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Saturday, February 19, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Every 20 Years Edition

We're almost at the end of our long season with the Sermon on the Mount. It's been 20 years since Epiphany lasted this long. The homiletical resources are sparser than usual. And the Hebrew Bible reading? Leviticus!!!

What next?

But we're here to help each other, Gals and Pals. Take a look at our Lectionary discussion from Tuesday. Share your thoughts here in the comments.

And I'll do what I always do: keep the coffee coming and lay the table with goodies that cannot possibly hurt you from a distance, especially those delicious molasses glazed from Tony's Donuts!


  1. It's late Friday night in my corner of the world, and I'm getting to kick off the party! The verification word is "vokswang" which even sounds to me like a party with appropriate :-)

    I'm doing the family service, and I've been thinking about making unnatural choices: turning the other cheek, walking the extra mile, loving one's enemies. I think I'm going to start with asking volunteers to do some unnatural things; the one that first comes to mind is to take two left or right shoes and have someone put them on. Maybe an obviously too-small sweatshirt, on a kid who won't be embarrassed by it. Cutting with scissors with the non-dominant hand. Just things that feel wrong, to convey the sense of how odd it feels to follow some of Jesus's commands.

    My morning starts early with driving older son and companions to a weekend conference; I'll leave out tea and bagels for those who are also getting an early start!

  2. Good morning - just wanted to drop in here before I head off to lead an envisioning day for another congregation. Not preaching tomorrow but crafting all age worship to celebrate Thinking Day for guides and Brownies - fits in well with gospel text.
    However, I've been reflecting here on preparations for BE4. Be back later in the day, after the envisioning!

  3. Coffee - yes! Donuts - yes!
    I'm trying not to 'should have' all over myself this morning as a 10am birthday party is cutting into my normal quiet Saturday morning to work. I'm hoping Gram and The Boy will agree to some quality time together this afternoon.

    The 'should haves' come in because I should have gotten more of this done yesterday BUT I know my brain was just done with intellectual exercise yesterday evening and so it's not like I wasted energy by ignoring the task.

    Matthew 5:38-48 here and I'm working on the angle that there is no angle. Jesus says 'be perfect' - now what.

  4. The problem with taking time off - even if you really need to take time off! - is coming back and wondering what to preach about. Then there's the Sunday School lesson to prepare.
    The well is dry now but I'll be back as soon as it begins to fill up.
    Breakfast first, I think. Poached eggs anyone?

  5. Here I am! Had to walk my new dog before checking in! He's an 8-year-old rescue, and even walking him in the snow makes me happy.
    Betsy, those are wonderful ideas. liz, I'm going to look at yours, too.
    I was so uncertain of where I wanted to go with the texts this week that I didn't even give my sermon a title before we ran the bulletin--that's *very* unusual for me. But this morning, walking an old dog in a new neighborhood for him, I thought I might call it "Old Habits." Jesus shook people out of thinking the old habits of religious practice were all that mattered, to get them to understand the purpose of the habits, which form the conclusion of the Leviticus passage.
    (Or something like that.)
    We're singing all three of my favorite hymns using the word "foundation": The Church's One F, How Firm a F, and Christ is Made the Sure F. That word comes from the epistle, and the opening of that passage is on the bulletin cover. I guess in the end I'll ask us to examine old habits and ask ourselves whether they really have Christ as their foundation.
    Meanwhile, coffee. Stat!

  6. Margaret, poached sounds perfect. You may inspire me.

  7. Preaching "perfection" that feels a bit more like preaching failure right now! Making the jump from the ways that "perfection" is not an individualized expectation to achieve moral or cultural success, but is about wholeness and maturity in our relationship with God...

  8. SB, would love to meet your new dog! I'm preaching Matthew - I'll post it a little later. I finished it early this week because the weather report for today was nothing less than gorgeous, and I want to be out in it!

  9. Forgive me for repeating myself, if I've already shared this here. But Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, a Presbyterian Pastor, has created a Service of Lessons and Songs during which you read the entire Sermon on the Mount and sing hymns she's written (to familiar hymn tunes). It's here:

    We are doing it instead of Transfiguration on the Last Sunday before Lent. It's an option.

    And forgive me this:

    I am not preaching tomorrow. I have a vacation day. Because tonight my daughter and my Beloved and I are traveling to Atlantic City to see.....

    Lady Gaga.

    We are quite excited.

  10. Songbird, I'm ashamed to say I have gotten out of the habit of walking Scout this winter :(. we have a big back yard where she runs around, but we haven't taken many walks. gotta get back into it.

