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Saturday, July 17, 2010

11th Hour Preacher's Party: Should I Stay or Should I Go edition

Admittedly if , while pondering our Gospel reading for this Sunday, one thinks of this song (as I have)  by the Clash one has to consider it very loosely as a double entendre. In a rather "loose" interpretation, (and I really may be stretching it a bit here) it gets us to some of the points we might be making. I mean, Mary and Martha are clashing, right? And we may be pondering about what the Gospel is saying regarding, love and whether one is staying or doing?

Then again, perhaps you're taking a both/and approach to the reading?
Maybe, though, you are going with Amos instead and pondering a contrast between how having a relationship with God means living a life as rich as a basket of summer fruit? Or, how a life without a relationship with God produces a desert of desolation? (Amos has a few strong words about this life without God idea). Maybe you like the story form Genesis about Abraham and Sarah entertaining angels unaware and how this story led to the inspiring icon by Rubelev on the Trinity?

Then, of course there's the reading from Paul's Letter to the Colassians and a reflection on the Body of Christ? So many options to ponder this week. Including this conversation from the Tuesday Lectionary Leanings.

Wherever your ponderings are leading you we are in it together. Here you will find an excellent cup of freshly brewed coffee and the tea kettle is on. Or, for those in the warmer climes, iced coffee and tea. I have fresh nectarines and homemade apple bread. And lots of ideas to share around. Pull up a chair and join the party!


  1. Good morning preachers, I have brought some hazelnut coffee to start us up this morning. Enjoy!

  2. Hello all!

    I am fully caffeinated and ready to go. Am going to head out on my morning run before really settling in to write. But I am going to work very hard to be fully focused and writing like the wind once I get back. I have a Hot Date tonight with the hubs (for my bday last month he got us tickets to see Carrie Newcomer in concert tonight). I really want to enjoy the concert and don't want to be pondering how to finish up my sermon while listening to music!

    Anyway, I'm preaching the Gospel, my title is "The Needful Thing." I feel like so many sermons I've heard and read on this text are so flat and shaming, and I'm hoping not to fall into that myself. I see this text sort of like a parable and am trying to treat it similarly.

    Back later!

  3. Good morning God_Guurll - yum, I love hazelnut flavored coffee...

    Earthchick, I'm heading to the gym for a good work out myself, in a while anyway. And I so agree with you on sermons for this text...sigh...working for a little new perspective myself...

    Here's hoping we can get 'em done in time for all of us to a little down time tonight!

  4. I'm back this week with another pulpit supply gig. I've been working (really!) on this Colossians sermon all week and just can't get un-stuck. I'm focusing on the Christ hymn part and have managed some stuff about photographs and Polaroids and invisible images and then--you know, when it's time to get to the point--I got nuthin. So today is the day to find something, somewhere.

    We're having cereal for breakfast, then hopefully the baby and I are going to head out to a couple of garage sales, while the toddler stays home with Daddy.

  5. Hey all! Have half a sermon and a plan for the rest. But first I'll be heading over to the church to help out the women with their annual salad luncheon fundraiser. You name it, it's in a salad ...

    Sermon is on the Martha/Mary passage. Was grateful for the Dear Working Preacher letter at for my inspiration earlier this week. Check it out - it's good stuff. (And if I was really good, I would link, but alas ...)

  6. Good morning, Sermonfolk!

    Here's my contribution to the table: a lovely egg-and-veggie creation referred to by my partner's offspring as a "Momlette." This morning, she sauteed some summer squash, then whisked some eggs and a bit of milk and sea salt together, poured them in the pan, and added the first ripe heirloom tomato of the year. Mmmm... you can have some while the fragrant steam is still rising!

    Now, I have to sit down for a bit and enjoy it with you at the table, because, this week, I'm working with Genesis, a snippet of Colossians, and Luke. Themes: hospitality, conversation, listening, and the practice of presence. So, (she said, taking off her apron and pulling up a chair, trying to remind herself the dishes will get done later), what are YOU preaching about?

  7. Good Morning Esperanza, I remember thinking, on Tuesday, that your idea is a good one...I hope you find the point you are looking for, I'll think about it too...

    And DG, welcome. I too liked his point...

