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Saturday, April 09, 2011

11th Hour Preachers Party: unBones, unBinding, unBlinding, unBreathing edition

Wait? Unbreathing?

Sure, maybe....our readings this morning offer us a variety of directions, the new and the familiar, to ponder.

Ezekiel's vision of dry bones coming back to life brings us one of the most powerful images of God restoring new life, of faith, of resurrection.

Psalm 130's lament, crying out for God, echoes the plea that every human utters at some point in life...or as one of my friends is fond of saying, "OH GOD - BE GOD!"

Roman's, the assurance of God coming to us in the Spirit, tending to that which we really need, regardless of what we THINK we need.

John, letting go of all that binds us and keeps us from the love of God...what will it take for us to proclaim God's love for us?

Yes, many directions we can go this week as we ponder the ways we too need to be unboned (or reborn), unbound, given new sight, and discovering new life and breath.

Share with us where you are going. If you are stuck and need help unbinding, we're here to help with that. If your can't see your way from one thought to the next, we're here to help with that too. If you have a great title and pages of notes, but don't know how to pull it all together, we're here to help with that too. Whatever....

and, of course, always lots of sustenance to keep us going. This morning, coffee, tea, cinnamon raisin bagels, yogurt with banana, honey and, pull up a chair, what can I get you?


  1. I am preaching a screen play for a horror, sci-fi flick that moves between the valley of bones and the Bethany cave-tombs. It's called "Beyond Zombie Theology and More than a Mummy." I've preached on these texts so many times, I thought I would just revise an old sermon - since I'm on sabbatical. But this one just came pouring into me. I'll put a link up on my faculty page. (Oh, and I have great archaeological pix of some first century cave-tombs to go with it.)

  2. That sounds much more interesting than mine...

    Up late with a sickly household. The baby has been fussing, regardless of what I try, for an hour now. The rest of us are stuffy headed and grumpy too.

    My sermon is probably stuffy headed and grumpy as well. Thinking about how life and death intermingle, going with the Lazarus text.

    I know I'll be needing children's sermon ideas, so if anyone sees any, let me know.

  3. I'm not preaching this week -- but in AWE, AWE, I tell you, of those of you up and at the task at this hour! Eloquence and rest to you!

  4. I'm actually in Hawaii on sabbatical so while my computer is set for Eastern Standard Time, I'm on Hawaiian Standard Time and rarely up past 10:30.

  5. Just making a start here in UK. (9:20am) Wil, I LOVE the sound of your horror flick.
    Esperanza, sorry about your stuffy headed household. hope there is some relief on its way.
    I'm thinking of focussing on Ezekiel's "can these bones live?" and relating that to the church today.
    Meantime, I have some granola and yogurt and hot breakfast tea to share.

  6. Woohoo! Been writing and playing on facebook and surfing blogs for past couple hours. And I now feel I have enough material - in fact too much - for a sermon. So, I'm off to the beach and then I'll come back and sort it. Love those sort of sermon writing days. I'll leave out the Starbucks christmas coffee that we're just getting around to using along with some spicy fruit loaf. Good for elevenses!
    I feel sure that the refreshing winds coming off the sea will blow those dry bones into order!

  7. yeah, I like Wil's too. can't wait to see the link.

    Well, I have a sermon, because I have a busy day today and have to preach at five. Despite that, I feel uneasy about it, like something is missing. it is rather short, but as we have a baptism and first communion at 10:00, I didn't want it too be too long.

    so, we'll see.

    the interim senior has been making it a habit to have a funny story about kids, or a joke in every sermon (last week it was a Billy Graham driving a limo joke), so maybe I'm feeling a little pressure.

  8. Thanks for hosting us Terri!

    I'm hoping to spend the next couple of hours, or less, cranking out something about our role in co-creating with God. I'm all about the verbs in this story.

    My time deadline relates to a fun lunch with friends that I would love to enjoy unencumbered by a sermon-to-be rolling around in the back of my head.

    I just made a fresh pot of coffee, so help yourselves!

  9. I have a main point that I am borrowing from @rev_Gene -Life goes to where death is, a missional message, but I can't seem to get started. Usually the first paragraphs come to me easily, but not this time.

    I am intrigued by Wil's idea. Will you take straight from the text or will you embellish?

    Also will be looking for Children's sermon ideas.
    *helps herself to Sharon's coffee*

  10. Psalm 130 for me with a touch of Ezekiel and a brief glimpse of just... maybe... Easter... which we look towards more than those who watch for the morning...

    Or something.

    Thinking of my Dad today and so I'll pull out the bagels and cream cheeses and lox (blech) for those who enjoy such things.

    Blessings upon your writings... even if you are in Hawaii or running back out to the beach. (Sheesh!)

