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Saturday, September 17, 2011

11th Hour Preacher Party: Would you like some CHEESE...

with that WHINE???

I mean, really! Between the Israelites in Exodus and the workers in Matthew it's like living with my 4 year old at 6:00 p.m. when he hasn't had a nap! There's nuuuuuuuh-thing to eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat. It's not faaaaaaaaaaaaaaair. Lot's a whining and complaining going around.

And I know I'm supposed to talk about why they shouldn't be doing that and shouldn't they just have some gratitude for what they have, but... well... it's not fair. In some ways, especially Matthew, it feels a lot like the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. What point is there to being good if everyone who isn't gets the same thing anyway? What's the good news here for the people who have been sticking it out from the start and following every hair-brained idea their leader throws at them?

What are our complaints and whines about today? The one I think I'll bring up in our service is the myth of inadequacy, the way we whine about not being big enough, not having enough active families, not boasting the best youth program. I'm not saying we shouldn't pay attention to these areas of ministry. But really we have enough. We are enough. We have been given exactly enough to do what God wants us to do. And likewise God has enough to make sure that when more disciples are encouraged into the work with us, there is plenty more blessings for them, too.

What are other folks thinking? I remember at least one or two were going with the Epistle this week. Anyone on the Psalm or alternate OT? I believe we even have a couple folks who are working through the Season of Creation. How is that going and where are you headed today?

If you need a little side conversation for distraction, I've been wondering, is anyone trying out the Narrative Lectionary offered up over at Working Preacher for the next 9 months or so? I didn't see in until recently, and I guess I still have time to try it, but I think I might save it until next year at this point. It looks VERY fun!

Anyway, as always, join us in the comments and don't be scared. Ask for what you need and I'm sure there's enough wisdom to go around!


  1. I'm whining this week. Personally, I'm frustrated that I needed to have this sermon done by now (Friday night) and I don't even have it started, so there's trouble in paradise. But then I remind myself--as you've said in your introduction--that I have enough, and more than enough! I love your proclamation that "We are enough," because darn, how often I dismiss that possibility.

    So, I think I will write some now, with the happy memory of my son's football game (talk about being battered and yet not whining!) in my mind, and the excitement of an Aussie exchange student arriving in 11 hours in my heart :-) Looking forward to seeing the rest of you around in the morning!

  2. She Rev, thank you for the link to the Narrative lectionary, I had not heard of this before. It won't work for me this year as I am away for 4 of the next 7 weeks, but maybe next year.

    Last night was a friend’s induction about 3 hours away; we stayed overnight, leisurely breakfast etc., so now about to start writing.

  3. finished
    Not where I thought I was going during the week, but such is worship preparation. And it is only 9.00 pm.
    so what else can I get done tonight?
    left over pasta from dinner if anyone is hungry.

  4. Good morning (eastern standard time)! I am suppressing my own guttural whine as we kick off officer training this morning, something I struggle with every year - a) Didn't we just do this last year and b) Really? Jesus died for this?

    Anyway, once we all get there my extrovert will be engaged and all will be well... and it's only two hours. Straight from that to The Boy's soccer game and then home to write.

    The first hurdle to writing is getting over the guilt of needing to send The Boy along with his father so I can finish the sermon. The second hurdle to writing is getting the retired pastor who sent me a not all positive email about last week's sermon out of my head. I could shake him easier if I didn't think he was right, and now I may be pushing too hard to get some of those points into this week's sermon.

    Too much information. Sorry.

    Off to take the dogs out, pick up Panera and then get to church. Have a wonderful morning/few hours without me. I'll miss you!

  5. Good morning everyone and thanks for hosting us today, SheRev! Like Betsy, I like the approach of "enough" -- we have enough and also "enough (whining, etc.), already!" (Talking to myself here, especially)

    There is a part of me that wishes I was in Pearl's time zone and that today's challenges were a memory. I'm looking forward to reading your sermon after I get a little done on mine.

    My challenge is that this is the final "farewell" sermon in my current congregation. It has not been a particularly fruitful ministry by anyone's standards and there doesn't seem to be a good payoff for anyone at the end of our labor together. So, I'm focusing on "fruitful labor" -- perhaps the reward is not in the fruit but in the reward of kingdom labor itself? Preliminary thoughts . . .

    Kathryn, prayers for surprisingly good fruit to come of your day.

    I have some coffee ready. Help yourselves!

  6. I have an all day conference level meeting that is a distance away. Thankfully, jeans and t-shirt are appropriate dress (at least I hope it is because that's what I'm wearing regardless).

    It would be nice if I could figure out how to do something with the gospel lesson related to denominational women's day. (Since *you're* a women we'll just let you preach ...)

    Kathrynzj is there a way to let him know that the "critical-voice-in-the-congregation" spot has been filled but there is still an opening for "ministry-is-a-hard-job-you're-doing-great" position?

  7. Here's my whine. Last Saturday we had a great vision retreat. I received an almost embarrassing level of affirmation, particularly for my worship leadership. Except for one group (one person?), who shared a dream for the sermons to be different, and I'm confused about it.
    Here are the exact words:

    "Spiritual dream: Bring Bible stories to life by adding historical references. Combination of different sermon types -- different focus -- personal, Biblical, thoughtful. Don't forget spiritual aspects of what we do."

    Isn't this what I do? I feel like the feedback I get from this congregation has been "yes," but clearly that group, or at least one voice in it, doesn't think so. I realize I can't please everyone, but if I'm losing someone's attention, not reaching them, I want to listen to what's real in the criticism/critique.

    That's on my mind at the beginning of a very busy Saturday that includes two commitments at the church this morning and a visit with a parishioner's possibly dying father early in the afternoon and the pressure to produce a pie for tomorrow's Apple Festival when I really want to use the apples from my backyard tree for a pie for my family and soon-to-be-visiting friend. (So there! :-P)

  8. Oh, Vicar, I hope you are getting the wished-for comment from the people in the congregation and hear the affirmation from your sister's here.

    Songbird, your comment reminded me of something I have to keep reminding myself--I preach one homily but somehow between my voice and people's ears it divides into many different versions. I often wonder if we've been in the same room!

    I have a visioning summit this morning so I finished my little piece on Jonah last night. Started from the end this time because I wanted to end with a question just as the person telling the Jonah story did. Challenging. But I did make the storyteller a woman and used a feminine pronoun. Just can't help myself!

    Have a productive day sister preachers.

  9. Not preaching today; headed for a Presbytery meeting to be examined and I hope approved for ordination. I'll post tonight after I get back.

    A potentially major health problem has reared its extremely ugly head in the past three days, so whatever happens in the way of preparing for ordination is going to take place under a very large shadow.

    Please keep me in your prayers, and have a good day of preparation.

  10. Robin, praying for you.

    Sharon, hopefully there is something to celebrate from your time together, even if it is that you have spent time together as people of God.

