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Saturday, July 30, 2011

11th Hour Preacher's Party:Wrestling Edition

Good Saturday morning, preachers and friends! I'm squeezing this in with all the other busy-ness that accompanies preparations for vacation. This week we continue the family saga in Genesis, with one of my favorite stories, Jacob wrestling with angels, a restless night of little sleep as he prepares to meet his brother, Esau following years of strained relations and separation. I will probably preach from this story.

But if I change my mind, and it's been known to happen, I might go with Romans. Last week I offered a brief review of Romans - when it was written and to whom, and it's general theme and context of "Justification" - as in, that's what God is doing in and through Christ. Then I reflected on prayer, our relationship with God, and the struggles we have understanding how God enters into the chaos and tragedies of lire, such as what happened in Norway. So, perhaps I will continue that direction, and if I were brave I might bring up the current power struggles in the three branches of American government....or. Not. I think we will, however, do some praying....

Lastly, one could reflect on the Psalm or the Gospel. Thoughts on food and feeding, anyone? For more on the RevGal sermon prep discussion check this out: Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Speaking of food. And, don't we always speak of food at this party? ....I have some fabulous fresh summer fruits: blueberries, peaches, raspberries. I'm thinking blueberry pancakes and coffee, for starters. Later, fresh from my garden, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, and basil, marinated in balsamic vinaigrette. And, well, more food will come around to sustain us as we work. So, pull up a chair, and let me pour you a cup of whatever beverage suits you!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. My take on the Genesis text is here:
    You may have to click the Alternate First LEsson tab.

  2. Hey! I"m here on a Friday night! THAT never happens...

    Just checking in on the way to bed. I'm wrestling with Jacob tomorrow. I've got a good idea, but it's a little complicated and it might take more time to construct than I have time for tomorrow - in between kids in and out, a birthday party at 3, a pedicure with teh birthday girl (she's 9!) and all the rest of the what have you of a Saturday.

    I'm sure I"ll be checking in throughout the day - see you tomorrrow!

  3. I've got fresh cherries and nectarines, if anyone would like.

    I keep getting drawn back to Jesus' directive in the Gospel lesson, "you give them something to eat." A command, and an invitation to take part in his compassion.

    Still rattling the ideas around, but running out of time. It's late Friday night now, and hubby and I will spend much of Saturday helping strip out the basement of one of my churches, which flooded and is full of mold.

  4. Good morning, preachers!

    Thanks, Wil, Cor the link, I'll be over to check it out, after I have taken thendogs for a walk and made hospital visit.

    Welcome Juniper! Are you getting a pedicure, too? Sounds like a little rest would nice for you, too.

    Welcome, PS! Cherries and nectarines, yum!, I think there is some good food for thought in taking the directive in Matthew to offer compassion!

  5. Good morning preachers and friends! I am up too early, considering how little sleep I have gotten the past week, but I am on deck for my first preaching experience at my new call tomorrow morning, and I am scared! Preaching three services and leading worship since the senior pastor is on vacation and the other associate is away.
    I've spent the past week on missions trip with 60 of the youth and adults, which is about 1/20 of the new congregation. They are amazing folk, and I really don't want to let them down. So, I would really appreciate prayer!
    I am preaching on the Jacob text and have been wrestling with it all week. I was struck by the idea that Jacob sends everyone away, all that he has gained by his tricking and thievery, and prepares for what he is sure will be his final battle with his brother alone. Talking about who we would be if we took off all of our trappings, and how God meets us in those vulnerable moments with a love that will not let us go. I hope it works.
    But before I get to the final draft and all the logistics, I am going to play soccer with my mom friends, pick up my CSA share, and go out to breakfast with a dear friend. I'll be back with fresh veggies and fruits to share!
    Blessings to all as you prepare.

  6. Good morning, everyone!

    My scripture of choice is the food one. Title: "Leftovers" and now I wonder what was I thinking when I said that?!

    I'm off to officiate at a funeral this morning. It's the best kind -- 95 year old great great grandmother with a loving family.

    Thanks for hosting the party today, Terri! I'll check back with you all when I get back this afternoon.

