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Saturday, January 07, 2012

11th Hour Preacher's Party: Which Way Am I Going? edition

(top of the Rocky Mountains, somewhere in southern Utah)

This is one of those Sunday's when the preacher has choices - have you transferred in the Feast of Epiphany and a celebration of three wise ones? Or, are you celebrating the baptism of Jesus? Do you have a baptism? Are you talking about the Holy Spirit?

The readings for either feast can be found here. And a discussion on the readings can be found on the Tuesday Lectionary's worth checking out for the cartoons alone.

Seriously though, which ever way you are going we are here to help. Pull up a chair, the coffee will be on early, as I have a big funeral this morning. I also have homemade yogurt with homemade raspberry jam to tide us over until I return.


  1. Up and at it here in Scotland. Although I've had a "recovery break" this last week, I did get to work on the sermon. However, a refreshing walk last night has me thinking again - so I'm scrapping what I've written to start again.
    I'm going to launch the new year (since we didn't do that last week) by using the gospel of Jesus' baptism. Hoping to focus on the blessings that baptism brings - "you are my beloved chid" - and encourage folks to go and live out those blessings.
    I have a series of Prayer Cards that our denomination has produced - called Pray it Forward. At some point in the service I'm going to invite the congregation to come forward and take one of these cards from the baptismal font - consider the prayer/blessing printed thereon and then work out who they could pass that card on to during the week - thus spreading the blessing. So, with that in mind, the sermon is now taking a different direction than I envisaged - but I am at peace with that.
    Having formulated thoughts this far, I think it might be time for some hot tea and wholemeal toast. Also have some yogurt and berries to share. Look forward to partying with you throughout the day.

  2. It's the Three Wise Dudes at our place this Sunday -- with the Epiphany Chalk Blessing, and the Proclamation of the Date of Easter... and the theme is going to be "someone is trying to get in touch with you; someone wants to hear from you; someone is speaking to you." We shall see. Funeral later in the week too. I'll be glad to see the boss back next week!

  3. Wow! Since my comment, I've just written - and, surprise, surprise, I have a sermon
    Its a kind of teaching about baptism, not really what I was expecting but I think it will partner well with our act of commitment later on in the service.
    Looking forward to seeing where your thoughts meander today. Thanks, Teri for getting the party started early.

  4. dinner of home made pizza, yum!
    now time to get this sermon on paper. Tomorrow I am focusing on Matthew chapter 2, a little about the wise men, but also the massacre.
    Jesus was born into a particular culture, so looking at some of the allusions to Moses etc. [a number of articles including Bruce Prewer] also how the world then was violent, and still this is the case for many children.
    and with communion, and long advert for a new study this year, this needs to be shorter rather than longer, so I'll see what ends up being included.

    Liz has set a good standard for evening, hopefully back soon
    with the finished product.

  5. I should be sleeping but since I'm not I thought I'd go ahead and jump on the computer. Saturday is full so I'll be following by email on my phone if I can. It's Baptism of Jesus for us and John Wesley's covenant prayer. What I'd really like is for the heavens to part and the dove to deliver a sermon!

  6. Greetings from Beijing. We're having a brief Epiphany moment to get the service started (it is apparently essential to sing "We Three Kings" at least once in December/January) but really we're celebrating the Baptism of the Lord. We're having a "remembering our baptism" moment - and instead of focussing on renewing our vows I'm focussing our attention on what it is to be loved and accepted by God, to know ourselves as the Beloved of God. There's an excerpt from my sermon here

    I'm off to attempt to make my first ever batch of Turkish Delight! Hope everyone's writing goes well and that the funeral goes well Terri

  7. a long prayer, a long blessing and a short sermon, still looks too long overall.

    looked again, something about each part draws me in, so I will leave it as is.