    I can remember a supervisor during my time at college that said something like ‘Jesus died so you don't have to'. They were reminding [again!] me that I can't be all things to all people, and as a very human person, sometimes I will not get it right or perfect, and sometimes people won’t like what I say or do even if it is the right course of action at the time. So don’t beat up on myself, ‘Jesus died so you don't have to'.

    Time for me to log off, and think about getting some sleep. I will catch up with all your news tomorrow.

  11. Oh Robin, prayers for sure... sometimes I do wish life would just once come at us "one thing at a time."
    songbird, honey, it's just me but I think that feedback... is bull--. "Spiritual" is such a cop-out as an assessing/evaluating word -- I tend to translate it as "more sugar, please".
    Kathryn, line me up with the Vicar also. I would be so tempted to quote her exactly in my response.
    Sharon, I know you will find the word to say that folks are longing and needing to hear, thought it may not be the word they think they ordered up!!!
    I am figuring to tie the OT and the Gospel together with this -- what God sends is not reward for what we have done today. It is rations to strengthen us to do our work tomorrow...that includes physical resources, "this world's goods," and things like affirmations, praise, good feedback (!!!), good conversations, perceived success (like people actually understanding what we've said).
    And just possibly, when we get whining, or blame, or criticism, or contempt, or bafflegab, that might just possibly, just possibly, be the enemy attempting to clog our chariot wheels. So to speak.
    The denarius at the end of the day is "grub for today" for work for tomorrow -- like the manna, and the daily bread we pray for.
    This comment is too long, I'm sorry.

  12. also, She Rev, LOVE love love your header-picture. Cheese with your whine, indeed!

  13. Hi all,

    I covet your prayers. Tomorrow I am preaching at a neutral pulpit. Can't give any details but needless to say I am excited. Sermon is written. I will be meeting the search committee this afternoon.

    Robin, my have them.

  14. prayers you have them too.

  15. Prayers for interviews of many kinds today!

    SB, I have been in a similar place--a former member had been in the process for ordination in another denomination (was turned down) and was a writer--and he felt thus qualified to critique sermons, worship, how I led meetings, etc... If it had been constructive, I would not have minded, but it was always negative carping (a mixed metaphor, an unintended Americanism, etc.), not major theological issues, or even about delivery. Ugh. Put it aside--he has his own issues (as did my member) I am guessing.

    Had a crazy week, and so have only notes today. I'm preaching on Jonah and Matthew...God's sense of value is not our sense of value. We want to second-guess God but God has a different agenda than we do! "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?" works with God (not so much with humans because we are not omniscient and may misuse it...). Well, preliminary thoughts anyway.

    Shredded wheat with blueberries for breakfast, anyone!

    And now to start the laundry...

  16. good morning everyone. just about to start the morning pancakes here with bleary eyes and about 1/2 a sermon that doesn't exactly suck, but isn't everything I had at once envisioned it to be.

    I need it to be done. I have a meeting with 3 year olds and parents this nmorning (teaching prayer) and preach it at 5:00 then have a baptism meeting after church.

    It's my own darn fault; I had this great idea for a fall theme this year: "Shine!" It's supposed to be holistic stewardship emphasis all fall, how we are stewards of everything that God has first entrusted to us. Every week have a different aspect of how we shine as per Matthew 5:16, this week is "Shining in our families."

    Ok. That's too much information.

    Anyway. it's just not going well.

    that's the whiiiiiine.

    I really like Vicar's comment and think I will save it and put it in my pocket.

    Also, Songbird, I hear your puzzlement.

    Okay, if I don't get going pretty soon, I'll be doing an off-the-cuff sermon at 5:00, and that may not be pretty.

  17. Sorry for your frustrations, Betsy. Hope your night was fruitful. Enjoy your visitor!

    I'll take some pasta, pearl! I'm a leftovers for breakfast kind of girl. Nice finish!

    kzj - Prayers for you for all that "stuff." I totally get the officer retreat/training one. I have that same response leading up to it, but somehow usually end up kinda liking it.

  18. Sharon, I remember someone telling me that the most important fruits of youth ministry are rarely visible while you are still with the youth (or even the congregation). I've also noticed that most of the truths I've learned about youth ministry are true about ministry in general. Blessings on you as you work on this holy task.

  19. Vicar, I love your suggestion about the roles a retiree can fill. I was very nervous about the fact that a retired Baptist pastor and his wife (our former choir director) worship at out church when I started. They have become, however, the most INCREDIBE spiritual support I have. I feared what kzj got, but have been blessed in something completely different. kzj - - You're doing a good thing where you are. I pray you have the ocnfidence to tell him what would be useful. (I'm a wuss. I don't know if would!)

    Songbird - - Many of us read your sermons regularly, and I'm more than certain you have a variety of styles. I'm guessing those dreams were anonymous? Is there a chance you can reassure yourself that maybe this is a person who is spottier in worship participation and therefore has missed the variety sometimes? I'm with you in wanting to find the nuggets of truth in feedback that sometimes others advise us to just toss. I hope you can find peace with this.

    'Tis the season for visioning I guess! May it be illuminating, RevAlli

    Prayers abound Robin!

    Crimson Rambler - - I LOVE the way you're tying them together! Strength for tomorrow instead of reward for today. WONDERFUL!

    Prayers G_G!!

    Now crazy weeks is something we all can understand. I hope you are able to set aside the craziness today, Rainbow, and do what needs to be done. (I'm in the same crazy week boat!)

    Diane - - what a busy, but blessed sounding day. I'm doing a little bit with shining this week, too. You're thoughts of all different kinds of light during the week helped me with my children's sermon. It's more about the start of Sunday School than the scripture, so I'll go to the passage about God's Word as a lamp to our feet... I'll talk about all sorts of different lights and then talk about the Word of God that can shed light on our lives and the way we should go. Maybe a little too metaphorical for our young ones, but I'll hope for the best. After worship they will have a chance to make paper lanterns that will be hung in our hallways for a few weeks.

  20. Hey Stephanie, I am very interested in the narrative lectionary sometime too! not this year, though.

  21. I got to sleep in this morning!! Between Hubby's 4am wake-up and Son's 5:30 wake up and my inability to get to sleep before 11:30pm, I've been running on short sleep. But I am grateful Hubby is working and Son is back in school - so I'm not whining.

    My whine for the day is: Fleas! We are in the midst of eradicating the little buggers from the house and the pets and it's driving me buggy. We're at the "waiting for the stuff to work" point. I wanted an immediate fix! Oh well. It could be worse - the humans in the house could be getting bit as well.

    I woke up yesterday with a sermon outline and a fully formed article for the local paper brewing in my mind. It's rare but wonderful when writing comes so easily. So, I'm just need to flesh out the sermon today. I'm writing on Phillipians and standing firm despite suffering.

    I also followed the lead from the workingpreacher podcast and wrote a little something from the point of view of the last hired laborer. I think I may use it at the local care center worship I'm leading tomorrow afternoon.