  7. Welcome, Mumpastor! You'll be great and I'm sure all will go well, know that we will hold you in prayer!

    Welcome Sharon! invitation to creativity...what can I make with these that is just as delicious as the original dish!

  8. Good morning. I'm not preaching, not even giving the children's message this weekend, so I'm not really working on a Saturday, a very odd occurrence for me.

    but Sharon! I LOVE that title! and, I may have even used it once.

    I'm making blueberry pancakes. Love your array of fresh fruit. one of the best things about summer.

  9. I've got coffee and cinnamon roles to share! Preaching on the Jacob text. Heading a similar direction as MumPreacher...God meets us in our most vulnerable dark nights of the soul. Wrote half a draft yesterday and hope to finish this morning.

    I also have a memorial service for a 94 year old saint, and 2 pastoral care situations to tend to.

    It's my last Sunday of my solo month! Glad to welcome back my colleague on Tuesday and taking some comp. Sabbath time next week.

    But first, Jacob! Grace and peace to you all!

  10. I'm doing pulpit fill for a friend who is preaching from Exodus all summer. It's fun to jump into the middle of someone else's sermon series. I'm talking about what to do when we aren't feeling God's presence (look for manna) and feeling like it's a good choice for a congregation I don't know.

    I am also looking forward to everyone's ideas on the Jacob text. It's one of my favorites but I've never preached it.

  11. Coffee? Check.

    Most of sermon written? Check.

    Way in? Er...

    And while we're at it, why am I up so early on a Saturday writing my sermon?

    Silly things to do all day.

  12. Hi Diane, Suz, Jill, and Amy! Welcome!

    Diane, nice to have a Sunday off from preaching enjoy the day.

    Suz, sounds like it will be good to have your colleague back.

    Jill, pulpit fill is fun! I did some of that last summer.

    Amy, here's hoping your silly things to do will also be fun?

    Dogs are walked, now off for the hospital visit. Back later to make blueberry pancakes...

  13. I have cereal and raspberries to share. Diane, I have to stay far away from Luna. I had a banana and Nutella crepe there the other night which enabled (in every sense of the word) me to eat chocolate and pretend that I was at a favorite Parisian crepe shop across from Notre Dame -- I could go there every day!

    Anyway, I had a seminary friend read my sermon a few days ago and her response was, What are you *talking* about? A major re-write later and three other people, including Lovely Daughter and Quiet Husband, who are hardly sermon aficionados, get it and like it. So I'm off for a walk and then a final look.

  14. I, too, have a funeral this afternoon for a 93 year old lady. Her son and his wife are founding members of my parish and I hever met her. But son has shared pieces of her life. The sermon won't bear any relationship to others I have done. Do you all have a "standard" that you fit to each funeral? I've known those who do but can't really imagine how.

    Tomorrow will focus on Romans and Isaiah. I think it was at Working Preacher that I read about the importance of believing that God upholds the covenant with Israel; otherwise, what assurance do we have that God is there for us?!

    I'm out of food but come by later in the afternoon and I'll open a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins. ;-)

  15. Terri - oh yes! The fiance and I are tasting cupcakes and tarts for the wedding. Such a hard life!

    Margaret - excellent, I shall be back for the bottle opening!

    I took a quick breakfast run break in order to get yummy pastries to share - and on the way found my sermon opening. Everyone wins! In celebration, have some blackberry croissants.

  16. Hello everyone!

    I too, brought sustenance: freshly baked chocolate cherry muffins and cold milk.

    I'm preaching on Jacob, and as often as I reference this text when I'm trying to work out a sermon, I have never preached it. Right now I feel like I'm leaning toward an image I have of God "starting something" with us--fingertips pressing against our shoulders, taunting, "You want some of this?" I think it's going towards the God trying to wrestle us out of the idea that doing the right thing, and doing God's will, should be easy and comfortable and without struggle or scars.

    That's the beginning plans for the afternoon were canceled due to pink eye (theirs, not mine), so I've got time to keep wrestling!


