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Saturday, July 16, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: "Taking the Bad with the Good" Edition

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Good morning, all of you 11th Hour Preachers! This is the party for preachers who are in some stage of sermon prep today -- and those who love us.  You are welcome here!

For me, this week's pulpit prep is distinctly unusual.  Since last Monday, I have been letting my congregation know that I am resigning as their pastor.  Last Sunday, everything was "normal"; this Sunday, things will be different.  That, plus a week of laryngitis and bronchitis, and I am feeling more than a little wobbly about Sunday.

Even so, I'll dare to begin our sermon conversation: 
I'm going with the "Wheat and Tares" in Matthew and the familiar Psalm 139. Sermon title is "Knit Together" and will focus (I think!) on God as the one who knits us together as a body.  As I write this, it feels very embryonic, and not in a particularly cute way. 

I also offer inspiration in a quote from At the Edge of the Enclosure:

All I'm saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we're caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.  [Martin Luther King Jr 1929-1968]

What direction is your sermon taking?
Who has a children's sermon or an illustration or a snack to share?  
What are you trying to keep and what are you tempted to toss?

Let the party begin!  So glad you are here!


  1. Good morning! I'm catching the west coast late night opportunity to get in early here...

    I've been bouncing around the edges of the gospel. In one way, I wonder if this is one of Jesus's ridiculous parable examples; really, would someone save up weed seed and creep out in the middle of the night to sow it? But another angle is coming to me, about the internet (field) in which there are so many excellent, honest, deeply felt ideas and needs that garner a wonderful response. But every once in a while, along comes a troll or faker--there was one a few years ago, a woman pretending to have had a lung transplant for CF--that has potential to poison the whole lot; it can be darn near impossible to tell the good from the false. Should we give up trusting, caring, praying, acting because we can't tell which is which?

    For the family service, at which we have communion only once a month, I'm not worrying about the lectionary and instead am going to show them my home communion set and talk about taking communion to the ill and housebound in the context of the Episcopal tradition. I had this idea before the discussion that arose here on Wednesday, and that confirmed my sense that this would be a wonderful teaching opportunity.

  2. Sharon, in my excitement over posting first, I neglected to say that you are in my prayers as you journey through a time of transition; I hope in particular that this first Sunday of the news being out goes well.

  3. Betsy, nice to see the West Coast getting the party started! I'm intrigued by the internet as field and the recognition that it is a mixed field. And that reminded me of a blog post I read yesterday by Katie Mulligan where she talks about Safe Space. She challenged me to evaluate space (fields?) with a critical eye and an open mind, and to sometimes choose to go to the not-perfect place.

    Thank you very much for your prayers. Much appreciated.

    Brewing some coffee over here. Grab a cup, early birds!

  4. Trying to get a Psalm 139 sermon on paper by noon. My daughter has reminded me three times so far (and it's 7 a.m.) that I promised to take her swimming today.I've got chobani yogurt--it was on sale so I've stocked up. Help yourself!

  5. Sharon, I add my prayers and love, too. May tomorrow be what's needed for all involved.
    I've got the Wheat and Weeds for tomorrow, along with the Wisdom of Solomon, which I fear means I risk going all bluestocking in an effort to explain where it comes from, but the lectionary offered the alternative, and it spoke to me at some point this week. Must trust it.
    Meanwhile, there are knitters at church this morning, and a fundraising dinner for a family in a medical emergency tonight, and in between a super-secret project to help a friend.
    But before any of that, I'll take some coffee!

  6. Thanks for the chobani, Susan, and I'll fill my cup again with you, Songbird. I also got the "hankerin'" (anybody use that word?) to make some muffins, so save some room for some fresh corn muffins in about 15 minutes.

    I remember how excited I was as a kid when my parents took me swimming. You are her hero, Susan!

    Songbird, heaven forbid we "go all bluestocking" on them! I look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Listening to some great country-style "somebody done somebody wrong" songs. Will someone please change the playlist? =)

  7. Sharon, let me add my encouragement and prayers too!

    I am preaching the Genesis text. I had hoped to have something brilliantly inspirational (after having been at our General Assembly last week) I've got work to do! But, I just brought home two 3 month old kittens yesterday and am wondering if they will ever find the courage to get out of the linen closet!

  8. Oh Sharon, I will hold you and your congregation in my prayers, transitions are always difficult.

    I think I am going with Genesis this week but will make a brief comment on the parable in Matthew. I continue with my summer five minute homily series preached without the text. Still, I write it out so I have some anchors to hold on too, and while I aim for five minutes, without the text I tend wander toward eight minutes. But, I am also inviting the congregation into a dialogue with me for portions of the sermon.

    Anyway, before I can get to sermon writing I have to weed my garden, while it's still cool out, and then run to the hospital to check on a parishioner who feelmdown her stairs and broke her femur, and then at noon I have a counseling session with a couple preparing for their Service of Commitment!

    I'lll be back later...

  9. Aww, kittens! How much fun, CF! They would be a big sermon writing distraction for me.

    Terri, weeding the garden (or not?) is very Matthew-inspired today. See you later after your busy day!

