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Saturday, June 05, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: Back to Life Edition

Good morning, preachers and pals! Sorry for the late start. She Rev is on maternity leave, so we shout out huzzahs and welcomes to the She Revlet!! And then ask for pardon for the late-sleeping Songbird, who took advantage of the cover of thunderstorms to stay in bed, before remembering the party!

Those preaching the lectionary have impressively supernatural texts to consider. Some of you may be like me, looking forward to a children's program tomorrow. Let us know what's going on where you are. Which text did you choose? Anything special going on in your service as the school year ends or has already completed?

And does your Sunday School go on through the summer?

I'm brewing Fair Trade coffee and hot water for tea is not far behind. If you'll be patient, I promise coffee cake later! Join the party in the comments and let us know how it goes with you today.


  1. hi! I'm preaching tonight and tomorrow and have about half a sermon. hope to do better next week.

    We also have a blessing of graduates, and a program for Vets between the services.

    This is my first Sunday flying solo, as the sr. pastor retires and there will not be an interim until mid-July to August.


    I'm doing the widow, raising the dead, thinking about Jesus' compassion, and the boundary he cross by touching the bier...

  2. Packing not preaching. M. Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary last night, so I suppose that someday in the future there will be preaching instead of packing? What a happy change that will be!

    In the meantime, I am now the holder of two advanced degrees and no employment prospects whatever -- but it's summer, so I think I'm good with that.

  3. Diane - blessings upon you!

    Children for us tomorrow. It's the first Children's Sabbath here and although I will cover more at the 1st service, all is done except for an 11am rehearsal with the children who show up. CE Director and another pastor are in charge so that's nice. We also announce graduates and end the SS season until we run a short one for 5 weeks in July/August leading into VBS.

    Thanks for setting the table SB, I'm looking forward to the coffee cake.

  4. Good morning all,

    I am preaching off lectionary tomorrow to address some particular concerns in my community. Hoping I will be able to speak the truth with love and that I will be able to normalize some of the stuff that is going on in the congregation during this interim time.

    Some wacky unbloggable stuff has come out in the last couple of weeks that shows some unresolved grief over the last settled pastor leaving.

  5. Diane, blessings. I have about a tenth of the sermon I need. Preaching from Galatians, Paul's line about God setting him apart before he was born and calling him by grace. That seems good for Confirmation, right?

    Robin, Mazel Tov. BEYOND Mazel Tov.

    Songbird, DANG that cake looks good.

  6. Yum, I'll happily wait for the coffee cake.

    Happy to join the party, as I'm preaching for the first time in a year (!). I have had a busy week with out-of-town husband, a 2 year old, and a baby. But! I have a partial sermon focusing on the compassion that Elijah and Jesus show to the widows.

    However, I'm desperately seeking a children's sermon, suitable for children I don't know. Any ideas?

  7. Miracles begin with compassion! We often look toward's God's great power as the source of miracles, but Jesus shows us that it is compassion that truly makes the difference.

    Now off to Vacation Bible School orientation.

  8. Tomorrow is Annivrsary Sunday for the UCCan (85 years) and so I am attempting a reflection on who we are and where we might be going. By attempting I mean that is the plan with a few random thoughts attached.

    I am thinking that the image of the phoenix will be involved as a sign of hope--sadly we right now appear more like Fawkes the first time Harry sees him in Dumbledore's office.

    AS a more pressing concern, I am wondering if I will have a voice tomorrow as it is not present thus far today. Maybe call in a back-up to lead liturgy so I just have to do Children's Time, Sermon and Communion prayer?????

  9. Mags -- I do like that idea, re: Galatians. I thought about doing a sermon series on Galatians....obviously didn't go that direction.

    Had two funerals this week, and did an "end of life" visit last night. So, raising the dead kind of stuck out as a theme.

  10. I'm writing about the widow of Zarephath, thinking about the concept of "hunkering down," and how, in times of distress, we stay busy, we grip what we have in a desperate way, and focus so much on hunkering down, that we can't see salvation coming.

    And I'm thinking about being too busy, not doing the things that I need to stay sane, all in the guise of hunkering down.

    I don't want to hunker.

