Visit our new site at

Saturday, April 02, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: What Do You See?

Column Optical IllusionGood morning, preacher friends!  I see that it is Saturday again, and I don't see how I will ever get my own sermon done before the sun rises on the Sunday that we call Lent 4. 

What do you see?

When he went looking for a king, Samuel was instructed by God not to look at appearance or stature, but to see the unlikely king that God had chosen.

When Jesus made a blind man see, the spectators couldn't see why the man had been blind in the first place, and they couldn't see what Jesus had done to make the blind man see.

From invisible to visible, the author of Ephesians enlightens us that, in the Lord, we are light.  (Ouch!)

I have seen Psalm 23 far too much lately at too many funerals.

What do you see?  Do tell!

Welcome all who are looking for inspiration, seeking encouragment, ready to share ideas or just want to hang out at the party.  Perhaps you have some extra breakfast goodies or a spare cuppa something comforting.  Bring whatever you have to share.  Your gifts are welcome here!


  1. I am using a shortened version of the gospel; it loses some of the back and forth interplay, but at two services with lots of young children, otherwise I'd lose the children. I'm starting by handing out copies of various optical illusions and talking about how what we see can change. From there it's a short hop to the gospel and how the vision of the people in this story changed--some for better, some for worse--and finally the hope that we, too, will learn to see beyond our first impression to look for God's presence and truth.

    I have lots of malted milk balls to share, and some TJ's chocolate chip cookies. I don't believe it's ever too early for those! May we all find the words flowing freely and our vision released as we work.

  2. An interesting week, my old computer was crashing on a regular basis - like 10 times a day - very hard to get anything done, so we invested in a new computer. Wednesday evening I was sick [something I ate?] and just slow in recovering. So I skipped a seminar today, and wrote the sermon this afternoon instead of tonight.
    I have rewritten the gospel to be read in parts, 9 characters. It is still long, but hopefully the different voices will help with the flow of the story. If you would like a copy I can send it to you.

    Sermon : who sinned?

    Only 9.00pm and I am about to print, and tonight is the end of daylight saving, so an extra hours sleep - YEAH!!! I would say the H word but it is Lent.
    There is jelly and fruit, and I am about to chamomile tea.

  3. Betsy ~ Thanks for the chocolate which is always welcome! I've been wondering about what to do with the children. Optical illusions are perfect!

    Pearl ~ Sweet dreams after your interesting week. Adding your goodies to the mix!

    I am yet sermon-less and I have a funeral to do today plus an extra graveside service left over from an earlier funeral. So I will be looking to get lots of sermonizing done toward the afternoon and evening.

    Meanwhile, I can share some Bob's MIll "Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal" (who can resist?) and freshly made coffee.

    Write on!

  4. Sharon, like you I am tied up until late in the day. I have a workshop to lead for my presbytery this morning, a funeral to plan with a family at 1, and a rehearsal at 2:30. Here's to a 4:00 or so sermon start...!

    Betsy, I love the optical illusions idea!

    Pearl, I would very much like to read that gospel... could you email it to me at magdalene 6127 at yahoo dot com?? Many thanks!

  5. Hi, Sharon!
    Everybody, this is Sharon's first time hosting, so please welcome here, and let's show her a good time!
    I've been banging my head against John 9:3 all the darn week, and this morning I looked at my last sermon on this text and saw that I got around the problem I have with verse 3 by focusing on John 9...
    wait for it...
    Talk about clever.
    Anyway, it's possible that my old sermon is the poultice of spit and dirt I needed for *my* blindness, but I'm not sure it's the right one for my congregation.
    I have book group(church) this morning and a baby shower (family) this afternoon, so I'll be in and out all day, and probably all night. Meanwhile, coffee, first and foremost, just as soon as I finish loading the dishwasher, which is, as usual, way overdue.

  6. Hi all,

    Taking my confirmands to an all conference youth retreat today so I'll be back this afternoon to commence upon sermonation.

    I love the gospel text. It is just beautiful how the man whom Jesus gave sight to moves from I don't know where/who this guy is who gave me sight to this guy is a prophet to this guy is from God to "Lord,I believe"

    See you all this afternoon.

    btw word verification is "conmi" as in you can't con me, I know the guy who cured me is from God.

  7. Good morning, Songbird! Thank you for the warm welcome! So far, mucho fun fiesta!

    I am always surprised to discover the ways I live out the sermon theme through the week. When I can *see* that, it is humbling and humorous and sometimes it helps the sermon. I still don't *see* why it's always a surprise that God might be teaching me the same good news I could share with others!

    I wrote my 750 words this a.m. about sermon-esque things and hoping that will jump start something brilliant later.

  8. Thanks Sharon for hosting the party! You set a lovely table.

  9. GG - that caught my eye as well. He went from that guy over there to prophet to Son of God - Awesome.

    I'm in a Lent overload funk this morning and have been thinking I may go the sustainable sermon route. I will at least try to tweak it and from there who knows what may happen.

