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Saturday, June 18, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Mission Possible Edition

Mission Impossible
 "Your mission, should you choose to accept it ..."

Remember the classic TV show "Mission: Impossible"?  The team always took the impossible mission and somehow made it possible. 

Today's mission: SERMON COMPLETION

If we choose to accept this mission, here are the lectionary texts of the week: 
We are given the (so called) "Great Commission" by Jesus in Matthew 28:16-20 and there is so much about Jesus' expectation that seems impossible, or at least implausible. Even that first word "Go ..." seems uber-challenging at times.

So, what did God have in mind (Genesis 1:1-2:4a) when dream became urge became labor became creation?  What was possible for God to set in motion has become impossible for humans to sustain. Or has it? 

Psalm 8 affirms that human beings were created to be a little lower than God?  How low will we go?  Is it possible to find the place where we belong?

Paul's final word to the energetic and contentions Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 13:11-13) was to "put things in order." Is it indeed possible for the word of a preacher to inspire change?

Which of these texts hold possibilities for your sermon?  And ... Trinity Sunday or Great Commission? Or something else entirely?

Welcome to the 11th Hour Preacher Party where it is totally possible for your sermon-to-be to become sermon-ready-to-go!  Ask for help, work out whatever loose threads are hanging and share ideas for themes, illustrations, children's time, and anything else you have to offer of a liturgical or non-liturgical nature. Lurkers and non-preaching cheerleaders are urged to join in!

May snacks and humor abound! 

"Good luck, friends!"


  1. Hi, Home from leading a one day retreat for some people from the congregation, now it is time to tidy up the loose ends for worship tomorrow. It is our denominational anniversary, so we are showing a DVD from the Assembly about the past, present and future of the UCA. The Sunday School are looking at creation, and due to a glitch [mine] in the rosters, I am on children’s talk. Mentioning trinity after the children go to Sunday School, with a humorous (?) trinity quiz and a few images of trinity. Because the DVD goes for about 10 minutes, I am not planning on preaching, just try and draw it together at the end. This is good, as I had very little voice during the week. It is much better now, but still not strong, so no preaching will be good.

    Children, I am thinking of having some pictures of different parts of creation, and asking the children to hold them out the front, and see if the congregation can get them in the correct order.
    Chicken Schnitzel for dinner in an hour or so.
    [4.54 pm Saturday]

  2. Good morning, RevGals and everyone!

    Pearl, thanks for starting us off and I love your idea for the children's sermon that gets the congregation involved. Glad you get to rest your voice, too.

    I have freshly made fair trade French roast coffee to go with the sausage and biscuits that are just about ready to go on the breakfast buffet. Help yourselves!

  3. Good morning (Eastern standard time)!
    Tomorrow kicks off a summer-long sermon series that you all will no doubt be sick and tired of by the time September runs around. We will be doing sermons per request. We have already collected the suggestions and have scheduled them out. Tomorrow kicks off with a baseball themed sermon. Title: In the Big Inning.


    The following weeks get significantly harder with judgment and rapture and the Book of Revelation... but for today, it's baseball.

    A wedding at 11 and softball at 1 (don't think I can make the 12 game) interrupt the flow of the day and The Boy will be home after my return from my own game so it would be nice to add more to this skeleton of a sermon I have so far. First - the dogs.

    Sorry for kicking off with a small essay - sheesh!

  4. Good morning folks,

    It's been a tough month and I am exhausted, so I will be preaching a sustainable sermon which I'll rework this morning. Then beloved and I are going on a day trip.
    I have hazelnut coffee to share if anybody wants some.

  5. Kathrynzj -- sermons by request! I like that (I think). I'll be following the summer closely.

    Not preaching tomorrow.

    just got an emergency call from someone in my church, her husband has been taken to the hospital.

    will be doing that and writing prayers and praying for our call committee.

  6. kathrynzj, sermons per request, I am not sure I would be so brave. love to hear how it goes.

    I'm finished earlier than usual, so time for another cup of tea. I'll check in tomorrow and see how you are all going.

  7. kathrynzj, I look forward to hearing about all your sermons this summer. What a very cool idea! I hope you have fun with it.

    Diane, praying with you throughout the day.

    God_Guurrlll, prayers for your day trip to be just the R&R that is needed after all the challenges. Thanks for the fresh coffee! Please check in later, if you feel like it.

  8. Trinity, trinity trinity....still not done and have a long day of kid-shuttling ahead of me. I'm sort of doing the mystery thing. I guess. I suspect it's going to be a long night unless I can pull it off in the next hour....

  9. I love the idea of "sermons by request"...would have to figure out how to make it work with the RCL since I have to stick to those readings...maybe another year...

    I am trying to preach short homilies without a text for the summer, kid friendly too, since our kids are in worship for the whole service.

    My reflection tomorrow will be on the trinity with a connection to the creation story in Genesis. Love pearls idea of having the kids hold images of creation....I'm going to invite the kids to help and may use this idea....maybe...

  10. Good morning all. I enjoyed a long conversation with my 18 year old son in the wee hours of the morning. It was great to have him actually sit and be in conversation with me. However, I'm paying with brain fuzz this morning when I need to be alert and witty and thoughtful to get a sermon written.