    One time -- actually it happened during the week of the Matthew "wheat and tares" story -- I pulled up a bunch of ugly weeds that were growing in strange places in my garden, only to realize soon after that they were the gangly seedlings of the sunflower seeds I had planted (and forgotten) earlier in the spring. And I'm a pretty savvy gardener, though not infallible, for sure!

    Those afore-mentioned corn muffins are out of the oven and are delicious with some fresh strawberry jam. Help yourselves!

  10. Thanks to Harry Potter's "The Sorting Hat" I've got a way into my sermon on the wheat and tares.

    Sharon, holding you and the congregation as tomorrow approaches.

  11. I am doing the Genesis route--know where I'm going but not sure how to get there. Basically--Jacob was called at that ordinary place & at that time--how are we at church called at our place and time? just wondering the inbetween stuff

  12. Sharon, prayers ascending for your transition. My heart goes out to you.

    Not preaching tomorrow but am using this time to prepare for a sermon series for the rest of the summer. Inspired by KJZ (thank you) I am having the congregation choose what I'll preach on until rally Sunday. The topics are very interesting so it should be a fun month. But alas, it takes more work to have the congregation pick the sermon topics then it is to go with the lectionary. I'll be spending the day pouring through scriptures to match up with the topics.

  13. Sharon, your announcement caused a little feeling in the pit of my stomach. you are in my prayers.

    I've got a start on the wheat and the weeds, but not as much as I'd like. concentrating on the idea that the judgment belongs to God and not us, that the wheat and weeds speaks to the messiness of good and bad in our lives, that our job is to show the love and mercy in the meantime, knowing that God does not want one grain of wheat to be lost. want to bring in a little Rob Bell.

    I think.

    But what about a children's message, you say?

    I don't know. anyone?

    This transition period between sr. pastors is getting really stressful, and I'm finding myself wanting to escape it, on occasion. Hard to explain.

  14. Kate -- I love the Jacob story -- hope to hear where you're going on that

  15. Good morning all. I am having trouble trying to wake up this morning. Nothing really has filtered through the week since bible study on Tues. I can't even believe it is Sat.

    I think I want to combine Jacob and the weeds and wheat. I like Sharon's concepts of the weeds and wheat but I think it took a dream like Jacob--coming to know the reality of God's presence to be able to allow the weeds to grow and trusting the surity of God's ablility to sort the difference.

  16. I am so very grateful for all the thoughts and prayers you all are pouring out on me. I am feeling the love! And each of you is in my prayers as I read each of your comments.

    Diane ~ My situation still gives me a twinge when I think about it too. I didn't get the longed-for phone call (email, tweet?) from God that would've given me the certainty I never quite felt. Your stressful transition is especially in my prayers right now.

    Purple ~ How fun to bring the sorting hat into it on this Harry Potter weekend!

    G-G ~ You are brave! Can you share any of the topics with us -- like, the one that you are most surprised by?

    kate ~ Sounds like a strong start to me, one that the congregation can identify with. Cheering you on!

    Running out to the post office and considering a side trip for mulch and some strawberries. Be back in a few!

  17. Mutha+ ~ I just now saw you in the room, wise woman! I love what you said: "coming to know the reality of God's presence to be able to allow the weeds to grow and trusting the surity of God's ablility to sort the difference."

    May you gently wake up to this beautiful day!

  18. Mulch for the preacher party...hmmmm interesting considering the lectionary text.

  19. One of the topics, "What happens to us when we die" does anyone have a scripture I could use for that one?

  20. Am I the only one who doesn't know what it means to "go all bluestocking?"

    Sharon, prayers and good wishes for your Sunday tomorrow. And I *love* your MLK quote!

    I am carrying a heavy sadness this week--an elderly man in our congregation who has no family was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 10 days ago; we admitted him into hospice on Wednesday and the nurses yesterday said that death is likely only days away. That is sad enough but what is really weighing on my heart is something we learned about this man as we helped him sort through his affairs and the ways it is clear to me that the church has let him down--more than that, likely caused him more pain--over the years. More than that is unbloggable now, although I wish I could tell the story .

    I am working on Matthew--I actually started yesterday afternoon and thought I knew where I was going, but this morning things don't seem so clear.

    We are a bit low on supplies here, so a trip to Whole Foods may be in order. And tomorrow afternoon, hopefully, Harry Potter 7.2!

  21. Godd morning all!

    I am getting a slow start on my day and my sermonating! Woke up from an 'anxiety dream' that clearly reflects that not only have I not started writing, I have no idea what I want to do with the wheat and the tares. It's going to be one of those days. The hubby and the boy have already retreated to the man cave to give me space (and to get away from my sermon writing).

    I guess I'll re-read my notes for the week, have some coffee and hope the HS comes to me in the shower!

  22. RevDrMom -- praying for this man and your congregation.

    I don't know what "going all bluestocking" means either.

  23. Oh - I forgot. This week my son was trying to stump me. I occasionally use songs as sermon themes and he said he had one that I could never use. I took up his challenge - the song was the Stones "Sympathy for the Devil."