    Sharon, thank you for your gracious party invitation. Good luck balancing all on YOUR plate this morning.

  10. Good morning - there is a little article here about a guy who sees hearts in things from twisty ties to melted ice-cream - might inspire something.

  11. Chilly Fingers ~ Thanks for the inspiration about seeing. "Boy Sees Hearts" in everything. What a cool thing!

    Kathryn ~ My New Testament prof used to say that if a sermon was good enough to preach once, it was good enough to preach again. "Sustainable sermons" are always a good option! Let us know how it goes.

    God Guurrll ~ Your avatar makes me smile every time, like it's the first time I'm seeing it all over again! I like the way you describe the eye-opening process of seeing more and more of Jesus. I'm thinking of the donkey in Shrek talking about "the layers" of life being like peeling an onion.

    Welcome to the party, all!

  12. On my way to a presbytery meeting where we will vote on 10A- ordination standards - 14 years of arguing about who God cannot use to carry the Gospel... Lord in your mercy...

    Please keep MN Valleys in your prayers. We are one of the "trending yes" and I am prepared and planning to speak to keep us there.

    our current standard refuses ordination to anyone who does not repent of a practice the confessions call sin ... 2nd Helvetic- women and midwifes may not baptize... I refuse to repent of that blessed practice ... think they will revoke my ordination?

    still need to finish sermon- communion prep and the details for our congregational meeting to elect elders and deacons for ordination... the vote will be included somewhere in there...

    I am so grateful for all of you


  13. Celeste, love you and praying for you.

  14. Good Morning, everyone. Thank you Sharon for hosting the party, and welcome! I will stop in now and then today because I am writing the prayers for tomorrow and will want to include any concerns that arise here...

  15. half is written... and now must travel this morning... this afternoon a wedding back here... and the beasts need a walk before the early afternoon wedding. i can surely finish the sermon after the wedding reception right?

    bwaa haa haaa

    french vanilla coffee and cherry sweet rolls all around!

  16. Welcome Celeste, Terri, and Hot Cup Lutheran, who lives up to her name by providing a delicious mid-morning snack!

    Terri ~ When I mentioned on yesterday's Friday Five that I could do without more funerals, several people also said they had been overwhelmed with Lenten season funerals. Your prayers will be most welcome!

    Celeste ~ hugs and prayers for you. I hope you will check in later and share some of your impressions of the day.

    Hot Cup ~ YUM!

  17. Thanks for hosting Sharon. I am useing the boardgame "Clue" as a way into the sermon "Who Did It?"
    Who sinned? As Songbird points out...verse 1-2 points out the answer.

    Will be using the game with for the children's time as well (for the one child we usually have).

    Hopefully it will all come together.

  18. We've already been to a Sonatina competition this morning where my phone would not let me post while I waited.

    In the brief moments I have before heading out the door for the next thing, I've been wondering about John 9:3 - was Jesus ever sarcastic? Was this a flippant/frustrated/eye-rolling answer to folks who had asked one too many questions that weren't "real" questions?

    I'll be back later.

  19. I just finished rereading Gail O'Day on this passage. She says it is all about sin and John's belief that sin is theological rather than eschatological - how stuffy that sounds! - about relationship with Jesus and not what we do bad to each other.

    The most interesting point in all of that was her explanation of how John sees Jesus' incarnation as the salvific event rather than his crucifixion/resurrection.

    It still remains to be seen how much this will influence tomorrow's sermon. I am taken by everyone's need to nail down exactly what happened so they can fully understand as opposed to the formerly blind man who does not feel that need at all, simply accepting his sight and coming to realize that it could have been given to him only by one from God.
    The harder we try to figure it all out, the further we drive ourselves from God? Maybe.

    Time for Wait! Wait! and I think I'll knit some too. Seaman's Scarves are the current project.

  20. Welcome, Sharon! I'm not preaching this weekend, but do have a baptism tomorrow. We're doing the long lesson as a "reader's theatre".

    Someone told me the other day, "Why do we have so many baptisms are church? can't all the babies get baptized on the same day?" :( there go my illusions that all the people like baptisms as much as I do!

    I think I preached once focusing on the fact that the blind man received his sight, but did not actually see Jesus until the end of the story.

  21. Good morning! I know it's a long time since I've been here but I decided this morning I needed to come back. I've had to leave the house & come to my office to write because I haven't had any wifi in the house for 3 weeks. AGH! Sharon, thanks for hosting.

    I'm going with Ephesians this week. Somehow the idea of light in the middle of what often seems like such a dark time really appealed to me this year. What I'm going to do with it, on the other hand, is still up in the air.

    Since I am at the office, I have no goodies to share. Even my coffee is from Burger King. :-(

  22. Greetings to all who are new to the party!

    Rev Maria ~ Help yourself to all the goodies you want. And get a fresh cuppa something when your BK coffee gets old or cold.

    Diane ~ Never considered the possibility that there could be too many baptisms!

