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Friday, February 17, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party - Blinded by the Light Edition

Judging by the preacher-type conversations I have been in this week, I think it's safe to assume that I'm not the only one who has felt (or is still feeling) blinded by the texts in front of us. It seems like each year I come to this party and find many of us worried about how to find a new word in an annual story.

Where has the Spirit been shining light for you this week? Is it in Mark's bright, brighter, brighter Jesus? (A friend who has retained much more Greek from seminary pointed out to me that Jesus' face is greatly, brightly, shining. Three times more than the average bleach!) 2 Corinthians pairs beautifully, of course, but stands alone just fine. Or maybe in the passing of the mantle from Elijah to Elisha?

The preaching task, this week or any week, can be daunting. But a piece of the good news for the preacher on this day is that it was right after some pretty overwhelming words that Jesus took the disciples up the mountain where they witnessed God's revelation face-to-face. As we face the holy task before us today, may we be so blessed.

Join the part in the comments. Happy Transfiguration Weekend! (Hallmark is really missing out on a great opportunity.)


  1. Good morning, Revgals, Celebrating Girl Guide Thinking Day with all age worship, we're simply nodding at T-fig by speaking of mountain top experiences. (I have pics of a trip to Switzerland when we visited the Jungfrau) So not having to wrestle with text too much.
    But I wonder if I can help anyone with children's time. I'm filling a backpack with things needed for a hillwalk - map, compass, first aid kit, etc.
    I'll do a kind of kims game with the items - see how many they remember as a lead in to talking about Jesus taking James, Peter and John up the mountain.
    Meantime, let me offer you some fresh berries and low fat yogurt AND, I managed to source some Lucky Charms this week (We don't ordinarily get those in Scotland), so I'm indulging my inner child snacking on those! Food for the journey.

  2. I am working with the Mark 2 passage. Kind of following on from last week's gospel.
    part way through the sermon, and hopefully it will be finished in an hour. I could do without a late night!
    lots of pasta sauce if anyone would like some. made a big batch to freeze.

  3. I'm mainly focussing on the "listen to him" and talking about the ways in which we actually do that. Our congregation is seeking to listen to God's invitation to us in the face of change and as Lent approaches we are also talking about the individual spiritual disciplines that help us listen. The writing doesn't feel very inspired but some days are like that, right?!

  4. Done and printing.

    release or paralyse

    Lent I am looking at some of the readings from 'The Last Week', by Borg and Crossan. we don't have services every day on Holy Week, so I am hoping seeing the readings in a series will help in the lead up to Easter.
    Happy Transfiguration weekend, even to those who like me are not celebrating T-fig in worship tomorrow.
    the kettle is about to boil, and there is still shortbread from Christmas, help yourself.

  5. Hi, everyone.
    Steph, I thought Mark didn't mention his face? Just his dazzling clothes.
    I find I'm strangely captivated by the notion of the company of prophets in 2 Kings. Not sure where that is leading me, but I keep coming back to that phrase. Big funeral this morning first, though, so my mind is on coffee, Psalm 90 and whether I have a presentable pair of pantyhose.

  6. I have decided this year to focus on Peter. In particular his enthusiasm or rather his misplaced enthusiasm. Rather than focusing on Jesus he is already leaping off into making tents. The word enthusiasm is derived, from two Greek words: ‘en’ meaning in and ‘theos’ meaning God. Enthusiasm is literally 'God in us'. The enthusiastic man is one who speaks as if he were powered by God. Are our words, thoughts, deeds, with God at the centre etc Lots of illustrations around the theme of enthusiasm. eg conductor Eugene Ormandy who was so enthusiastic during a performance that he dislocated a shoulder...

  7. Good morning!
    Liz starting us off with a children's sermon idea - awesome. And MUCH better than my idea of shining a flashlight in each child's eyes (jk).

    I'm using this time around to focus on the community and companions that keep us going when life randomly throws a mountain in our path.

    I figure if it's a miss I always have next year... and the next... and the next...

  8. I'm up and will be working on two things today: the sermon and the final Bible study class of the Gospel of Mark. I may be heading in a similar direction with the text as Linda, especially following up on our vestry retreat last weekend.

