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Saturday, September 25, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: Fall's Here Edition

Whether it's true in the air, or on the trees with their multi-colored leaves, or even just on the calendar, fall is here, at least on this side of the globe. I understand there are still some areas of the hemisphere that haven't had the blustery weather we're having up here, but I can hardly remember what those kinds of Septembers are like. Whatever the weather, usual or out of the ordinary, the seasons are changing and fall is upon us.

For some this means stewardship season for others a season of creation. In our communities and churches we are welcoming folks back for the homecoming season. What will they be hearing when they walk into your church this weekend? The lectionary continues along in Luke with a "rich" parable of the rich man and Lazarus. The prophets Jeremiah or Amos are up in the Old Testament. Psalm 91 will have some folks singing "On Eagle's Wings" I'm sure. Do you feel like you're being carried? 1 Timothy warns about excess and harmful desires.

There's a lot here in the Scriptures for all of us and if Tuesdays posts were any indication we are headed in many different directions! Join the party and share where you're headed both today and in your sermon. Maybe we have a few things to share with one another.


  1. I'm here to contribute nothing but the first comment :)

    I'm adjusting a topical sermon this week even though I have a perfectly good sermon on the Luke text but the topical one is perfectly good too ... well, except for the adjusting that I'll do sometime tomorrow ... probably about this time ... because I am one of the RevNightOwls of the RevGalBlogPals.

  2. I have frighteningly little of my sermon so far, but a big empty Saturday, so ... well, hopefully that will work out.

    My ah-ha moment came while studying the text (Luke 16, lucky me) this morning: the rich man is condemned for his lack of faith, yet all we know about him are his actions. Faith is revealed in act. That's my sermon... with a few more words. But now, I sleep.

  3. I am clueless...I really have no idea where I want to go with this. The only thing that has even caught my interest, with regard to Luke, is some pondering about warnings and what kinds we get and why we so rarely pay attention. That's not much of a sermon!

    I am driving my son and 6 other boys to a conference in the morning; maybe I'll ask him if I can see what they have to say on the topic. Bound to provide some food for thought.

    My verification word is "adveri" which has the sense of adversity I'm feeling toward this sermon right now.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Only 9.00 pm Saturday evening and I am printing off the service for tomorrow morning- YEAH!!! that is early for me.

    I have ended up with readings from Jeremiah, Timothy and Luke. focusing on hope and how what we hope in is shown in our lives. actions speak louder then words - Jeremiah buying a field when the city is about to be overthrown.

    I have just started a blog, so see if I get this link thing correct

  6. I obviously didn't get the link right. try again

  7. Robert Capon set the tone for me early in the week - it's not at all about being rich but it is all about being faithful. Alas, what was a minor sniffle/cough at the beginning of the week is now an antibiotics-taking major event. So I am not doing church tomorrow but have turned it over to my deacon. Still, I recommend the Capon for those seeking. As I recall, the Timothy lesson picks up on what he says and runs with it.

  8. It's a pet peeve of mine when someone writes in the first 10 comments that they aren't preaching this Sunday.... so I won't write that.

    We're going off-lectionary this Sunday with a dabbling in the Barnabas readings (Acts) to underscore our mentoring ministry (need a better word than 'mentor') with our new members.

    Pastoral prayer is my main assignment and I'm looking forward to it (until I'm still writing with the RevNightOwls).

    Blessings upon all of you this day!

    I have brought a spread of bagels, a variety of cream cheeses and other fun spreads and a bowl of fresh fruit. The coffee is hot too!

  9. I have a graveside service this morning so I wrote half of my sermon yesterday.

    Will be back this afternoon to continue writing.

    I have fruit smoothies to share to start us off on a good sermonating day.

  10. See ya later Vicar! I think I'll be up with you tonight.

    Parodie and Betsy, sounds like you have the seeds of a sermons. Prayers that they grow throughout the day.

    Pearl! Isn't it awesome to hit "print" at a reasonable hour?!?!

    Margaret - - Feel better!