    I immediately thought of how the weeds stay in the wheat until the harvest. He was impressed that I came up with a connection and now wants to know if he can skip the sermon since he 'helped' with it.

    I don't think I'll use the song, but I thought it was funny that he brought that song to mind when I am contemplating the continuing presence of evil in the world!

  24. Sharon, i will check out that link; what you drew from it sounds like a great direction. As I was waking up and pondering what to do with my ideas, I came to the hought several of you have expressed, that we are called to be in the midst of the field no matter what; yes, there will be some weeds, but there's also bountiful harvest growing.

    The sorting hat idea is a great one, especially on this particular weekend. My 13 y.o. son is in NYC and last night saw How to Succeed in Business, starring Daniel Radcliffe; he was beside himself with excitement because he got his autograph after :-)

    Chilly, I don't think I'd get a darned thing done with the cuteness of 2 little kittens around!

    Sharon, I'll grab a muffin; fresh ones are so good. Evidently my dog agrees, since he ate off the counter half of the two dozen I fixed yesterday...

    SB, like you, I decided to use the Wisdom canticle because of the novelty; now I have to see if there's a good way to integrate it into the sermon.

    GG: John's many mansions and the end of Romans 8 come to mind.

  25. My phone ate my comment... Sharon- praying for you and remember ing limitless horizons. Back layer to sort through my weedy notes

  26. Peace and more peace (and strength!) to you and your congregation in this time of transition.

    It's been a hard week, so I found I needed more "creative" time with this sermon--I took it and RAN with 2 hymns and 2 poems (which are posted on my prayer & preaching blog), all connected with Jacob's dream at Bethel.

    Heading out to the hospital now for some final visitations. God's peace to all.

  27. I thought I knew what "going all bluestocking meant" and I was close. Googled it and found this at Wikipedia: "A bluestocking is an educated, intellectual woman. Until the late 18th century, the term had referred to learned people of both sexes. However it subsequently was applied primarily to intellectual women, and the French equivalent bas bleu had a similar connotation."

    I seem to remember blue-ish stockings on older women in church, so I though it meant more "(grand)mother knows best (and will tell you all about it)" kind of thing.

    Welcome everyone who joined in while I was out getting mulch and inspiration. The inspiration is for a children's sermon where I am going to bring two pots with plants that look a lot alike. One will be oregano (the herb) and the other will be a weed that looks a lot like oregano. Both are growing together in my garden. Maybe I will bring them in one pot together. The visual is good; working on what the actual point will be for children.

  28. RDM ~ Wow. How sad. Church life can be a great field and then there are the weed things, this one hidden until now. Prayers for all of you.

    Ramona ~ I'm old enough to remember that song very well. And how adorable that your son was looking for a sermon pass!

    Betsy ~ I would swoon at that autograph, too.

    RPD (my name buddy!) ~ You and your hard week are in my prayers today.

    The local fair (slash) picnic put on by the Lions Club and Fire Company is about to begin the Saturday festivities. The band was playing until midnight last night, a block away. I also live across the street from a church camp and they were singing robustly until about the same time. So, I look forward to another party day in my neighborhood!

  29. Good morning. Thinking/praying with those of you in transition times, esp Diane and Sharon. Hard stuff.

    Well, it's a rainy, lazy day here. Everyone is quiet and it would be a good time to write. I just did a sermon on 139 several months ago, otherwise I would love to do it again. Instead, I'm going with Genesis and pondering this quote from Anthony Robinson via Textweek:

    "the spiritual "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder," has re-moralized this story, teaching us to think of it as a ladder we ascend to heaven. Actually not. Here the divine messengers are the ones using the ladder and they come down to us confused, and confusing, mortals. We don't so much climb to heaven, as heaven climbs down to us. "

    Wishing I would have called my sermon Heaven Climbs Down To Us....

    I have no breakfast food to share, but some potroast and potatoes left over from yesterday, for those of you on the Lunch Coast already...

  30. okay, I've been to the farmer's market (peaches, potatoes, broccoli, blueberries, zucchini...a good day!), fed my friend's fish and cats (not one with the other!) while they're on vacation, and checked in on facebook and twitter. The only thing I haven't done is clean the house. Meanwhile, I'm holding out a reward if I can finish my sermon: I can watch a movie on streaming netflix and read my latest library find...but not before it's done!

    Too bad I'm on wheat and tares, and don't really have anything to say about that. Tell me more about the sorting hat idea--maybe that could work for me. LOL.

    Betsy--your internet field thing reminded me of the weird story where the blog "a gay girl in damascus" turned out to be written by a middle aged american white guy living in england...

  31. Teri, thanks for the reminder about that blog; that is more recent and some people will recall it, so it's a great additional example.

    In searching for info about the one I was thinking of, I found posts from people when they found out about the fraud, and they discuss the temptation to withdraw altogether, not to trust anyone. How tempting that is for us as well: "If I can't tell the weeds from the wheat, then I'm just going to stay away from the field completely." Definitely not, I think, what God has in mind for us!

