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Friday, December 31, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party: New Year's Day Edition

Welcome to 2011! Can our friends down under tell us how 2011 is going so far? I hope there aren't too many of us who are spending the first day of the year worrying over sermons, and I suspect there won't be a lot since some will still be taking holiday vacations.

However, for those of us who are around and preaching tomorrow, the party is here as usual. Just consider it an extension of whatever party plans you had last night, or if you didn't have any may this be a fun alternative!

How are you celebrating? With Christmas 2? With the texts for Epiphany? Are any going back to pick up the Holy Innocents from last week? There were such good ideas at the party last week that it was tempting for some of us to do so. I understand there are many of us with communion celebrations and at least two of us with baptisms. I love starting the new year with the celebration of sacraments that draw us together in grace and purpose.

Join us in the comments today and share it if you've got it. My mom always makes pork roast and sauerkraut, so I'll borrow some from her to share with any who want it. Any other traditional New Year's dishes on the stove? May God bless your preparation and preaching!


  1. Or how about Europe? We have been in 2011 for a few hours. We've slept through much of those early hours of the New Year but...all the same

  2. Happy New Year!

    Still up ... and should head to bed. I'm not preaching this week because we are having our Service of Lessons and Carols, delayed from last week when it was canceled due to no heat in the building. One boiler has been replaced, and I'm hoping we will be warm enough on Sunday--I'm more than ready for things to be back to "normal".

  3. Happy 2011, everyone! Just back from our first annual Sunday school new year's eve party. We rang in the new year at 9:00 pm. It was fun and now it's 10:45 here and I can go to bed soon!

    Just had an idea about my sermon finally today after a week of sort of thrashing around about it, so wrote up a few notes tonite and will try to take tomorrow totally off. it's been a busier week than expected due to a memorial, so a day off is really really really in order. So I've got some notes - enough, I think, to pull it together on Sunday morning.

    I might stick my head in here, but if not, have a great day everyone!

  4. Yep! And our European regulars, too! I got a text message this evening from an English friend reported the year was going well so far.

    Welcome Rev Dr! Glad you got the boiler replaced,and O know what you mean about looking forward to "normal." Two of or Advnt Sundays got "weathered out" so it was a strange December. I'm looking forward to some normal, too.

    You have a good day tomorrow, Juniper, and in the nicest way I hope we don't see you much around here.

    I'm just back from a New Years Eve dinner party. It's all church folks and was a blast this year. 4 couples including us. Fresh lobster. A good game night. Nice wine. Chocolate mousse. Ggod stuff. There were 2 extra lobsters I can share. One couple had to cancel. First come, first served.

  5. Down Under it was hot. In this part of Sydney we about 97 F, currently about 80 F, just after 8.00 pm New Years Day.

    and that means it is time to knuckle down, and write a sermon for tomorrow. Reading Matthew 2, with the visit of the Magi and the killing of the infants.
    thinking about how we respond to the birth of Jesus in our lives, and what this means for the people around us.

    well, at least I think that is where I think I am going. Hopefully back in a few hours to upload.

  6. finished and printing.

    Responding to the birth of Jesus

    expecting more hot weather tomorrow, but I will still robe, I think, especially as it is communion. Now to find something cool to where underneath.

    then 2 weeks off, some time away, but my husband is working the second week, so maybe pack away the Christmas decorations and other stuff that is building up around the house at the moment. But I may drop in and say Hi even though I won't be preaching.

    I have chamomile tea and fruit mince tarts to share.

  7. Oh my that is hot, pearl! Well, welcome and blessings to y as you rest before tomorrow. Enjoy your time off!

    I'm up because the kids are up, but 5 hours of sleep was not enough at all. They're in the other room with my husband and I'm thinking about letting myself fall back asleep for a little whle.

    Jan 1 is all about the Rose Parade for me. Love it and cant wait for it to start.

  8. I am preaching my sermon from last week since the service was cancelled. I have made a few tweaks to it, but it's a go. Starting the day off late this morning as we stayed up to ring in the New Year and then I got sucked into one of those crime shows that I swear I don't watch!

