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Saturday, March 19, 2011

11th Hour Preacher's Party: Faith?, Faith!, Faith....edition

The Lenten Seasons (Year A) when we focus on all the great stories in the Gospel of John is my favorite of all the seasons. Each Sunday offers us rich texts about the nature of God, humanity, Jesus, and what it means to become a people of faith. It's a "metaphor thick" time, offering layers to unfold and new insights to gleam, and lots of material for the preacher...

Then again the preacher might be tempted to reflect on the Epistle or the Hebrew Text of the Older Testement....and even then, thick...very thick stuff to delve into.

So, what text is sticking to you, or, uhm, with you this morning?

I have the usual array of require sustenance: coffee. more coffee. and tea for those who prefer....oh, and of course, food. I think this morning pancakes are in order....I can make them thick and fluffy, or thin and french crepe like...what's your preference?


  1. I'm trying to work on the sermon since I'm awake anyway.

    I wish that whomever chose John 3:16 all those years ago had made vs 17 just as important.

    I'm also hoping that I'm not here 24 hours from now. :)

  2. I forgot to "preview" so I could check "send email."

    I really appreciate the courage of Nicodemus.

  3. Lots of rain today, at least 3 inches, and I finished the service before dinner tonight -very unusual for me. Now to do something else, so I don't keep fiddling with it.
    Preaching on the John reading, and how we try to rely on our knowledge to keep in control, when really faith is more important.

    after the sermon we will sing a hymn from the Methodist Church of Great Britain website ' When innocence is fractured ' as a lament relating to earthquakes and cyclones and floods. then Psalm 121 as an affirmation of faith.

    After Baptisms the last 2 weeks, this should a be a 'normal' Sunday.

    Knowledge and faith

  4. looks like an early night for me. only 9.30 pm and I am closing down the computer for the night.
    Hope your Saturdays are fruitful.

    Cup of tea and cake for anyone?

  5. Looking forward to a day of cooking, cleaning - laundry is already blowing in the breeze(it is Scotland!). and a sermon in there somewhere. But first, I've been trying to somehow "make peace" with all the disturbing world news that is filling my head. I've blogged about it but maybe the comfort of routine caring family tasks will help me to regain some equilibrium. I'l check back in later.

  6. Coffee for me please and crepes in a bit.

    WWND - What would Nicodemus do? is the name of the sermon and I would like to write 3 narratives, including his, that illustrate a new understanding as coming into the light.

    Right now I have my preachy voice in my head and not a story writing voice, so if anyone has the desire to prompt me, by all means do so.

    I think I may borrow Songbird's illustration about her childhood friend wanting to drink from the fountain that was labeled 'colored' in the south because she thought it would be prettier than the regular water in the other fountain.

  7. *looks up at Liz with a grin*
    Well, I'm off to get a small tent to use for all-age part of worship tomorrow - as the second installment of a Lenten collage taken from a most helpful resource that Liz has been a part of. :)

    I have a sermon title 'A Tale of Two Journeys' and in my mind I hear a parallel narrative of Abe and S, with Nic. And then expanding the two journeys to three - to include us... how do we journey, who accompanies us on the journey, who do we stop from walking with us on the journey? Yah, so, just writing the darned thing would be good to get cracking on.

    At least the evening service is pretty much sorted.

    I've left a pile of danish on the table, with a pot of decaff earl grey - now to journey to get that tent! :)

  8. Either way, Terri, they sound wonderful!
    I'm trying to get out the door early today for a Lenten Workshop at church that created a minor controversy. A local artist who recently started attending is leading us in a program about designing and constructing totems to tell the story of our own wilderness encounters with angels/guides and demons. I think it's a great Lenten activity (power tools included), but a letter came in accusing us of worshiping idols. Thankfully, the Church Council, which saw the letter, supported the workshop, not the letter-writer.
    So that's my morning, and I'll check back later.

  9. hi. going to the breakfast Bible study in a bit where I will have oatmeal.

    I'm not preaching tomorrow (i don't think anyway) but we had a lively conversation about what it means to be 'born again' at our Bible study on Wednesday.

    The sr. pastor did a monologue where he was Nicodemus on Wednesday so I'm very curious about which text he's going to use tomorrow and how he's going to handle it.

    I could use some coffee...

  10. Good morning, Saturday sermonizers! I am bleary-eyed and coffee-craving. Thanks, Terri, for the cuppa and the space to get myself together. Woops. Just got another desperate hospital call. Taking my coffee to go. See you later!

  11. Hi Pals,

    I am at yet another Saturday Conference. I'll be back this afternoon.

  12. Good Morning Vicar, I hope you will say more about the "courage of Nicodemus" as I suspect this is an under-rated perspective....

    And Pearl, it must afternoon or later for you - that is a lot of rain! I hope you all will be ok. Will be round soon to read your sermon.

    liz, I'm right there with you, so much despair in the world, all over. prayers, prayers, prayers....

    kathrynjz, french crepes coming up shortly...although my kids call them, "Busha pancakes" because their grandmother made them - and, I think that story of Songbirds could be perfect for the day.

    Nik, looking forward to hearing more about your Abe and Sarah and Nic parallel...

    Songbird, I love the idea for your workshop and think it's great that the council supports the idea, and not the letter-writer...yeesh!

    Diane, coffee coming right up!