    Margaret ~ Thinking ... Incarnation so we could see God in the world ... hmmm ...

    Vicar ~ "The Personality of Jesus" would be a great approach to the humanity of Jesus. Yes, I think that "cut off your hand" stuff was irony, at the very least.

    Purple ~ Another great idea for a children's time, a "whodunit"!

    Just a quick check in before my funeral. It may be awhile 'til I can check in again. I do still have a sermon to write, too!

    Talk amongst yourselves ...

  23. I think I'm going to do something about our inability to respond properly to EITHER calamity or miracle--we stand back in the place of analysis ("don't fix the problem, just fix the blame")-- or the hermeneutic of suspicion -- can't find either our compassion OR our celebration; ...and Jesus is doing improv theatre here again, I do believe...and of course it ends with one of the all-time "missional" kickers -- "Tell me, so that I may believe"...
    "Somebody this week is going to say to you, TELL ME, SO THAT I MAY BELIEVE" -- and what have you got to tell?
    we are inducting or inducing wardens'n'vestry so I need to try to be concise for once.

  24. and Sharon, it's great to see you hosting Saturday morning! Welcome!

  25. oh Diane -- I remember when we had a glorious service of multiple baptisms and confirmations at Most Holy and Undivided, the bishop officiating, and I was told that there were too many children baptized and "that took away from its specialness for the family"...

  26. I'm off lectionary, doing the 10 commandments. This week is 1 and 2 (I'm not doing them in order) using Isa 6 and Matt 5. Anybody have and good Isa 6 ideas for children??

    Sharon, I am not a fan of the "mighty tasty" stuff, so I'll pass.

    Earl Grey tea here to go around. and the kettle is on with many other teas available.

    off to a ladies' luncheon in a bit, then back to finish up "only God is God"

    Teri and Sharon, I had all the lead-up to a funeral this week -- all day at the hospital with the family, visiting them after the death, visitation tomorrow, but I won't be doing the funeral. A nephew of the deceased is doing that. I will still be around to be pastor to all of my congregation going to the funeral and visitation. It's weird, but family is family.

  27. Crimson -- if I were preaching, that's what I'd go with. TELL ME, so that I may believe.

    and your question.

    that would make quite a sermon.

  28. Good morning ladies! I have coffee to share. . .or some Snapple raspberry iced tea.

    I have a perfect sermon in my head and even in an outline. Now I just need the courage to get it down on paper. I'm preaching twice this Sunday, with pre-marriage counseling and hearing a profession of faith interview BUT

    Does anyone else have Spring Break coming up next week? I'm going to be in the office but there are no meetings or no anything on my calendar. I'm pulpit supply at another church next week, so reheating left-overs instead of writing new. The only thing standing between me and that glorious week is Sunday.

    Let's go girls! Let's do this thing!

  29. Sharon, thank you for hosting.
    Purple, love the Clue idea
    Crimson, another good idea.

    I've been reading my files on John 9 (I actually have fileS). this was the very first sermon I preached 10 years ago as a newly licensed minister. wow it seems so much longer. So that "sustainable" is a little out of date, but I may use the intro.

    While I've loved this passage since I did a huge paper on it that same year, I feel like I'm saying the same old thing. Here's hoping the HS invades my typing as I put it on paper.

    Children's time came from Clergy Journal and I'm just hoping I have 2 kids to do it. (One blindfolded one not; describe objects to congregation which are hidden from them; talk about different ways of 'seeing'.) I hope!

  30. Crimson, your "Tell me" ideas are great!

    Purple: Now what's going to be going through my head tomorrow is "Jesus did it near the Pool of Siloam with the mud" :-) Neat illustration.

    Sharon, thanks for stepping up as a host. Finding this site a year or so ago has really improved my attitude about Saturday (and Saturnight) sermon writing.

    I'm here and there today, lots of kid shuttling, with sermon pondering as I go. Right now, it's outside to finish pruning the roses; I got half done a month ago and quit.

  31. Welcome, Sharon!!!

    I'm hours away from working on my sermon with any real diligence, but thought I'd pop in and say hi this morning. I took my older girl to the pottery studio to glaze her handmade finger labyrinth. She's pretty fired up about it (no pun intended). It'll be done in time for her to include it in the church Easter art show. It's a heart shaped labyrinth so we'll put something about the resurrection being the heart of God's love in the description. I'll see what I can tease out of her for an explanation.

    I'm going with the Samuel text, but not so much with David and seeing the inside not the outside. I'm going to focus on the person of Samuel in all of this and how he grieved over the loss of the first king, grieved over the loss of what he thought he understood God's plan and purpose to be. Then God worked out something new. I'm going to use mosaic imagery as a comparison and then also lead straight into the Lord's Supper - - God using brokenness as a blessing again. That's the general idea.

    I still have a funeral yet this afternoon. It's for the 98 year old father of one of my members. He's a member at a nearby UCC church, so I'm a guest assisting at the service, but not the main officiant. It's actually a beautiful day for a country funeral and burial. Is it weird to look forward to it?