  9. I'm not preaching but I have to write a reflection on the readings for Christmas II/Epiphany for the Feminist Theology Blog that I host. Started a few notes the other day but have no idea where I am going with the texts...

    and I too will watch the Rose Parade as well as make a ham and homemade au gratin potatos for dinner tonight...

    Happy New Year All, many blessings for 2011.

  10. accidental seminarian, where have you been???? I mean I know you are in Europe, but you haven't blogged in ages....are you ok?

  11. I'm not "up" until next Sunday...but a spate of recent deaths among friends/in our church community has got me feeling pensive; thinking about my own mortality. (Turning 50 this week is also a factor, I'm sure.) I recently read a series of essays on Dickens' A Christmas Carol and its use of the theme of mortality in its message of transformation/redemption. In this week of beginning resolutions for a new year, I'm wondering how that ties in with "Teach us to number our days so that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom."

    On a much cheerier note...we have lots of Vernor's glazed ham here...roasted squash and Brussels sprouts...mashed potatoes. (Vernor's Ginger Ale is a beloved Michigan soda pop that for most of us Michiganians indeed defines ginger ale.) Stop in for a bite while you're waiting for the game to start!

  12. Good morning friends,

    Happy New Year, where has the last year gone! It feels like I blinked and missed 2010.

    Going with Epiphany tomorrow. I like the question that is posed in "Feasting on the word" regarding the three wise men pericope. What is revealed and how are we to respond.

    I've made lots of beignets for New Years. Have some while their hot!

  13. So....I'm thinking I'm going to reflect on the Gospel for Christmas II (In the beginning was the Word) AND the Gospel for Epiphany (The magi and the gifts)...

    and, God__Gurlll - I'd love a beignet!

  14. Happy New Year, friends! Just waking up after a lovely first annual New Year's Eve party. Leftover shrimp and lots of candy and cookies to share.

    Tomorrow is my first time presiding and preaching at the progressive/radical Catholic community where I have been cantoring and building relationships and am now joining the rota along with 1 male priest who got married and 3 who came out. Luck of the draw but excited to get Epiphany, which seems fitting somehow! And I will be wearing my 3 Wise Women t-shirt under the robes for lunch after.

    Always preach extemp from outline there so no text to write/post but I will connecting it to New Year's and focusing on noticing, looking and really seeing--or not. (After a start pointing out that we don't know the magi were three, kings, or even men, since male terms were used generally as with disciples, and astrologers such as they are were often priests and priestesses from pagan temples!) Plenty of people probably saw the star, but only they paid attention and took a long hard journey to find its meaning...Plenty of people saw the infant/toddler Jesus but just saw a cute baby, they saw the Chosen One, and Herod saw a threat to be violently wiped out. And in the first reading from Isaiah the traumatic history of the Exile is revisited, re-seen, and reframed from the perspective of God's saving power.

    Then I will teach the examen, in the Linn's user-friendly two step version, as a way of noticing and really seeing our own experiences, joyful and painful alike. And I will invite the assembly to try it out for the best and/or worst experiences of 2010 sha during the sharing time that always follows the homily.

  15. I'm preaching again after a long break in supply jobs. It's good to have a fairly regular preaching gig again!

    I'm preaching Christmas 2. Somewhere in my research I stumbled across the different ways the gospel writers handled Jesus' birth. It got me thinking - Luke is all about Mary's point of view, Matthew is all about Joseph's (Mark is so hurried to get Jesus to Jerusalem that he ignores the birth all together), but John 1 tells the Christmas story from God's point of view.

    Just some early thoughts. I already have an opening written. Hopefully, I'm not too rusty and the words well come easily. The congregation is having a modified lessons and carols, so my sermon doesn't have to be very long.

    LutheranChik - I would love to have the recipe for Vernor's glazed ham. Some of us from Indiana also know that Vernor's is the only gingerale worthy of the name!

  16. Lovely, Chilly! I got to do that a couple of times this winter. It's a nice little blessing.

    Happy New Year, Terri!

    LutheranChik, blessings on you as you are pondering and I hope you get to rest some. That many losses are exhausting.