  8. Oh yes,MaineCelt, I'll have some of that momlette! yum....and welcome to the party.

  9. Ok. I've been mixing this sermon around in my head and on paper all's time to put it out there and view it in another form. You can find, It's a Love Thing here and as always, feedback and comments welcome.

    Now, off to walk the dogs while this thing chills...

  10. and it's sourdough biscuits time at Tether's End...looking forward to day in which, DV, I won't have to ply the wet/dry vac in the basement...and if I'm good and get this sermon written, I can go to the Artwalk and maybe even buy me a hand-painted picture!!!
    It's going to be Mary and Martha. The joke of it is, I can remember preaching these texts at St. Curious and that has to have been in '95 when I was a theological student temporarily in charge of the parish.
    The line to focus on I think is "and it shall not be taken away from her"...what do we allow to be taken away from us -- how often do we let go of the "better part"??? and tell ourselves that Jesus wants it that way...?

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  12. Hi friends. I'm back from my run, showered, breakfasted, and with an intro written. I hope I can keep moving forward, rather than getting caught in my usual Saturday slowness.

    I have lots of yummy berries to share, as well as homemade soymilk if anyone would like a smoothie!

  13. Crimson Rambler - ooooh, I like that. That's great food for pondering: the things that in in the way of 'the better part' and all that takes it way from me

    I'm not preaching tomorrow. My supply gig has communion tomorrow and with me not being ordained yet, someone else has to preside. So the presider will preach.

    I toyed with the idea of writing a sermon anyway - but I just wrote on this text for senior preaching class last spring. It was a dramatic retelling of the story, with Martha emailing a friend about this encounter with Jesus. It's too fresh in my mind to really contemplate writing a new sermon. Maybe I should do the rework the class suggested.

    Thursday's first call interview went really well. I went from being moderately interested to really excited. This is a congregation that I can do ministry with! Now to wait AGAIN - the theme of my summer.

    I'm off to the farmers market down the street. Gottat get some fresh tomatoes!

  14. Hi Crimsom and Ramona, welcome!! Love that sentence, Crimsom...

    Now, I'm off to the gym. Will be back shortly...

  15. Hi all,
    I'm bringing virtual muffins this morning and wishing I had some of the real thing. Cubbard is bare again. It looks like Saturday will be grocery day. This Sunday will be record setting - 3 Sundays in a row in the same pulpit. I've been supply preaching until my recent appointment to a local church. I'm still trying to find a routine for balancing sermon writing, spending time with family... My sermon is written (and typed) as of Thursday, but now it feels too distant, not at all fresh. I'd be interested in how you all handle this. I think I'll ask the matriarchs about this.

  16. Love the ideas here! And if I weren't as far along as I am, I too would be looking at "what do we allow to be taken away from us?" Good stuff, CR!

    I'm about 4/5ths of the way through mine... Preaching on Mary and Martha and Colossians--being present for God and doing the hard work rather than taking the easy way out--which is so tempting and sometimes even an excuse (i.e., "This really needs to be done"). I want to get it done--at least mostly, so we can head out for some errands and ice cream later!

    Yogurt and granola for breakfast here; strawberries and blueberries both available as you wish.

  17. Wish I had something yummy to offer.

    I have a purring cat on the desk next to my computer -- which is a good sermon-writing omen so if anyone wants to virtually borrow her, she's all yours.

    Just finished my teaching outline for tomorrow evening's service (Psalm 51) and now I need to clean my house like a madwoman for the company coming over tomorrow.

    Blessings to all!

  18. I'm yawning this a.m.; we had to get up at 2:15 to take our 15 y.o. son to the airport for a week's mission trip in Belize. I am very excited for him getting to have this opportunity; it's a great match for his personality, and he's at a good age to learn long-term lessons about life another part of the world. People in the congregation contributed every bit of the basic costs, which really had an impact on him in terms of the experience of what it means to be supported and loved in a community :-)

    For my part, no preaching tomorrow! So, I'll pray for all of you as you write, ponder, and wait; a bit later, I should have some cool, cut-up watermelon to share.

    If anyone happens to have the NT volume of "Why Not Sea Monsters," remember that there is a fabulous Mary & Martha song on there.

  19. It sounds like Saturday is what is 'taken away from' many of us, altho how does that fit with a work week like we have?

