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Saturday, March 05, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: T-Figgety

Girlfriends, and Guyfriends, too, it is one of the High Holidays of the Preacher Party: Transfiguration Sunday. I'm not one to set comment challenges, but some of our liveliest parties have fallen on this Saturday of the Great T-Fig Vigil as we struggle to nuance approaches to a text that doesn't differ all that much from one gospel to another.

Can we find something in Matthew's version that speaks to us?

For those of us who attended BE 4.0, this is a re-entry weekend. We're coming down off the mountain of (Carnival) Inspiration and wondering how to walk on land again. Can we tolerate ordinary reality? Is there a way to share the visions we may have seen for our lives?

So, we gather here together, whether we're preaching T-Fig or not, and we share coffee and stories and ideas, and we offer encouragement and jokes (please! make us laugh!), and before it's all over, we have those sermons, the little miracles of our workaday weeks as preachers.

Come, join the party. There's coffee and grapefruit and oatmeal and even organic pop-tarts! A special welcome to T-Fig lurkers: say hello to us, we would love to know you.

(Thanks to God_Guurrlll for this photo taken from the Aft Deck, pizza side, overlooking the Serenity Deck.)


  1. There's a whole side just for pizza????? That was no boat, it was heaven..... :)

    WElcome back to all of the BE folks!!!!

  2. Hi, back from two weeks of not preaching, and what a Sunday to return, T-Fig, Baptism and Communion, and the Baptism family are expecting about 50 people, which means almost double the usual attendance.
    so a very nontechnical look at the T-Fig this year.
    Just be!

  3. Good morning!
    Pearl, that is a very big day!
    Sue, the pizza station was an important landmark.
    I'll be in a slightly different neighborhood, back on the other Mount, preaching on "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." We are in the midst of Steeardship season.
    But first, coffee. Right?

  4. I'm preaching from the other Mount, too, building your house on the rock kind of stuff. The theme is "Continuing Education" which will give me a chance to connect them to my BE experience and encourage them to do more of that learning and growing and grounding themselves.

    But ... before that ... breakfast with 3 church members and then we will cross the street to the Conference office to a church renewal meeting until noon ... a pre-marital session at 1:00 ... a union ceremony (my first here! yea!) at 3:00 ... the church Chili Cookoff (2nd annual!) at 6:00.

    Obviously, my sermonizing Saturday will be a late night affair. I'll be running on coffee (thanks, Songbird!) and the continuing high from the high seas. I'll check in after 8:00 tonight with more coffee!

  5. Hi Pals!

    Currently struggling with re-entry. BE rocked my world so much that my is still swaying as if I were still at sea.

    I have a half day retreat with the leadership of my church, so I'll be back this afternoon to cogitate with you all.

    In the meantime, here's some apples, oranges and other fibery, filling fruits to make stretched out stomachs feel full.

  6. I meant: my world is still swaying as if I were on the boat.

    You may now go back to your regularly scheduled sermonation.

  7. Good morning, Preachers. I'm trying to balance wanting to hang out with The Boy every second after being away from him and the reality of the things that need to be done around us.

    What a beautiful and enriching time at BE4.

    As for Transfiguration... no comment.

  8. welcome back, everyone. glad you all had a good time.

    not preaching this weekend.

    I do have a baptism. and all the 'getting ready for lent' stuff.

    I have preached T-fig for three years in a row, nice to have a break this year, actually.

    thanks for the grapefruit,especially! usually I can't eat it, because of medicine reactions, but it is one of my favorite things.

    I have some good earth cinnamon tea, if anyone would like some.

  9. Hi, G_G and kzj! My house is clearly on water. Clearly.
    I have a book group this morning, followed by a meeting with the Stewardship committee (I do know how to spell it, I do!) to prepare for tomorrow. After that, sermon. So I expect to be at it into the night this week. See you later, Sharon!

  10. Welcome back to the seafarers. My BE will be on land in two weeks, focusing on preaching the Triduum and Easter.
    But tomorrow is Transfiguration. Several things popped up for me as I read FOTW.
    Transfiguration=metamorphosis. That's taking me back to Kafka and freshman year!