    I don't know, kathryn. Feel free to celebrate a little with your sigh of relief. (If that's what you're feeling, of course.) I wonder about another good name than "mentoring," too. It's the word we use, but another one would be great. Let me know if you think of something.

    G_G, 1 fruit smoothie please!!!

    I've got nothing on paper, but a decent idea in my head. I'm on the last Sunday in the creation season. The text I'm working with is Proverbs 8, Woman Wisdom's speech about creation. I was going to avoid it since I feel like I don't have enough knowledge (wisdom?) about it, but when have the church staff and half of a midweek Bible study gathering had never heard of her, I figured I needed to preach her.

    My plan is to do a less traditional sermon and instead write a shorter monologue, something I've never done before, from the perspective of another woman who hears Woman Wisdom calling in the streets. The main question - - "Who is She?" I know the jury is totally out on this one, but I'm pretty sure I'll land in the camp of the Holy Spirit if I land anywhere. For the most part the "sermon" will be more about the questions that are raised than the "right" answer to them. We'll see what happens. It's going to be an interesting one to write. Whenvever I write it. Please God, help all 3 children nap at the same time since my husband will be gone most of the day. (Don't get me started on THAT.)

  11. I am off to a breakfast with the Property Committee then a day-long visioning-type thing with the Church COuncil and a emmeber of the Conference staff.

    Sermon? Soemthing about acts of hope when the world is crashing. OR just acts of hope despite the evidence to the contrary--eg. Wedding vows that still say "as long as we both shall live" despite high divorce rates. we do it because we live in the hope.

  12. Three years ago I preached on this Luke text just after a House of Bishops meeting during which they had reaffirmed a controversial moratorium on ordaining GLBT bishops...and I talked about the chasm between those who were "in" and those who were excluded. I'm taking a big hunk of background from that sermon and changing the focus to the "invisible" poverty in the world around us and the UN Millennium Development Goals which were discussed and reaffirmed this week and which have been a mission priority for the Episcopal Church. In my mind it all goes together--we'll see how it all works out on paper.

    The House of Bishops just met this year, too, and this morning I received their pastoral letter to be read to all congregations on immigration policy (after meeting in Phoenix) and now I'm trying to decide when to read it...and whether depsite my thoughts about my sermon I should refocus it on immigrants (often invisible to the rest of us) and read the letter tomorrow. Next Sunday my seminarian intern is preaching and the following Sunday we have a guest preacher for stewardship. While the sermon does not have to be connected to the reading of the letter, I hate to distract from either of those things. And really, I know how my previous congregation would react to such a letter, but this congregation is much more conservative politically, and their reaction might not be so positive. (I hope I am wrong about that....but we'll see).

    Well, ok, that was rambling. Hope my sermon writing doesn't go like that.

  13. Hi Gord and Rev Dr Mom! Blessing on your visioning, Gord.

  14. Okay, I slept in (and had an extremely weird anxiety dream, so then stayed in bed an extra hour trying to figure it out but instead just reliving it), so now I still haven't had breakfast NOR do I have a sermon.

    Well, technically I have a sermon. I preached on jeremiah 3 years ago and used a very similar theme to the one I'm planning for tomorrow. So in theory I could preach that again, or rework it.

    But I kind of want to write a new one...unless I get through most of today (or something happens) and I don't have any new ideas.

    A couple from my internship church told me they might be in town this weekend, which makes me want to write something awesome....or at least, makes me want it more than usual. LOL. That makes no sense, I know.

    This is funny--I'm listening to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and they just had a rodeo cowboy on Not my Job...and the word verification is "rehorsen". ha!

  15. New sermon prep technique:

    Watching/listening to Cameron McIntosh's 10th Anniversary Musical Production of Les Mis.

  16. Hello everyone! Those who have directions already, your plans sound intriguing. I have a big blank space on the page and thoughts bubbling around...I'm preaching on Luke with Amos and 1 Timothy laid alongside it...but I don't have an especially great angle or way in just yet. I am thinking about the walls around the city, the walls around the rich man's home, and how those walls are more than just physical walls. Also pondering how we treat each other (and God) as vending machines, so to speak, like the rich man treated Lazarus.

