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Saturday, May 07, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Juggling Plates Edition

I'm old enough to remember watching it in black-and-white. I admit it. I loved the guy spinning plates on the Ed Sullivan Show.

And this Sunday feels like a plate-spinning day. We have my favorite post-Resurrection appearance, on the road to Emmaus. We have Mother's Day. And we have a big news event that happened early enough in the week that people not only know about it, they've had time to ponder it. At my church, add Communion and Blanket Sunday. How about at yours?

Here at the Preacher Party, we will help you keep your plates in the air.

We may even find something good to put on them if they fall. (I'm thinking omelet this morning, you?)

Please join the conversation in the comments. Let us know what you're preaching, how you're handling complexities and whether you have a great idea for the Children's Time. We'll be here until all the plates are put away for next week!


  1. Songbird, I am wondering what Blanket Sunday is?
    Trying to fit the Emmaus reading, Baptism and communion together, with minor mention of Mother's Day and still not sure how much the 'death' this week will get mentioned, trying to keep the sermon very short.
    Someone else is doing the children’s talk, but I did like the look of this re-enactment
    worshipping with children
    Bill Loader has a prayer concerning the death at
    Preaching and Osama

    see you all later,

  2. We have a litany that covers mothers, daughters, grands, aunts, sisters, mother figures and women who've lost children... It's Youth Sunday, so our two seniors are preaching. Of their own accord (or the Spirit's) they are preaching on God's grace for all and OBL. Feeling pressured to blog tomorrow about my own OBL reactions tomorrow (Saturday) so that it's my "purer" reaction. I've been resisting all week. It's funny to me that Pearl and I are the first commenters. The time difference between us is likely close to 18 hours!

  3. I very much connect with the "juggling plates" sentiments. I am, however, doing pulpit supply, so I don't feel as pressured to offer a pastoral response to the death of OBL. Mother's Day has been broadened to become "Festival of the Christian Home" for these two churches that I'm supplying (might be a wider denominational thing--not sure), so I'm including a blessing of families so that nobody is left out (everybody is part of either a biological family or the family of Christ.)

    We're not doing Communion since I'm not ordained, although I'm going to push the boundaries of comfort and include a meal at the end of the service, a simple meal of bread--blessed, but not necessarily consecrated--where the community serves one another in the spirit of the reconciling Christ. I'm excited.

    I'm also pushing the boundaries of these relatively non-liturgical parishes by including a remembrance of baptism with the font moved to the front of the worship space.

    The liturgy is more or less done, but I'm still zooming on the homily. I'm off to sleep now (2am Minnesota time) with the intentions of resuming homilizing following Eucharist with a monastery of Benedictine nuns that I'm fond of.

    I'll be back for coffee and sweets then!



    (Word verification: misionas--sounds close enough to missionaries for me.)

  4. I have just added a prayer for Mother's Day I wrote while I was at college [seminary]


  5. I have just added a prayer for Mother's Day I wrote while I was at college [seminary]


  6. Pastor Julia, I don't know what time it is for you, but here it is 5.30 pm on Saturday afternoon.

    sorry about the previous double post

  7. Wow, I love the middle-of-the-night (to me) party starters!
    pearl, Blanket Sunday is a fundraiser for Church World Service emergency relief, frequently celebrated on Mother's Day in my part of the world. (They tried to change it to Tool and Blankets, but now it's Blankets+.) In the church I'm serving, the Women's Fellowship members collect the special offering in an outstretched blanket of the type distributed by CWS. I've never seen this done, so it adds an element beyond my control.
    I don't think my sermon is going to take up Bin Laden, in part because it's a shorter Communion meditation. But I will absolutely refer to the situation in the pastoral prayer, as well as Mother's Day. All of which is to say, this may be one I need to write out instead of relying on praying off the top of my head as I usually do.
    We have a book group discussion of Rob Bell's "Love Wins" this morning at 10, and then I'll be back to finish my partially written sermon using the same title, but not the same content!

  8. Just checking in before taking the son to his band trip and going to a beading class.

    I'm still struggling with trying to write a Mother's Day sermon that morphs into a sermon about women's leaders - so far everything I've written is heaving on honoring but but doesn't have much to do with God or grace. The sermon subject is not my choice - the pastor at the church I'm supplying (my former internship supervisor) selected the topic.