    I've had a very crazy week with lots of travel, a SIL having surgery for a cancerous tumor that was just discovered 2 weeks ago, and many other concerns. Prayers have flowed heavy this week and many already answered. These 2 "kids" (25) have been married less than a year. what a trial but they are doing well and we are praying for a good prognosis from the biopsy.

    Meanwhile, due to an early trip to airport I had some time to work on sermon yesterday and its 1/2 done. I'm seeking inspiration for the other half here. Thank you sisters (and brothers).

  20. I have garage-saled and potty-supervised. Naptime should be coming up shortly (for the girls), and I will then turn to sermonizing. I also have to choose some hymn "suggestions," as the volunteer pianist, her limited repertoire, and the congregation's limited repertoire apparently make the final decision.

    Must resist nap myself. Must resist nap. Must resist nap.

  21. I'm hitting thesermon latetoday havign been interviewing people duringthe day. I've gotsome thoughts on Mary and MArtha and hadn't evenlooked at the other texts so when I found it was Abraham and Sarah with the guests at Mamre I was thrilled :o) Rublev and hospitality, Distractions and Faith/workdebate and I think I'm almost done!

  22. Wikipedia is failing me. I remember going to an Eastern Orthodox church, many years ago and noting that their statues were only two-dimensional. They were on stands in the middle of the room, not hung on the walls, but weren't figurines.

    Does anyone else know anything about this? Theological background?


  23. Hi All Y'all! And welcome to everyone who joined us since I last dropped by (in the meantime I went to the gym and had the first good work out in a week due to VBS)....anyway....

    regarding Orthodox and not statues - I think it's connected to the idea of no "idol" worshiping, ergo no statues. BUT the Icons are not idols, they are a form of prayer. The "creator" of the Icon doesn't paint them, he or she "writes" them. Those gathered meditate on the icon from which and through which prayer unfolds.

  24. esperenza - maybe they were large icons?

    I am still running a low fever fighting a kidney infection on the third different antibiotic now. And, of course, when choosing scripture weeks ago, I chose the one on which I have never previously preached - Colossians.

    mlr - I'm definitely using your connection to the communion liturgy & I may be looking for an old I John sermon in my files to follow you with that, too

  25. welcome vicar, sorry you are feeling badly and hoping these antibiotics to the job!

  26. VoH - in Anchor Bible dictionary it talks about body = means of connection and communication

    Make this bread and wine be for us the body (means of connection and communication)and blood of Christ so that we may be for the world the body (means of connection and communication)of Christ redeemed by his blood. Hope this helps. Revising/refreshing mine now.

  27. Hi all,

    Just got back from Smalltown festival and marched in their parade with my church. Tomorrow is a shared service with all the church's in Smalltown so no sermon.

    I've brought my favorite beer to share with those who are done writing their sermon and/or for those who are looking for some spirits.

  28. Thanks to whomever mentioned the letter to workingpreacher, David Lose's story gave me just what I needed to wrap it up.
    A few more things on worship and maybe I can quit for the night. But there's always more...right? Who am I preaching to?

  29. Wow, it's 4:35 and I haven't even started working on my sermon, having been out running errands with the Kid. And is is HOT here in New England; my car ac is apparently kaput even though I just had it charged a couple of weeks ago, so I am glad to be back in my nice cool house. This is the first summer I've had an ac'd house in many years, and I'm more grateful than I thought I would be.

    Anywho, after the Tuesday discussion I did decide to reuse my M-M sermon with the connection to other women whose lives we'll celebrate this week (at least on the Episcopal calendar): Macrina, Amelia Bloomer, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Mary Magdalen. Will post when I'm done, which means I'd better get to work!!

  30. Rev Nancy, Glad that the note about workingpreacher helped you. Prayers for you and your family during this time of waiting...

    Looking forward to your sermon RevDrMom....

  31. Well, phooey. It's time for me to get ready to go out for the evening and I'm not quite done. I thought I was getting close to an ending, but it has eluded me. Meanwhile, I've become unsure about what I've already written. Argh!

    Guess I'll be back later. Party-hardy, y'all.

  32. Revision/refreshing done. Now to make notes in my bulletin and cook dinner/offering for tomorrow's potluck (doubling recipe). Blessings to all of you who continue. Signing off the interwebs for time with family.

  33. Its come down to this: iced tea and dark chocolate. I have plenty to share.

    Earthchick, sorry you have to come back and work some more...sigh...but enjoy the concert!

