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Saturday, March 24, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: "We Wish to See Jesus" (Now, Please!) Edition

Can you see me now?
Welcome to the 11th Hour Preacher Party for the 5th Sunday of Lent!

I invite you to take a moment to marvel at the technology that is probably within your reach at this moment.  Just 20 years ago, composing sermons meant writing in pen on a yellow legal pad (or, heaven help us, using a typewriter!), spending hours at the seminary library, and stocking the bookshelf with commentaries.

Today, there is no need for an 11th hour preacher to leave her/his home.  We can wear comfy clothes or stay in flannel and fuzzy slippers.  We are fully resourced with our computers and tablets, search engines, TextWeek, LiturgyLink, and Kindles and Nooks and digital books. And, wonder of all wonders, we can be in the company of many brilliant colleagues -- all of you! -- connected and communicating on a world wide web. That's progress!

That same technology also brings us news stories that reveal the progress we haven't made. In 2012 --  unbelievably -- women's rights and civil rights are not yet already-settled, taken-for-granted, all-for-one-and-one-for-all human rights.

Wishing to see Jesus?  Yes, please!  And sooner, not later!
Where is Jesus in the stories of Trayvon Martin's tragic death and Susan Fluke's testimony profaned?

Will you address either of these this week?
Or are there other church or community issues you will tackle?
How can we help you &/or pray for you today?

I am so grateful for the really wonderful RevGal blog posts this week in response to the death of Trayvon Martin.  Here are a few that I gathered up for your inspiration:

Skittles and Iced Tea at Presbydestrian (Kathleen M. Sheets)
Should Not Happen at Rev Momma (Beth Spencer Anderson)
Remember Trayvon at Faith Grace and Hope (Pastor Julia)
The Politics of Fear at Faith and Water (Rachel Hackenberg)
By Heart at Reflectionary (Martha Spong)

If you know of other RevGal blog posts or other articles that you would like to highlight today, please post them in the comments.  If possible, I will add them to the list.

As always, the coffee is hot, the welcome is extravagant, and the snack table is ready for your delicious offerings.

Welcome, everyone!

144 comments:

  1. Good morning, all. The post by Julia S. was our devotion and staff meeting and prompt for what are we going to do/preach/write etc...

    I'm playing with the new thing in Jeremiah and the warning not to love the old thing (this world) in John. Hating life in this world means hating the way this world is.

    But that is not enough. We must move from complaint to dream. We must.... we must...

    Heal the world... make it a better place... for you and for me and the... (needle scratching record sound here)

    Okay, I probably won't break out into Michael Jackson. And if I am this punchy now... we are in deep. deep. trouble.

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    1. Thanks, Kathryn, for "move from complaint to dream." My struggle -- OK, complaint! -- is that I thought we had dreamed some amazing dreams way back in the 60s and had come together to put some safety nets and justice actions in place. Has the dream changed? Or been forgotten? Or -- my fear (or complaint?!) -- has that dream been rejected?

      I guess we preachers and dreamers call this "job security"!

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    2. Is the Christian response to put our hands over our eyes or over our mouths? No, God has called us to put our hands over our hearts, to be reminded of God's new life and then reach out and lay those hands on a wounded, angry world.

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    3. kathrynzj, I hope everyone else sees this comment. I'm still worried that the "nested" replies will not allow us to have full conversation here. Hmm.

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    4. Martha, I just logged on and started reading and it is easier to follow a conversation this way, at least for me.

      And kathryn, thanks for the nudge to do what I know is right and good, and NOT put my hands over my mouth, however conservative my congregation might be. Not that they aren't appalled by this needless killing, but many believe that NOTHING that can be construed as "political" should come from the pulpit.

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    5. Martha, I love this nesting. It makes it much easier to reply to comments in a way that builds and nurtures those "regular relationships" you talked about so eloquently in your blog. (Thanks to Sharon for posting those blog sites!)

      Martha, your take on relationships came in really helpful this week as I was working through some relationship bumps in the community I'm serving. Thank you.

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  2. Almost ready to hit to road for a Presbytery meeting. I wrote a draft yesterday which will need some serious attention when I return this evening.

    Title: March Madness and working with broken hearts. Yes, a bit of NCAA college hoops will begin the sermon.

    Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine (along with Isaiah) especially with Brueggemann's writing, even with his constant struggle with God. It is a sense of naming our illness, grieving the loss of 'life', and claiming new life.

    Looking forward to catching up when I return.

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    1. Jeremiah and March madness! Nice combo! I look forward to that.

      And, "YEA!" for all things Brueggemann!

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  3. I think my honeymoon period as the new pastor came to an abrupt end last night when I suggested that Passion-Palm Sunday was not the day on which to celebrate the local baseball team. The response? "We always do it on the Sunday closest to Opening Day, which this year is Easter -- I guess we could just not do it at all." Hello? There's an entire spring and summer season ahead of us, and we went immediately from "not during Holy Week" to "not at all"?