    Oh well - maybe some time beading will settle me enough for a productive - and short! - sermonating session this afternoon!

  9. Pearl, wonderful prayer. Usually I intentionally avoid Mother's Day at church, but one year I went by accident and one our our pastors did something similar.

    May I post that on my blog? Lots of mothers for whom it's a tough day would appreciate it.

  10. Baptism and Communion, so a shorter sermon this week. Almost bed time; I can supply some home-made fruit cake and tea or coffee.

    Happy sermon writing as I sleep.

    Jesus Journeys with us

  11. Robin, feel free. I wrote it because I find Mother's Day in church quite difficult. It is easier now I have some control :)
    Though Prayers of the People are led by a roster of lay people, so I don't know what will be said tomorrow.

    Being unable to have children, at times I have felt put-down or disvalued [not sure that is a word] by what has been said in 'honour' of Mothers.
    I also know people who find Mother's Day difficult for a whole range of reasons. Not all family relationships are happy.
    As a lay person I started to choose not to attend church on Mother’s Day, or I would check with the minister first if it was going to be ‘safe’.
    Once I was at college it was more difficult, there was an expectation we would be in our assigned placements every Sunday. My supervisor this particular year told me I could just not turn up, or I could help lead; so we lead worship together.

  12. Just read your prayer, pearl. It's lovely.
    I've had some very hard Mother's Days, despite having children, particularly one that fell a few weeks after a pregnancy loss. I remember sitting in my pew crying while twelve (I kid you not) children were baptized. It was awful. But I'm sure it seemed sweet to have all those Baptisms on Mother's Day. Three years later, as a seminarian and eight months pregnant, I was standing in the pulpit there, because that also seemed like a sweet thing to do for Mother's Day. (Sweet to an old guy pastor with a nice mama, that is.)
    My sermon will brush up against mother love, but in a way that makes it about God's love, at least I hope so.

  13. Whoa--fruitcake for breakfast! Thanks, Pearl.

    I'm just getting started. It's early here. A long dog walk and then I'm going to focus on the mothering of God and our mothering Jesus. Don't know where or even if the death of Osama will come in. Not sure it has to.

  14. Friends, I'll be back later, after book group! I'm leaving you coffee and organic pop-tarts.

  15. I am celebrating Mother's Day with a new granddaughter who was born at 4:42 this morning. I'll be leaving as soon as I can get my vestments off tomorrow to go and see her!

    For all the reasons mentioned above, I'm not doing "Mother's Day" in the liturgy. While it's wonderful to honor mothers, it has become another "Hallmark Holiday" in addition to the other baggage it carries, and I just feel like we need to concentrate on other things in church.

    I said the other day that I'm not inclined to preach current events--and one reason is that I serve in a congregation that is MUCH more conservative than I in lots of ways, so I have to be very particular not to say things that will be misconstrued as me being "political." That makes things hard sometimes b/c the gospel IS political imho, and I try very hard not to be afraid to preach the gospel as I understand it. Sometimes that means NOT directly addressing current news but talking about underlying gospel values instead. Maybe that's wrong, but if I alienate my congregation by saying something they see as too "political" then I risk losing my credibility all together.

    But it did occur to me as I was thinking about the various reactions to bin Laden's death that we are inclined to see evil in the world more readily than to see good and that really hooks right into "seeing" Jesus as the disciples first failed to do on the walk to Emmaus. So I think that is the direction I'm headed in.

  16. Hi dear sisters. I remember watching that guy on tv. That is exactly how my week has felt and today is going to be no different. We have changed our sermons for this Sunday to focus on thoughts about the tornado disasters here in our area. But we got Baptisms and we got Mother's day. I have been working on since I found out about the switch, but have nothing written. Got ideas but nothing written. Plus today I am a single mom, Bob is off to ERT disaster relief training so he can lead teams. I have a wedding tonight that the girls are in as well. I have been designated as the District Caring Team Coordinator for Disaster Relief and have been in the middle of putting that together as well. It is step up to the plate time. But I can say this, I have my house. I have my kids. I have my husband. I have my life. That is something that a lot of others in Alabama can't say right now. Glad to be part of the party with some wonderful partners.

