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Saturday, March 26, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Water, Water Everywhere

It will seem a little strange reading these desert texts in my context this week. There is plenty of frozen water still on the ground in the form of snow, some of it dumped freshly just this week. We are in the midst of flood warnings as towns up and down our river, including our own, prepare for what could be record-breaking spring floods.

Yet, even with all this water at hand, people are still thirsty. At least I'm still thirsty. We are thirsty for reassurance. We are thirsty for guidance. We are thirsty for compassion. We are thirsty for justice. We are thirsty for rest and renewal. We are thirsty, I am sure, for Living Water.

What are your parched areas this weekend? For what to do thirst today?

The texts are here/
Conversations from earlier this week are here.

I'm sure the table will soon be spread with lots of goodies and, especially this week, deep glasses of water!

(Photo credit: Found this picture at this blog

124 comments:

  1. Thanks for opening up the party, She Rev! I'm all over the place this week as I prepare to deliver two things on Sunday: a dramatic monologue as the WATW, and my letter of resignation. Neither of which is written yet. SIGH.

    I think I'm going to head to bed soon...since clearly I'm going to need a lot of strength in the next 48 hours.

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  2. Prayers for you, Semfem, for strength for this part of the journey.

    I am feeling fortified by some excellent ice cream at a local place this evening and what seems to be a solid idea for my family sermon...woohoo!

    I'm going with Moses and the mumblers, but I wanted to add an experiential dimension. So, I have a low circular planter filled with sand, with a 4 or 5" rock in the center, and I'll ask people to take a moment to feel the sand, to consider its dry and bare quality, to sift the sand over the rock...all as I talk about the first part of the story. I then have a large bowl that has another rock in the middle, and I'll have a pitcher of water, and as I tell the 2nd half of the story, we'll pour water over the rock and into the basin, feeling and imagining how different it is from the sand. At the bottom of the basin, I have small river rocks and I'll invite each family (rather than each person, because that creates some choking worries for the youngest ones) to take one as a reminder of the water of life coming to us in the midst of dry places.

    Pretty easy set-up, so maybe it will be useful to anyone else needing an interactive sermon for Sunday!

    My cupboards are pretty bare, but I have a good supply of tea for the early birds!

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  3. Good morning, all! I too am plugging away.

    By the way, if you are looking for some interesting procrastination, God Complex Radio has an interview with Songbird! It is so fun to hear about how this all go started.

    And what a blessing it has been and is.

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  4. My computer keeps going into no response mode, so hopefully I will get to post my now written sermon, before it stops again. then a cup of tea and off to bed for me. There is some chocolate cake left from the Church Street stall yesterday, very nice!

    Preaching on the Woman at the Well, using resources from UCC SAMUEL, and Huffington post.

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  5. hi She Rev. I'm up and at 'em, already here, because I'm still struggling with a sermon, even though it's on a magnificent text.

    I love that you said what you are thirsty for.

    that helps.

    I've got a first communion class this morning, though I'm not in charge of it.

    haven't got a children's message yet.

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  6. oh, and prayers for semfem on your next 48 hours. ((((semfem))))

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  7. Prayers for semfem in this time of transition. I was up early this morning and was able to get the last half of my sermon written. Quality is so, so, but it is what it is. Trusting the Spirit. Now it's time to get things rolling as we all have morning commitments.

    Orange Cranberry Muffins and Turkey Bacon on the sideboard for those who want them. Have a wonderfully productive or restful day - whichever you need.

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  8. Another Saturday another all day workshop. See you all when I get back. Here some cinnamon rolls to wake you up this morning.

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  9. Had a great vacation last week, but boy, writing a sermon after a vacation is hard! I'm going with Romans and suffering - calling it "Life in the Minor Key."

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  10. (((semfem)))

    Thanks to Robin, another RevGal, my sermon is finite'.

    Last night I attened a Jewish Shabbat service which was very powerful. I did recognize a few Hebrew words. I hope to get a copy of their prayer book as the English translation of the prayers was beautiful.

    Today I am at an all day event with John Shelby Spong. My first time to hear him in person and looking forward to this experience. Then a 250 mile drive...

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  11. Here are some thoughts about the woman at the well from Cynthia Kittredge, one of the speakers at this week's Preaching Conference.

    She is not called a sinner by the text; we have implied that because of the time she comes to the well. Even Jesus does not call her a sinner. She could well be a widow four times over.

    This is the longest conversation Jesus has with anyone in all of th gospels. She is the first missionary sent out by Jesus.

    And the key to the story is the line about Jesus replacing the Temple *and* the mountain because both places abide in the Messiah.

    Of course, this still leaves some disturbing stuff and I haven't given it a lot of thought. Allergy season arrived with a vengance Thursday night so I haven't thought about anything much.

    In any case, the woman seems to be a much more heroic figure than I usually make her out to be. Semfem, may some of her daring heroics rub off on you in your monologue and help you with resigning, too.

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  12. semfem, I add my prayers to the prayer chorus already being lifted up for you.

    pearl downunder, I am going to check out the resources you shared.

    I'm going with the WATW and could have used any of six old sermons I had, except for a particularly good one done as a dialog with the then-husband when I was still a layperson. Ah, memories!