    God can be present in a great luminous cloud and in a wafer and sip of wine. Interesting to think of our own T-fig moments happening at the altar rail every Sunday.

    The need for God to remind the disciples that this human friend is also divine. I know we get stuck on one side or the other of that equation all the time.

    So I am cogitating today as we rehearse Vierne's Messe Solenelle for a joint choir/church service tomorrow afternoon and shop for theh pancake supper on Tuesday. Talk about the juxtaposition of divine and earthly!!

  11. Diane, good for you! I'm actually going to pick it up during Lent, when it reappears, so I'm not avoiding it entirely.
    Margaret, that's the question, isn't it? Did something happen there, or was it just that the disciples could finally see it?

  12. preaching Transfiguration and have 6 pages of stuff that needs to emerge into a sermon. looking at the mountain as both Sabbath and challenge (ala Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder)...using the touch of Jesus Christ (thank you feasting!) as the turning point and ending with a bit on baptism (we're baptizing 2 after the sermon) as a sign and seal of God's grace, just as Jesus touching Peter was a sign and seal for the grace that was to come as they walked down the mountain to holy week/cross.

    but first, Presbytery! We met yesterday and did business. Today we vote on amendments, most notably 10-A. Pray for Grace for Grace Presbytery!

  13. Good moring all! I'm not preaching this week - and for once, not envying those who have a call while I continue to wait for one! Well, there's a little envy -I don't miss preaching T-fig, but I was really looking foward to my first Lent in the pulpit! Oh well, that first will come.

    I'll stop back later to read some sermons. Blessings on all the sermonating!

  14. Good morning! Although my sermon will not be written until later today, I'm focusing on a basis Transfiguration-inspired question: "What happens when we see things differently?" We are rearranging & dedicating some of the church's worship space tomorrow, so Sacred Space is especially the focus of tomorrow's transfiguration!

  15. Good morning, good women! And welcome back to our travelers! We missed you!!

    I am preaching 2 Peter, have no words and some unusual ideas about how to do it - we'll see if it flies. I had intended to get up really early this morning and get cracking, but that didn't happen. I have a social engagement tonight and would really like to be done with the sermonating in time to enjoy that.

    Looking forward to partying with you today!

  16. Welcome back everyone!

    I'm writing my Ash Wednesday meditation today. Our Head of Staff preaches tomorrow and then leaves Wednesday for a week of vacation, so I preach the week after. But the sermon has to be done Tuesday due to other constraints and demands.

    I have coffee the just finished brewing and some blueberry muffins. Pork with mole (say it mol-aye) sauce is in the crock-pot for supper.

  17. Good morning, ladies, from the PK division!

    Just wanted to send a quick note to say 'thanks' for taking such good care of the Rambler this last week on the BE4. It sounds like y'all had a wonderful time... I'm so glad!

  18. Anyone have a Children's Story idea?????

    As for T-fig I am going a slightly different direction. I am going to try and invite folks to reflect when they have had their own "mountain top" moments. I will also reflect on how those moments carry us forward in the hard times. One place this wek I read suggests that this is why we have the T-fig story as we prepare to walk the road to the cross--it gives us the sustenance for the hard journey

  19. i am having such a hard time with sermons as of late. i feel the well is not only dry... it's been knocked down, brick by brick, and filled in with dirt. sod has been planted over it and that's that.

    *sigh* so seriously writing something on t-fig is as exciting as plucking out my eyebrows.

  20. I'm not preaching tomorrow, but I do have to write a reflection on the readings for the Feminist Theology Blog that I I'm working on that, considering the ways inwhich my time at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is transformational...

    Also, I'm a finalist in a job search for a rector position and I'm preparing to go out of town Wed-Friday.

    Exciting and interesting times for me....

  21. Oh, Hot Cup, that is hard. :( I hate that feeling. Prayers that the God who pulls life out of dead places will give you some good inspiration.