  9. I picked up FotW Tuesday and found my inspiration. William Lloyd Allen writes about the 2 Kings lesson and says "one era is ending, but the next has not yet begun....Elijah's imminent depaarture raises the issue of God's eternal constance in a world where time changes all." He goes on to point out the references to God's working through past prophets.

    It seems to me that the transfiguration, coming right after Jesus has announced the end of one era AND the beginning of another has the same flavor. So I will be talking about both of those readings. I am thinking about the ways we are assured at the end of an era by looking back at our own history and how the Bible becomes a means of assurance as well.

  10. I did a paper once on this story and compared the stories. They all blend together after doing them every year.

    Mark is the only one who uses the word bleach, but it is in reference to the garments. In Mark there is no impact on Jesus' face. In Matthew his face shown like the sun. In Luke the appearance of his countenance was altered.


  11. Earlier this week, I had an idea that had something to do with glow sticks for the children's sermon. I cannot remember what that idea was, but it must have been a good one, since I ordered 2 dozen glow sticks from Amazon. Anyone have a glow-sticky idea? (I'm not the preacher, just the children's story person)

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  13. I think I'm doing a pretty standard sermon on Peter's desire to stay up there and Jesus invitation to come back down. Still sick, still exhausted, and tomorrow I have a marriage counseling session, worship, a bit of music rehearsal, and then my installation service in the late afternoon. I've not been near my church since Tuesday and I'm trying to get healthy enough for the surgery scheduled in ten days. Grumpy? Yes!

  14. Robin - hang in there!
    Susan, I have TOTALLY been there - mine was those little canisters of play-doh. 100 of 'em.

  15. I also still have 100 tiny canisters of play-doh. I swear I'm going to come up with something to do with those.

    I may also have glow necklaces in my possession, so if we come up with something to do with those, I will SO take it. LOL.

    I'm on "children and prayers" this week, and also contemplating ash wednesday, and I really really should write a chapter of the book today. I swear it will get done. right after the glow sticks and the blogging and maybe even the laundry.

    I lack breakfast food, but when it's lunchtime y'all come back because I have thai food! :-)

  16. Good morning! Sorry I'm a bit late to the morning party. I turned the monitor off and my husband got up so I slept in more than usual!

    Lucky Charms sound WONDERFUL, Liz. Thanks for the children's sermon start.
    Great finish, pearl!
    Jemma, we've got sort of similar Lent plans. I'll be looking at spiritual disciplines as ways to "follow me," in short.
    Yes, Martha, my typing got ahead of my brain last night with the "face" part. I meant his clothes are greatly brightly shining (according to the Greek work of a friend). Thanks kzj for straightening that all out.
    Oooohhh kzj, I'm not sure the flashlight's a bad idea, but maybe I'm just hoping for payback with my own kids.
    Linda and Terri, I like your fresh direction!
    Margaret, I LOVE incorporating the 2 Kings passage. I preached that one mostly with a little Mark 2 years ago.
    Oh no, Susan! That's sort of funny. Hopefully we'll come up with some ideas.
    Prayers for you, Robin!

    So, I'm just up and have plenty to write today, but a day full with of not much with my family. Looking forward to a mostly unprogrammed Saturday. We do need to make a run to the hardware store to buy a new toilet seat for the church handicapped restroom. My 4.5 yr old son slammed it too hard an broke it yesterday. Of course. Then the big kids and I are going to our local theater production of "Alice In Wonderland."

    I completely messed with the order of worship tomorrow, and instead of one sermon I have 3 little messages. I'm doing what I sort of hinted at in the blog post. The service starts with the end of Mark 8, the overwhelming call of discipleship which summarizes a lot of what I did in Epiphany. In that section I'll give a mini- sermon and lead a congregational lament. In the second section we read the actual t-fig passage up to v8, talking about God's revelation and presence. We have an infant baptism in this section which, among other things of course, reminds us of God's presence and promises even when we can't articulate them ourselves. The last section is coming down the mountain both together and for the purpose of healing. We'll read a skeletal version of the very next healing story in Mark 9 which will lead us back into Lent when we will focus on strengthening our discipleship (for lack of a better term right now) for following Jesus who healed, touched, welcomed, proclaimed, reversed (all the things we talked about in Lent). Third section as mini service for healing and wholeness, the litany prayer together and the option during a hymn to receive anointing and prayer.