    I set a sermon series for Lent: "Surprising Words of Life" and the word this week is "Them." The Us-Them dynamic in our church is multi-dimensional, so I'm wading into that deliberately and carefully. Due to a series of unfortunate events over the past week, I am very much feeling the outsider and hope that somehow that can lead us all to some truly good news.

    I have made-from-scratch gluten-free waffles to share and a refill for any of you drinking coffee. I'm off to prime the writing pump at <a href="www.750words.com>750words.com</a>.

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  13. With all of the acronyms used for texting, it took me a little bit to realize what WATW meant the first time I saw it. I'm glad I figured it out since that's the passage I'm preaching.

    The day is very full with a church event that I am praying is well attended.

    And the SportsQueen has a softball tournament. I might make it to the last game if clean-up for the church thing goes quickly.

    At least I didn't give up caffeine for Lent since I'm pretty sure I'll be consuming lots of it to get through the day.

    See y'all later!

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  14. Woops, screwed up the link to 750words.com! (I hate when I do that!)

    Margaret, thank you for saying that about the woman not named as sinful by the text. Why are we so quick to say that? If we could say it in church, we would say she's more likely "SOL" for multiple reasons.

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  15. Hurrying off to a day-long workshop on Julie Exline's work on anger at God (you can google it) so my sermon is basically finished. It's probably two scratch-the-surface sermons on both OT and gospel texts, on the desert as a public and dramatic crisis and the desert as experienced in ordinary life, brought together by the God who provides the water in either case.

    God knows I have plenty to say about the desert journey, but I continue to experience the supply preacher's dilemma of being the fairly impersonal and unknown figure trying to deliver a message of insight and hope to an unknown congregation. Every week I think about how very different my sermon would be if I were in a long-term relationship with the people to whom I am preaching.

    I expect to have a bit to add about anger at God after hearing Julie speak, and some other tinkering to do this evening, but that's all there will be time for. Looking forward to returning to the conversation.

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  16. Hi. back briefly. I'm making pancakes, then going to church. anyone want some?

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  17. Good morning gals! There's brewing already, including coffee (fair trade of course).

    I'll join the others and lift up prayers for semfem. I an sure you will write both with the presence of the Spirit.

    Betsy, I love your experiential piece. My congregation is just a bit too large to make it work smoothly. I only wish it were my children's time day because it would work pretty well there, too. Great idea.

    Loved the God Complex episode, too. The link is on the Wednesday Festival for those who missed it.

    Chilly, I know what you mean. In some ways I come back feeling refreshed and ready to go, but in others I feel totally out of the rhythm. Blessings on you!

    Sounds like several of us are at conferences or events today. I'm hoping those are fruitful and enlightening experiences.

    We had our first day for sleeping in in a long time. By sleeping in I mean sleeping 'til 7:30. Thank God my third baby has finally been the one to figure out she can be happy in bed past 6:00 am. It was an awesome night of sleep since I went to bed at 9:45 pm. Glorious. My daughter has a birthday party this morning. I have to stop by the church to check out our first instance of Christian yoga. I'd participate, but I'm not much of a yoga person, and really I'm still scarred from seeing a few too many of the old church ladies naked in the locker room at the Y this week. I'm not really "up" for being a part of my parishioners' exercise life this weekend.

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  18. Good morning, all!

    Semfem, thinking of you!

    Vicar, it took me several reads to understand what WATW was too!

    I'm preaching WATW (now that I know what that is, heh) and am feeling a lot of connection with the text because of my own sense of dryness right now. Tomorrow is an even fuller day than usual, with only the briefest of breaks midday. I have felt strung out and stressed over all the balls I'm trying to keep in the air.

    I'm leaving in a bit to go to a Planned Parenthood rally on campus. That has made me antsy too - on sermon prep days, I like to sit at my desk all day until I'm done. But this feels important to me so I'm hoping to get some good work done this morning to free me up to go to it.

    All I have to share is some really good coffee. Helps yourself!

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  19. Semfem, prayers for you in the hours and days ahead. Margaret, sorry allergy season has blown in full force. Pearl, David Lose's post on Huffingtonpost is shaping my thoughts this morning as I get down to work. Look forward to reading your post when I finish my sermon.

    This morning I'm playing with encounters at the well and thinking about the differences between the woman's response to Jesus and the disciples. Don't know where all this will lead, but it's early in the day here and I have few external distractions today. Emboldened, feisty, curious and open come to mind when I think of that Samaritan woman in her encounter with Jesus.

    What I would give for a plate of sausage, eggs and home fries to start me on my way!

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  20. Welcome earthchick and RevAlli!

    I'll share some of our eggs and sausage!

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  21. Going with Water in general, and our need to find the Living Water both for our bodies and ourt souls. I am toying with playing the Kingston trio song "Desert Pete" and using it to tie the sermon together. NEed to re-read the lyrics to help me decide.

    Last night it occured to me that part of the role of the faith community is to lead people to/help people find the Living Water. How well do we do that? OR do we offer people rocks in the desert?