  11. I do have some writing to complete for tomorrow: Communion liturgy, annual report and monthly Council report. If only one of those sounds interesting, well...

    Meanwhile, the coffee cake is fresh out of the oven, and it isn't imaginary, but the half-and-half needs to be replaced. Rats! I guess someone will have to go out in the rain, and by someone, I mean your Songbird.

  12. RogueReverend, good to see you here!
    esperanza, that sounds like a *very* full week. I hope the day goes smoothly.
    Robin, congratulations!
    God_Guurrlll, you've shown great insight in and about this congregation. I trust the Spirit will support you further in the work of their transition.
    Mags, that sounds just right, and Diane, with Sr. P leaving and so many people dying, you sound like you're on the right track, too!

  13. Yesterday I was out with a friend and discovered that mosquito season has begun. So I'll be spraying myself down with Benadryl today as I try to figure out a children's sermon that will go with both Psalm 146 (what our guest preacher is doing) AND communion AND, at one service, a baptism. Plus I need to write communion liturgy and I still have that whole charge-to-the-pastor for an afternoon installation to figure out.
    First, I think I'm going to run to the Farmer's Market. If I find anything yummy, I'll come back with it!

  14. Robin and Diane, as you both enter times of change, may you remember the Spirit has you in her hands!

    SB, that coffee cake sounds delicious.

    Family service for me tomorrow; I want to do the first half of the widow and Elijah, but not quite sure how I want to develop it. Thought of making a tortilla in church, but that's a little iffy...too much focus on cooking and not enough on my words. I saw a clever idea for comparing unpopped and popped popcorn (which I also could do right there, more easily with a hot air popper) and how a little can turn out to be a lot. And then there's the option simply to tell the story, which is a good one about trust and miracles. I mention all this in the hope that it might trigger ideas for someone else who is looking for something similar!

  15. Good morning, all! Packing up to drive east for a week of Latin translation with my book partner. Additional joys include seeing Mrs. M. for brunch tomorrow, Michelle for lunch Friday, and an overnight retreat with my seminarian.

    Started the morning by drawing up an offer on a lovely little house with a tiny beautiful office/chapel for my spiritual direction practice. Pentecost retreat discernment indicated getting off the tenure track academic hamster wheel, staying in this sweet little town we have come to love, coming out of the sacristy closet, and having way more time for writing and ministry. Hurray for God/dess!

    Blessings on writing today and preaching and presiding tomorrow....Prayers for traveling mercies and translation mojo appreciated on this end!

  16. I should make it clear that this is just a one-Sunday supply preaching gig, so that (you know, in addition to taking care of the girls) is all i was responsible for this week. That, and we are in some kind of potty training purgatory, at best. Preaching is way easier than that.

    Thanks for the children's sermon thoughts...keep 'em coming!

  17. Good morning gals and pals!

    Congrats on your graduation, Robin!

    I am not preaching tomorrow but am prepping for a wedding tonight. I'm in Pennsylvania to perform a wedding for an online knitting friend. She also met her husband online, as well as one of her bridesmaids. Pretty cool! It's a Jewish-Christian ceremony, and I'm very excited to be doing it. It's funny - I've done a Hindu-Christian wedding, my husband has done a Muslim-Christian wedding, and we've both done weddings that involved other cultural traditions (such as Filipino traditions), but neither one of us has ever done a Jewish-Christian wedding, which I know is the most common kind of interfaith wedding.

    Anyway, for now I'm in a hotel by myself with coffee, knitting, and a *great* book (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest). But in a little while I'll be reviewing and revising my comments for the wedding and trying to get over my Bad Hair Day.

    Songbird, wish I could send you some half-and-half - the hotel has plenty. What they don't have is coffee cake!!

  18. Widow of Zarephath is the text for me. (I must not be awake since that phrasing immediately brought to mind "Green Acres is the place for me")

    RogueReverend good to see you here. Your thoughts remind me of a Suzy Orman story that is actually one of my favorite sermon stories. You can read it on my blog.

    Look, a sermon story and a blog post all at the same time!

  19. That coffee cake looks delicious!

    Preaching the Luke text, and thinking about compassion and a quote from Schindler's List "He who saves one life saves the world entire." Not sure where that will lead, but that's where I am now.

