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Saturday, May 01, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: Love on My Mind

Hello, Preacher Gals and Pals!

It's May Day, a time for flowers and planting or maybe just cutting the grass, which heaven knows is needed at my house. We're coming up on proms and graduations and Confirmations and weddings and all sorts of new commitments and ventures.

I'll be spending the morning with twelve 8th graders, making a video about their thoughts on some components of our denomination's Statement of Faith. So add to the list of events a list of needs: doughnuts and muffins and fruit and orange juice, newsprint and markers, and don't forget the Flip camera!

Also, don't forget the coffee for the teacher and the preachers!

In the midst of a busy season it's easy to focus on the tasks and lose sight of the reason for them. It's a crucial time to have love on our minds, embracing love that makes all things new.You can find the lectionary texts here.

What do you have on the calendar today? In the midst of it, don't forget to show your love here in the comments. I'll bring you the Confirmation leftovers, if we have any. (Those twelve students? Are two girls and TEN boys.)


  1. Wow First to the party. Well I've not even managed a single thought about the sermon for this Sunday yet. Having looked at the readings on offer I find myself thinking there is so much in all of them that there is a real "large sheet spread out" before all of us preaching with so much to chose from!

    Initial thoughts lead me to music for Revelation, and of course love and service.

    I'll be taking the chance to think about it all in one of our coffee shops so take out caffeine on offer to all!!

  2. Hi, Sarah Brush! Welcome. I'm drinking home-brewed coffee, but I suspect an espresso may be in order before the day is done!
    I am not fully awake and read "large sheet spread out" as "large spread-sheet out," what do you suppose that means?

  3. Hmm, Songbird, are finances one of those things that are too "dirty" to talk about at your church? ;-)

    I have had my tea and will be in the shower shortly. We are hosting a regional meeting on lay ministries this morning. There could be two or twenty-two people there and I'm wondering how many will be from my congregation.

    So I won't really think about the sermon until after lunch at the earliest. I'm going with Acts and have been thinking about inviting people to imagine what would be on that sheet for them. What/who is unclean? I have thought about including some folks I have a hard time including or forgiving to get them started and then talking about how we change our own minds. That last part is the one I haven't given much study to.

    So I'll be back later, maybe with leftover bagels.

  4. I'm off to the retreat, but here are some thoughts I had, mostly about Acts, with a dash of John.
    I'll catch up later!

  5. No, Margaret, I think I had another spreadsheet in mind, which is in my blog post!

  6. Hello folks,

    I am going to an all morning meeting at my conference (exciting huh) then I'll be back this afternoon to work on my sermon.

    I'm thinking of writing it on the Revelation text with a pinch of Acts and a smattering of John. Theme being the New Heaven and Earth God has in mind for us.

  7. I'm supplying tomorrow and preaching. I'll be using the John text and focusing on the part about love and how that's our witness to the world. Right now, it's only in my head. I have coffee to offer--fair trade at that.

  8. Good morning, y'all! I'm sitting here sipping coffee and pretending that Obama is going to be speaking at U-M graduation 5 blocks from my home. So bummed not to see him in person!

    I'm preaching the Psalm, calling it "Partnering in Praise" and have lots of thoughts but no actual words yet. Have a graduation party to go to late this afternoon, so I hope the words come swiftly!

  9. Yo, where is everybody? :)

    Just tried to read an article on ATLAS and was denied entry b/c they're changing platforms. The site indicated that I could request help but that it would take 2-3 business days to get back to me. Ugh! Anyone else have this problem? Any backdoor way to get in?

  10. I had some thoughts about this one about 2 weeks ago before I left town for continuing ed, but I haven't thought about it since. I'm doing Acts. I know that. I remember being scared of the vision in previous years and NOT doing it, but this time around I read it and couldn't remember why it seemed so scary. I think I got caught up in the vision itself and not so much about the context and the conversations Peter had afterward, etc.

    My creative juice for sermon writing is just plain gone as I wind up my time before maternity leave. I have 3 more to write, and I have no shame in counting down. My last two or so have been HORRIBLE to write even if they turned out OK, but I'm taking the permission others are giving me to let the pressure off, just do what needs to be done, and get through this last few weeks.