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  22. Semfem,
    the last Sunday of March last year I read my letter asking for a change in PAstoral Relationship to the congregation, the hardest part of the whole job search process IMO. Prayers as you do yours.

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  23. Not preaching again - Lent is a dry time for those of us doing pulpit supply! Just dropped in to lend moral support and to glean words of wisdom.

    Semfem- hugs and prayers!

    Pearl - loved the sermon. I'll have to go read the David Lose article.

    Vicar - enjoy your caffeine! It's it funny that while we cheer on our kids with abandon, sometimes we think that if they'd lose early, our day would be better!Blessings on your tournament marathon!

    As for me and my process, I have the name of a congregation and they have mine. I am waiting again - for a call saying they want to do a first interview.

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  24. Good morning, Preachers!

    I too am preaching WATW maybe with a little Moses in the desert thrown in for good measure. Did it strike anyone else that it was World Water Day this week? And that same day I heard on the news about radiation in Tokyo's water supply...somehow that is all percolating but I'm not sure where it will take me.

    Margaret, thanks for those thoughts from Cynthia Kittredge...Working Preacher also mentions that Jesus never states or implies that the woman is particularly sinful. Just like making Mary Magdalen a prostitute...making women "bad" seems to have been a trend, no?

    Semfem, prayers for this time of transition.

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  25. Just read David Lose on Huffingtonpost (thanks to whoever mentioned it)...that kind of misyogyny is what I was referring to.

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  26. Thanks, Betsy, for the experiential piece-I think I will use that for children's time.

    I'm preaching on the Exodus text and am drawn to the idea that fear threatens to drag people away from the new life God has promised and back into slavery.

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  27. I'm preaching on the woman accused of adultery (John 8:1-11). I was at home yesterday with Dear Son who had an earache. Somehow, at some point, today, I need to write that sermon, prepare Sunday School and make notes for a finance committee meeting. Re: John 8- do I write a dramatic monologue or prepare to talk about the need for order in society, but our need for caution in judging others.

    Prayers are with you, semfem.

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  28. Thanks She Rev. I think your introduction is helping to shape the sermon I will begin in just a minute.

    Semfem, you have my prayers.

    My heart is very full for every one of you this morning. I am grateful to be a part of this community. Happy writing!

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  29. Lost post in cyber space earlier.

    Welcome Gord, ramona, and Rev Dr Mom.

    Gord, I think I'm going to make that move outward also. Where can we take the water we've found to others who are dry and thirsty? And maybe more importantly how can we do that without drowning them, but refreshing them. Not sure if that will make it in directly, but it'll be on my mind.

    Thanks for joining us for support, ramona. I might need to remember next year to take a Sunday off in Lent! I do have one preaching week off, but it's because we're having a mission preacher in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks for that connection Rev Dr Mom.

    There is an abundance of ideas this week!!!

    Great direction, spaciousfaith!

    Julia, I vote for the monologue if it counts for anything. Show the need for order instead of tell it.

    And glad for you in the community, too, Magdalene! Blessings as you get started. The open was as close to a start as I have for myself, too. I'll flesh it out later I hope!

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  30. Some of our folks are heading into lunch time. Others are probably at dinner time or past. Anymore good food to throw out? I'll add a pitcher of water or two. One with ice, one without. Everyone has their preference!

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  31. Oh semfem, I'll be thinking of you and praying.

    I'm working on the WATW as a monologue with a short message after the hymn (separate from the monologue - it sounds odd, but it will work, I'm sure of it)

    My horribly first world problem: I was given an iPad2 yesterday by my beloved and I'm so busy playing that my sermon/monologue is not getting much attention.

    Must. Work.

    Play. Later. :)

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  32. just dropping in here on a sunny but way too cold for March Saturday. Sermon is done, it is not great, but it is done and I am done with it! After preaching tonight at 5:30 I am officially on Spring Break and I cannot wait. Taking my three daughters to middle of nowhere Georgia (anyone been to Little Ocmulgee State Park?) to visit my parents who are camping there for six weeks (escape from Massachusetts snow). And catching up on stuff. And not thinking about preaching! After a very very busy few weeks I need this escape badly for many reasons.

    Semfem, my prayers are with you. Good to be with all of you today, especially after listening to Martha's radio interview, I am glad to be a part of this community. Maybe I'll even make some chocolate chip squares to share with you all this afternoon!

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  33. Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for your prayers and thoughts and support as I prepare to break the news to my people. This is my first time doing this and it's been much more difficult than I ever could have imagined. The wheels are in motion now and I just need to go with the Spirit and not hold things up out of grief. (And I really am excited about this new call, too! So many mixed emotions.)

    This is a day when I, too, am especially grateful for this community and all that it encompasses! Prayers of gratitude for all of you.

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  34. Sue, how fun to have a new iPad. I am sure I would get nothing done either! Any chance you can work that experience into the sermon?

    Pancakes are good any time of day, so if you'd like some, they're out on the kitchen counter.

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  35. Sue, as an iPad 1 user, I understand. It's been 5 months or so and I still play when I should be working. Like, uh, now. Why waste a perfectly unexpected baby nap, especially when it means I probably won't get an afternoon one out of her? Because iPad games are fun.