    I'll be around all day...even though I have news to share, but can't share it....and must find ways to sit peacefully until I can share. :-)

  13. Welcome Sharon, hope all is ok?

    And God_gurrll...welcome. Shouldn't Saturday conferences be banned for preachers and pastors?

  14. David Wilcox's 'Fearless Love' just 'happened' to come across my iPod shuffle. Well played God, well played.

    Yes Vicar, please say more about the courage of Nicodemus.

  15. la tente est arrivé!! Complete with 100 very colourful plastic balls... :D wonder if they are symbolic of all teh balls we juggle in our lives, which can slow down/ distract our journeying to God...?

    Lunch - barbecue chicken and freshly baked, still warm yourselves.

  16. I have sort of an insane day, so I will either be here in the early afternoon or late at night...not sure which yet. I'm working on Genesis and Abram going...the theme words for this week are "Familiar - Unknown" and my awesome sermon title is B.G. (Before Google). I'm opening with the whole idea of googling someone or something before you meet them/go there as a way to mitigate our fear of the unknown, and then googling the map so we know we won't get lost...Abram had none of these things. He couldn't google this "God" character, he couldn't google a map, he couldn't look up restaurant reviews along the way, but he headed into the unknown anyway. What might that teach us about our journey of faith?
    I also watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade yesterday--the movie that helped us clarify how our theme might work--and am contemplating the idea that when we stand at the edge of the chasm, we have to just step out in faith and we discover there's actually a bridge there that we couldn't see. Or there's one of my favorite quotes "Faith is believing that one of two things will happen -- that there will be something for you to stand on or that you will be taught to fly."
    I have no idea yet how that's all tying together, or what the other 1150 words might say. LOL.

    I've left some fresh berries in the yourselves. I'm off to greet at our hole in the indoor mini-golf course at the library (yes, you can play mini-golf inside our library one day every winter! great fundraiser...trying to figure out how to steal it for church...). Hopefully I'll be back after that to write...I have to help lead the Interfaith prayer service for Japan later this afternoon, and then go to a middle school musical (Beauty and the Beast) tonight...good times for a Saturday.

  17. Haven't been able to attend recently--ok like for the last six months or a year...and I have missed this gathering!

    I am in that place with others of you--so much sadness and grief in the world, and in my personal life right now--my sister passed away two weeks ago.

    How do I preach about new beginnings, new life, rebirth, in these circumstances? I don't want to push the situation in Japan into a place where we haven't arrived yet--i.e., "the Japanese people will be reborn from this disaster,"--because it is just too early for that.

    And yet that is where the texts are pulling me.

    I'm trying for the angle of faith that some of the others of you are using as well--the faith that led Abram to start out, the faith that brought Nicodemus to meet with Jesus in the first place, etc.

    Pancakes sound great--thick and fluffy for me, thanks!

  18. Nik, curious to learn more about the tent....

    Teri, welcome! I think you have a good idea going for your sermon, hope the rest of the words come easy...especially after a busy day.

  19. Rainbow Pastor, peace be upon you as you mourn the loss of your sister. My hunch is that you will pull the thoughts and the Scripture together beautifully and it will be all the more profound because you did so from such an honest place.

  20. I'm working with Genesis, but extended a few verses to get the journey in. We're having Camp Sunday so I want to work with Abram's experience of going to a new place, meeting new people and being blessed (and a blessing) when he did so.

    All that said, in the shower this morning I had an idea about a new angle on the text that I really like. It doesn't fit as well with the rest of the service and the camp stuff.

    What if instead of trying to be Abram's/Abraham's we find our way into the text as the people of Canaan to whom a stranger, foreigner, immigrant came and by whom they were blessed? I hear a word from God about being open to newcomers, foreigners, those who are different from us which could be good for my congregation as we have had some new attenders and members of a different socio-economic culture than our current membership. New folks are coming in with new ideas instead of the way we've always done it. The old-timers, for the most part are doing a pretty good job going with the flow, but some are starting to have their feathers ruffled.

    Anyway, if I can fit this new angle in, I will. If not, I might have to hold onto it for another time.

  21. Hi,
    Urgh, much, much, much earlier than I like to be up, and yet, look how many of you there are!

    Getting ready to go on vacation, and I have a guest tomorrow to talk about his anti-human-trafficking work. Which seemed very powerful and relevant before japan, and now seems like "what was I THINKING?" I'm going to set him up with a 2-3 minute thing that somehow ties the scripture to my guests work.... But also must attend a meeting I'm not at ALL looking forward to that is sposed to go 9-5 today.

    have a great day everyone.

  22. Oh, Rainbow, prayers for you as you ponder the word and the reality of so much life does not come quickly or easily, there is muck to slop through then what is most important is the ability to take the steps of movement, even if all one can do is think about moving while taking deep breaths...

    SheRev - sounds like a reflection on hospitality - who offers it and who recieves it...

  23. Hi Juniper - welcome - how fabulous that you have that speaker...there is much we do not know about that tragedy right here in our own backyards...I wrote about some of this on my blog while I attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women - may not be helpful to you, but feel free to peruse and use if any of it is...scroll back to posts from Feb. 20-28

  24. Nik just reminded me of a children's message I did while in seminary. My supervising pastor's son was one of the kids, and I told about Abram and Sarai and how they lived in a tent and God gave them a child, and the PK piped up, "I know! My parents went camping and now my mom's having another baby."

