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Saturday, August 27, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Come on Irene Edition

Welcome, Rev Gals and Pals! It's time once again for the Preacher Party, and once again there's weather news, as the East Coast of the United States watches or waits for Hurricane Irene. 

I'm in the purple zone. Things are being canceled and postponed and rearranged, but as of this moment, we're planning to worship tomorrow in North Yarmouth, Maine. 

That doesn't mean much of anyone will come. I'm sure people will be watching the wind and the rain and making decisions last minute. But I have to get ready! 

And so, my friends, do you, or you wouldn't be here. So what are you preaching? Are you in the threat zone? Or do you wish for goodness sake the news would be about something else?

At my house we're stocked up on non-perishable items from the store, and there's a homemade Snickerdoodle pie. As long as there's power, there will be coffee. Pull up a chair, and let's write!


  1. I am safely away from the storm in Boise, Idaho, but I am praying for all of you in the path.
    I'm preaching both the Exodus and Matthew passages this week. At this point, I'm struck by the language in Exodus that suggests God spoke to Moses because he was curious and turned aside to see. Others might have said, "it is a bush. Who cares. If God were speaking, it would be from a redwood or a tree with class." And Peter's issue is, in some ways, a negative mirror of Moses. Instead of having any curiosity that the Divine might have different plans than Peter would have, he tries to limit Jesus. Might be a bit of a stretch. We'll see how it goes.
    Prayers to all in the path of the hurricane and prayers to all still sermonizing!

  2. I haven't written a blessed word yet.

    I'm PLANNING on writing about God being present all around us and in the most surprising of places (the burning bush,) but that evil has the same capacity (Peter.) After that, I'm not sure. It's going to be a loooong day and a loooong night.

    By mid afternoon, I'll have peanut butter chocolate banana bread to offer. I only have my French Press with me at school, but you're all more than welcome to begin pressing as soon as you arrive in the morning.

  3. And Cody, will you have a recipe to offer as well? That sounds fabulous.

  4. Prayers for all who are writing in the midst of uncertainty and concern!

    I'm still struck by Paul's long list of what to do in Romans, and how impossible it sounds. I am reminded of the wonderful Anita Renfroe piece that sets what a mom says in a day to the William Tell Overture; I may even try to use that. And when we discover we can't succeed (though it's well worth trying), we find our direction in sitting down and watching and waiting for a while. Or something like that...

    Since I really want to go to a concert in the evening and to do some shopping in the morning, I'm hoping for sudden clarity to occur while I sleep.

  5. Good morning!
    I'm watching the weather, but have to leave soon for a town event. I made pie! Real pie!
    The flood watch will be in effect about mid-way through our service time tomorrow, which makes me think we'll have a short service. I'm planning a brief meditation on Romans and Matthew, with a reference to the first time I went to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.
    I guess I'd better find out whether the organist will come...

  6. Also, welcome to all of you, and thanks for the prayers.

  7. HI. I'm preaching tonight, but not tomorrow. So tonight I'm using a sustainable sermon.

    tomorrow the weather isn't like Irene here, but it doesn't sound like it's going to be perfect for a community outdoor worship we're planning.

    Praying for all of you on the East Coast.

  8. HI. I'm preaching tonight, but not tomorrow. So tonight I'm using a sustainable sermon.

    tomorrow the weather isn't like Irene here, but it doesn't sound like it's going to be perfect for a community outdoor worship we're planning.

    Praying for all of you on the East Coast.

  9. I've got family and friends in that purple zone. I'll add you and your congregation to the prayer list, Songbird.

    This week has been consumed by a parishioner/best friend who had surgery Monday for lung cancer. What was supposed to be small turned out not to be small. I have watched and listened to her courage and faith as she made the decision to do chemo, as she has convinced her kids that we are going to get through this. The MT reading gained a new life.

    Then I read Barbara Brown Taylor's wonderful sermon on this text in The Seeds of Heaven. She talks about how real the temptation was for Jesus; otherwise, his reaction wouldn't have been so angry. Good stuff and I know this will make it into the sermon.