    You're almost there, MumPastor. Not sure about that state park. I'm going to be in more north and west of nowhere Georgia this summer, though!

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  36. @SemFem, prayers in your transition.

    @Sharon, sorry I missed those waffles! last ones I had were from a particularly grainy mix (Way too much rice flour!)

    I'm off lectionary, doing the 10 commandments during Lent. Tomorrow is murder and slander. Why is Roberta Flack running in the back of my head "killing me softly with his words" STOP!! must concentrate.

    Oh, and it might snow for tomorrow morning. Bleh.

    Oh, yeah. Need a children's message. At least it should be easier than last week (adultery)!

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  37. Betsy - I think I'm going to give up on trying to think of a brilliant children's story and just show the children the Samaritan woman's story in art - on my iPad of course. :)

    In better news, the monologue is done and I like it. I just have to work it through without notes a few times and I'll have it down.

    I need to add a brief epilogue that adds in an emphasis on the good news of her story, a challenge for the Lenten week ahead, and a great "ta da" kind of finish.

    In "Awaken" I found this quote by Charles Swindoll: "We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations."

    Now I just have to figure out how to weave that into the ending.....

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  38. Hi RevFriends! I'm back from the Planned Parenthood rally and feeling the pressure now. I only got a couple of paragraphs written before I left. Now I really need to get cracking. I did fortify with a triple latte on my way home from the rally. Let's see if the caffeine can couple with the Spirit to fuel some inspiring thoughts!

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  39. Speaking of procrastination and iPads, I got sidetracked finishing a novel on my kindle app while I ate lunch...I should know better than to pick up something else to read before the sermon is done!

    At least the novel is finished now...MUST write. Trouble is, after reading the huffpost thing, I think I have two sermons in my head. Off to sort them out.

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  40. Earlier this week I had the thought of buying a tabletop fountain (since Beloved has wanted one for years and we now have a place to put it) and having it running during the service. But do you think I could find one???

    No.

    Darn

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  41. Hey, great party! I think I'm going in Gord's general direction, talking about water in general, the need to share the living water with our community, etc. It's possible that I have way too much in my head for one sermon. Likely, in fact.

    I wrote about half of it yesterday while waiting at the doctor's office (not squandering my kid-free time!), but the rest of it will likely have to wait till tonight. The baby is napping, the toddler is "reading" to Elmo, quite loudly. Not sure a nap will be happening in that room.

    I've got a pot of chicken tortilla soup simmering...it's for tomorrow's lunch, but as long as you just have virtual bowls, I think we have plenty. Some old friends are coming through town, joining me at my pulpit supply gig, and staying for lunch. It will be good to see them, but I keep hearing the sermon through their ears and wondering what they will think. Throwing me off a bit.

    Now I need to think of something to make for dessert.

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  42. @Gord - The table top fountians are getting harder to find. We got our last two at Walmart (it the only "water dish" our cat will use.) I don't know if you have checked there already, or have the time.....

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  43. Semfem - prayers a plenty.

    Decided to not do the WATW part of the lectionary but the "who gave Jesus cheetos" bit in the middle combined with the rocking water. Have outline and way in but still, not coming to fruition yet. Annoying.

    I can offer some buttermilk biscuits. Not homemade but tasty with strawberry jam.

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  44. Alas the only oone Walmart had was a 2ft high one to set on the ground. Which means the last 2 times I have gone to Walmart (which I usually avoid) they have not had what I was looking for....

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  45. Sue, I think showing pictures on your laptop is a brilliant idea! I was pondering how neat it would be, if I had an easy setup at our church, to have first desert pictures and then water pictures slowly cycling on a screen while I tell the story and we do the sand/water thing. So many possibilities for media; I just wish our equipment could keep up.

    Gord, love the tabletop fountain idea. I saw some at an OSH a few weeks ago, but I don't know if you have that hardware store, and it's probably too late even if you do.

    I have done many tasks this morning that on another day would be on the bottom of the list but when I'm trying to avoid thinking about a sermon somehow float to the surface...

    A friend gave me a great idea for my mom's 80th b'day celebration tomorrow: I am writing 80 memories of my life with her and printing them out on a nice paper, to be cut into strips and put into a jar, for her to pull out as she desires. Perfect for the person who needs no more things but will treasure the memories :-)

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  46. looking for a good, or just serviceable, children's message involving water...

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  47. Hello, all--
    Thanks for the shout-outs on the GCRadio interview. It was a privilege to represent on behalf of RevGalBlogPals.
    I spent the morning participating in an awesome Lenten workshop led by an artist in our church family. I loved it, and actually made something, but I still have a sermon to finish, and a college boy to take the bus station and a lot of overdue laundry. So I'm here for the duration!
    I'm preaching the WATW, as so many are, but given my own recent divorce, this doesn't feel like the year to go there on her social status. Thanks to a brilliant suggestion from kathrynzj (who is indispensable in any number of ways), I'm exploring the idea of carrying these peak experiences on with us in our daily lives. She met a prophet at the well, and they had a great discussion that helped her feel connected to something bigger and longed-for, but the next day? She had to go back to the well again.
    I didn't talk about Japan last week, but I think it gets into this week's sermon, particularly the news stories about the dangers of using tap water. After a disaster, those of us far away have shared the drama and perhaps considered what really matters to us, but we can still get water from our taps, turn on our lights, use our phones, etc. How do we keep from falling back into the everyday zone and forgetting what really matters?
    So, something along those lines.
    Meanwhile, I'm eating a cookie, and it's delicious, and I'm trying to avoid napping for fear I'll never get it back together again.