    I've got most of a sermon that I'm not happy with (sigh). need to decide how much to tinker, or whether it's "good enough" for this week.

    also, a children's message.

  11. oh, by the way, I'll certainly take some of your coffee.

  12. I bet you are, Mags!
    We will try to forgive those who are fancy-free today. I'm making notes over my oatmeal.
    Diane, the snow in my backyard, at least in the area near the back walk, is still over three feet high, which seems like a big barrier for an old guy. I may try to shovel a "way in" for him.
    Also, my gate is broken, the hinge torn right off the post during a storm earlier this winter. I'm hoping my carpenter is coming by later today to suggest what needs to be done to fix it. Then we can try going out in the yard! But for now, we're picking our way across the icy sidewalk.

  13. Songbird, thanks for the virtual doughnuts, I'll take a couple.

    I am so unfocused today. My brain boarded the boat a long time ago, but I'll try to crank out a sermon today. The theme of my preaching has been the spirit of the law in comparison to the letter of the law. That in each stroke of each letter of the law is God's great desire for all of creation to live in right relationship with each other. It will be interesting for the congregation to hear the actual words of Leviticus compared to the actual words of Jesus.

    Or maybe I can just do a sermon about boats, water, plentiful food, sunshine, surf, sun screen, little drinks with umbrellas in them, good friends....

  14. Good morning! I'm heating a cup of chai and mulling over "foundation building." I opted to use the 1 Cor 3 passage from Sunday's lectionary to accompany a baptism tomorrow -- joy! Maybe, instead of building up our churches (in numbers, programs, etc.), we're called to keep building the foundation through hospitality and care and faith encouragement. Hm, just thinking aloud. Also bouncing around the brain is the possibility of using Legos with the sermon.

  15. Mags, who is this Lady Gaga of which you speak ;)

    I will keep that sermon on the mount idea for future reference. who knows, I may be around in twenty years?

    Songbird, I remember when our back fence was frozen open one year. Scout is a snow dog, she enjoys the back yard. But there have been times it has looked so deep that I thought she could just go ahead and jump over.

    I'm avoiding my sermon.

  16. Diane, lol! Just a singer.

    The beauty of the Sermon on the Mount service (i feel like I'm on Carolyn Gillette's PR team here) is that, in years when we don't get to read all these passages, it's a way for the congregation to experience the whole thing in one sitting. Which, whether or not Jesus ever actually preached such a sermon, is a cool experience to share. IMHO.

  17. Magedalene - I think the sermon on the mount in one sitting sounds great. I'm not preaching this weekend, but I would like to put the service in my bag-o-tricks. However, I can't get the link to work. Could you double check it?

  18. Ramona, it looks right. Can someone who knows how to post a live link remind me how to do it?

    Here's what works for me:

  19. Good Morning. 8 a.m. already! Yikes. Woke up early to work on sermon while house was quiet, but wound up planning Lenten scripture and sermon topics instead. Also on the to do list, so that's okay.

    However, I'm strugging with this sermon on Matthew passage. The plan was to focus on the "Pray for and love your enenmy" as the last installment of a series on managing conflict according to Biblical principles.

    I will still go there for part of the sermon, but here's what I keep coming back to - this passage is one of the most dangerous in the Bible. It has been used over the years to keep women (and men) in abusive relationships. During seminary, I visited an agency that helps women get out of abusive situations and find their own independence. When I asked what the clergy of our city could do to help, the response was "Quit telling women they have to stay in abusive marriages." Apparently this was all to common of an experience for their clients.

    My reading this week has led me to understand that Jesus' words here do not speak to allowing violence to continue, but to breaking the cycle of violence.

    So I'm still mulling over how this will all come together.

    In the meantime, I need breakfast and I'm willing to share. Orange Cranberry Muffins and Turkey Bacon will be ready in 20 minutes.

  20. Gals and Pals, I'm off to a couple of appointments and will be back early in the afternoon. Meanwhile, talk amongst yourselves, and if you have any further insights on Leviticus, let me know!

  21. Wow, this sermon is a grinder. At least it's moving albeit at glacial pace.

    Off to play taxi-driver, chaperon and coach. I'll be back!

  22. Thanks Songbird! Ramona, there 'tis.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. Good morning friends! Checking in quickly before heading off to the soup kitchen to prepare their noon meal. Been thinking about Matthew all week and "the third way"--not to return violence, not to be a doormat, but to quietly resist. Actually CSI last night had a good illustration, but I don't think it will be known among my people.