    And yesterday, as I was driving, I heard a very interesting interview with MLK's attorney/friend and realized that the reason the monument was supposed to be dedicated SUnday is that it is the anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech - I know, I am out to lunch a lot. King is a very good example of someone who gave up his life for Jesus' sake, who faced the temptation Jesus was facing more than once and didn't back down.

    So today is for letting all of that get stirred up in the mixing bowl I call a brain. Hopefully, it will make good batter and bake up nicely.

    BTW, did you know that King's speech that day was off the cuff? He had already given his prepared speech and was turning away from the mike when Mahalia Jackson called to him, "Tell them about the dream, Martin." WOW! Talk about the Holy Spirit showing up when we need her.

  10. Margaret, I heard MLK speech when I was a child, maybe live or a re-broadcast? I don't know...but also many times since...but I didn't know that it was off the cuff! Wow!

    I am praying for everyone in the storms path.

    We have our own family sorrow as my mother in law died last night after a grueling battle with Parkinson's. She was a wonderful mom, woman, deeply loved. Please add my family to your prayers and also, Francrs, may she rest in peace.

    And, I have read the texts for tomorro but have no idea where I'm going with them, except probably Moses....

  11. Good morning all,
    Prayers ascending now and throughout the weekend for those in the path of the physical storm and those whose storms are within.

    Our worship tomorrow is centered on celebrating our new mission and vision that was rolled out to and adopted by the church council a couple of weeks ago.

    I was struck by the MANY similarities between our vision statement and verses 9 - 12 the Romans passage.

    I also had the opportunity to listen to some old tapes of Fred Craddock teaching on Paul's letters this week.

    So all of this is coming together in a my idea of what Paul's letter to our church might be. I'm incorporating our mission and vision statement into the exhortation part. I'll begin with a little bit of Craddocks information on letter writing in that time... then move from the pulpit and read our mail.

    Our worship will then move to the fellowship hall where we will each add a piece to a banner designed to represent our mission.

    I have peaches and watermelon to offer this morning. I need to go back to the farmer's market, but I'm not sure time will allow as bulletins are not even started yet.

    Blessings to all in your writing and your ministry today.

  12. My prayers for all of you that are experiencing extreme weather.

    I am also preaching on Moses, with a similar theme to Marciglass. Reflecting on God speaking through the everyday, to ordinary people, in the midst of life and that it was the presence of God that made it a holy place. Also looking at Moses and his reverence without being passive and also his curiosity.

    I also love the curiosity factor of the story.

  13. Hello, I am in the purple zone too and we decided to cancel service. Better to err on the side of caution. However, there is a potluck that I'm going to with church folk this afternoon. Nothing can stop my congregation from eating I tell ya what.

    This is my first tropical storm. I am a bit anxious because I don't know what to expect. We are prepared, got the water, canned food, crank radio and batteries. Is there anything I'm forgetting?

  14. Terri, many prayers for your family as you grieve your MIL while celebrating the new life she has after a long struggle.

    Mid-life, I'll take some of those peaches!

    I'm writing a little earlier than usual in hopes of getting a good start (maybe even a good middle). Anyone for some fresh squeezed o.j.?

  15. I'm checking in this morning. The busy part of today doesn't start until this afternoon. But a football game with overtime last night means, I'd rather still be asleep right now. I'm hoping the caffeine will kick in so I can have something going with the sermon before the rest of life intervenes. All of you preparing for Irene's effects are in our prayers.

  16. GG remember when figuring out how much water to have enough for animals, too.

  17. Dang, I hate it when I lose a comment. I'll abbreviate and say prayers for all, purple zoners and Terri.
    We are red and I'm preaching Exodus and want to get into not taking God for granted/is our God too small? by using the hurricane and earthquake.

    Earthquake, wind, & fire = I plan to burn a bush during worship. why not? we've had everything else this week.