  11. Good morning, all! It's Ezekiel and the Dry Bones for me. Actually, I read National Geographic article about the Paris underground and all the bone in the catacombs so that's going in. Also, I don't know how many of you know about, but it is a FREE site with helpful clips for Sunday School. There is a wonderful news story about a high school football game that sure sounds like preaching to dry bones to me.

  12. Thanks everyone for your prayers last Saturday/Sunday. I somehow survived telling my congregation that I'm going to a new appointment. I also survived a very difficult funeral on Monday. Yesterday, I treated myself to a massage. I believe that these dry bones can live. Thanks for your support.

  13. A combination of Lazarus and Ezekiel for me. Somehow telling your/our story of life coming out of death is part of our hope. We can't just witness this and then leave it be, part of our faith is sharing and testifying to these experiences. MUST. FINISH. BEFORE. NOON. My best friends is getting married at 6pm tonight and I am meeting her at 1pm to see the hair and make-up and all that fun stuff - finally a wedding I'm not performing, and simply get to experience. :D

    Blessings to all of you, I'm afraid all I have to offer is some granola, but its raspberry vanilla granola, so I hope you enjoy!

  14. Good morning everyone! I wrote a long post welcoming each of you individually but blogger refused to post, now I'm writing a shorter one to say


  15. Ezekiel for me. My uncle is an anthropoligist and has worked with dead bones his entire life and they provide a wealth of information about people. I'll be heading in that direction.

    Yum...cinnamon raisin bagel sounds wonderful.

  16. Hi all - still just chilly enough for hot chocolate, so that's what I have to offer.

    My sermon is finished; Ezekiel and very personal. Several years ago I heard a beautiful Ezekiel sermon by a pastor whose church was on the verge of closing, and I mused about the tsunami, about the 11 women whose bodies were found in a house here and have led to much publicity about throwaway lives and police lack of attentiveness thereto, and about NOLA, but in the end I stuck with myself as a jumping off point for personal deserts.

    I'm glad it's done and this is Day 4 of the double vision crisis. Read a lot about it last night and am coming to the realization that it might not be temporary, so today I am working on more cosmetically acceptable solutions than an eye patch. Preaching in sunglasses, I think, which enable me to use a distance contact in one way and tape the other shut -- with both open, I tip over and wander into things. Sigh.

  17. Oh, and although a couple of us joked on FB yesterday about using pirate liturgy for the kids (my eyepatch), I think I'll probably talk about Ezekiel with them and how we need all of our parts to work harmoniously -- it's astonishing, how many nerves and muscles are require to work with precision in order for us to see -- and that healing and being restored to life can mean many things, including people helping you with driving and finding solutions like casts and slings and hearing aids -- and sunglasses.

  18. Oh Robin - many prayers for you!

  19. Hello friends,

    For the first time in months I do not have a Saturday workshop! Yay! This crazy schedule has taken it's toll on me. Even though I've been able to partially sermonize on my sabbath day on Friday's, I find I really need all day Saturday to sermonize, pray and write.

    So I look forward to sermonizing with you all today. Here is some special blend Starbucks anniversary coffee to energize us for the task at hand.

  20. I'm up earlier than I want to be in order to go to a training session that is not likely to be helpful for training. It will give some opportunity for connection with a group that will be a team this summer. I'm hoping it all turns out better than I expect it to.

    Maybe I can preach that "hoping it all turns out better than I (we ?) expect it to."

    I'll be following via email if I can remember to preview first so I can check that box.

  21. Good morning God_Gurrllll.....glad you have a day off!

    Vicar, sorry you do not..

  22. I am about to throw an orange and three "bananas emeritus" into the blender and see how they feel about becoming muffins for all you homilists...
    I am NOT preaching, but meditating on Ezekiel...and how all our folktale and popular fiction fascination with the "undead" is a kind of parody of the Good News...and Martha's amazing conversation with Jesus..."yes, I've NOTICED you're the Messiah. Got it. Now if we're done talking theology, have YOU by any chance noticed the SMELL?"
    It's an interesting "enantiomorph" to his conversation with the WATW.

  23. I have a guest preacher tomorrow so I am not writing today; however, I have already begun to think about next Sunday and all the days of Holy Week. We have a service every day. Schneider's That You May Believe is very helpful/thought provoking.
    And, since I have been on the road all week for meetings/services, I haven't got much of anything in the house to offer. I will be making brownies later this afternoon, though, and will offer them to all comers.

  24. Hi all - working with dry bones AND raising of Lazarus here. Thinking that it's important to preach about death and our fear of it (a difficult topic, but one we often shy away from in the church except at funerals), and resurrection and our power over death through God. I'm also reflecting on breath and spirit and how Ezekiel and Jesus - prophets, yes, but human beings - breathed life into another on God's behalf; how do we breathe life into one another and resurrect each other? 3-month-old baby and quasi-interview this evening make sermonating interesting and require that I be focused! Would love some hot chocolate . . .