    Be back later...

  25. Magdalene! Thank you for posting that! If you did post it elsewhere I missed it. I think I might just do the same thing for Tfig. What a great way t o pull the last few weeks together!

  26. Semfem, you've actually hit on my title. I'm tying in a little to last week's "choose life" commnd since i left a lot to the imagination. I've got today titled as "Choosing Life 101: You are not a doormat". I'm going to start at the end with the understanding of perfection as fulfilling our calling or integrity or "being all you can be" mostly because I don't want that o be a stumbling block. Then I'll get to my real meat heavily inspired, but less Greek-y than wil willimon's descriptions of what it is and isn't to resist, the command is not to be pushovers, but to not stoop to the levels of our opponents. We'll see where it goes when i get to writing later.

  27. Sorry for another post I meant the other W. W. Not Willimon, but Walter Wink.

  28. So I've read FOTW and had a nap. It seems to me that the Lev. reading is from the point of view of the "in" crowd, those who have fields and vinyards, etc. The MT reading sounds like it comes from the view of the oppressed. And yet the command in each reading is to be holy/perfect.
    So that's where I am going by 8 am.
    Now to finish up the Sunday school lesson and figure out when to fit in one more trip in March for business.

  29. Grits, poached egg and boca sausage here...

    SB, we are singing those very same them all. I can never hear "Christ is Made our Sure Foundation" without hearing the echoes of the organ in our seminary chapel--powerful.

    I am preaching Matthew. I've had my head in Walter Wink and the myth of redemptive violence all week, but I don't think that's what I'm going to preach...but we'll see where the Spirit leads me. Lots still percolating.

  30. thank goodness others are finding this sermon a grind! me too!! back from a few days off... and grrrr i just wanna sleep... or uhm go to the concert with magdalene!

    i'm telling a story bout my dining experience... the cutie college boy waiter flirted with me... alot... and well the conversation led to this comment "you know all religions are the same. jesus was just a teacher, a prophet, all religions have them. he's not any different."...

    oh my sweet cutie patootie waiter... *sigh* so i'm going to ask the congregation to discuss what they think makes jesus different... (cuz i think that ties into Mt this week)

    think it'll work?

  31. Still in Corinthians here. Going with the y'all are the temple. going to be heavy on the teaching, because you need to understand Temple from their point of view to understand the statement. The temple was where you could go to reliably encounter God; the temple was kept in such as way as to honor God; in Greek society, the temple was the center of work and social life. Oh, BOY, does this still need work!

    Plenty of Earl Grey tea here, leftover GF Pizza in a little bit.

  32. Several years ago I heard Walter Wink speak on this passage so I found it interesting when one of the FOTW writer's disagreed. I'm not sure who's version I'll follow yet.

    However, as a United Methodist "Christian Perfection" is not an unknown quantity. Candidates for ordination are asked by the Bishop the question from BoD required questions, "Are you going on to perfection?"

    When I talk about Christian Perfection, I like to draw a comparison with baseball's "perfect" game.

    Copied straight from Wikipedia

    "A perfect game is defined by Major League Baseball as a game in which a pitcher (or combination of pitchers) pitches a victory that lasts a minimum of nine innings and in which no opposing player reaches base.[2] Thus, the pitcher (or pitchers) cannot allow any hits, walks, hit batsmen, or any opposing player to reach base safely for any other reason—in short, "27 up, 27 down". The feat has been achieved 20 times in the history of major league baseball—18 times since the modern era began in 1900.

    By definition, a perfect game is also both a no-hitter and a shutout. Since the pitcher cannot control whether or not his teammates commit any errors, the pitcher must be backed up by solid fielding to pitch a perfect game. An error that does not allow a baserunner, such as a misplayed foul ball, does not spoil a perfect game."

    So, in the Christian community, each one of us is a pitcher backed up by teammates that help and support us. There may even be errors along the way to perfection but those errors don't necessarily disqualify us because this is not perfectionism.

    And, btw, I've actually been to a perfect game!

  33. Vicar, I love your baseball analogy for striving to be perfect.

    I have 1269 words--close to my max -- and I have to stop and reassess where I'm going because I think I have two sermons going on the whole myth of redemptive violence and one on being "perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." I think they are related but too much for one least the way I'm going. Argh.

    Also, why should preaching what's in my heart make me nervous? I put this (Matt 5:38-48) as one of my favorite passages a few weeks ago in the F5 because it really speaks to me, but I am fearful that my fairly conservative congregation will dismiss it as so much liberal nonsense. But maybe that is me just projecting on them. Argh again.