  32. I'm not preaching tomorrow, but I am once again on a very brief placement [in Switzerland - very big grin]. Supervisor will be using the OT passage - and I'll be quietly analysing him, and reflecting where I may have gone with it, for our Monday meeting. In the meantime, having looked at the Sam passage, a couple of thoughts turning gently over:

    1/ when Sam gets to Bethlehem, the elders 'tremble' - what is it they fear... and following, if they look at Sam and see what/ who he represents, i.e. God, what is their perception of God, how God is at work in the life of the world.... there's fear, not joy, here - would be interesting to wander down that path.

    2/ and then there's this ... hmmm:
    v.7: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

    Well, that is all fine 'n dandy... and yet... is this somehow turned over by the fact that David is actually pretty darned hot? So what's that all about then? Teasing that little conundrum around in my brain...!

    I have a desk with Swiss chocolate to share - help yourselves :)

  33. Hi, all. This the first time I have preached since Christmas and wouldn't you know I would get bronchitus. BUT, I will carry on.

    J and I have just been to VMI for the awarding of the Jonathan M. Daniels Humanitarian Award. Jon was martyred at Selma back in 1965. Jon was J's bf back in the day and was a part of MLK's march as was I. I am going to talk about what one person can do when they are true to their calling--when they SEE what is right.

    In many ways, Jon's death galvanized the NE religious world that brought about the ending of southern discrimination and brought about voter registation changes in AL and finally the whole of the South.

    Jon's life and death had a profound effect on J and a profound effect on me throughout my ministry. One person can change the world. Samuel knew that when he saw David. The blind man saw that when he felt Jesus' touch. It is a good theme for "relaxation" or 'mothering' Sunday.

    KZJ, you could preach on the relaxation of the fast on 4th Sunday--that God doesn't expect us to be iron men/women, but just human.

    Meanwhile, please pray that the bronchi settle down so I can preach

  34. Question: I'm writing about blindness and I feel like I should make some statement of sensitivity for those who are truly blind. None of my sentences seem to do it, any suggestions?
    thank you, preachers

  35. Thanks Muthah+ - Blessings upon your vocal chords and lungs!

  36. Welcome Sharon!! Thanks for hosting us today. You will find us to be a very well-behaved *snicker* and reverent group. We are known for that. *wink wink*

    We do provide excellent cyber treats that have zero calories. How can you go wrong with that?

    I'm preaching on the gospel lesson. Between funeral visits yesterday I wrote something of a sermon. I need to look at it again and see if it is anywhere near acceptable. If it is, then I need to get busy with the funeral prep.

    I also need a children's story. I like the idea of the optical illusion. I used to have one of those "Magic Eye" books at the church and I'm hoping it is still there. If not, where would I find a good optical illusion?

    I'm thinking of those tourist pictures where the close-up person seems to be holding a far-away person in the palm of their hand....

  37. Sue, just google optical illusion and you'll find plenty. I used: a young woman or an old lady; a scenic landscape or an old man; a glass or faces; the lines with different ends making the same lengths look shorter/longer; the sort of checkerboard that makes straight lines look crooked. I copied them 6 to a page and cut them up; I'll give them out several to a pew for people to look at and pass around. It was actually the Magic Eye books (staring at them while supervising one son's homework) that gave me the idea, but I couldn't figure out how to let people experience those in a big group, so I went in this direction. I have several and may bring them in for another example and fun after church.

    Verf word is grailyce...we're all in search of the grail today!

  38. I've got a lot of good stuff about moving from blindness to sight and I'm wondering if I should make the parallel to our lives today or if I should let them make the parallels in their lives for themselves.

    I've specifically pointed out some justice issues in the recent past and I wonder if I need a softer/gentler approach this Sunday?

    I realize there is really no way for you all to answer this without knowing context or what I have so far, I'm just hoping typing out the question might help. :)

    The Boy is coming home soon so I'm hoping the bubbling in the back of my brain will commence and be brilliant.

  39. Good Morning everybody! What wonderful comments this week. My sticky note pad is getting very full. I've written my sermon, but need to do some editing. We're doing readers theatre and I'm "considering" omitting the Ephesians passage...but then again..We will be singing Crimmon's "The Lord's my Shepherd" in place of the said Psalm.

    CR and Diane I hear you sisters. Sometimes people just don't get it. At our last confirmation, the mother of our confirmand was outraged because to have baptisms on the same day would undermined the "specialness" of the day for her child. She stated strongly "I really don't believe the services belong together." So, we had the Baptisms the week before (I wasn't going to die on that particular hill), and I took great delight the following week announcing, " As we gather to celebrate -'s confirmation, please turn to the Service of Holy Baptism on Page ... .
    I've got a busy morning today, and 'miles to go before I sleep'.