    Sermon will be posted later, but if you are interested you can read reflections of a worker hired last.

    Prayers for everyone as we wrestle with the word and manage the expectations of others.

  22. Stephanie - I learned about the narrative lectionary after I set this fall's sermon series. I would have liked to use it this year in conjunction with our confirmation class "Bible year." I am seriously considering it for next year however.

  23. I have a lot of pieces going on in worship some of which are also overshadowed by unsolicited feedback this week. We are BLESSED with an amazingly talented choir director, and I love that we have him. Really I am. He is wonderfully trained, a great teacher, and can pull sound out of our choir that amazes me. He is liturgically minded and aware of the church year which rocks. (Do you hear a "but" coming?)

    BUT he is also very much a fan of traditional worship. BTW he's liek 2 years younger than me - - in his early 30s. He grew up in a very traditional, solemn, Lutheran church. Kids didn't make much noise, and definitely didn't really participate in worship beyond a kids' choir a couple of times a year. They (the kids) sung hymns that they learned, not cutesy kid songs. Preaching was straight up preaching, not first person narratives, not participatory discussions, and definitely not skits.

    The thing is, our congregation is a little less traditional, or at least mostly tolerant of a few things scattered throughout the year that are less traditional. But when choir director hears one or two whines about things (not unexpected whines, but whines I don't take too seriously because we work pretty hard, successfully, for a balance in worship) he blows them up into EVERYBODY thinks this is HORRIBLE and makes an appointment to talk to me about it to try to get things changed. Mostly it's his issues, though. Now he's invited some folks who sing in his community choir to join ours. Some come from more conservative churches with NO traditional worship elements any more and crave it. Some are basically unchurched, but love singing the traditional stuff. He emailed to set up one of our meetings because apparently these folks have let him know that (after ONE worship service) they have felt our church is unwelcoming to newcomers. The complaint was the verbal sharing of joys and concerns - - they felt left out because everyone else was comfortable sharing in front of one another, but they were new so they weren't.

    So this week we have planned a full on, water flinging reaffirmation of baptismal covenant (brand new for this church), a skit, a sermon with a participatory piece (not speaking aloud, but writing things down as directed), and some candle-lighting ministry rededications). Oh my. LOTS to stress out the newcomers and traditionals alike!!!

    Oh well, I'm doing it! I like to think I take feedback seriously, but I feel starting this ministry year this way is important. We'll see how it goes!

    (You thought YOUR comment was long Crimson! My bad!)

  24. Blech! Ramona, I think that is totally justifiable whining!

    OK - - maybe there are enough of us interested in the narrative lectionary to commit to it next fall? That would make it even more appealing to me, to know there might be a cohort of us here each week. It's always a little downer for me when I go off the lectionary and don't have the same support. If we did it together it would make it a little easier!

  25. Good morning all!!! Here's my whine--actually a couple if that's ok...first of all, I haven't written a thing yet for my sermon tomorrow--just have some ideas in my head. Second, I don't know what I was thinking, but I thought I'd maybe be off crutches by now to supply preach tomorrow (had Achilles surgery in July). What was I thinking! So a sermon from the gospel reading, with an emphasis on the landowner (like God) in continual pursuit of people. Why didn't he just leave the job to a manager to get workers? Why such abundant grace to those who started working so later? Anyway, that's what's going through my head today.

  26. G'morning everyone. I slept to an amazingly late (for me) hour--9:30 am, and now I'm feeling a bit behind. This is the first Saturday in a while that I haven't has some other obligation--training acolytes, wedding rehearsal, wedding--and I'm grateful for that, but I do need to make time for a Whole Foods run b/c tomorrow I'll be spending the afternoon in our "Pumpkin Festival" booth selling donuts and cider, and Sunday afternoon, for better or for worse, it my usual shopping time.

    SB, fwiw, when I was teaching, every single semester in my teaching evals there was a comment that was so out of sync with what others were saying that I sometimes wondered if we'd actually been in the same class. Your comment sounds a lot like that to me. I can only chalk it up to difference in perception and attention. If the majority of your feedback is + , try to just let that one go. Easier said than done, I know. As someone else said, we can never please everyone.

    Robin and Sharon and GG, prayers rising for all to be well in all manners of ways.

    I was worried about last week's sermon, but it was well received, so now I am on to the laborers. Whine, whine, whine...I think I'm going to use Exodus and Matthew to talk about God's generosity and grace and sense of justice...and that's all I know for now,

    It suddenly got very cool here...I actually have the heat on in the room where I'm working...which necessitated a quick shopping trip yesterday b/c I have NO clothes that fit for cold weather. That's a happy whine in most ways b/c WW is still working, but it's challenging to replace one's entire wardrobe!

    I'm curious about the narrative lectionary. I like the idea of telling the biblical story that way, but I'm not sure about only using one reading each week, although I know that is the custom in some traditions. Anyone here using that lectionary?

  27. Rev Dr Mom, yes and amen and hallelujah to the observation about teaching evaluations. SOOOOO been there. And a good reminder, too!

  28. So I see a partial answer to my last question in the comments that were posted while iI was writing!

    SheRev...ugh about the music director. And about the newcomers in the choir's comments: It seems like there is a constant tension between enriching our sense of community and welcoming the stranger, but it seems odd to me that a practice like sharing joys and concerns would seem "unwelcoming" to anyone.


  29. Prayers for those of you who are having to put alarmists/critics in their proper place in your head; it has always mystified me why I forget dozens of positive or helpful comments and remember the one nasty bit. Vicar, I love your response!

    Robin, may peace fill you as you wait to see how the health concern unfolds.

    Sharon, I hope that the farewell leaves you with a sense of having done what you were called to do, even if it wasn't what you might've dreamed of doing. I have one of those in my past, and there's still a part of me that struggles with it. And GG, may the Spirit be lively between you and your listeners today.

    Rev Dr and Ramona, let's hear it for late sleeps, whatever that time may be in your current setting! I took a nap in the hammock a few days ago; what a difference from a little extra sleep.

    I got about 25% written on the sermon last night--of course, it was the easiest part!--and I need to whip out a bit more now in the 30 minutes I have available. Which would explain why I am here, rather than writing ;-)

  30. Hello, good women. I am late to the party and late to getting cracking on my sermon, and I am feeling very anxious and whiny about all of it. I'm in a lot of physical pain right now, having gone on an amazing long distance run this morning, only to have incredible knee pain flare up as soon as I was done. Having an even harder time concentrating now than I otherwise would've.

    I am preaching Exodus and have many thoughts but no solid direction and no clear way in to what I think I might want to say.

    Robin, I am praying for you.

    GG and Sharon, prayers for you as well.

    Songbird, given what I know of your sermons, that comment makes no sense to me at all. Unless that person or group could explain in more concrete terms what they are looking for, I would have a hard time knowing how to take it seriously.