  22. Ooh, Terri, exciting! Thinking hopeful thoughts for you. :)

  23. earthchick... thanks for the prayers and yes indeed the reminder life comes out of dead places.

    i've got a beginning of 634 words. if i can double that, and have a point in there somewhere... well i'm considerin' it done.

  24. blogger is being wonky to me this morning

    I'll be back later

    but you knew that

  25. Hello everyone! And welcome back, travelers!

    This has been a really crazy week for me. Even this morning was spent rushing around town. I do have an idea for preaching on T-fig, about how we learn that Jesus was the real deal (today the ways we learn this are sort of the opposite of T-fig!), but nothing written and no notes made yet.

    To top everything off, I will need to disclose tomorrow morning some really, really ugly news regarding serious misconduct of a previous leader who was much-loved here. I can't say much more here, but it will be difficult for everyone to hear, especially those who knew this person well. [sigh] Prayers and suggestions are welcome.

  26. oh! Semfem. Holding you and your congregation in prayer tomorrow.

    excited about the baptism tomorrow. I'm kind of a baptism nut anyway. this one was put off from a month ago due to illness in the family.

    also got somebody in ICU that just had brain surgery.

  27. Kathleen, The Rambler went on the BE this year? I'm going to have to check with her about that...

  28. Yes, Diane, she did! The Crimson Rambler, that is...

  29. Back from the retreat.

    I am not preaching tomorrow but am doing everything else including the children's sermon. I'm going to talk about glow in the dark toys and how when I was a kid they kept me from being scared of the dark. But we know the glow doesn't last forever however when it does go away there stands Jesus, touching the shoulder saying "do not be afraid".

  30. I have a draft! Praise God. and I hope to take most of the afternoon off, but have one more thing to work on. Deacons ask for a session on Prayer so I'm doing "Teach Us To Pray" and need to put that together beyond my brief outline.
    SOund like prayers needed in several quarters so we will blanket everyone with it.
    BE sounded great, you all may get me on a boat yet.

  31. Since Songbird asked so nicely... stepping out of lurker mode... my brain and body are sluggish today... struggling a bit with bright sunshine and frigid cold... miss the warmth of BE but grateful that I can carry it with me. Need to stop looking at the pretty pictures being shared from our travels... they are not helping my sermon writing... me and Peter want to stay right there in all the pretty light... back to Tfiging...


  32. I'm not preaching; Jesus is. That is to say I'm using the idea someone posted a few weeks ago and using Carolyn Gillette's Sermon on the Mount "lessons and carols" service. I have so needed a break, but have no scheduled time off until July at this point, although I'm hoping to get a week off if not away in May.

    Anyway, this non-preaching weekend is feeling good so far. I do plan to do a little work tonight knocking out the liturgy for Ash Wednesday and reading the intro to the book on centering prayer one small group is using this Lent. I'm handing out their books and getting them started tomorrow, but I'm leading a different group the rest of the season.

    Getting the kids down for naps soon. The baby had double pink eye. Gorgeous. Just waiting for the rest of us (or at least me) to get it now.

  33. 1474 words with an amen on the end of them... not stellar, but done. i began explaining how jesus' baptism and tfig are the 'bookends' for epiphany.

    in the end it all came down to:
    ...get up and do not be afraid. Get up and trust that God has the story of your life safely sandwiched between the bookends of your identity in Baptism and God's bright, shining power. Get up and go about your ordinary days... but keep your eyes open... because God is coming to meet you in surprising and startling ways.

    make sense?

  34. Wanted just to say hi - it gives me such a warm glow that I can now picture some of you irl. Was a good plan to not preach on return from BE - and I'm pretty jet lagged but T-fig would have allowed me to share some of the mountain top moments that made up last week and might have helped to preserve the glow for a bit longer. Instead, I'll worship casually with my congregation and show off the braids and the tats.
    The past two days have been spent snuggling with my kids - even the 17 year old missed me!
    I should have maybe spent some time preparing for Ash Wed, but I'm determined not to do any real work until Monday - we'll see if I can hold out til then:)
    Love being part of this community - even more now!