    I had one old school 3 point sermon (just missing the poem) a few weeks ago. This one will be based on an acronym. Yikes. Oh well. It'll get done - - tonight.

    First a day with the kids and a wedding in the afternoon. Probably a nap at some point because last-month-of-pregnancy exhaustion set in HARD about 3 days ago.

  11. i'm trying to whip out a conclusion... and sip my coffee, but 2 fighting dogs in my office are NOT cooperating!

    me thinks it'll be walk time soon.
    looking at 'glorification' - that we glorify god when we love one another... blahhidity blah blah

  12. Hi gals,
    Don't have to preach tomorrow. Got a seminarian coming. I got up late and must go back to packing. Got a young friend coming over who can schlep things downstairs.

    Songbird--spreadsheets, bedspreads or table cloths, can all be used. Might make a good title.

  13. earthchick, I think I'm in thru Ebsco. Can I look up something for you and email the doc? If I can? I'm willing if you haven't moved on.

    Tomorrow is youth sunday! Yay, or partly yay. No sermon to write BUT there is so much undecided that will (PRAY WITH ME) work out at this evenings youth meeting. SO... I'm kinda keeping a mini-sermon in my 'pocket' just in case, but you know they seldom put pockets in women's suits. It's non-lectionary so I'm no help to you on text preachers. I do love the Acts text and maybe I'll reflect on my nod towards this text from last week's sermon more on my blog. we'll see. Graveside service for family who couldn't make it to funeral in mid-west so that's later today.

    For now its fairtrade coffee, anyone? (and cold cereal)

  14. Oh Nancy, that is so sweet of you! I'm very interested in the Terence Freitheim article on Psalm 148. Everyone I've been reading keeps quoting from it, and I'd like to read the original if possible.

    And no, I haven't moved on! After my last post, I got up and went for a run (woohoo!). Now I'm back - and zero words.

  15. Oh, and my email addy is

    staceyduke [at] gmail [dot] com


  16. Mmmm, coffee....
    and a "sermon in poetry" on tap for my colleague and me to share tomorrow! Completely off lectionary, but exciting, as this is the first taste my congregation will get of what I'll be doing on my sabbatical (which begins in 28 DAYS!).

    We have some Mary Oliver, Kilian McDonnell, Denise Levertov, RS Thomas, Jan Richardson, Rilke and Seamus Heaney all in the lineup - fun!

    Now I just need to work on a children's sermon...

  17. I'm going to pick out the "new" in Gospel, Acts and Rev. and focus on what "new" could look like in our lives.
    Wondering how to work with the contrast between "adaptive" and "technical" change. We have to unlearn what we worked so hard to master . . .

  18. earthchick, it should be in your inbox if it worked. I hope that helps. I'm off to be constructive or at least take the dog for a walk.

  19. I love seeing the resource sharing here!
    Our Confirmation retreat is over, and it yielded a moment that nearly had me blubbering. The students--8th graders--broke up in pairs to interview each other about a topic in our book, having chosen the topic they wanted, and then went on to develop questions and answers which we later videotaped. But they wanted to try it out in the classroom before we went out with the cameras, and two boys volunteered eagerly to be the guinea pigs. Boy 1 asked, "Boy 2, why do you think the Bible has survived so many years?" And then Boy 2, who I never thought would get what we were doing, answered, "Because the acts of Jesus Christ were so powerful that people wanted to share them with others, and it kept spreading into new versions and all over the world."
    Oh. Oh. Oh.
    I think I can be at peace about whether this class has been successful.

  20. Oh Songbird, I love hearing about moments like that! The moments when it all shines through - hooray!

  21. Songbird, I'm amazed by your story. The youth of this time give me so much hope.

    I'm back from my meeting and it was so productive. I will now commence upon sermonating. Hard to do because it is so beautiful outside. I keep saying to myself if I get done with my sermon early enough, I can go outside and play.

    I've got left over pizza from last night to pass around.

  22. Got a half done conference paper to finish, which I am delivering two weeks from today. And grading, due Tuesday. Not sure how much I will get done though as this is a pretty weepy day (and week). A couple days ago was the due date of my youngest, who would be two, but was lost before birth. Plus I am still in limbo about next year's teaching--the usual temporary faculty mistreatment, compounded by disabilism. So self care is the priority, including--praise God/dess--a lovely massage. And prayers would be much appreciated.