    A few weeks ago, at confirmation retreat, we were talking about God as both male and female together - based on Genesis 1: 26 - 28. Then one of the boys who has five brothers in a multi-racial/multi-ethnic family formed through adoption asked, "Is God black or white, or what?" I explained to him that I believe a recent picture of him and his brothers with all different skin tones was the closest thing I've seen to the image of God when it comes to race and ethnicity. So today, I'm taking just those small verses from the lectionary along with Galatians 3: 26 - 28 and writing about the image of God as wholeness and how when any group is missing, excluded, marginalized, we are not yet restored to the image of God.

    Now if I could just take that paragraph and turn it into several pages - all will be well.

    Children's time will address Father's Day and talk about Father as one (but not the only) image of God we find in the Bible and how we have spiritual fathers in the church whether they are our family fathers or not. The kids are making something to pass out to all the men.

    Going to Farmer's Market in a bit. I'll bring back some fresh fruit for all of us.

  11. Wow, mid-life rookie, LOVING that. And what a beautiful answer to that young man. Thank you.

    I will be sure to keep you posted on how the summer series goes. We mainly decided to do it as a litmus test of where the congregation is. We're pcusa and after the turmoil of 10a passing we wanted to see if homosexuality was prime on our congregants' minds.

    It isn't.

    And so now I am 'stuck' preaching about judgment and forgiveness and baptism and being a Presbyterian... and baseball.

    About that baseball sermon... off I go!

  12. Good morning Susan, Terri, and Mid-Life Rookie! You three are looking at Trinity things, it seems. "What does God look like?" indeed! Very nice pictures you paint: God the mystery, God seen in all of us together, and the many biblical images of God reflected in our real-life spiritual fathers.

    A trip to the Farmer's Market sounds like fun! I wonder if there's a Saturday one close by me?

  13. Good morning, y'all. I'm planning to preach about chaos, drawing comparison between chaos of creation, chaos of saying goodbye to Jesus and chaos of Trinity. I will have ex-tended family in the pews, by which I mean ex-family, the Father of My Children and his father and stepmother, all there to hear my son play the clarinet. It's also Father's Day and my daughter's 16th birthday. And, my former father-in-law happened to be present the last time these texts came up, so I can't return to the pretty awesome sustainable sermon from that date. Yes, we're all about the relational, uncomfortably so. Try explaining who that lady is: "the step-grandmother of my children" or "the second wife of my former father-in-law" or "I'm her stepdaughter-ex-law." Modern living!
    First, I'm going out to Tony's Donuts, because this is my son's last Saturday home before he leaves to be a summer music camp counselor. We've eaten all the favorite local foods while he's been home except the donuts.
    Back in a little while.

  14. kathrynzj, OOOh, a baseball sermon. Lucky folks at your place...When I preach on baseball I get uber-blank stares (of course, baseball may not be the problem...); and I refuse to preach on HOCKEY.

    Our folks are getting CREATION to COMMISSION in three easy points (ha!) -- we are omitting the Psalm, which I grieve for, I wanted to quote Marilynne Robinson, but it would, sigh, have been a definite digression.

    Rainy as time, and I have a long midday interruption, lunch with Retired Clergy and Survivors, best get at it.

  15. Sermon is finished. Read all about it here. Gosh darn it, I imagine that the congregation is sick of me constantly challenging them to go out into the world but the gospel calls me to do no other. Sometimes being a pastor in an anxious system feels like this Farside cartoon.

  16. I'm not preaching today, but (WOO-HOO) that will not be the case for long!!

    I've been gone from the Preacher Party for the last several weeks - first the interview with a call committee, then two weekends full of graduations and then a weekend of synod assembly. And in the middle of that, I got a call!

    Ordination is this Friday and we head out from OH to SD on the following Monday.

    Today, I look forward to reading everyone's words of wisdom. In two week's I look forward to adding some of my own.

  17. Eeek it's father day tomorrow. Gotta get cracking on a children's sermon and/or pastoral prayer that recognizes this day.

  18. woo hoo Ramona. I am so happy for you.

  19. oh Ramona -- blessings and hugs and congratulations!

  20. I'm off to the wedding and then the softball game, wondering if I can wear the uniform for the latter underneath the robe for the former.

    Blessings upon all of you writing or going about the day hoping the sermon is percolating.

  21. I have a letter from my grandmother that was part of her Will. It is to her children, telling them to keep the peace, etc. It sounds much like the 2 Cor text so I am reading both and talking about how much we need to treat one another with peace and love, and wondering why we let ourselves get so far from God, and the disastrous consequences (showing video from Vancouver as an example). There will be lots of "we" talk because we are all at risk without God in our lives... and then I'll move into a bit about the Trinity. The tough part is the conclusion, with which I always struggle.

    I have gluten-free waffles to share! I just need to stop eating and get writing.

  22. Yea, Ramona! Many blessings!

    Martha, I'm totally in awe of your modern family configuration and your good-natured approach to it all. There is much to celebrate in that!

    I've gotten a few words down on paper about the Great Commission along the lines of it being a mission statement. I want to suggest that we have some way to "test" all the things that we do in light of what Jesus sent us to actually do. Still working on it ...

