it fits so well!!!

  133. OMG Katie, I can't believe I haven't tried that before now! Next time...Though I can say I've had more than a few sermon inspirations hit during my Saturday last-ditch nap.

    Semfem, did you actually SAY "bullpucky"??? really? I'm not sure I could get away with that. I'd be better off just saying "BS" first, and I'm not sure I can get away with that either.

    okay, for real...laying in bed, pretending about sleep. That's me, until 6am. I swear.

  134. Y'all have been busy here!

    The casserole stuff is mixed together waiting in the fridge until the morning when it will go into the crockpot to cook during worship.

    Now, I really need to type up the Great Thanksgiving.

  135. Uh oh. I chose "bull pucky" because it seemed SAFER than saying BS. As in, young kids may ask parents "what does BS stand for?" but I think they are less likely to ask "what does bull pucky mean?"

    Preachers, if you are here and awake, what sayeth you? BS or bull pucky? If I can't use either, I'm in deep...well, you know.

  136. You know... I keep following this strain of "why look for the living among the dead?" and part of me right now is also rebelling against the answer. as in - we only CAN look for the living among the dead BECAUSE of Jesus - because he brings the dead back to life. He brings light to the dark places. He promises hope in the midst of despair.

  137. guess not - that's just my punchy middle of the night sermon writer voice talking... sorry....

  138. Oh, btw, I finished with 1090 words (many of which are "bull pucky")! I think it's not too bad...

    Katie, the caterpillar story and the story about your friend who went to seminary seem perfect for your sermon!

  139. How about baloney?

    In my humble opinion, no bad word will be so right for a sermon that you gain rather than lose by using it, especially on Easter!

  140. I said crap in a sermon once... and it went over well.

    when you typed "bull pucky" I thought you mean that in reality you were saying bull sh*t, so bull pucky is better than BS if you are trying to keep it sanitized.

  141. Juniper, I don't think "poop" would work because it doesn't quite have the air of scorn and disbelief that "BS" or "bull pucky" would have. But thanks for the suggestion...

    The Sermon Brainwave podcast said "bull pucky" but not "BS"...that's also where I took my cue from.

  142. ooo... i like the baloney suggestion.

  143. Hmmm, okay. I am definitely NOT actually saying "bull sh*t" but trying to choose a sanitized version. Have not been brave enough to use "crap" from the pulpit but have alluded to the word.

    I do use "baloney" as another example elsewhere...maybe I'll keep that as a backup replacement if I need to. I could grab a person or two before church and test out "bull pucky" with them to see what they say.

  144. Hey! Power's back up! After 7 hours down. Whew! Just got to take a hot shower (could not face a cold shower while the power was out) and am now up editing my draft.

    My appreciate has been renewed for light that come in the midst of darkness!

    Re: bull pucky - I would be hesitant, partly because I wouldn't be able to say it with a straight face, esp. since it's not something I would ever say in real life, and partly b/c I think it would serve as more of a distraction to the congregation than a help. FWIW.

    Okay, onto editing.

  145. Alternately, I could say "bull pucky" at its first occurrence in the sermon, and if people gasp, change it to "baloney" for the rest of the time. :)

  146. Having never heard the term "bullpucky" I think it might make me giggle more than understand the gravity of the term. Or maybe just the first time. After it came up over and over, I think I'd get it.

    I'd go bull pucky over BS since I seem to be the only one who hasn't heard the term. I knew I shouldn't have skipped the Brainwave even though I thought I was on a good track. I'll have to go back tomorrow and listen to them say bull pucky!

  147. We commented at the same time, semfem. I'm choosing not to say "crap" either - but honestly I don't think it has anything to do with being brave or not. I just think it can really get in the way of people hearing the message.

    Here's how I'm handling it in my sermon:
    There are other ways the word leros has been used. Leros can be what a farmer might use to fertilize his soil. Manure. The women come breathless, announcing to their friends, “He is risen!” And the men respond with, “That’s a load of … nonsense.”

    With the ellipsis I let people fill in the blank in their heads with whatever word comes to them, but then I finish the sentence with the sanitized "nonsense" (having already explained that "nonsense" is a sanitization). Again, FWIW.

  148. She Rev, I am kind of hoping they will giggle the first time I say it! Because it is a little silly, it sort of makes fun of everyone's assumptions that preachers would never actually SAY a curse word, without actually saying one.

    I'm leaning towards checking "bull pucky" out with a few reliable people beforehand, with "baloney" as a backup if they think it's inappropriate. "BS" is off the table, methinks.

  149. I hear you, earthchick, and appreciate your honest suggestions. I agree also about how using certain words isn't about being brave (it's not uncommon for me to use the word "crap" with parishioners, but saying it from the pulpit is not helpful to the task being performed there). I worded that poorly in my comment.