  25. Robin, talk about making lemonade from lemons...your children's idea is brilliant; I have no doubt the rest of your sermon will touch hearts and souls as well. Prayers for you.

    Crimson, I think I'm borrowing Martha's line from you. There really is a lot of dramatic appeal in this passage because of so many moments of "Are you paying any attention at all to what's going on here?"

    If Ezekiel is a hearty appetizer and the gospel is a rich main dish, I figure my sermon is a dessert sampler. Right now I have a little on why Martha's confession (and the blind man's last week) doesn't get a feast day like Peter, and a little on the structure of the story, in which Jesus keeps going off topic--or so it seems--to talk about his salvific role rather than Lazarus et al, who would seem to be the issue at hand. The meat, I think, will be life out of hopelessness, but that has yet to come.

    Several years ago I did a children's sermon on this by slowly wrapping a person in a sheet while writing on the sheet the things that bind us (had helpers doing the writing part, and the congregation naming the issues). Then talked about Jesus unwrapping, while doing the reverse and writing words like love, hope, etc. over the first ones.

  26. Good Morning, All! Robin, sorry to hear about the double vision. A good friend suffered from that for years and then found an opthamalogist who was able to correct it surgically. Hope yours is an easier fix.

    The pickle I'm in for Sunday needs a fix--regular Sunday service at the day shelter for homeless--a congregation of housed and homeless. However--tomorrow we are also including a memorial for one of the homeless who died last week. I had planned to do Lazarus and binds and unbinding. Don't know how to fit it all together. Don't even know what color stole to wear--purple or white? To add to the mix, we have asked all who preside at the shelter to come to the service and a training following the service. Ideas????

  27. I haven't posted in ages - a lot going on the last year and a half, but I wanted to share something that reminds me of the dry bones from Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison in her book bears Beloved. Writing of the lives of African-American women and men and children who have suffered the horrors of slavery and continue to be gripped by its
    legacy, this passage reminds me of new life. I don' think I'll use it this year, because I used it a couple years ago, but thought someone might like it..

    "Uncalled, unrobed, unanointed…Baby Suggs, holy, followed by every black
    man, woman and child who could make it through, took her great heart to the
    After situating herself on a huge flat-sided rock, Baby Suggs bowed her head and
    prayed silently. The company watched her from the trees. They knew she was ready
    when she put her stick down.
    Then she shouted, “Let the children come!” and they ran from the trees toward
    her. “Let your mothers hear you laugh,” she told them, and the woods rang. The
    adults looked on and could not help smiling.
    Then, “Let the grown men come,” she shouted. They stepped out one by one from
    among the ringing trees. “Let your wives and your children see you dance,” she told
    them, and ground life shuddered under their feet.
    Finally, she called the women to her, “Cry,” she told them. “For the living and
    the dead. Just cry.” And without covering their eyes the women let loose.

    It started that way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women, and then it
    got all mixed up. Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and
    cried; children danced, women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven,
    all and each lay about the Clearing damp and gasping for breath. In the silence that
    followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her great big heart.
    She did not tell them to clean up their lives or to go and sin no more.
    She did not tell them they were the blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its
    glorybound pure. She told them that the only grace they could have was the grace
    they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they would not have it.
    “Here,” she said, “in this here place, we flesh: flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh
    that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard.
    Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. It is flesh I’m talking about
    here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and dance; backs that need
    support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And O my people,
    out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love
    your neck; put a hand on it, stroke it and hold it up….the beat and beating heart,
    love that too. Love your heart…
    Saying no more, she stood up then and danced with her twisted hip the rest of
    what her heart had to say while the others opened their mouths and gave her the
    music. Long notes held until the four part harmony was perfect enough for their
    deeply loved flesh. "
    – Toni Morrison, Beloved (New York: Plume, 1987), 87-

  28. RevAlli, how about purple AND white? Use two stoles, one for each side.

    That is, after all, kind of the point of the texts this week.

    Word Verification: undybo.

  29. CR - yummy/smoothie

    HI Margaret, I hope you have the space you need to get your writing done! (And, yes, brownies, please)

    Callie - welcome to the party - good thoughts you offer here.

  30. Crimson Rambler - love the thought of 'bananas emeritus' - so much more elegant than 'cheese in need of a haircut' which is one of our staples here!

    I'm heading for a fairly simple reflection on Ezekiel, I think.
    I can feel my energy levels dipping as Easter approaches, I know that a number of people here are struggling one way or the other, and in these comments here I think i detect a sense of weariness among many of us.
    The good news is Resurrection is a gift of God - demonstrating the power of God in the dry bones to Ezekiel, in Jesus as shown in the example of Lazarus, and to each one of us poor dessicated creatures when (at last) we see the resurrection of Jesus.
    New life through God's grace. Amen.