  40. Prayers please. I was wondering if you all would please pray for safe travel for my eldest daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren who are returning from Montana this morning. The roads in the southern part of the province are all in poor condition according to the road reports and not expected to get better over the next 24 hours. I don't normally fuss about stuff like this, but today I am filled with anxiety. Thanks so much.

  41. Thanks Betsy! That's really helpful.

  42. Just popping in to say hello.
    Hope you are all doing well today.
    I am up to do a memorial service next week and a graveside is looming as a lady is in hospice.
    It is a wait and see thing. Interesting family dynamics on both counts. Sigh.
    Anyone need some chocolate, toast and jelly, or a ice cream bar?
    Help yourself

  43. Glad to help, Sue! The only danger with that sort of googling is having so much fun searching that one stops working (not that I'd know anything about that, oh, no...).

    Should've mentioned early on that I have prayers of the people based on the 23rd Psalm; I found them somewhere a number of years ago, so aside from a little bit of adaptation, they aren't original to me. If that would be helpful for any of you, let me know!

  44. I think my sermon is nearly done but, alas, I must leave the office to go home so that I can change clothes. Tonight I will wear purple and a red hat that doesn't go. :-) Tonight is a Red Hat event.

    May all who speak and all who hear what is spoken be blessed.

  45. Hello, Revgalpals. Late getting here today because, although we have a guest preacher, I am hosting him and his family after the service so have spent the day cooking and cleaning!
    Have sweet potato and butternut squash soup to share for supper and some local toffee ice cream that I made - first time - but you're welcome to be guinea pigs!
    Reading Old Testament text, I was taken by the statement that, despite the fact it wasn't about appearance, we're told that David has beautiful eyes - just wondering if that's something to do with windows to the soul or something?
    I posted an optical illusion on my blog earlier in the week - we loked at the gospel midweek. Hope it helps.
    sharon - thanks for hosting.

  46. Thanks for keeping the party going while I was doing a funeral, an extra committal, and a pastoral call.

    Lady Father, prayers for safe travel for your family and for peace for you until they get to their destination.

    Thanks for all the great ideas and encouragement and brainstorming and for being just all-around good to each other.

    I have coffee brewing for the coffee crowd -leaded and unleaded -- and for those fortunate enough to need something cold sip -- fresh lemonade.

    I am starting to get ready to think about considering writing a little on my sermon.

  47. That's not local toffe ice cream - its low cal!
    Link to blog and optical illusion here
    Re baptisms - I like to always do them individually if I can but folk do complain that that's too often.

  48. Ugh. Been a semi-busy day so far (finance meeting and some errands) and now I would like it to be naptime. Unfortunately I have almost exactly two hours before I need to get ready to leave and pick up a friend to go and see the local high school musical.

    Do I nap for two hours, or be disciplined and write? HMMM.

    Oh, I also should have said that I am continuing the dramatic monologues this week, but I'm still not quite sure if I should portray the blind man or his mother. I think the mother is actually the more interesting character.

  49. OK, Blogger hates me. I have tried to leave a comment all day...

    Anywho - (if this one posts you'll discover) - I'm preaching tomorrow for the first time in about 6 months. Also the first time at our new church. So I'm a little nervous, but also very encouraged because basically the sr.pastor is putting me up and is out of town. He trusts me and is excited for me. Kinda cool.

    We are doing a series in Lent on Isaiah 55, and I'm working with v8-11.

    I'm working with challenge to consider how God’s ways and God’s thoughts can show us God’s plans for all of creation,
    and how God works to achieve those plans.

    Our questions (what is God doing? how can i know what God wants? why is this happening to me?) are ultimately answered in the Christ of the cross - in the company we keep with the Holy Spirit

    SO I have a draft, am working some illustrations... and not trying to include everything I think of...

    And for my contribution to the party, I have chips, pretzels, crackers and desserts. The pantry is open please come help yourselves.

  50. If it's of any help, here is a reflection I wrote for an all age worship curriculum for this Lent.

  51. Hi, y'all~
    I'm finally back! I have to decide, soon, whether I'm re-purposing a perfectly lovely sermon or writing one from scratch. The dog is walked and is eating dinner, so there's really nothing stopping me except I'm TIRED now.
    So we'll see.

  52. Deb ~ I guess you sufficiently appeased the Blogger gods and were permitted to post. So glad you could! "Our questions are answered in Christ ... " sounds like it also speaks to the John text.

    Liz ~ What an amazing illusion! Your reflection on the Samuel text sounds like a story familiar to many of us who find ourselves preaching tomorrow. Who? Me?!

    Semfem ~ Naps always call my name, if being disciplined is the other choice. We will be here later if you find yourself writing after you get back.

    Songbird ~ Sometimes when I want to do the recycled sermon, something else beckons. Let us know which way you go!

    I'm writing. It's something. That's all I can say yet.

  53. Liz, obviously our minds think alike! I love the optical illusion you posted; wish I'd seen that one when I was selecting mine to copy.