    G_G, beignets! I'm in!

    Well, the HGTV no commercial broadcast of the parade is starting. I need to go Gond my spot on the couch. Love this way more than Macy's!

  17. My Vernor's glaze is going to have a heaping quarter cup of grainy mustard, 3/4 cup of brown sugard and enough ginger ale to make it pourable/basteable. There's another recipe floating about online that calls for a 1 liter bottle of Vernors to be slowly reduced down to one cup over the stove, then mixed with orange marmalade and mustard in I think equal amounts...not real marmalade fans here, so I'm sticking with the original plan.;-)

  18. I'm preaching and leading worship tomorrow for the first time in 18 months (currently on family leave of absence), because our pastor is on vacation! I'm preaching on the first half of Matthew 2 and focusing on gifts.

  19. I rang in the New Year looking at the Rose Parade floats as they lined up for the parade; it is really fun to get to see them up close. I can tell you that **I** wouldn't want to be the driver for one of those monsters! Our gathered group--one of whom was our host who lives on the route--included 5 priests from our parish, and the rest were all glad I am the one preaching tomorrow...

    I picked the gospel of the verging-on-adolescent Jesus in the temple. His absolute obliviousness to his parents is SO age-typical! I love this story; it has the feel of a "remember the time?..." tale told in a family.

    We have a baptism at one of the services, and my ultimate goal is to talk about wisdom (in which Jesus grew) vs. smarts (which, in this passage, Jesus seems to lack, at least in terms of his parents). The baby being baptized has two sisters in the parish elementary school where I'm chaplain, and I particularly want to address them, encouraging them to help her grow in wisdom. I'll also use the reading from Ephesians; the end of that passage is so eloquent that it could stand alone as a sermon and blessing for her.

    We'll be pulling out the hot dogs and chips around game time, if anyone wants something later. It's a great time for shopping around here, so I'll probably duck out for a bit to take advantage of the quiet.

  20. Well. I have my reflection written. Need to go back and re-read and edit - but first it needs to sit for awhile.

    I think it's time for tea? Can I get anyone a cup?

  21. Laura, I love our idea of using examen in the service. I need to tuck that away for another year.

    Ramona that sounds like a nice way in and likewise a good way to ease back into the swing of things with lessons and carols.

    Welcome back, Wounded and Healing!

    Betsy, I think that sounds like a wonderful way to connect the text, baptism, and your relationship with the girls. So jealous about seeing the floats up close. I would love to see them!

  22. Happy New Year, y'all!

    This is probably the only time I will get to check in today - am still at my parents' house, where there's no wireless, and I try not to hog my dad's computer too much.

    I am preaching at my home church in the morning, and I'm antsy about it. It's a large church (significantly larger than where I pastor), with two services, and the second one televised. It is a moderate Southern Baptist congregation (yes, such things exist), and this will be the first time in 12 years they've had a woman in the pulpit - and the last time was also me (for their 175th anniversary). My extended family, from a conservative Southern Baptist church, is also coming. I'm feeling pressure and anxiety (not the way I wanted to spend the last day of my vacation!).

    I'm preaching an old sermon on Psalm 148, which I've revised for the occasion (the church doesn't follow the lectionary). I feel fairly good about the sermon, though I need to come up with an invitation (i.e., altar call) at the end of it. I may also find out in the morning that I have other worship obligations - we'll see!

    Just like last Sunday, we'll be loading into the car immediately after worship and getting on the road. Thankfully, we're only driving halfway tomorrow and the rest of the way on Monday.

    Blessings on all y'all - for preaching and worship as well as for the new year!

  23. I'm not on this week, just praying and children-ing...but I've been "on call" while the HoS has been on vacation since Christmas. And I don't want to jinx it with 18 more hours to go before we're both back on duty, but....this is my first christmas here where no one has died between Christmas and New Year's. This is my 5th Christmas, and only the second where I've been here for this week, and I'm so excited that no one has died I can't even tell you. Only one hospital visit, even! It's practically been like vacation.