  17. Hello Pals,

    I am continuing on my pick a sermon series. This week it's on forgiveness. I am approaching this sermon very carefully. I remember hearing a sermon on forgiveness and becoming very angry because I was not at a forgiving place yet. I want to acknowledge the pain that might be in the pews and not gloss it over yet I want to preach that forgiveness is meant to heal the person who has been wronged. That in letting go of the resentment the person is set free.

    Well that's a little bit of where I think I'll go. Let's see what pops out of my printer later on today.

    Terri, so jealous of your harvest. Where I live harvest season comes mid August. But I do have some kale, swiss chard and beans to share from my garden.

  18. PS I am heading in the same direction. Jesus doesn't provide the nourishment--he asks what the people have, and then distributes it. The food comes from the people and is shared. I'm trying to draw a parallel between that and sharing our gifts in the congregation--not the church leaders job to provide everything, but to learn who has what and bring it all to the table to be shared--finances, talents, ideas, connections, etc.

    Hoping this makes sense when it's written out--and trying to get it down soon as my mom and sister are on their way for a visit and want to feel free to have fun with them instead of feeling guilty that the sermon isn't on its way (nor have it hanging over my head for tonight).

    On another note, spent (read: wasted) some time on an architectural website which featured churches converted into homes and was struck with how often the apse/chancel was made the dining area. Very appropriate. I may even work into the sermon (tables/sharing/meals/congregation as family...I know, it's been done before).

    I have blueberry smoothies to offer!

  19. It feels like I'm getting a late start today, but maybe that's because I really want to be done early, so I'm feeling the pressure.

    We went to a 125th anniversary of a parish family's homestead last night. Thought it would just be a family reunion type thing - but wow! - it was a full blown, band and fireworks, whole hog roast shindig. So I got home much later than I expected.

    I'm preaching on the loaves and fishes, and God's taking our little and turning it into abundance. I had Luke's version for my ordination text and the bishop's tag line for his sermon was, "Jesus, are you STUPID?" I don't think I'll use it in my sermon, but it does highlight the shock the disciples must have felt when Jesus said, "YOU feed them."

  20. I was up late last night---actually, early this morning and got the bulk of my sermon written, but lost it by the time I got to the conclusion, so am sitting here over a fresh latte and pondering.

    I am preaching on the loaves and fishes, and am focusing on what came before, teaching, rejection, bad news and then more demands; even though he must have been feeling overwhelmed, he still had compassion. His invitation to the disciples to join him in the work of expressing his compassion, seems to be a healthy example of the need for community when we are overwhelmed. "help me out here folks OK?"

    As I said, it's very rough and needs some major reworking.

  21. Good morning - I have pancakes to share, with bananas if you want, or chocolate chips. Or both!

    Got a rough draft of 1000 words or so - I will have time to refine it later tonight, so I'm gonna try and get out and enjoy the sunshine a little this morning! Yes, I think I WILL have a pedicure, thanks. :)

    Anyone got a great idea for a childrens time on Genesis btw? I'm thinking of talking about what a blessing is, when we say a blessing, what we mean by a blessing? I thought I might give them a "blessing" ( a note that says "bless you" that thye can either keep as a blessing, or give away?) Seems a little talk-y so far and maybe hard for the average 5 year old to really, you know, GET.

    RE question: "Do you all have a "standard" that you fit to each funeral?" - Margaret, I do have some things I ALWAYS say, at some point in the funeral. And there are a few metaphors that know have cropped up more than once. So I guess I might fall into the camp of saying not hte same, but a similar, thing most every time. And yet, people, often thank me the "personal-ness" of the funeral. So, maybe it has as much to do with how we talk about the person themselves as the words we put around their story?

  22. Amy, now that sounds like fun!

    Beth, welcome, I'll take a muffin! Yum!

    GG- I haven't had a garden in ages, so I am really enjoying this!

    Margaret, I ove the name of that Zin, although I have not tried it...yet...

    Hot cup, welcome!

    Rainbow, welcome!

    Robin, so diligent! I hope you get some time to rest!

    Ramona, sounds like a fun night!