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  48. SB, your Lenten workshop sounds awesome!

    Oh, y'all, my head is not in this at all. I have been so keyed up lately, and am having a hard time just settling down and focusing.

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  49. I'm back. But now I have to take a nap before I write. I'm feeling very sleepy.

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  50. songbird, that sounds like a fabulous workshop. can they come over?

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  51. The church event was terrific! I'm now reading and posting using my phone while waiting for the sportsqueen's last game to start.

    For children's time with a water theme I've used a sponge and bowl of water. Get the sponge soaking and show how when full can't help but drip water which in effect is sharing with others. Then after wringing it out as much as possible show how it's still wet even though it looks like it's "empty."

    I hope that description makes sense.

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  52. So far, I've gotten nowhere. Maybe a nap *would* have been a good idea, but it's way too late now.

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  53. GREAT children's time, Vicar.
    Love all the ideas flowing (heh) around here!

    I have my letter written. Now on to the monologue! Focus, please come to me now.

    Word verf: clood. A Scottish cloud.

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  54. I have finished for now. I posted it here. It's long, maybe too long. Will attempt to edit in the a.m. for preaching, but I sort of like what is in there for now. Also, there is a scenic pic of BE 4.0 to adorn it.

    I will now join the party for fun and games. I have some dessert-like yogurt to share for a treat if that appeals to anyone, and some green tea.

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  55. Taking a break from today's assigned research task and heading to Starbucks for a change of scenery and hopefully ergonimically better seating.

    Can I bring anyone back something?

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  56. Althea, I've been reading this book to my kids lately. It may work for helping with children's time. (Or it may not.)

    If anyone is looking for this week's OT story illustrated with Legos here it is. You know you were wondering where to find it.

    earthchick, i'm sure between the Spirit and caffeine, and your amazing gifts, the task will be completed and your sermon will rock!

    Sue, love the iPad use. Type your prayers on it, too, and you'll feel totally justified by it. (I preach from mine, and hey, I'm typing on it right now!)

    Gord, I set up a display on our communion table with a nice big rock and a flowy piece of blue fabric. Just a thought.

    esperanza, I've had some anonymous feedback givers sitting in my head for a couple of months, and I've been wondering what they think every time I write. At least yours are friends! :)

    Cheetos, Amy? I need to go back and reread John!

    Welcome, Songbird! And THANK YOU for representing us all so well. The workshop has sounded awesome. I hope you'll post the pics to the blog so we can see and hear more about it.

    Vicar, great water/sponge idea! (This is me tucking it away for another time.)

    Sounds like you're making progress, semfem! Blessings on part 2!

    I have done nothing for tomorrow yet. Well, not totally true. I got on the same page as the Personnel and Nominating chairs who have big roles in tomorrow's annual meeting. I have done nothing for worship yet except mull stuff around in my head. I think I might be actually leaning more toward the WATW than originally planned, but really that's OK since my title "So Thirsty" could go with either. It will likely be a "mash up" of themes from both, but not as rooted in either as I usually am. I need to keep it short, devotional-type length to make sure the service is on the short side before the annual meeting. Themes instead of in depth Scripture work is probably better for that anyway.

    So, anyone have dinner going yet. I'm going to steal a virtual bowl of that chicken tortilla soup esperanza's working on.

    My husband just finished up another loaf of bread and soon we'll have pork chops cooking. I hoped to be grilling this weekend, but that darn mid-week snow covered the grill again. Soon. Right?

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  57. Done and glad of it! Time to get tapers and votives for tomorrow's morning service at the day shelter. When I get back, I'll treat myself to Pearl Down Under's sermon and Sondra Schneiders' commentary.

    You'll find my little homily here: https://revalli.wordpress.com

    I like it this time.

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  58. Anyone seen the sermon fairy? Its 9:30 pm here but because of daylight savings tonight it's really 10:30 and I just can't get into this. Had such a full week and today has been full too. Also starting a new early service of wholeness and healing tomorrow - fortunately I managed to put that together earlier in the week.
    Preaching on Moses in wilderness - resonating a lot but not turning into a sermon.
    Might need to go on a hunt for something sweet to give me a kickstart and raise energy level.
    Good to be able to grumble here. thanks!

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  59. Back from workshop - fabulous. I was repeatedly reminded of how much I love to hear presentations by women -- this psychology professor of many years experience never hesitated in acknowledging where her work is incomplete or raises questions that have not been answered. No attempt to pretend that she's polished up all the answers.

    Leaving sermon as is. But I think that for the children's time, if there is one, I'll use the info I just picked up here about the WATW being the longest conversation Jesus has with anyone in the gospels and talk about the importance of conversation.