  31. excuse the typos in the previous post, my 4 year old grandson is next to me and hit a few keys..

  32. Currently attempting to justify a 2 page illustration for what should be a 3 page meditation. Hmmmm......

  33. Rev Deb - thank you for sharing - I had forgotten that and it is beautiful

    Not preaching tomorrow but wanted to share what we are doing: 4-6 graders reading the stations of the cross and the middle and high schoolers acting it out. Also using Prayer 7 from the Church of Wales BCP for the Eucharistic Prayer since we have said this will be a family friendly service. It may not sound like a huge deal, but it feels that way - special permission from the Bishop! In the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, this is a big deal indeed. I will be curious to see if there is push back from the parish - in this part of the communion, it has been so very important to get it all "right" that we forget that it can also flex.

    I preached on Lazarus last time it came around - and was challenged to keep it to 5 min or less. Talked about the dark, stinky parts inside of all of us and inside of the church that we don;t want Jesus to see or smell. It went well and was barely over 4 minutes.

  34. oh yeah - forgot to say that I cannot wait to see Wil's sermon!!

  35. Ok, I made french pancakes (or as they are known in my household, "Busha pancakes") yourselves - syrup, cherry preserves, or powdered sugar for toppings....

    Some fabulous ideas - love the Toni Morrison illustration, I think I may have used it once a long time ago....(or not, don't remember)...

    Thanks for sharing! And welcome all those who have recently joined the party!

  36. hey there - everyone up and busy this this morning.

    Today is a quick tidy, a run to the farmers market, a little league game and sermoning.

    I'm so going to work bananas emeritus into the sermon somehow. If muffins from rotted fruit are not a sign of new life, I dont know what is.

    I have pancakes - anyone want one? Or is it lunch time now where you are?

  37. I've spent the morning merging the UCC's newish inclusive Order for Marriage with my own much-used gloss on the UCC Book of Worship version, all to send to a couple who are straight but love the idea that the UCC is even *thinking* of a formally inclusive ceremony. I agree with them.
    So it was a labor of love, but now it's time to walk the dog instead of just letting him out into the yard.

  38. Good Morning All. I was up fairly early (for me), and after Morning Prayer, I got some ides to work into my (already written, but not edited) sermon. So I went over to 750 words and pounded out nearly 1000 words on the raising of Lazarus. It was interesting to see the stats. They were different from my usual writing and were very purple "Death" (of course) and purple "Negative", So I think I'll go back and revise some more. I'm going with Lazarus and Jesus' call to come out. Starbucks Yukon blend on the burner here! Word verification hercat...CR made me think of you.

  39. I am not preaching tomorrow. J will be preaching on the Dry Bones reconnecting.

    We have just come home from our first clergy conference in this diocese. It is also the first clergy conference of this diocese after the schism. Its theme was reconciliation and it was perhaps the hardest clergy conf. I have ever attended, but perhaps the most redeeming and refreshing to my soul. It was an experience of dry bones coming alive. Blessings on Louis Weil who led the conference. The beginning of reconnection has started.

  40. I am just checking in to say hey everybody! We are having a service of healing prayer tomorrow, so it will be quasi-Taize-ish but not really. Instead of writing a sermon, I decided to split the sermon time into three periods of silence, divided by comtemplative songs..and a two sentence intro by me. We will then move in to the prayers of the people ala BE4Sunday morning worship; and then invite people to circles of prayer with laying on of hands, etc.
    Should be interesting.......
    Right now I am just enanmoured by two 8 week old kittens wrestling on my desk....
    blessings on all!

    Oh, wait--does anyone have a lovely bible presentation liturgy to share? We are presenting our fourth graders bibles tomorrow...and I usually say a few words, and have the teachers bless the bibles, but I am a FRESH idea....

  41. Good morning all. I'll be preaching on those dry bones tomorrow and am hoping I can talk the person who does the children's sermon into using the kid's song "Dem Bones."

    I also love Wil's idea and look forward to reading it, especially since my ideas from earlier in the week seem a bit "dry" this morning. I'm focusing on the breath of life coming from God to re-animate Israel, me, you, the church . . . looking at re-creation.

    Meanwhile I have a brunch to attend later this morning so hope I get something done between now and then.

  42. Trying to use my powers of compartmentalization as I finish this sermon and then look to a huge funeral on Wednesday.

    Prayers please for the Keough family.

  43. Well, it's still morning here (just barely)

    Good Morning Juniper, welcome!

    Songbird - I agree, the Episcopal Church is working on blessings for same gender wedding ceremonies - Illinois just passed a law making civil unions legal.

    LadyFather - welcome.

    Karla, sounds like a great idea for the service you are planning!

    Muthah+ welcome! And RevMaria too.

    KJZ - prayers for that family ascending.