    The dramatic pause, as you illustrated, may well make an appearance too. Hmmm....

  150. definitely check it out. I checked out "BS" and *definitely* can't do it. bullpucky would make me laugh, also because I don't say that and haven't even heard anyone say it out loud in probably 10 years. I might be able to get away with "crap" though I haven't tried it. Earthchick, I like your method! I could work in manure... LOL!

  151. ahh, context is everything. you know your people (or can check in with your people) and know what you are trying to get across. trust your gut.

  152. Going with the manure reference and then picking any sanitized word seems like a great option. You've given the graphic, but acceptable alternative. You lead in like you're going to use it, then you switch to whatever totally G-rated word you're going to use for the rest. They're going to go back to manure in their minds every time, and that will take them back to the shocking word you're leaving out. Sounds like a great option there, earthchick.

    I like baloney, too, semfem, because the way you say it can be really drawn out and almost nasty, in the sense of demeaning and dismissive, which, I think, is sort of what you're going for. Baloney with the above formula from earthchick might be something to consider.

  153. Oy. I can't keep editing, so I'm putting this baby to bed for now. It's technically done and yet I keep waiting for some fantastic ending to just descend for me. And um, no.

    I'll look at it with fresh eyes in the morning and see what I think.

    Prayers for those who are still laboring. See y'all on the flipside!

  154. earthchick, I love that!

    semfem, bull pucky would go over just fine here and in most of the churches I've served. The people who would've been upset over "bull pucky" were already upset about some other unrelated thing anyway.


  155. All of this talk about bull, reminded me of a seminary professor who put at the top of each test:

    "I will accept no bull from your house." Psalm 50:9

  156. Yeah, I kind of want to stay away from "manure" just because I used it a few times when preaching on the parable of the fig tree several weeks ago...

    If parishioners think "bull pucky" is acceptable, I may go with a dramatic pause after "bull" to get a similar effect to Earthchick. If not, maybe I could just use "bull."

  157. Y'know, everyone, sorry for hijacking the party to discuss my diction. I feel like I have a plan that doesn't suck too badly. So I'll be quiet now (and go take a shower) and let you all finish decently and in order.

  158. ok everyone. I'm off to bed.

    the youth are here to stay for a week. i like them already, but i really ahve to sleep for a couple hours at least. tomorrow is a big big big day.

  159. semfem, It was directly related to preaching the sermon tomorrow ... so, while not quite what some might expect from an Easter sermon discussion, it seems to me it was still on topic.

    Bonus for me: it gives me the giggles

  160. lol, semfem, we don't mind!

    I have lots of things written and the introduction to my sermon is what is boggling my mind. I keep writing things and it just isn't getting to where I need it to be in a quick enough way. I think I'm trying to hard to make a nod to all of those C&E Christians who are a part of the body for the morning.

  161. I think that I have completed all of the tasks of preparation for tomorrow.

    That means I can go to bed. I hope I'll actually fall asleep soon.

    Good luck getting to 200 comments without me. I know you can do it!

    Blessings on your Sunday

  162. I agree with the others, semfem. Not a hijack at all! Go with what will work in your place. You know it, and we don't!

    I'm heading to bed with almost half my sermon in "real words" not outline form. What I have probably needs to be less than half, though, if I'm going to get that whole inverted checkmark from preaching class format in the right proportions. I think I'll leave that to the editting in the morning though. 9 more minutes to quitting time for me. I'll start to bring it back up out of the tomb now!

  163. I love how it took us all day until 10 pm Eastern to hit 100; now only three hours later we are on the downslope toward 200!

    Thanks for understanding, everyone, about the bull pucky thing. I think I'm just tired and punchy and over-sensitive and need to get to sleep.

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

  164. As for me, I don't think I ever heard the expression "bull pucky" before. You know best what will work in your local context, so go with it.

    I just hit print and I'm off to's going to be an early morning!

    Alleluia, Christ is risen!

  165. Just hit 1,188 real words and I need to shut it down very shortly because of communion and the (hopefully) large number of visitors we will see. I'm also 25 minutes over my hoped for bedtime, so I'm going to turn in and try to wrap up the rest of this in the morning. I think I might be spending too much time in MetaphorLand in this one, and I'm not sure I write best in that land, but it is what it is, so I hope the Spirit speaks through it. I'll be back in 4 hours or so to wrap this up!

    Blessings and prayers for any still working and for all who proclaim in the next few hours!

  166. Just got home from a wonderful vigil and was going over the bulletin for the 1st service tomorrow. Realized that the office staff printed last year's, which is somewhat more problematic because the music has been changed quite a bit and we have a new rector which changes names in a number of places. We may be recycling 200+ unused bulletins...