  31. Hello Ivy!

    Rev Dr Mom - - I wondered about the lack of multiple readings, too. We don't have a liturgy in my current church that is necessarily built around multiple readings, but it accommodates them. I tend to have two read even though I RARELY work from both in my sermon. The lay reader reads the first and I read the second one on which my sermon is based. It is usually one OT, one NT, but that's not always the case either. So, I wouldn't have to change our service to have just one reading, but I think what I would do anyway with that lectionary is add a psalm each week or maybe even a reading from the other testament that matches the assigned one thematically or in mentioning the "main event" of the day. I don't know, though. I wouldn't want to draw away from the main narrative story that is the whole point of the lectionary. I'd definitely still preach the main story, not my supplemental text.

    Yeah - - the joys and concerns complaint sounds 1) internal (actually from a member or two who don't like the sharing, some people's depth, the amount of time it takes) or 2) from someone who's looking for a reason to not like church or feel included. I understand that some people who are more private can be uncomfortable during sharing because some people definitely AREN'T private and we may hear more than we care to, but feeling unwelcome? That seems like more of a stretch. I guess I can't questions someone else's feelings, though.

  32. Can y'all help me out? I'm using the example of fingernails scratching a chalkboard (ugh..) but that analogy is wearing out what with white boards everywhere and I need something analogous to go along with it, but neither my son nor I can come up with anything. Any ideas about something that is as universally grating?


    Earthchick, sorry about the knee; hope you get some relief from the pain soon!

  33. Glad you had a run this morning, earthchick. Sorry it left you in pain!

  34. I heard someone this week complaining about the tic-tic-ticking of iPhone texting noises! :)

  35. Wishing the sermon was done. Motivation, well, it seems to have flown the coop. I'm using the Matthew parable.

    Tacos for lunch anyone?

  36. Prayers for Robin and GG!

    I'm using a story that we heard at our Annual Meeting of Conference last year from Shane Claiborne:

    He says, "There’s an old comic in which two pastors are talking, and one of them asks the other, “How is your church?” The other pastor boasts, “Quite well actually. When I got there, we had only thirty members. Now after only a year, we are seeing over four hundred people on a Sunday morning. How about you? How’s your church?”

    The first pastor says, “Well, I don’t know, really. I’ve been preaching the gospel, and I’ve managed to preach that church down to about a dozen faithful believers.” (from "The Irresistible Revolution")

    In other words, sometimes the gospel is hard to hear because it's humbling and just plain difficult to transform from "great idea" into "real life". This week's gospel is like that.

    I have been working on a theme of "Why Church?" for the last few weeks, so this plays into it nicely. Church is where we learn from one another about the best ways to live out the faith we profess. We need one another's faith in order to strengthen our own and take it into a world so thirsty for good news.....

    I have to review it a bit. Parts of it make me sound a bit like a football coach. Go Team Church!!!

  37. Wow, a lot of stuff going on, including transitions or soon-to-be transitions. Blessings upon you all in the journey.

    Thanks for the snark, Vicar. Even if I don't use it, it's nice to have it. He wouldn't have so much power with me except, I did agree with him.

    Anyway, fighting off the nap that is trying to tempt me and writing. The Boy is returned at 3 and he has plans for me - yay!

  38. Stephanie, DR Mom - I haven't looked, but is the narrative lectionary text longer perhaps than the usual text? Maybe it would be enough without additional readings. Or maybe a Psalm could be included? (Are Psalms the jello of the Bible - there's always room for psalms!) It would be a lot of extra work, but maybe there could be supplemental readings that enhance the story of the week? Just processing out loud.

    Next order of business for me is the bulletin. Hubby took over doing the bulletins when the gal who was doing them left for college (and no one from the congregations stepped up). Which was fine until Hubby got a job. Now we're working out the logistics of getting them done around his schedule. I've done them the past couple of weeks for him, but can't keep doing it forever. So today is dedicated to getting him up to speed with the new format.

    Eventually, I'll get to the sermon. That's the trouble with a good outline - I get over-confident in the writing process.

  39. Rev Dr Mom...maybe worn out brakes? They screech in a horrible way. Or the whine of a vacuum cleaner that's gotten clogged up. Pulling a rusty nail out of wood can do it too, but that's a little more obscure. Dragging a metal trash can on a concrete driveway?

  40. In Kate Huey's commentary over at texthisweek I found this great line from a Shabbat prayer: “Days pass and years vanish, and we walk sightless among miracles." I liked it so much that I'm using it to frame my sermon, incorporating both Exodus and Matthew. And I went and found the whole prayer and I think I'm going to use it to close the sermon:

    Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illumines the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, “How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it .”

    Re the Narrative Lectionary, our prayer book (Episcopal) mandates OT, psalm, NT and Gospel each week. I almost always preach on the gospel and bring in one of the other readings when it works. It's possible to leave out one reading from time to time, but we need always to hear the gospel. So I'm not sure that the Narrative Lectionary would work; at the very least I think we'd need permission from the Bishop. And I do feel kind of strongly about always hearing the gospel my self. At the same time, I totally see the value of telling the story as it unfolds. I think the lectionary gospels do this reasonably well, it's the others that get somewhat lost in the telling.

    Lots to think about!

  41. Lovely, lovely prayer, RDM -- thank you!

  42. Rev Dr Mom, thank you SO much for sharing that prayer!! I had read that quote in Kate Huey's commentary earlier in the week but had forgotten it. Thank you not only for the reminder but also for finding and posting the whole prayer. It is exactly what I needed to hear, both personally and as I work on my sermon.

    Y'all, I still don't even have the first sentence, though I feel like maybe I am getting close. I think that I am personally grappling with this text (Exodus) because maybe some of the themes are hitting so close to home. I am struggling with the whole idea of God's presence and especially of God's providence. There is no particular reason for this to be a struggle for me - i.e., nothing major or tragic has happened or is happening - but I just am not seeing it right now. Not feeling it. Not getting it. So right now my sermon feels very much like a head exercise, which I hate, because that's not helpful to anyone.

  43. Psalms are the Jello of the Bible...there's always room for one more. I LOVE IT.

    Checking in and under the gun myself, as I'm supposed to be at a concert tonight, but we'll see how things go. Lovely visit this morning with a parishioner, but that did suck up a fair amount of time.

    I'm focusing on Matthew, thinking about places I have seen those laborers in our 21st century world, and loving the connection that Crimson Rambler made about what God gives us is not a reward. Also pondering how to make it short, as we have a busy day tomorrow with a baptism and Communion.

    Prayers for Robin and God_Guurrlll...and all of us, really.

  44. Gosh Ramona, if no one in the congregation is willing to step up to do the bulletin, maybe it's time to bag them... at least until it bugs someone enough to offer to do them.

    Still plugging away here. I've so far eluded the nap troll, but that thing is very persistent.

  45. Going the Whine and Cheese route as well with the guiding question: how much is enough? I'm paralleling the Israelite's wilderness/new economy with our current recession (The Atlantic Sept. issue cover story highlights this so well!) and ending with a call to practice the Israelites were slaves to scarcity and needed to learn to stop and depend on God, so we need to stop/practice Sabbath in order to see God's abundance.