  25. well the word verification is "grades," believe it or not.

    Preaching tomorrow...I am going to do a 'speriment' with the Gospel reading -- yes, it's T-Figgety again -- I am going to proclaim it one sentence at a time and make the congregation, oops, gently encourage the congregation, to roar it back to me.
    And then I am going to talk about the transfigurative experience of meeting people in two different modes -- doggone it, I WILL talk about the BE -- and then I will do a brute-force link to the alternative gospel...there is something in witnessing transfiguration that transfigures the witness, and it's a lot like being born again from a new get-go, thanks be to God, who loved the world so much...
    COFFEE NOW, I think!!!

  26. so my sermon sounds like this:

    Nicodemus... blah, blah, blah, Jesus... no, not quite, blah, blah, blah, oh Nicodemus!... blahhidittty... vision... blah... will you catch the vision Jesus is giving?... blah blah blah

    seriously wandering.

    Oh Rainbow... prayers to you!

  27. Crimson -- I like your idea.

    Rainbow -- praying for you.

    I'm a church for awhile, then going to take some afternoon time off since I'm not preaching.

    trying to figure out how to do a Mary Magdalene Monologue on Wednesday. so, she's not a prostitute. but, what's her story? Jesus healed her, she has some means (she's one of the women who supports his ministry). What do you think?

    now, back to Nicodemus, Abram and such.

    just curious, if you aren't too bogged down in your sermons and you have an idea.

  28. I'm not preaching this Sunday. I have some dry cereal and some coffee to share. But I do have the patio door open and a wonderful spring breeze is blowing in.

    Vicar, I hope you caught some zzzzzzzs

    Rainbo, prayers for grief. It is hard to do your own grieving when there has been a disaster.

    Am blog-ready but still to fuzzzy brained. More decaf!

  29. Good Morning Pastor Cindy, gotta love the spontaneity of children...good story!

    Crimsom - go for it!

    HotCup, might it be that your sermon only sounds that way in your head...? Here, a strong cup of brew while that text percolates...

    Diane,I hope others can help you with Mary Magdalene, love that you are doing that on Wed. night.

    Welcome Muthah+ - nice to have the doors open!

  30. Terri - yes crepes please
    Teri- my favorite movie scene of all time is that scene where he steps out into chasm and THEN the bridge shows up.
    Possibly b/c its how I felt when I made the decision to attend seminary w/o a clear future in mind.

    Best to all the preachers. I'm preparing an "interactive" worship with centers. We haven't done it in almost 2 years so it seemed time to me. It is as much work as a sermon but different kind of work so it feels like a nice break.
    We are engaging the Psalm with a Keynote presentation (I have a Mac) and lighting prayer candles, and having 2 discussion groups, then tables with binoculars to look out at world, magnifying glasses to look down, and microscopes to see the tiny, some playdough to allow divine creativity to flow through us and offering opportunities for us & the world (including Brethren Disaster Relief which has VERY minimal overhead).
    My intro is written, my signs typed. Now to do the prayer 'Keynote or PPT' and go set up the centers tonight as much as possible.
    (Another congregation uses the building tonight.) Husband wants me to do some things with him, and I haven't blogged so perhaps I'll get it all together....more coffee? (and I haven't watched last night's Fringe episode yet!)

  31. I'm so sorry Rainbow Pastor. Prayers for you and all of your family and friends.

    My sermon is presently lots of blah, blah, blah. Ugh. I've SO lost my mojo. I've been seriously tempted to set fire to my sermon notes after each week for the past couple of months.

    Last week wasn't *too* bad, but otherwise, bleah.

    I'm trying to keep Nicodemus and Jesus short on the chit chat this week, as I literally have to preach, pray, sing, say the benediction and run for the airport. No time for coffee hour or hand-shaking. This coming week, I'm getting my head filled up with cortisone (occipital nerve block) again in an effort to help Teh Headache.

    Maybe my sermon mojo will come back when my head's a bit clearer.

    We live in hope.....

  32. Rainbow Pastor, prayers for you in your grief, that you find a way to step through or into a place for preaching where the Spirit can touch you...and will surely then speak to your congregation as well.

    Teri, I love that quote about faith.

    Great ideas here today! I have donuts fresh from the shop for anyone who needs a sweet treat.

  33. It seems I have not one but 2.5 sermons to prep this Saturday.

    One is the main sermon for the morning, using John (mainly the first half of the reading, avioding talk of bronze serpents and the most famous verse in the world) Born of SPirit, Born Again. I am thinking of starting it by saying: you are walking down the street when someone comes up and asks you "have you been born again?" HOw do you respond....? (hopefully they will they tell me)

    THen I am also preaching at a friends Covenanting Service tomorrow afternoon. THinking some reflection on ministry happening togehter and on the nature of Jesus-modeled leadership for that one.

    THe half is a reflection on Japan for the morning service. This is in lieu of our regular Mission Minute. Some part of it will be basic "how can we respond" stuff but I also need to address the theological queries like "where is God?"....

    But for now I think i need to find some breakfast.......

