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Friday, August 12, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Tough Stuff Edition

Every once in a while, and really not that often, I wish those Jesus Seminar folks really could just toss stuff out of Scripture. However, this week it probably wouldn't matter since the Scripture I'm struggling with, the gospel lesson Matthew 15:21-28, is likely one of their keepers. It's one of those difficult interactions with Jesus. Who else is taking that challenge?

If that's not the challenge (or maybe I should say opportunity... at least calling!) before you today, do you have one you'd like to share? One you like for us to carry along with you?

What else might you be preaching? This is the last week of the Genesis series if there are any who are finishing up that family soap opera. How will close up their drama? The alternate text from the Hebrew Scriptures pairs pretty well with gospel, but could also stand alone for preaching.

The Romans series continues for those who have been going that direction. I am not preaching from it this week, but it has been on my mind and in my prayers as a member has asked us to highlight the work of the Gideons in worship later in the fall. He has a video that includes a portion where a Jewish man felt converted to Christianity after reading a Bible in a hotel room. I wanted to ask this member of my church (and maybe the Gideons in general), "Has God rejected God's people?"

Still others, I know, are working on series this summer. It's been particularly fun to see what topics come up in the churches with sermon request series. What are you all doing this week?

As always, join in the conversation in the comments. Ask and you shall receive! And of course, what is everyone bringing to the feast? Everyone is welcome at the table, and no one needs to beg for crumbs underneath it!


  1. what??!! I can't be first!!

    I will be preaching the third of four, DV, in a sermon series on tradition and change, and how the Word in Scripture and the Word made flesh guide the people of God through that multi-challenging experience.

    And my premise has been that the lections including the Psalm present a multi-dimensional workshop learning-experience: some "old story," a "choral response," a serving of theological analysis, and finally a dramatic, participatory encounter with Jesus.
    More in the morning. Pillow time, now. Night, y'all!

  2. Doing a kids service following on from weeks holiday club so no need to wrestle with gospel though I love this passage. Instead, following Peter the disciple.
    SO using time to catch up with friends.
    Coffees on just about to get eggs bacon mushrooms tomatoes on. How would you like your eggs?

  3. Good morning, preachers and friends! I am back from vacation but as an associate not preaching until mid September. BUT even more difficult for me, I am the children's moment person! And the senior pastor is using the gospel for today. So I have been struggling with how in the world to present this passage to children (with my puppet mouse Mortimer) and have it make any sense. I'm doing a bit of research this morning, then off to the second half of a women's clergy retreat on the BigLake to the North, about 20 minutes from here. I'm sure I'll have a lot of good food to share!
    If anyone has any good resources for children's moments in general or this passage in particular, I would REALLY appreciate it.
    Blessings on all as you prepare.

  4. Not preaching tomorrow so I haven't even looked at the lessons. My big challenge tomorrow will be not elaborating on the reasons I asked the organist to retire. Fortunately, most folks won't ask me directly and the key people know and are already answering for me. Still, this is one of those moments that can kill a congregation. So I wait with bated breath....

    Last year, one of the questions we asked on the ordination exams was "what is your least favorite gospel and why." I think the answer is whichever one we are preaching on that year. This year, Matthew seems to be the hardest to preach. Last year, I'm pretty sure I said the same thing about Luke! So good luck tomorrow to those of you tackling Matthew!

    I'm down to Zone bars and instant breakfasts in the kitchen. If you are dieting, come on over. Otherwise, Liz has the real breakfast food at her place. ;-)

  5. (reposted due to bad link - "preview" is my friend!)

    I am using the Lectionary but not preaching. Today is our annual church picnic (it's a day-long fundraiser) and so tomorrow is our annual "let's worship outside in the picnic grove" day. The newly reconstituted worship committee requested "don't just bring the indoor service outside" so I'm using the Psalm, the Isaiah text and the longer Matthew (in two parts). The whole thing will be a lot like what we used to do with kids and youth at camp -- interactive, even some crafts for the kids. There will still be songs (accompanied by an acoustic group) and other traditional worship elements (call to worship and confession and of course, offering!).

    I went through all the ideas on TextWeek and came up with lots of good stuff that I just strung together. I am not above stealing outright good ideas!