    Phone lines are out at the church, so I'll have to do some running around today to get the secretary set up to do the bulletins (no internet, which means no e-mailed bulletin stuff). A few other errands as well. And then...the sermon! Hopefully not as late as last week...that was a doozy.

  17. OH! I totally forgot! Last time these readings came around, I preached a Choose Your Own Adventure sermon. I let the congregation vote which one they wanted me to talk about first, money or hell. And both congregations overwhelmingly chose hell. Which should probably tell me something.

  18. Teri, I know that impulse with visitors. Some of my strongest supporters from my previous church will be in worship next week on their way through town. I love 'em and want to show them how this move was good for me.

    Purple, I think that sounds like LOVELY inspiration.

    semfem - - Make you wonder how they did it in the "old days."

    Speaking of "old days" my 3 year old son is begging me to take him to "Laura's World" (one of the hometown's of Laura Ingalls Wilder) today while his sister is at a birthday party. It's close enough to drive to easily, but too far to do in that time frame. He's all bent out of shape.

  19. RevDrMom, you are braver than I. We will likely print the pastoral letter in the monthly newsletter but it won't come up in a sermon unless next week's lessons fit for that. Did you by chance see Stephen Colbert's piece on farm workers this week? Very funny and closer to right on that most of us are happy with.
    Okay, I feel well enough to want a shower. Also real breakfast. Still, I think I'll sit tomorrow out. That feels so weird!!

  20. BTW SheRev, I love what you posted on the Tuesday LL post about your colleague who sets a goal of preaching a sermon in the same number of sentences as the reading itself. LOVE it! My people probably would too!

  21. Hi, y'all.
    After a pretty tough week (I'm one stolen truck away from a country song), I have to write a sermon on a text I've never preached on before and am praying the Holy Spirit, or Antonio Banderas, will be with me. Whichever comes first.
    Anyone have a Children's Message relating to the gospel?

  22. I just read that two pandas from the San Diego Zoo left for china last night (they were born at SDZ but are being "returned" to the breeding population). This makes me sad, because I loved going there to watch them! (granted, there are still 3 pandas there...LOL)

    So then I started thinking...lots of people think pandas are a lost cause--their numbers so small, their habitat so destroyed, etc--so we should just let them go extinct. But there are people in the world who look at that desperate situation and say "I think I'm going to do something about that" and work to make a difference even though the future currently looks bleak. they invest time, money, energy, resources of all kinds, hoping for a different kind of future.

    That's kind of what Jeremiah does, right?


    Hmm...maybe I should go for a walk and look for a more obvious, less huge-stretch of a way-in...or just mourn my panda friends/celebrate them going to their destiny so I can move on. LOL.

  23. Margaret, I don't know about "brave"--my bishops' email pretty directly said "read to the congregation" re the pastoral letter.

    Any other TEC gals out there taking the "reading" route vs. printing it somewhere?

  24. Glad you're feeling a little better, Margaret. I think a sit out day sounds beautiful!

    Wasn't it cool, semfem? I think my folks might like it, too, but I don't think they'd get how hard it probably is. Part of his point was "How can I say it better than Jesus?

  25. Haven't looked at the pastoral letter yet, but it might fit in well with my (as yet unwritten) sermon. We have taken both routes in the past, depending on how full the services were with other things.

    I did get wonderful ideas from the high schoolers. I asked them two questions: Who don't we truly see, and is there loss or hazard to us in not seeing those people or is it just sort of benignly too bad?

    To question #1: the kids in special ed, secretaries and custodians, the workers behind the goods we buy/services we use (with a segue to wonderful discussion about Colbert's testimony), people who live in poor agrarian countries.

    To question #2: a) We can't get to know everyone, so we have to use some filters or we'd be overloaded, though some people are better at reaching out to more people than others. b) The people we don't see are often the ones who really know what's going on (specifically, secretaries at school vs. the principal!). c) The people we don't notice might have information we don't know and in getting to know them we will better understand how the world works.