    Editing it and hope to post it on the blog later on.

    Prayers for those writing!

  46. Good golly! After yet another busy week, some what less busy than the previous couple, but still....I had acolyte training this morning and only a marginal idea of where I wanted to go with my the sermon is drafter - too long and without the quotes I wanted to include - along the lines of that beautiful prayer offered up by RevDrMom...but for now it is going to perculate while I run to the grocery store and walk my dogs. Back later!

    I may call me sermon, "Turning Whine into Grace"....

    Praying for Robin, GG, and others.

  47. drafter LOL - I meant drafted...maybe I am the one drafter from all this busy-ness!?

  48. Hi everyone,
    Glad to see you all - even though it means I'm not on my new fall write-your-sermon-early schedule :b

    Sounds like lots is happening out there - interested in the feedback thread. I consistently get feedback from a person who says stuff like we need "sermons that relate to our real life," or "sermons that teach us about the Bible," or (on a good day) "more sermons like today's." Most of the time I'm able to take it with a grain of salt, but sometimes it really stings. Interesting, isnt it, how some comments can get under our skin? KWYM, KJ about the feedback that really gets you is the one that has a grain of truth in it...

    ANyway, my whine is the same as my joy - my godkids are here for the weekend, so we have LOTS of people in our TINY house and the rain is falling. So, we have a pool outing planned for this afternoon, but first an hour of quiet time in which I hope to write some.

    Doing the Season of Creation - and this week is RIVER (moved them around a little). anyone else? See you later -off to make lunch, back after quiet time...

  49. Lots of significant stuff happening around here. kzj- hope you can take what is helpful and let what isn't go. SB- more spiritual variety...? from you?!? who knows what her "spiritual dream" looks or sounds like. reminds me of a couple -now gone-whose background was speech competition- they were convinced my preaching would be sooooo much better if I wondered around the sanctuary and talked off the top of my head ( fact - for me- Not!) Prayers for those in transition- for God's peace in what is yet to come.

    My whine of the day is that I just finished painting the front windows of the church - they have looked awful since the July 1st storm ( actually before but the hail damage was the last straw) I tried the "this is not your problem approach" as long as I could stand it. Seriously- we have had boarded up windows for 3 months now! The church looks like its abandoned... it does not look great, but it does look better. We have the classic problem of no money to hire and lots of work that needs done- those who are active are very active and also very committed in the rest of their life. so while I am a bit whiny- I am more thankful to have it done.
    Husband is also sick - unusual for him so checking on him between scraping and painting. I am invited to go to a marching band concert tonight. It is cold and predicted to rain. I like marching band. Many of our kids are part of marching band. I do not like sitting in bleachers at night in the wind and rain...
    Need to get a sermon and assorted worship stuff done in the next few hours on this Winny the Pooh cold and blustery day

  50. Rev Dr Mom - re Narrative Lectionary: thank you for the reminder on the gospel reading. You're right, we do need to proclaim the gospel every week. Maybe we could use the Narrative Lectionary in place of the OT reading- like the semi-continuous readings in Pentecost, and then still do the psalm, 2nd reading, and gospel. I'll need to ponder more...

    Kathrynzj - I hear you. The lack of congregation involvement in the bulletin is a legacy from the previous pastor, who did the bulletin and all the readings on Sunday and probably other things the congregation should be handling. It's a delicate situation and I have to tread slowly and carefully in re-educating the congregation.

    Terri - "Whine into Grace" I love the play on words!

    Bulletin done, but no motivation to finish sermon. Nap calling...

  51. hey, I have a sermon which is good enough for 5:00 anyway, so I can knit a little before I obsess again.

    Robin, I just went over comments again and I am praying for you. really hard.

    And RevDrMom, I LOVE that prayer.

  52. Thank you so much for the wise words, all of you. You've helped my perspective. In the end what matters most is feeling faithful to the Spirit that sometimes whispers and other times knocks me upside the head.
    Sharon, all blessings to you. Sometimes how we leave is the most important gift we can give.
    G_G, prayers for you!!!
    I sent kathrynzj a thumbnail sketch of my sermon concept (which, by the way, is still all I have after such a busy day), and she offered me $10 if I'll retain the phrase "farting around all day" in reference to the late-hired workers. It's tempting...

  53. Apparently I am just expecting this sermon to materialize from thin air. Like manna.

    And it's not!

  54. Finite. David Lose @ Working Preacher figured heavily into the images and construction of this sermon. Some need to stand on the shoulders of those who "write" before you.

    But Mom...It Isn't Fair

  55. I am intrigued by the narrative year maybe. So many of the stories that people do not know.

    As someone pointed many transitions and's to grace for all.

  56. Weird. Just posted something that hasn't appeared in a few minutes. Hmpf.

    Long story short - thankful for people willing to put themselves out there for my crazy ideas in worship. Praying for people battling cancer, not so successfully.

    Not a lot of actual sermon to write this week, but transitions between lots of different creative pieces in worship will make or break the service tomorrow. Will plan those after our two favorite teams play this afternoon and kids go to bed.

  57. Purple, I hope David Lose's shoulders are big, because I'm hopping up there, too. Doing the index card thing, too.

  58. I have my pastor-parish relations meeting tomorrow, and I'll need to keep all of you in mind as I prepare to receive both positive and negative feedback. (Most of the negatives are framed as "I've never known a pastor who did [or didn't do] that before.") It's so hard to concentrate on the positives, even when they outweigh the negatives, because the external criticism resonates with my own inner voices.

    As for the broader theme of the day...

    WHINE: I have nothing written on my sermon, my to do list will never get finished, and my depression this week seems to have taken over my ability to do work.

    but now for the...

    WINE: I am going to a wine-tasting with two other young clergy tonight! I don't know them very well, but I'm hoping we can become friends! (and perhaps that will help with the third of my "whines"?)

  59. just jumping in after a busy day doing other church stuff, much like all of you!

    I appreciate all of the comments, and since (here is my whine) we have three--no, four extra things in the service tomorrow (litanies for leaders, litany for interim pastor, special guest appearance by the first pastor of the church (well, he has been dead for a long time, but he shows up once in a while, long story), and a celebration for our 90 plus year old coffee hour hosts who are finally retiring.

    This cuts my sermon length to about 8 minutes.
    So, with all of your ideas, along with the beautiful prayer RevDrMom shared, I should be good to go.

    SongBird, if KZJ offers you $50, I would totally do it, if I were you. She should up the ante.

    Love all of you sister preachers!

    And know that I am thinking about you in all of your situations--neutral pulpits, heath issues, full houses, etc........

  60. I've been approved for ordination, which is scheduled for Oct 30!

    I guess the date could change, depending on what the next couple of weeks bring. I also told the folks there from "my" new church that I am being evaluated for breast cancer and may or may not be able to start next Sunday, and that the next several months may or may not go as we had planned. They still want me, so we will figure this out together.