    My favorite: During the reading of the Matthew part about what goes into the body not being the problem, I will have a basin, soap and water and will wash my hands very very thoroughly before finally eating a bite of banana.

    This is a week that I am grateful for the Lectionary because the theme "In and Out" -- who's in and who is out mostly, but also the emphasis on what comes out (gossip, etc) -- would sound like a point I would go out of my way to make on my way out of here. Instead, it gets served up in a timely manner without any prompting from me! And on a day we can talk back and forth about it!

    Oh -- and it's supposed to rain later today and tomorrow!

    I am going to grab some breakfast at Liz's but I'm taking some of Margaret's instant breakfast for later at the picnic. I'll have to be sneaky since outside food is not permitted, but I can't eat the food there.

  6. Hey folks,

    Still doing the parishioners choice sermon series. This week I'll be preaching on the book of Ruth. Since I did a paper on it in seminary I'm thinking this might be an easier sermon for me to write. Here's hoping because I have book group today and an immigration group gathering later on tonight.

  7. Good morning, preachers! I am working on the Genesis text...I've got a good start, so I'm hoping to pull it together this morning and clean my house this afternoon!

    Very relieved not to be in a car dealership this Saturday which is where I spent last weekend after my 'old faithful' gave up the ghost!

  8. I can hardly think about my sermon because it's RAINING! And it has been for 3 hours and it's going to continue another hour or two. This may seem trivial to some of you, but those of us in the drought are gleeful over the rain. To give you some perspective, our last rain event was in early June and we are 19" below average rainfall since last October. We ended a 40 day streak of 100+ temperatures one day this week only to go back up over 100 the next day.

    It's been wearing on people - we all feel as parched as the cracked land and brown grass. Praying for renewal of spirits even as we watch the earth around us rebound to life.

    I'm off lectionary this week (or going back a few weeks to pick up one I had to skip). God has a sense of humor. I've been trying to preach this sermon on letting go based on Genesis 22 (sacrifice of Isaac)as a part of our mission and vision activities all summer, but other stuff kept coming up. So now I'm finally preaching it...the day before we leave to take our only son to his first year of college. God is laughing at me. I can feel it. At least it will be a heartfelt sermon.

  9. Even though I've written on Genesis (on and published a sermon on Jesus and Gentiles based on his encounter with the Canaanite woman (in Those Preaching Women, the multicultural volume, and it's one of my stock lectures), I'm going off lectionary. I'm preaching "Giving God a Piece of My Mind" from Job.

  10. Dr. Wil -- I love that sermon title! I'm not preaching this weekend. Got lots of administrative stuff going on in preparation for the fall.

    hoping to get to the farmer's market this morning sometime, a little church in the afternoon.

  11. Chilly Fingers, it sounds like we have a lot in common. I'm preaching from Genesis (have been through the whole Jacob cycle). I think I am going with the theme of forgiveness, but don't have much actually on paper. (Probably going with the theme of forgiveness on 9/11 so maybe should focus on something else tomorrow morning.) However, today is the day that I go hang out in the car dealership because my car is on its last legs and I don't want to be in it when it dies tragically.

  12. Megan - My car died on the way home from leading a women's retreat, but I now am driving my first automatic transmission! I got a Hyundai and I am loving it...especially the gas mileage.

  13. seconding the "what the heck do you do with children and THIS gospel passage" question. Sermon is done--tra la! It's not the best, not the worst, but it will do, which is fine for this week.

  14. Hello friends! Glad to see the party has started, but shocked that there has been very little mention of food yet. Can I get you anything? My husband is off at the men's breakfast at church which means he is sharing his culinary skills there instead of here. Cheerios with no milk is about all I have to offer. Not much. :(

    Sounds like there are some folks off to a good start - - with ideas at least!

    Prayers of thanksgiving for the rain you are celebrating, mid-life rookie!

    Sharon, it sounds like you have some fun pieces to put together tomorrow. We did an outside service the last weekend in June, and it was a hit. There's talk of taking August 28 outside, too. I also made it my goal not to just move the regular stuff out. Last time we had a baptism so that sort of guided the planning. I guess I should start looking at ideas for that in a couple of weeks if we really are going to do it.

    Crimson, looks like you had a good start last night (or during the week). A solid structure can me everything for my writing day! Blessings on you!