  18. Thanks for the prayers. I am feeling tired today, but at least I now have some rough thoughts on a paper and maybe even a sermon draft. Now I need to leave for a bit, to walk the dogs and take them to the vet for their vaccines...

    As I walk I will continue to hold in prayer each of you in the wake of the hurricane, and those of you who are dealing with other concerns.

  19. Watching the weather reports and praying for all you purple zone folk. Lord, in your mercy...

    Our program year starts tomorrow. That "start an hour earlier" thing is going to bite... School started here last Monday. Sunday will be a low key start up this year. Last year was the beginning of our early start - tried to do a big bang up "Rally" type day... Not going there this time. We will ease into the program year and build as everyone gets back into the swing of being in town instead of at the lakes on weekends...

    Preaching Exodus and Matthew- at our informal midweek church on the lawn we talked about how church is too often the last place most feel safe to share those encounters with God. No words written - title is "What are we waiting for?" since we have Jesus' words and promise already. Do we really demand yet another burning bush before we will act? I have a few obligations this afternoon so I hope it come together without too much pain.

    Oh - my DH made fab French Toast from TJ's fresh crusty multi- grain whole wheat and bacon for breakfast! More to share for the virtual table!

    Time to go move the sprinkler on the church lawn.

  20. Working on next Sunday's sermon. And MLK was able to preach off the cuff by recombining elements he had used before and heard before including Rev. Sis. Prathia Hall's "I have a dream" riff. See

  21. Half way done, and I currently am exactly where I didn't intend to the gospel, rather than Exodus. Funny how the Spirit shoves us in her direction even when we have other plans!

    Having gotten that far, I think dh and I are going to an outlet center to buy new dishes; after 19 years, even with replenishment from my sister who had the same pattern, we've broken so many of our old ones that they need replacing. So while I may not have food for the party, perhaps in a little while I can offer up some dishes from which to feast!

  22. Rans some errands and joined the local coffee klatch this moring - it's amazing how much you can learn about a community by having a cup of coffee with the ladies! LOL!

    I need to get started on the sermon. I think I'm going to do more of a bible study on the passage. I just geeky enough that all those deeper greek meanings that get lost in our rather anemic translation of the text. The whole 'eureka!' of finding one's life has caught my imagnination - we'll see if it catches the imaginations of my congregation. I haven't done a more exegetical sermon with my new congregations, so it will be something different and hopefully not too boring. Oh well - one of the perks of being new in my first call is that they expect me to experiment a bit with sermon style.

    Prayers for everyone in the path of Irene. And Terri, prayers for your family during this time of loss.

  23. I'm back! I did not expect to be away so long. Will catch up on your comments while I grab a late lunch.

  24. Thinking of everyone impacted by Irene. Love to all. Stay safe.
    I am off to a gathering of folks who share the same dream of having homes built for people with disabilities. We have a growing number of adults with special needs who are out living their parents and need a place to live with some independence. Today we get to meet some of the future residents of these homes at a pool party/cook-out.
    I am taking peach salsa and peanut butter cookies. help yourself. Nobody will miss a few.
    Preaching on Exodus and the burning bush.
    By the way, have you seen this one?
    Francis the Flaming Bush
    Trying to preach around how we tend to use excuses and get out of doing "God's Work." And how when God calls us, we need to listen up and "something-something-something."

  25. Terri, I'm so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. You have my prayers.
    Well, we decided to hold a worship service tomorrow, come Heck or High Irene. Our plan is coffee before rather than after, subtract a hymn and the Children's Word, and I'll keep the sermon short so we can get people home well before it gets worse (currently predicted for midday). I'm the only one who has a distance to travel, and I hate to sound like a wimpy city girl.
    How goes it out there? Anyone want a piece of pie?

  26. Ok, back from watching the latest Dr Who episode.

    The rest of service is finished all that's left is to finish the sermon.
    I am struggling with walking the line between personal integrity and congregationally appropriate. I am always aware that as a visiting preacher I don't want to make life more difficult for the pastor on their return.
    The issue being that where I am theologically is probably a different place to where the congregation is that I am visiting.