  17. Congratulations, Grandma Rev Dr.Mom!

    I am not preaching tomorrow but I did preach Wednesday night. I chose the "love your enemies" passage from MT and talked about the need to reconcile our feelings with our faith in confession. I don't think my deacon will pick up either Mother's Day or OBL in tomorrow's sermon but I don't have editing control so maybe he has!

    As someone who spent a great deal of time in infertility hell, Mother's Day - despite having two children now - is never a holiday I like to celebrate. There is so much heartbreak out there and we have no idea who we will hurt.

    And now off to the nursery. It is just about time to put the tomatoes in the ground!!

  18. This year was the first time I planned to NOT take Mother's Day off...but we have a guest preacher from Uganda, his wife, and his daughter all here to lead worship, and the HoS though that with the three of them, two of us, and the regularly scheduled liturgist we had too many people so why didn't I just take the day off?


    I'll probably still go to the early service and stay through the first hymn of the second service, because I want to hear the Ugandan preacher and because that first hymn is one we are testing for the new hymnal, so I feel like I should sing/hear it in order to answer the questions about it at the end of the month. But I'll be home before 10am, which will be a brand new Sunday experience for me. I'm glad because at the third service the children's choir is singing a song called "a Mother's love"...I didn't get a chance to check the word before the children's choir director picked it and put it in the bulletin, but I have my suspicions that it's going to be awful, at least for those of us who have Mother's Day issues.

    So...I'm not doing anything today. it's a very weird feeling, not planning a children's sermon or prayers or sermon or anything at all. Instead I'll be sending you all good vibes and prayers as you try to navigate the craziness of this week.

  19. My Sunday includes confirmation so I'm thinking about talking about the ways we nurture and care for one another as we walk together "on the way."

    Many years ago my father died on May 8th which was a Saturday. So the one year anniversary fell on Mother's Day when I was 16. I hate it when May 8th is on Mother's Day.

  20. Pearl, love your litany. Can I use it for my pastoral prayer tomorrow?

    I am going to preach on the road to Emmaus and how Jesus meets us where we are at and waits for our invitation to reveal himself to us.

  21. I've got another plate to juggle that is the day after the Kentucky Derby. Since I'm the seminary intern at a church in Louisville, KY I'm expecting lower attendance, not only due to hangovers but also people considering this like a "Youth Sunday."

    In terms of all these events that need addressing? I'm doing a Walk to Emmaus sermon that will address none of them specifically by name and all of them by application. I'm focused on the journey we are called to be on and how Christ feeds us for that journey. The table is not the destination, but what compels us to continue on as a community of faith. I hope that people are sober enough/awake enough to spend time afterwards thinking about the real-life implications of this. I'm a little nervous about a non-mother's day message, but I am emphasizing the women's role as catalysts before the walk to Emmaus.

  22. Pastor Julia, I wonder if you would be willing to share your litany?

  23. Good morning (in PST, at least) to all of you writing, pondering, working today.

    I ask your prayers; my family and I drove late last night to my dad's, to be with him in his last hours. He has cancer, and we don't expect him to last the weekend.

  24. Betsy, your dad is in my prayers.

    Pearl what a beautiful prayer. May I hop on the bandwagon and ask your permission to use it (with attribution)?

    Juggling plates indeed. It's 11:09, I have a 1:30 appointment (for something wonderful-- a massage!) and I'd LOVE to be finished by then. But since I have nothing... good luck to me!

    Blessings to all in the writing and the many tasks (and even, for our down-under sisters, in taking rest for tomorrow).

  25. Betsy, prayers for you and your family as you accompany your dad in this part of his journey!

  26. I just had a thought, all of you who watched Grey's anatomy remember Dr. Bailey's speech to Callie about God being in us and between us, I wonder if I could tie that in with the road to Emaus preaching that Jesus gave. Might be a stretch but off to ABC website I go.

  27. For the first time in at least three years, I'm not the preacher on Mother's Day - so I'm a bit nervous about what will be preached. As an infertility patient that was able to have two bio children, I always tread very carefully remembering the years I felt excluded.
    Vicar - my mom's bday is May 8, so I dread the doubling for a whole other reason - pressure!!