    Chilly and Megan, I remember a random weekday this summer when a bunch of my preacher friends all over the country (myself included) all found ourselves at our car dealerships on the same day writing sermons. Each of us finished early that week. I don't know what it is about waiting for car repairs that gets me writing, but I hope it works for you, Megan!

    Thank you for your offerings Wil! I'm preaching on Job today, by request, at a wedding vow renewal!

    I love hearing about your children's services, liz, so I hope you share where you end up later today!

    I hope your paper helps, G_G. I love it when the leg work is mostly done, but the challenge for me is not including EVERYTHING I learned and discovered in one sermon!

    Thanks for the folks who aren't preaching who always come to the party. I love that support and reminders of other pieces of ministry on Saturday!

    As for me, I need to get the kiddos fed so that I can jump in the shower quickly when my husband does get home. That vow renewal is at noon and I need to get there early. I had a good sermon start early in the week, and hope to follow through with my plan to preach without notes. i took a class on it and tried it on the front half of being away for two weeks. This is my first week back, and I want to try it before I lose momentum. I would feel a little better about it if I had been able to continue working on the sermon and text during the week.

    However, we had a tragic death by suicide mid-week and that has been my focus. The service will not be until next week, and I will certainly address it in worship, but after going back and forth several times I think I have made the right decision to NOT change the WHOLE service because of this. it's a pretty complicated family situation (aren't they all?).

    So, that's what I'm working with today! Lots on my mind and much on my plate, but this is the life to which I was called and God is with me as I live it!

  15. On Tuesday in my group we talked about how in Matt 10 Jesus sent the disciples to the "lost sheep of Israel" but by the end of Matt the sending is to "all the world" with this gospel passage as a pivot point in between the two.

    When Jesus questions the religious authorities pointing to their inconsistencies, they get mad. When Jesus has the same done to him, his first reaction is the same but then he changes his actions to match his words.

    That's my jumping off point. Hope I can turn that into a sermon in the midst of a full day.

    We're also doing Blessing of the Backpacks. Here's a link to one of three posts. I have one or two more resources that I'll put up during the week if I can remember. I'm pretty sure we're ahead of most folks this year.

  16. Hello Susan! I forgot to address that in the last one, and frankly I'm thinking about it myself, too! It's my turn this week. I sort of have a help this week in that it's a communion week. We had to move it when I was out of town. I might do something about communion that is sort of related to the text themes, but not necessarily the full story - - God's table is full of grace and abundant with mercy. There is room for everyone - - where the sermon ends up, but not where it starts!

  17. Vicar that is really helpful, the pivot point part! Also thanks for your backpack resources. I sent links to some of your stuff this week to a friend from college who is now the children's ministry coordinator for her church. You come up near the top on a Google search!

  18. Good morning. I'm feeling too lazy to make my usual oatmeal, so I'll take some virtual cheerios and milk, please!

    I'll be writing later. This morning I'm off to the community rummage sale and then to check in on the lady stranded here we put up in the local motel. Got to her good directions so she can navigate the detour south of us that's giving thru traffic fits.

    Then maybe I can do some writing. We have a new dog - my first indoor dog and I am intrigued by how intent he is on our dinner table when we eat. Such hopeful anticipation waiting for the littlest crumb or scrap snuck under the table (which we do not do). Makes me think about all those out there who are just as intent on finding those crumbs of grace that drop from our tables. That may be where I go with my sermon. I'm also intrigued by Jesus' reluctance to help this women - the workingpreacher podcast has a good comment on her vision of God's inclusiveness breaking in on Jesus' vision of mission.

    I won't know until I start writing. And I have to figure out what to do about the printer being out of ink - and the nearest supplier is a 2 hour drive away. Ah the joys of a very rural parish!

  19. Good morning! I swapped lectionary weeks with MaineCelt, who supplied at my church last Sunday. She gave them a brilliant sermon on the Canaanite woman. I had planned to run with a Sustainable Sermon since I came back from vacation into a very busy week, and since I also came back sick, that seemed very wise.
    Until I started to get better.
    And now I'm not sure I'm satisfied with Old Sustainable.
    Anyway, I'm on last Sunday's gospel text, which I helped present dramatically then, and will just be talking about this week. We will also have Communion, moved back from last Sunday. I am inclined to be less formal, but I don't even know what I mean when I say that.
    I've also been coffee-free for five days, thinking it didn't help my coughing, and I think maybe I could use an application of caffeine to get my thoughts sorted. ;-)

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  21. Thanks Vicar for the Backpack liturgy. We are doing that next Sunday, but I'm leaving for vacation on Monday, so finding liturgy was on my to do list for this weekend.