  32. So my parishioner died this morning...probably about the same time I made my earlier post. May Ken rest in peace and rise in glory.

    I'm feeling so distracted today that I may go the sustainable sermon route. Or not if I can find my concentration again.

  33. I am blessed. I have a sermon and it isn't even noon. I have posted it at

    It isn't the sermon I will preach since I tend to preach extemporaneoulsly but at least the ideas are in my head in some logical way.

    I worked both with Gen and the Gospel and came out with at least something. I am using a bit of my Lutheran seed among my Episcopal tares. 8>D At least I learned something being a Luth-episk.

  34. I was cleaning my house last night (in procrastination of finishing the sermon of course) and came across the book "Three Cups of Tea." That might be an even more recent example of fraud. I'm not 100% sure of the details, but I loved the book and was saddened to hear that there was controversy over the money for his non-profit and where that $$ was going. Like I said, I can't remember all the details but if you google "Greg Mortenson" and "Three Cups of Tea" no doubt you will find some material.

    I too am trying to bring in a little something from our General Assembly, the theme being "Tell It!" from Deuteronomy 6:1-9. I originally thought I would tie in Deuteronomy, the GA and Jacob's dream, but the more I process everything I'm inclined to use the weeds and the wheat because there were certainly both present in our General Assembly. Don't get me wrong, I was inspired and loved every minute of it, but I know our community has it all! Theodore Wardlaw has a really great piece on "purposeful and holy ambiguity" in this parable in "Feasting on the Word," that I think I'll work on.

    I went to the produce stand yesterday so I have nectarines, fresh cherries (yum!), asparagus and fresh green beans to offer no matter what time zone you're in!

  35. Rev Dr Mom, prayers for your parish member and for those of you who will be trying to learn from the information you found.

    Three Cups of Tea...another good example, for sure. I, too, loved that book and felt betrayed by the discovery that his work wasn't all it was presented to be. Wheat and weeds mixed together right in that one example, because I think much good work was being done even while fraud was occurring.

    I live in the land of Carmeggedon--the shut down of a major freeway for the weekend and a way overblown news event--and am trying to figure out a nice small way to work that in, too, because most of us regard it as ridiculous. More fun pondering this than actually writing!

  36. Preaching on Gospel parable. I got nuthin', nuthin' at all.
    I did like the discussion on Tuesday though. I liked the idea that we have wheat and weeds in us and that it is God who is doing the deciding in the end.
    But,I really got nuthin'
    Coffee anyone? Muffins?
    How about a cat to sit in your lap and offer advice or cuddling

  37. I was looking at my 2008 sermon on this text and I referenced "Three Cups of Tea" as an example of tending the wheat (humanitarian work in the Middle East) instead of whacking at weeds (going after the terrorists). Ironic -- or predictable? -- that there would be weeds in that wheat . . .

    RevDrMom ~ so sorry about the loss of your parishioner. Our prayers are with you.

    Betsy ~ That is a very good word to me as I am feeling vulnerable about going back into the field of professional church leadership in my next call. Just because there will be weeds doesn't mean the field is not worth going into or that it is mostly weeds or that the weeds will have the last word. Wonder if that's why they call it "field education" in seminary?

  38. The text for me this week is Matthew and the sermon just needs a bit of tweeking. I also have an infant baptism so the basic theme has to do with "you have to wait and see."

    I was also struck by the end quote from "In Plain Sight" (the 7/10 episode). It's a bit fatalistic and self-centered and I think it reflects a pretty common orientation folks have toward life. I want to challenge that view in light of God's work in our lives based on Psalm 139. So fwiw, in case it might give someone else something to work with, I share the quote below:

    Scientists and scholars, poets and priests can argue the particulars but who’s to say really how children raised in the exact same house can turn out to be so drastically different? Forget nature or nurture. my guess is it’s the luck of the draw. and that’s the scary part. how smart they are or if they can read a map or if they can carry a tune. its mostly out of your hands. just add water and hope for the best. cause in the end as in the beginning a child is going to be who a child is going to be. All it’ll be is a reminder, a constant reminder, of who you are and where you’ve been and far you have to go.

  39. And then she has a moment of brilliance(or something close to it).
    Okay, so for those on the Gospel text.
    I am reading The Help. Can I have an amen????
    In it Abilene (black lady who is made for rich Mississippi family) her son was killed and she goes back to the day that "seed was planted in her." She keeps bringing it up...have not finished the book yet, but may have something there.
    Oh and I already cant wait to see the movie.

  40. 1-4 Grace: I almost picked up that book last night at Target! It's definately on my 'must read' list.

    RevDrMom: Prayers go out to you and the family of your parishioner.

    and Prayers also for everyone in transition!

    Amazingly, I have a sermon already! It's probably too long for a communion Sunday, so I'll let it simmer a bit and come back for editing. Not bad for a day when I woke up with nuthin'! The HS does indeed live in my shower!

    Some great preaching thoughts out there - I can't wait to read everyone's sermons!