    out of Egypt

    the kettle is on, can I make you anything to go with Jemma's turkish delight

  8. Up and around on the East Coast of the U.S.! I have two events at church this morning, including one over breakfast at 8 a.m., but I'm sneaking in a cup of coffee and have homemade banana muffins to share before I leave.
    We're having an intergenerational service tomorrow, the second we've had this school year, but the first I've had the opportunity to plan myself. I'm working on an all ages message about baptism, but torn between writing a manuscript and simply talking with the children. I use very different parts of my brain for those two things! And I worry that if I don't have a manuscript, it will look like I haven't done any work. Also that I'll forget what I meant to say. I don't have anxiety about speaking without notes for other things, but have it bad when it comes to sermons.
    So I'm hoping I'll become more decisive while driving to and/or from the countryside. :-)
    Someone yesterday asked why we weren't doing Epiphany (done last week at the church we shared holiday services with), because she wanted to sing We Three Kings. I smiled and said, "It's too bad you didn't come to church Christmas Day. We sang it then."

  9. Good Morning, Liz...sounds like the walk really stirred your creative juices and the movement of the Holy Spirit. Awesome.

    Crimsom - "Epiphany Chalk" blessings?

    Vicar, glad you can stay connected, anyway that works!...oh and that Holy Spirit to deliver, as well.

    Jemma, we're singing We Three Kings, as well, as our hat tip to Epiphany, but most of the reest of the service is the Baptism - even though we have have renewed our baptismal covenant three times in the last nine weeks - for various reasons (All Saints, a Rite 13, Bishop visit w/confirmation)....

    Pearl, I think what you are offering will be just fine, even if a tad long. I'll be over later to take a read.

    At the moment I need to finish the cup of coffee, exercise, and get ready to go over for the funeral. I suspect it wil be a big one, and I'm a tad bit nervouse about it...

  10. Morning, Martha...I hear you on the anxiety over speaking without notes/text for sermons...hope the drive sorts it out for you.

  11. Thanks, Terri. I really got into a bind with a similar attempt at the Christmas Eve family service, complicated by a lapel mic failure. I don't want to repeat that. I had a short sermon that was divided between an activity with the children and a comment on it intended for the adults. Because of the mic I ended up with paper in one hand and a corded mic in the other. I'm not sure it bothered anyone else as much as it did me. But I did think "If only I were a memorizer! This would all be so much easier!" I, however, am not.

  12. Hey Pals,

    Been a while since I've last partied with you. I've had a good end to my interim a few months ago and intentionally took a break to catch my breath and concentrate on getting a settled pulpit which brings me to this week.

    Tomorrow is my candidating sermon. This is for the whole bag of marbles, if the congregation votes to make it so I will be their pastor.

    To say I am nervous is an understatement. I am scared out of my mind. The last time I candidated the vote did not go my way because there was a small group in that church who could not abide by having an openly gay pastor.

    I know this is a different church in a different state. I've been much more cautious in my discerning this call but long story short I fell in love the search committee and they fell for me. The vibes I'm getting are super positive.

    Please pray for me. I ask that God ease my anxiety so that I may enjoy this weekend and celebrate a new beginning for all of us.

    Here is the sermon I will preach tomorrow. Please stop by and comment. Feedback greatly appreciated!

    Remembering Our Baptism

  13. The priest who taught me how to preach without a text always said to NOT memorize the text word for word bacause then one is prone to forget or get stumped. Instead one should internalize (his word) the key idea and points and then speak from there. Back then I always had to memorize huge chunks of the sermons, but now I can come a little closer to his practice - it certainly takes a lot of pressure off from needing the time and head space to memorize. But, frankly, preaching without a text is not everyone's gift....anyway, I understand not wanting to repeat that Christmas Eve experience!

  14. GodGuurll, prayers ascending. May the Spirit be wi
    th you all!

  15. God_Guurrlll I enjoyed reading your well-crafted sermon. Hope speaking those good words into that community is an experience of grace for both them and you. Will pray! (Couldn't comment directly on your blog sorry - think it's a function of the route I'm using to bypass the Great Firewall of China. Blogs are generally not accessible without some "help")

  16. Terri, thinking of you and the big funeral this morning; you'll be well into the "getting ready" by now.

    I have oatmeal with ornaments (raisins, wheat germ, sesame seed, cinnamon, and, ahem, flax seed) if anybody would like to share.