  35. Welcome back, cruisers

    And good luckTerri--very exciting to be a finalist--and nerve-wracking, too.

    I'm not preaching tomorrow--one of the joys of having a seminarian intern! But I'm thinking I should take this afternoon to work on my Ash Wednesday sermon--another day that I think I've said it all about before. Only my meetings this morning with the altar guild and wardens left me a bit grumpy so I may watch an episode of The West Wing first--yes, another series I'm catching up on YEARS after everyone else.

  36. I'm back! I've had some lunch, accompanied by what we call around here a Despair Pepsi. I only break out the full-strength sugar and caffeine concoction when I'm in trouble.
    And I'm there mostly because I've been busy all day and it's now after 2 and I have nothing written down at all and my back hurts from hoisting my new old dog into the car and I really need to lie down...but we know where that leads, don't we?
    SheRev, sorry about the pink eye, no fun!
    Celeste, thanks for saying hi! It was so good to meet you on the BE.
    I'm going to try and get something started and will be back before long.

  37. No sermon to write but the colleague gave me heads up on some new crankiness in the pews. I do have the children's sermon to craft since that's "my job" and am wishing I had a Transformer or something like it. For me the key to Transfig is the fact that it gave the disciples a glimpse of glory to remember when everything went cross-shaped later on. Signs and visions and memories are powerful things. Happy little salad with tuna and capers being served here.

  38. Oh, and it is making me crazy that I never know which identity blogger is giving me until I hit send.


  39. earthchick, if I get this job I won't be far from you...just a little east...

  40. ok...sorry to add all my comments seperately -

    thanks for the prayers.

    HC - hoping for inspiration for you.

    Semfem - big time.

  41. SemFem, holding you in prayer. Sending you a virtual hug and a slice of pizza.

    I'm also just back from BE and still rocking on the boat, at least in my sense of (im)balance. Dealing with someone's hissy-fit while I was gone - trying to transform it into a hopeful thing rather than a problem :D.

    Preaching on T-Fig: Jesus on Spring Break. Gone with his wingmen to a different place, presumably for some R&R, but then Something Happens. Doesn't it always, on spring break trips? Using this as the bridge to Lent - another kind of spring break to catch ones' breath, reassess...we'll see how it works. Love that Peter affirms that this wild thang happened...

  42. Oh, Terri, I'm intrigued and excited. Keep me posted!!

  43. Also racking my brain for a children's story. Dang, used glow in the dark bracelets a few weeks back...but an excellent idea!

    Sermon finished...but not my most stellar thoughts. I, too, am in a sermon funk.

    I bring some nice warm chai to the table though, to share with this sisterhood...

  44. Terri, I'm very excited for you, and for the church, which would be blessed to have your ministry.
    I'm feeling a little better here after a rest-that-was-not-quite-a-nap. I'm still at 0 words, but hope to have something soonish.
    Anyone need a Pepsi?

  45. checking back in. Grace Presbytery passed all amendments. There was no discussion for B-O and only 24 minutes of discussion for 10-A.

    back to the sermon, which is taking some shape and form!

    I loved reading all the ideas. Praying for all of you as you write (for those with dry wells, or overflowing), play, and prepare to preside in worship tomorrow.

  46. Well, my sermon was going great guns and now it is just going and going and going. Agh! How to reign this sucker in.

    Lengthwise, I'm already where I should've ended. Content-wise, it's a jumble!!