    Any words of wisdom.....

    Stay safe, continued prayers for those in the path of Irene

  27. Praying for all of you preparing for hurricanes and dealing with other storms of life. Our cruise last month took us from Baltimore to the Bahamas, so, having visited so recently, feeling enhanced connection.
    The scenes from Tripoli are distressing but just heard someone(on BBC news) say that the rebels are practicing forgiveness and not retribution - probably because of Ramadan?
    Anyway, tomorrow, I am preaching on the gospel, encouraging folk to take up their cross because, although not easy, it is much lighter than the cross that JEsus bore for us. And that we have no need to seek out crosses - they are there for us every day as we seek to practice obedience in love and service.
    Posted here
    Keep safe beloved revgals.

  28. thanks for the prayers. I appreciate them.

    I have had a hectic day, but think I have a workable draft. It's posted here, and titled: Life Lessons

    As always, comments, suggestions, corrections :-) - welcome...

  29. As usual, I need an ending but no ending is forth-coming.

    I think I'll take a break and let it jel.

    Terri and Liz - as usual, I have sermon-envy. Not only are yours done, but they are both much better than mine!

  30. ramona, if you have anything more than an idea, you are far ahead of me! I have got to put something on paper. Or screen. Or someplace.

  31. Ramona, trust your voice and the Spirit, who guides you/us, I am convinced she leads us to the words our congregations need to hear...which means yours is exactly what it needs to be. that said, the process does become a bit easier after one has preached week after week for 11 years...

  32. one of those days when life did not go as planned... 7pm and not. a. word... but 5+ hours of time with folks who needed it. all will be well. Oh and one of my teachers just texted to tell me he was out of town and would not be back in time to meet and teach his first day of Sunday school class... at least we do not have to worry about storms. back to work. Stay safe out there, rev gals and pals!

  33. Hubbyhoney made grilled glazed chicken, bbq-chili corn on the cob and I made creamed spinach. So we have good eats to further the preaching process, help yourself. Oh - desert is your choice of apple-elderberry crisp ala mode or boston coolers.

    I finally got those thistles pulled - too bad we're not still doing agricultural parables. I'm sure I could worked in a thistle illustration.

    Now if I could just get to the kitchen deep clean I was going to do 2 days ago...

    The sermon is preachable, mostly. I can't say I care for it. Here's hoping this is one of those Sundays where I have a diamond in the rough and the Spirit will polish it somewhere between the paper, my voice and the hearer's ear!

    It's sure quiet here today. So I'll come back later - maybe there will be more sermons to read then.

  34. Not preaching or "on duty" at all tomorrow except in prayer for all of you in the zones yellow through purple.
    Back to the ministry of unpacking and laundering!
    blessings, all -- and a special hug, Terri. Mothers-in-law are just special.

  35. Hi Preachers! Just got home from 2 wonderful weeks of vacation, spent in Vermont and coastal Maine (not too far from Songbird's fair city). We spent yesterday obsessing over and I decided to cancel church just in case, so I'm not preaching on what would have been my first Sunday back. I think it is turning out to be the right decision.

    It's kind of weird to come home because weather conditions are actually predicted to be worse here than where I was -- the eye will move right over us unless something changes soon. But there seemed to be no better place to go and my house is on high ground. We stopped at Whole Foods in SB's city on the way home and got some provisions, and and we're hoping and praying for the best. RIght now it's raining but calm; should get *interesting* later and into the morning.

    Prayers for all affected by safe, everyone.

  36. New dishes purchased, some laundry done, many games of solitaire played...and darn little more on the sermon. The problem seems to be that it's at a point where a conclusion would not be out of place, but it is very short. I have tried convincing myself that everyone will appreciate that as it is hot (103) and the church will be boiling by the 3rd service; alas, at only about 5 minutes I think it's too short even for that rationalization. If I make it to 8, I'm calling it done!