  17. God_Gurrlll, prayers for you!!!

    Martha, I love your answer to the person who wanted to sing We Three Kings!!

    We are doing Baptism tomorrow (but not doing a baptism), and I am preaching Genesis with a dip into Mark. The title of my sermon is What God Saw, with my focus being on Gen. 1:4, "and God saw that that the light was good." But I'm actually going to reach ahead into the whole creation story and the many iterations of God seeing that it was good. I'm trying to link that with God's pronouncement over Jesus at the Jordan, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." I'm hoping for light, playful, hopeful, and brief, but we'll see. My mind is very scattered today, as I am leaving for 2 weeks tomorrow for my DMin program and I have many loose ends that are overwhelming me.

    Looking forward to partying with y'all today.

  18. God_Gurrill, it is so hard to be in the present, but I think the present of your candidating is good. My prayer is that you be there and not in the past and that all will be well.

    Martha, what a good insight about the different parts of your brain that are used for manuscript versus without notes. That helps.

    Earthchick, like the way you tie the two together.

    I'm about to do my morning prayer and then walk the dogs and get to work. Am focusing on "Beloved of God". All week long I've been wondering about beloved of God versus beloved of parent, partner or friend. Any thoughts?

  19. Good morning preachers!

    We had our Epiphany service last night with a potluck and diapers for the diaper bank as gifts for the baby Jesus--and it was surprisingly well attended. We even had King's cake, and we did the chalk blessing (which I believe can be found in Tuesday's comments, but also on line--I have it at church but not on this computer.)

    Tomorrow I'm preaching on Mark, maybe with a little Genesis thrown in...when I read this week's sermon at earlier in the week I had a great a-ha but I failed to write my ideas down so I am back to square one.

    Prayers for you tomorrow God Guuurrlll!

  20. I'm working on a series, talking about Jesus' life, using songs by Paul Simon. Tomorrow, I'm talking about the baptism of Jesus (there is some focus on John the Baptist, too), and using Paul Simon's song, Outrageous.

    There's a line in there, "Whose gonna love you when your looks are gone? God will."

    I'm wondering a lot what JtB's deal was... I think there must be an incredible story there.

  21. God_Gurrl - blessing on your sermon tomorrow.

    earthchick- I love your take on 'God saw it was good'!

    Wow, so many sermons to ready already this morning! You all have been busy.

    I'm personally at a low edge energy wise. I'm suffering from the ill-advised decision to not take a vacation in my first six months in this call. I hadn't realized how draining ministry is and now I'm just holding on to my vacation later this month. And the lack of energy is seriously affecting my sermonating abilities!

    I'm preaching on baptism, but I don't yet know where I'm going. I may recap a conversation I had several years ago with a woman who wanted to be baptized again. She was baptized as an infant(which we do in my denom.), so didn't remember it, and felt like she was at a stage where she wanted to re-affirm her faith. Lots of good stuff there about what we believe about baptism, especially how it's an on-going life-time event.

    I spent too much time on visits yesterday and now have to include confirmation prep in today's schedule. And I'm in the middle of collecting the reports for the congregational meetngs next week, some of which are submitted in handwriting (and I have to convert to type! I wish for a secretary...) So, I woke up feeling stressed.

    Stressed and overdue for vacation is NOT a good combination. Hopefully reading your sermons will give me some perspective and provide inspiration!

    BTW - We 3 Kings is one of my very least favorite hymns - partially because I can't get the 'loaded cigar' version out of my head. We didn't sing it this year and won't next, unless someone requests it!