    Started the day early with a breakfast meeting, followed by another meeting, and feeling like a nap right this minute. Maybe lunch would help?

  20. Morning all! Good to see you all here. I've got rhubarb muffins - made fresh last night - as well as some leftover apple strudel from a session retreat this morning.

    Session retreat went really well, so I'm on a high from that. Hoping that will help me finish up a sermon that's already half done.

    Then on to home improvement projects - I just bought a cordless drill and am loving it :)

  21. Hello everyone! Hope things are progressing well for us all today.

    I'm contemplating a nap after being out late last night and getting up early today to plan a memorial service. Then it's the widow of Nain for me, plus getting ready for synod assembly tomorrow. And it would be really good if I could sketch out this memorial service before I head off to assembly, while the details are still fresh in my mind.

    Oh, but a nap sounds so delightful first...[yawn]

  22. Songbird, what kind of goddess bakes a coffee cake on saturday and hosts the Preacher Party? Wow, I'm impressed and I want some.
    Hubby brought back a SB frap from his grocery run. It would go nicely with cake...not that I need it.

    Unrelated problem, I put some of my CSA lettuce in the top shelf of frig in a hurry on thursday and it froze! Yikes, is there anything I can do to salvage it? Some of the stalks look ok but the big, beautiful green leaves are cold and crunchy. Ideas?

    Robin, congrats on the MDIV
    esperanza, is still am haunted by potty training purgatory. ugh, prayers for you!

    I'm off lectionary as the 3 congregations who share the space of our church are worshipping together tomorrow and each pastor gets approximately 5 minutes on Lazarus' being raised.
    Spanish, English and Khmer(Cambodian) will be the order of the day. Then a cross-cultural picnic. hmmmm good!

  23. I'm preaching off Lectionary and like God_Guurrlll, I'm addressing some stuff that has come up in the interim congregation I'm serving. Praying for the Spirit to guide me in the right words to say. Next Sunday is my last Sunday & they have no one to replace me while they still look. Praying for them as they make decisions.
    Earthchick, wish I had talked to you before last weekend. I did a Hindu-Christian ceremony and would have loved to know your experience. All went beautifully though and I was honored to be asked to be a part of such event. Blessings on your day, preachers!!

  24. I am sad to say that we do not have Sunday School in the summer (but I am sure those who offer it are glad!) Youth mission groups are having a car wash tomorrow so a good chance for fellowship there. I have been away from home church for a month of Sundays...5 in a row!...I miss it!

  25. Gord - if you look in the 85th Anniversary package, there is a separate booklet for a bible study. The first session is about Bread.

    Because we are using the Common Loaf mix for our communion bread tomorrow, I re-worked the bible study material and talked about Jesus as the bread of life. I kept it REALLY short, as we're playing the Moderator's message (about 3 minutes I think) that came with the same package.

    Hope that helps.

  26. Rough draft done. If any of you have any time please stop by and comment. I'm interested to hear your feedback, especially from the interim ministers. Am I on the right track?

    Thanks, you can read it here.

  27. Betsy, I forgot to mention that a colleague did a sermon once where someone else prepared the (bread in this case) and he preached about it as she worked. It was very effective. fyi, dunno if that helps you.

  28. So I've done some more background reading, had lunch, took a short nap...I don't think there is anything else I can do except WRITE...unless I decide to go do some laundry. MUST write the sermon first.

    Getting started is always the hardest part for me.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. I am back, to offer raspberries and iced coffee and Diet Coke! Don't go without sustenance, preachers. You need your strength.
    I've been busy--ahem--hanging out with my 19yo, who is home for just a few weeks. We just finished watching Season 1 of Fringe, which was terrifying and delightful, all at the same time.
    Now I need to think about dinner and the work left to do for tomorrow. Not surprisingly, dinner sounds more interesting. :-)

  31. SB, iced coffee and raspberries sound wonderful!!

    In the last hour I've hammered out 1400 words, which is more than I need, so I need to go back and edit. But I am glad to have a draft down on paper before dinner time!

    Betsy I love the popcorn idea...filing that one away for future reference.