  28. Yes, Pearl, I'd love to use your litany as well.

    My mother has been very distant in my life, so Mother's Day is never a terribly happy day for me (although I've preached the last three Mother's Days--I think the Boss is trying to tell me something.) You've made it a more palatable "holiday" for me.

  29. Good morning, RevGals! Songbird, thanks so much for the hospitality and thoughtful invitations you always offer.

    I love all the Jesus-at-the-table stories, so at The Painted Prayerbook this week I enjoyed lingering at the Emmaus table and creating a blessing from that story.

    Last night I spent a long time pondering a Mother's Day post, very mindful of the same dynamics of the day that folks have commented on here. I wanted both to acknowledge that we don't always get the mothers we need, or the opportunity to be the mothers we long to be, while at the same time honoring the mothers and "othermothers" who have given themselves to caring for their children by birth or by heart.

    The reflection and blessing that emerged from wrestling with that tension are at the Sanctuary of Women blog.

    Whatever tomorrow holds for you, many blessings to you as you help hold the day for others. Thanks to everyone for how you keep the plates so artfully spinning! And Nancy...praying for you and your family...

  30. Pearl; thank you for these prayers. I was in a bit of a quandary about my juggling act, but with your permission, I'd like to nclude your litany for the Prayers and keep my sermon on the road.
    RevDrMom: Congratulations.
    Songbird: My eldest daughter struggled with infertility for many years, and I know how painful Mothers Day was for her.

    I've got a sermon written, but it is far too long, so I need to get it focused and cut it down a lot. I'm working with the return journey to Jerusalem. Even though it was still dark, their excitement impelled them back out onto the road to share the good news. Although the text doesn't say so, I think it's fair to assume that their awareness of the presence of the Lord resulted in an attitude of fearlessness.

    It's a beautiful day here so I think I'm going to go out and rototill my garden after I read my sermon and see if some physical work can help me focus somewhat. I'll be back later.

    Happy writing all.

  31. I'm feeling highly distractible today, so I've revised a sustainable sermon -- it says most of what I wanted to say, but maybe I can revise it later. Now I need to pack and do some other chores so that I can take off tomorrow. I've been waiting for this baby for two weeks, so you'd think I'd be ready to go at any moment, but somehow I'm not.

  32. I went out and bought my tomato plants. In addition to two Jerusalem Heritage, I bought two Hillbilly Heritage. It was either those or Boxcar Willie Heritage! I love my nursery, especially since they held back the Jerusalems for me.
    I also bought a small hot pepper called Bishop's Crown. Those will be a housewarming gift for the new bishop.
    And now back to folding cranes for some sort of decoration in the camp chapel next weekend!
    Lovely weather here, no rain for a change but still on the chilly side (85 last Sat and 65 today!)
    I can offer smoked bbq chicken complete with cole slaw and potato salad. No sweet tea, though.

  33. prayers for the passage Betsy.

    I am just sitting down to get with the sermon. I have about 10 minutes worth that isn't really tied to the Peter text but should be. sigh

    I preached Emmaus last year with a sustainable sermon that I revised. I am so tired. Spent morning with church volunteers for our day at the food bank. Always an enlightening experience.

    I am bringing bin laden into the sermon, but tying it to Peter is now the challenge.

  34. Hi, I'm back and catching up on your comments!
    Betsy, you have my prayers.
    I'm at least halfway there, but feel like there's too much baseball and so far, no Jesus. Need to work on that...

  35. Finally a moment to drop in and say "Hi Y'all!" I am preaching tomorrow and for a whole host reasons I'm having a difficult time writing this sermon: first Sunday in new call; a city that is very diverse and embraces it's strong Christian-Muslim; OBL; and the reality that I am too new to really know what or how much I can say about OBL; and mother's day; AND usually these first sermons I try to share some general stuff about me - basic not too personla but enough that they can get a sense of who I am....

    now. how to do something like ALL of that in this one 1200 word sermon.

    Well, at least I have a start.

    I had a number of meetings this morning and have to run over to the church to practice chanting the Eucharistic prayer....and then I am back to finish the sermon.

    prayers for all of you as you do much the same.