    Lots going on, but I THINK time will allow, especially if I keep my messages to the desired 300-400 words. Not sure how my writing process will go with this difference, but I'm thinking it will be good!

  17. Some great sermon ideas already this morning!

    I was overjoyed to find I have a sustainable sermon for this week that actually isn't too bad - I just need to cut down the length. Apparently my internship supervisor was right - my sermons WERE too long. Go figure.

    A sustainable sermon this weekend is great because that's given me time to get a jump start on Lent mid week services - I'm doing a round robin with a couple of area pastors and one of them selected a canned program, so I just have to edit the bulletins and re-write the drama monologues (waaay to long!). And I have a book study starting as well. A relief to have this week covered.

    I'm doing transfiguration and thinking about what the point was - did Peter, James and John cling to that image of shining Jesus and God's voice when they were shaking in fear during Good Friday, and Holy Saturday? Just my two cents.

  18. KZJ, my spouse is absolutely voting for shining a light in each little pair of eyes. Except he votes for a flashbulb as the means to do so.

    Um, this is why he doesn't get to do any children's sermons. Also, it's clearly been a real long while since he used a camera besides the one on his phone.

  19. Robin, I trust you will find the energy needed and be able to care for yourself. It sounds overwhelming. Interesting ideas already today. I did most (hopefully) of my writing last night. I will read it again shortly and see how it sounds in the light of we say.
    Tomorrow I've turned our chili lunch into "Invite a friend" sunday. Looking at the stack of invites NOT taken, it may be that I'm the only one on-board for this. I hope my 3 people come!
    (a lesson on not having everyone on-board 1st...sigh)
    I am telling a story about being invisible to jr hi students and saying why do we find transfiguration so unbelievable..I hope it flies, will post it later and add a link here.
    I'm willing to make another pot of coffee - anyone? (Casa Cielo)

  20. Ramona could you slide your extras my way. I am at 'preachable' but I'm a page short. Bizarre. I'll take a bit of a break and see what floats in mind.

    It is The Boy's day (Age: 7) beginning at 2 with basketball and Scouts so I'm glad to at least be at 'preachable' regardless of length.

    She Rev - congrats on the extra sleep - YAY!

  21. I am conflicted.

    All week I had a plan. The plan was to preach about how we respond when we realize that God is being revealed in our midst. Are we paralyzed with fear? Do we feel unworthy? Do we want to stay in that place and time? Do we feel invigorated and ready to be sent out? All of the above?

    Then yesterday it occured to me that part of being the church is to help people come to those places/times where they know that God is present. And, realistically speaking, how well do we do that? IS that part of the same sermon or a different one?

  22. For a few years I loved tfig as a segue into Lent, but I think I've worn that one out. Reading FotW this morning got me thinking in a couple of other directions, but I was really moved by the commentary on the psalm--I have NEVER preached on a psalm but I wonder if I could use it and pull in little bit of Kings and Mark....hmmm..

    My other thought is that this would be a time to pull from Lauren Winner's new book which I know many of you will be receiving soon. I think one of the underlying issues for her (and I don't think this is a spoiler) is that she sort of implicitly expected to always be on the mountaintop...but coming back down and dealing with real life is inevitable.

    Also thinking ahead to my Ash Wednesday sermon...this time of year gets so interesting. Not at all sure I'm ready for Lent.

  23. I've woven the stories together and shown the similarities with a focus on the fact that both Elijah and Jesus are handing on a ministry (to us as well as to Elisha and the disciples) and sometimes we want to pitch our tent and stay in the special place rather than get out there.