  32. I think I am going with Ps. 146 and Galatians. FOTW has some interesting comments that tie together well.
    Do not put your trust in princes. WEll, I could preach about that one all day! But Paul's need to make it clear that the revelation of Jesus Christ came not from men but from Christ himself resonates here for me. At a time when the "princes" of my denomination are so hung up on authority and judgment that we have lost God as our center/starting point, I get what Paul is saying. Wendy Farley's point that Paul is moving away from Judaism and also from Jerusalem's church is significant, too. I am still working on the fact that nothing we do will succeed for any length of time if we do not understand how it is God is calling us to act. Both Paul and the psalmist make it clear that God is at the center; God is the why for creation, conversion and mission.

  33. God Guurlll, I left a comment at your place, but nice job!

  34. Just stopping by to say hello; it's been a long time since I've joined the party! (It's also, miraculously, been a long time since I've actually been finishing up a sermon on a Saturday! I've been trying to discipline myself to finish by Thursday or Friday at the latest, and it's been working pretty well, though not this week since I was in Chicago at the 2030 Clergy Gathering of UCC Ministers all week.)

    Anyway, I'm feeling okay with what I'm doing, not super-wonderful-great, but pretty good.

    I'm using this opportunity to talk about testimony: it may be a stretch, but I want to introduce the prospect of having members share testimony within the service, and I thought I could use the phrases in the Old Testament about the words of Elijah's mouth being true (after raising the son from death) and the way that the crowd spreads word of Jesus healing the widow's son in the NT to talk about testimony. Hopefully it will work out that way!

    Blessings to all of you as you continue to prepare for tomorrow! Unfortunately, I don't have too many goodies here to offer, other than bottled water if you're thirsty!

  35. I'm preaching, second Sunday in a row - whoohoo! But it's been a crazy, mixed up day, which included (thankfully) coffee with Jennifer...anyway, I have a sermon posted here, hoping for hope. I have to make a quick run to the store and meditate - will be back later to read the other offerings. Blessings, all!

  36. Lots of good offerings in every catagory today (words, ideas, support, and of course various food delights).

    I am off lectionary and using Elijah battling with the prophets of Baal. If you are interested or need a bit of a break...Showdown at Mt. Carmel.

    I think perhaps a bit of grilling for dinner this evening. All are welcome.

  37. morning Rev Gals, back to preaching this week, after 3 Sundays off with flu and then a rostered few days off. this week was ministers retreat, and yesterday an ordination of a friend. so I am preaching-lite this week. reading OT, NT and epistle, and talking about how stories define and shape and challenge and affirm who we are and how we live.

    I have used popcorn on Pentecost some years - one kernel in a spoon over the Christ candle, a drop of oil helps. I talked about how the spirit changes us. popcorn is great, we eat it for movies [which are stories] and at parties - and the gospel is about both those things. the difference between popped and not popped corn and the difference the Spirit makes in our lives.
    the kids loved watching the single kernel pop. you do need lots of popcorn as everyone seems to love eating it.

    Almost time to head to the church [it is Sunday morning here]

    all the best Rev Gals.

  38. Rev Nancy, thanks for that idea. I think I'm going with the popcorn, which is easy (and doesn't require experimentation in advance!), but I will tuck that away for the future, as I do a lot of preaching with props.

    Very neat about popping just one kernel over the paschal candle.

    Practiced with the children's choir for their musical tomorrow--David & Goliath--and continued the procrastination with trips to Target and the hardware store. A 90th birthday party to go to later. I really should get serious about the sermon...

    I started to worry a bit about popcorn and the littlest kids; I don't want to create stress for parents by having a choking-risk food. Called one of those moms and she suggested simply having it available at the coffee hour, at parents' discretion. As we pass through these ages and stages, it's easy to forget the hazards!

    One son is with his aunt, one is at a party ("Don't embarrass me too much, Mom!" when I insisted on calling the host's parent to check things out), and I'm headed out to a party; that means my husband can fend for himself for dinner ;-) I have loads of bagels in the freezer, if anyone needs a little snack.