  41. continuing with Romans 8...looking at the question of the already (God's grace and kingdom), but the not yet (groaning of creation, fear and anxiety) through the lens of Paul's use of adoption. We are God's, it's from that identity that we live in this liminal space and have hope in a broken world. Wrote most of the draft yesterday and am editing it right now and then practicing in the pulpit later on this afternoon.

    Keeping you in prayer, Sharon as you transition. Have you read running through the thickets? It's an Alban book about saying goodbye to a congregation and transitioning well.

    It's another hot Texas day and I have some cool sweet tea or vanilla ice cream and fresh peaches.


  42. The Help was one of those books that I picked up and couldn't put down. So much to think about...

    I have been on AAA hold forever. Trying to decide whether to bail on my investment of time and call later (when it might not be any better) or keep holding. There's probably a sermon in there, but not for today.

    Ice cream and peaches sounds like a perfect lunch; hey, it's dairy and part of the daily 5. Maybe add some granola on top to get in some whole grains!

  43. Done!e And, that gives me a little time before I have to head over to a church dinner.

    The kittens have been exploring the bathroom today...still not enough courage to venture into the bedroom, but they will get there!

  44. Ah, I see I was unintentionally obscure. In more modern terms, to characterize someone (myself, in this case) as a bluestocking is to identify her as a sort of highbrow nerd delighting in fine points of interpretation and knowledge.
    Some of my least favorite among my sermons have gone down that path. *I* am fascinated, but they don't preach.
    I'm back from church, but have to leave again around 5 and have not yet had a chance to write a word. So I am diving in, and hope I come back up with something!

  45. thanking God once more for all you partying preachers. I can feel the love that is shared here - welcome wheat among the weeds we all have to wrestle with.
    Had a wedding a bit away from home today so just getting down to it. Checked out my thoughts from 2008 just when I was moving to this call - very interesting. Also discovered a very topical illustration - the Media phone hacking scandal that has erupted in the UK - part of Rupert Murdoch's empire. He also bank rolls Zondervan - weeds and wheat together indeed! Now to mix it up somehow.
    Exciting thing is that, next Sunday I will be on your side of the pond. CAN NOT WAIT. Now, if I can just get this sermon dusted before I finish packing.

  46. Checking in with my sustainable sermon from several years ago. Going back to the same supply place as last week. No children with me this time, but I will be taking my mom and grandmother. That always throws me off a bit.

    Hoping to get it polished and a prayer written before they arrive from out of town.

    G-G, my favorite for answering that question is 2 cor 15.

  47. We are in the midst of massive heat/humidity/and record heat index temps. It is to be with us until at least Wednesday. I am grateful for AC but know there are many who do not.

    Thanks to Harry Potter the sermon is done. The Sorting Hat."

  48. With the help of hubby and Son created a veggie tray, made some salsa and the awesome Casa de Angelos house salad dressing. Oh and cooked up the elderberries that thawed during the move into pre-pie form. After the break, I re-read my sermon and I'm having trouble finding anything I want to cut out. I think it's a bit too long - 2060 words on a communion Sumday. The editing process continues...

    Think I'll putter in my office a bit and then run through the service in preparation for my first-ever Eucharist!

  49. O goodness, I got to a good point in my sermon, put my head down and fell very soundly asleep! Suz, I'll have some of the Texas sweet tea.

    Congrats to Chilly, Purple, ramona and esperanza on completions. I'm going to go read some of your sermons now.

  50. Sharon, I'm also the victim of an unexpected nap, and I'm applying coffee to my wounds.
    This day has not had enough clear-thinking time in it. I have an outline and some strong sentences, but that is not a sermon! Ack! Pretty soon I need to change and go to the fundraising dinner. But I'll try to squeeze out a little something first.

  51. I too apparently took a nap....still no words of any kind...though I LOVE Purple's take on it and may borrow some of her idea! :-)

    ok, seriously...I'm working. I swear....

  52. About 80% finished, but now I'm off to have dinner with a friend who is in town and traveling through. I feel confident though. The theme of our General Assembly was "Tell It!" so I've gone with the notion that it is not our duty to separate the weeds from the wheat, rather we are all to live "in the field" together and it is our job to "tell" our story of God's mercy and grace. God will be in charge of the harvest in the end.

    Hope it preaches!

  53. After having some trouble settling in, I managed to get my mojo back, and I have a sermon TBTG. And now we may go see HP7.2 tonight instead of tomorrow.

  54. Still trying to wake up!

    More coffee and more iced tea for everyone!

    I have worked over a sustainable sermon but want to tie the ending into the "new beginning" that this Sunday will herald for this congregation. Thanks again for all the love and cyber-hugs and prayers for me today.

    Back to seek the elusive sermon ending. I would rather go see Harry Potter again!

  55. Hi all - a lot of prayers ascending with some tough stuff going on.

    I am still on the sermon series with this week's request being 'if God created mankind and loves us, why does he permit nature to be so destructive?'

    I am working with Psalm 29 (spinning cedars) and Mark 4 (DO YOU NOT CARE THAT WE ARE PERISHING!) which is all good, but of course Jesus does calm the storm in that one.