    {word verf is "splityl" seems to match my split focus)

  34. {{{{{{Rainbow}}}}}


  35. well yes there is a lot of "blah blah blah" going on in my head...

    i'm tacking on an "amen" and going with it... baileybean is into "rearranging" every. thing. an 85 lb. stumbly, bumbly pup... *sigh* who's got time to worry about a sermon with that racket going on??... climbing bookcase shelves; stealing items of the table; bumping the furniture... oy!

  36. I'm back. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. It was a death by the time I got there. Not unexpected; still it was a sad scene.

    Hugs and prayers, Rainbow Pastor. May God show you good news that you will share authentically.

    I'm getting some food and drinking OJ out of a Margaritaville glass that says it's from the Cayman Islands. I must've had some fun recently! Drinking in the memory of it.

    Going over to 750 words to brainstorm sermon things and keep my writing streak alive.

    Write on, sistahs!

  37. Even though it is sunny here there is a chill in the air, so I made a mocha latte with real cocoa - who'd like one?

    Revnancy, welcome! Your reflection time idea sounds wonderfu!

    Welcome to you Gord - my you have a lot going on....all good ideas for approaching the various directions.

    Welcome Sue and Betsy - Sue, I think your foggy headedness is in good company this morning, although not all of us have the same pain-source...

  38. I'm a week ahead on Old Testament lectionary - Israelites in the Wilderness. I've heard so much fear mongering this week, it sounds so much like what I'm reading in Exodus 17 right down to blaming the leader for stuff he has no control over. I'm trying to preach without being preachy. Is God among us or not? Really, do we believe that God is among us or not?

    Sinuses are crummy this morning. Worst in a while. Sermon written in the wee hours this morning, but not typed. Probably because I'm just not sure yet.

    Making some Chai Tea and toasting frozen waffles cuz that's what sounds easy. I can share.

  39. Prayers for Rainbow Pastor as you offer your most authentic self this week because that is all you can do.

  40. I'll be back later as this is not done and The Boy will be home soon. A playmate is joining him within the hour so sermon writing on paper will not be happening.

    I'm always open to what might bubble up though!

  41. Welcome Mid-life, hope you feel better!

    Kathrynjz, playdates! I always enjoyed them when the mom stayed and I got a playdate too!

  42. Saturday greetings, RevGals. It's a gorgeous afternoon in Florida--come on by, and we can have tea outside...

    I'm intrigued by Nicodemus, and by how intrigued he is by Jesus. I love the wonderful detail that John includes about Nicodemus in chapter 19, as he writes about how Joseph of Arimathea tends the body of Jesus. John makes a point of telling us, "Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds." And then Nicodemus and Joseph together wrap Jesus' body with the spices and linen cloth and place his body in a tomb.

    We don't know a whole lot about Nicodemus, but this strikes me as a wondrous glimpse into the effect that his nighttime conversation with Jesus had on him.

    Noodlings on Nicodemus & accompanying art at The Painted Prayerbook this week.

    Many blessings to everyone in these Lenten days. Rainbow Pastor, sending prayers for you and your family...

    Thanks for your hospitality, Terri. Thick and fluffy for me, please!

  43. Good morning Jan, welcome to the party. Someone I know loves to comment on this same connection, for her it is about the extremes of Nicodemus in his emerging faith - first he just can not understand, and then when he has a glimpse of understanding he goes way overboard with all those spices! - typical, right, of how we humans grow in faith?

  44. so, I guess I missed breakfast...and thinking a lot about lunch. Love and prayers to all in grief...and struggling with health....

    I was inspired by a podcast on GodComplex Radio called, "not your momma's church"....interviewing three women pastors doing GREAT things...
    and I thought about how my congo is being called to new vision, and uncharted territory (ala Abe and Sarah)...and....

    yep. That's all I got. For now.

    But great ideas fomenting out there---I am filing some away for later use....

    I'll be back later with snacks--looks like my honey just came home with some new flavor of pretzels, and laughing cow cheese.....

    and stuff for healthy fruit smoothies----

  45. Hey Karla - welcome! and prayers for you, too. I'd love a fruit smoothie, if you're offering...and now I wish I had me some dark chocolate covered pretzels from TJ's...

    hope the rest of you are coming along with your work today...

  46. Good afternoon preachers.

    I got up early-ish this morning and revised my sermon from 3years ago. Different congregation so no one will be the wiser. It's about how Abram and Nicodemus provide different models for us on our journey of faith. Abram just went no questions asked. Nicodemus hung out on the edges reluctant skeptical and questioning. Don't we all have times like both of these?

    Rainbow Pastor so sorry about your loss. Prayers for you as you grieve.

  47. Welcome RevDrMom, I like it when we can revised old sermons!

  48. This is me talking out loud to put some depth to the courage comment.

    Courage because he finally *went* to Jesus. Nic quit hiding and watching. At some point his courage was great enough that his story is told with his name attached. Who told? I'm guessing Nic. If there were no risks to going to Jesus, why go at night? So finally the courage outweighed the risks. How often do we pull back from something because the risks are too great? Sometimes we don't post a thought on FB because the "fall out" will be too much. We hedge our bets so the cost won't be too high. On that night, for Nic, the courage was greater than the potential cost.

  49. okay, so minigolf at the library was so much fun I stayed an extra hour. I kind of wish I'd just taken my laptop there so I could watch AND write a sermon at the same time (hahahahahahha). Instead I'm home, I had some leftovers for lunch, and now I have 2 hours before I have to be at the next thing.
    I can totally write a sermon in two hours, right? right???????