  24. Well I'm out of bed and already overwhelmed by all the wit and wisdom on display here...had a bit of a lie-in and read almost all of the current "Atlantic" and succeeded only in scaring self half to death, between the toxoplasmosis and the ain't a rosy prospect out there. Then failed to assemble the espresso maker tightly enuf, so factor in a fine scorched coffee smell...
    I think the sermon is going to be "Straining to See", tying the whole shebang together (hubris, I know)...meantime assembling a fairly muscular breakfast (cheese/spinach omelette, I think)...will be back to glean/snitch children's focus ideas. LYMI.

  25. Good Morning Everyone! Like Robin, I've been sick all week, and struggling to recover. Unlike Robin, I don't have surgery facing me. Healing prayers for you.

    Liz, enjoy the Lucky Charms...are they not available in Scotland because of Scottish Nationalism? Maybe you could manufacture a Scottish version...

    Too funny about the glow sticks Susan. Good luck with that.

    Because I was so sick, I couldn't even bear the thought of all that light, so I went with a sustainable sermon, rewrote it and was waiting to hear what wonderful ideas came up this morning before I did the final draft.

    The last time I preached on this was just after I had come and I was here as an Interim and I preached about change. Now three years later, after our AGM, the message still seems relevant, but what has changed is that although I've been talking about change for the past three years, the reality of that change has finally filtered down into the congregation. So I think it appears quite obvious that I'll be preaching about change.

    Martha, hope you find a suitable pair of pantyhose!

  26. My earlier comment didn't show up, so I'll try again. If it appears later, just read the one that is more intelligible.
    Anyhoo...I got about half of the sermon done yesterday. Am preaching both Mark and Kings.
    At this point, the sermon seems to be answering the "why now" question of the transfiguration. Why, at this point of the journey, is Jesus pulling out the big guns of being seen with Moses and Elijah? Why is he scaring the disciples to the point that they are terrified and don't know what they are saying? (Think babbling and incoherent--hey, let's build some booths!).
    And the answer, at this point in the process, seems to be that Jesus needs people with him who get it. Who understand who he is and can walk with him to the cross. He doesn't have time for those "Jesus, don't say those horrible things" comments.
    So, this is surprisingly for me, a sermon about pastoral care. How do we accompany people off the mountain to their own lonesome valley? When someone tells us they have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, do we respond with "oh don't say those terrible things" like the disciples? Or, do we allow people to live with their bad news?

    For a children's sermon with glow sticks, you could talk about the real meaning of transfiguration--metamorphosis. And talk about how the magical juice in the glow sticks changes it's form when you get them glowing. Glow sticks are easier to pass out to kids than caterpillars or butterflies.

  27. Hello, everyone. Just poking my head in to say hello and wish you well on sermonizing. I am trying to get something written before the youth group lockin tonight. (fortunately my part in the lockin is small)

    Getting over stomach bug #2 and just feeling a little "off"...nothing serious, just not 100%.

    I am intrigued by this question of "how do we go on when those who have shown God to us are gone?" Very appropriate for my congregation right now.

  28. @Rev Dr Mom, I am using Lauren Winner's "middle tint" chapter and talking about the "middle days" of regular discipline, praying when it doesn't really feel like we're doing much, continuing to show up at church when we'd rather sleep in, etc - these days are the ones that prepare us to see and understand when God shows up in brilliant, bright, unexpected ways. Without the day-to-day walking with Jesus, the disciples never would have been on that mountain to see him transfigured. And likewise, they can't stay there - they have to go back to the "middle days" of normal life, down off the mountain. Then leading into Lent as "middle days" - the gray brown days of discipline, spiritual practices, living into faith even when we don't feel like it - days that prepare us to receive the light and color of Easter!

    For kids, I'm doing "pretzel day" - handing out pretzels and talking about their history as a Lenten snack - shaped as arms folded in prayer as a reminder/call to prayer - and eaten when all the richer, sweeter snacks were "off limits" during Lent. Then giving each of the kids a pretzel to snack on during the sermon. My custodian will love that one.

  29. Lots more newcomers this morning and early afternoon. Welcome everyone!

    Ramona, I've had to admit my husband was right about my early sermon length. I like to blame it on occasional preaching. I like to say I used to feel like I had to fit a lot in since I didn't preach every week. It seemed like a decent excuse. The reason, however, was probably more like inexperience.