  36. Back from my beading class with a new stitch learns and half a bracelet made.

    Reading over the conversation from while I was gone only has served to emphasize just why I don't want to preach a 'mother's day sermon.' There are just too many potential minefields.

    Oh well. I can keep complaining or I can get writing. I worked a bit on Thursday and have 1000 words but am only about half finished. If I use that one I will have to do some serious editing.

    Or....last night I thought about talking about biblical mothers: Sarah, Hannah, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Naomi, Bathsheba. I might be able to do something with how our formothers were not always perfect but God was able to use them to work God's purposes. I think that would make it easier for me to morph to female early church leaders - our foremothers in the faith - and then to end with how God gifts and uses all of us.

    I don't know. I'm off to re-read what I've written and the hymn of the day. If you haven't yet discovered Carolyn Winfrey Gillette's "God of the Women," I highly recommend you check it out:

  37. The sermon is up and running on my blog. I think it's ready to deliver to the congregation. Your prayers would be most appreciated.

    In the mean, I hope all you mothers have a wonderful day tomorrow!

  38. I hoping for 1500 words that make sense, so far I have 1,000 that really don't have a point...

  39. Ramona, I like the idea of the biblical mothers. On Wednesday at our midweek service we celebrated the feast day of Monnica, mother of Augustine of Hippo, and the assigned readings for the day all had mothers in them so I talke about them and how important they were in our faith tradition.

  40. Thank you all for these comments! I also am in Kentucky and have mother's day, derby, OBL and the Royal wedding to contend with! I feel like it's been another Holy Week of sorts. We are all over the spectrum emotionally.

    I think mother's day should be mentioned, at least in the Prayers. In my case, I will also include a prayer for our grief group that includes prayers for those who have lost mothers (in a separate e-mail). But, not mentioning mother's day, or downplaying it, can cause harm. Yes, there is sadness (my own mother lost her son 2 years ago) but there is also great joy in mothering. We need to remember that many in our pews are in a joyous place too.

  41. I have 1000 words of illustrations, just need to get to that "oh snap" moment where you realize he's been there all along.

  42. Yes, Nancy, I know the feeling. I've got about 1,000 words with very little focus or direction. To top that off, I've hit a block in the approach that I started to take. I'm going to take a break for a bit and grab some lunch before returning to the laptop.

    All of the folks at the Starbucks have moved to the other side of the cafe. They apparently recognize the symptoms of a frustrated preacher with writer's block.

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. Sorry about that - having trouble with blogger.
    Betsy, praying for you and your family.
    I'm not preaching tomorrow - I'm introducing a new candidate for a call, which is quite exciting. But I've reflected on the gospel <a href="<here>/a>

  45. All my comments have been double-posting today, no worries, liz!

  46. Whose preaching from an iPad? do you scroll or import into a reader to flip pages?
    advice needed. should I brave it or print it?

  47. oh, Betsy -- thinking of you and your family.

    Also in my prayers, my sis-in-law, who lost her mom on mother's day last weekend. that is one great litany, pearl. joining those who would like to adapt for my setting, if it's ok.

    thinking of the rest of you spinning plates. still planning on a first person monologue, which i usually do with no notes, but I might not be up for it after a whole week off (!!) of stay-cation, in which I really deeply relaxed. now, having to ramp back up is feeling pretty challenging.

    revnancy - I think sherev preaches from an ipad...ours is really new and I havent braved that yet. mostly, I have to wrestle it from the angry birds addicts in my house long enough to get a feel for it. :)

  48. Trying to post the link again - properly this time: reflections on emmaus
    Rev Nancy - I don't preach from ipad but from kindle - works a treat!

  49. I really want an iPad just so I can use it to preach from. I love that idea, and going paperless!

    Tripp, is this your final sermon with this congregation? I'll be over soon to read it, and I'll hold you in prayer.

    I'm asking prayers as I preach my first for this congregation. You read my sermon here ...and comments very much appreciated!

  50. Hi everyone!

    Betsy, I add my prayers for you and your family during this sacred and sad time.