  50. Sure you can Teri...sure you can...

    Vicar, makes sense to me - looking for the depth in the courage of Nic at night...most of us would choose the road of less risk...

  51. Yup, I think the courage comment is helpful. I've been thinking about faith and comparing Abe and Nic: Abe kinda gets the good press, pretty much 'yippeee! Let's go', whereas Nic is given the 'skulking about at night' treatment. And yet, to go to Jesus, even tho' it was under the cover of darkness, was still demonstrating some kind of hope, of faith. He was a teacher/ leader of the Jews - by going to visit this funky young rabbi Nic may have lost some of his status? But he went.
    So on this, I'm very much along the lines of Rev Dr Mom...

    500 words. Ugh. This is soooo late for me. I'm a Friday sermon writing kinda gal.
    *keep breathing, find chocolate*

  52. Good afternoon. I'm not preaching tomorrow, but almost wish I was after reading the good thoughts on Nicodemus. Almost.

    I am deeply troubled by the escalating violence in Libya and wondered if anyone can point me to a prayer for Libya that I might use tomorrow. Thanks.

  53. OK. I've just had dinner - coconut chicken soup and crusty home made bread. Plenty to share.
    Been writing on and off all day but kinda lost. Trying to share my BE and revgals journey and draw parallels and maybe even point a way forward in faith. Not coming together though.
    Sending love and prayers to Rainbow Pastor and Sue.
    Getting back to work to see if I can pull this together.

  54. I'm here. I have a sermon draft that I wrote last night, which kind of sucks. And I'm mildly freaking out, because this sermon is going to be a call sermon (well, I suppose technically the call will be determined after the sermon).

    That's all for now. Trying to focus and fix this sermon in the next hour or so.

  55. Nik, I have dark chocolate and caramel, if you like....

    Here's a prayer for Libya

    and another source for prayers during war

    And, hey! SemFem - welcome! Even if you've arrived while the sun is still shining....LOL

  56. wait, semfem, I missed the part about the potential "call" - that requires extra prayers and not a crack (albeit lovingly intended) about your propensity to late night sermonizing...

  57. Thanks Terri--I would be even more freaked out if I were writing this sermon the usual way, late Saturday night! As it is though, I've just written a completely new sermon, which I like better, but I do wish it had more storytelling elements, since that's something I usually do try to incorporate into my sermons. So I'm still not completely happy with it. Poo!

    On a side note, why are people in hotels always so LOUD? Sheesh.

  58. [And yes, I am an old crabby man in disguise today.]

  59. A beautiful afternoon in New Mexico lured me outside. A lot of thinking but still no writing.

    I've been focused on the crescendo of horrors in Japan and the escalating violence in the Middle East. Two hymns keep playing in my mind--"Let all mortal flesh keep silence" and "How firm a foundation". They're crowding out the scripture. Hope I can find my way back to Genesis and Psalm 121.

    Any ideas???

  60. Hi I'm back!

    Learned alot but I have to start sermonating. I'm going to preach on the OT and the psalm in light of the earthquake in Japan. So much spiritual questioning in the midst of natural disaster.

    I think I'll play a couple of video games to get my brain going.

  61. semfem, now I want to know where you are. I agree, people in hotels are always really loud. I hope things go well tomorrow! I know you'll be able to "sell" your sermon no matter the style--just be you! :-)

    I confess to not writing a single word during the two hours I had free. I listened to all the music for tomorrow. I made the document. I took a mini-nap. I wrote the prayer for the interfaith prayer service this afternoon (starts in less than one hour now), remembered I don't have a printer, learned how to transfer the document to my kindle, wished I had an iPad, posted about the Interfaith Prayer service on facebook, and stared at the blank sermon screen a little while longer. That's about it. I need to leave the house in about 20 minutes, so I suppose getting dressed (again) is in order soon. Looks like I'll be back in the late night crowd. (sigh)

  62. I consider it proof that the Spirit blows where she will that I have a freshly written and completed sermon.

    How *did* that happen???

    I'm going to take a break and then work on writing for dissertation if my shoulders will let me.

  63. Vicar and semfem are both done? It could be a lonely night for me.

  64. SheRev, I suspect I'll be here. But for now I have to go to a prayer service for Japan....please also pray that I have written a prayer that is what was expected of me!

  65. SemFem - people in hotels are loud, and trains, and Starbucks...sigh, but like Teri said, I'm sure it will be awesome...or at least awesome enuff.

    Teri - you have done a lot! Maybe your sermon tomorrow shoud be on what you did today!

    Vicar, oh, geeze - from sermon to dissertation...yikes.

    SheRev - I'm fairly certain you will have always seems to be the way.

  66. ummm, I am back. SOO JEALOUS of those who are finished writing. SemFem--prayers for you!

    so, I took a two hour nap, and now am back staring at a fairly blank screen....

    but, hey, fruit smoothies for all! I have almond milk, blueberries, bananas, pineapple, even cantaloupe...and yogurt to make them stick. Also, if you need more protein, I can throw in some peanut butter.....

    Vicar, I loved what you wrote about Nic!

  67. Mostly done or as done as it will be, I think. As I let the text simmer during the week, the images of Spirit and wind kept coming back to me and so the title is "Windy Days". Maybe I'll post it after letting it settle a bit more.