    LadyFather, hope it comes together.

    I haven't even started. Kne yet. Ack!

    But first I'm making brunch, sausage, blueberryancakes, eggs, and more coffee. I've had a busy morning....and can't settle into reflecting on my sermon I til I have had some sustenance.

  23. Hi Juniper, I do have a standard funeral sermon that I customize. The standard portion talks about "not only are we here to celebrate the .ice of n. But to also hold up the Christian understanding of life and death..." and then I offer a simple theology of the idea of a life in Christ, the afterlife..." it seems to work well and be appropriately comforting, especially if I have also done a reasonable job of talking about the qualities of the deceased.

  24. I'm very interested in this discussion of funeral sermons. Maybe the matriarchs could discuss it sometime. (Maybe they have?)

    I've been to a lot of funerals in my home church, many of them for young people, and they have all seemed very distinct from one another. Maybe because each person or family chooses Scripture passages? I think that our pastors do an incredible job of melding the text, the person's life, the loss family and friends, and the circumstances of death -- which means, how could they not be different from one another?

    Trying hard to avoid the final revision here . . . .

  25. Robin, other than that one section on the Christian understanding/theology section, each sermon and funeral I've done is reflective of the person. That is important, it is a celebration of life....that said, most of the funerals I have officiated at were for parishioner, but many of their family and friends were not church, a teaching moment ialbeit, gentle, hopeful?

  26. Hot Cup Lutheran: Add to the Seven Deadly Zins Sin Zin and Cardinal Zin. That's a party!

    I'm going with the Gospel. Swirling around in my Zin-free head are the people in the crowd, the deadlock on the debt ceiling, the dis-ease Jesus healed, the hunger and Jesus' words, "You feed them."

    Is anyone working with this lunacy in Washington?

  27. I have a couple of funeral sermons that I try to customize; one reason for that is that in my six years of ordained ministry I've done FAR more funerals for people I've never met or knew only slightly than for people whom I knew well or even were active in the parish. So it's hard to be more personalized.

    Terri spoke of funeral teaching moments; funerals are on time I am MOST grateful for our Episcopal prayer book liturgy. I always print a full text bulletin, knowing that many/most attendees won't be familiar with church--and they can take it home with them to look at again later. I"ve had many people comment on the beauty and appropriateness of the service, which is all right there in the prayer book.

  28. Hey RevAlli! Welcome. I am not working with the lunacy in DC, but I am an ing on leading the congregation in a prayer which I will post as the Sunday Prayer, it's from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, for sound government....

  29. Today is Writing Day here at Tether's End, not just the sermon but some overdue letters (pen'n'paper type, old school!) and other ephemera, I am hoping that the tasks will be mutually stimulating and fertilizing.
    I do have the armature of a standard funeral sermon, and will blog about it this week, I think.
    I have granola (home-made), yogurt (home-made), and cherries (imported!) -- time for the BREAKFAST PARFAIT!

  30. Hey Crimsom...I think I must begin to make my own yogurt you use a machine? Years ago I had one that made four individual sized cups of yogurt...

  31. Ok. It's 1:10 here, I guess I better start on that sermon...

  32. Thanks, Terri, for the nod to the the BCP. I'll look at that prayer. It may get me started.

  33. I'm wrestling with an old sermon on the Genesis text. I thought it would recycle easily, but it needs some major renovations.

    Saving the Gospel reading for next week, so I'm eagerly anticipating all of your insights and tucking them away.

    This is week seven of eight straight weeks' pulpit supply (in five different congregation), and I am ready for a break! We are also waiting for the last of the chicken pox to fade enough so that we can get out of the house. I don't think the girls are contagious any more, but they don't look very good yet. Babysitter to the rescue tomorrow morning.

  34. So I'm now going in a slightly different direction, based on the "Dear Working Preacher" post for the Genesis text, which focuses on naming.

    But now that I have an actual focus, and even some kind of structure, maybe, and it's almost 2:00pm here, guess I better start writing...