    Blueberry Muffins and Turkey Bacon on the sideboard.

    Now to buckle down on my sermon even though other tasks (distractions)beckon. I'm half done unless I throw out everything I did on Thursday and start over.

  22. Ramona,
    Do you have a neighbor with a printer less than 2 hours away ? You could email your sermon or take it to them on a thumb drive and print it;-)

  23. hi everyone...
    just back from Trader Joe's, so I have a full fridge and pantry! How about a nice fruit salad snack to get you through to lunch? Cantaloupe, watermelon, blueberries and raspberries coming right up! Then, for lunch, I am thinking vegan italian sausages on the grill with peppers and come on over!

    Mumpastor, I always like to check this site for ideas for children based on the lectionary
    I don't always use her scripts, but they get me thinking. Hope it's helpful.

    I was hoping to go off lectionary and preach my Jezebel monologue sermon, just because I can....but can't find the dang sermon. I could rewrite it, but Barbara Lundblad has some good stuff on Textweek about the lectionary gospel, so I am going to go with that.

    In the meantime, I am shoe shopping as a procrastination tool. ;-)

    Where is MaineCelt's sermon? Would love to read it!

  24. I'm also doing Matthew.

    For children, we (pastor and I -- I'm the intern who is preaching) are making puppy chow and talking about hunger and how dog food is all some people have to eat. Asking kids if they are willing to share their puppy chow. We've been doing a lot of food drive things recently, so fits in...

  25. Hello!
    I am battling a headache and re-entry malaise after 2 Sundays off from preaching. We're still on the by request sermon series with this week's being: "Why I love being a Presbyterian."
    That request is so weird since we are Lutheran.

    Just kidding.

    I'm going to start with the the good and the bad of being presbyterian and then move us to a more universal place using the words from VBS this past week: gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, grace and faithfulness.

    If you've got those five in the recipe, it doesn't matter what flavor you are.... or something.

  26. kzj, how can you be so funny when your head hurts? You amaze me.

    Just got 16yo off to church camp, where she will be spending a week as a CIT. It's a cleverly themed Harry Potter week, so she had to pack a costume and "dress robes" and made her own wand out of a sanded-down stick she found in our church yard. I'm exhausted from getting her ready and may take a little snoozle. But the good news is that although I decided to pitch the old sermon, I have an idea that I believe will preach, particularly at the Communion Meditation length.

  27. So many thoughts. So little sense of order or organization. Perhaps I'm not clearly focused on my focus or my focus isn't clear or some such thing my preaching professor would say. Praying for guidance. Manboy is packing. Little tears. I don't get this - I'm so happy for him, thrilled for him - but at the same time verklempt. Thinking grief needs to find a place in a sermon on letting go.

  28. Love the puppy chow idea! I wish we did children's sermons so I could steal the idea.

    And, yes, midlife rookie, I'm sure someone nearby has a printer. We're just so new here that it will take a bit to find someone. And I tend to finish late and I'm not sure I really want my parishioners to know that I don't finish my sermons until around 9pm! ;)

    On the plus side, I found a great chair at the rummage sale. On the not-so-plus side, I have zero motivation for sermonating.

    We have fresh cantaloupe for snacking!

  29. Always glad to check in here on a Saturday and realize I am not the only one still struggling for a sermon focus!

    Thought I had a start on Genesis text on cheap forgiveness being the mirror image of cheap grace. Still following to see where the road will lead, but fear a dead end.

    Thanks to all. First post here. Will come back soon with an identity, etc. But felt compelled to chime in this week!

  30. I'm preaching "Easter in August" at least sort of. We're working our way through Luke this year and tomorrow is Luke 24:1-12. Last Sunday went really well, and I'm having a bit of trouble with the follow-up (I'm an associate and don't preach every week).

  31. I'm not preaching this week, but have spent a few days listening to the processing of a friend who is. It's almost been harder than writing the darn thing myself.