    Maybe a bit of NCAA basketball, now!

  68. Welcome, Purple...I've had the NCAA on all day, but not really watching far no team playing that I am rooting for...but it is on 24/7 it seems!

  69. Typed two thirds of sermon. Got stuck. Stopped for lunch. Got way sidetracked in how the heck we are gonna pay for college conversation. Lost not only momentum, but will to continue. Coming to the realization that I'm feeling crummy all around, not just my sinuses. Word verification is biled. Kinda how I'm feeling. Am simply putting sermon aside right now. Going to find some meds, get more liquid in me, and pray for some spark.

  70. mid-life, hope you are able to feel better and find some spark!

  71. semfem -- praying that sermon is awesome.

    just went out for the afternoon. how back for dinner and deciding if we want to do anything in the evening.

    we usually don't.

    but, we might.

  72. I'm back and quick checked the time when I saw Vicar and Semfem were done - sweet! I have a new way to approach this thing and I'm hoping that does not mean a late night, but whatever. It is what it is and it was worth the spiritual renewal day I allowed myself last night.

    Off to my cone of silence (borrowed that one), be back in a bit.

  73. Mid-life, I hope the sinuses and the rest of you get some relief and feel better.

    SemFem, prayers for lips to speak and ears to hear tomorrow that allow for true discernment of your gifts.

    Terri, holding you in prayer, too, until you can share your news!

    If you all will come back in 70-80 days, I should have some nice tomatoes to offer (Sungold cherries, Momotaro, Cherokee Purple), as we ended up going out to pick up a few plants. Always takes longer than anticipated due to the need to consider every variety there, even though 2 out of 3 ended up being old favorites!

    SheRev, sorry I won't be around to keep you company tonight; maybe it will be an earlier night without some of us night owls here?

    I am off to our nearby seminary to do a 3 workshop series this evening and tomorrow about children and spirituality, worship, and preaching. I either have not nearly enough material or way too much--I never can tell--and despite the fact I know I am well-prepared, I worry that people will ask questions about which I have no clue. Worst case scenario, I respond, "Hmm, interesting question. Let me get back to you on that," ...right?

  74. Oh yeah! I forgot that I saw you were going to be here, Teri. Yea for company!

  75. *glances at Teri appreciatively and pounces on the chocolate!* :)

    Halle...oops, can't say that, darnit.
    Well, I'm done.
    It's suckier than a sucky thing made in the university of suckyness... soooo waffly and general.
    But. it's. done.
    With much borrowing.
    One more prayer to write.
    Then to print everything of for both services and file them in my little black book.

    I have visions of 100 very colourful plastic balls going everywhere tomorrow for the all-age bit... in a slight adaption from Liz's resource, which is to do an ongoing lenten collage, this week we will be putting up a tent on the next bit of the pathway. We'll then noisily tell the story using sounds as substitute words, and then move into a quieter part where everyone will take the plastic ball [a 'journey ball' if you will!] and there shall be a silent space to think about letting go / taking on re. our journey with God... finish this bit with v. brief prayer, and as we sing 'One more step along the world I go' the kids will gather all the journey balls and place them inside the tent - a visual reminder that we don't journey alone, but together. I've made the sermon slightly shorted to accommodate the slightly extended all-age time!

  76. oh blast!!!!!!!!

    Children's TIme!

    I got nothing

  77. Nik, I love it. We're adapting too for the all age bit - last week as a response to Japan, we wrote our names with glue sticks, dipped them in sand and laid them on the chancel - a reminder that God knows our name. This week, we're all going to make doves from paper doilies(obtained in large quantity from the £shop!) and take those home as reminders to pray for the peace of our world. Not quite worked out how to tie that in with Abe yet but feel world events need more acknowledgement right now. Can't believe we've started firing missiles.

  78. Attempting to weave 3 illustrations into 1 sermon: Nicodemus, David Wilcox (Fearless Love) and ..... I'm not sure.

    The 'refrain' of the sermon is:
    When light floods in, the boundaries and borders disapper; shadows are cast out – the line is lifted from the sand.


  79. SSoooo glad i'm not the only one having a spot of trouble putting all of this together. I'm going the same way as RDM, but I keep getting sidetracked by Libya and Japan - the parish never changes the Prayers of the People so I feel the need to say something...
    whing - word verification - I feel like whining indeed

  80. I've thrown out three sermons and at least that many half-baked ideas. Thanks for the the live-saving chocolate. I'm making some decaf to go with. I'm totally "uncisked" (my verification word) so thanks for the company, friends!

  81. Thanks for the links, Terri. I wasn't able to find a specific prayer related to Libya, so I wrote one myself. Click on over to my blog if you'd like to read it.

    Blessings to all who are continuing to write sermons into the night.

  82. I took a nap instead of starting on the dissertation immediately. Red beans & rice is cooking and there's plenty to share in about 20 minutes. Now to start typing before folding laundry becomes a temptation.

  83. Teh sermon is finished. I tried to explore why bad things happen even though scripture tells us that God keeps us. I compare God's love to creation to a parents love of their children. The risk of letting go and giving freedom is that creation/children can go their own way.