    Hi Nancy! I hope your friends come too. We are having our first ever Messy Church tomorrow afternoon and I'm so nervous about whether anyone will come. For this first one we haven't advertised too far and wide. We want to try it and start work out our kinks before we invite lots of others in the neighborhood.

    Gord they feel like two different, but great sermons. I pray you figure out which to preach or how to meld them together.

    RevDrMom - Thanks for the preview to Lauren's book. I get that implicit expectation completely!

    Thanks for sharing, Sarah!

    Crimson - I think I need that Atlantic issue for my "Overwhelmed" section of worship. That's part of what started my thinking about this order of worship. At our staff meeting our music director spoke of feeling just completely overwhelmed by the news of the world all around.

    Lady Father - I'm sorry you've been sick. Glad you're feeling a bit better!

    Love the glow stick idea, Marci!

    I am off to the play with my big kids. The afternoon is a better time than the 7:00 pm show, but still not great without naps. I sort of wish there were a 10:00 am or 5:00 pm show. #firstworldproblems as they say.

  30. Rev Wags, I like what you're doing! I'm going to use pretzels during Lent, too.

    For now, how many ways can I find to procrastinate? Oy. I am way too distractible lately!

  31. Lots of wonderful ideas this week as usual. I love this virtual group.
    SheRev - another Messy Churcher, I hope Messy Church is fun for all concerned.
    marci - linking T-fig with pastoral care; love the idea.
    Blessings for those still writing.

  32. Rev Wags - thanks for the pretzel idea for Lent - that'll work for me next week!
    Robin, praying for healing for you so that you can be strong for surgery - and for endurance of what looks like a hefty day tomorrow.
    I lie the idea of glo sticks - would probably talk about how they surprise us with light - as the disciples were surprised by light in t fig.
    Re: Ordering props for worship - I have a few hundred woven name tapes ordered for next week - with alleluia! printed on them. LOL
    Have a very "bits n pieces" service tomorrow. Need to get my notes in order.
    Spent part of today putting some more flesh on the bones of the Lent services I worked on on BE 5 - hoping to share with my student tomorrow - we have midweek services beginning Ash Wednesday.
    Are we ever ready for Lent?

  33. I am working on taxes because I have to do FAFSA this weekend because I am on call 3 days before the end of the month.

    All that whining to say I'd rather be preaching.

    (And if you don't know what FAFSA is, you don't have children in college. Your day will come.)

    Oh and P.S. Praying for all you preachers!

  34. Praying for anyone who has to do a FAFSA...ugh.

    I have three quarters of a sermon, and as I try to wrap it up, I'm realizing that I might have, um, veered off course. I think I will let it stew for a bit while I go over to the church and get some things ready for tomorrow, and hope that my way to a finish that make sense is clearer when I get back.

  35. FAFSA is hanging over my head, too, as well as some financial aid forms for summer music festivals. Ugh.
    This morning's service and following reception left me tired out, and although I've had a rest and a snack and a nice walk with the dog, I'm not really back to it. I need to look over all the words I typed into a document and see if any of them look like a sermon. :-)

  36. Just back from seeing "Cats" in city-to-the-East. Haven't read through the comments...must not be distracted by shiny things...oh wait...that is part of the text. LOL.

    I got quite a bit written on Thursday but the ending needs some serious attention.

    Also stopped by the hospital half-way between "city to the East" and where I serve as a parishioner is in the process of dying.

    I'll be back,..

  37. So my draft is posted: Transformed in Mystery

    now to make supper (left overs) and catch up on what y'all have been up too!

  38. So, I have an ancient sermon written in the third person when I had vertigo nine years ago (just in case someone else had to read it for me), and I have a lot of discombobulated ideas gathered over the past four days, and neither of these feels like a sermon at the moment. Saturday funerals are really not good for my preaching. I think I'll have dinner and hope that protein will enhance my brain power.

  39. RevNancy - I hope you get a good turn out, I love the idea!

    SemFem - ugh, bug #2....but I like your question, it's a good one

    RevWags - really good idea all around

    Martha, Sat. funerals are really tough on sermon prep...takes the wind out of one's sails...