  35. I've spent a whole lot of time procrastinating this morning, hanging out with my youngest son. He's about to move to VT after having lived at home part time (in NYC part time) for the last year, and I'm sort of dreading going back to a completely empty nest. But now I MUST write.

    I want to focus on how Jesus provided the food but the disciples are actually the ones who did the feeding...just as we're called to do the work Jesus us empowers us to do. Something like that anyway. I was feeling more inspired earlier in the week--I hope it comes back.

  36. After a run to the Italian bakery for a little bit of sweet and fatty sustenance (cinnamon twists) with a side of cream horns (I had asked for butterhorns, but the very pleasant but somewhat confused young man behind the counter got it wrong--and I didn't realize it until I got home), I'm now working on the bulletin before I tackle the disaster of a sermon I've got started. So please join me...loaves and fishes don't hold a candle to cinnamon rolls. Do you think that will preach?

  37. Hi Esperanza, I did that last summer...about twelve weeks of supply in five different churches. It is hard work!

    Beth, as I a, writing the preliminary notes and thoughts for my sermon, I may be going in a similar direction...naming, or being named, or maybe Israel?

    RecDrMom, here's hoping your mojo comes back. Would you like and iced coffee? Or an iced mocha ...homemade with espresso, cocoa, vanilla ice-cream?

  38. OK - procrastinated by walking 3 miles, making a quick trip to the drugstore, trimming the taxus out front, and rummaging around in the basement for a tent to loan to Mumpastor -- but it's finished and printed and I hope it's ok.

    The Journey's Arc -- prayer - action - prayer --drawing on my retreat two weeks ago, on the Ignatian concept of contemplative in action, and on the Church of the Savior's Inward-Outward journey idea, recognizing that action includes worship, service, and engaging others to share God's abundance.

    I think it contains every one of my three consistent preaching themes: God's love for us, contemplation and action, and abundance vs scarcity. I suppose I could find a kitchen sink to throw in somewhere.

  39. For those pondering name and naming, Gail Ramshaw has some interesting comments in her book, " Treasures Old and New" in the chapter on Israel.

  40. Robin! Now you sound like me, I am a notorious kitchen sink preacher...sigh...only I am certain that your sermon is fabulous!

  41. You know, it's not the greatest sermon, but I think it works. And I'm very excited about it, so many the delivery will compensate for the absence of lyricism.

  42. Robin, I have often found that the Spirit fills my less than great sermons, with something, that gives them life and reminds me that there is more to this preaching business than my, yes, in the preaching of it, much will happen!

  43. TheLadyFather, what is a cream horn? Sounds delicious....
    I am just checking in, working with Jacob, the wrestling, the blessing, the journey....
    it's not brilliant,
    but will be fun to remind the congregation of the story and pique their insights, I hope.

    I have nothing in the cupboard to share, except a pitcher of Passion Iced Tea. MMMM. Refreshing.

  44. I'm mainly focusing on Isaiah "Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters", but it's going very slowly (UK so 9.15pm already). Lots of excitement about the texts but it just won't seem to emerge!

  45. I'm getting there, having figured out what I want to say, I'm trying to fit all the pieces together coherently.

    And I have a phrase that I like to use when I think I have a sub-par sermon or worship service that seems held together with Scotch tape: "I'm leaving LOTS of room for the Holy Spirit!"

    Usually, She fills the space I've left Her quite well.

  46. Hi everyone - sticking my head in between nap and bike ride to say hi to all you diligent hard workers! I am looking ahead to the week to come and not quite sure how I planned so much during what was supposed to be a study week, so going to enjoy my time of leisure while i can! off to the store for turkey kielbasa for a recipe I found in a ww cookbook - kind of wintery (lentils, too) but what i'm in the mood for for some reason. see you later when i'm really working!

    I think we have talked about that funeral question before sometime. If only Gord wasnt on vacation....I think he had some good opinions!

  47. Hey Karla, welcome! Iced tea sounds fabulous!

    And Chelley I hope the excitement turns into usuable words!

    Beth, exactly!

    Like Juniper, I am about to go exercise and meditate. I have a draft but I need to step away from it....I'll be back soon!