  23. Hi All

    Just made a batch of tiffin so tuck in!

    I'm currently thinking along the lines of combining Trinity Sunday with Father's Day (here in the UK) and looking at the trinity as a model for human relationships ( following Jurgen Moltmann's social analogy) and drawing in the Genesis text as evidence of God being "in relationship" with the words "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our the image of God he created them; male and female he created them" All well and good but only thoughts not an actual sermon text so far!!

  24. Congrats, Ramona!

    I wandered over to Text this Week and really like a piece called Three is not Enough! It's a Jewish perspective. I've also been reading a little Moltmann this morning. Still not sure exactly where I'm going. I did pull out a vintage sermon and posted it on my blog. It's my backup plan.

    Most of the morning has been spent coping with details of next Saturday's ordination of our new bishop and plans for the service the Presiding Bishop will celebrate the next day. I am trying to balance short answers with polite answers. ;-)

    And then there's the time I've spent locating a place to stay on sabbatical next March. It's between the Dordogne and Tuscany at the moment. This search, though, is helping me stay sane.

    Maybe I can explain God's bringing order out of chaos by talking about putting on an ordination! Nah, that will either bore them to death or have them laughing in the aisles.

  25. Good morning, RevGals! Ramona: YAY and blessings! Songbird: Could you bring back some donuts for me??

    With Trinity Sunday drawing us into Ordinary Time, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to enter into that season. Given the past year, which has been wondrous but pretty wild and intense, I find myself looking toward Ordinary Time with lots of anticipation this year. More about that in my post Trinity Sunday: Blessing of the Ordinary at The Painted Prayerbook.

    Also, my friend Elizabeth Nordquist recently posted a lovely reflection on entering Ordinary Time at her blog, A Musing Amma: "Extraordinarily Ordinary."

    Wherever tomorrow's many liturgical possibilities beckon you, blessings to you!

  26. Geez will blogger letmecomment or is this a divine get back to work msg? Try#3

  27. Congratulations Ramona!

    SB, blessings on your ex-tended family day...the Trinity is all about the relational, right?

    I have a baptism tomorrow and the parents just told me that they expect about 80 family members and friends to attend...which is more than my average Sunday attendance. I think I need to go print some more bulletins!

    I'm preaching on the great commission, but that is about as far as I've gotten. The sun is out here--a rare occurrence these days--so and it would be nice not to spend the whole day inside!

  28. Sharon, I'm far from crowing about it. Daughter tells me her dad planned to take kids and his dad to lunch/brunch; he thought I wouldn't want to go. "Can't I just have a normal family on my birthday?" Um, yes. I gave birth to her. I'm going out to her birthday lunch.

  29. Took a detour back to bed for a while. We all had short nights with an early morning getting son's car to shop for big 90K maintenance before he heads off to college in a few weeks. So eventually all of us wound up sleeping some more. My brain has less fuzz now, but no more words of wisdom than it did earlier. Come Holy Spirit.

    I've now missed all the good stuff at the Farmer's Market, so we'll have to settle for store bought produce one more week. Bananas anyone?

  30. Ramona, blessings to you on your new call!

  31. Ramona...hooray!

    Kathrynzj, I love your summer series too. How refreshing that your folks have many things on their minds, not just the latest resolution.

    Jill, the letter from your grandmother sounds like a lovely way to translate the scripture.

    Margaret, episcopal ordinations are such fun and I'm on our Standing Committee and thought of you as we gave consent :-)

    RevDr: 80 guests?? Oh my.

    I am in a happy place because my sermon for the family service took a lot of planning and set up but it was all finished by Thursday. I have 7 stations, each to do with a day of creation; each has a sticker or object (light=b'day candle, sky=cotton ball cloud, etc.) to put in/on a small take-out food box, along with a question (What's your favorite animal? What do you think it's like on the moon? How would you describe the sky?). I am very pleased with the idea and I hope it actually works, and that on this first Sunday after all the schools are out, there are people there to engage it.

    My dad died only 5 weeks ago, so Father's Day is a tender spot for me...not bad, just emotional.

  32. Hi my "mission impossible sister preachers." Loved the tv show and movies. Thinking of you as you prepare your sermons for Sunday. Wishing I was preparing with you and preaching on a regular basis. I really miss it. Any way I can be of support and help to you all. I have you in my prayers. I preached a sermon on this years ago, only I called it Mission Possible.

    And what about Father's day? Mine died over 20 years ago, I find myself grieving him today. I never knew what a fan he was of mine until he decided to leave the So. Baptist church and denomination out of support to me. Bravo Dad.

    Betsy, I see yours died just 5 weeks ago, I am sending you love and hugs.

    Margaret, thinking of you as you prepare for so much including a big time Bishop ordination.

    Wow Ramona, you go girl, we are having a cyber pep rally for you. Yea for the good coming your way.

    God_Guurll, sorry for your tough month, I can empathize. Thinking of you,hope all goes well.

    Love you all and hope it all goes well.

  33. Whoops, I meant he died 10 years ago. It has gotten easier, but still hurts at times.

  34. Ramona, Great news! Blessings.

    MidLife Rookie: Thanks for the story and the company in that part of Genesis.