    I am quite proud of myself: I went out and repaired the gate between our backyard and our neighbors; it has been broken a year+, and since we are good friends, that's been a nuisance. Just like sermons, it looked like it would be easy when I started and then turned out to require a lot of re-planning and hard work and more steps than I anticipated. May all the sermons still in progress soon be swinging as smoothly as my gate :-)

  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

  55. I have too many words, it feels a bit "preachy" and I'm not convinced. sigh. maybe a break to make a salad will help?
    Kids have volunteered to buy everyone pizza for dinner. yay (no cooking collard greens)
    btw anyone have a good vegetarian recipe for them?

  56. The sermon title in the bulletin (not what I would use for the re-purposed sermon) is a line from a hymn, and I am not going to say which one, because it is now POUNDING in my head.

  57. Songbird, I've heard that when you have an ear worm (an unwanted song in your head), just sing "Amazing Grace" to the tune of "Gilligan's Island," and it will get it out.

  58. Chilly Fingers, I think that worked!
    Now, if you have the hiccups, hold your breath and draw a horse in the air.

  59. lots of ideas this week. sometime I am going to be a week behind, just so I get to see all your great ideas before I write. off to worship now.
    magdalene, I e-mailed the reading to you. if it doesn't arrive, leave me a message and I'll send it again when I get back, a couple of hours.
    now I can't find spellcheck.

    blessings as you continue to write writing

  60. Hello, Gals and Pals!

    Sorry I don't have time to catch up on the party, but wanted to drop in to share this website with you:

    I am finding the piano arrangements wonderful for helping me stay focused and in a spiritual, connected-to-God place.

    May God bless your planning and preparations...and preaching!

  61. Took a break to make some waffles for dinner. Help yourselves! They are delicious and, if you need them to be, gluten free.

    I also did a little exercise and checked the social media. Avoidance behavior, anyone?

  62. Sharon, waffles sound perfect. Thank you!
    I'm almost there with a new sermon, but I still may use the old one. Debating.

  63. I'm about to leave, and I managed to procrastinate and doze until five minutes ago. So now I have two paragraphs that will hopefully serve as a good launching pad when I get back from the play. Be back in a few hours!

  64. I may actually have something sermon-shaped. I'm taking a break to eat dinner. Wish it were waffles.

  65. Back from our denominational meeting with one hour to finish sermon and all before a band concert tonight. Final vote on teh ordination question was 51-54. Fear won. But TBTG fear does not get the last word. My mom is with us for the month. Wonderful and yet leave me a bit more pulled in multiple directions even than usual. I am also off lectionary and I miss it! I need to get back at it- carry on RevGals. I am grateful for your prayers- talked to many of my sisters about how fabulous you all are!

  66. Celeste,
    When you group all those who voted against into a "them" and question their motives or reduce them to your diagnosis of fear; are you not personally denigrating those who do not hold your opinion? Or is there another reason you say it was fear that won?

  67. I like this sermon! Alas, it is not mine!

    Celeste ~ Such a close vote! Prayers for your evening and what comes next in your presbytery. Did you speak?

    Songbird ~ WTG!

    semfem ~ Two paragraphs is two paragraphs to the good. Enjoy your evening!

    Totally procrastinating -- going to mix up one more waffle and see if that helps. I guess I'm really "waffling" over here!

  68. Good evening, RevGals! I come late to the party bearing cold pizza and a prayer from the perspective of the "once was blind" man in John on my blog (sorry, I didn't look up the code for embedding links). We've been focusing on accessibility in my congregation this Lent, so I'm steering toward justice tomorrow with the Gospel, looking at how no one who is able & in power in John 9 is willing to hear/believe the man's story. How often the empowered deny or squelch or manipulate the stories of those who are disempowered! Blessings all.

  69. Althea - not us and them- I know well and love folks who voted differently than I did. Many agree to peaceably disagree on this issue. In my place, in this time, the argument that swayed on the fence voters was profound fear of scism. The main speaker for the opposition repeatedly stated - there is no rightous way to agree to disagree- so if this passes we will all leave. A respected leader echoed - even though I think this is right and should indeed be our standard, the body should vote against because we can't survive. so yes - in my place, it sure feels like fear ruled today

  70. Stopping by while The Boy watches a movie.

    Suddenly hungry for waffles and have the tune of Gilligan's Island going through my head.

    I am definitely going sustainable, but have built some other things around it and need to move a few things around.

    Hoping The Boy allows that so I can get to bed at a decent time.

  71. It's kind of interesting to be watching the "Faith Healers" episode of Our America with Lisa Ling while trying to write a 5 minute sermon on John and/or Ephesians.

  72. Celese, I am sorry that that is the way the discussion went.

  73. I've decided to stop lurking and to ask for prayers as I announce to my congregation tomorrow that I'm taking a new appointment. Anxiety over this announcement and the fact that I have a funeral for a college student on Monday mean that I have nothing written as of yet for tomorrow morning's sermon. Thanks.