    Surgical biopsy sometime soon -- holding out hope for an all clear, but being realistic based on what I've seen so far.

    I can hardly believe that I have reached this point!

  61. Robin, wonderful news about the ordination approval and about the congregation wanting you. Hooray! Thinking of you as you await the surgical biopsy. Prayers, too!

  62. La Peregrina, I hope your trip tonight helps develop friendships, too. It's so crucial! It will help with all f the above. Prayers for you tomorrow.

    Yea Robin! I hope you can. Enjoy this step even as you face the scary in other areas.

  63. Any of y'all ever start writing a sermon, get 2 or 3 pages in, and then start a completely new document with a whole new beginning? That's where I am now - 2 beginnings and no middle or end in sight. Also don't know which beginning I'm going to use. Neither has anything to do with the other.


  64. Robin, Wow. Congratulations and prayers ascending.

  65. Robin, yes. What kathrynzj said.
    Prayers of joy and hope and concern.

  66. Ramona
    I tried to leave a comment on your page. With a reflection like this, you have a sermon.

  67. Robin, what a mixed bag you're carrying - congratulations and prayers - loads of both.
    Also prayers for God Gurrill and Sharon in hopeful transitions.
    Not preaching tomorrow so just popping in to add prayers and support to my sisters.
    May the Holy Spirit nudge or knock us upside the head (thanks SB for image) - whatever we need.
    Blessings in all your prep and preaching.

  68. I also have a busy day tomorrow. We are starting a non-lectionary sermon series based on the Apostle's Creed (along with the addition of actually saying a creed in service), a celebration of the new pastor (me), and baptism of 11 month old triplets. So I'm thinking that there will probably be about 5 minutes to preach. Prayers for all in times of transition and those continuing to feel the affects of the flooding.

  69. Robin
    Congratulations and virtual hugs on passing through the trials of ordination. Holding you and your new people in my prayers.

  70. Robin, praying for you in the midst of your great joy and your great concern. God has some weird a$$ timing but in the end one will lean against the other. Gods grace be with you.

    Just spent the afternoon with the search committee, now it's off to the supper.

  71. GG, hoping this is all going incredibly well!

  72. (((Robin)))

    earthchick - yes, I do that all the time! My record is 5 sermon starts.

    My sermon is mostly done. I am not loving this sermon series I said I was doing. I am much more energized by Jonah and the parable. I feel really drawn to the parable, but it has nothing to do with the Phillipians reading.

    Maybe some more finessing the sermon will help. It's a good sermon focus - how we all suffer, but God gives us endurance to stand firm - but it's just not moving me today.

  73. Robin, what a roller coaster; prayers for you to hang on tight during all of it.

    I love the prayer, Rev Dr Mom!

    I, too, am toying with the index card idea; I think it's very powerful. What I have to figure out is if it's where my sermon wants to go, or if it would be tacked on in an unnatural way. Better decide soon, as I need to go buy index cards...

  74. turning whine into grace

    my whine...I am so tired I could cry. I mean. that. literally.

    but. there is still more to do...

    If I have any energy left, I will be back, and I will read your sermon offerings!

    In the meantime, if YOU have any energy, check my sermon and make sure it makes sense....

    not. trusting. this. tired. brain.


  75. Robin, even more prayers and so much love being positively hurled in your general direction.

  76. The Boy sleeping and me once again attempting to focus on the vineyard. I do believe I hear an ice cream sandwich calling my name. If I'm done by 10 this shall be my reward.

  77. Just popping in to add my general prayers for all but must say I am just SO EXCITED that I will be most probably able to attend Robin's ordination! I am honored and thrilled. And praying hard, Robin, what a mix of emotions for you!
    Not preaching this week. Rarely preaching in the new place. But doing lots of cool stuff, including getting to be an attendee and not a leader at the Stephens Ministry retreat for our congregation today. The leader was an incredibly gifted layperson who spoke words of wisdom to my heart. And now I shall listen, after driving 400 miles in the past two days for meetings and part of the junior youth retreat. And I shall go to bed.
    Blessings to you all as you prepare. Prayers of joy as my second grader receives her Bible tomorrow :)
    Good night.

  78. Robin -- both rejoicing and surrounding you with virtual hugs.

    I'm re-typing this evening as my 5:00 sermon has a LOT of scribbling on it to make it preachable.

    Songbird -- Farting around all day? can't wait to read this one.

    though my take is to think of the payment "the daily wage" as a sandwich. Because the daily wage was what you needed to live for a day. It was the difference between eating or not eating. so to work an hour and get the daily wage meant that the worker and his family could eat for a day.

    That's how important being called to work in the vineyard was.

    my whole sermon is not great, but parts of it are excellent.

  79. I am have a focusing issue. Or no focus as the case may be.

  80. I have endured!! My sermon "Putting on Endurance" is finished!

    And just in time - I got a call from a parishioner and her husband is not doing well at all. It may be a very long night for me.

    I'm off to pray and sleep!

  81. Kathryn, I have had a no focus problem All Day Long. Oof!

    I think I'm finally starting to get somewhere, but this is going to be a long night. Ugh.

  82. Wow, y'all. There's a lot going on here today. Prayers for everyone.

    I'm checking in for the first time today...women's gathering this morning where I was a presenter, and then I scooted out to the Presbytery meeting. Difficult meeting, lots of strong feelings, loooong day.

    Reworking an old sermon for one of my supply congregations. The later it gets, the better it looks. Diane--love your last line there--that's how I feel about mine.

    Also have to get things ready to get the kids out the door earlier than we've ever been out the door before. My strategy is to make them eat breakfast in the church nursery, which will be sure to provoke a meltdown on someone's part. Quite possibly mine.

  83. Prayers for you Robin...been through the surgical biopsy myself....will try to make it to your ordination! Wooohooo!

    So, I'm drinking Yogi brand "stress relief" tea, getting ready for a small bowl of ice cream, and then off to bed.

    Prayers for all of you!

  84. I pasted a whole chunk of an old sermon into the new one, and now I just cut it all out again (or most of it), taking me from overlong to way under with the need to write a completely new beginning.
    I'm reminding myself that every September feels like a runaway train. God, give us strength to last through it!

  85. I am finally sitting down to work on the sermon.

    Kathrynzj- then give yourself the same message! Not even Jesus had a "perfect" record in preaching. Grace abounds. Let yourself have some of it. You are doing a great job HoS!

    revkjarla- $50! laughing so hard y'all should be able to hear me!

    Robin - prayers that you know God's presence with you in the midst of all of this

  86. Prayers for all of you blessed people. It is a blessing to come read the postings before I call it a night. I got so tired that i really snapped at my husband tonight, just before we leave on vacation tomorrow which is added to the stress. You all remind me that September is like this and God's people DO whine and grace is what it there for us.
    Good night and best to you all

  87. Songbird

    If you keep "farting around" in your sermon and put it on an MP3, I will give you $100 and put it on my ipod foreveh!