    In the meantime I am alternating ice and a heating pad thanks to a softball injury on my lower leg sustained today. Walking around in the morning should prove interesting.

    Heading back to it. Happy to join the party.

  56. Ramona, may the eucharist tomorrow be a joy and blessing to you and all those participating!

    Peace Babe, I found this bit on one of the TextWeek links (not sure which one, as I copied it just for the idea, not a quote): "Perhaps the best defense of God would be to just keep our mouths shut and live like He told us to. The gospel would then have such power and attraction that we wouldn't have to worry about defending it." Tell it! indeed, with our lives.

    Watched Netflix with older son, which was a good break, positive bonding time (important with a 16 y.o.), and fun; alas, it got me nowhere on my sermon. I am going to an outdoor concert tonight, so I need to get cracking.

    Cherries, anyone?

  57. Whoa! Trying to catch up on the party while making supper...lots more to read...but also, I ended ip writing two sermons today...yup. But one will go in the file and may be what I use next then I had to write one for tomorrow...but I have a draft. Now for a late supper before I return to finish the homily and write the Sunday prayers...this day has gotten away from me!

  58. Ouch, Kathryn! Prayers for pain relief and mobility.

    Betsy, yes, please pass the cherries! Wheat and weeds, cherries and pits. I've been at this too long!

    Going for a little walk to see what's going on in the neighborhood.

  59. Thanks Betsy, that will help me too.

  60. I have one in the vault from three years ago that would work in a pinch. I wrote a different one today and hate it. So now, we're on sermon number 3. I'm frustrated, but grateful to have an old one if I need it. I wish I didn't love this text (psalm 139) so much!
    Leftover pesto and pasta for those so inclined!

  61. I have a draft!!! I can't even tell you how excited I am to have this "done." I mean, it's terrible, but at least I have something to work with. And it's still light outside! I might even make a real dinner rather than sitting on the couch moping in front of my blank screen!

    And I didn't even *technically* include any Harry Potter spoilers, really...though I might ask before the sermon tomorrow if spoilers are okay, and make some of it more explicit. We'll see. maybe not.

    shockingly, I realized that I need to run to the store. Tomorrow night we're having a surprise "party" for one of our youth leaders who was in a car accident and is spending the summer recovering from the required surgery...on the couch. She's a very active person, so we thought all the youth leaders coming over with dessert and board games would make for a fun evening to break up the monotony. But that means I have to make a dessert! And I think I'm going to make my mom's old recipe for no-bake cheesecake pie...which, it turns out, is a recipe from the condensed milk can. LOL. Thank God for the internet! (yes, I was looking for the recipe instead of writing the sermon earlier...sigh)

  62. Hello, again~
    We're back from the spaghetti dinner, and I'm back at the computer. I've got about half a sermon, give or take, and hope to push through and get it done in the next hour. Who's with me?

  63. Mmm. I have to be at church in 8 hours and I still have all the usual bedtime tidy up things to do. BUT I have a sermon
    Thanks to purple for suggesting one of the illustrations - the sorting Hat. And to all of you for being here, sharing pain, holding each other up, pitching in - what a great community. Blessings on the rest of your prep and your worship.

  64. WOW! What a day. I finally have a draft posted Weeds Crop Up, Sometimes That Is How God Works

    I have a bit more work to do, then I'll be round to read yours!

    Tea anyone? and homemade apple-cherry pie?

  65. Teri, what a great idea to cheer up your youth leader!

    Hooray for all those who have sermons finished; it's a good feeling. I am close enough to go to the concert without too much worry; the ending is abrupt and weak, but I'm hoping some good music in a lovely (and, I might add, largely weed-free) botanic garden will inspire me for a final push when I get home.

    Picnic dinner, anyone?

  66. Well, lazy day continues around here. Watched Kung fu Panda snuggled up with family and dogs ( another in the The Myth of the Lucky Beginner genre but still enjoyable), walked dogs, worked a little in the yard. Answered a mountain of email.

    And yet, none of this is getting the sermon written. Now, disappointed that outdoor concert I was planning to attend already happened on thursday! Bummer. Guess I should dig back in. Wow - coming back from vacation is HARD.

    How you all doing? Songbird? You done?

  67. OOO, and an interesting distraction - I am performing a baptism tomorrow in a river for a family who would like to be baptized near their home. We are usually from the sprinkle school around here, so any logistics advice you full immersers can pass my way very much appreciated.

  68. Juniper, I'm almost there. I'm going short this week. We worship at 9:30. In our neighboring town there is an 11 a.m. interfaith service. If I keep ours a little short, people who want to may attend both. Since we're part of the Interfaith Council that sponsors the service during an annual festival weekend, I would like to get there myself! So I'm wrapping it up now, at a more modest length than is typical.

  69. Just got a call from my sexton at Chruch #1- he hurt his back and won't be able to open up tomorrow. And the organist is gone as well, so we're going to be singing to recorded music and winging it a bit. I'll have to get there earlier and see if we can get the hymn numbers up. He hadn't done them yet because the bulletin person is out of town and left the bulletins for that church with me (and I didn't know he needed them!)