  34. Thanks for the virtual donuts Songbird! That's the only kind I'm eating these days as I attempt to go completely gluten-free. Tough going at times, so the odd virtual donut helps.

    I'm working on sermon #3 for this week. The first two just don't feel right, but I'm going in a totally different direction for number three.

    I'm off lectionary and addressing the annual meeting (which technically starts with my sermon as the rest of the worship is a worship/meeting combined.

    *Totally off topic alert* Sorry to use this space, but I just wanted to say Bon Voyage and every blessing to our BE 4.0 friends. Travel well friends, and raise a glass for the rest of us!

  35. I've got the first page of my sermon written. Boy I'm coming off all fire and brimestony but not in the traditional way.

  36. For those of us who are Harry Potter fans...

    Early in Bk 7 Harry is warned that his repeated choice to use Exepelliarmus in battle starts to mark him. Voldemort considers such a spell as a minr inconvenience. not as an attack or defense.

    ANd yet Harry, in the end, wins because he will not play the game the "right way". In the same way that Harry's mother "wins" because she played by different rules. A minor spell like expelliarmus is not seeking to injure, certainly not to kill. But it was enough, well it and the magic of self-sacrificial love, to defeat the power-hunger and self-serving magic of Voldemort.

    Something to remember when we are told that the way of Christ is for fools and weaklings and not for those who want to win.

  37. Gord - Thanks for the Harry Potter reminder!

    I just received a call about a church member's death. I'll be back later.

  38. It strikes me that a similar illustration can be made from LOTR.

    ALthough in the end I am not sure either tie too well to the non-violent part of the resistance Jesus is counselling.

  39. Hi, I'm back and catching up on the conversation while eating a sandwich. G_G, I'm fascinated by non-traditional brimstone. Say more.

  40. SB- donuts please, I don't care if it's lunchtime.
    Betsy, love your ideas
    GORD, LOVE the HP reference and so want to use it, sometime, dunno how this sermon will turn out yet.
    Am preaching Leviticus just 'because' but last week I was "Teachy" so am trying to have some story weaving in here, including Israel's story for context. Then a jump to reading law thru lens of Jesus. aka Marcus Borg, a bit.
    THEN, with help from the HS, I will have a conclusion, which I don't yet. May have some D. Bonhoeffer Costly Grace in there too. Ah I may have spent too much time reading this week.
    Vicar, so sorry, deaths are hard, even if they are our business.
    My best to all the BE4.0 folks. I'm afraid of cruises, crazy, but got so very sea sick in the Aegean...

  41. I do not have FOTW - is there a major disagreement with WW? I'm intrigued by his exegesis of this. mlr - I also want ot be very conscious of how this gospel passage has been used by people to justify oppression in domestic situations. seems to me that Jesus' instructions could actually make the oppressor madder and even more dangerous... kinda like what led up to the crucifixion? It ultimately cost Jesus his life, but he modelled the non-violence to the end. There was One who was perfect and look what happened to Him...
    that's where my wrestling is -

  42. Amy, Elastigirl, which one am I today?

  43. I decree this hour for tea and internet and procrastinating.

  44. It's done. It may not be good, but it is what it is. It came, I typed. I'm trusting the spirit. Now it's time to clean my house because Amy Forbus and her husband are coming to see us next week!

  45. Vicar, I also have been to a perfect game, and the other side of it is that it is darn boring until about the 8th inning! Not sure where that leads homiletically, but it did occur to me ;-)

    I love the HP idea; I might find a way to work that in.

    A number of years ago a learned friend told me that "The Church's One Foundation" was written as a specific rebuttal to what the lyricist saw as another person's heretical theology. I like the hymn a lot, but I always think of that when I sing it now...sort of the back story to the text.

    Peaceful and smooth writing to all!

  46. Okay, I have *got* to put some of my thoughts into written form. I don't think I have space in my brain for Walter Wink right now.
    Don't worry, there are still plenty of donuts, and I can always get more. :-)

  47. Back from Mother of the Year duties and going to start to type from the 10 papers that have a variety of info on them regarding sermon. We'll see where that gets me...

  48. Amy/Elastigirl, I can't find the quote I'm looking for, but WW is very sensitive to the issue of domestic violence and is very clear that this teaching DOESN'T mean submitting to abuse, but resisting by leaving, getting help, etc.

    "When we resort to violence we become what we hate." Amen.