  22. God-G, buckets of grace to you!

    We are doing naming/baptism, since we switched last week and this around, or rather the church secretary did. I know not why and I'm sure I should have been paying more attention when she did the calendar in December, but I kind of had other things on my mind.

    At any rate, this works nicely for me, as I am taking advantage of last week's discussion and trying to develop a little participation by asking the congregation to share their name stories with one another, and maybe a few of them with the rest of us -- and then talking about the name God breathes in your ear, as God's angel did to Joseph: Beloved child.

    Perhaps I should always stay a week behind!

  23. Love it, Robin. "Name God breathes in your ear"

  24. My best to you God Gurl, I'm sure it will go well! and plan to read your sermon.
    I"m back to working on mine. We are in Epiphany still (which explains why my tree didn't come down yesterday, right?)

    Went to food bank for our church volunteering this morning and left after 2 hours since they had enough volunteers at that point.

    Now back to where I left things last night. I too was wishing for a dove to deliver a sermon, Vicar!

    I have been giving thought to using someone else's sermon but beginning with the attributing of it to the person, place and time. I haven't done that yet, but once I used a book so much that I began the sermon with her title and info about her book.

    for now, I'll just go back to my stuff with help from FEasting

  25. Hi pals,

    I am loving all the ideas this morning. I am on baptism, and pondering both the blessing and the power of baptism, and trying to figure out if I can, or even, should weave the two together. Much to do today, so perhaps I'll let it simmer and come back for the late night party.

    I have coffee with almond milk and pigs in blanket to share.

  26. I'm going to preach on the baptism of Jesus at the start of Lent, so I'm squirreling all the ideas away in a safe place.

    I'm preaching on 1 Cor 15:51-58 tomorrow and focusing on a promise for tomorrow (transformation) and an encouragement for today (our work is not in vain). I've been grappeling with the text all week and would normally want to be finished by now... to tell you the truth I think I'm quite scared of this text. I'm also finding myself drafting a closing prayer that looks awfully like an altar call. I'm wondering if I dare invite people who feel the need for encouragement to raise their hands so that the people sitting near them can "lay hands" on them while we all pray for them. Hmmm, I think I need to finish the sermon, organize my visuals and then write a script that I can adapt tomorrow morning depending on the mood I pick up from the congragation.... We don't do that sort of thing very often, and I know some folk hate it, but others find it helpful.

  27. I have been honing the fine art of procrastination: took a shower, made a pot of kale soup (FAIL btw--I'm usually pretty good at making soup without a recipe, but this one, not so much), ate yesterday's leftovers for lunch, did some reading on Mark, did a lot of thinking about what we are called to do and be as church--but haven't written a single word.

    I preached on baptism on this Sunday the last two years, so I feel like I need to change my focus a bit. Still thinking about "beginnings" and how Mark tells Jesus' story beginning not with his birth but with his baptism...not sure if/how it will go but we'll see -- if I ever get down to writing.

  28. Hi Everyone, And a BIG welcome to all who have joined the party since I left 4.5 hours ago to Preside at this BIG funeral. Big in terms of energy, and music, and emotion, and well, pretty big in terms of who came, too. SO, now I have my post-anxious worship headache. But am grateful that everything went off without a hitch. Now.. Feeling as if I have done my Sunday already, I have to switch gears and think about my sermon for tomorrow...I am so up a creek...maybe a nap first?

  29. Just checking in mid-afternoon. We are going with Epiphany, and I have some notes....spent the day doing errands, and cleaning kitchen. Plan on going to the gym and then hunkering in. Drinking lovely coffee right now....
    GG, prayers for you...
    Terri...definitely a nap...
    Liz, I love the "pray it forward" cards. GREAT idea!

  30. Hey karla, welcome. So, nap taken in the form of deep meditation. Now I have godiva chocolate truffles to share - white, dark, and milk chocolate - and tea. ...and, oh yes, the sermon for tomorrow...sigh

  31. We have made it to our destination. Time for a holy nap before I meet this beloved community.

  32. No pulpit supply gig tomorrow, but I wanted to stop by and check in. And send blessings G-G's way.

  33. Hi again everyone. Thanks for the nice words of encouragement about what I'm trying to do in my sermon.

    Terri, I hope you are getting a nap! You've done good hard work already today.