  23. Songbird, what a wonderful moment!

    I've yet to start writing...had another funeral this morning, and like last week's, for a family I'd never met before. The father who died was in his 40s, he died suddenly, there are six kids ranging in age from 7 to mid 20s, a few grandkids, and they were all understandably distraught. But I've never worked with a family who seemed so chaotic, when I met with them to plan things and today. The service was schedule to begin at 11:00 am, and at 10:58 the widow and kids finally arrived--well, most of them. When I suggested that we seat them so we could begin, she started in on how no, we had to wait because her family was always late for everything. Well, ok. So we agreed to wait 10 minutes, seated the family, and then at 11:10, just as I was ready to start, the wife gets up, goes outside and starts talking on her cell. Huh? I go outside and she's calling people to see why they aren't there.

    Finally at 11:15 I say we really need to start. The family requested a full service with hymns and eucharist, but NO ONE opens their mouth to sing, or to respond (and all the responses are printed in the bulletin). It was very awkward. And then when they did "family remembrances" one of the older daughters speaks and includes things that imo were borderline inappropriate for a funeral, and the wife gets up with the seven year old, and we have five awkward minutes of silence while she tries to get the child to say something. It was EXCRUCIATING. I wanted to get up and take the poor kid back to her seat, but of course, I couldn't.

    I know I sound unsympathetic and unpastoral, and I don't mean to, but wow was it a frustrating experience. I think in the end the family felt good about the service and I guess that's all the matters.

    At any rate, now I need to get my sermon written...preaching John and hoping to follow up on what I preached last week about Jesus being known thorough his deeds---and ours.

    It's a gorgeous day here, and I'd love to be outside but if I don't start writing soon, I'll be up all night and I'd rather avoid that!

  24. Sophia, I'm so glad you're taking some time for yourself today. May divine healing and peace be with you.

    I'm not really sermonating yet, although I've been pondering Acts all week. Right now two parishioners are here working on my kitchen faucet and sink. I'm really glad they're doing it, but that makes it hard for me to be sermonizing!

    Instead I have mowed the lawn, programmed my phone, and now I'm thinking about hanging a picture and tidying up a little. There's also a VBS meeting in half an hour and I need some lunch in there somewhere.

  25. O Sophia..there is such ache in your words. I will keep you in prayer today.

  26. Thank you, dear sister-friends.

  27. It's been a long morning. Not bad, just long and tiring. Now I have to rush to get ready for the wedding in 90 minutes. I'm doing it for a Lutheran friend on sabbatical and at the rehearsal I couldn't stuff I needed in their sanctuary, so first I need to stop by my church and pick up some stuff like taper candles for lighting the oil unity candles - can't tip those or they'll drip everywhere. Anyway, I should not be here. Must run and shower!

  28. Oh Halleluia, y'all. I finally have some words! I was starting to panic. We are leaving in an hour for a graduation party and I expect to be gone at least 3 hours or so for that. And up until about an hour ago, I had nothing. I mean, I know what I want my ending to be, and I know some other stuff that will be in there, but I had no way in. And FINALLY I just started writing. And now I'm on the top of page 3 (out of probably 7). PHEW!!

    SB, the Confirmation retreat story is so wonderful! Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Rev Dr Mom - oh UGH. That sounds like such a stressful service. I'm glad for you that it's over!

    Okay, back to writing.

  29. do to SNAFU I am preaching john 21 with 153 fish and the jesus & peter show. I hope y'all posted good stuff for that lectionary text :)

    see you later ... much later

  30. Just checking in with prayers and deep understanding for Sophia. Those anniversary dates are always hard. I sometimes intentionally try to get by them without noticing. Doesn't work. So glad you have a massage scheduled.
    I'm at the church, ready to preach and lead worship in 1/2 hour, I hope. Then drive home, then get up at 5:45 tomorrow morning and come back and do it two more times.
    My sermon was going to be radical, I really wanted to say that we can't exclude the GLBT folks from ordination, based on the Acts passage, but this congregation isn't quite ready for that. So I kept it general but still, I hope, meaty enough. "No Exceptions" is my title.
    Praying for all with all your myriad responsibilities! And especially for Sophia.