  44. Thinking of you Robin. Great idea for the children's story too!

    I'm going with Lazarus. I've always wanted to name a sermon re: Lazarus "The Zombie Chronicles" but I've never been in a situatin where it has been appropriate.

    In the past few months, we have had some terribly tragic deaths and so many families are really hurting. So, I feel like the title alone might be hurtful (or at least disrespectful) to their recent losses.

    One of these liturgical years we won't have so much immediate pain to work through in Lent, and I'll be able to have fun with Lazarus.

    For now, both Ezeikiel and Lazarus bring what we all need the most - hope in even the darkest of times.

  45. Friends, big excitement! Our own Mary Beth has put up our new Facebook page! If you're on Facebook, please "like" us.

  46. Lots going on here today!

    I did baptism prep this morning with four families...I'm baptizing 5 kids on Easter and our prep session this morning was an effort at some community building as well as getting ready for the baptisms. I'm excited that these families actually want to be involved--"drive by" baptisms have been the more common scenario since I've been in this parish.

    The phrase from this gospel that has stuck with me all week is "Jesus wept." Last week my seminarian preached a great sermon using the one verse from last week's gospel that troubled many of us about why the man was born blind. For me "Jesus wept" might be an appropriate response to those why questions--we might never truly know why but we know that Jesus weeps with us in our grief and holds out new life for us no matter what.

    I wanted to be done early but I let myself get distracted by a novel that was begging to be finished after I came home from MUST get to writing.

  47. Coming back to the party on little sleep, constantly sneezing, stuffy head. My pharmaceutical options are limited (still breastfeeding), so I'm all ears for home remedies.

    I think I'm mostly done with the "death intrudes on life" section and now on to the whole point, "life intrudes on death" part. I think.

    I have some kosher-for-passover Diet Coke to share (for real! in English and in Hebrew on the lid). We do *not* live in a heavily Jewish place. Interesting.

  48. Hay, Y'All! Not preaching, but dropping by with some thematic treats: Ladyfingers or Ezekiel Bread, anyone?

    Robin-- I think you could really do a lot with that pirate liturgy bit: Use a pirate flag (skull and crossbones) as illustration. (Pirate theology: if God is captain and we're crew, we can help take down all the bone-flags and fly flags of Good News instead?) Or maybe offer a thankful prayer that God always hears us when we cry out, "Arrrgh!"

    Sorry. I'll leave now. ;-)

  49. Oh, MaineCelt. Shaking my head.

  50. I am very close to having a real problem...last night's lock in involved even less sleep than usual, and today I am tired tired tired. I don't even think I can describe how tired. I can barely keep my eyes open.

    I have no words of a sermon on the Syrophoenecian woman (Mark 7) written. this week's Lent theme--Call and Answer, and I'm supposed to be doing something about this being a turning point in Jesus' own understanding of himself and his ministry.

    I have one last school musical to attend tonight, as well as dogsitting duties, that mean that I have to be finished with the sermon by about 4.45.

    It is currently 2.39.

    on a scale of 1-10, just how wrong *is* it to pray for the rapture to happen this afternoon, solving most of my problems?

  51. It's probably not wrong so much as a poor use of your time. :-)

  52. hi! back after a late lunch here. back after pre-baptism, pre-first communion, popping in on a prospective bride showing her bridesmaids the church, and all kinds of details. I practiced the sermonette once and it's not as bad as I thought, except there seemed to be a rough transition near the end. will be practicing again soon.

    I need to look ahead to holy week too but do you know i have a wedding next Friday??? (not at the church, but somewhere else).

    ok, doing this is kind of like praying for the rapture.

    be back later!

  53. Somgbird, I love your response to Teri's praying for The Rapture!
    I've just dragged myself back from the beach - gone 9:30pm here, so I hope things still look as optimistic as they did this morning and come together quickly.
    Muthah, glad to hear about redeeming clergy conference - sounds promising.
    Must get to work but, first, I might need to check out our new facebook page...
    Can you tell I'm focussed today?

  54. ok, it's 430 and I still have no words written. It's like my brain is made of congealed oatmeal--yucky and mushy and cold and pointless. I have to go get ready for the school musical (the Secret Garden) and feed/walk the dog. Looks like I'll be a Night Owl tonight...which means you can bet that I'll be coming home with a bottle of Dr. Pepper or Coke!

  55. Disjointed (pun intended as I am preaching Ezekiel) day but I hope the sermon does not reflect that.

    Impossible Made Possible.

    Grilling hamburgers if anyone is interested.

  56. I've been gone for a couple of hours taking care of stuff: laundry, dog walk (it's sunny at 60's here) and farewell tea with some of my friends...back now, briefly before heading out for dinner....just one of those days.

    Sue - so sorry you are having so many deaths, really hard on everyone - continued prayers for you.

    Welcome to all those who've stopped by this afternoon - I'll read all the comments through more carefully when I return.