    Ah...the joys of a 2-point small rural parish. I'm sure the Word will be preached, the Sacraments shared and God worshiped, even if we don't have the hymn numbers up or the bell rung at the right moments!

    Praying inspiration to everyone who is still sermonating. I'll check back later to read some more wisdom from Sophia!

  70. I have just gotten back from a church dinner, too. There seems to be a lot of church dinners tonight. Am very excited that my two new kittens (Boo and Lola) ventured out of not only the bathroom closet but out of the bathroom and into our bedroom! Progress! I have a feeling that at the next preacher's party I might be lamenting how full of mischief they are.

    Looking forward to reading some of those sermons out there...with big brown dog at my feet. No, he has not yet met the kittens. They must be brave enough to swat his nose first.

  71. Checking in. Re-writing the last page to tighten it up. Had a lovely afternoon break @ the gym and a nap which helped to clear the head....hoping to print off another draft shortly to practice again.

    Blessings as you all finish!

  72. A river baptism! How very fun! Former Baptist here who actually baptized one of my daughters in an Ohio river. Not sure what you want to know, but I could give you a step by step, Juniper, of the physical logistics, or answer anything that you might be wondering about.

    Ramona, praying for your logistics challenges!

    Thanks for the pie, Terri, and I look forward to reading your sermon along with Teri's and Liz's.

    The evening was so beautiful, I enjoyed it into the darkness. I think there's a moon behind the clouds somewhere.

  73. I'm going to call this one good (I hope): In the Weeds. I hope there's sleep in the near future for all of us!

  74. sharon! awesome!

    if you are facebook, will you email me your full name to rev dot brownell at gmail dot com and then I will friend you and we can im? i have a lot of questions....

  75. Still not done, sad to say. Doing hope, not fear.

    Perhaps I should consider my sermon in the light of its topic!

    Anyone have anything to throw in on that topic?

  76. I hope you'll forgive me popping up here so infrequently? I have only just got round to adding the lovely 'new' RevGals 'button' to my blog! But there are occassions when I really value the help of any comment on a sermon so have posted this on the wheat and the weeds for any feedback and if it's of help to anyone else!

  77. Juniper, done! Let me know if you don't get it in a few minutes.

    Sarah, good thought! You are in good company here tonight.

    Still reading and considering borrowing someone's sermon ending. Is that allowed?

  78. And praying for you Sharon as I sit here (at stupid ok in the UK!)

  79. Is it wrong to already be looking forward to my Sunday afternoon nap?

  80. Just coming to the party, but I think this time my stay will be short. (I say that almost every time, don't I?) This time it could be for real. I'm not preaching a real sermon, but setting up a sharing time. I'll do an intro and a wrap up, but most of my work will be setting the mood. This time I actually sent out our sharing questions ahead of time to people with e-mail. We'll see how that goes.

    I'm pretty excited about the service actually. It's been fun to plan. I'm going with Genesis and Jacob's dream. I've dealt with these Gen texts the last few week. The first on setting up how God uses ordinary people (focus on the LACK of interesting activity in specifically Isaac's story as an adult) for extraordinary purposes, then the dysfunctionality of the biblical family and again, how God can use EVEN them (even our dysfunctional families, even our dysfunctional church) for good.

    So now we have Jacob - - who not only tricked his brother for the birthright, but then tricked his father for the blessing. He's not really in the best place with his family. I'll beef up that part of the story and the turmoil and loneliness he could be feeling out there in the desert on his own. I've got the lights of the church set to be very dim; we'll close the blinds to darken the room. Our opening liturgy is is the liturgy from Evening Prayer and Prayer at the Close of Day. I'll read the first two verses of the Scripture very early to bring us into the dark night with Jacob, placing a large rock on our communion table that also has a cool 4-foot ladder type candle holder on it. We have a trumpet solo (actually going to be on flugelhorn) playing a very mystical Dvorak lullaby while I set the whole scene and read those first two verses.

    When I we get to the Scripture/sermon I'll read the rest of the story, and set people up to think about times when in the moment they felt alone, without God, only afterwards to be able to point to the truth of God's presence (sort of the Footprints poem now that I'm typing it this way, but I won't reference that!) -- when they were able to declare "Sure the Lord is in this place - and I did not know it!" After setting up the sharing time we have a slideshow of about 20 different artistic interpretations of Jacob's dream that will play while we listen to Sweet Honey in the Rock's version of the song.

    Then we share, in the midst of the sharing when the time is right I'll muse a little on the renaming of the place to "Bethel." Something about how we often think about the presence of God in the church, but really God's presence is all around us. God's house can be anywhere "This is none other than..."

    From the sermon time forward we will begin to bring up the lights, as day begins to dawn in the text, too. At the offering time I will pour oil on the rock inviting others to make their offering to God in thanksgiving for God's presence. We end with "Blessed Be Your Name," full lights, full day, etc.