  48. Greetings everyone! Working away on a lovely day, trying to be finished in time for an outdoor concert and fireworks tonight (and a good night's sleep). Slept in very late this morning recovering from last night's wedding, but still a little fuzzy.

    I'm heading in the same direction with Matthew as P.S., Ramona, Lady Father, RevDrMom, and others...Jesus provided the food and asked the disciples to distribute Jesus provides the compassion (not us, cause we're not so great at that) and we are asked to distribute it. Or something like that. Interesting to think about the abundance theme in contrast to the scarcity that is hanging over heads in the U.S.

    Pondering some chocolate or a Frappuccino in the fridge...neither a great choice, but hopefully one will get me moving and writing soon.

  49. Just getting back from a trip to Church #2 to drop off bulletin and have a place for hubby to configure the new cell phones since we seem to get almost no signal in the town we live in. ACK! I'm about ready to chuck the whole cell phone thing and just do without - hate the idea of paying for service that I can't use at home. But with such a rural parish and visits to hospitals and nursing homes 30-100 miles away (where my cell will work) I just can't quite do it.

    Anyway, I'm glad I have an outline. Now to flesh it out.

    A nap is sounding good...

  50. Am working with Genesis and struggling with God. Have had my own major struggle this week to add to the one that's been going on for several years. My DH's (*$^&$ boss (who cut his pay by 1/3 in May) informed him on Thursday that next Thursday will be his last day at work. Totally unethical and uncharitable boss,but not much to do about it, so I am struggling mightily. I have 2 very part time jobs, so things are scary right now.

    So am trying to sift my own stuff out from what God wants me to preach. Prayers appreciate.

  51. Thanks Terri... plodding on!

  52. Sounds like progress is being made everywhere--sometimes slowly but always progress!

    Mine is about 2/3rds done--it's in my head, I just need to get it on paper.

    Mom and sister have visited my new nest, had lunch, seen the town and headed it's time for me to buckle back down to work. I'd like to have some reading time tonight...we'll see.

    Anyone for iced tea and M&M cookies?

  53. I have iced tea and dark chocolate with almonds.

    Welcome Semfem! I cam brew you up an iced latte with espresso, if that helps!

    RevTSB: oh my. Many of us have been in similar places over the last couple of years, myself included. Will hold you in my prayers!

    From the glaring eyes of my dogs, I think they are trying to convince me that it is dinner time...

  54. Phew! Finished. I've read it through out loud and timed it, so I'll let it stew for now and take a quick glance at it again over coffee in the morning.

    And speaking of stew, I was also feeling in the mood for some comfort food, despite the hot weather, so I'll shortly be enjoying a goat-and-lentil stew with lots of CSA veggies in it for my dinner. And maybe a glass of wine since I finished so early.

    Blessings as the rest of you continue your wrestling and writing (or simply enjoy your evening)!

  55. Beth, yum! Your dinner sounds fabulous.

  56. Maybe I should add a subtitle, and other fears...

    Now, supper time: grilled portobllo mushrooms on a bed of Romaine lettuce with goat cheese, honey glazed pecans, and dried cherries....a glass of carrot...

  57. This is as far as I've got! Here and any thoughts on the journey so far, appreciated. Though at this rate it might all get scrapped!

  58. RevTSB - A scary place to be indeed. We were there in February went dh lost his job and I still had not received a call. God will provide, but I admit there are some tense, uncomfortable, downright hairy moments until God does. Prayers ascending!

    Mostly done. As ususal, more than enough words but no ending. Is there a point? Maybe. Can I just tell stories of loaves and fishes moments and leave the congregaiton to figure out the message? Or is that copping out?

    Too bad we're not doing a stewardship drive, it would make a great sermon for that,and I'd have an ending.

    Time to let it simmer.

  59. Terri,
    I am joining you for dinner. Fix me a plate, and I will be there. I wrote 2/3 of a draft, then went to exercise, shower....and now I am just tired. But I have to finish...I still have a memorial service meditation to write, and oh, so much to do.

    That's why I am glad that Terri cooked dinner! lol.