  74. Anonymous ~ Our prayers go with you tomorrow and this week. What a difficult set of things to face! I hope you feel us right there with you. Thank you for telling us.

  75. Anonymous, praying for you.
    Friends, those of us not in the PCUSA are praying for all of you who are in the midst of this discernment. I hope we can keep the conversations here respectful, despite strong feelings. Try to give one another the benefit of the doubt. Thanks.

  76. Celeste -- so sorry about the results are your place.

    Anonymous -- praying for you.

    It's really a beautiful afternoon here. I'm not preaching, so I feel sort of more relaxed than usual. even for how deeply we are entrenched in Lent and how much there is left to do.

    I drove out to a little town near here today for an interview. feels very odd but given the pastoral transition and interim here, I feel that I need to be open to change.

    I don't know what the future pastoral configuration will be here.

    anyway, I had very mixed feelings, but it turned out to be a pleasant conversation.

  77. oh, since it's nice here, I have ice cream sandwiches. anyone?

  78. Diane, blessings to you in the process.

  79. Diane, ice cream sandwich me please!!!

  80. Hmmm.... pieced the durn thing together and in making parts stronger, have made the whole thing way. too. long.

    Part of that is due to the length of the passage. And a poem.

    What to do... what to do...

  81. I am trying a new approach. I am telling the truth. It may not be a sermon, not now and not ever, but it's a start. Maybe an ice cream sandwich would help.

    Kathryn ~ I know all about too long. I could really use a "too short" this week for a change.

  82. Hey, Sharon, that's what I'm doing, too! Amazing. (Scary.)

  83. Ice cream sandwiches are among my favorite foods, so I'll be taking one too; thanks, Diane! Glad the conversation was pleasant, whatever way it takes you.

    Anon, prayers for you as you try to see your way through the next few days.

  84. OK, such as it is, it's DONE. And now I am going to make a vat of pasta sauce, and a vat of chili con carne, and some supper for myself, and lay out my "blacks" for the morning..."and so to bed."

  85. Done! At 7 p.m. my time. The challenge today was weaving together the Lenten scriptures, Lent, Brueggemann's ashen ways and eastering, and MLK's Memphis speech. You can read the results here:

    Nuts to tea and waffles. I'm ready for a glass of good Merlot.

    Blessings on your work.

  86. okay, ice cream sandwiches everyone!

    I may be going to be pretty soon because

    1. was up at 6:00 because MIL called from the nursing home. she just moved there and didn't sleep all night. she wanted us to come right over and see her, what I did. so I'm tired.
    2. not preaching, not even giving the children's message.
    3. so, what to do? read? have an ice cream sandwich?

  87. Bethany, thanks for the link. We ate pizza then I read for a bit and fell asleep. am hoping on my next reading of the sermon it will sound better and have gotten shorter. best to all.

    prayers for anon and the PCUSA, these are difficult times. It's hard to see us fighting over such things, isn't it?

  88. Congrats and many blessings, Crimson Rambler!

    In faith, I thank you Songbird for the cyber-vibes to be honest. I wonder what was before that - not honest?

    Filtered water for your evening vitamins. Don't forget to hydrate -- early!

  89. I'm still playing around with my conclusion, but it's time to go pick up my daughter. Back in a bit!

  90. One of the things I appreciate about Max Lucado is his ability to tell a good story. I just remembered a story I used (according to a search of my hard drive) in 2004 that I'm using tomorrow about candles. It's called "parable of the candles" and is about candles that refuse to come out of the darkness of the closet to shine their light.

  91. And way to go, RevAlli! I liked the way you encouraged the communal focus of Lent, especially with MLK speech. Thank you.

  92. Just stopping by to say "hi" (also, I heard that there was ice cream); not preaching tomorrow, but teaching confirmation class at my home church on what it means to be confirmed. I have words -- confirm, response, responsible, vocation, church -- and verses for them to look up, and discuss, and make posters with their adult partners about what their word means to them in the context of God's invitation to them as individual members, as members in our community, and as church members in the world. I'm hoping they are good at discussion.

    Grace to all the preachers in the morning!

  93. Almost lunch time on Sunday here. Service went much longer than usual, but I think I am the only one who noticed. A long reading, the 9 characters worked well, then a "normal" length sermon [hard to tell really as I ad-lib at times] and communion. There is a young girl, who with severe epilepsy, in the congregation, and she was in the paper this week as part of Epilepsy awareness day, so it was appropriate that we had the photo from the paper on the screen this morning.

    Must be close to 100

  94. Signing off for the night. We may go over tomorrow... or I may wake up early and cut.

    Tempted to watch some of the basketball game.

    Peace be upon all of you still working. Thanks Sharon for hosting!

  95. Good to see you Robin! Your confirmation class sounds cool.

    Kathryn ~ A peaceful good night to you.

    Pearl Downunder ~ So good to hear about your day! And weird, given that it's just about bedtime here.

    Is there any of that Merlot left?