  49. Is there anybody here who can sing "The Church's One Foundation" without thinking of the Lilly Endowment?

    I can't. ;)

    I'm not preaching this week, since my 2-weeker ended. Incidentally I got my check today in the mail for that gig. Here's a puzzle: the check for 2 weeks of pulpit supply ended in an odd number. And, no, they did not take out any taxes.

    Anyone? Beuller? Beuller?

    But...I do have an interview with a church search committee tomorrow afternoon, in the middle of what is supposed to be an ice storm. Prayers appreciated.

  50. J - maybe they rounded up!?
    RDM - just re-read the WW and I'm good with it again - will choose words carefully.
    NOW - I keep getting all the which hand/which cheek stuff mixed up in my mind - ya think the boyz will mind if I go use them to set my mind at ease? (:

  51. And Gord, thanks for the HP references...I may try to find a way to fit them in...

    I realized after consulting When Will It Be Read? that I preached about the end of this gospel--the being perfect part--on July 4, so I have cut that part out for tomorrow...still trying to tie up the ending now.

  52. RDM - I looked that up this morning as well - I was thinking this would come up again very soon in the Proper, but thank goodness the Lectionary composers were smarter than that. I don't think we'll have a Monday, July 4 service this year so I can go through the ending.
    Got my questions answered - and explained it all to the boyz - made sense to them so I'm hoping it can make sense in the sermons tonight and tomorrow.

  53. I have run out of energy to finish this sermon. #internetdistractions

  54. Getting ready to head out for a walk on this lovely day. Here is my offering for tomorrow. I think it is a little cheesy but the sunshine is calling.

  55. Prayers headed your way Jules!!!!

  56. So I started my sermon with a story about adopting this dog, and the next thing I knew I was looking up obedience classes. Bad Internet!! Bad!!!

  57. Here's my sermon rough draft. It's the third paragraph that's fire and brimestone. Rather than preaching hell and damnation I speak out against submission. Pulpit pounding material I tell ya.

  58. LOL!!! The word verification is terse.

    Kind of like my sermon.

  59. As I begin to pull this all together into a document that I would like to someday call my sermon, I realize that I have collected enough material for a pint-sized dissertation. Oops.

    Trying not to make a force landing with it all, and just throwing it in there to be sharpened later.

    Weird how some weeks this is so hard...

  60. KZJ - I'm with you - there is much to chew on this week - and so many directions I could go. Mine is done - I'm sure I'll continue to tweak it. Off to shower and get ready for tonight's service. I'm hoping to have it on the blog soon, but it won't let me paste it in right now.

  61. I've got a dog to walk.
    No, not the sermon. It's not even a puppy yet.
    Back soon.

  62. And now I'm back, with a cat lying across my arms. Not helpful. How's it going out there?

  63. I wrote the Harry Potter illustration and then took it back out; as much as I want to use it, it just doesn't fit with what I had. With some feedback from the Kid, I think I've gotten it wrapped up.

    Most gospels when i have extra ideas I'm grateful and tuck them away for future use. But with this one being a 7 Epiphany thing, who knows when it will ever come up again, so it is hard not to want to throw it all in there.

    Jules, good luck with the interview. And fie on ice storms!

  64. Hi, I'm back briefly. Had a birthday part. did finish the sermon, such as it is. It's not (ahem) perfect.

    we're getting some snow again tonight and tomorrow, so that should make life interesting, or attendance low.

    Jules! praying for you.

    ok, here we go.

  65. I'm still pondering. The dogs have walked themselves in and out the back door several times and are now having a barkfest with neighbor dogs. Somehow, I think they are getting more done than I am. ;-)
    The sermon is still fermenting but I'm read for Sunday school. I've finished a novel and made it official that I am not getting dressed and going anywhere today. Ii hope the cubpoard is not bare. Virtual donuts wear off quickly.

  66. Margaret, no kidding. I wish I had gotten some real ones.
    I'm getting there, slowly. Also, the cat went away, thank goodness. She's too mean to move when she's unwilling.

  67. HI everyone,

    Sticking my head in late - very good work day at church today. No matter how many closets we clean out, it seems there are always more to clean out, kwim?

    And, funnily, I meant to stop by and get donuts on the way, but ran out of time so didnt. Luckily someone else brought rice krispie bars, and since they are virtual, I will offer some. They have chocolate drizzled on top!

    Excited about all this good stuff here - baseball, Potter and the Tifg idea!! I am actually doing something else that day, but I am so filing that away for another year - thanks for the link Pat.