  47. Welcome home to all from BE4.
    Not preaching for T-fig, but I do have a Children's Sunday school class and a Confirmation class to teach. So, plenty to prepare for!
    Oh, and Committee Night. Geez!
    My big question is what are you doing for Ash Wednesday. I found a hymn to beach spring tune called Sunday's Palm are Wednesday's Ashes, still working on the meditation.Help.
    My Admin Asst has the occasional bulletin police to be critical of an error, however, I think it is a lovely reminder of how we all make mistakes. My main question for those who are critical is, "Did the world stop spinning?" Here is a laugh for today:
    Do any of you have good bulletin bloopers?
    Have a laughe

  48. Opps. I left the e from the word here.
    Sorry. Anyhow, enjoy and any cool thoughts on AW are so appreciated.
    Best of luck to Terri. Breathe deep

  49. I'm not preaching tomorrow...but I regret the opportunity to unpack how the BE 4.0 experience was "transfigurative" -- encounters between person and person where there was acquaintance or knowledge or friendship or relatedness beforehand, something very different afterward. drastic revisions to our answers to the "who are you" question. And for me...thinking how much I would have missed of the delight of these Amazing Gals if I had NOT had the interweb glimpses of their reality. But those glimpses would have remained incomplete too, without the face-to-face. Great PARADOX.
    With something about the faces we see, and see, but never SEE.
    the word verification is "forma." How much cornier can it get?! sheesh!

  50. Mibi - love your direction! Almost enough to make me preach tomorrow, but really enough to tuck it away 'til next year. Fits great this year though since spring break is next week. However, that also means we'll have less people who can relate to spring break since they'll all be on it.

    Had a great morning with women from the church and community observing (almost) International Day for Women. We met on a bridge for a photo op then went back to church for a screening of Pray the Devil Back to Hell. I want you all to stop what you're doing and go put that in your Netflix queue or whatever you do to remember to watch a movie. Great documentary!!!

  51. I just finished my draft - which feels kind of like a miracle - BUT it's wayyyyy too long. I mean WAY too long. Like, it would be long for a regular Sunday, but it's a communion Sunday so it needed to be on the short side.

    I'm also not sure I ever got a handle on what I was really trying to say, so there's that. Hmmmm.

  52. Crimson Rambler, you make me wish I were preaching T-Fig instead of messing around with Stewardship, but it can't be helped. Tomorrow is the day, and I need to have something to say about it. And here at 6 Eastern, I am still struggling. Ack!!!

  53. Songbird, just hang on and keep your powder dry, I'm sure they'll hit us with TFig again early in Lent, if not there's always August. What IS this, really, 3 times in one year? pfui!

  54. Listening to Songbird & Crimson Rambler while staring at a blinking cursor make me think I should find those dates and schedule something so someone else can have the pleasure of proclaiming the Word on those days!

  55. It's hard going here, friends. Remind me never to pick a text I've never preached before when I'm coming back from ConEd.

  56. I'm so impressed with everyone's progress. SB, if I know you all will be not just well but beautifully well and inspiring.

  57. I am back. I had a couple of real-life Pepsi's at the wedding reception and another Coke at the chili cook-off which is more sugar-caffeine combo than I have had in the past 3 months combined. Obviously anxiety much about not having a word written down yet. I am making plenty of "Tension Tamer" tea so grab a cup if you need it. While the tea kettle heats up, I am in prayer for all of the last minute sermonizers.

  58. I've been to the hospital to pray with church member in ICU. I've put two loads of laundry through the washer and dryer. I've let the dogs out & back in. I've logged geocaches for Grand Cayman & Cozumel. Now I'm trying to scare up company for dinner preferably at a place with sushi.

    I can't seem to settle down enough to concentrate on a sermon for tomorrow.

    I do have some good thoughts for the funeral on Monday though.

    I'll be around later.

  59. oh, and I had a resting moment before the hospital visit, too.

  60. Gotta stop looking at all the pretty pictures and get to preparing for service.

    I have left over pizza to share with you all.

  61. Oh, you can do it SB!!!

    I finally finished editing my sermon and am calling it done for the night. We have a social engagement now, with other 1st grade parents. It's something I feel we really should do - we rarely socialize with folks outside of church, just never enough time! But honestly, all I want to do right now is curl up on the couch with some knitting and a movie while the snow falls. Bah!

  62. Hi again! I have exactly 0 words on the page for my Ash Wednesday sermon that has to be finished Monday so that I can start the sermon for Sunday on Monday. It (it being the schedule) all makes sense in my head, which, I suppose is the only place that matters. I think I have decided to let it go for tonight and get some rest. We had a storm come through today that gave me a headache.