  31. I am doing the Acts passing. Came up with the title of "Getting Better". How God is pushing us at getting better by being more inclusive...and the kicker...who are we to try to halt the creative power of God.

    Some pretty deep pastoral care issues going on here...death of a child...two different churches...and the service is at a 3rd because funeral home didn't think either of the other two would "work". Since I am the "newest pastor" out of the three...and the parent who attends the church I serve...does not come...I am not officiating. Oh, th boundaries and pastoral care issues in this one.

  32. Hey, y'all!
    I'm sorry I bailed out, it's just that I fell asleep. :-)
    I'm on my way to dinner and a concert at church, will check back later. Hope the writing continues apace!

  33. Argh....just like last week, I'm finding it VERY difficult to "find" my sermon when I get a late start. I finally gave up and took an hour off to do other things. Didn't help my thinking process any, unfortunately. Wonder if a Starbucks run would be more effective?

  34. My new computer is set up except for loading all my backed up files. I'm hoping there will be a good sermon to help me with tomorrow's sermon. I, too, would like to hammer home the GLBT inclusion but don't think it will fly, either. Yeah, general is the only way to go and I haven't figured out yet how to do that. I have thought about saying something about the Arizona legislation and am not sure that will fly, either. I feel another baptismal covenant sermon coming on. Wonder if they are bored with that theme yet. :-)

  35. And I feel a nap coming on, after a productive VBS meeting, the finale of the kitchen faucet, and an impromptu pastoral conversation. Oh, and someone just called about a funeral, of course.

    Please...just a few winks would put me right again...and get rid of this headache...please!

  36. semfem, you can give me your headache, if I can give you mine (is THAT a fair trade?)

    earthchick - glad you worked out the atlas thing. I kind of gave up on them a while back - it was just too frustrating.

    songbird - GREAT story - thanks for sharing.

    sophia - prayers and hugs and prayers.

    Went to a cool event organized by one of my members this morning (take a soldier fishing) and blessed the guys as they headed out into the water, then rushed off to be late to the next thing - Stephen Ministry intro workshop. Do you all do that? If so: I"m not worried about the start-up money - that will come. I'm worried about the time commitment. Do you have a problem finding folks who can find the time? But if we can pull it off, I REALLY want to do it - it's just what we need right now.

    Then cleaning out the car project (um, ew) and now it's 5pm and I'm sitting down to the sermon. I'm preaching on Acts and am intrigued with the the thing at the workingpreacher website about identity. and I would like to preach about immigration and Arizona and identity and "what I ahve made do not call unclean" , but not sure I can pull it off - I feel like I dont know nearly enough about the issues. Going to read for half an hour and see if that catches up up enuf.

    BUT I do have a childrens time I kind of like, in case you are looking. I've been hearing about that worm they just found in Idaho. So, I"ve got something like: "Before they saw it, they thought it was really big and scary, now they know it's just a little bit larger than usual. Sometimes thing that are very scary in our imagination are not so scary when we get to know them..." Maybe I'll use or measuring tapes to measure how big they thought it was versus how big it actually was.

  37. I am off lectionary still, "spring training -- strength" this week. using "faith without works is dead". talking about discipleship with disciplines of fasting, service, & stewardship. having structure problems. too much to say.

  38. Juniper, I've been in four different churches with an active stephen ministry. 3 were big (900, 700 and 500) 1 was small -- around 100. all three made it work. Volunteers will show up. they're there. God gives every church some folk for whom the one on one relational is their strong suit; it's just that sometimes they need to be convinced. :) The 40 hour training seems long, but it's really good.

  39. It is very quiet preacher party this week...where is everyone? All done?

    After writing 600+ words and deciding it was going nowhere, I'm 400+ words into take 2. Hopefully this one will actually work out.

  40. Thanks Althea, that's reassuring!

    Did some reading and found some good stuff, so off to try to get the child away from TV and eat something, and then work some more.

    Hows it going, yall?

  41. I'm here - back from the graduation party, which we stayed at longer than I'd hoped. It's hard for me to get back the energy and focus I had found right before we left.

    I'm so grateful to Nancy for sending me the Terence Fretheim piece - it was so helpful!

    There was so much I wanted to say - I hope I can recapture it.