    Toward the end of the program (which was designed for spir. directors), I said something about my personal experience since my son's death and the importance of nonreactive listening when someone is angry at God -- how essential that stance is so that you can serve as a sort of container for the anger that is exploding all over the place.

    As we dispersed a few minutes later, a woman came up to tell me how her son "almost" died because he got into drugs, but now he's recovered and married and the father of triplets and he and his wife have both returned to the RC church and life is so wonderful . . . Hello?????? This is how you respond within literally five minutes -- you tell me all the things you got that I will never have? And I get to nod and say, "I'm so happy that your son is well and all has worked out."

    My own spir. dir was there and I grabbed him afterward and he said, Yeah, I could guess how that conversation was going.

    Hence the "children's" sermon on listening.

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  60. Don't let my little outburst stop the conversation. I just have to vent sometimes.

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  61. My offering for tomorrow, "Life in the Minor Key," is here for what it's worth.

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  62. I'm sorry, Robin; that sounds so painful :-(

    We're going out to dinner tonight to a place that serves basic and delicious foods from fresh local suppliers; anyone want some take out when I return? It will be late PST, but that's perfect for the night crowd...and they have wonderful desserts!

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  63. (((Robin))) ugh. People.

    Liz, I haven't tried calling the fairy yet, but I'll send her your way if I see her.

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  64. Hi all,
    I hope all of you have found inspiritation, mojo, or just sheer determination that you need.

    Any ideas for children's time. I'm off lectionary Elijah in the wilderness? Other than that, I'm good to go.

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  65. @Robin I am so sorry. I repeatedly have to remind myself that everyone is doing the best they can. Some better than others, but the best they can. (((Robin)))

    I will share my toll house squares most happily with all of you now. If I had the time I would post my sermon, which leaned heavily on David Lose and reinterpretation of the passage. I am beginning to heart David Lose - find him at working preacher dot org. It went great, and the special music even better (gospel tune sung by one of my favorite church members).

    I will whisper softly "I am on vacation now" so it won't disturb all of you! Blessings and prayers as you continue to prepare.

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  66. Hi preachers! My sermon on WATW will get underway after the kids are put to bed, but in the meantime, here's a prayer from WATW's perspective: Lent 16.

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  67. I'm finally back home. A shower and probably a nap will happen before sermonizing.

    I'll be back later.

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  68. Must.Get.Started. Spent last night through this afternoon on an overnight youth retreat, so feeling a bit tired. I know I had some ideas earlier in the week.

    Please send the fairy my way too if you see her.

    Leftover lentils and rice and salad here if anyone is still hungry for dinner.

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  69. ((Robin)) people can be so stupid sometimes.

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  70. Oh, Robin! That is just awful. What is wrong with people? UGH.

    Hugs to you. And kudos, too. For being nonreactive!

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  71. mid-life rookie - Marco Polo in the Sanctuary.

    And Robin - I am wtf'ing on your behalf. Tell me where this woman is... okay, don't, but still.

    Wow.

    Prayers for healing and focus as you move through this evening and into tomorrow.

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  72. Oh, people. If there were a prize for sermon suckitude, I would win it.

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  73. Woohoo - the sermon fairy's been. Sending her back your way - she's done her work here tbtg. Just as well, the 17yo has just come in from a gig he was playing at and is talking non stop - but I'm so grateful for that!!!
    Once he heads to bed, I'll put together some pics for annual meeting and then I'm done.
    Sermon is here
    Off to put the clocks forward. Yeuch!

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  74. Earthchick, lucky for us all there is no prize for sermon suckitude--or at least if there is I don't want to know about it. --Prayers that the words will begin to flow like the water from the rock--and that your fingers won't get bruised from beating the rock before that happens :-)

    Liz, my companion in the Sinai desert, thanks for posting the sermon. Love the picture on your blog.

    I thought my sermon was done, but my read-through is revealing that much revision is needed. O well (no pun intended), it's not even 8 p.m. in KS yet--hoping to snuggle up on the couch for a movie before 10.

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  75. Hi Rachel! I'm counting down 'til bedtime, too.

    But the thing is, earthchick, suckitude or not the Spirit will u it for something. Believe it.

    Glad the fairy showed up, Liz. We'll definitely need her over here as the night continues.

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  76. Vicar, love the children's sermon. I am totally using it.

    Word verification: ganess. What Scottish people call homosexual orientation.

    Sorry, I'm feeling a bit punchy.

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  77. Still exactly where I was 8 hours ago. Haven't even opened the document to see where I left off. Baby and toddler both down for the night, God willing. Soup and cookies made for lunch tomorrow. Much straightening/cleaning that could be done...we'll see how it goes.

    WATW, here I come.

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  78. Thanks, spaciousfaith and SheRev! Words are flowing a bit better now. I finally realized that I needed to let go of what I thought I was going to say and start writing what I actually should say. So that helped.

    But wow is it going to be a late night! Still need to finish the sermon, plan the Time as Children, prep to teach youth Sunday School, plan for a campus ministry board meeting, and plan for youth group. Calgon, take me away!