  39. Well I got the Bannock made for communion, got the music set up (including a Peter Paul and Mary song for special music--posted it on my blog). ANd then I had a nice nap with a 10-day old on my chest. Still no voice (but a back-up liturgist s arranged).

    Now I just remembered that there is a line in the bulletin "Prayer for the History and the Future of the United Church"--only problem is there is yet to be a prayer (as I was less than impressed by the "official" one that was sent out). Off to write abotu thansgivings and regrets and hopes, in a short little prayer. On second thought, if the prayer is long the sermon can be shorter....

  40. not preaching tomorrow - choir's last day until Sept and they do a Big Thing. So I"m moving rocks instead of sermonating today...they do not always feel all that different! But wanted to drop by and stay hi. Have a great day and blessings all.

  41. Anybody out there? I'm here, now working away on notes for the memorial service, but hoping to start the sermon soon. It's been a quiet day today...

  42. semfem, I'm still here. I finished my meditation for tomorrow and am grateful that its not a full sermon. But I've been working on the sermon I have to give at our annual conference this summer. The deadline is coming all too fast and I'm not happy with the ending. oh well, At least i'm not giving it tomorrow.
    Do you know what you're preaching (in general) for tomorrow?

  43. I am thinking about the Luke text...about parades, and the parade of mourners meeting the parade of disciples, and how Jesus' compassion interrupts our OWN parades so that we cannot go on the way we have before.

    Or something like that. I really need to start writing it. I finished writing my memorial service notes (which morphed into part of a sermon, which will be very helpful come next Friday!).

    Nancy, when is your annual conference? That's pretty cool that you got asked to preach there!

  44. And the prayer is done (in amongst brushing hair and trimming nails and saying goodnights and watching "Canada's Worst Handyman"). Beloved read and approved so I have printed it and posted it

  45. hey. I'm back. I preached the early edition, and it went O-Kaaaay, I guess, but I feel like I kind of lost my way in the middle, so I'm moving some things around (while my husband watches baseball).

    raising the dead -- nice work if you can get it, eh?

  46. I'm still here trying to raise a sermon

  47. semfem, annual conference is in a month. YIKES, but "all will be well" I just need to keep remembering it. AND reading everyone's sermons give me ideas for fixing my ending.
    all is good.
    best writing wishes

  48. I'm still here, or rather, back. Hubby has returned, both girls are in bed (at least for now), and I'm going to look at this sermon and see if it's ready.

  49. "compassion" is from the Latin for "to suffer with." Right?

  50. yes, esperanza, I think that's right.

  51. Good night folks. Thanks for checking out my sermon and leaving comments. You all are fab!

    May the Holy Spirit have all our backs tomorrow.

    Peace and love,

  52. I have two images in my head which might be useful to someone.
    1. the man who stood in front of the tank (death) during the Tiananmen Sq. uprising. What moved him to do it?
    2. survivors watching as the casket of their loved one as it is taken off the military plane transporting their remains back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I'm working with the idea of compassion as motivator to action.

  53. Y'all, I am going to turn in, but please feel free to keep partying. Vicar, I hope you can raise one!

  54. What I thought was a drop in reception turned out to be a sit down dinner :-o Very delicious, but longer than I expected.

    I need to pin down the way I want to tell the story and get out a big bowl for the popcorn, but otherwise I'm good. Here's praying that the rest of you still working will be at that easy spot soon (hah! That never really happens, does it? Well, at least that you are soon ready to call it done).

  55. Ack, now I can't remember the words of institution. A year is toooo long!

    I think I'm going to bed, hopefully to sleep.

  56. Wrote one sermon - a mini-drama told from Luke's widow's p.o.v. Not bad.

    Then I talked to my bishop assistant, (who is my 'boss' for the first call process) about the congregation I interviewed with getting cold feet and wanting more time, and about the congregation I am supplying at and their inability to see any hope in thier declining numbers. Suddenly I realized that the widow of Nain was a perfect metaphor for this congregation. So I hurried home from feeding a friend's cats and just finished writing a completely new sermon that encourages them to hear Jesus speaking words of life to them!

    Good thing I cooked the chicked for tonight's tacos yesterday! Anyone up for some late night chips and homemade salsa?