    G_G, glad you've made it there safely. Thinking of you!!

    I have had the hardest time settling down and focusing today, even though I really really need to. I had to deal with yucky church budget stuff today, and that sapped a lot of my energy and concentration. It's behind me now, but I still can't seem to get clear and get done. I like what I've written so far, I just need to bring it home and then get on to the manymany other things on my docket before I leave town tomorrow afternoon. Oy!

    I don't have much to share, but I do have a fresh pot of coffee to offer!

  34. Hey friends.

    I'm working on switching gears from the officer retreat to worship tomorrow. We jumped ahead a week so it's ordination and installation of officers and Nathaneal and the fig tree. Sermon title: Now What?

    As most things, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Sounds like things are clicking along. The first week of January is tough with all of the things I pushed into it during December survival.

    Going to see what I can conjure up before The Boy gets back from a Cub Scout thing.

  35. Blessings to you all as I read your comments, and prayers especially to G_G for tomorrow!

    I'm preaching Epiphany tomorrow - my sermon is posted on my blog if anyone wants a peek.

  36. These are good ideas circulating today - as always. I need some for next week. I have a SERMON. hooray.

    now to wrap up worship and call it a day. The dogs woke me up every 2 hours last night. I was sympathizing with those of you who have infants. whew!
    I'll be checking and reading.

  37. Alison-in-France, I LOVE that text -- and it's going to be the kicker to a funeral sermon later in the week, over here -- you GO. Sounds wonderful.

    Bread in second rise here, nice harvest-soup smell in the house (from the slow-cooker). Going to a party as soon as the bread's baked. Sermon, meh. About 1/2 done, and probably enough as it is.

  38. welcome esperanza!

    Glad you are at your destination,G-G.

    Welcome Kathrynzj.

    earthchick, I hope your mojo finds you....

    Curate Karen, welcome! I'll try to stop by and read your offering.

    RevNancy - welcome! I'll try to stop by and read yours, too...

    I have a draft partially written...getting somewhat distrscted by the movie "I am legend"...perhaps because I am too tired to change the channel or move to a room without a television....sigh

  39. Just stopping by to offer up my prayers for G_G and just to say hi. My girls have been off school for two weeks and it has been hard to keep up with everything. I needed some time off and took it between Christmas and New Year's but this past week has been a big juggling act! Ah well, everything back to "normal" next week. Tomorrow I'm doing my usual pastoral prayer, reading of scripture and helping with remembrance of baptism. In the afternoon we have a "music marathon" which means another marathon day.

    Blessings to all as you prepare.

  40. Found a workable, sustainable sermon from the days of yore. Still working on some additions including a story that my Mom has never heard about me. Hmmmm......

    I'll have to ponder that after I feed the canines who appear to be whipping themselves into a frenzy.

  41. I had some trouble getting myself to write anything down, for fear of becoming over-enamored of the written words, but I've sketched something that is not a sermon, exactly, and sent it out for review (which is to say to kathrynzj, but it sounds like it will have to wait until dogs are served).

  42. Hi all! Thanks for hosting, Terri!

    Checking in late after a day of getting other stuff done, but not really too much, so, in other words, a lot of sermon procrastinating. Things are mulling around in my head, but nothing wants to make a commitment to the written word just yet.

    We are "installing" Consistory members tomorrow. Sounds more like a light bulb getting set in place than a ministry that is ready to go to new and wonderful places, doesn't it?

    I'm with Matthew and Ephesians and venturing into a lectionary sermon series -- "What Business Are We In?" -- in response to the drip-drip-drip of people saying "the church is a business" by which I presume they are justifying the bulk of consistory time being spent on money and buildings and policies and by-laws. I also have the sneaking suspicion that they think "girl pastors" don't think there is a business part of this. I guess the fine gentlemen don't think I notice that there is a paycheck and therefore a treasurer, a bank account and all of that, just for starters.