    Blessings on you all as you work, and feel free to take some gluten-free banana bread.

  32. Jill, what a friend you are! I'd give anything for someone to process with. I think by talking.

    Looked back at what I did on Thursday and the seemingly random notes from this morning actually flow together quite well.

    Definitely seeing the grief piece has to go in. Personally struggling today more than I care to admit. Even when we are giving something up for something that will be awesome, there is grief.

    Leftover pizza for lunch, then typing.

    Probably back in a bit.

  33. We have an all age service with baptisms tomorrow and I'll just be using the Romans reading. Will be reflecting a little on the riots here and our response (while considering the many visitors and children!) so will probably focus on the 'disobedience' and 'mercy' aspects of the Romans passage. I may talk a bit about Paul himself and his journey from murderer to missionary! Have been collecting some images through the week to use on overhead of the responses - 'Peckham peace wall' (Peckham is a district in London) which is a wall full of post-it notes of messages of praise of the community etc; and pictures of the 'broom brigades' out clearing up afterwards and a candleight vigil. I want to ask 'if the riots had got to us' (we're not far and the police here were out on watch) how would we have responded practically as a church? All a bit of a mush at the moment! Justice and mercy. Practical help and community spirit overcoming evil... "Overcome evil with good" and asking "how will you be part of the solution?"

  34. back from the retreat that didn't turn out to be much of a retreat in the end. I had high hopes. Oh well. Still rummaging for children's sermon, thanks for Anna's Hosannas! idea...that may work. Jennifer, wondering how you make puppy chow? We have a nut-free church and I am afraid of bringing in anything that may cause an allergic reaction, so food of any kind is probably out.
    Erk. Off to clean the garage for a while. Still getting used to not preaching Saturdays (for 5 years I preached every Saturday night and then was at church again Sunday) and enjoying a longer Saturday afternoon.
    We have a few more Italian ice in the freezer. It hits the spot on this hot sunny day. Have one!

  35. Just adding to my random thoughts that because there are four children being baptised I was also thinking of the tie in of "teach your children in the way they should go"/God as a compass they're being 'handed' and how some of this is what's lacking in the young rioters/looters.

  36. Yum! I'd love some Italian ice. Really hits the spot.

    I'm working with the image of our dog at the dinner table and the idea that the Canaanite woman enlarged Jesus' kingdom vision and the world eagerly awaiting crumb of God's grace. It actually works nicely with the way I preached my last few sermons. I think I'll call it "Thank God for Canaanite Women and Dogs!" Or is that too provocative?

    I may just take a little nap and see if it still looks good in an hour!

  37. It sounds good to me ramona! :)

  38. I'm really slogging through the sermon writing today. Stuck with the Matthew text. Preaching on talking with God- what impact does our prayer have on God and on us. Can we pester God into getting our own way? It's basically done but I need to tidy it up and I JUST DON'T FEEL LIKE IT. So maybe I'll knit or cook dinner or watch Doctor Who or hmmm..... We have Panera cheese bread- thickly sliced.

  39. I decided to do one more revision before naptime. Here is the first draft of Thank God for Dogs and Canaanite Women.

    Off to zzzzz.....

  40. I had an interrupted nap, then finished reading a book, and now I am writing a completely new sermon, refusing to let myself be hemmed in by the title in the bulletin.
    It's a whole paragraph long, so far. :-)
    Anybody want a Pepsi?

  41. I still haven't got any further than the mish mash of thoughts that've been brewing all week! Pepsi sounds good :D

  42. Goodness, thanks, Songbird! And since you asked me to jump a head a week and save last week's lectionary passage for you, I now get to preach about the Canaanite Woman AGAIN, guest preaching in front of a different congregation!

    This really is one of my favourite bible stories ever, because it's a text of powerful up-from-under courage from a woman who could so easily have had no voice of her own. Instead, she shouts, she screams, she yells, and she MAKES Jesus listen and respond to her.

    I see it as a feminine parallel to Jacob's wrestling with the angel--part of a long tradition of people who engaged intensely with God in an encounter that changed both parties. I can't quite articulate why that excites me so deeply, but...since I'm in the middle of writing my ordination paper, maybe I'd better try!!!