    Songbird: Have a great lunch.

    Am focusing on image, likeness and what it means for us in our relationships with one another and with creation. A lot of things swirling around--Juneteenth Day, Fathers Day, who knows--maybe even the Trinity! Having trouble getting a focus.

  35. Hello gals and pals
    Lots going on here! Ramona, congrats on your call! Busy times ahead! Martha, sounds like a tough weekend but I am glad you are sticking up for yourself.
    I am totally, utterly exhausted due to raging insomnia, unbloggable stuff, just getting back from a week at Annual Conference electing folks for our quadrennial General Conference of the UMC, unpacking three kids and me, packing three kids and me for a week in Massachusetts leaving very early Monday morning for the 12 hour drive.
    And preaching three times (same sermon) and leading worship, for the last time, at the church I have served for 5 years. Next weekend off and then I start a new appointment July 1. So a lot of emotions.
    And a headache.
    The 2 Corinthians and Matthew texts lend themselves very well to a farewell sermon, thank goodness. Ignoring Father's day, will hit it in the prayers. Touching on Trinity.
    Sorry for the book. I need some prayer please to make it through the next three days.
    Blessings to all.

  36. Sarah ~~ Sounds like a great start! How's it coming along at this point?

    MumPastor ~ Our prayers surround you in the many challenges you are facing. Farewell sermons can be very sweet times of good-bye, as difficult as those times can be. I hope you get some sleep soon! That will help.

    RevAlli ~ Some very good things swirling in your sermonizing. Keep stirring!

    revabi ~ Your dad sounds like a gem. How wonderful that he supported your call so tangibly.

    Betsy ~ I love the family service that you have planned. It's the kind of thing that people will always remember.

    RevDrMom ~ I vote for going outside for inspiration before spending some, not all, of the day with the sermon.

    Welcome, Rev Nancy ~ Blogger can be a pain. Keep trying! Glad you are here!

    Margaret & Jan ~ Thanks for checking in today and thanks for the inspirational goodies!

    mid-life rookie ~ Yes, I'd love a banana!

    I forgot I had a pre-marital appointment this morning until my phone alarm went off right in the middle of a phone call. I dashed out and just got back so there is no lunch ready yet.

    I do have some tea brewing for iced tea and some lemon, mint and sugar or honey to make it just the way anyone likes it!

    Now, to find some lunch to go with that tea and banana!

  37. Sharon,
    Do you have specific materials you use for pre marital counseling? I just booked my first wedding for October.

  38. I have now come to the point in sermon worrying that I fear I don't know anything. Maybe it's lunchtime.

  39. Wow are we a busy crew or what?

    Congrats, Ramona! Whoohooo!

    I've been away for a long time, but am changing my life significantly, and hope to be more present very soon...

    I'm doing the Trinity thing--talking about God being love, and therefore in relationship and using Atticus Finch as both an example of love and relationship (with Scout and Jem) and an ideal father (it being Father's Day here in Canada). Not terribly fresh, but it'll preach!

    I'm having a light lunch of cheddar cheese and crackers with apples...

  40. Finished! Now I can hang with family!

    Ramona - May you find many blessings in your new beginnings.

    Martha - I have always appreciated that my parents who are divorced have made every effort to be amicable and supportive when it came to us kids and now grandkids. Kudos to you for hanging in there even when others make it difficult.

    Prayers for all who grieve their fathers either through death or broken relationships. For those who desire to be fathers and are not able. For those who agreed to let someone else father their child in the interest of that child. And for those whose children are lost to them.

    Have a great afternoon everyone.

  41. Is it bad that I'm watching the word count as I type, trying to decide if I'm done? #dogwaitingtobewalked

  42. Mumpastor, prayers for you in this transition. So much to do, feel, say, decide.

    I was at the farmers' market with my younger son and was telling him that the altar guild often gets the Sunday flowers there, then that I had given the flowers for church tomorrow in thanksgiving for the dads in our which point I began to cry. Maybe I ought to have the rector on call as backup for the service tomorrow (not the family one) at which I am the celebrant, just in case I find this all too fresh to be able to officiate.

    Stop by for some fresh local fruit: cherries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, plums, and apricots!

  43. Prayers for you Betsy, I'm speaking of baptism and my deceased father who baptized me..May the Spirit uphold you.

  44. Looking for the sermon fairy...or inspiration...or something. Went out to lunch and to get dinner supplies at Whole Foods with my son after making 50 extra bulletins and doing other assorted tasks for tomorrow. Nice day, but I hate that it's 3:20 (EDT) and I haven't even opened a word doc yet.

  45. I'm toying with all of the readings tomorrow as Love Story - if Creation spun out of the Love in the Trinity... It's not quite there yet though.

  46. Hello everyone! Just settling down to get started on this warm Saturday in a quiet, cool church.

    mid-life rookie--thanks for putting just the right children's sermon out there! I have struggled with that a bit in this new call, just because it's not something I'm used to doing.

    I've been pondering the points made on Sermon Brainwave this week about Genesis--that things are deemed "good" when there are a group of things in right relationship with each other. That is how they reflect the nature of God as the Trinity--a God eternally in right relationship, even before anything was created. Or something like that.