    Anyway, we're doing Epiphany this Sunday, Matthew 2 with the theme of Elevating the Ordinary to the Holy (or something like that). I'm pretty sure the song Ordinary Miracle is making an appearance. Not sure where the children's message will go yet...probably something about seeing God wherever you look? Maybe something about a new year...who knows. I'm open to suggestion!

  24. How wonderful, Betsy--I miss the Rose Parade and floats sometimes here in the Midwest!

    Earthchick, what a challenge and what a gift you will offer them in the words of a woman of God. Prayers and blessings as you prepare and move through it, and I'd appreciate the same from everyone as I move into a new role in my community with tomorrow's presiding and preaching.

  25. Hello all, I'm preaching Christmas 2, the flight into Egypt. Focusing on the alienation/isolation of Mary and our call to welcome the stranger.
    I did blog it, it's the post PRIOR to my year end re-cap ;)

    Peace out!

  26. Oh and we rang in the new year by trying to sleep--little guy woke up on the hour last night (sometimes half hour) methinks he ate something that gave him a tummy upset (the guac w/ raw onion perhaps). Oh the adventures of starting solids! Anyone want leftover guacamole?

  27. It's Epiphany texts for us. And communion & chalk blessing. I started the chalk blessing of houses last year. I don't know if anyone (other than my children) used it. My kids grabbed ahold with gusto!

    I'm sure I'll be back around before the day is done.

  28. I'm at 1068 words, but not happy with the ending. Perhaps a nap will allow the Holy Spirit room to work on a better ending than I have!

    My verification word is 'graphea' - somehow fitting when writing a sermon on the Word with us!

  29. Thank you, Rev. Dr. Laura! Prayers for you, too!

  30. Happy New Year, everyone! Just popped in to tell you that while I was out to breakfast with a friend, my husband called to let us know that some friends were coming over. So what? Well, these friends, at least the husband of the pair, is the chair of the search committee of a church I checked into about three months ago. They live in Madison, about an hour and a half away. Did Ken ask what the occasion is? No! So...they could be coming over because they are friends and want to take a drive. They could be coming over because Bob wants to tell me in person, since we know them well, that they are calling someone (or at least interviewing someone)else. Or, of course, he could be about to tell me that they'd like me to come for some discussion. Honestly, I don't expect that, since I don't think they have called any of my references....but....who knows? Trying not to get my hopes up. Just asking for a quick prayer. They should be arriving in about half an hour. Oho...door bell is ringing! Bye!

  31. Alas, I decided to do the New Year's route - mainly because the text for this Sunday Other Pastor used for the 26th (thanks, sir) and I did Epiphany last year... shoulda just done it again because I'm not feeling the whole new year vibe today.

  32. Prayers, Singing Owl! Let us know what happens.

  33. OH! Singing Owl....prayers for grace, mercy, and hope - no matter the outcome.

  34. Praying for you, SO, that whatever the reason for the visit, it is of God's will. Please let us know!

    I am getting things done--house pick up, laundry, Quicken--but you'll notice that none of those are my sermon :-o

    Rev Dr Mom, glad to hear you have at least one boiler working again. Tough December on those of you who have had weather-related issues.

  35. Laura, prayers for you. I'm sure it will be fabulous.

    Earthchick - I hope, and will pray, that all will be well, that you will be feel the love.

  36. Pulling together the liturgy and prayers for tomorrow and decided to use my friend Melani Longoni's lovely rewritten Glory to God (with the Gloria in excelsis refrain from Angels we have heard on high, of course). Text is at my place along with a link to an old tradition I just rediscovered and will also use, the Epiphany Proclamation of the dates of the coming Easter and other celebrations for 2011.

  37. Sorry I've been an absentee hostess for a while. We took an unexpected trip to a mall to get the kids out of the house for a little while. We were going a little stir crazy. Now it's time for breakfast for dinner. Pancakes anyone?

  38. Getting close, but still looking for good intercessions--if anyone has some, shout out please! I am in such awe of anyone who does this every week.

    Break for family movie night, Bringing Up Baby, with my spouse's homemade chocolate cookies to share.