    At least Jesus is still risen!

  167. Oh shoot, Betsy! Oh well. He is risen indeed!

    I'm back to finish up. I slept wonderfully even though it was short, so I hope that means I'm comfortable with what I've got! Time to bring it home.

  168. Happy Easter! On the East coast, Christ is risen!!

  169. 11 minutes 'til I want to be done and I must find 200 more words to cut. My proportions of despair to good news are MUCH better, but I need to get it shorter for communion!

  170. i have a feeling i'm going to be cutting between the services this morning. ah well. I'm going to work on blowing out an egg now and then try to make it to church before the rest of my folks - yah right!

  171. 1577. I'll take it! Time to shower and get ready to go. Will look for places of conversation instead of manuscript preaching as I'm up there. They are pretty obvious to me anyway.



  173. Woot-woo. Yay!!!!!
    Almost to 200!
    Home from sunrise service. Taking a break to rest my eyes and my mind.
    Back in an hour to be in preacher mode once more. Oh, somewhere in there i need to get the final layer on brownies. Yummy stuff.
    Eggs done and Pistacio salad(aka watergate) are done.
    Ahhhhhh. Peace

  174. Christ is Risen!
    And in my Luke sermon I made reference to Gilligan's Island. I promise I was not drinking when I wrote the sermon

  175. All the BS, bull sh*t, and bull pucky makes me giggle.
    Sorry to have missed out. There are times i think my sermons is any or all of the above

  176. knittingpreacher - I used the empty egg idea that you shared and it went over MARVELOUSLY!!!!! I asked for a volunteer among the kids and one girl was so excited and SO convinced that the egg wasn't raw but hard boiled. She got really nervous when I handed her the towel. All of the other kids gathered around ducked and there was a gasp from the whole congregation - especially the kids when the egg was empty. It was surprising and perfect!

  177. oh... it did take me about 15 minutes to blow out the silly yolk however. I don't remember it taking so long in the past. My cheeks were sore by the time it was done!

  178. wow, really last minute changes, but I like my sermon so. much. better. now!!

    And still time to joint he breakfast and egg hunt.

    Christ is risen, yall!

  179. Good afternoon,

    I loved the debate about bull pucky. Reminds me of a conversation I had with my CPE group about whether or not the word "crap" was a swear word. Then we contemplated if "poop" was a swear word. I'm glad to see this conversation is alive and well in this theological circle.

    BTW, I've used the term "horse hockey" instead of BS. Get's the sentiment across very well.

    Hope you all had a good Sunday!


  180. Hi all! My sermon went great and then right after worship my 5 y.o. was running through the church library and fell - we're at the Urgent Care with suspected broken arm. Prayers please?

  181. My service went great, although a bit longer than planned. During joys and concerns, one father said, "not to offend my daughters, but who needs the Jonas Brothers? We have a great choir!" (choir had just done one of their anthems - and they really are pretty good for a small group.) I had made reference to the Saddleback/Jonas Brothers thing (thanks Teri)

  182. Oh no Earthchick! Prayers are offered on your son's behalf.

    I made it, I'm exhausted, and now I'm packing for vacation. And it appears "bull pucky" went over just fine.

    Hope everyone had, or is having, a lovely Easter!

  183. Oh, Earthchick, what a bummer. Prayers for you and little one. (And it is wrong to be glad that, if such a thing HAD to happen, that ahppened AFTER church?)

  184. Earthchick, any arm update for us? Of all the days...

    I knew the Vigil sermon was better than it seemed to me when I had a couple ask me for a copy this morning because their 3 teens--who had been at the Vigil w/o them last night--came home talking about it! That's the kind of thing that will keep a preacher going for a few more months :-)

    Now, a blessed day of rest for as many of you as can get it tomorrow. Vacation time for me; I'm off with my kids to the land of the giant trees.

  185. I ended up speaking (nothing written) about what Easter means in Haiti. We have a strong connection with a group down there, and it just seemed right. I also brought in the MLK assassination anniversary, talking about both as dark moments where people look for Christ and like Mary, don't recognize him.

    However, apparently no one will remember what I said, because in the middle of the sermon, some guy ran by (we were out side of the church--I was on the sidewalk facing the people on the steps) and did some weird bending/backwards running thing that had everyone trying not to crack up while I was talking. So THAT's what everyone was talking about after the service!

    Oh, well. There's gotta be a resurrection message in there somewhere!

  186. Betsy, thank you for asking. I just posted an update on the Easter Monday Share post. We are doing well and hope to be going home from the hospital in just a little while


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