  40. I get the Saturday funeral doldrums, too. I sort of feel like I did my thing, and it's hard to get geared up again for Sunday morning after that.

    I got a call about a parishioner heading into surgery just moments before I left to take my kids to a play. We're home, about to eat dinner, then put everyone to bed. I'm thinking 8:00 pm is too late to leave for a hospital visit that's 30-40 min away, but I'm feeling kind of bad about it. Tomorrow I'll be at the church 8:30-12:30, kids' swim lessons 3:15-4:15, Messy Church 4:00pm-6:00pm, then a brand new ecumenical service 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. My husband plays basketball starting at 8:00 pm. I think I'll send a deacon tomorrow. I wish I had thought of that even this afternoon.

    About to pull our salmon out of the oven. Bought plenty to sprinkle over salads later in the week/end. I'd share it with anyone who needs it now, though!

  41. MMMM salmon sounds delicious She Rev!

    I agree, it's hard to bounce back after a Saturday funeral! I need that morning to sleep in and recover from the week, if at all possible.

    We are trying Messy Church too...every Saturday during Lent...are we crazy? Perhaps. Also filing pretzel idea away for Lent.

    I am still struggling to get into page 2 of the sermon. At least the Internet is acting up, which theoretically should be a big help in writing my sermon.

    My part at the youth lockin has been reduced to "stop in and visit for a while," for which I am grateful. But I would still like to make an appearance, which means I need to get moving here.

  42. I've got a beginning.
    That's something, right?

  43. Many wonderful ideas floating through the virtual space we inhabit.

    I've crafted an ending to my sermon.

    Healing thoughts and energy for all...

  44. I finally had the bright idea that at our family service I will talk a bit about Mark's gospel, since we are using it through this year. This is a service with a lot of people who probably can't name the 4 gospels, and from time to time I do sermons that lean toward basic Christain Ed; this will be one of them. Mark is our patron saint, and we have a wonderful Mark stained glass window--complete with some scenes from the gospel--which is at eye level, so we will all gather around that. I have had a hard couple of weeks, and an easy topic is just what I need.

    She Rev, that is a crazy day for you tomorrow; send a deacon indeed!

    Meatball sandwich, anyone?

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  46. SheRev, yes. Send a deacon, and a card with your prayers.

    Betsy, I agree, teaching sermons once in awhile serve as good anchors!

    Purple, I'm heading over to read your sermon.

  47. This sermon took more chocolate than usual. Thank goodness I went to the gym before returning to edit.
    Here's my "Invisible Men & Women" sermon. Now to read a couple more of the posted ones before I go back to my mystery novel or the TV.
    Best to all!

  48. checking in with the littles in bed. I've got a sustainable sermon from three years ago that is surprisingly preachable with a few adjustments. Still need to work through the communion liturgy and prayers.

    Is the liturgical color green or white tomorrow?

    I've begun a whole wheat bread making experiment. Sadly, it's a multi-day process, but stop by later in the week for a taste.

  49. I know! I know! It's white!!! Dazzling, bleachified white!!!

  50. We decided that a trip to the city for dinner and a movie was absolutely essential to my mental health and well-being. So we just got back - lunch at Qudoba and then we saw "This Means War"- a movie that has done the impossible: combined enough of a chick flick to make me happy and enough of an action movie to please my guys.

    Now to drum up the motivation to get my sermon edited. That's the problem with afternoons off - it's so hard to get going agian. I'm hoping reading the sermons posted so far will give me some much needed inspiration!

  51. Yay Ramona! i lived in a small rural kind of area for awhile, i so understand! Glad it worked out for you! Good luck with the sermon....

  52. Thank you! I cleverly left my robe (intentionally) at supply church last week so I wouldn't have to worry about it this week. I guess I do have to worry about taking the dazzlingly white stole. Or the dingy-around-the-neck white stole, as the case may be.

  53. I think my church may be keeping the green because I forgot to tell them to change over to white...I think we'll survive being ordinary, even if the day is extraordinary!