    Sorry for the long post, but I'm pretty excited when all the little pieces come together.

  81. So, now to write the transitions that pull it together. I started my day with a four hour drive that began at 3:30 a.m. I took my older daughter halfway to Grandma's last night. We met and planned to stay the night at the hotel. Somehow I let my husband convince me to bring the baby with me. Baby - - she's 14 months old now. I did NOT however bring the Pack 'n' Play, figuring she could just sleep on the bed next to me. No so much. She slept from 10:00 p.m. 'til 2:00 a.m. then was up and ready to play. After an hour I gave up, kissed the big girl on her cheek as she slept and got back in the car for the 4 hour drive home. Made it home before my husband was awake and eating breakfast with the middle child. However - - exhausted. I had a nice nap in the middle of the day, but looking forward to bed.

    WOW! Marathon post. So so sorry. Just had to share all that we're doing tomorrow!

  82. Love all the creative ideas SheRev!

    Just posted my sermon on the blog. Back to practicing it one more time and then bed!

  83. SheRev, what wonderful worship! Trips with kids are always a trip in every way, aren't they? (I miss that.)

    suz and Songbird, thank you for sharing our sermons.

    Sounds like a country band at the Fire Company Fair tonight. We are a rockin' small town!

  84. The party is quieting down a little, it seems. My own sermon is still without an ending I will claim, but I am declaring it "good enough" and going to get some sleep.

    Thank you for a great party and treats galore of all kinds -- sermons, snacks and stories! I am especially grateful on this particular day to be here together with you and for your prayers and support and care. I take those with me into tomorrow.

    I'll check in early in the morning to see how all you night owl RevGals fared.

  85. Sharon, I'm still here. Hey, ya'll Sharon is your go-to gal for the immersion baptism instructions - best ever! See you next week. I'm gonna go wrap her up now, while family is at the store. I got 20 minutes. Go!

  86. oops, forgot to say SHEREV! Love your worship idea! So great when it all comes together. Have fun tomorrow...

  87. Wow, SheRev, that's a great plan; I hope it works out even better than you hope.

    I am back from the concert and a lovely evening with a friend, who I fear is being wounded in the name of Christianity. Makes me so sad.

    I need to find two more sentences to move my conclusion from a drop off a cliff ending to one that has a bit more polish--a parachute, if you will--and then I can take my son's invitation (yes! a 16 y.o. inviting his mom!) to watch TV with him.

  88. Thanks for the encouragement! The sheets are out of the dryer so I'm going to go help put them on the bed then hop in myself. I'll be back for the early edition in the morning to double check my transitions, but I'm pretty happy with where things are. Thankfully. I nee this sleep for sure.

    You can do it, Betsy!!!

  89. Ok, got it now. Goodnight everyone. Remember you are not alone in that pulpit tomorrow!

  90. The sermon is done but I wish it was about 5 minutes shorter. I'll worry about that when I'm preaching it since I've already printed it and the prayers!

    Meanwhile, I've been able to make some significant progress on the dissertation but its not ready to be sent off yet. I don't know if I can manage to finish it tonight but I'm not headed for bed quite yet.

  91. Wow it got late. I'm not a fan of my sermon, but the cat is putting in his vote to cease and desist by knocking papers onto the ground and so it shall be.

    A tough topic for the summer (why does God allow natural disasters) mainly because I don't want to let God or us off the hook. Because of that, there is no neat and tidy ending - my issue, not God's. ;)

    Anyway, I hope you all have a blessed Sunday. I know some are going to be more stressful than others.


  92. I'm now off to bed having completed more than I thought I could tonight!

    Blessings on your Sunday

  93. Sermonizing with a cat who insists upon laying over the keyboard and head butting with the screen.
    Ugh...tired and ready to lay down for some sleeps.

  94. Got the last bits; I fear they are sort of like a grab bag from which I've pulled out a bunch of significant sounding phrases and put them together with intonation suggesting they mean something. Or maybe not. I really can't tell any more, which means it is bedtime.

    1-4, I hope you are now getting the sleep and inspiration you need. You too, Vicar.

    Blessings upon all; the good news, as I wrote in my sermon, is that no one gets to vote any of us off the island!

  95. Delighted to see the excursus on "bluestocking" -- St. Curious is maintained in its orbit by a nexus of octogenarian run an idea past them and their vital signs perk right up (librarians, a significant number of them).

  96. Good morning to all! There is a fresh pot of coffee and some blueberry muffins for you.

    As I scroll back through the party comments yesterday, I am lifting each of you in prayer. May God bless and multiply your offerings of good news this day.

  97. I've come back to finish up my transitions and make sure everything is in order. Slept a LOT longer (purposely) than I usually do which rocked my world. I could still use a lot more, but that will come tonight. No nap this afternoon since my husband and I are double dating with our friends and across-the-street neighbors with a trip to a nearby winery for tasting and tour. Can't wait! What a fun day ahead!

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  99. Good morning preachers, teachers and all around reachers!

  100. Dear Sharon, thanks for pastoring us through this one -- prayers going up for you on what will be an intense day, I know.


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