  43. MaineCelt, I'm with you - LOVE this text. I'm missing out on it this summer though.

    Slogging away at why I love being Presbyterian. I'm trying to move it from term paper to inspired Word of God...

    Or at least something that won't come with a warning against listening to it and operating heavy machinery at the same time.

  44. Home for a few minutes after the vow renewal and party. The mother of the bride, so to speak, fell and fractured her pelvis about an hour or so before the service. I'm off to the hospital to visit although I'm pretty certain she'll be heavily sedated.

    I'm sorry I've been an absentee hostess. I'll be back again later. I've go some phenomenal carrot cake to share!

  45. It's now 3:16 where I live, and I'm still struggling to even get a few words to paper. I've only managed to get about 1/2 a page of handwritten notes, and have no focus at all. I spent the morning and early afternoon doing some pastoral things, so I'm feeling tired. Do I dare take a break and watch TV with the Darling Barrista (my daughter)? I think I will, maybe I'll get inspired.

  46. Hello everyone! Trying to gather my thoughts and dig into a sermon on the gospel text, but as usual and as many of you know, focus is eluding me.

    I was away for nearly the whole week for continuing ed, then yesterday was completely out of it (somehow getting through a visit and a premarital session), so I only have a few scraps of ideas to begin working with. Ramona, thanks for posting earlier about dogs and crumbs...that has me thinking...and also something that happened at the visit that made me think of the Canaanite woman primarily as a mother, and that she only did what any mother would do.

    Okay. Off I go.

  47. I'm now cooking chips (fries? though over here fries are thin type ones you get from McDonalds - these are proper fat chips lol)! Anyway, brain food or another distraction technique?? And it's already 10.45pm!

  48. She Rev - no worries. So sorry for the mother of the renewing vows bride... or however we want to say that.

    Plodding along here. I need to keep it from being a late night. Right now the headache is hovering instead of debilitating so whatever I can get done now is a good thing.

  49. Kathryn-- I know, how's about you write my UCC ordination paper, and I write your Presbyterian sermon...?

  50. I think I know why so few of us are discussing food this week... something about dogs and crumbs under the table?

    Crumbcake, anyone?

  51. Most of the food at my house is ice cream. I could share. We have Ben and Jerry's Milk and Cookies and Ben and Jerry's Cake Batter. And I'm home alone. So I guess I should say *I* have ice cream.

  52. Feeling guilty when I see how busy lots of you are and have been today when my day involved drinking gin mid afternoon - all because I don't have to preach tomorrow - instead, recapping holiday club stories about Jesus and Peter, showing pics and teaching action songs to rest of cong! But here is what I preached 3 years ago when I first came to this call.
    Interested that some of you are bringing in English riots tomorrow - a blog post I wrote on those seems to have upset a respected colleague (on my blog - journalling) - don't you just hate that - when you attract controversy without even trying!
    Anyway, hope the sermon - and children's time fairies are right where they need to be now1

  53. liz, I don't envy you, I simply hope to emulate you some Saturday. ;-)

  54. Back from the visit with the MOB. She's ordinarily a hoot and a half, but not she's loaded up on morphine so it was a regular party in her room. It seems to be a plodding day around here, but a few folks are are finishing things up.

    Sorry that your stirred up controversy you weren't expecting, liz. So annoying.

    I'm not eating much for dinner, having engorged myself at the wedding lunch. That said I know where there's some AWESOME carrot cake to share!!!

    Must go help baby who is NOT entertained watching dad and big brother play Star Wars Legos on the Wii. Gee, I wonder why?

  55. Liz, awesome sermon!

    Mine is limping along.....

  56. OK, how does this sound - have kids separate into puppies (the actual Greek word according to Barbara Lundblad) and children. Have older kid invite the children to "eat" - showing great photos of yummy food (fries, bagels, burgers, carrot sticks, etc) and ask the "puppies" if they are hungry. Say "you can't eat!" and ask the "children" if that is fair. Then have Mortimer the mouse puppet say "no, Jesus teaches us in this passage today that everyone should get a share. Jesus was talking about his Word, and how it was meant for everyone, not just his closest friends. We need to share what we have, food, and God, with others!"
    Sounds pretty lame. But it is all I have. Any suggestions appreciated!