  54. We changed to white for today's funeral, so unless someone got confused about prior instructions, we're all set for tomorrow.
    Well, except that I'm still trying to bring the sermon home. Come on, sermon!

  55. Shoot--I didn't think about liturgical color changes either! But we have the "all purpose" frontal on, so I can wear an off white chasuble with that....not dazzling white, but not green either :) although that would do ...I doubt God cares if we get the colors right.

    I am not loving the sermon, but don't know what else to do with it at this point. :( And I just want to be done, which I' sure isn't helping the process.

  56. Today was a funeral day for me, too. I saw clips of Kevin Costner and Tyler Perry speaking at Whitney's service. They both made me cry; more for "my" funeral than for hers. What great words they both spoke.

    I have no energy for tomorrow but I do have some words already on the page.

  57. Well, i had very little sleep last night and was up before 5am, so....I am calling it a day! Blessings, all, may you rest well this night, somehow, and regardless the Holy Spirit will shine tomorrow!

  58. Wow! I'm done! I can't believe it!

    Although I think I'm sacrificing my plans to attend the youth lockin, about which I am a little disappointed. But finishing the sermon before 7 am on Sunday makes me VERY happy indeed. Honestly I think it's because it's the first week in a long time I haven't had a funeral on Friday or Saturday. Amazing what a difference that makes!

    Focused on 2 Kings and the gospel and the question I posted do we go on after people or experiences who have shown us God are gone? I know it fits my mood right now...and I think it fits with the rest of the congregation.

    Off now to do a little wordcrafting for Monday's funeral (my role is minimal though, thank goodness) and go to bed. Maybe I can get up early and go help make breakfast for the youth.

    Blessings on all your pondering, preaching, and proclamation!

  59. Is there any more meatball sandwich left?

  60. Done!

    Getting Ready for the Journey is posted and winding through cyberspace to my kindle. Yay - I've gone paperless for my worship notes!

    Now all I have to do is get hubby over to the church to fold the bulletins. He's not a very good secretary - won't print them unless I am there, which kind of defeats the purpose of having him do them - but he's cute, so I'll keep him!

  61. Tackling T-fig according to Mark here. Complicated by the fact that there was both a suicide of a high schooler and a horrific child abuse case in the community this week. Just wrapped up a draft with "That's all you've got, God - 'This is my son: listen to him'?"

  62. I have no discipline. It's pretty ridiculous. I started the movie Bottle Shock way earlier today, so of course I had to finish it before I could write.

    Now I'm sitting down to do that only to realize that ALL the notes I wrote this week about all three of my little messages are in a notebook at the church. Dude. Really?

    I'm not about to go get them since I'm comfy in my jammies, so here goes nothing. The good news is that I made them and used them extensively when I was trying to figure out how to order everything. That was done Wednesday night. I think I'll be able to write without them.

    I also think I'll write backwards. I'm much less concerned with the first two messages and feel like I could give those pretty much extemporaneously right now if I had to. I'm more worried about making sure the service points us into Lent like I have been hoping, so I think I need to start at my last message, maybe even at the benediction and work my way back to the beginning.

    I also left the Adult Ed DVD at church without having previewed it yet. It was a busy week. The good news on that is that it's about 10 minutes of Marcus Borg talking about his view of salvation. At least I've read his whole chapter on the same subject in the book "Speaking Christian." (AWESOME BOOK!). There's probably nothing he'll say in 10 minutes on a DVD that's not in the chapter, so I think I'll be OK watching it with the class for the first time.

    OK. On to writing. Looks like several folks are finishing up. Yea for you!! I've got the traditional Saturday night laundry in.

    My stole is the only thing in the church that changes colors for the seasons, and I'm going white. Actually, the choir may wear robes tomorrow (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, you never know). If they do they'll wear white stoles, too.

  63. Prayers for you and your community tellthestories!!! I LOVE your drafting ending!

  64. tellthestories - damn good question! I am so sorry you have had that kind of week.

    Some times the best I've got is that kind of honest question.