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  79. Here's the rough draft of the sermon. Start off with Elizabeth Taylor and move into an academic treatise that ends up being a call to evangelism. All this in under 1300 words. That said, I wonder if this sermon makes sense. Well I'll find out tomorrow.

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  80. Earthchick, I just came across a good resource for youth Sunday School. faithelement dot com.

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  81. semfem - I cried thru the meeting where I presented the letter to the Session telling them I had accepted another call (the first time, and a little bit every time since. Blessing on you as you make your way.

    Robin, people mean well, but sometimes that knowledge doesn't help. I dealt with some of the same after my miscarriages - one of the best was the grandmother of many who told me that I would get over not carrying my own children once our adoption was completed. Could not get her to understand that mourning the inability to complete a pregnancy and loving my children were not incompatible. Please know we *are* listening whenever you need.

    I am doing WATW, but need to weave together some things yet - not too late here yet !:)

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  82. Thanks, Chilly Fingers! I actually have my curriculum for tomorrow (from Youth Ministry Architects - great site) and have somewhat prepped but need to do a good bit more. But I will file that resource away for future reference. Thank you!

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  83. oh semfem, prayers ascending...

    Robin, I'm so sorry...

    big hugs, all you preachers. I'm not on the spot tomorrow.

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  84. RevTSB--thanks (and thanks to all others who have offered words of support). I just had that meeting tonight and it went pretty well, I think. Tomorrow morning will be rough, but it helped to see the reaction of folks tonight.

    A late dinner is in the crockpot--chicken with artichoke sauce over brown basmati rice--anybody hungry?

    Then, I swear, I am writing this monologue before I fall over. I do have a previous one to work from, but it needs to be cut down A LOT.

    word verf: bration (instead of a K-ration?)

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  85. How many times can one check facebook in ten minutes? I'll let you know, I'm fast becoming an expert.

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  86. Okay, I think I'm going with something about religious baggage and not being able to see the Messiah because of it. I'll compare Nicodemus to the WATW. Jesus doesn't tell Nic that he is the Messiah because there's no room in his thinking/theology for that realization to happen. But the woman, who seems well versed in the religion of her people, is still open to God's word happening. And so Jesus can tell her what he couldn't tell Nic.

    And then I suspect I will talk about carrying our own religious baggage and how laying it down isn't the same thing as giving up the faith; how we can continue to keep our eyes and hearts open for God to happen in our lives.

    I will talk about how the WATW is not a model of all that is sinful and I need to say something about Jesus being the temple rather than a building or mountain.

    That's all I've got but I still think I will take my croupy self up to bed with a good book.

    Blessings on all of us who engage people in the vulnerability of their faith tomorrow. Blessings for semfem and Robin in particular.

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  87. kzj - I like that idea, and I think I'll use it another time. I think I'm going with half time pep talk - you've got work to do still, people are counting on you, I'm with you - now get back in the game!;-)

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  88. Arf!! I can't get the end quite right. Struggling...

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  89. Me, too, SB! May the HS give us great "wrap it up!" inspiration!

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  90. The name was longer than I intended but I could go right back to sleep so I guess I'm glad I woke up when I did.

    Robin - I'm sorry you had such an insensitive encounter. She obviously didn't "get it" on multiple levels. I'm glad your Spiritual Dir was there.

    I feel like I'm just beginning to play Marco Polo with the sermon in my office.

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  91. Thanks be to God, the sermon fairy showed up here! Sending her on to the rest of you still writing and wrestling.

    Semfem, many prayers coming your way for tomorrow and the coming weeks.

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  92. I meant "the NAP" was longer. Maybe I'm not quite awake yet.

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  93. back, briefly.

    just vegetating here. I feel so scattered.

    I think I'm going to talk about carrying water for the children's message.

    I memorized my lenten message for Wednesday, (or remembered it, whatever)and now I think I should memorize everything.

    Robin, that exchange was just awful. The woman you talked to -- she listened to everything and she STILL didn't get it?

    (((Robin)))

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  94. 94 comments of revgals on the wall 94 comments of revgals, you write one up and put it up 95 comments of revgals on the wall

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  95. oops 96 messages of revgals on the wall. now 97

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  96. Ha! SB! HS got us done at the same time. Woot!

    And phew! After chopping off 2 pages of beginning, writing a whole new beginning, reworking much of the middle, and only keeping a minimum of what I thought I'd say, I then ended up with an ending I didn't see coming at all. Here's hoping it's not a dud!

    Now, on to children's message!

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  97. Robin, I'm so sorry. What an awful situation.

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  98. Headed to bed, preacher ladies. Hope you all have sweet dreams.

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  99. Woo hoo! We made it. Kids finally asleep after a particularly difficult and late bedtime (hmmmm could the two be related?). Anyway, I'm here to write (as soon as I finish my ice cream).

    Now, what is it I said I was going to say?

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  100. nighty night friends. sermon and prayers printed. may the hs have all our backs tomorrow.

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  101. Well (ha!), I'm calling it done. The Spirit will have her work cut out for her tomorrow morning.

    Blessings on the late nighters.