  42. The nap went an hour past when I wanted it to...but at least the headache is now gone. The funeral person has been called back. The pinwheels have been ordered. The hotel room has been reserved.

    It's time to write this bad boy.

    Or maybe get some dinner first.

  43. Sherev,
    I totally agree. You deserve the rest, you'll be busy soon enough with "other things." Take a break, borrow a sermon, cut and paste or go with acronymns. Actually, I find I have good response with those. They seem "unsophisticated" to me, yet people like ways to remember what they heard. If you think back to seminary and other school, we used them all the time.
    So, even though they may not seem all that great to us (maybe a little hokey), they work and peole like them. Go for it, girl!
    I am on Acts still. I had thought I'd go with last week's, but for some reason I switched to this week's and for the life of me, I do not know why.
    Juniper, Stephen Ministry is WHY I became a pastor. I loved it. I had to work out my schedule to do the trainig and was also getting an M.Ed too. Folks will come, talk it up, there will be some that God calls to be there. it'll be fine.
    Oh and thanks to SB for the start up!
    There was some good stuff in Xian Centruy too!
    I ahve peach Bread Pudding from luncheon this week and some homemade Pecan Pralines. Anybody want some? Oh and for more decadence, how about some Thin Mint Ice Cream?

  44. I'm back too earthchick. I didn't think I would be. We got thru the youth practice and one wonderful young woman is going to try to come up with a reflection. We gave her an out in case she couldn't so I need a "reserve reflection". not so bad, I'll actually write a few notes and try not having a manuscript. It could be good all the way around.

    The bad was that my voice started to go during the graveside. Too much pollen or fighting a cold. So I got dryer and dryer till I gulped and drank some water and choked thru the rest with eyes watering like I knew the poor woman. (Which I didn't.) It was so frustrating.

    Love Songbird's class, prayers for Sophia and everyone walking that fine line of radical discipleship without turning people off so they don't listen at all. God be with you all. (and she will be)

  45. We're sitting here at Elastigirl's table eating Blue Bell ice cream and having our own Preacher Party. At the party are Inner Dorothy, Midlife Rookie, Spooky Rach, Dog Blogger, Mindy, Princess of Everything, Miss Smarty Pants, Mrs Swizzle, and an unnamed posse. And Elastigirl, of course. And me.


  46. Oh wow! What a fun crowd with Jules and Elastigirl. Sorry to miss out. I bet I'd end up with a darn good sermon if I jsut sat there with my laptop and read the text, asked for some points and then let you all on the loose.
    But, alas. It is me and the white kitty, Mia.
    BTW, Mia gave me a little scare this week. She had a growth, lump or ???. Took her to vet, but turned out to be a reaction to her rabies vaccination.

    I did an early morning sale, run to a yard sale and then a chairty lunch today. Also had to pick up flowers and a few other things from Lowes. I lvoe shopping in the garden center.
    Okay, y'all got me wanting ice cream! Hello to all in the BIG State.

  47. Alrighty - - I'm getting closer to being ready to write, or at least think about writing. It was a later night than usual because I am definitely on a nesting kick. Didn't have this with my other two, but man do I want to organize and sort out and get this place in order. Part of it is that my mother in law is planning to come in a week and a half to CLEAN. She can't get here easily after delivery so she said she would come early and clean the house. Usually I'm not good with other people I know cleaning my mess, but at this point I. don't. care. So, I feel like my job is to organize the heck out of everything so she can actually see the floors, countertops, etc to get them clean. I can handle that this time. I'm also doing a fair amount of tossing of crappy toys and other assorted stuff my daughter just can't let go of. She got a nice long time to play in the tub tonight as I threw all sorts of stuff away from her room!

    So, now I think I'm going to do one more thing before I start writing. I have a dress I plan to wear tomorrow, so I think I'll go take a bath to shave my legs before writing. It won't get done if I save it until morning!! (Sorry if that was TMI, but it is what it is.)

  48. Jules, sounds like the place to be!

    My "reserve" reflection is done. I hope I don't need it, tho b/c we'd all rather hear from the youth.

    My comments on the Acts text are a take off from last week's sermon and are here. We are pretty open about welcoming GLBT people to worship, altho we don't talk about it a lot. I bring it up because I think we do everyone a favor by pushing the envelop and reminding our denomination that we aren't all stuck in the past.