    I will preach for someone tomorrow if they will do the children's moment! Ack.

    I don't think I ate enough chocolate today.

  57. I like the idea of dividing the kids, but isn't the whole point that Jesus said his word was *not* for the puppies? It's really the puppy that called him out and made him think more broadly.
    Carolyn at Worshiping with Children admits this is a tough one, but suggests reading "The Sneetches."

  58. Liz... that was a good sermon!
    I'm only speaking about the riots to a degree because they were just up the road to us and there was a lot of anxiety and a lot of extra police presence. In fact there were so many rumours at one point that I went out at midnight on Monday night to check what was happening because it was being spread that our supermarket was on fire and the shopping centre being looted! It was all calm in fact so was able to reassure. I'm focusing on would we as the church have been ready to get our sleeves rolled up and hands dirty and help people if they had come here though. And how we should respond as God's people because as you can imagine a lot of varying views have been flying around.
    I read the blog post and you have some interesting points there... I'm not sure what caused the controversy - I can't quite hit the nail on what rankled a little but the nearest I can get is it 'felt' a bit like "those savage English, what can we teach them" :) but we're quite aware down here what people think up there... especially when England are playing football lol! And aside from that you are right in that we can always learn from each other!

  59. It is typed. I will not print until I read it again in the morning. Now a couple of chores to get ready for big church council meeting tomorrow and then a "last supper" with Manboy at home (he has plans tomorrow evening). It's been a verklempt kind of day. This wound up in my sermon - no matter how great the letting go is, there's bound to be some grief.
    God is with us. We are not alone.

  60. Man, I wish SeniorPastor had chosen a different're right Martha. Maybe Mortimer the mouse can convince the "teacher" that the puppies deserve food. And I can talk about how Jesus changed his mind.
    Thanks for your input. Now going to the hospital to make a visit and then back to smash my head against a wall.

  61. I'm back from the church picnic. The rain came early. It was a drizzle then, but pouring at my house now.

    They were still trying to work in the big event cake walk when I left. I ate like a kid: french fries, ice cream sundae and birch beer -- just that! -- and am wishing for a mom to materialize with a soothing remedy for the slightly yucky feeling that is no surprise!

    In the absence of that, I'm brewing some herb tea with some mint and just a touch of honey and a slice of ginger. Help yourselves!

  62. Sharon - that's sounds like delicious tea, just the thing for after dinner!

    MumPastor - I love the idea of the children and puppies and Mortimer. Why is it that the sermons I like best this week are the children's?

    Songbird - One of my favorite seminary professors read the Sneetches as a chapel sermon. I don't remember the text, but it made for a great adult sermon!

    I'm done, but I don't like my ending. I feel somewhat unfocused, like the parts don't match up. I'm going to go re-read David Lose's article at workingpreacher and see if that gives me any inspiration.

  63. For better or worse, it's done. The finished version of "Thank God for Canaanite Women and Dogs!" can be read here.

    I'm off to find a printer, so I dont' have to preach from my cell phone! I'll be back to read your words of wisdom!

  64. Look! It's a shiny new sermon!!! May it soon be the same for all of us!

  65. I seem to be paralyzed by my lack of a spiral notebook. It's how I prepared for my sermon without notes in the class I took a couple of weeks ago, and it worked so well I'd like to do it again. This is procrastination of a very high order.

  66. I have checked in earlier but did not have time to post here.

    Preaching from Matthew - dealing with who is welcome and how that might mean we have to give up some of what makes us comfortable.

    Part of that for me is a disturbing meeting earlier this week in which I was angerly told I could not ask a question because the person was afraid of what I might say... do you think I felt welcome at that table? It was all the more telling since what I wanted was for the group to talk about an issue that we were tasked to deal with. But we don't talk about things we don't talk about... still mulling power dynamics in a context that denies that any exist. BTW -this is not my church! TBTG!!!

    After worship tomorrow we have a kick off round table discussion for our Building for Future Generations project to address issues of welcome and accessability as well as much needed repairs. Venerable buildings - love them...

    My mother called to ask me yesterday about an article in her newspaper on a Conservative Bible translation ( if you have not done so already - look this up - it is scary) using that as a way to talk about why we don't edit out the parts of the Bible that make us uncomfortable ( like getting rid of Jesus' words from the cross "Father forgive then for they know not what they do" because liberals like it and God would not forgive like that...)