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  102. Yay! We are over 100 again. Lots of preaching going on during Lent.
    I am on the Exodus text and spent part of the afternoon perusing some article I had gathered.
    Text week has some good stuff on the water from the rock.
    Fascinating discussion on the Spanish term for undrowning one's self.
    Still at work. Busy day tomorrow with Sunday School, preaching, a quick lunch and then bowling with the youth.
    Have not been in forever. Should be fun. Oh, and I finish up the day with Confirmation lesson on prayer.
    How is everyone? Anybody need some chocolate or a ginger ale?
    Best wishes to all who labor, sleep, or ponder.

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  103. Oh, Sherev... I am actually beginning my sermon with the water quote from Coleridge. Putting a different spin on it.
    Great minds think alike!

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  104. Great minds!

    OK, now I'm really starting. For real. I mean it.

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  105. Oh and major prayers for semfem with the resignaiton

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  106. @ Robin, I am so sorry, but thank you for sharing. By an odd sort of circumstances (really odd) I am now ministering to a woman who lost a child last year. She is very angry with God and is having such a horrible time.
    I am beginning to understand the need she has to just talk and get it all out. Sadly, I think she has run into a lot of the same stuff and is in need of a safe space.
    So, thank you for sharing and confirming some things I had thought.
    (((ROBIN)))))

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  107. Where, o where, has my sermon idea gone?
    O where, o where can she be?

    I swear I had one at some point. For the life of me I can't remember what it was or even more importantly what I should do now that she's gone anyway. Hmpf.

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  108. SheRev, could it be hiding in the ice cream container in the freezer? Inside the novel beside your bed? Embedded in the solitaire game on your laptop? Important for you to go looking, just to, y'know, be sure! I sometimes even resort to searching for mine under stacks of laundry...

    Fabulous dinner out, although half the family--and the reason for the dinner--ended up in the ER instead of the restaurant :-o My stepdad fell this afternoon and ended up needing 17 stitches in his scalp; my mom and sister were his ER companions.

    Now I must make sure I have that Moses story playing in my mind the way I want it and that I am comfortable with the engagement of the props I am using.

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  109. I love it, Betsy, but I even did the laundry and didn't find it. I did, however, just now go back to the blog post that started this party, and with that, and remembering that I don't have TIME this Sunday to get into the ins and outs of the history/larger narrative of the Israelites in the story, I think I may have found my way forward. Just focus on the thirst. Gonna try to get started writing. Usually I go to bed at midnight no matter what and get back up and write in the early morning, but that's 2 minutes away. We'll see.

    Sorry for the trip to the ER!! Blessings on your family.

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  110. Glad that at least the idea showed up; too bad it wasn't an entire sermon suddenly manifesting itself on your screen.

    Sleep well, all. I'm up for another hour or so until older son comes home from a party, but I shall rest my eyes a bit in the meantime.

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  111. I hit two snoozes instead of one. Let's hope that gave me double inspiration. Back to turn a vague idea into a sermon!

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  112. Duh. Duh, duh, duh. I was trying way too hard. I've got a nice simple plan, and really only about 600 more words to execute it. Why did this take me so long to discover? Here I go. K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(tupid). Or to be a little bit nicer to myself - - K(eep) I(t) S(imple) S(heRev).

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  113. Go She Rev! Better to discover that now than never. :)

    I did my usual routine of falling asleep in the chair and waking up to write at 5-something. I think I've got it finished now, just need to read it over and call it good.

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  114. Okay, 1262 words and I'm calling it good. Thanks again for all the prayers, everyone. It will be a tough day.

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

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  115. Thank you all for the commiserating last night. I am beginning to see the dark humor in the situation: that in response to a third woman, whose son died also and is married to a funeral director, saying that the only appropriate words if you don't know how to do this are "I'm sorry," this woman would decide to walk up to me and essentially say, "I'm sorry your son died, but mine didn't."

    Grace, I am indeed sorry for the woman of whom you spoke. She is graced that you are available to her. A year is barely a few days in the calendar of parental bereavement.

    And I am graced also, in that I get to go out into the sunshine and preach ahead of and beyond my own circumstances, which I am beginning to see is the essence of the Easter message. I don't feel it yet, but there's a slight vision forming.

    Good preaching, everyone.

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  116. Robin, I don't know if you will see this, but you have my prayers in addition to everyone else. I know my resignation is tiny, tiny beans compared to the grief of losing a child. This is a wonderful community for all kinds of support, and I feel I received it in abundance yesterday but did not intentionally offer it back to you. Peace be with you and I'm so sorry you lost your son.

    Thanks to all the RGBPs for being such an amazing community of care and support for all situations.

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  117. Semfem, thank you. I am afraid that I did not reciprocate either. I did pray with you without saying so, but I was quite wrapped up in dealing with my own grief, anger, frustration, and the need to put it all aside for Sunday morning.

    This is a remarkable community. I think that it has played a big role in keeping me on track in seminary and and in the process -- all these wonderful women (and men) who have read along with my anguish and simply accepted and absorbed and supported it all as part of life, without ever indicating to me that my child's suicide had rendered me unfit for ministry.

    I got a wonderful response to my sermon yesterday, which tells me that an unspoken but deep and authentic experience of the desert goes a long way.

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