    It's a quiet party tonight except at elastigirl's. I'm off to read or veg. G'nite all.

  49. I'm back from a fun concert at church. I apologize for the minimal hostessing today. Anyone want a cup of tea?
    I'm gearing up for a very full day tomorrow, including a youth event that worries me, and a mini-retreat for the Church Council that will include an opening based on material from the BE3. I'm so grateful to have been there last week!

  50. ::waves to bloggers meeting up at Elastigirl's::
    Have fun!

  51. I too am planning to touch on the Arizona immigration idiocy as an example of exclusion and inclusion. But my touching will include the fact that in the face of it being illegal, churches are still going to offer rides to worship to immigrants.

    ANd in the end it all comes back to the Gospel and the "new" commandment.

  52. gord - awesome! did you read that story somewhere? I'd like to see it.

  53. I read it in a sermon posted to an e-mail group. I think the specific reference was to UCC folk....

  54. Sermon finished. I ended up preaching on the book of Revelation alone. I was inspired by a sermon that Magdalene6127 gave in December on the same text. Please feel free to read it here.

  55. Gord, here's a good little interview with JIm Wallis on the same. Probably time to stop goofing around and start actually writing, yes?

  56. Here is Jim Wallis on a faithful response to the Arizona law.

  57. ha! Gord! we were posting at the same time. JInx!

  58. Acts text is lending itself well to the immigration issues as well.
    Can't help but tie it in a bit.
    I am slow moving on stuff.
    Not too much info, Sherev. I will be doing the same thing tonight and then slatheirng on the light tanning lotion in hopes of darkening my lily white legs.



    Thanks for all the good words here today.

  60. Just hit print! My only worry is that it is very similar to what I preached last week. Oh well.

    SheRev, I don't know how you go all day and then do the late night writing every week. I work best under pressure, but Saturday night is cutting it awfully close for me.

    And now I know why it's so quiet here: look at everyone off partying!

    Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone. I'm going to bed! (After I check FB of course :)

  61. I'm still plugging along, and hope against hope that I am closing in on my ending (after just adding a bunch to the middle that I thought was going to be at the end). This is very late for me to still be working, and I don't like being off my rhythm.

    I have found my fire for this sermon, which helps a lot! An ending can't be toooo far behind.

  62. Wow. I think I'm avoiding immigration altogether in this sermon, but tackling the GLBT inclusion. Yikes. Am I shooting myself in the foot?

    1075 words...time to start drawing it to a close...

  63. I am needing a closer too, SemFem.
    No, you are not shooting yourself in the foot( I don't think, yet do not know your context well!).
    Anyhow, I am trying to not only talk about immigration, but bring in other issues for folks to think about.
    Thus, my title and key question: Where is Your Edge?" We all have our edge where we exclude others. Right now mine is with the 5 or so canidates for govenor in our state and (and those in Arizona) them telling us how many times they voted aganist Obama. A hot topic. Anyhow, I am damning them all to hell. And, that is not for me to decide or say.
    I should be inviting them to dine at the communion table with us. But I really don't want to.
    I should also be willing to dine with the pro- oil drilling folks, but have not gotten up the courage to do so.
    Where is your edge? That is what I am going for, but I only have about 325 words left to make a point.

  64. Wow. Look at our low numbers. We do have a lot of partiers out there, huh?

  65. Soooo late to the party - no internet for me today.

    Almost done with the sermon - well, half written with an outline for the last half. "A Change Could Do You Good," or so I'm suggesting. Let's see if I can convince some of this tried and true folks of that!

    Yes, so, as I am so close to being done AND as I have a long day tomorrow, you'd think I'd just finish it out and go to bed. And yet some how a little more procrastination sounds so nice. Hmm.

  66. 1457 words...which is about 300 more than I would like to have. But it more or less fits together, it has a beginning, middle, and end, and it's finished!

    Going to attend to a few other things right now, and then come back to it.

    1-4, that sounds like a great way to go.

  67. What do we know about Caesaria? I know, way too late to be trying to figure this stuff out. I mean, it's up in Samaria, so is it considered Samaritan?

  68. I'm back after a detour to the bathtub and then to fill out some advance directives. Yes, I got distracted. Thank goodness this SNL is a re-run.