    Need to finish and print- very close to RevNightOwl territory and I need to go home.

    Good night all! Blessings as you ponder and preach. SheRev - thanks for hosting and all those who have been extending hospitality and welcome throughout the party.

  67. Ok, I hated my first sermon. It sounded too much like a dry seminary paper. So at 8:30 pm I rewrote the whole thing into a first person monologue of Ruth retelling her story. Come stop by and say hi to her at my blog.

    Now it's on to the prayers. Here's hoping I'm in bed by midnight.

  68. Quitting for the night. Grateful we are still on summer schedule - 9:30 - one and done.

    Good night and good luck!

  69. Well, for all you late night folks, I'll just leave out some of this crumbcake...right here...under the table...


  70. Ugh! Started a sermon, don't like it, having trouble starting another. Surfing around entirely too much. Longing after pizza at home that I forgot to bring in to church.

    Maybe this is the night I go back and actually write at home. Which is far more comfortable. And with no Internet there, perhaps more productive! (Although also opens up the possibility of falling asleep and waking up and writing at 5 am.) So many choices.

    Hope it's going better for others out there still writing...

  71. I'll crawl under for it, MaineCelt.

    Hi semfem. It's not really going yet. I need to decide and commit now about doing this with or without a manuscript. I LOVED doing it at the class I took and I fear that if I don't try it now, my first Sunday back, I'll let it slip a way. However, for some reason, I'm kind of nervous about it, which is weird because I don't really get nervous. Funny, THAT decision is what has paralyzed my process. Must just decide and get to the preparation part or I will stink at it no matter how I choose to deliver.

    This is me buckling down. Really. I swear.

  72. So along the way of a busy day I ended up with notes on 2 index cards. I'm trying to decide whether to type them up or just run with them.

  73. Still here with you, SheRev and Vicar...still wrestling with two sermons, although I'm making progress...still here at church, longing for that leftover pizza, and getting sleepy. Yet I know that if I interrupt the vibe of writing and go home to finish things up, it will take a long time to get back into it. Not Good.

    Hoping you've pulled the trigger, SheRev, and hoping you've decided what to do next, Vicar...

  74. Run with them, Vicar! Join me!

    I have made my decision. I just hope I can pull it off. The simple structure our teacher advised us to use is eluding me right now, but I think I can go with it. I'm making the decision now to go grab a little sleep. I'm not sure if it's a great decision, but I'm pretty sure most of my thoughts are organized on a few different sheets of paper (yes - - REAL paper). I think I can pull them together in a few hours and maybe even speak them aloud a few times.

    I need to chew on what sort of people we try to keep away from God's mercy, God's abundant table of blessings. I know some of the stock answers that fit the larger Christian family, and those may fit my congregation to some extent, but I want some examples that are much closer to home. Who is really missing and how are we a part of keeping them away? I'll think on that as I'm heading to sleep.

  75. Sleep is calling my name!

    Notes it is! The only bad part is that in 3 years there will be nothing in my file. But the flexibility of notes is probably a good idea because I have no idea what the timing for the Blessing of the Backpacks is going to be.

    And if you could have seen all the typos before I fixed them you'd agree that sleep is a good idea, too.

    Blessings on your Sunday!

    night, nig...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  76. Good night everyone! I finally have a finished sermon that I think is only ONE sermon, not many, and some prayers as well. And a kids' sermon shamelessly borrowed from the Stewardship of Life meditation on the text from Sharron Blezard. Printing now and then home to pizza and sleep.

    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this coming day.

  77. Back to get my thoughts together much better. If I could feel better about how I start this will all be ready to go. Soon. Very soon.

  78. Got it! I've got almost a full manuscript, then organized down to an outline, and now in my brain as a sermon to deliver.

    I hope everyone else is ready for the day, and maybe some are even done with worship!

    My children's sermon on Matthew is going to be more thematic and less direct scripture. I'll put it in context of school almost starting and what it feels like to be left out, encouraging kids to reach out to anyone, even (especially) people who are different from them. I'll talk about how the church should be a place where everyone feels welcome. Something like that.

    Blessings on all who preach, proclaim, pray, and participate this day!


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