    End of rant. Perhaps that energy can be channeled into some good news words on a page! Title: The Business We Are In: According to Astrologers, a Prisoner, and the Powers-That-Be. Sounds good but does not yet a sermon make.

    Just made some tea -- it's hot, but would also be good iced. Help yourselves!

  43. going out the door to a parishioner's Open House. There's soup in the crockpot and sourdough bread cooling on the rack on the kitchen counter. Help yourselves. I'll be back soon.

  44. Back to hunker down and write something out of my notes from yesterday. Listening to Goldberg Variations which is getting my thoughts settled and focused. (hah! wishful thinking, but it good sermon writing music....)

    AWESOME TITLE!!!!!!!! What the heck is a Consistory?

    I think I will sneak some supper from Crimson's kitchen while she is out partying.

  45. OK. the early start means I'm ready to leave you late night partiers to it. just sent everything to the Kindle and, once I've checked its all there I'll switch to reading Ken Follet's World without end that I've almost finished - and loving it.
    Borrowed, sustainable, scratch or whatever - the Holy spirit furnishes us all with something when we get up there, doesn't she? Hope she reveals yours sooner rather than later!
    Help yourselves to coffee and shortbread and the last of the Stollen - please!!!

  46. Karla, a Consistory is the church's representative business-transacting body (board, council), called such especially in the Reformed branch of the UCC. I was going to say "governing body" but -- I'm studying this now! -- our church's by-laws call the church members the governing body.

    I'm on a roll (of some kind)!

  47. My answer to the burning question: If Jesus has no sin, why did he get baptized?

    Now to move on to confirmation, although I don't think the kids would mind if my lesson wasn't ready?

    I have meatloaf (beef, venison and sausage) and baked potatoes for supper, if anyone's in a meat-n-taters mood. There'll be warm M&M cookies later.

  48. Having tacos here, with Vernors ginger ale and carrot juice..

  49. Funeral this morning for 102 year old. Can't seem to shift gears and the kids keep interrupting. Sigh. Pass the meatloaf, please.

  50. Ramona - LOVE it!! Can I borrow it?? ;)

  51. BTW - Hamburger Helper cheesy macaroni with fresh green beans here, if anyone is hungry!

  52. Sharon, I do love your title also -- I use a line rather like it with friends (and myself also!) who belly-ache about the downside of ministry. My line is stolen from Godfather II: "This. Is. The business. We. Have Chosen."
    The platitude I used to get was: "The church is a volunteer organization" ~~ to which I liked to say, "Yes, just like marriage. You walk into it of your own free will." Sermon is written so now the in-my-head revises can begin; chalk purchased for writing on doors; I am about to cut a little bit of ham into a big bowl of this nice soup, and maybe have a slice or two of my sourdough bread. I took one of the two loaves as a hostess gift. It was a nice party!

  53. Rev TSB - go ahead and borrow away,

    Terri - Vernors? ooooooh! My very fav gingerale and they don't sell it in South Dakota.

    Tacos, meatloaf Hamb Helper, green beans, potatoes and other yummy stuff...we have the makings of a great potluck here!

    Totally not motivated to get started on the confo lesson. I'm trying to convince myself the sooner I get started, the soon I can relax. It's not helping.

  54. Pastor Lynn, welcome! I hope the transition between one service and the sermon for another, occurs. for you.

    RevTSB - welcome!

    I've read a couple of sermons, now to see which ones remain.

  55. Good evening (EST)! We will celebrate Epiphany tomorrow, in part because our children find the pieces of the creche scene throughout the Sundays of Christmas every year and they still need to find the three magi figurines!