    I have been at the conference annual meeting since Friday afternoon, and it was wonderful and inspiring. Still, I have a sermon to write yet and I'm really tired and feeling a little down about how inspiring those special occasions are compared with the every week worship service and trying not to feel overly responsible to create dazzle that is just not in me. I really do sound whiny!

    Maybe there is something there to inspire a sermon -- something about about people on the journey who have low (or no) expectations and then encounter Jesus in the ordinary things, like a walk and a story and breaking bread at table.

    Hmmm ...

    (And ... um ... organic pop tarts, Songbird?!)

  51. I have a sermon - it's only 1803 words. Think my congegation will be ok with that? So I'm taking a break - much editing is in my future.

    Now to turn my attention to the children's sermon. Would it be too sappy/painful/obvious to have the kids tell me something special about thier mothers and then pray for them using the kids words?

    Thank heavens the prayers are already written!

  52. I wish I could preach from an ipad or e-reader - it would make my upcoming trip to visit a potential congregaiton much simpler. It's tough being a Saturday-sermonator when you won't have access to a printer after Thursday.

    Maybe I could preach from my cell phone's tiny screen.....

  53. ...and, if you ARE looking for references to Mother's Day, check out this reflection by my friend Jackie.

  54. Sharon, I get them at Whole Foods. Just wish they were shelved lower...
    I've been stalled for the last couple of hours. Walked the dog and fed him, but that hasn't gotten me back on task yet. I'm expecting my daughter home at 8, would really like to be finished before she arrives! But there's laundry to do, and so forth.
    Anyone want a Diet Coke?

  55. Prayers for you and your family, Betsy...and for your father.

    Prayers for you RevDrMom - how exciting!

    (can you tell I am only now able to read this entire thread and catch up...yeesh!)

  56. I need your feedback. I've decided to weave in the story line from Grey's Anatomy with the road to Emmaus. Please let me know if it makes sense and I'm staying within the proper interpretation of the scripture with this sermon illustration.

    Hereit is.

  57. Wait, RDM, congratulations! I read your email on my phone earlier and responded...but only in my mind. How exciting!!!

  58. Well, 5:39 and I have 1850 or so words of a first person monologue. Juniper, wife of Cleopas? That's who I will be embodying. with notes.

    And Ramona-- my top limit is 2200, but I try to stick closer to 1800. And I know people in this community who are pretty sure nothing over 1200 is the way to go. So... it's really variable.

    Continued happy writing! I'm offering a "mexican chicken bake" left over from Cinco de Mayo.

  59. Okay, hilariously? I first read that as Jumper.

  60. Mags, well, I was just gonna go ahead and speak as Cleopas Himself. I think it will go over and my congregation is used to it, I think, since I sometimes do that - I've spoken as a disciple (male) and as St Patrick in the last year, for example.

  61. Songbird - if by Jumper you mean Distracted by Many Things and Jumping From Thought To Thought, you about got it right. :b

    Thanks for whoever gave link to mothers day thing that mentioned Julia Ward Howe. LOVE her, and am now on a better path for a little speech I have to give tonite on Christian Peacemaking. HEre's a kind of awesome thing she wrote on What is Religion - for the others of you who are still Jumping around.

  62. I misread the sentence in two ways. Not only did I read "Jumper," I thought Mags was giving the wife of Cleopas a name. Caffeine please? Or new glasses? Or maybe just clean the old ones?

  63. Congratulations RDM, and prayers for Betsy.
    Anyone is welcome to include the Litany for Mother's Day I posted.
    Mother's Day will get a mention. I will ask early in the service what is special about today , I am fairly certain someone will say Mother’s Day, hopefully other responses will be Baptism, Communion and worshipping God together – all special things we do as Christian community.
    If Mother’s Day was still about peace, I would find the whole day much easier.
    There is green tea in the pot, and communion bread will be ready shortly. Time to shower, dress and get to the church before the baptism family –who are planning to be half an hour early and are bringing morning tea. You may wish to join us for that, chocolate cake, party pies and spinach and cheese triangles. Many Baptism families don’t even stay for morning tea.

    Blessings as you juggle those plates and avoid the minefields

  64. Oh Juniper, that reference to Mother's Day is from my friend Jackie who wrote the reflection for this weeks FeministTheology blog, which I manage...glad it was useful for you!