    I'm not touching either hot-button issue, but that's not abnormal. I usually like to do hot button things in Adult Ed situations before I bring them into worship (if I bring them into worship). It's something I promised myself after working with a pastor who used the pulpit as his own personal political soapbox. Not that anyone here is doing that! It's just what he did, and I'm super-sensitive to it, so I prefer to have discussions about issues with folks before (or instead of) preaching about them. It's my thing.

    Thanks, Purple, for posting your sermon. It's inspiring me to actually write mine. I need to keep it on the short side for me since we have communion and the ordination/installation of church officers tomorrow.

  69. Busy seaport city, built by Herod.

  70. I'm mentioning the Arizona situation in my pastoral prayer. Hopefully won't get too much pushback.

  71. Guess I should have said that, too. Like G_G, I include these sorts of issues in my prayers where I can pray for all sorts of different angles instead of needing to pick one side or another to use for an example.

  72. Printing up my materials for tommorrow. Oh sweet baby Jesus but it's late.

    Blessings to you all as you continue writing your sermons.

  73. Oh yeah, communion.

    Sherev, I actually dont preach "issue" sermons all that often, either. So when I do, it always takes extra time. But, in this case, it seems worth giving some context. our denomination has issued a strongly worded pastoral letter on the AZ situation, and Jim Wallis is on natl TV urging Christians to acts of civil disobedience. And there is footage of May Day protests. In a way, those seem like the first part of the conversation. Then, the sermon is like hte next part. And folks in my congregation ( I know from experience!) will have no problem calling me out if they think I'm privileging my own agenda over the scripture's.

    How about the rest of you? Do you lean to the pastoral or prophetic side in your preaching?

  74. Well, my sermon for tomorrow is all about, why, what, all those things. I hear many of my people saying we have to change, but there's not a lot of dialogue (or examples for dialogue) about how and what to change. I'm preaching on the Acts text as an example of discerning change.

    I went to the ELCA Churchwide Assembly last summer, where there was a BIG change (changing policy to allow non-celibate GLBT clergy), and we are still feeling the reverberations of that change. I addressed that at the time with discussion and a pastoral letter.

    In my sermon I make the comparison between the two issues to help illustrate just how big the stakes were for Peter and the early church...that in both cases, they weren't resistant to change out of inhospitality, but because the change deeply affected their belief of what God was doing.

    I decided to go there, but to also be very careful not to say that what happened was the will of the Holy Spirit. I may believe that, but it may well be many years before we know for sure. Part of change is acting, but also being humble to correction from the Spirit.

    So that's how I tried to address a hot-button issue pastorally in the pulpit. :) We have very little awareness of the Scriptural grounds for change, that whole discernment piece. Mostly what we hear is about how God's commands stand forever and ever. But we get a slightly different picture here, and I wanted to focus on that.

    I know that's more than you probably wanted, but that's where I'm going!

  75. I hear you, Juniper. I'll pull out a prophetic punch very very rarely, maybe too rarely. I often pray that I would have had the wisdom and courage to preach it "right" in times like the Civil Rights Movement while at the same time praying that I'm seeing it "right" in my own times and preaching on our issues when the time is right for my congregation. I probably err on the side of missing those times, though.

    I don't know that people would call me out if they thought I was pushing my own agenda instead of Scripture which may be one of the reasons I hold back. Open and honest communication is not real strong in my context, so the complaining would happen behind my back and may never make it to me, resulting in alienation and a whole host of other things that don't seem to be worth it. If I knew people would engage me in the conversation I might be more willing to pick up the "issues."

  76. Clarifications:

    Third paragraph from the end: I am referring to what happened last summer.

    Second paragraph from the end: I meant a communal "We" there.

  77. Oh, mercy. I think I'm just going to have to stop. The Perfect Ending simply isn't materializing. I have a page full of endings I have written and cut. So I have just ended it at a place that may or may not be its true ending.

    I love some parts of this sermon, and some others feel like a whole lotta blah blah blah.

    I'm going to sleep on it and see how it looks in the morning. But first I need to do my Sunday School prep.

    Blessings on the rest of you who are working!