    I hear Tyler Perry echoing in my mind from Whitney's funeral and I want to say with gentle sincerity that I also want to be able to preach my belief that while Jesus was way up on the mountain he intentionally came down into the valley where the worst things were happening. So I don't have to stop with "listen to Him" because I know that "I am with you always" is part of the package. Paul got it right in Romans 8 neither heights nor depths can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. It's not a trite phrase; its the ground of our hope that centers us when we don't have anything else.

    I hope you don't feel preached at because that is not my intention. I just want you to know you're not alone.

  65. I need to deem this preachable.
    And I have made it so.

    It is either a brilliant weaving of threads into a gorgeous tapestry or a jumbled cluster fu... you know what, let's go with the former.

    Peace be upon all of you as you continue the writing. She Rev, it sounds like you have too many things on your mind. Be gentle on yourself and good luck!

    tellthestories - prayers ascending for you and your community.

  66. kzj - - I'm sure it's the tapestry. Peace to you.

    Definitely lots on my mind, but a lot of that is due to procrastination and a little nervousness about doing things different tomorrow. Stupid, but true.

  67. tellstories - my heart aches for you and your community. Prayers ascending

  68. Kzj, it ended up tortellini for dinner at the last moment...but there's plenty leftover if you want a bedtime snack. Stop by tomorrow night for the meatballs!

    My mind and heart are not in the game tonight; my sister who is on the other side of the world and who started chemo this last week had to go to the hospital today, and we don't know what is happening. Very worrisome.

  69. And prayers for you, too, Betsy. Prayers for your sister.

  70. Well, the sermon didn't end with 'that's all you've got?" but I did spend a lot of time with it. I think people need to know those questions are our to ask, that God can handle it.
    Eventually, segued to God's presence, (even, and especially, in the ugliness) and our role, plowing in Christ's footsteps.

    May the Holy Spirit do with it what she will...

  71. HI there - anyone still up? Peeking around the corner to say hi.

    I'm in an appalling state, sermon wise. A pile of jumbled ideas and a bout 27 words written. Guess I'm going to be preaching from notes tomorrow.

    My mom and stepdad have been visiting and I've been super distracted by that, so am feeling kind of ineffectual in dealing with a gazillion pastoral care crises this week. Which makes the sermon I'm planning on Mark 2 with a theme of the importance of taking care of each other seem kind of...weak.

    I like my children's time, at least, which I got from somewhere online, which is have the kids try to lift me on a blanket, talk about how hard that must have been to do, and how dedicated they must have been... Please let us pray that I will not get my head bonked during this excellent object lesson, ok?

    Alrighty, off to cogitate smore. Sorry, I ate all the cookies, but there's some yummy apple cinnamon tea if you want something warming.

  72. Prayers for the protection of your head have been offered, Juniper. :)

    Continuing to be easily distracted tonight, but I do have my mini-outlines for my mini-sermons done. That's good. I'd like to get AT LEAST one knocked out tonight before I go to bed at midnight. Must. stay. on. track.

  73. Well, I didn't hit my hoped for midnight bedtime, but I got the third and hardest message done along with all the transition pieces for the last section of the worship service, what I think will be the most difficult. I've got a closing piece that is really more like an Ash Wednesday sermon if I got to give one this year. It's at the least an invitation to Lenten disciplines, but since we don't usually get a huge Lenten crowd, I'm not worried at all about delivering it tomorrow.

    Anyway, I think most everyone is already gone. I'm going to go to bed now for a few hours, too. The last two pieces (about 600 words total) will be very simple to write in the morning.

    Peace to you all, and thanks for the party!

  74. Good night, all, and may the Spirit work with due haste in the hearts and minds of any who are still writing!

  75. The morning is here and I'm leading for the first time at the main service which is daunting, but I'm taking the light of Christ with me in my heart and trusting him to lead me. Good luck with all your light filled sermons [']

  76. Good morning! Stopped to say a prayer for you, Emma, and I am confident it will go beautifully. Peace to you as you carry the light of Christ.

    I'm back up. I let myself snooze an extra 30 minutes since I feel pretty confident about the tasks I have left. I was telling myself last night that I'd get to go back to bed if I finished earlier, but since I know I never actually do that, I went ahead and slept longer instead.

    I'll get the coffee started.


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