    I think there is a very good sermon in #2c! And I will add that I was not particularly looking forward to driving these kids, 6 high school students, an hour to their meeting, but I had great time listening and occasionally engaging in discussion; they are smart, funny, engaged, well-informed, and perceptive, and give me huge hope for the future :-)

  26. BTW, semfem, your post made me laugh...hell over money?? Too true.

  27. semfem, I'm going to begin my sermon with your illustration, of course protecting all identities. Thank you sweetie! My congregation loves irony.

  28. Awesome GodGurll! and Betsy! I'm glad I could give a laugh in the midst of sermon prep.

    GG, you might also like to know that three years ago, I wrote the part about money first, then the part about when they all asked me to start with hell, it messed me up! The two halves could be preached in either order, but it really bent my way of thinking to talk about hell first. I thought money would be easier, but boy was I wrong.

  29. How's the afternoon going folks? Anyone need anything?

    I thought I would have 3 simultaneous nappers, but I don't. Oh well. I guess it's time to clean up the DVR with some TV watching! I'm not too too interested in many of the football games, well, OK I am curious about ALA an ARK. I might wait to watch in the second half, though.

    It's a quiet day around here. Does it mean we're all off doing other things and we'll have more RevGalNightOwls? I don't imagine too many of us are on vacation at this point in the year, but I guess that's an option.

    Anyone thinking about dinner yet? (I'm always wondering about the next meal.)

  30. Pastoral letter is in; it goes perfectly with the theme I was already developing. Although some folks in the congregation will not like what it says, it is an excellent starting point for conversation, which I think is a good thing. I will admit that I am not displeased that it also means I don't need to write nearly as much of a sermon as usual...though that is not the reason for the decision to include it, just a side benefit ;-)

    Thought I knew what was for dinner tonight--Trader Joe's chile lime chicken burgers, 4/package--but we've added an extra kid guest to make our numbers 5, so I may switch plans.

    I have lots of apples from my tree, something like a Fuji, if anyone wants a snack!

  31. I had to go out and tend to some pastoral things, but I'm back and I have 1200 words and no conclusion, so I need to edit...

    No thoughts about dinner here; maybe a poached egg on toast? Or a frozen dinner--that's what it comes down to when you're cooking for one, I'm afraid.

  32. I had a good start earlier, got a page written, then got interrupted with a few other must-dos. Now trying to find the groove again. Ugh!

    Stir-fry for dinner tonight...hoping the tofu hasn't gone bad...

  33. ooh! I just remembered that because of the skit tomorrow (written by one of our youth 3 years ago, when I last preached on jeremiah), I only have to come up with 8-900 words instead of 1200!

    That still hasn't solved my way-in problem, of course.

    I can also tell, from reading the 3 year old sermon, that I was recently home from the first Young Clergy Women conference, with Anna Carter Florence. It's funny how obvious those things are later, but how much we don't notice working them in in-the-moment. LOL.

  34. Sermon rough draft done. Going to a friends for supper but will be back soon.

    read all about it here. I hope I don't come off too harsh, but then how do you soften up Jesus when he's talking 'bout justice. Just sayin'.

  35. I'm moving the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels to this Sunday ... anything to break up the "Long Green Season!"

  36. Semfem - thanks for sharing how you introduced these texts last time - that has given me a way in.
    Another gift is that we're having a jazz band lead the praise tomorrow so I'm talking about collaboration, innovation, improvisation required - risk taking for the kingdom. I think it holds together:)

  37. Sounds like things are moving along for those we are around. My husband finally got back so I left him in the basement with all three kids and the Wii. I think he really wanted to watch football, but I wanted to make sure the kids stayed with him so I put that Wii bug in their ears. Oops. Oh well. There's a close one on now, so I think I'll go relieve him from that mess and get the end of the game on.

    I just put pumpkin spice bagel dough ingredients into the bread machine. I've never tried to do bagels before so I'm not sure how the dough should look. It's pretty dense now which seems like it should be OK. Hopefully it will rise well. I'll share when they're done cooking in a couple of hours. I'm putting some (fake) butter and brown sugar on mine for dessert!

    Guess it's time to thaw the runzas my mother-in-law brought us last weekend. It's an easy dinner night tonight.