    Terri, I appreciate your reminder that even when our words don't seem as fluent or lyrical, they are the ones the Spirit has given us for our particular setting on that particular day. Thanks :-)

  37. RDM, glad you got home safely! That Whole Foods is really excellent. I think I was there not long before you were. Our regular grocery store was out of gallon jugs of water yesterday, but WF still had them today, plentifully. I think we have enough to get through a minor outage, but I can't pretend to have enough supplies to last more than a day or two. I've never had a power outage last longer than 7 hours in the parts of Portland where I've lived. Let's hope that's true this time, too.
    I'm on a bit of a roll now, so let's also hope my next comment will be to say it's done!

  38. Preaching for the second week in a row and then again next week as well. Tomorrow is not my home parish though, so it's a new challenge. I will address the leaders after the service in my diocesan role, so the sermon will lay out some of the foundational stuff - The Romans works really well for me, with a bit of Moses and Peter - and that Jesus - thrown in for good measure. I've been studying and pondering all week, but just now starting to put words on screen.
    The 25 year old just moved to Manhattan 2 weeks ago and works tonight, gets off at 730 tomorrow morning...prayers that she'll be able to find a taxi, or stay at the hospital if it's too yucky out. Prayers for all in the path.

  39. Ok, sermon tamed, some refinement needed but that can happen tomorrow afternoon as it's for an evening service. It is now well past my bed time as it's 2am here.

    Hoping and praying things don't get to rough for those of you in the path of Irene and that thoughts flow freely for those still struggling with sermons.

    Good night.


  40. Prayers will be flowing from our mountain congregation for all of you in the path of the storm.

  41. I have a rough draft. It's a little long but, it's not a communion Sunday, so I may be ok without much editing. It's heavy on teaching - purposely a 'line by line' exposition. I would love some feedback if anyone has the time to read What Changes?

    The son has been looking forward to Boston Coolers all day - I have to reward his (impatient) patience and make some.

  42. We are finally eating Snickerdoodle Pie, because I finally have something. It's about 2/3s my usual length, which I hope will facilitate keeping worship short tomorrow. I'm sorry I've been such a lame hostess today! Blessings to all of you, and I will try to get around and read your sermons. Here's mine: Very Tempting.
    I'll be back with coffee in the morning! For now, good night.

  43. 9:30 and I am hitting print! I need to get back in extra early to finish and get ready for Sunday school. Praying with and for all you who are waiting and watching.

    God's peace friends- be safe out there!

  44. I cannot find an ending!! Does anyone have an extra lying about?!

  45. SB - I tried to leave a comment there, but was foiled. I love the hearkening back to the wilderness - I keep going there myself because I'm intrigued that Moses goes BEYOND the wilderness. I just cannot put it all together well enough to include it in the sermon this week.
    The ending has to be here somewhere *shuffling papers*

  46. Ramona - I love yours too - teaching and preaching - beautifully woven together.
    Terri - Love your sermon - I would love to hear it - your voice in my head sounds so full of confidence. I'm sorry about the loss of your mother in law. I was blessed with a fabulous MIL and I miss her daily.
    I think I'll pray to St Anthony as the finder of lost things and go to sleep. I have an hour drive tomorrow morning, maybe an ending will jump into the car with me.
    Sweet dreams to all - and safety for those in the path of Irene.

  47. Celeste, your description of the day fits my week. I showed up to work yesterday morning and still didn't have a bulletin. It was completely stressing me out all week. Then I realized, I didn't have a bulletin because I was ministering all week. I wanted the bulletin because it is e norm, it feels safe, it's what expect. I got interrupted this week and the interruptions were more ortant. I had to lose what I was holding onto and carry something else this week. Ah ha. A sermon. Lose your life, take up your cross. The cross we take up doesn't have to be some big burdensome miserable thing we lug around while moaning and complaining. That's how it is portrayed so often, especially in EVERY. HYMN. IN. THE. HYMNAL. What if the cross is what we least exected (what Peter least expected for his Messiah), but what happens when we think of others first, when we serve their needs besides our own, when we don't take time to worry about what other people will think of us when we act in a completely counter-cultural way. Maybe this is what taking up our crosss is all about.