    Ramona! Congratulations! I have been in the system of which you speak and it can be frustrating. Way to go on your new call!

  47. I have a lot of words, but no conclusion. I think I'll walk away from it. We could use some groceries here, or at least something we could eat for dinner.

  48. Back from wedding, softball game and a random church music festival. Baseball is back on my mind, but first a shower. Also wondering how smart I could actually be when with a bad back I insisted on moving furniture around late last night.


    SB, you grab the groceries and I'll make dinner.

  49. Good afternoon preachers and pals! 4pm and just back from a very emotionally and logisticaly complicated multi-part funeral.
    Oh my... I am bone tired and still have a wedding dance to attend tonight. Rev Dr. Kate is supposed to be there too so that is a good motivator.
    I have not. a. word. written for Sunday. Planned to go with Great Commission which I suspect my folks are also tired of hearing.

    Back at it

  50. This day has not gone as anticipated. I have just returned from three hours in the ER tending to a parishioner who fell. I found her at the foot of a small flight of stairs, called the peramedics, and stayed with her in the hospital. She has a fracture from the base of her skull up and around to the front of her skull, with internal bleeding on the brain. They are going in to do surgery, the outlook is grave. Please hold Lucille in your prayers, me, and this congregation...she is one of the true pillars and saints of the church.

    So I have my sermon in my head and on paper, but. Not sure my brain will me calm enough to remember it.

  51. Oh Terri - how traumatic and surreal. Holding Lucille in the light and you as you comfort an anxious congregation in the morning.

  52. Celeste and Terri ~ holding each of you in prayer on this difficult day.

    kathrynzj ~ ouch!

    ElastiGirl and semfem and Rainbow Pastor ~ Your ideas about God's relational nature are intriguing to me. Any chance we'll get to see them on your blogs?

    Rev Nancy ~ What a very special thing to remember and share on Fathers Day.

    mid-life rookie ~ Congrats on your first wedding! I use something called Prepare/Enrich which I found out about in seminary and got certified in soon after that. It has worked well for me. Some others out there might know of other good resources.

    RevDrMom ~ Send that sermon fairy over this way when you see her, please! I could use a serious dusting of inspiration and energy. I just took a nap that has left me groggy and a little grumpy.

    More iced tea, anyone?

  53. Terri, I'm so sorry about your parishioner. Will hold her and you in my prayers.

    Celeste, am with you in thought and deed. Not a word yet. My solace--it's only mid-afternoon.

    Am chanting the service tomorrow. Haven't chanted in two years. Am looking forward to it but also know I have some practicing to do.

    Thanks, Jan, for the nod to ordinary season--standing at the threshold.

  54. kzj, burritos or pasta?
    Got home in the middle of rainstorm that turned to hailstorm and now to sunshower, if you can call it that when it's both bright and pouring. Weird!
    Terri, I'm so sorry about Lucille and will join my prayers to yours.

  55. Terri, prayers for Lucille and all of you. Relationships all are bound to one another, and you all are affected by this.

  56. This is the 3rd Saturday (out of the last 4) which I have had a presbytery meeting. I really enjoy my work on the Committee on Ministry, but will be glad for a free Saturday. Next Saturday is our presbytery meeting...and then a breather.

    I am using Psalm 8 and the Matthew text but the sermon is all about the Trinity. It is a more practical type sermon.

    Primary Colors.

    What a diverse group we are...and yet we too...are one!

  57. back at hospital to administer prayers for the dying. very sad...she will not make it...

  58. back at hospital to adminnster prayers for the dying. Lucille has taken a turn for the worst and will not make it. pray her daughter arrives safely, making a six hour drive to get here..

  59. Praying here, too. Come, Lord Jesus.

  60. Terri, oh my! May you and those you serve find strength and peace in knowing you are held in our prayers.

    Welcome, Purple! Congrats on sermon done!

    I have been writing. Not sure how close I am to the big finish.

    Don't forget to hydrate. I have cold filtered water so fill 'er up!

  61. Terri, I am so sorry. You and Lucille are in my prayers. This will certainly change your services tomorrow.

    I haven't thought about Father's Day much and won't do anything during the service other than at announcements. I remember when my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I was one of only two people in my office (there were about 18 of us) who still had their dad. That was 17 years ago. When I visited my dying aunt today, we were telling stories and I had a few about my dad that really got her laughing. So I think today was my Father's Day.

    About tomorrow's sermon. I am thinking I might start with a bit from Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition skit. "Our chief weapon is fear and surprise...Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency" and so on, the point being that whenever we begin to speak about the Trinity, we get tripped up. Also, I do think I will use something from the Textweek piece about Three is not Enough, if for no other reason than it points to the fact that we aren't the only ones who experience God in more than one way. And I like one of the exegeses from FOTW that points to the presence of Son and Spirit (light and breath) at the beginning.

    So it might be a cacophony of ideas but it won't confuse them any more than they already are!

    Good night all. I am signing off the computer for the next 12 hours just to prove I can.

  62. Terri, prayers for Lucille and her daughter, and for you as you minister to them.

    I have 700 words and no clear sense of where I'm going with them at a time of night when I am generally done. Argh. I thought preaching on the great commission would be easier than the trinity but apparently not so much.