  65. Ramona, I know someone who offered a reflection at a conference I attended, written on his iPhone...

  66. Betsy, keeping you in prayer.

    Pearl, of those who have visited my blog today for whom tomorrow is really a tough one, 100% are grateful for your prayer.

  67. dinner - cereal and milk (Quaker Oat Squares, AKA dinner by myself)...

  68. @ Terri quaker oat squares is the meal of champions. If it weren't for the squares I'd never eat.

  69. I love the squares. I'm eating cereal, too. (Home alone.)

  70. ..wondering if I take a hot bath will I become relaxed and drowsy enough to get a good nights sleep before my first Sunday in new parish?...I could also add a cup of Tension Tamer tea.

    I'm not really anxious - but I know myself well enough to know that I don't sleep on Saturday nights when I have to preach on Sunday morning...

  71. Litany here

    Pearl, I just picked the Capital Territory time zone and compared to Alaska.. 18 hours diff.

  72. @Magadelene - 1800 words wouldn't be a problem, especially if it was a particularly good sermon. But this is my former internship congregation. The pastor is fairly brief - 10 to 12 minutes - while I would aim for 15-18. He always gave me a hard time for my sermons being too long! So when I preach there I try to stay closer to 1000 words than 1500.

    However, I am talking about a lot of our mothers in the faith and I am not sure that everyone will understand all the references. So it may just have to be long-winded. No communion so I can go for it if I need to.

  73. No preaching for me tomorrow, but working on the pastoral prayer. I have been the one to skip Mother's Day worship and so I know the pain, but also have been one of the lucky ones that hope fulfilled in the earthly kingdom. SO many have not.

    And so yes to a mention, but a soft one. Pearl downunder, thank you for the poetic prompt.

    I'm also thinking OBL should be mentioned but don't know if AP is doing that in the sermon or not.

    Hmmm.... I think I'll read some sermons and come back.

    You all are such a blessing.

  74. wow - blankets, babies, confirmation, Osama, Emmaus and Mother's Day poetry! So many plates juggling!
    I've been struck with the commemoration of Julian of Norwich this week and connecting her search for grace to the journey on the road to Emmaus. After attending a Cubs game today(my daughters' first!), I'm just settling in to work on the sermon for tomorrow. Imagine my delight when I pulled my notes on Julian and saw that it was (probably) May 8 of her 30th year when she had the 15 revelations that would propel her into a life as an 'anchoress'. The book she authored, Revelations of Divine Love, tells of the many and various loves that God has for many ways like a loving mother. So now, I sit here with jasmine tea, nutella on muffin and what seems to be a focus point! Hallelujah!

  75. The good news is I have a sermon! It is not about Osama Bin Laden; I'll get to him in the prayer. It's not about Mother's Day, unless you pay attention to the stuff about mothers in it in the right way. It's mostly about the love that's there already, even before we see it: That's All Right.

    Terri, you are in my thoughts and prayers, for a good night's sleep!

  76. All right...I'm calling it a night...calgon take me take me away...thanks for hosting, Songbird, and for all of you!

    prayers for all of you tomorrow!

  77. Because of confirmation, I had been thinking about this sermon for a few weeks even though I hadn't started actually working on it until today. I'm pretty sure the "long arc" of thought helped considerably because I am finished.

    Sermon, regular prayers, & Mother's Day litany are all printed.

    I just don't know what to do with OBL tomorrow. Hoping the Holy Spirit catches up with me about that one very soon.

  78. Ok - I can't cut any more. Well, I could, but I won't. 1683 words will just have to be just right! "Mothers and Other Women of the Faith" can be read here.

    @LMM - I wish I could have included Julian of Norwich! I love her mothering images of God.

    Blessing as for those of you continuing to sermonate. Time for me to be blessed through your sermons!

  79. Midday, all done. OBL didn't get a mention. Glad I mentioned Mother’s Day as I don’t think the person leading prayers included it.

    Usually husband and I would go out for lunch, but being Mother’s Day all the cafés will be busy, so maybe eggs on toast?

    I am so glad to have all of you as company in ministry, time zones and continents may separate us, but the community is a very encouraging one for me. God bless you all.