  34. Got some lovely veggies at the farmer's market - there are plenty of roasted veggies to go around.

    My son was amazed when I told him I didn't have to write a sermon today, so I took that as a sign that we needed some family time. And hubby is home from work this evening for a change. So we have board games on tap tonight.

    Prayers and encouragement for all still working on sermons. May the Holy Spirit blow!

  35. the good news is that, following mlr's lead and accessing other previously preached sermons on Christ, I have 1731 words.

    the bad news is that I still don't feel well and those 1731 words are quite loosely connected.

  36. and by loosely connected, I mean they all have Jesus

  37. Well, Vicar, at least they are connected by the most important part :-)

  38. All done tweaking and posted here Feedback as always appreciated.

  39. Hello everyone, checking in for the evening shift. After a week away teaching at a conference (in a beautiful mountain spot! but HOT), then a 6 am drive to a meeting this morning, I am tired and a little wired and desperately want to do justice to both the Abraham and Sarah story and the Mary and Martha story, two of my favorites.

    I'm only somewhat unpacked, but let's see if I can make progress on the sermon before it gets too late...and the little energy I have is gone...

  40. I'm finished writing but very out of energy. I need to print and gather things together b/c I"m not very good in the morning. I wonder if I need to iron?
    My best to all you who are finishing or getting started.
    I'm going to go print if my itouch ever finishes the new software download and restart. I'm using it for the children's time.

  41. I am back from the family fun day at the park. We had a cookout, games, and homemade ice cream and cake.
    Lovely time. we did this as oppossed to having VBS due to decling number of kids and little motivation on parents to get kids to VBS and help out.
    This was better, but I do love VBS week. Maybe I will have that in my next call.
    Speaking of, prayers for a call to come will be appreciated. I am moving into my grandmother's house and looking for a secular world job.
    Trying not to get discouraged, but the other problem came with how the PNC handled the call process. Lots of "rules" broken and little regard for doing things the right way.
    It frustrated me. In the end they offered the call to a pastor who did not accept it to 11th hour and with the maxium pay. Oh, and the pastor is a first call pastor, which is fine, but the money was offered jsut to get it over with because the chair is"tired" of PNC stuff. Not a good reason to offer the call to someone. I feel for the new pastor in the situation.
    But now , I am breaking from the packign and sermonizing on M and M.
    Would live my last two sermons to be strong, but not feeling it yet.
    Anybody want a piece of cake?

  42. Hey, SemFem! Welcome....

    And, 1-4Grace. Right.There.With.You. on the call process in pretty much every regard. I have been looking since at least I have supply work every Sunday until the end of August...but then after that????

    It's a harsh world out there for those of us "seeking" prayers for you.

  43. Well, time for me to call it a night....I hope that all those who may wander back late at night find a gentle Spirit filling them with good words...I'll leave the lights on and some good treats to keep you fortified (coffee brownie ice cream? for example)...blessings, all.

  44. Anybody still out there?
    I had a late night call, after getting a late start on sermon.
    A beloved member has had a stroke and I only recently returned home.
    So, with my back agansit the wall, I went to an old sermon and did a little updating. It is complete and I am off to bed. Not the best of things to happen, but you do what you must do.
    The best news is the "L" had a mild stroke and should recover well.
    Tough times for family, but I am glad I was able to be there.
    And now, off to bed.
    Prayers for all.

  45. Ugh, 1-4, that's a tough one. You did what you had to do, and people will still be fed in your preaching.

    I wish I had a somewhat recent one to do something similar with...I have one from six years ago, but there's not that much that's salvageable in it. I fell asleep for a while, which I really needed, but now it's go time and I have to get something pulled together before it's time to go.

  46. Okay, I'm finished and now must run. Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this day!

  47. 1-4 grace, yes, that's was the solution...glad you had an old one you could reuse.

    semfem, yikes, glad you got some sleep and a sermon too.

    Everyone else, blessings on this day, may the word of God be broken open and may the Spirit have your back.

  48. Sorry I missed the party yesterday, friends. I have a word here about Martha and Mary.

  49. Thanks for the encouragement to all. Yup, did what I had to do and the sermon was not a bad one.
    Not the greatest, but it will do.
    Hope all goes well. The HS totally has your backs and mind too.


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