    Liz - lox= (smoked) salmon sliced very thin and eaten on bagels with cream cheese...yum!

  57. Terri - thanks - I'll have some of that - mmmm. Might help me wrap this up!

  58. Oh sisters, I am at a loss. I have wrestled with these texts all week (between admin duties, mommy duties, and rehearsals for a play I'm in) and I've got nothing more than my title, "Life Always Wins". I suspect it's going to be a late night but where to begin??

  59. I've got a rough draft up. The question that kept rolling around in my head is why would Jesus weep. So I it explored it here.

  60. So if it's not the best use of my time to join in prayers for the rapture...guess I better get busy!

    Called renowned retired theologian with questions about John; as is usually the case when I do this, he affirmed my interpretation of one thing but then brought up something else that is totally different and leaves me pondering. In this case, he thinks Lazarus really was called forth to resurrection life, not just resuscitation, and that he is the first sign of the new creation/resurrection (see John 5:25-29). I don't have knowledge or time to go there, so I think I'll mention in the sermon that for some interesting thoughts on this passage, they should talk to Dr. B ;-)

    Giant church/school gala tonight; if I don't get done now, I will be part of a very late night crew.

  61. Thought I'd share a children's sermon idea for Ezekiel: With the children's help, make up one of those whipped desserts - we call them angel delight in UK. The powder and milk are no good unless whipped up. It's the air that gives the dessert its shape.

  62. I'm at the house for a brief time.

    Unexpected but pleasant plans were just made. I hope I get a good story that's usable for tomorrow out of it. But it's what I need to do even if there's no sermon benefit.

    I'll be back much later.

  63. Grateful for a sermon written (admittedly half on the computer, half on a yellow notepad) and the shower I just took - AH! That's better.

    I have put together a sofa and 2 drawers for a cabinet that will be completed tomorrow. I love those projects because you can actually check them off the list (check!) rather than check them off and have the ink wear off (preaching next Sunday, anyone?).

    The Boy's bedtime will hopefully be quickly followed by my own since tomorrow now includes a mid-afternoon meeting with the family I mentioned earlier.

    Teri, I wish I could help you out, that is such a great passage.

  64. It's already sunday here. I'm calling it a day. Not what I expected but here it is. Can these bones live?

  65. Betsy: I'm not sure what time zone you're in, but Sermon Brainwave spoke about Lazarus being called into Resurrection Life. It might help you out. Prayers for you.

  66. Mine's up on Metanoia. Sorry for no link; you would not believe how hard it is to type plain letters, let alone anything with geometry symbols.

  67. hey everyone,

    Serious. Question.

    How do you preach hope when you are feeling hope-less, or at least hope deficient?

    Had a sad situation yesterday with a found dog - loose in the neighborhood. Had to return to a not-very-good situation, and we really already loved her after only a few hours. Having more personnel stuff after thinking that was over for a while. And, the rest is not bloggable really except to say that being a mandatory reporter sucks.

    Needing those dry bones to dance and they are pretty much lying there. Help?

  68. Ugh. I've actually written two sermons...or at least one and a half, and I don't like either one. But I think it is too late to start over. Hoping inspiration strikes soon!

  69. Juniper, I am so sorry. Preaching ahead of where you are, which is to say surrounded by bones. Apparently my specialty. This is the first time I've talked about it in a sermon. I'm sure you'll find you're way through, but there's nothing easy about it.

  70. Quick check in - Lent and too much busy seems to be a theme- prayers for all who are struggling with much to do and little time. Tomorrow we ordain new elders and deacons - all first timers- one deacon who will have just joined the church... not standard practice but it works this time. I needed a very short sermon... which for me is harder than long. I did get to enjoy a lovely lunch today with my Mom and the Rev Dr. Kate! Mom is in town through Easter -very blessed time. Just got a call asking me to bring home nacho chips and Zero. Time to hit print and go home. Teri- I hope you get some catch up rest soon.

  71. Juniper, in my experience you preach from where you're at which may be that the reason why we are Called by God to believe with all of our hearts, souls and minds is because sometimes we only have a little bit of one of those that we are barely holding onto with our fingertip.

    Your mind knows that in 2 weeks it is Easter even if your heart and soul isn't into it and that is enough for now.

    Psalm 130 is a call out from the depths and part of what makes it so impressive is that mired in sin, the psalmist still knows that God is there and cries out.

    It's okay to focus more on the crying out than on the hope, because in the act of crying out we proclaim the hope.

    That was a bit of a hodge-podge, fwiw.

  72. hi, back again after church and now watching Antiques Roadshow and eating popcorn, and wishing my sermon would rise from the dead.

    I don't know what it was, if I just had a bad idea, or if it was the fact that it's about 85 and humid in the chapel, and I still have a headcold, and felt kind of disoriented right before I went into church.