    I did have some wonderful grilled veggies and grilled peaches for dinner, cooked by my son. Lovely.

  63. Oh my word! Wrote those two anonymous posts from the ICU waiting room while they moved Lucille from the ER to ICU. Prayed the prayers at the end of life. So sad.

    Home now trying to slow down after an intense six hours...breathe, take small bites of a quick dinner, chew slowly...then back to,what was it? Oh right...finishing up that homily....

    Than you for the prayers, I so appreciate them!

  64. terri, such a sad day. Will you be breaking the news tomorrow or will most people know? Prayers ascending.

  65. Those who know this church better than I suggest I tell folks tomorrow. The news will deeply impact the early service where I will tell folks first thing. I'll wait until the announcement time at the later service.

    But now I need to rethink the tone of my homily, not so light hearted for the early service, even if most of the content will be the same...

  66. Oh, Terri, what a tough day for you.

    Yippee! for Ramona.

    I'm back at my circuit riding gig for tomorrow. Preaching on the Trinity, which is more than my exhausted brain can think about, unfortunately. Two-day Presbytery meeting out of town. I took the two Baboos, neither of whom slept well at the hotel. Consequently, I slept hardly at all. And we have some energy-draining houseguests this weekend. My sermon is partially done, but is going off in about 6 different directions. Trying to stick to my point, if I could figure out what it is.

  67. Terri, I think kzj used the word surreal earlier to describe your day, and it only got more that way. I'm so sorry.
    I've posted a draft of my sermon, which I hope makes sense: Out of Chaos.

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  69. sounds like a few people are having a difficult day or week. Prayers for you all.

    I showed a DVD from our denominational body this morning, and I was reminded by some people how little they know of the church beyond the congregation - which means they found the DVD interesting.

    Hope those who aren't finished writing will be soon.

  70. How's everyone doing?

    Who's a night owl?

    A big cheer for those who have finished already. I'm looking forward to looking at all of your posted sermons after I get mine closer to finished. It's getting there.

    Anyone need anything?

  71. Coming in late, but here. Had a car wash/ hot dog sale with the youth today...A very successful one.
    We are pleased with their work and money raised.
    I am preaching on Epistle text with the title(via TextWeek and William Loader), " How to End a Letter."
    This is a very timely text for our congregation, they too are a little contentious. Had to call in some help and a called session meeting to deal with the truly contentious ones. Anyhow, I feel that we are going on the up side, for a lot of reasons. Money is looking a lot better, some have chosen to go a different way, and others are choosing to be with us in the "Peace, Unity and Purity" of the church.
    But now, the sermon comes to me. Some tough stuff to say, but needs to be said/
    Oh, and telling story of Betty Lou Blue for the children's time.
    See text week, under children for this one!
    Any one want a hot dog?? They are half price now! Also, have Skinny Cows!

  72. Great news Ramona!!!!! So happy for you!!!

  73. I posted my little reflection, riddles and all

    I had hoped to preach it without a text but this day has been too crazy for me to internalize, I'll be using my iPad, I suspect...

    Again, thank you for the prayers.

    I'm going to take a shower, make my be with the clean bed linens I have managed to get washed even with all the craziness of the day, and call it a night.

    Prayers and blessings for all of you!

  74. And Terri,
    Prayers for you, my friend. So hard and difficult.

  75. I just wrote "The Trinity is hidden in its own mystery." It's either brilliant or completely meaningless, and at this point, I can't tell the difference.

    I do not want to be a night owl. I do not want to be a night owl. I do not want to be a night owl.

  76. esperanza, honey, it's poetic. And so is the Trinity. I like it.

  77. Terri, you are in my heart and in my prayers. Prayers for your church and Lucille's family.

    Mumpastor, you are also in my heart and in my prayers. Goodbyes can be so bitter sweet.

    Good night all. May the Holy Spirit lift you as you all preach and teach tomorrow.

  78. Oh, that sounds good! Thanks, Songbird. And thanks for calling me "honey," it's very soothing.

  79. I heard that night owl anxiety, and it just slipped out. :-) Glad it was okay!

  80. SB, I like what you did with the Trinity!

    I have a draft--not in love with it, but it is what it is at this point. We have a baptism tomorrow and that seems like a good opportunity to reflect on the Great Commission--how daunting it feels to be sent out to make disciples when we're not always sure how to be disciples ourselves. And then playing off some things I got from FotW and Working Preacher, I suggest that we think of discipleship as an internship. Hoping it will work when I actually preach it.

    But now I'm going to clean up the kitchen.

  81. OK, I have 13 words. 10 of them are the header. MOVING FORWARD STRONGLY, here...

  82. Thanks, RDM. I work up more nervousness when people I know who don't usually attend are coming to worship. I had a hard time getting out of the way and letting the Spirit work. Which I hope I finally did.

  83. 1049 words! vroom vroom! trying not to get stalled! Going with a chord as an illustration. Just need to get here super early to get things set up with the musicians...

    Mumpastor, late prayers for you. I was just in a similar position, trying to say goodbye and prepare for the move. It's very difficult (I'm still not done!).

    Sharon, in response to your blog is not really operational right now...I do hope it's all right that I come and hang out and glean bits of wisdom (and try to help whenever possible) without posting a sermon afterwards!