  96. Sleep tight all of you! Preach on.

    Sharon, thanks for your hospitality today. Looking forward to reading your truth.

    Time to make the bed and sleep in it. Our services start at 7:30 a.m.

  97. A way too long halftime saved me from my own stupidity. G'night!

  98. What a day. I've finished my sermon. Now onto prayers.

    Please stop by and have a read. Enjoy a cup of chamomile tea and some chocolate chip cookies.

  99. Kathryn, I decided not to even pretend to work until the basketball games are over. I don't really care that much about basketball, but come on. We know I'll take any distraction I can get!

  100. I find it amazing that we've hit 100 and my sermon and prayers are printed before we reached midnight on Eastern.

    Y'all have fun finishing the party!

    Blessings on your Sunday

  101. I watched the first basketball game but couldn't get excited about the second so I switched to West Wing reruns and knitting. One seaman's scarf almost done.

    FedEx brought books I ordered the other day. One, Sandra Schneiders' Written that you may believe, has great stuff on Jn 9. I've read it once and am going to hit it again before I turn out the lights.

    Blessings on all who preach and/or celebrate tomorrow.

  102. Time for bed. Kitteh demanding a lot of attention. I'm going to check his bowl before I hit the sheets.

    May the Holy Spirit have all our backs.

  103. Going to have to put this partying preacher to bed. I have an almost-sermon and that's good enough for now.

    Feel free to keep the lights on and the music playing. Thanks for a fun day, friends!

  104. My sermon is up, for better or for worse, and I am going to bed! Blessings, all!!!

  105. OK. I gave up fooling anyone that I actually cared about the basketball game and just closed my eyes. I had my husband wake me up when it was over. The kiddos haven't slept particularly well the last few nights because of some lingering coughs. They haven't needed my immediate attention in the night, but the hacking on the monitor in my ear has meant disturbed sleep for me.

    Anyway, the games are done, my teeth are brushed, my journal has seen my pen, and my jammies are one. I have 85 minutes to flesh out my pretty good outline, and then I'll head to bed until I come back to finish up. Elton John is on SNL so hopefully I'm still able to get something done.

  106. Did someone say West Wing re-runs? Oh, no...if I find those, I am doomed :-o

    Took older son to a party, then out to dinner with husband and younger son. No cooking + good food=happy me. Now I can hardly move because of all the yard work I did earlier. Husband will be the one to do party pick up!

    I am sure the nap did you good, She Rev; it's hard to feel rested when you've been sleeping with one ear open.

  107. Just wanted to add my prayers to those for Anonymous and say a great bit THANK YOU to all who prayed for my travellers. All are home safe and sound, and I wasn't nearly as anxious as I had been earlier. So, I made Peanut Butter cookies for you all. Enjoy!

  108. Hello everyone, I've been back from the musical for a while, which was awesome, and now settling down to write the rest of the monologue. Unfortunately, I seem to have sustained an elbow injury so typing is slow, but hopefully the Tylenol will kick in soon and we can get this bad boy done.

  109. 617 words and we are OFF!
    She-Rev, still doing the fleshing out of the outline?

    Thanks for the peanut butter cookies, Lady Father!

  110. CRAZY! I'm at the exact same word count, semfem. 617!!!

    So I've got my LONG intro done and the rest of the outline sort of fleshed out. It's not too detailed, but good enough to get be to bedtime, so that's where I'm going for now. I'll be back in a few hours to fill in the blanks.


  111. 1083 words, and I'm just looking for that dynamite ending to the monologue. Ended up portraying the blind man's mother.

    Trying to not fall asleep...glad to hear you got a good start, She-Rev...

  112. I'm up early to finish if anyone needs tea or wants company. The tea is Twinings Herbal Revive ("an invigorating blend with zesty lemon and Chinese ginger"!) and I hope it lives up to its name.

  113. I'm back to finish, too, Sharon. The kids didn't sleep real well until closer to 3:30. I usually get up at 4:30 to write. I gave myself 20 more minutes to sleep. Hopefully I won't regret that in an hour or so.

    Here she (rev) goes!

  114. She Rev, I know what that's like with just one kid! Prayers for a family holy nap later.

    We're spit and polished over here as much as it's going to be. Have a blessed Sunday!

  115. After a recliner nap, it's time for me to finish too...and it's later than I'd like, i.e. I should be in the shower already. Let's wrap this sucker up!

  116. I have an ending! Time to go get ready for the day.

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

  117. I'm done as done can be. I couldn't get it to load on my blog, although I will try later and this link will work for that. I have already put up a beautiful version of Psalm 23 by Bobby McFerrin. If you have never heard it, I invite you to listen.

    Thank you for all the wonderful inspiration fun times!

  118. Morning preachers. Let's go do this thing.

  119. I'll be preaching in about 90 minutes. Here's how Ephesians 5:8-14 ended up "Seeing Clearly" on Jubilee.

    May all who speak and all who listen be blessed by the Spirit this day


You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.