    Just saw True Grit last night, and thinking of starting with how today's scripture would make a terrible movie (what? no killing the bad guy at the end??) but makes a great life. The problem is, we dont get oscars for a life lived well, so what is the reward? Or, something like that. I actually havent started yet.

    So I guess I should go start something while the 8 year old takes a rare nap after a sleep over (er, stay-awake-over).

  68. And thanks for sharing your sermon, G-G - good stuff, that! Would love to try and act all those out with my folks - wonder if it would work...

  69. So I'm writing about the whole turn the other cheek thing, and I'm sorely tempted to say, "Stop me if you've heard this one."

  70. Thanks to a phone call from a revgalblogpal, I have stopped slogging my way through the data wilderness and I'm focused on the point of it all.

    Re-energized! But first a run to the store with The Boy for pizza crust and toppings and some dinner with him. I can do this now.

  71. Hey, have you heard? kathrynzj is making pizza for ALL of us!!!!!

  72. I just returned from a weeklong study leave event. It was good and exhausting at the same time. I have my notes from last week...and a sermon title "Ouch"...I pray it will come together.

    A first for me...beginning to write a sermon at 4 pm on a Saturday...ouch!

  73. back temporarily between wedding and reception--wonderful couple.

    In further thought I really don't think I can make the HP work here, just feels like a force since it was still a form of violent resistance. And while it is a great story for the power of love, it isn't about love of enemy. Except possibly for the change in relationship with Draco and family????

    I know MLK will show up in the sermon. HE just seemed to understnad this passage so well.

    And I think I will open the sermon with this poem and close with the song/video I posted on my blog a couple days ago

    (poem by a PCUSA cleric, song by a UCC cleric--sounds nice and ecumenical to me {not to mentoin international since both are from the US and I am not})

  74. some pizza sounds good btw I seem to have missed lunch....

  75. I'm also going the Walter Wink route with the Matthew text and I'm debating whether or not to use a personal story of standing up for one's own value/image of God.

    It's a pretty good story but... arrgg. Must make decision soon so I can enjoy girls' night without thinking about a sermon waiting for me to finish it back home!

  76. Yup, The Boy and I are making pizzas. Tell us your toppings and we'll whip you up a slice or two!

  77. Back and struggling to stay awake and start being really productive. The soup kitchen went well, but I had to take a wee nap afterwards. Now I'm trying to get the homiletical wheels turning again...

    I'm pondering using the Corrie ten Boom story about forgiving her oppressor from the Holocaust, but it doesn't quite get at the non-violent resistance aspect of Matthew. Anybody else using it?

  78. Back from a walk and some "research" (aka reading a magazine). I'll take some of that pizza if you're still serving.

    SB - your comment reminded me of my pal Eric, who posts here about how seldom this passage actually comes up in the lectionary.

    Great poem Gord. Wow, all this good stuff and still nothing written. How is it possible? Look out, Purple - that 4 oclock on Saturday sermon writing habit is a hard one to break...

  79. Just got invited to be the lap The Boy sits on while he watches Toy Story 3. I'm taking the offer.

    I'll be back!

  80. I just finished watching Up with my younger son; since he's almost 13, it's a great treat to have him invite me to curl up and watch with him :-)

    Pizza and Rick Krispie bars? I'm there! Husband and I are going out to dinner tonight (both the boys will be out), and I'll look for some yummy dishes on the dessert menu to bring back for the late night crew.

    I'd appreciate prayers for my dad. He has lymphoma and is in the hospital because he became severely anemic. A big part of the problem is a bleeding tumor in his bladder, scheduled to be removed in 2 weeks. The surgery has been moved up to tomorrow morning, which is great news, but we have no idea how extensive it will be.

  81. Sweet.
    We are eating burritos and watching an episode of first season Glee. "If you like it then you better put a ring on it."
    I have a draft, so I can afford the time...I hope.

  82. To be clear, that "Sweet" was for kathrynzj.
    Betsy, I'll be praying for your dad.

  83. anybody trying to work the teacher walkouts in Wisc into their sermon?

    and are they sick of hearing me talk about Egypt yet? I think I may have milked that baby for all its worth...

  84. I didn't even try to get current events into this one directly, Juniper, because I haven't kept good track of what's gone on this week. Also, ever since I preached about being team players, people have been sniping at each other. Astonishing! (Well, not.) So I hope to keep them thinking locally and not feeling detached from what I'm saying.
    Here's my effort: Old Dog, Old Habits.