  39. Prayers for you, earth chick, even if you don't see these messages again before tomorrow. God will hear them!

    Teri, I did a message at a nursing home this week about resolutions. The general gist being that maybe since they come during Christmas and Jesus w a gift for the whole world our resolutions should be about more than just ourselves, but ways to be a blessing for the world. I MIGHT work for children somehow, too.

    I feel your pain with the sleep, Joy. My little one love straight avocado, haven't tried guacamole, but you never know what new food will start something, do you?

    Oh the chalk blessing, Vicar! I forgot all about it. I've never done it before, but was going to do it this year. I guess I still can next week. It'll be a little late, but it would be a waste to do it this week for the kids since many of our families still out of town.

    Prayers Singing Owl!

    Prayers for you, Amy. It can be hard to muster up some enthusiasm when you're not feeling the vibe.

    So it sounds like a number of folks are finishing up. I hope to join those ranks on the early side tonight. The kids will be in bed shortly and I'll get on the sermon I started earlier in the week.

  40. Been trying to relax and enjoy today and finish up the sermon.

    Epiphany 101...Becoming a Mystic.

    Fighting ears being stopped up all week and accumlating sinus pressure.

    oh...and scooping snow!

    Blessings to all of you preaching, leading, or vacationing.

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  42. Hi all, first time in this party, but I imagine I'll be here often because it's my best writing time for some frustrating reason...
    Preaching tomorrow, but going with Anna & Simeon so we can draw out Christmas more. We had a "Christmas Sabbath" weekend and didn't have worship last weekend (after Christmas eve), so this is our first chance to linger in it a bit. By some delicious serendipity I found and retooled a sermon yesterday that I had already done on the text, which turned out to be a real gift, since insomnia kept me up until 2 am and a sick kid got me up at 4:30, scraping ice from my car so I could take her to the E.R. early this morning... she's fine, but I am beat. Looking forward to singing carols and sharing communion on a low-key Sunday tomorrow...
    Blessings on you all and the worship happening in all these congregations.

  43. Welcome, Kara! Good to have you with us. I think you'll like the company around here on your writing nights! Sorry about your middle of the night hospital trip. Glad she's OK

  44. Welcome, Kara...and sending you restful vibes!

    I've gotten further on the sermon, but I have to solve a problem about how to adapt it for the early service. At the end (which is almost done, despite my not having a complete middle to precede it!), I have an excellent charge to the baptizand's two big sisters--and, by association, to the congregation--and now I need to figure out how to word a transition to it for the service they aren't at. It's probably not all that hard; my brain just isn't in gear!

  45. Well the football game I cared about is finished & the team I was cheering for won. Meanwhile, back at the laptop, I have lots of disjointed notes. Now for shape and focus ...

  46. Prayers for all still working on those sermons. As for the visit...well, y' was just a friendly visit. However, I did discover that one person has withdrawn, so it is now five. And that their next meeting is on January 10th. But that's all. Sigh. Thanks so much for prayers.

  47. Well, SO, at least you know now where things stand...and you had what I trust was a nice afternoon with friends! Prayers for you as the discernment continues on their part and yours.

  48. OK Betsy and Vicar (and the other still writing), we can do it.

    Thanks for filling us in, Singing Owl. All this means is that prayer continues and that never hurts anything!

    I've got the kids all asleep, so I'm ready to sit down and write. First, though, I'm trying print out the baptism scrapbook-type page we make for each baby baptized. We used to do this 1970s felt banner things, but in the last year we caught up to the new millenium. One of the deacons makes a scrapbook page with the baptism date, a picture, and a prayer. It's cute. We frame it and hang it on the front of the font then the family takes it home. However, I forgot that that deacon resigned and don't know that anyone has taken that job on. Thank God for the internet, though! I contacted my mom 2000 miles away and she made one for this baby (I'm not visually creative at all), and I'm printing here at home. Good stuff.