    Please stop by and tell me what you think. Teh sermon is here

  84. Hey, y'all. My college boy is home for break, and we're having an evening of pizza and "The Wire." I've posted my sermon, which is admittedly 95% sustainable, but I liked it the last time! It's on the Transfiguration text, so it may not be up the right alley for most of you. I'll be touching on Japan in the prayers and, gently, in the Children's Time, as we're taking both a special offering and One Great Hour of Sharing tomorrow.
    Rainbow Pastor, the hardest Sunday I ever preached came when we'd had a family loss and a parishioner's nephew then died in that plane crash near Syracuse. Our shared grief made the day deep and rather precious for everyone. You have my prayers in your loss.

  85. God in your mercy, be with the people of Libya.

    I heard that the war/police action/whatever after my sermon was finished. Too tired/disheartened to weave into my sermon. I will remember them in my pastoral prayer.

  86. GG, I think your sermon is great as is even without Libya. I found myself thinking at the end "God is not a helicopter parent."

    I'm back after tonight's meet and greet, partially to polish my chosen manuscript, but also because I totally forgot I have to do the children's message tomorrow morning! ARGH. Anybody got any great ideas?

    In trying not to be a total mooch, let me just say that I am weaving the stories of Abram and Nicodemus together and focusing on how both of them--as well as us--were reborn to new possibilities when it seemed least likely.

    Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers btw!

  87. I need a bridge... and the cookie dough ice cream in the freezer to stop calling my name.

  88. And a very woolly 'have I actually learned anything during training' style of sermon

    Am very much counting on the thought that the Holy Spirit has all our backs. Night all!

  89. semfem, the meet and greets are exhausting! I hope all is going well and you have a good feeling about this...

    sadly I have no ice cream, but I do have cookies and tea....

  90. Sermon done - not my best but better that some others I've done. I tried to post to Blogger and for the second time, it will not let me paste it in - weird.

  91. elasti-girl, are you pasting it in "edit html" mode or "compose"? Because I have better luck in the "edit html" .....

  92. I tried it both ways to no avail. I've never had trouble with it before last month, so I'm sure it's operator error...

  93. Ice cream still calling so I'm going downstairs to put it out of its misery. Maybe in exchange it will give me an ending for this sermon. :)

  94. When do I care about basketball? Only in March and only when it's more entertaining than writing a sermon. I actually kind of like the plan I had for this one, story telling style, casual fake campsite set-up at the front of the chancel. However, now that it's time to write (and I can't really go in the new direction I thought of this morning) I'm not all that interested in it.

    I think it's time to do Juniper's writing trick - write for 20 minutes or so, break for 5, write for 20, break for 5. I don't remember her exact breakdown, but my 5 are NEVER just 5, so that's a good start for me.

  95. so many great ideas out there this week, sometimes I think I should move the lectionary one week, so I can use some of your ideas. the courage of Nicodemus, totems, before google, Indiana Jones [I had forgotten that image, it is one my pre-college mentor talked about with me]
    I tried to send this before worship this morning, but my computer decided it needed a rest.


    the veri word is predness, is that not quite preparedness?
    that's how I felt today, ditched about half of the sermon I had written and ad-libbed - as usual the Holy Spirit had it under control.

    going away for the night, which means there is not much in the house other then home-grown tomatoes, you're welcome to some, but watch for critters in them. :)

  96. weird, sorry Elasti-girl....

  97. Calling it a night and trusting in the wind blowing where it chooses.

    So many prayers being lifted for the requests named here today, those still writing, and for the world groaning for peace.

  98. Terri - reading it as a sign that I need to get the new blog going...
    kzj - i'm liberating the almond snickers that was calling to me - cheers!

  99. Having saved the world from the remnants of cookie dough ice cream AND climbed the summit of 100 comments, I'm going to trust that this ending will come to me tomorrow. I can tell I'm trying to force it.

    Anyway, blessings to all of you as you write. SemFem - good LUCK! Can't wait to hear the when and where.

    May the presence of the Holy Spirit be known to each and every one of you and remember, if you've got a dog - walk it proud.

  100. Have you seen the moon? It's spectacular. I'm taken aback by the thought that the moon I see in New Mexico is the same moon folks are seeing over the wreckage in Japan and the carnage in the Middle East.
    The moon I'm seeing is accompanied by the sound of geese heading home to Canada.

    Sermon is done. Not to be preached until 5:00 tomorrow afternoon. Time for a Sambucca before bed.

    Sweet dreams!

  101. I've had to restart the computer as well as close and open documents multiple times to get sync with dropbox. Ice cream sounds like a great idea!

  102. Hey everyone, here's trusting that your words will be words to feed the hungry in the pews before you and that you will be sustained by the Holy Spirit, for she has your back. Special blessings for SemFem - I just went through that process myself - and am grateful to be on the other side with a new call! I can say more about that tomorrow after it's been announced to the parish...but suffice it to say, you have my prayers....

    all of you, in my prayers tomorrow (or today, as the case may be)...

    now, I need to call it a night....last one up, get the lights?

  103. okay, I'm home from the play and ready to finish the sermon.
    or something.
    I wish that I was out playing with friends who came down to see the shows this weekend, but alas...must. write. something.

  104. Wow. We are at 100 before midnight. That is awesome.
    Prayers for all who struggle, hugs for those who need it and congrats to those who are done.
    I have goldfish crackers and sprite to offer.
    Not preaching tomorrow, but i have my hands full just the same with the usual teaching and confirmation class.
    Oh, and youth group to top the evening off! :)

  105. This comment has been removed by the author.

  106. 602 words of a great story (I wish we had "The Moth" open mic nights near me), but nothing close to a sermon. Opening a new blank document and starting over.