  84. Rambler, you are cracking me up.

    Semfem! Thank you! That's a perfect idea!

  85. semfem ~ Yes, indeed, you are welcome to sermonize without posting! I was just encouraging those who will post theirs. I have a blog and I don't always post mine either.

    Crimson Ramber ~ You're on a roll!

    RevDrMom ~ Internship, yes! I am also working with disciples making disciples. There's so much there, isn't there?

    1-4 Grace ~ I'm not happy with my children's thing for tomorrow so I'll have to check out Betty Lou Blue. Thanks for the snacks!

    God-Guurrlll & Terri ~ Good night and thanks for your prayers for all of us.

    Starting to wonder how well the brain is working but I still have some tweaking to do. Onward!

  86. kzj - - I was secretly THRILLED when no one made any requests this winter when I tried to do sermons by request during the long ordinary time. I loved the idea, but I feared the requests.

    Celebrating with Ramona and sighing deeply with Terri.

    I have a "main idea" that came to me on the interstate in downtown neighboring city yesterday. That is a rough place to get an idea that you don't want to lose! 55 mph curving alongside exit and entrance ramps is NOT conducive to writing a quick note. (No lectures, please) Anyway, I got it jotted down AND my kids safely to the zoo. Now I just need to turn it into a sermon. An illustration or two wouldn't hurt either.

    I'm preaching from Matthew and have no plans to work much with the Trinity. And actually I'm drawn very much to v. 17 with the doubting and worshiping even more than, or at least framing my reading of, the commission itself. What does it mean to go, make disciples, baptizing and teaching even while we doubt? The commission doesn't say "take a few classes, joint a few Bible studies, pray a whole lot and when you finally get it 'Go and make disciples....'" It says go even when you have doubts yourself. So if that is that case, what is it that we're teaching? What is the message we carry? To me it sounds like maybe what we're bringing is less black and white than what a lot of people hear. Maybe what we need to be doing is less declaring (need a better word for forceful insisting - - maybe insisting is it) and more searching - less judging and more welcoming - with less certitude and more wondering.

    Where I think I'm going here is that
    1. We don't have to know or believe "enough" to go out and share our story in a way that invites others to see their own story, too.
    2. How we share it and make disciples/learners can be (should be?) reflective of our own role as disciples - - those still learning, with as many or more questions as we have answers. to get there?

  87. So is the late night team working or rather partying?

    Terri, praying for you and your parishioner.

    You too Mumpastor.

    Esperanza, I love what you wrote and I think your hearers will understand.

    Anybody need anything?

    Praying for the late night team and those in the later time zones.

  88. Rev Dr Mom - - Are you suggesting the ideas I have (or at least something similar) are in the commentaries this week? FTLOG why didn't I start there? Maybe it's time to go search them out to see if I can find something that gets me putting words on page.

    Or wait - - is that a rabbit I see running across the screen?

  89. SheRev, thank you! You reminded me of an idea I had earlier in the week that had escaped me till now.

    Thanks, revabi. And thanks for the prayers. I'm feeling their power tonight.

  90. Crap! semfem! You just reminded me of the awesome Trinity sermon I heard last summer at a conference that used jazz as the theme for worship. The preacher and piano player did a WONDERFUL sermon on the Trinity with chords as the guiding metaphor - - fun stuff with dissonance and different kinds of chords and things like. I totally forgot I was going to tuck that away to use for Trinity Sunday. Oh well. Next year again. (Someone remind me, please?)

  91. Well SheRev, if it's any consolation I'm sure my sermon is no where NEAR as cool as what you just described. :)

    I have exactly 1300 words and it has an ending. Is it a sermon? Maybe!

    A bit more polishing and then we'll see.

  92. I'm calling the 1911 words a sermon, a bit of a long one. It says God and Jesus and Spirit and love and grace, so it can't be that bad.

    Now to see what other parts of the service I need to prepare.

  93. I have returned from many miles of travels to an uncompleted sermon and unprinted bulletins. I'm now going to the church to print the bulletin. I may or may not login there but I will be reading.

    Fear not RevGalNightOwls, you are not alone

  94. Why do the comment counts not match? The popup window has a different count than the post on the main blog page. Questions that must be pondered when bulletins are not printed and sermons are not written.

  95. I wondered the same thing, vicar. Important issues that must be discussed! Right now!

    For your sake, I hope you're not in my time zone.

    I think I'm just about to finish it up. Can't print till morning, because the baby is asleep in the portable crib in the office, due to the houseguests. Ah, life.

  96. Glad you're finishing, esperanza. I think I'm finished too. A bit long but it will do. Just need to print and then head home, eat a quick bite of dinner, and sleep.

    Vicar and SheRev and any others still writing...may the Holy Spirit be with you!

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation.

  97. Vicar, Our minds are clearly in the same place. I do not want to admit how many times I have refreshed both pages trying to get them to match. Don't bother. It doesn't work.

    Still haven't even opened Word. I'm at that place where I feel like if I just had the write opening "way in" I could just pour this sermon out. Where or where is that thing?