    If you have not eaten yet, supper is ready. Shredded pork with mole sauce, rice pilaf and refried vegetarian beans. It is bring your own vegetables. For those in need, there is also hard cider and wine.

    Songbird, I sent the sermon fairy your way. Sounds like you need her to show up asap!

  63. Hi, sounds like a diversity of sermons this week.
    round one done : baptism and communion, a beautiful baby who cried when I gave her back to her father, my kind of child!
    now to get ready for Messy Church this afternoon, so about 3 hours before I go back to the church for setting up.

    sounds like BE was great, I have been on continuing ed this week as well, next to the bush, in the lower Blue Mountains - beautiful.


    My Husband made bread rolls for communion this week, there is some left if anyone likes soft, light rye bread rolls.
    Midday - lunch?

  64. Thank you, PastorJulie! I'm home alone, but I swear, I was pretty close to putting Shrek 2 on the DVD player. Thanks to some email encouragement, I'm almost done now. Just need to figure out how to wrap it up.

  65. Like suz, I've been at a Presbytery meeting this weekend. Like suz, our Presbytery passed all the amendments we were voting on. However, unlike suz, we had more like a couple of hours of discussion and debate on 10-A. I am jealous of your 24 minutes!

    I got home around three, dealt with cranky napless children in my own cranky napless state. They are in bed and now I need to go read that draft.

    Pulpit supply, going with the Exodus text, mostly. If I remember right, anyway.

    Welcome back to the travelers, prayers to all of those with anxious situations, sermon fairies to those who are in need.

  66. Okay, I have a sermon. I'm going to take the dog out, then check back!
    Where the Heart is

  67. Good night pals. I'll be floating off to sleep as the waves in my head continue to rock my world.

    SB - Loved your sermon!

  68. Girl Scout cookies anyone??
    Peanut butter?

  69. Gals and Pals, I must sleep. Last one up, get the lights!

  70. I have everything but the big -- or little -- finish. Brain is fried. Tea is gone. Going to pull up the covers and dream up a worthy ending. Nitey night, all!

  71. YESSSS peanut butter Girl Scout cookies, pass them this way 1-4!

    Thanks everyone for the prayers and hugs. I have now spent most of the afternoon and evening hashing out what I'm going to say and talking to loved ones about it. Not the sermon, but the misconduct.

    So, now that means it's time to finally write up that sermon...which I managed to summarize to myself a few hours ago...let's see what happens!

  72. I'm fried, too. But I'll take a Girl Scout cookie on my way to bed, thanks.

    Sermon is preachable. Prayers, etc are still waiting. Hopefully I'll find some time in the morning to work on them.

  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

  74. Stopping in to say hello to those who are left. I'm leading worship, but don't have a sermon in thei service, so I am having a rare relaxing Sat night. I fact, I'm going to bed as soon as I can get the baby settled a little better. I'll need to write (or choose) the communion prayer in the morning and skim through the preface to a book I am introducing to others, but that is breakfast time work. I'm going to hold onto my last bit of random Saturday sabbath and not mess with any of it tonight.

    Peace to you all!

  75. I must still be functioning in another time zone because my sermon and prayers are not only written they are printed.

    I think I need to take some things out of the dryer but I'm not sure that will happen before I fall into my bed.

    Blessings on your Sunday!

  76. So to nobody's surprise (probably), I fell asleep and now am awake and need to get something, anything, down on paper. Blah. Also, I can't find the reference that gave me my idea early in the week, so I am second-guessing my whole sermon framework and whether or not it is accurate.

    At least everyone else has finished sermonizing tonight (if they are doing so), right? Glad for it!

  77. I have a sermon. It's 1215 words. It made me cry as I was writing it. And if I titled my sermons, it would be called "You Know When It's Real."

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

  78. Semfem,
    I you are out there, I would love to see a copy of your sermon.


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