    Writing a sermon in the direction of "Seeking Like Children." Thinking about younger children who play hide-and-seek and, in their enthusiasm, ask everyone in the vicinity "Have you seen so-and-so?" .... just like the magi asked "Have you seen the new king?" Maybe it wasn't because the magi were stumped on where to look, but because they were so enthusiastic in their search!

    Making myself another cup of chai. During Advent I had to write my sermons early in the week in order to send them to an ASL interpreter well in advance...but we only had the interpreter for Advent, so I am finding myself back to my Saturday night writing routine!

    Blessings, God_Guurrlll!

    Crimson Rambler, unrelated to sermonizing, your note about the "volunteer organization" platitude hit a brilliant note that I needed to hear related to other church business. Thank you!

  56. Back. Sort of. As long as The Boy is up, the writing is hard.

    He has also thrown down the gauntlet to name an upcoming sermon: Angry Birds.

  57. Kathrynzj, I did name a sermon "angry birds"...and talkd about my new found I say, go for it!

    Rachel, love the idea of the kids finding portions of the creche!

  58. Hello everyone! Wow, I always forget how hard re-entry is after I slept until 1:30 pm, went to church and did a few things, came back and then slept from 6 to 8. Now drinking gingerbread coffee in a desperate attempt to stay awake. All of this means I have a few interesting notes and not a bit more sermon-wise.

    We are definitely going with the Baptism, not a bit of Epiphany in this service at all (I think we're saving it for next year, when it falls on a Sunday). Affirmation of baptism by everyone and reception of new members. None of my notes are really lighting my fire...but I do love the connections to creation that earthchick and a few others of you had mentioned. Hmmm....

    So much happening out there! God be with all of us!

  59. Kathrynzj - the Boy gives your sermon ideas? Mine does that too. His latest challenge is to write a sermon based on the Rolling Stones song "Sympathy for the Devil" Trade ya!

    Confo lesson is done, so I can finally relax for a bit. I'm just going to ignore the work sitting here for next week's annual meeting. Surely, I'll have time for it after tomorrow (I hope!).

  60. Hey semfem! Welcome! Like you I can barely keepmy eyes open...but I've been up since

  61. Hi all,
    Been a lurker, not usually much of a poster, but I'm working on getting myself down the creek I've gone up with my wise men angle.
    Trying to say something about the story luring us in with its glitz and glamor. The wise men with their gold and robes and perceived riches, the interesting foreigners who might have been newsworthy type celebrities when they showed up first in Jerusalem--that's the piece of story we like and it makes good Christmas decorations. But if you remove all those decorations, its simply a group of people finding joy at finding Jesus. It's a very simple heartfelt act of worship in vs. 10-11 that is the heart the matter.
    Now to figure out the practical life application piece...
    Thanks for listening.

  62. Jean, blessings on you all. Will hold you in prayer tomorrow.

  63. GG - lots of prayers.

    I have already preached it once - but here's my Sermon if it is helpful to anyone. It was harder than I imagined to come up with an Epiphany sermon. I will preach again at the early service, then we have the Epiphany pageant at the later service tomorrow morning.

    KZJ - the teens sometimes give me "buzz" words and challenge me to work them into sermons (:

  64. Blessings upon you Anonymous. What you said reminds me of the sermons about how really it was a bunch of no-names who gathered to see Jesus - the poor, the blue collar, the immigrants - you know, the 99%.

    They came to worship - plain and simple. They accepted the truth of God with us and we can only assume with the wise men, went on to live their lives accordingly; faithfully even as they listened to the angel and went home another way.

    Amy+ my niece and nephews used to do that. It was always fun.

  65. I finally have a draft, but the ending really needs some work. I'm not sure why it took me so long to write this week. Ugh. I have to be up extra early in the morning b/c I'm petsitting and I need to make sure the dogs get outside before I leave for church. So I really need to finish up and get to bed.

    Happy preaching everyone.

  66. When I got home from the all day thing, I knew I needed a nap. It was much longer than I thought it would be. I guess that means I needed the sleep. So now I'm working on the needed sermon while watching football.