    At least that's what I'm preaching.

  48. She Rev - what is it they say about art imitating life? In your case life births a sermon! I can't wait to read it.

  49. All of the things at which I needed to appear, I did. I provided the items I said I would provide where needed and retrieved them afterward. There have been several changes of clothes. And, most amazing of all, the sermon and prayers are already printed as I type this post.

    I'm headed for the couch with a book I've been trying to finish and just haven't been able squeeze enough minutes out of my days before sleep shut my eyes. Maybe I can actually finish tonight.

    Blessings on your Sunday!
    Prayers of safety and comfort for those who need them. Love and affection for you all.

  50. Slim crowd tonight. Does anybody want left over salsa and cookies?
    There is some beer in the fridge too.
    I am finishing up a loaf of bread in the machine for tomorrow's Children's Church.
    Also, have to "locate" some 5 x 7 cards. Hmmm.
    I am doing a follow up sermon to last week's Who Will Teach Them? It was done by the interim pastor for Rally Day kickoff. Since we did not have an alter call and there were not throngs of people begging to teach, I am trying again.
    Also, thinking of seeing if the interim would like to start singing duets with me each week(neither one of us can sing) and keep on going until we have enough volunteers.
    Just a thought.
    Blessings to those who preach and teach and prayers for those in the path of Irene. Please stay safe.

  51. I almost have an ending, I think. The words are there, but I'm not sure they are in the right order, or maybe a few are missing. Sometimes I wish I could finish with people just reading my mind, getting the intent that's there and in my heart without my actually having to figure out the words for it!

  52. I've got the start of my preaching outline, the part I'm most worried about because I don't want to sound all "Woe is me! I didn't have time to write a bulletin this week!" The rest will come easily as a teaching of the Matthew story and a sort of reinterpretation of what it means to take up your cross. I think that will come easily in outline form, so I'm going to bed. Looking forward to the kids leading the Lord's Prayer. They've spent 4 weeks this summer learning it in different ways during children's worship (an experiment I've tried hesitantly), and I'm excited to hear them take charge in that part of worship.

  53. I know I have not been here all day. I was distributing food and helping with a church work day and watching the Hurricane news and even writing a sermon.

    First, to all of you for whom Irene is a close and unpleasant reality. Being on the West Coast all I can do is pray that you all and your families and communities come through the other side of the storm safely.

    Tomorrow we are blessing backpacks and teacher lesson plan books. :-) . I've actually never done this before but we have 7 kids this year! Yay! I'm not preaching from the lectionary but from the Wisdom of Solomon in the Apocrypha. And for the first time in I don't know when I actually have my sermon finished on Saturday evening!

    I've posted it here

    Blessings on you all.

  54. Yay for rev maria and 7 kids!!! I know that feeling and have rejoiced over 8 kids for VBS.
    And to Betsy, OH How I hear you!!! I have the thoughts in my head and just cannot get them on paper and in the right order. Sigh.
    Waiting for the bread to come out in like 10 minutes, but am worried as it keeps getting taller and bigger in the machine. Uh, it is a "large" loaf, but should it be THIS big??????

  55. 1-4, I hope it turned out okay!
    For those still waiting to preach, remember, the Holy Spirit's got your back!

  56. It did indeed, but I turned the machine off at 3 minutes to go. It is a huge loaf. I think I followed the directions. O' well it did not fit in the flower pot, so I had to trim it some.
    I was supposed to bake the bread in a terra cotta pot, but only had plastic ones.
    Anyhow, it worked out fine in the end.
    Blessings to all. Stay safe today! Watching the Weather Channel and thinking of you

  57. Good morning pals, thank you for your prayers. We have heavy rains where I'm at right now, the storm is probably going to reach me at around 2:00pm. Beloved had to go into work today ggggrrrrrrr. She'll be home before noon I hope. Trying not to freak out, but I've never been through a tropical storm before. Once again thanks for your prayers.

    Terri, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May God comfort you in your loss.


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