    So, on to my sermon. It's not a usual sermon, though. With a baptism and communion I need to keep things on the very short side. I'm going to write a letter to the baby being baptized and read that. I'm not totally sure where it's going to go yet, but I'm thinking something about how in meeting Jesus the wise men worshiped and were changed. "They went home by another way." In baptism the same happens for this child, the same happens for all of us in our participation in the body of Christ, our commitment to follow. I preached this idea 3 years ago I think, so I'm not so sure I'm excited about it, but I'm not feeling anything else right now. My other thought goes with the painting that is hanging in our sanctuary, an original for the season of Christmas by an artist in our congregation. It speaks of a new day, new hope, new possibilities. I did new day last week; I'm doing new possibilities next week. I could do new hope this week. I like that with the baptism in particular, and I think I could make it work with the wise men, too - - the hope they had that drew them miles away from home in search of a king. The hope they had for a new world order that caused them to avoid Herod on their way home. The hope we have for the world because of Jesus who is born in our lives. I might give it a shot. I only have time for 700-800 words which is way less than half of what I usually do. Sometimes, though, shorter is harder because I have to pick the right words, and less of them!

  49. Oh, She Rev, that baptismal custom -- and letter -- sound wonderful! Hope the words flow quickly and easily.

    Movie's done, kids tucked, and I am going to put the finishing touches on this liturgy, email the music minister, and sign off--hopefully very soon. Lindt dark peppermint truffles for energy and consolation, folks.

  50. Thanks, Laura. Blessings on you tonight and tomorrow!

  51. Finished and printed and blogged! I am so excited to start my first blog.

    The sermon can be read here:

    Blessings on everyone still in process. Come Holy Spirit, come.

  52. SheRev, are you using the RCL Ephesians reading for tomorrow? It is fabulous as a prayer and blessing for a baptism, and fairly easily expanded along the lines you are already thinking.

    My verification word is holeyso...may it be so for us as well!

  53. Done, done, done! Hallelujah and thanks for the good company, friends. Good night!

  54. I'm pretty sure I have 3 really decent homilies instead of 1 good sermon. I guess that means I'll be partying for awhile. I know that surprises you.

  55. Betsy, I'll be honest, I never even looked at it, but I know my volunteer doing children's time is usng it. I should look at it! :). Thanks for the tip.

    Glad we'll have company at least, Vicar.

    Ramona, I'll be around to read shortly. I'm glad you're done and that you're blogging!

  56. I'm not really sure exactly how it happened but I now have 1 coherent and preachable sermon. It's a little long for a communion Sunday with chalk blessing too but the NFL team that drives the clock around here kicks off at 3:00 not noon.

    I'm going to finish watching the football game currently being played before I change computers to do the prayers and print everything.

  57. Almost done, despite the lure of solitaire and mah jong. What games are distracting you, She Rev?

    Actually, I think I am done, because I want it to be short, but it feels a few sentences too short even though all that needs to be said is there. I have to remind myself that no one in the Episcopal Church ever complains about a sermon being too short, especially on a Sunday that also includes the baptism of an infant!

  58. Stupid Angry Birds. I've been sucked in. Now that you've mentioned mah jong, though, it's going to take everything I have to keep from clicking over to that one. I found my bridge between Scripture, sacrament, and theme, then instead of keeping on the roll and just finishing I started playing games. If I can stay away from them, I can be done by midnight. Here she goes!

  59. Angry Birds is a killer!

    But then again various forms of solitaire are too. And there's the android version of scrabble, WordFeud. and ... um, nevermind

  60. Everything is printed and I am headed for the electric blanket warmed bed. I hope the coughing doesn't force me to the recliner.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  61. Okay, that's it; I am declaring myself done. I desperately need the sleep so that my cold doesn't overtake me before this gets preached in the morning!

    Good thing I don't have Angry Birds or I know I would be in way more trouble than I am ;-) Good luck not letting them suck you in, and blessings on the coming together of your words and ideas.

    Good night!

  62. Well, I avoided the games, but I also overshot my hoped for word count by 200 words. I don't think it'll be too long, though, especially since I moved and squished some other things in the design of the service. I'm calling it done and will read through again in the morning to see if there's any way to tighten it up a little. For the most part, though, I get an almost full night's sleep.

    If there are any still up, blessings on you!


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