  38. liz, you're welcome! And given what you just described, you might be interested in what's at Delmo Dorite Writes...skip past the first part and he talks about this text as riffing and improvisation on a theme. Not my blog, but the blog of a mentor of mine.

  39. I have 1210 words, and I'm not exactly pleased with the ending, but I have something and it's finished! Now I'm off to make dinner and maybe relax a bit before polishing and printing.

    Quiet evening out there--how's everyone doing?

  40. SemFem--it's not even late!!!! very impressive! And yet sad at the same time, cuz I'll miss you tonight!

    I have about half...and now just need the half that contains, you know, content. perhaps something reminiscent of a point.

    In other news, I have homemade (by a friend) french bread to share, so pull up your pasta or your cheese or whatever you like to eat with bread and come on over! But hurry...before I go into a carb coma and can't even open the door to let you in. ;-)

  41. Hahaha Teri, don't worry, I always find something else to work on until it's way too late on a Saturday night! I'll be around. Probably still wrestling with the ending of this sermon. Blah. :)

  42. Oh crap. The tofu went bad. Really bad. Now what to eat for dinner???

  43. Gosh, we are quiet today! Where are all the talkative preachers?

    I was invited to a locally sourced Harvest Dinner given by an organization in my new church town, and even though I never go out on Saturday night, it seemed like the thing to do. It was great, but I still have only about 2/3s of a sermon. So I am here working with you!

  44. But Teri, then there's no protein! Or at least not enough to give me confidence of not being hungry in a few hours. I switched tactics entirely and went for whole-grain Kraft Mac 'n Cheese. With some ham and veggies added in.

  45. Great work, semfem.

    I'll be here with you, Teri. I'm still about 90 minutes from sitting down to write. My consolation is that I will be OK with a way shorter sermon than usual since I am planning to write a dramatic monologue.

    My concern is that I never written a dramatic monologue - - for anything.

    I think you're right, Martha. That sort of thing, particularly early on, is definitely the thing to do. Welcome to the later night party!

  46. This is a quiet crowd this evening - do diligent at work... or the RevNightOwls have some new members.

    Busy and long day tomorrow topped off by 2 late night softball games (seriously, what WAS I thinking).

    Blessings to you all, remembering that the Holy Spirit has our back.

  47. woohoo, I got something! it's only about 100 words too I can just talk faster. :-)


  48. semfem, veggies have more protein than you realize. Especially if you serve them with long grain brown rice, for instance. As a vegetarian who doesn't really like tofu, I assure you it's possible. :-)

  49. Not preaching tomorrow, but trying to get myself organized for a bunch of supply Sundays coming up.

    But wow am I learning a lot tonight. I had no idea that tofu could go bad (clearly, I'm not a vegetarian). And I also had no idea what runzas were. Y'all are opening my horizons!

    Blessings and prayers for all those still working, and all who will preach and hear God's Word.

  50. Teri, I have a feeling I am not including the types of veggies you are alluding to in my stir-frys. :) Unless I have something more exciting, it's usually peas, carrots, and mushrooms. Plus I really love this particular tofu, and seeing it go bad made me very sad.

    Anyway. Back to the sermon. Hoping it doesn't suck as much as I thought earlier...

  51. I am relieved to say I have a draft posted, and grateful to a dear friend for help with a children's message. All I need is a pastoral prayer, and I'm set. After an emotional week, I want to have it all on paper tomorrow.

  52. Quiet day today at the preacher party, I think I heard a cricket chirp it's so quiet.

    Anywoo, time for this little preacher to go to bed. Blessings to all of you.

  53. And yes, I've reverted to Cartoon Songbird. Life is very confusing.

  54. ((Songbird))
    Sounds like you could use one.

  55. I definitely could, esperanza, thanks.

  56. Any children's sermon thoughts out there for Luke?

    Sermon is blech--hoping it looks better in the morning.

  57. Not preaching tomorrow as I'm at our fall meeting of Presbytery. Great meeting with a theme of racial injustice/justice - great presenters not afraid to challenge us and ask the hard questions of a room full of privileged caucasian folk. Good stuff.