  98. Welcome, night owls!

    I have a sermon -- Ministers -- ALL! SheRev, I'm also using Matthew text, no Trinity or other texts, and going with "we are ALL ministers because Jesus said so" or something like that.

    Vicar, hang in there!

    esperanza, sounds like you covered all the important bases.

    Speaking of bases, I don't remember seeing a baseball sermon around here anywhere. I hope kathrynzj got hers done!

    I'm going to hand this off to all of you late-late-nighters. Best wishes as you write and blessings as you bring God's word tomorrow. Party on!

  99. Done at last. Light and short. Good thing. The music person wants to use every verse of St. Patrick's Breastplate. (My boobs always hurt when they hear that hymn!)

    Terri, prayers are with you. Glad you have clean sheets and a liturgical tradition. The former will get you through the night. The latter the day.

    Blessings on you who are still at work.

  100. I left my sermon hours ago and had a fabulous day. Now I'm back to take a quick look at it again and render any "tweaks" that need to be done before I am off to bed. So glad to see I have some company.

    Prayers for you Terri, your congregation and Lucille's family. And thank you for your ministry to Lucille and her family.

  101. ALL RIGHT!! 1052 words, printed, and a million things left to do before bedtime. The long midsummer twilight fools me. It's here

  102. Playing a whole lot of Angry Birds and writing very few sermon words.

  103. Alright - - I think my first night on-call at the hospital for CPE at the ripe old age of 22 might serve as my opening illustration of feeling wholly inadequate (or Holy Inadequate? Could that be a sermon title) for the task before me. Do I have a "way in"?

  104. Yup, SheRev, that will work! Because at this point, just having **something** starts to feel like the goal!

    We had some friends over for dinner, not planned until mid-day, and it was delightful. It also got the house a bit more cleaned up, which feels really good. Sermon--really more of a creative engagement process--was all set up on Thursday, so I have thoroughly enjoyed today. I'm on vacation the next two Sundays, so I am hoping to let my brain slow down.

    Night owls, I hope your brains keep going, for as long as you need them to, and then that you are able to descend quickly into some blessed rest!

  105. She Rev, cpe stories are always great sermon fodder- especially if it is about your struggle.

    I am finished and going to grab a bowl of Lucky Charms on my way to bed. Feel free to grab some if you need them.

  106. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had left the bulletins printed, folded, and waiting for the announcement insert. So I only had to print the insert and assemble. whew!

    now for that pesky sermon ... I think I'm not preaching what I thought I was going to ... but maybe I will ... either way it's on the Trinity

  107. Oooohhhh...Lucky Charms, or Chucky Larms as my dad used to say. That sounds perfect.

    I got my intro typed up and it does, if I may say so, beautifully set up the worship/doubt tension within the disciples. Woo-woo!

    Just in time to hit my midnight bedtime. Gonna throw some phrases down for my next couple of moves then hit the hay.

    I'll be back about 4:30 (CST) assuming I don't forget it's Sunday morning and hit snooze 3 or 4 times like I did last week. The baby doesn't seem to be sleeping well, so I hope that plan stays the same all night.

    Thanks for the encouragement. See the rest on the flip side. Blessings on all of you!

  108. I will be up with you She Rev. I am about done, but need time to look over, make final changes, and clear points.
    Have had Star Wars: Epi V on as background.
    When Yoda brings Luke's ship up out of the swamp, he totally looks like he is constipated. Just thinking that as I am tired and a little crazy now.
    I <3 Yoda!

  109. The sermon and prayers are done!

    Of course, the printer ran out of ink. Thankfully there was a replacement one on hand.

    And, as an added bonus, the clothes of the last five days are now in the dryer!

    I'm going to bed. Blessings on your Sunday!

  110. Star Wars was on the TV when I went in the bedroom to go to bed. Of course it was. I changed it, though, since Star Wars is in my life in some way every other waking moment of every single day.

    I'm back to finish, having fully consciously pushed snooze 3 times. Living on the edge.

  111. Good morning to anyone who is still tweaking and buffing up! I'm still fussing with what I wrote.

    It's a privilege to share the joys and challenges of ministry with all of you. May this day be filled with blessings and joy for each of you! And may your ministry be blessed especially today.

  112. Good morning! I am tweaking, too. Trying to make sense of what I said about trying to make sense of the Trinity...
    Blessings to all of you today. Terri, thinking of you especially.

  113. Uh oh. It's 6:04 a.m. and I'm at that blah blah blah stage. Must. push. through.

  114. Good Morning Friends,

    Getting ready for church with my usual two cups of coffee and a last run through of my sermon.

    I'm so glad you are here. I appreciate you.


  115. Bob and I watched Star Wars on tv yesterday on the Star Wars Marathon, so I say to you, may the force be with you today as you preach.

    I watched the King's Speech later in the day, and I say you too can face the fear and preach that difficult sermon.

    May the holy Spirit cover you and breath on the hearers of the word today.

  116. They never complain about a short one, right? That's the theory?

  117. That is indeed the theory, She Rev. And a good one, I might add.
    I actually, could say more, but I might make 'em mad.
    Anhow, I forgot to check in earlier, but I am here. Heading out in a bit.
    Hope all is well. The coffee is on and I have Special K with fresh berries, and of course, Fair Trade.


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