    Robin! praying for you.

    and Juniper, you too. bleh.

  73. This comment has been removed by the author.

  74. Juniper (and Robin and others), it sounds like you are very much in touch with this text and its sense of already-but-not-yet. And you have the other parts of the body of Christ to remind you that hope may not be here yet, but it is coming.

    Checking in for the evening myself, after a long day of church meetings and driving back from them. I think I'm monologuing as Martha this week. Maybe just as soon as I eat some leftover lasagna for dinner. Really hoping it won't be a late night...last week's monologue was effective and emotional, but didn't quite bring people the good news in a clear way, so I definitely want to be a bit more intentional about that this week.

  75. I am wnating toi preach about how life wins. But I keep getting hit with this nigglingquestion....

    do we really believe that life wins? I mean there is so much evidence to the contrary

  76. Hm, Gord, maybe that's why I'm stuck at the same place. Maybe that's why we keep having to preach that life/love wins, because there's so much evidence otherwise.

    Little ones are in bed, hopefully for a better night than last night. Hubby and I are both working on sermons and blowing our noses. I'm about 3/4 done, maybe? THen to remember what else I need for tomorrow's congregation.

  77. It's taken me all afternoon to scan these comments. Work day kept me away, but now sermon is done, thanks to a good late night draft last night. I think I'll hit the shower and read. sigh, best to the late nighters!

  78. Heading to bed, already weary from from tomorrow. Lent 5 it is...

    Blessings on all of you still writing and especially for those still searching... It is an honor to serve our living God with you.


  79. I put my sermon up early:

  80. Good night all. May the Holy be the wind beneath our wings as we preach the good news.

  81. Goodness - seems that we have the need for prayer and good thoughts - that all of those who are struggling will find answers and words. I will hold each of you in prayer from this moment until tomorrow afternoon.

    I have tea - peppermint, or Celestial Seasons "Tension Tamer" and also, a cinnamon apple. and, of course, dark chocolate. what can I get you?!!?

  82. I think I need some dark chocolate, Terri, thanks. I think I'm done with the sermon, but I'm too fuzzy headed to tell if it makes any sense. Need to work on prayers, children's sermon, how I'm going to read both of these long passages, etc. Details, details.

  83. Spent the afternoon making this ridiculous but yummy chicken dinner recipe.

    Now, I have some chicken and also half an angel food cake left to share. Also, Good Earth tea.

    And, feeling grateful for prayers and sustained by kj's encouraging words, I'm heading over to my sermon. Thanks everyone. (Missing sherev, but she wont be by tonight, I'm thinking....she has a guest preacher tomorrow, right?)

  84. I've been out the preaching loop (and RevGal loop) for a while it seems - many changes in life, both personal (spouse deployed) and professional (new job, still with same nonprofit but VERY different responsibilities). Filling in for a friend on maternity leave tomorrow and next Sunday. Haven't gotten anything on paper yet, but lots of thoughts milling around regarding our being partners with God in the process of renewal and bringing the kin_dom - Ezekiel had to speak the words and Mary had to unwrap Lazarus. Something about a call to mission and to not be complacent about our own roles in the life giving possibilities God offers.

  85. Esperanza, I have several kinds of dark chocolate - with almonds, with rice crispy, plain, or peanut...

    Juniper, I suspect you are correct about SheRev and a guest preacher...

    Mandy - nice to have you with us!

  86. Well, it's been a day for me! I will hold all of you in my prayers tomorrow, may your words flow, your hearts be at ease, may you rest this night and know that the Holy Spirit has your back.

  87. Stopping by real late night tonight not because I'm just starting, but because I'm not preaching. We have a guest preacher tomorrow, an abolitionist who works for human rights in Sudan. She's an amazing pastor and preacher so I'm looking forward to being in the pew. Tomorrow. I meant to spend my non-sermon preparing week getting ready for Holy Week, but did I do a thing? Heck no. Oh well. I've made it work other years without an empty week to prepare. I'll make it again!

  88. Hee hee. Just started reading from the most recent back. I'm tickled you were thinking of me! Peace to you all as you are finishing up. Hope things are coming together for folks still working.

  89. I'm finally back & writing a sermon.

    While I'm sorry others are still writing, I'm glad to join a party that has folks for conversation. :)

  90. Yeah Sherev! Good to see ya!

    Hi Vic - shucks, it's early yet.

    Not got any good news in this this yet, but is sure has been cathartic to write out a litany of suffering. Better get to the hope bit soon, I'm thinking.

    and this is 94, not that I'm counting to 100 or anything...

  91. oh, and mandyc - meant to say - you and your spouse are in my prayers.