    Nighty night pals.

  88. Okay, some how and way I am at 'preachable'. This, I declare, deserves an ice cream sandwich.

    Thanks be to God.

    And I'll be back.

  89. Hi, everyone,

    I left my last installed position pretty hurt and diminished by a list of complaints, all the while knowing that much of what they claimed was, at best, only part of the truth. It's interesting to me that we women preachers are especially susceptible to doubting our gifts and calling.

    After a great day with a bit of house cleaning, a bit of hanging out, a walk with the family and the dog, and a yummy dinner, I am at the point of pulling together that sermon that has been simmering all week. Yea!

    You are all community to me, even though I only lurk most of the time. Thanks for sharing your lives and ministry with us!

  90. OK, I'm at preachable too. And the prayer is going to have to get help from the Spirit in the morning rather than tonight. That ok with you, Spirit?

    And I think I'm getting Littlest's cold.

  91. SB, I thing GG made you an offer you can't refuse :)

    Robin, prayers and hugs, and congratulations on the ordination!

    I have a draft waiting for a final editing, and I've been to the mall (ugh) to go to the Body Shop, and I've been to Whole Foods and I have laundry in the washer and in the dryer...Saturdays just aren't long enough to get everything done!

    Ramona, I have a parish secretary to do the bulletin, but I also have a congregation that doesn't want to take responsibility for much, and much of that is the responsibility of previous rectors. And some of it is due to age and burn out. But some things like coffee hour go begging. I've thought about letting that go, but it seems important for hospitality reasons.

  92. SB - I'll throw in $, this is giving me all kinds of stewardship ideas...

    Checking in late - had a wedding to attend today, and a busy week ahead. Prayers for all the Revgals coming up from NC.

  93. Well, wonder of wonders, I have a sermon draft. And I don't feel half bad about it! A big ol' huge THANK YOU again to Rev Dr Mom for the Shabbat prayer. Was able to end with that (a very different kind of ending for me) and it really was a perfect piece for the sermon.

    This week, I found a sermon from the last time I preached the manna text (9 years ago), and I absolutely cringed when I read it. I almost totally hated it. But the big surprise was how long it was - 1000 words longer than the one I wrote today! So interesting to see how one's own style evolves.

    RevTSB, I'm glad we are all community, too, whether chatters or lurkers! Blessings on you as you pull together that simmering sermon!

    As for me, I'm moving on to Sunday School prep now. Whew!

  94. Hey, anybody still here?

    Robin - adding my prayers for the roller coaster you are on right now.

    I am throwing my hat in the sermon auction ring. I am srsly HATING this river sermon right now. Problem may be a story that I think doesnt go with anything, but without which what I have done so far is SCANTY indeed. Question of the evening: can you squeeze a square story into a round sermon? Or something like that.

    But first, I have 3 kids to get to bed tonite instead of 1. I'm admiring you parents of multiples after a long and full-of-fun day. I feel like I did nothing but do dishes all. day. long.

    Ok, running off, but back soon. we're getting way past 100 tonite, right?

  95. Another preacher group I'm in someone used the phrase "grumbling at grace." I think that will make it into the sermon!

    Juniper- It's pretty early, relatively speaking, 100+ is do-able!

  96. 100. Boom!
    (this turns out to be 101)

  97. earthchick - ha! no, i really have to work now, so stop being so cute, ok?

  98. Heh. Sorry! Feeling rather playful, now that I have a draft in the can. Nevermind that I still have loads of work to do!

  99. It's in the manuscript, girlfriends, though it's not the actual title: Farting Around. I am now trying to figure out how to record it, and if anyone actually sends me money, I will donate it to the Pet Place Pantry run by my church to help pet owners in need.
    Thanks for the encouragement to say "fart" in church!

  100. Love it, Songbird! I'm off to read it now. Be sure to let us know how it turns out.

    I seriously need to go to bed, but my introvert needs to wind down some after a very extravert day.

  101. Since Songbird has established that farting is now on topic for sermons ...

    One of the science teachers at a local high school has a sign on the fume hood "Please fart here."

    He had to explain what a fume hood was and that it was for noxious odors before the freshman "got it."

  102. Complaining away with the Israelites today. I have cold/allergy stuff and am grumpy!!
    I am re-working a sermon on Exodus and finding it harder than writing from scratch.
    Going with a theme of being thankful for the simplest of things in our lives, as they can often be the most important

  103. Yup, it's preachable.

    Going to bed, and thankful for community on days like this.


  104. And SNL does not have season debut until NEXT week. I am in a whining mode tonight

  105. I'm hoping I'll have some later night company here, though where I should be is in Word working on the sermon, not Safari browsing!

    I have had a lovely day starting to get to know my son-for-a-month; he didn't sleep at all on the flight from Australia and we've been keeping him going all day, so I think he is likely to be out cold very soon.

    Juniper, I hope you got your three settled without too much fuss.

  106. Betsy, How cool to have an exchange student!

  107. Whoa. Sorry for the long absence, but I see the party kept right on going! I sat down to get things in order about an hour ago, but (surprise, surprise) I got sucked into a football game.

    Rev Nancy, RevTSB, Chilly, esperanza - - welcome to the party!

    TSB - - I'm glad you find the community however you participate!

    Crap. Laundry. You had a bring that up!

    earthchick - - I've been getting shorter the longer I've been preaching (although still longer than many around here). Some of that for me, I think, was going from preaching monthly to weekly. I felt like I had to get all my thoughts, everything I studied and everything I thought, into one sermon because I didn't have as many to preach. Now I know I can still say something next week, and the next, and the next...

    Also, my writing has just gotten more concise.

    Vicar - - there are OTHER preacher groups. I don't even know what to say.

  108. I'm still here. Does anyone want some milk and cookies?
    I'm tired and a little bored.
    Somehow, this is not the glamorous life I pictured as a pastor when I was NOT a pastor(teaching elder, forgot my title changed in July).

  109. I'll take cookies, as many as you can spare.

    I cant remember ever hating a sermon this much.

    Glamorous? I guess not....

  110. Nope, you're still a pastor. Teaching elder replaced minister of Word and sacrament. Pastor is still one of many functions of TE/MWS. You are a pastor!

  111. Not hating my stuff yet (maybe because I don't have much yet). Trying to remember how I was going to get where I'm going and hoping I can do it without notes tomorrow. I know it very very closely followed David Lose's working preaching letter. I had a slightly different way to get where he ended, though. The fallen part references Genesis 3 was more than I remembered needing.

    The key to finishing this would be to stop trying to remember and just think of something new. Work backward. That's what my preaching without notes teacher told us - - if you can't remember it, it wasn't worth remembering. (More or less)

  112. There are other groups ... they don't function on Sat night and they aren't as funny as we are.

    So I let their comments pile up and only read them when I'm desperate.