    Anyway, blessings on all of you in your services tomorrow!

  58. OK. Kids asleep. Pumpkin spice bagel eaten (topped with a little faux butter and brown sugar). Jammies on. Journal written. Crappy movie finished. I guess it's time to start writing. Hmmm...again what happened to my new plan to write during the week? Oh yeah - - this week I spent half of my writing day supporting a church member in court against an abusive ex-boyfriend and father of her child. That's worth a late night.

    I do have a general plan for the writing of this monologue. I just need to start going for it.

  59. Why is it that sometimes a short sermon that should be easy can eat up more time than a longer one?? I just need to get this done, and instead I am doing everything else, plus repeatedly re-writing the little I have gotten through. Grrr.

    Blessings to all tomorrow!

  60. I'm with you, Betsy, 100%. I have given myself permission to let this be a super short one for no other reason than I want, maybe need, it to bed. Also, I don't think the monologue format would work as long as I usually preach. That said, even with a plan for the trajectory of this down, I just can keep my eyes on the write screen in front of me. Must go back to writing now.


  61. I just googled sacred prostitution. I'm going out on some limbs here. I hope the congregation and the Spirit go with me!

  62. Hi Gals and Pals.
    Just wanted to say hello. Not preaching tomorrow, but prayers for all. And special thoughts for those with illness and battling other issues.
    I have assortment of baked goods from a benefit sale today.
    Monster cookies are the best!

  63. The sermon has been edited but is still too long. And that's how it's going to stay.

    Now for the prayers.

    And, can I just mention that it's a pain to give yourself a shot when your hands hurt? (no sympathy necessary, I just had to say it and that pun is a bonus)

  64. OK Vicar, I won't throw the sympathy your way, but I hope all is well with you and the shots are temporary! (There some hidden in there. Did you see it?)

    I'm just shy of 700 words and was going to be happy at 800 tonight. I think I'll push through now and try to finish up (it will probably be closer to 1000) since I know the baby is likely to wake at some point in the next few hours. Might as well get it done, so I'm not juggling this in the early morning, too.

  65. She Rev - witty!

    Shots not temporary, due to Rheumatoid Arthritis. I'm just being whiny. By Monday late afternoon, I should feel better.

  66. So sorry. I didn't know. I think a little wine every now and then is just fine.

    (Typo intended)

  67. She Rev, If I could just get some cheese with it ...

    Everything is printed so I'm off to bed.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  68. Done also. It's longer than I thought it would be, but the style is SO DIFFERENT from my usual preaching. They'll love it or hate it. I don't THINK anyone will show up to burn me at the stake. I don't think I went farther than most folks are willing to ponder, because I don't know that I've gone any farther than that. Oh well. I like it, and I don't think it's too heretical. Here's the first version. I'll read through for edits in the morning and update the post sometime tomorrow.

    Peace to any still up. As far as I know I'm the last one here. Heading to La La Land now!

  69. I like it, She Rev!

    Ugh...I fell asleep earlier and got about three hours of sleep in the recliner. Now to finally finish polishing this sermon and print it and then go to bed proper.

  70. I posted that comment, then went back to sleep in the recliner for a few more hours. Then woke up and finally finished. I'm marginally satisfied with the ending now. This is just going to be one of those weeks where the sermon is really hard (possibly both hard to write and hard to hear).

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

  71. Thanks, semfem. Prayers for you. Sounds like this has been a rough one!

    I overslept this morning by about an hour. I guess it's a good thing I give myself 2 hours to get myself and the family ready. Only bad thing is that I don't get to do too much of a read through or edit. I'm getting it done now, but it won't be too thorough. Oh well. Such is life.

  72. Oh SheRev, that's stressful!

    I ended up preaching my manuscript to St. Smaller, getting discouraged because it still sucked, and at St. Larger, tossing out the manuscript and just talking for a few minutes.

    Verdict: I'm not going off manuscript permanently just yet, but in this case it was hindering, not helping me. Blaaaah. Let's hope next Sunday goes better...


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