  67. So I had this "brilliant" idea to have this be the first day of Stewardship series and Baptism of our Lord. What on earth was I thinking?

    I'm trying to say that just as Jesus hears the voice that he is God's beloved, we do to. And being God's beloved is the reality that can allow us to live differently--allowing that to be what shapes our decision making, particularly in regards to stewardship.

    I have two more sermons in the series to be more heavy-hitting, so that works, right?

    Now if only the sickly babies will sleep, it'll help! (Preschooler has tonsillitis--tested negative for strep and mono, but doc said still could be mono--either way feels icky and wants mommy lots in the night. 8 month old is teething?, has a cold? not sure what but not sleeping well and wants mommy lots in the night.)

  68. for those who posted sermons, I offer heartfelt thanks. I am ministered to by reading them. Blessings to all as we move into tomorrow.

  69. I've boiled mine down to an outline, but tomorrow I'll need to expand it to something written for our shut-ins and email list. Aargh! I'm going to hit the sack. Prayers for all of you, especially G_G!!!

  70. I polished up the ordination/installation liturgy. That counts for something - right?

  71. Oh, Silent, much sympathies to you, and good rest.

  72. Done! A simple little look at Beloved of God and what it means for how we live and how we live with one another. Wish I could figure out how to post it here. Haven't got the hang of that yet.

    Blessing to all companions on the way. And special prayers for God_Gurrill tomorrow.

  73. Friends, I declare this thing to be preachable. Thank you baby Jesus with the Huggies diapers on for sustainable sermons that are actually workable.

    Blessings upon all of you and the variety of wise men and baptisms that will be among us all.

  74. I posted my Epiphany story/sermon at

  75. Hope all are doing well. I had to work late and ran by folks to pick up homemade muffins for breakfast. Next I was finishing up a craft project.
    SNL has been fun, but I am ready to turn in now.

  76. Everything is now printed. I have no comment regarding quality. I am done anyway. I hope the neighbors who are outside stay relatively quiet so I can go to sleep because I am *done*.

    Blessings on your Sunday!

  77. If Vicar and 1-4 are done and heading to bed, I guess that means I'm partying alone. I had a glimmer of inspiration a few hours ago, but it is long gone. Let's see if I can get back on track now.

  78. And at last, and after a bit of a snooze, here, with apologies to Eleanor Roosevelt, is My Day

  79. Well, I have a children's message...surely that should count for something. But still no sermon.

  80. semfem, hope it came together... or when you wake up in a few minutes the shot of adrenaline will help you get it all down on paper.

    Blessings to all this Sunday!

  81. Good orning! I feel asleep last night arounf 9:15 EST...geeze. Looks like the party continued with great support from everyone. Blessings on uour Sunday!

  82. Heh, kathryn...that would be my usual MO, but instead I have 600 something words written and am trying to finish up in time to squeeze in a short nap.

    So it hasn't yet come together, but I think it will. Thanks.

  83. Good morning everyone

    Thank you for the prayers. You lift me up.

    The potluck was joyous. Everyone was so kind and they were very excited. It eased my anxiety tenfold. Also God sent a sign. One of the search committee wore a tie with the pillsbury doughboy on it. I love love love love the pillsbury doughboy. He had no idea about my love of the doughboy. I knew then that it was going to be OK.

    Love to you all!

  84. Hurrah God_gurrll! May the Holy Spirit be with you and the congregation this morning.

    I think I am finally done. Ten minutes of a nap, maybe? and then off to the shower and getting ready for church. Ugh. And the sermon kind of sucks, too. It'll be quite a dog to walk proud. At least we are receiving new members, so that should make people forget about the sermon, right??

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

  85. Dear Preachers,
    When I woke up, I could remember 2 of my 9 points -- the first 2. Of course when I looked at the piece of paper, it all sounded familiar again. Maybe I need to write something on my hand...
    Blessings to all of you this day.


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