  80. Your prayers are being felt here; we've had a day of more laughter and recollection than sadness, and my dad has had some short periods of alertness, speaking a few words and smiling at our presence. As is so often the case, his body may be stronger than it appeared yesterday--when his death looked imminent--but we know his days are clearly very short. When I have moments of feeling overwhelmed, I remind myself of all the prayers from so many people that are holding me up when I don't have the strength to do it myself.

    RDM, congratulations!

    I love all the wonderful ways of approaching the many themes of this week and this gospel.

  81. I finally decided toward the end of the week to lead a discussion during the sermon time. I had a great feeling about it when I decided it, but now I need to work on the framing pieces for that and I'm less inspired. I haven't done much yet, but maybe once I get into it that inspiration will come back.

    We've had a great family day today, well, family minus one. My boy (4 next month) left this week for 2+ weeks with his grandparents. He got to plant corn from the tractor with Grandpa today so he's in heaven. We've been doing a few things that are more stressful with him, so I guess this has been a good trip for all of us so far. I'm definitely starting to miss him, though.

    Will read through and see where everyone else has been today!

  82. I'm going to leave this party to the night owls!! Preach well, all Of you!

  83. revnancy - - It may be too late for you to catch this, but I have preached from my iPad from the week I got it. Haven't used paper since. I put it into Good Reader, a pdf reader, and flip pages with a tap on the right side of the "page." The page flipping motion doesn't always work smoothly. I also make sure the pages are numbered on the document so that I can glance there and be sure that I actually turned the page.

  84. Oh ramona! I remember a neutral pulpit experience when I assumed too much about the "business center" that was advertised on the website of the hotel where I was staying. I wrote my sermon Saturday night/Sunday morning on the single computer in the lobby of the hotel (that was hosting a wedding party, no less), then drove 20 miles into a larger city at 2 a.m. to find a Kinko's to print. Good Lord it was miserable!

  85. Whew-- You are all such a blessing. Thanks to the assembled wisdom an creativity of you RevGals, I have wrapped up my own sermon-writing. I spent two hours dealing with an escaped bull and a damaged fence this afternoon, so I really didn't think I'd be able to get back into sermon mode, but thanks to y'all I've...well...grabbed the bull by the horns.

    I'm posting the sermon here and would welcome comments. (There's an oblique reference to Bin Laden's death but I hope I've referred to it in a way that steers people back to the Gospel message.)

    May the Holy Spirit uphold all those still writing or otherwise struggling. Peace be with you!

  86. Betsy, so glad for the time you are having with your Dad.

    All: Why was this so hard to do? I now understand what Cody means about juggling plates. Never could fit in Osama. But I'm not sure a life denier belongs on a life giving day.

    Realized I had assiduously avoided Mother's Day and had somehow missed Emmaus. Oh well--not any more. Ended up with Mothering God. Glad for all the companionship on the way today.

    The result is here:

  87. Can't wait to go to bed in 15 minutes. This sermon prep process is not working for me tonight.

  88. Well, it's not the best thing to grace the pulpit, but it'll do (I hope.)

    Gosh, this was a hard week. When I set into things, I thought it was going to be easy, easy, easy. I guess that having TOO MUCH to work with is not always a good thing.

    I'm going to kick myself in the morning for not even mentioning Julian.

    The homily is posted on the blog.

  89. I'm back to finish gathering my thoughts. Thankfully the Spirit joined me at my bedside table last night as I was heading to sleep, so I was able to jot down the rest of what I needed long hand in my journal. Now to type it up with finishing touches. It better go smoothly since something possessed me to hit snooze for almost 40 minutes.

  90. So, clearly, much of the fun happened after I checked out.

    Juniper, I have done monologues as men, too-- notably, the elder brother of the Prodigal son, and Joseph, dad o' Jesus.

    Songbird, I don't touch caffeine after 6 pm, so.... if you did, I hope you got sleep anyway!

    Ramona-- ah. Now I understand! Would it be great if other (ahem) ministers just accepted that we might be different than they are? Just a thought. Then you could preach exactly the number of words the Spirit put in your heart. How 'bout that?

    Blessings to all as you open your mouths to proclaim a good Word.


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