  57. I would love some chips and salsa, thanks Ramona!

    I've managed to wash the dishes, update my cell phone contacts and fill out my mileage forms, but no sermon yet. At least I'm procrastinating in relatively productive ways, but still this is not good.

    Back to try and get the ball rolling.

  58. Home from worship and lunch, and while I thought I was preaching lite this morning, an e-mail from someone telling me how much they appreciated what I said and can they have the notes to base a toastmaster talk on.
    the Spirit moves in mysterious ways.
    May the Spirit be with you this day.

  59. Yay Robin!!! Way to go.
    I have been busy today with funeral preperations (a longtime member died, but she has been in a special needs home for a long time). Anyhow, not many people actually knew her well in the church and my visits with her were often short as she had begun to sleep mostly.
    Not sure how many to expect, but we copied 50 bulletins. Tomorrow will be odd. A candidate is preaching at nearby church so our PNC will be there. However, due to some loose lips on then committee, several members are now going to THAT church. Ugh...this is why I stress confidentiality. But, sadly, some of the folks did not listen to wel.
    Anyhow, tomorrow we are recognizing our 4 graduates(2 preschool, one high school and one law school) and it is communion. So, my sermon will be super short and sweet.
    I am thinking I may ditch next weeks text and do a part 2 of sorts on the widow(in OT). Not sure yet, it is jsut too rich a text not to deal more than that with.
    And, I also must finish planning my homily for the funeral. Tough to do not have known the lady well.
    Oh and after the funeral and obligatory meal with family, I have to teach the very last confirmation class so we can get all confimred before vacations start.
    Thinking maybe having Monday AM off would be nice and I am sure the awesome admin asst would like that too. She had to work part of the day helping set up for funeral so she is due.
    Ah, but now back to the Miracle in a Jar and the widow.
    Hey, where's our late night crew???

  60. 1-4 Grace, I'm still here. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have much to say, either here or for the sermon. I do have some words and a story but I'm not real thrilled with it.

  61. I don't usually comment here, but I've found this party to be really helpful when I'm preaching. Our VBS starts tomorrow, I've been prepping for it all day today (and yesterday) and am preaching tomorrow so I'm pretty wiped out right now but have much more to do tonight for VBS, Sunday school, worship. I've got a good draft (just some cleaning up tomorrow morning) on both widows (mainly Zarephath) talking about how both of these stories give us a view of God who is very active in our world and who acts with love and compassion. It's not my favorite, but pretty darn good considering I'm up to my ears in Egypt VBS. Thanks for this group-makes me feel less alone when I'm up late on a Saturday working when most of the world seems to be having fun (like my neighbors having quite a raucous pool party!)

  62. Welcome, Lindsay!

    1-4 Grace and Vicar, I'm still here, but haven't typed a word. NOTGOOD. And could really use some sleep. Also not good.

  63. Er, I meant LindsEy. My mistake.

  64. The good news is the sermon and prayers are printed!

    The bad news is y'all are on your own for the party. I have an ache that pain meds can handle but, about 30 mins after taking it, I'll be snoozing. Have a great party without me.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  65. Slept some, but up with the baby. Stopping in for words of can do it, late night crew!

  66. Thanks Esperanza! Hope you and the baby are fast asleep now...

    I dozed off a little, and now I'm finally off and running. Not many words yet, but I'll take any at this point!

    Looks like everyone else got done, good job. I'll try to finish up as last of the pack and hopefully get some more sleep...

  67. I have a draft, yay! 1363 words, so I should trim a few of them before I print and collapse in bed for a few hours.

  68. Done, whew!

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

  69. LOL. I didn't have to preach this morning but I do have to preach tonight. So, instead of stressing out on saturday, I'm stressing out sunday. It's 2:30pm here, usually holy nap time but I'm trying to pull together a sermon on elijah and the widow for communion. At least I have all your comments - and sermons for inspiration. HAve also just acquired a copy of Feasting on the word - a great resource.
    Main problem is, I'm tired because, although I didn't preach this morning, I did the rest of the service. Hoping to finish up and fit in a few zzzs before it's time to go again.
    I'm wondering whether I just have no discipline or whether I'm just too busy - probably both.


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