  107. I'm still here too--trying to polish and trim down this manuscript, and trying to come up with a doable and non-hokey children's sermon. Which is fine because I'm so edgy about tomorrow, I don't think I could sleep if I wanted to.

    word verf "reverin" in, we must all be reverin'!

  108. now I'm wondering if I might be able to just use the Indiana Jones clip...the question is really: is there powerpoint tomorrow, or not? If not, there won't be anyone to play the clip. If so, they might freak out when I ask them to do something different. But we can dream, right?

    If I can use the clip, I'm done. If I can't use the clip, I need about 2 more minutes...and just explaining the clip isn't going to do that. dang.

  109. Teri- why limit yourself to just setting up that scene? Talk about enough of the movie to take up the time

  110. Teri: Or maybe just have it be on the short side tomorrow? If it's powerful and gets the message across, will that be enough?

  111. I'm tired of fighting this computer to do simple stuff. So, I'm turning it off and then heading to bed.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  112. Okay, drugs helped. I'm feeling better. Finally ditched a bunch of stuff from my sermon and came up with an authentic ending that isn't too preachy (I hope). Drugs have really kicked in so I must be off to bed. Leaving the Ghirardelli mint/dark chocolate squares I've been hiding from the boys for those of you still up.

  113. LOL Vicar...I wasn't actually planning to set it up at all. I think the movie is familiar enough that i could just play the scene at exactly the right moment in the sermon. If I don't use the clip, I can just say "like Indiana Jones taking a leap of faith and discovering a bridge across the chasm" and 99% of the people will know what I'm talking about.

    So if I don't have the clip, I still need some time, cuz I can sum it up in one sentence. sigh. So I need 200 words that I could take out if I arrived tomorrow and discovered that the clip was a go. The trouble is, I hate writing stuff like that because it's obviously expendable, and my philosophy about expendable words is "don't write them in the first place."

    Maybe I could just preach a 2-minutes-2-short sermon and have that be okay instead.

  114. semfem--the problem is definitely in the word "powerful." Let's just say...this sermon isn't. (at least, not so far...)

  115. Teri, in my experience, no one ever complains about two minutes too short. I've been trying for some of those lately because announcements and sharing joys and concerns has been taking quite a while (the latter a positive thing, the former, not so much). I haven't been successful yet, but maybe tonight!

    No words yet in the second sermon. The outline is escaping me. Giving myself 25 minutes to get that together then heading to bed. I'll fill in the outline at 0-dark early. I'm pretty bummed that the sky was too overcast for me to see this super moon everyone has been talking about on FB.

  116. Okay, I just assigned theme songs to Abram and Nicodemus. Genius or crazy???

    Oh, Abram's is "I Will Follow Him" and Nicodemus' is "Secret Agent Man."

  117. Okay, I'm going to take my sermon on a zip drive and go see about printing it at the hotel business center. I think I have a children's sermon idea that will work (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease). And then it's to bed, hoping sleep will come. Thanks for all the support here. I really do appreciate it. We'll see how it goes! And prayers for those who are still writing.

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

  118. Prayers for YOU, semfem!

    I'm back to write, and I have a second half or at least an outline or a direction for a second half. Now I just need to a first half. We'll see what comes out and hope it gets me to the middle I figured out last night before falling asleep.

  119. Good morning She Rev. I'm printing then headed back to bed. Did a little more rework when I woke up at 3 a.m. with a dream of not having the right words. Blessings on all who preach and all who hear today. The Lord be with you.

  120. I'm back, too, for some early morning serious editing.
    sounds like a great party last night! whoo hoo! ice cream, cookies, music, snickers....
    darn. I missed out.
    However, if anyone is lingering this morning, I have fresh coffee......

  121. 1519 - - I'm almost there. I wish the cloud cover hadn't been so thick so I could have seen the moon last night. I looked out a few times last night, but didn't go all the way out to check. It was so dark when I did, though, that I know I couldn't have seen what everyone was talking about. I guess I could still check this morning, but it doesn't look much better an the rain is supposed to start soon. I'm guessing that means the clouds are still around.

    So, I must finish this sermon and then go put my clothes in the dryer. At least for Camp Sunday I've decided to "dress down." Jeans and turtleneck and some hiking shoes for me! It's all about setting the scene. We've got our chancel cleared of all the usual stuff. There's a fake campfire up there, a fabric river flowing from the baptismal font, sleeping bags for resting in God as we pray. The pulpit is gone, so I'm going to preach while walking in front of the people, maybe even sitting on one of the benches around the campfire. The kids will (pretend to) roast (real) marshmallows during the children's time. I think it's going to be fun!

  122. Good Morning! I hope SemFem's "audition" is going well. I hope the rest of you have a good day, too. Blessings, all!

  123. Thank you everyone for all the prayers and support! She Rev, great idea with Camp Sunday. I can really picture it.

    So...drum roll...they voted to call me! YAY! I don't accept right away though, so I am going on a brief retreat now to ponder and pray and reflect. But I'll have an answer for them soon :)

  124. Semfem, hooray for you and for them!!

  125. semfem, wonderful! Blessings to you and to them!!!


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