  78. semfem - I think that what you are doing "here is a situation peter faced, here is a situation we are facing - are there any similarities?" is really a good one. also, talking about "what is God UP to?" rather than "Those stupid and inhospitable judeans" is also better.

    ugh, all this theory and no sermon yet - back to WORK.

  79. Juniper, sadly all I know for sure about Caesaria is that I can actually pronounce it. But as it was built up by one of the Herods (and named by him too), it makes me think it wouldn't be considered part of Samaria.

    Oh the pastor prophet question... unless I've got a very strong burning in my heart, my plan is usually to get people thinking thematically about scripture (gee, sometimes God calls us to think past what we "know" scripture to say to include and show love) and give some subtle invitations to think about current issues, but not push it.

  80. This comment has been removed by the author.

  81. I am still hoping to find a way to pose question in a way for "them" to find "their own" edge and where they are unwilling to be hospitable.
    Not sure if I can do that well. We basically don't have one issue here to confront. Wide range of social, political, and theological points of view in church, so I could not really preach on one thing, but looking at text, I see many potetial ones/ Hopefully, they will come away thinking of their own individual hot button issues.

  82. Oh.... another late night.

  83. I've got my start (which I hope doesn't shoot me in the foot) and a general outline. I think I'll hit the hay. I'll be back again to put the coffee on in a few hours. Ho hum.

  84. ok, got a sort of draft and a bunch of ideas but nothing more to give this sermon tonight. Heading to bed, and will be back EARLY tomorrow.

    Sleep tight, preachers.

  85. Well, done. Will print tomorrow(uh, later today!).
    I am about 30 or so words over. Tried to go short for communion, but our communion does nto take so long.
    Yawn....Nite Y'all

  86. Note: That is Well, done.
    Not "well done.:
    I know someone out there is though

  87. I know I said I'd be back much later ... I didn't really mean *this* much later

    anyone else here?

  88. hello Vicar!

    I'm about to take a shower and then do a final edit of my sermon. I'm down to 1410 words, but would really like to get it down even shorter.

    Hope things are coming together for you...

  89. technology has not been my friend tonight. Hopefully, I'll get to sleep soon

  90. 1380 words and that's the best I can do. My computer is running out of juice and so am I. Off to bed.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day.

  91. I wish I could have partied here more! Nonetheless, the sermon and prayers are finished. I'm off for a wee nap.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  92. I'm back. The goal - - be direct, be direct, be direct. Can she do it?

  93. I'm on a roll which is NOT as concise as I hoped, but not as wordy as I feard. I think I need to cut down my explanation of the Jewish/Gentile debate in Acts, but I can get to that later. I can also do it on the fly if I need to when I see how long things before me in worship are taking!

  94. Well, I have spared anyone left listening the usual play by play of my morning writing. But now I have finished and I'm just as long as usual. Why can't I figure out how to edit myself while writing? Ugh. Now I need a good 15 minutes to let the Spirit prune this one back to the essentials. Think I can knock about 400-500 words SOMEwhere? It's been done before!

  95. SheRev, I don't know how you manage on so little sleep on Sat night/Sun morn. I am so tired this morning & hoping I don't fall asleep while preaching.

  96. I don't know how I do it either, but I don't know how to do it another way. At some point my age is going to catch up with me and I know I won't be able to do this anymore, but until then I will just keep going and use what works.

    Prayers for you, Vicar, and the rest working on fewer hours than you prefer!

  97. At 1548 I'm calling it done. Not as much got shaved off as I hoped, but I think I'll make up for that by choosing a shorter communion prayer! That seems easier at this point!

  98. hey ho,

    back again and with 40 minutes to turn the pile of mush I generated last night into solid food that's good enough to eat.

    good morning sherev and vicar and etc. looks like we almost got to 100 after all :)

  99. Wow, that was quite the late night party!
    I am at church with my big dog, Sam, who will be visiting Sunday School today. We're doing a Heifer Project series, and today's theme is caring for animals.
    Thanks for keeping the party going, and blessings to those are are called to represent this morning, in whatever form that takes.

  100. Hey 100!

    Good morning everybody!

  101. and, 101 to say: Sermon is done and I'm hoping I havent walked out onto a limb that is going to fall off behind me. I'm off to chruch now. All you East Coasters are already in full swing. Great day, all!


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