  85. Procrastinating, but at least I'm procrastinating by doing productive things. Much better than playing games and reading non-sermon blogs. The dishes are washed, a few crucial e-mails have been sent, and now it's dinner time: lasagna (plenty for whoever missed the pizza earlier)!

    I'm loving the poem that Gord posted. It's now vying with CSI for a sermon introduction. Hmmm.

  86. Toy Story 3 with your kid in your lap is priceless. Now I'm trying not to panic... all will be well, I'm sure. Just wish it was at the 'well' point already.

  87. Juniper, I loved reading that piece about the lectionary and how this passage has been off the calendar for so many years. What bizarre timing.

  88. First sermon done - declared a success - twice again tomorrow! Went the WW route - with a physical demonstration of the "other" cheek (thanks be for acolytes!) - now I can relax - watching Spinal Tap for the first time ever

  89. This comment has been removed by the author.

  90. Juniper, I'm doing the opposite this time and trying NOT to sound like i'm including the stuff here in Wisconsin. It just hits too close to home, and now that it's time to write I'm worrying that my plan on Tuesday/Wednesday won't work on Sunday. I'm afraid that at any mention of nonviolent resistance people are automatically going to think I'm referring to the protests that have been going on and the distraction will be too much. I won't go into the situation because it is too divisive for a worship service. We have, I'm sure people all over the map, including more than a few current and retired teachers and the current school board president. I'm trying to figure out if I can even keep my original plan of "You are not a doormat" or if I need to do something completely different. I think this is one I just need to start writing to see where it goes. I'm afraid I'm going to be perceived to be saying something I'm not no matter how I word it, and likely even different things by different people.

  91. I've crawled across snow banks with my new/old dog and remembered emergency laundry needs and paid bills online so nothing will be left undone when I go to BE 4.0 and emailed my sermon to myself so I can print it in the morning.
    What am I forgetting?
    Keeping the cat away from my late night bowl of cereal, that's what.

  92. Y'all, I'm headed to bed. I'll be back in the morning with a fresh pot of coffee. Meanwhile, blessings on your writing and your proclamation for those across the pond!

  93. That was me. And I was posting from the same laptop I have used all day. Weird!

  94. SB - I went to your blog to read about your new addition. Made me smile. I have a rescue too...his name is Max, although I think he could have been an Amos.

    I changed part of my sermon, though I haven't reposted it. I wasn't sure my examples would speak to the male side of the congregation. I hate worrying about stuff like that.

  95. We are creeping towards 'preachable' status. tbtG!

  96. I can tell when it's a hard sermon to write not only because I keep coming back here and FB and every possible game I have to play, but also because I just want to keep eating while I'm writing. Someone please come put a lock on my kitchen.

  97. back briefly. Great party! wish I could have some pizza.

    I'm not awefully happy with my sermon, but I'm just going to love it and let the Holy Spirit work with it this time. save perfect for another sermon.

    I really think I may have copped out on some things, but I'm tired.

    we've been having some rockin' parties here lately!


  98. Well, I finally got something started and I've got 600 words. Not bad at all! Now to find that snack that I never actually ate, just talked about. Or at least the latest snack I talked about.

  99. wondering about the Vicar - prayers ascending

  100. 101 - been awhile since I was up for that number.

    I too hope the Vicar is hanging in there as it is my hope to see her soon at BE4.

    I am deeming this sermon 'preachable' and will deal with it again in the morning. Good night and blessing to all of you as we proclaim God's Word.

    Remember... the Holy Spirit has got your back and if you've gotta dog - walk it proud.


  101. sherev - I wondered what it was like for you there. i hope the words are flowing. for some of my left coast folks, madison is as foreign as cairo :) I guess I'm not mentioning it either, but I wonder how much of a subtext it will be for folks.

    Ok, making lentil soup for our week's food in case anyone wants a little late night protein. I tried to "sneak" some spinach in there ala Jessica Seinfeld, but I'm afraid it's really green now.

    What does this have to do with your sermon, Juniper? Oh, exactly nothing.

  102. I don't know, Juniper, it sounds like there's something subversive and turning the other cheek about sneaking in the greens. :)

    Yeah, our school was cancelled on Friday because of the teachers participating in a "sickout." Too many emotions in too many different directions for me to go there intentionally. Again, I'm still worried I'll be perceived as going there unintentionally!

  103. 538 words and I'm trucking along!

    I used the CSI reference at the beginning. We'll see how this plays out. Maybe using the "Reconciliation" statue from County Derry as a closing illustration. Hmmm...