  60. I am uber-late to the party (I had a baby shower to attend that was quite a drive away... but it's the first day I've had "off" from the church in a while! I think I need to schedule time away in order to do anything).

    I'm preaching on Romans 8:31-39, a week late, I know, and I am SO uninspired. I think I'm going to sit with my colored pencils and white paper for a while and see what happens.

    Terri, dinner sounds amazing. Thanks for fixing and sharing!!

  61. Chelley, I'll be over in a bit to read...

    Karla, will be good to have some company for supper!

    Peregrinaje, welcome!

  62. Chelley, I'll be over in a bit to read...

    Karla, will be good to have some company for supper!

    Peregrinaje, welcome!

  63. Well, the church basement is gutted to the studs. It's cool to see the foundation stones, looks like they used local field stone. Glad most of the mold is gone!

    Now to try to focus back on the sermon. I'd rather just go to bed! I think I've rediscovered some muscles that have gone un-used for a while.

  64. Woa! PS...that's what you have been doing! Goodness, sit a minute and let me get you a refreshing beverage! And something to eat!

  65. Hallo, hallo! Dreadfully late here as well, and it's going to be a long night of sermon-wrestling (wrangling?) for me, as I spent the morning supervising farmhands and the rest of the day working my off-farm non-church job. But... I bring fresh-picked blueberries for everyone!

    I'm working on braiding the Genesis and Matthew stories together-- both stories carry an element of the protagonist's grief and personal emptiness as a lead-in to an experience of transformational abundance. The congregation to which I'm preaching has been rocked by some tragic and very public untimely deaths this week, so I'm trying to make room for their own grief even as I preach about feasting. Like I said, it's going to be a long night...

  66. I'm just popping my head in, horribly late and not really partying, but letting the regular partiers know that I am preaching tomorrow at a church that could potentially turn into a more steady gig, but might not.

    We just got back from our trip to Argentina and Uruguay on Tuesday, so I planned way ahead to recycle a sermon for tomorrow. Unfortunately we both (spouse and I) caught colds while we were in South America, so I am praying madly to have my voice back by tomorrow.

    Prayers appreciated. for my voice and that God's will be done in the church I am supplying tomorrow. Maybe some day I will be a regular fixture back at the Party!

  67. AUGH. I hate having an emotional moment and getting blue and lonely as I am trying to focus and start writing.

    It feels so silly, knowing full well that much more momentous things are happening in many other lives. I hate to whine, but there I am.

    Maybe I can get out of here and try to write from home.

  68. ooo, Jules, sounds promising. Prayers for you and the congregation.

    Back at it after getting the girls in bed. We all have cabin fever of the worst kind. Hopefully by Monday or Tuesday we can escape the house together.

    I think I have to prepare a prayer and something to check my notes and polish up that old sermon.

  69. Semfem.what's up? How can we pray for you?

    Jules, prayers ascending!

    Me...down to the wire...only a few things left to do before I call this day done.

  70. We have sausage/cream cheese wontons and ravoli alfredo and salads for all you hard-partying preachers.

    I'll get back to my sermon after dinner. I'm still not sure it has a point, but maybe the Spirit will fill in the blanks.

    And SemFem and Maincelt, asking the Spirit to wrap her arms around you as you deal with heavy emotions.

  71. Thank you ramona...Terri, the best way I can say it is that it just feels very lonely tonight, like I am broken and incapable of living a life anything like a normal life. Which makes me resent the ministry tasks I usually enjoy.

    Maybe I just need a vacation.

  72. Semfem... prayers for you, whatever is causing the tears tonight. I too have been scrunching up my face into almost tears and then yelling expletives as I remember yet another thing that needs to be done tonight (the latest is putting my alb in the washer, hoping that it will be able to "hang dry" by tomorrow... it was noticeably gross after church last week so then I left it bunched up in the back of my car, so there is no hope of not washing it before the morning).

    I'm very close to giving up on the sermon tonight and just trying to write it early in the morning... of course, now I need to stay awake until the washer stops...