    It's a system that sometimes works. But they have gone to bed long ago with sermons completed on Thursday or some other absurdly early day.

    You however have proven to be cut from the same clergy cloth and so my loyalty is here.

  113. And one last completely unrelated note. We'd take prayers for my brother in law (husband's younger brother). His fiance took him to the ER this morning for "food poisoning" over night. Food poisoning turned into appendicitis. Appendectomy included perforated appendix. He's doing well and will hopefully be back to his grad student apartment with roommates on Monday, ready to over work himself starting Tuesday. It wasn't NOTHING, but it wasn't MAJOR. Prayers would still be good.

  114. Whew. Those were exactly the right words, Vicar. My anxiety has dissipated. :)

  115. That sounds close enough to major to count! prayers for a recovery that lets him get back to the frantic schedule.

  116. That phrase seemed to be the key to unlock the sermon. I have managed to complete a manuscript and prayers ahead of the usual Sat night schedule!

    I have a minor headache so I am going to bed now.

    Blessings on your Sunday!

  117. Wow. No fun to be that sick and it was pretty darn major. I have heard the appendicitis is really painful.
    Oh, and thanks for clearing me up on still be a pastor. A lady at my last call always introduced me as her "preacher." I loved that. I know I did a lot more, but I loved her ownership. She was/still is a dear saint of the church.
    Hope you feel better Vicar!

  118. I like preacher sometimes, too, but usually it comes as "lady preacher" and somehow that takes some of the fun out of it.

  119. Oh my, She Rev, thank goodness they caught it; still, recovering from surgery is never fun nor minor.

    I am at a point where I can go with the index card idea or not, and I can't seem to decide. I have the cards, so it's a viable option, and I like the idea; I really don't know what little thing in my subconscious is holding me back, and I'd feel better figuring that out in case it's a red flag warning. Tomorrow is our homecoming Sunday and I've only made passing reference to it, so a sense I should do more might be the hitch. But should I? I hate this late night second-guessing.

    On sermon length, my mantra is "The mind can absorb what the seat can endure!"

  120. is it because it's so late that "Lady PReacher" is cracking me up? Like you're in line for the royal wedding and they're announcing you. "Next, in a fascinating fascinator, Lady Preacher, accompanied by her date this evening, Lord Hubby. Goodness, what a delightful couple!"

    Anyway, that sermon I hated? Scrapped it. Cut and pasted the story I liked over to a clean sheet of paper and added antoher 1000 words -- more cutting and pasting of poetry and people's commentary along with my own connecting ideas and suddenly I have a decentish thing that actually makes sense. Turned out I was trying to do too many things, none of them particularly useful. I've never really done that before - totally thrown out whatever I had at 9 pm on Saturday, but I think it kind of worked. I guess I'll really know tomorrow.

    Sorry to hear about your b-in-l, Sherev, scary! Hope you all in the outrageous time zones are sleeping. I'm gonna let myself have another half hour fiddling time, then I'm hitting the hay.

    Did not find a way to use farting, btw, but that reminds me of a trick an actor friend of mine used to use when they had a long run. Everyone in the show had to use the same new phrase or gesture, sometime during the show. They said it really livened up a performance if you wrere getting bored with it. Maybe we should do that too sometime....

  121. I used to let my confirmation students give me a word that I had to use in the sermon on confirmation Sunday. The only rule was it had to be a word appropriate enough for our class, too. It was fun.

    Lady Preacher sounds so much better when you put it that way. Ridiculous, but not so condescending. I'll try to hear it that way in the future.

    It's my usual no-matter-what bedtime, and I'm not too happy with where I am. I love the index card idea, but I'm figuring out that I don't think I want to get to it the same way David did. I guess that's good in a way since it's my sermon, not his. However, I'm having a hard time getting there. I definitely want to keep it, but I'm getting a little stuck. Bedtime often helps me get unstuck, so I might be heading that way momentarily.

  122. Talking out loud to myself here helped me realize that the obstacle was indeed only my sense that I needed to say something about Homecoming; one sentence in the right spot, and I could move forward. All I need now is a single sentence to wrap it up, though I know that one sentence will not necessarily come as easily as I think it should. However, I am taking heart!

    If you are still with me here (She Rev? Vicar? Juniper..and I'm grateful you found a way forward, even if it involved going back), I now have a great stash of the delicious Australian cookies known as Tim Tams. Anyone want one?

  123. Just finished up, with lots of procrastinated wanderings.
    Finally, came up wit something similar to an ending and am calling it a night.
    Lady Preacher and Lord Hubby?

  124. I'm here Betsy. Your struggle has jumped over to my computer. Hmpf.

    I think now I really am going to bed, an hour later than I said that last time, but not much further than I was before. I believe I am thinking too hard. I was able to "deliver" this sermon several times throughout the week when co-workers asked me what worship was going to be about, but now I can't organize it very well. Going to bed and will try again to get it all cohesive into a plan in a few hours.

    Not worried, but tired. Peace!

  125. ok, a little later than I wanted, but I'm really all done now.

    Sleep tight, everyone! HS gots your back!

  126. Mornin' everyone!
    Up early to polish off my bit of reflection for this morning. It's going to be one of those Sundays where the only thing that is missing is a baby to baptize--so much going on in the service!

    Hopefully there will be a space for grace and worship to happen.

    Prayers for all....and all your concerns....

  127. Good morning to you, too!

    I'm back to finishing organizing myself. The going to bed trick work, I think, because now I have a whole lot of stuff scribbled in my bedside journal to transfer to the computer. As is usual when I get stuck I was trying to do too much and include someone else's thought or organization that just didn't feel right. I've got things pared down now and just need to make sure it feels organized enough to go without any or at the very least minimal notes.

    Thanks for prayers for my brother in law. Yes, it indeed is/was something, but I guess I meant that for all practical purposes he is out of any woods he may have been in during it all. Thank you!

  128. G_G, blessings this morning! I'll be using my phone to record my sermon, for those who require proof. ;-)

  129. Fantastic, SB! I know I can't wait to hear it!

    I didn't intend to write a manuscript, but apparently doing my prep on the computer instead of by hand makes that happen. I posted it at my blog, but will probably preach without the actual manuscript in front of me. Who knows what will actually come out of my mouth!

    The title in the bulletin at church is actually the title of the drama, not my sermon, so I don't really have one I love. The post is called (boringly) Gratitude or Grudge.

    Blessings on you all!

  130. SheRev, I hope it goes well! I'm sitting in my office listening to our new choir director, a young guy with a fabulous voice who has already won the affection of the choir. It's a new day, and a good one. May it be so for all of us!

  131. Thanks, SB! I hope your day went as when as it sounded like it was starting. Our morning was varied and full and about as interactive as it could be (and 10 minutes "over"), and I had lovely feedback. Even two of the new choir folks came up a said how much they have enjoyed worshipping with us these last two weeks. Feeling boosted by the spirit!

  132. It was a great day! And I said the words. Here's the proof.


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