    (word verf: "dereguns" much for reconciliation)

  104. Wow! Y'all are getting the party going early weeks in a row now. I absolutely love that!

    When I arrived home from spending a significant amount of time with the family, I needed a nap. When I woke up, there were hungry children (who really are capable of feeding themselves but didn't) so I fed them. We sat at the table to eat together so that was time well spent. Then we realized that our new, old dog (a beagle rescue) *still* needed a new tag with our address so we ran off to get it. As we traveled past, the Sonic beckoned to us in an irresistible way. That Sonic is next to Walgreens which has moose that I almost forgot I needed for the morning with my new hair cut.

    I think I have had a "If-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie" kind of day.

    I am now attempting to figure out if I can stretch the baseball perfect game comparison into a whole sermon since my folks have heard that version of perfect before. Some of them probably even remember which perfect game I attended.

  105. Welcome back, Vicar.

    My quick celebratory break for making it to about 600 words turned into a WAY TOO LONG break. Ugh. Now I've also only got 7% battery life left. So the plan is to push hard until I'm down to 2% then go to bed so the iPad can charge up again. Let's see how much I can get done in the next 45 minutes or so!

  106. Welcome back, Vicar.
    Go go go She Rev!

    I somehow now have 1412 words. A tad long for me. Hmm, what to cut, what to cut. At least I appear to have a beginning, middle, and end to this sermon, which is a relief.

  107. semfem - What's the CSI story?

    Rachel - I'm teaching "God & Family" for scouts. This week we talked about foundations and how Legos make a better foundation than dominoes because they hold together even when you knock them over while the dominoes scatter. So, even though I am very late responding. I think you're on to something.

  108. Ack, now I'm up to 1474 words. Clearly I spent too much time pondering this week, so that when I actually started writing I had too much material stored up in my brain.

    Vicar, this week's CSI: NY was all about the question of justice, and who should be responsible for justice, and whether justice and retribution were the same thing. i.e. how do we react to those who have done us great harm.

  109. So this is turning out to be a meandering sort of rambling sermon without a great defined point. Not too excited about that. I feel like I'm missing an opportunity by spending time talking about what the text is NOT saying (trying to explain misunderstandings of "resist" and "perfect") instead of unpacking more of what it is saying. It feels like we should have a few weeks with each of these since they come around so rarely.

    I'm down to my 2% and up another couple hundred words, so I feel good about going to bed. I think this will end on an empowering note when I get up again in a few hours and take it there. I think!

    Good night for now all! I'll be back in 4-5 hours!

  110. ok, wrapping up over here,

    good night all!


  111. What a party today!

    "The King's Speech" was as fabulous as everyone says it is, and just the sort of movie I like to see. Now I'm thinking through the pieces of my sermon. My "unnatural" examples will be putting shoes on the wrong feet, using scissors with the non-dominant hand (hmmm...maybe I'll bring in a whole bunch to give everyone a feel for it), and eating a bit of yogurt off a plate with no spoon (I know there's some pre-teen who will love doing that one for me!). They all just feel wrong, as do the things Jesus asks us to do. He's not talking about being victims/patsies, but rather about taking action in a manner that is counter-cultural.

    Prayers for all tomorrow!

  112. I think I've had too much caffeine because I am not feeling as tired as I should for this time of night. However, I'm not done with the sermon so I guess that's a good thing.

  113. Sounds like exactly what you want in this situation, Vicar.

    Betsy, I like your illustrations!

    Juniper, hooray for being done!

    I shaved my sermon down to 1394 words and that's as good as it's getting. It's printing now. Just need to finish off the council report and then I can sleep...

  114. The sermon is finished. And wrestling just came on the channel that had been serving as background noise. Clearly, I am up too late. I have to get the prayers together before I can go to bed though.

    Blessings on your Sunday!

  115. Council report done! I'm off to bed! Keep on, Vicar!

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

  116. I'm back to finish. I should have about one hour of quiet before kiddos start waking up. It'll be enough!

  117. I've been out twice with new/old dog this morning, rewritten the middle of my sermon, put clothes in the dryer and I *still* haven't had coffee!!! I need some. Feel free to join me if you have 90 seconds or so.

  118. Good morning pals,

    Looking forward to preaching this morning. Beloved suggested that I illustrate the turn the cheek scenario with the kids for the children's sermon. Have the kids slap each other, have them slap me? No I don't think so. Then she suggested getting an adult to volunteer to slap me. I said that would be too risky, they'd be lining up to slap me. (sign of a good interim pastor).


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