  92. okay, I'm back from the musical, I have a vague idea thanks to the bestest best friend ever, I've got double caramel magnum ice cream bars to share (mmmm), and I'm already looking forward to raspberry toaster strudel for breakfast. I'm just hoping I get to sleep between now and breakfast.

    i've decided, I think, to make chili for the potluck--because I can put it in the crockpot. Thank you Jesus for crockpots. I'll pick up salad in the morning, since the grocery store is conveniently located next to the Caribou Coffee with a drive thru.

    Now all I need is a sermon, preferably before it's time to go to said Caribou.

    also, for those who are wondering, 6 school musicals in 6 weeks is too many. Good thing I love those kids.

  93. Wow, Teri, SIX! You get some kind of special star in your crown for that.

    ditto on the crock pot love....

  94. Teri-SIX?!? for people to whom you are not related?!? That IS love!

  95. Juniper - thanks for the prayers, and you are in mine as well. Don't forget to allow yourself the time and space for your own processing - perhaps a lament is exactly right for you at this point in time, and perhaps that is something your conregation could also appreciate... This weeks' psalm fits right in but still ends with that glimmer of hope helping lead you to Easter Sunday. *hug*

  96. Tonight FB brought back a connection with an "older" woman from my home Southern Baptist congregation. (She grad from high school the year my mother was born.) Her note included this "I was always appreciative of the fact you believed the Lord could call women to preach."

    As Mary Beth would say, "I've got a smile all over my face."

    Now to actually finish a sermon so I have something to preach ...

  97. Juniper - I think Kathrynzj has got it right. There is a lot to be said for authenticity especially in a world full of tv preacher facades.

    And, can I come eat at your house? 'cause I'm never gonna get through the prep work for that chicken that sounds just delicious!

  98. I can't believe this just happened--I think I have a sermon. wow. At least, I hope it's sermon-y, cuz I think I might kind of like it for a change!

  99. What a surprise. I ended up with a manuscript. Don't know whether or not I'll preach from it. Am planning on draping our cross with the dead places in life. Wonder how all this will work with a community of vulnerable and variable people. Will keep in mind as I preach my new rule for life in a community of people who live on the streets: Do No Harm.

    Betsy, thanks for including the piece about resurrection life. Don't think that will change what I preach, but it will surely change how I preach. What a gift.

    Robin, hope your eyes are better.

    With thanks to my seminary professor and friend, Dr. Archie Smith, Jr.

    You can find the post here:

  100. It only took me until 1am EST to finish my sermon...not bad considering I started at 10:30pm! :) Many thanks for the comments that guided me regarding our doubts if life really does win. So thankful for RevGalBlogPals!

  101. The sermon is printing. I'm working on the prayers now. Not terribly late, all things considered.

  102. 10:30 PST...anyone else still around? I was not able to slip out of the gala event when I hoped, which took away from some of the fun of it because I was fretting about getting back to my sermon. Wish I could do better with that sort of thing.

    I've played out "abandon hope" as a theme and am now into Jesus calling us back from that place; I'm praying he speaks in a loud voice to me right now, too!

  103. Betsy - I just finished everything. Sorry I won't be here to keep you company. But maybe I won't be a distraction to you either that way. :)

    Blessings on your Sunday

  104. ok, I'm off to bed too -- mostly goofing around on petfinder at this point anyway...

    blessings all on your preaching tomorrow!

    with hope,

  105. Betsy, I am here...are you still here? Fell asleep several hours ago without a word written, and now that's where I still am. Going to try to kick it into gear now, before it's writing at the absolute last minute. Sigh. Hope you are done!

  106. Finally finished. I got sidetracked by a worrisome e-mail from my stepmom about my dad's declining condition; in that, I feel like Mary and Martha at the start of the gospel, as they send word that things are not going well and then wonder what Jesus is going to do about it. But I can't go there; I need to preach the sermon I have, not the one that is taking shape in my own life right now.

    Semfem, wouldn't you just once like to wake up from sleep and discover the sermon fairy had been busy while you were nodding off?? Prayers for a swift conclusion and a few more hours of rest for you.

  107. Betsy, that would have been heavenly! No such luck. Haven't made it very far, but at least I have a few sentences written now. sigh.

    If there are any lurkers out there reading at this late hour, take heart! It can and will get done with the Holy Spirit. and that's my moment of proclaiming hope. :)

  108. Wow, saying that bit of hope actually started things flowing here! 344 words--at least I have a start now!

  109. Semfem, hope you're cooking now... or writing now. I came back to check in on everybody. I hope everyone has a blessed Sunday!

  110. Sort of, kathryn. 786 words, written off and on between bits of sleep. But now it's crunch time and I've got to finish! whee?

  111. 1393 words, and I'm done! Not a moment too soon! Off to get ready for the day. Then, a major nap.

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

  112. Good Morning Everyone, good to know the party continued on long after I called it a night. Holding you all in my prayers this day.

  113. Think I'll be walking a dog today, but it's my dog and I will walk it proudly.

    Blessings on all who preach and all who listen.


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