  73. Semfem....I have been wondering how you are longer blog, or at least not at a blog I have access too....but I remember back when use to read your blog a, you have been in my thoughts lately, and now my prayers, too! ((semfem))

  74. Peregrinate, oh ick! I have had countless Sat. In a row like the one you are having! I feel your pain...I can offer tea and ice cream...

  75. YES peregrinaje, I have had Saturdays like that and they absolutely, completely, totally suck. For the alb, can you dry it on low heat for like 10-20 minutes and then hang it to finish drying? That always helps mine (poly/cotton blend) dry quickly without wrinkles.

    Terri, yes, I did get away from blogging like so many others...for the most part life is going really well, but every once in a while there is just a really blue time where I feel totally alone and inept. Thanks so much for the thoughts and the prayers, and not reinforcing my feeling that I'm just whining.

  76. prayers for all you sisters! just edited again after a full afternoon memorial service and some pastoral care with another situation.

    I'm on to yet another draft and it isn't fully coming together or ending strong. but, I'm tired and need to get some sleep. Perhaps something will come to me in my sleep ala Jacob? I'll keep a coffee pot on for those needing to burn the midnight oil!

  77. Hey Suz, when I've had a dull day .Ike yours I have a very difficult time getting my head around a sermon. I really Ned a certain amoint of down and quiet time...hoping you get some sleep and that it comes together for you!

  78. Semfem, feeling blue and lonely and alone, is a reality of our lives...and didn't you move recently, so you are also new to the area?

  79. Anyway, friends, I have to call it a night. I'm leaving the tea kettle on, coffee is set for anyone who needs it late or early, there is plenty of dark chocolate and several kinds of ice cream...or fresh fruit!

    Lots of prayers for all. And, blessings on your Sunday!

  80. SemFem, thanks for the robe advice --- it has just finished a fifteen minute cycle, so I guess I'll hang it and see what it's like in the morning!

    Terri, I treated myself to a Klondike bar already, but hot tea sounds even better!

    suz, get some sleep and enjoy your dreams! Having multiple drafts sounds impressive to me :-)

  81. It is finished! Read about the miracle of the loaves and fishes if you want. I'd love some feedback.

    Since I've already had real ice cream today, I'll have to settle for Teri's virtual (and virtuous!) ice cream as a late night snack!

    Now to make sure my son is packed for camp and to fill out his health form. Such fun. And I hear baseball on the TV - why won't my guys watch that stuff downstairs so I can relax after sermonating!?!

    Blessing on everyone still writing...the Spirit blows your way!

  82. I'm calling it a night...I have a sermon, more or less...but more than that, I need to eat something and go to bed. (Hmm, maybe that's why I'm so up-and-down today...been a long time since I had food besides chocolate...)

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation. Thanks to all of you.

  83. Urgh... trying to write about Jacob wrestling all night, and all I can think about is how...tired...he...must...have...been...

    Think I'll head to bed too, and get up early to finish my sermon-wrasslin'. Blessings on all of you!

  84. hey there - anyone else still up? I have 1283 disjointed words. I'm going to either have to write ALOT more to make them hang togehter or cut something. I'm voting for cut something, and I'm guessing my summer Sunday crowd would vote the same. So, I'm more back to the drawing board than I would like to be at this time of night. Gonna work another half hour, then head to bed, to see what wisdom I can get from sleeping on it.

  85. Good Sunday morning! I am so ready for vacation, almost couldn't get put of bed...but before vacation begins, I have a full day.

    Will be thinking of all of you and holding you inpraywe. Thanks for partying!

  86. Why does sermon-writing feel like finals? At least in college/seminary I was only this tired and stressed out once a semester....

    Struggling to wake up... at least my alb is now dry and wrinkle-free!

    Blessings to all of you this Sunday morning!

  87. hey everybody~~
    tired, too, like y'all....
    but praying preaching blessings and Spirit movements all over you and your congregations this morning.

    just a paragraph to tie it up for a wrap.


  88. Here we go, friends! God go with us all! Green lights and open ears/minds/hearts, all the way!

  89. Good morning from the Dakotas! May the Spirit blow in your Congregations and Jesus shine in your words!


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