    I am off this morning to a spiritual directors' peer supervision meeting, where I am presenting a situation in which I was apparently attempting to demonstrate my ability to be all things to all people. There will probably be quiche and fresh fruit there if anyone would like some!

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    1. Ack! Those are yucky things for us, when Christ meets culture and when what is truly sacred to people is at odds with what people claim at baptism, etc.

      Well, the good news is that, when the honeymoon is over, the rest of the marriage can go forward.

      May you find good support and understanding at your meeting.

      Thanks for the quiche and fruit! YUM!

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    2. I find myself wondering why celebrating teh local sports team is a church event?????

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    3. Well, yes, that would be an underlying question.

      It's been kind of fascinating, really, to observe the dilemmas that arise when a congregation does integrate all of life, e.g. worship and the Cleveland Indians, worship and Veterans' Day, etc., etc., as a pastor who (1) looks for God in all things a la Ignatius but (2) is confident that there are some blends of secular and sacred that just should not happen in a house of worship.

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    4. I would love to have a much longer conversation about this, preferably with strategies. Perhaps an "Ask the Matriarch" post is brewing from this.

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    5. Yikes! So sorry, Robin. Hard to believe that is an issue. Hold your ground with grace.

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    6. Right, this is a preacher party LOL! I would love to see an Ask the Matriarch about dealing with secular celebrations in worship. In the meantime, I am preaching on Practicing Discipleship tomorrow -- only two more practices! Preparation and Resurrection (thanks to Wendell Berry and Nora Gallagher).

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  4. tomorrow morning a baptism of an 18 month old, so played splashing water with him this afternoon at the church, see how he goes tomorrow.

    here is deceit, disloyalty and discipleship based on Mark 14: 1-11, Wednesday in Mark's account of the Passover week.

    time for a quick cup of tea and bed. hope you have fruitful Sermon preparations today.

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    1. Thanks, Pearl! I realize this post is late for you, and I thought I had posted this earlier, but I have finally figured out that blogger puts Saturday and Sunday on the right-hand side of the posting calendar, so I did have it scheduled for 2:00 a.m. (Eastern U.S.) tomorrow. And then I woke up!

      Looking forward to reading your sermon! Sweet dreams!

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  5. Sharon, thanks for the link to my blog.
    Off to a bad start here as the half-and-half with today's date did not do right in my coffee. Ahem. Now I'm drinking what was left in the pot with the chocolate milk we bought because #2 Son is home on spring break. Whatever works, right?
    I'm definitely including the Trayvon Martin story, although the text I'm using is the gospel. We're also reading Psalm 51 (hey, glad I remembered that!), and I have about 300 words to go to get a draft, so maybe the Psalm will help me. I had a sort of idea about teaching what's wrong with atonement theory, but of being me, I started writing a story and didn't do that at all. Oh, well. I got started early because I have some commitments later today. Hoping to have a draft by mid-morning.
    And...go!

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    1. I would call that "mocha" and enjoy it to the max! But I do understand personally all about the "half-and-half" deprivation syndrome. I have to have it!

      I was so comforted by the blogs this week. When I went back to write this, I know I missed some good ones, so I hope that there will be more suggestions that we can post here today.

      There is a real need, it seems, to teach what's wrong with atonement theory. I took a stab at that (poor word choice!) at Wednesday night Bible study. It was all new to them. But their schemes don't fit together anyway, hard as they try, and they aren't truly life-giving, and they know it.

      Keep us posted on your progress!

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    2. Those quotes should go all the way around "half-and-half deprivation syndrome" and obviously I need to make the real-life coffee now!

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    3. Oh, Martha, I totally sympathize with the half-and-half situation. That is always a sad way to start the day when it happens to me. Bah! Good on you for turning the situation around with a homemade mocha!

      I'm trying to take a "stab" at what's wrong with atonement theory, too, Sharon!

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    4. Hmm, I was thinking about lifting up incarnation, but maybe I was really thinking about what's wrong with atonement theory...hmm.

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  6. Another Saturday, another all day church thing a significant travel time away from home. I am glad to do today's thing just not glad I am up and dressed ready to go out the door at this time of day on Saturday morning!

    I'm taking y'all with me just in case things "get slow."

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    1. We will definitely keep you awake, Vicar!

      Safe travel to you, and I hope you find an unexpected, wonderful blessing somewhere along the way.

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    2. Vicar, do you ever get a Saturday with nothing to do but a sermon?

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    3. Or even better...do you (we) ever get a Saturday with nothing to do period! :)

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    4. It's not looking good for next week either. At least next week only has a 30 minute drive.


      I'll be back later. I need a nap

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    5. ::sigh:: I had nap insomnia! I hate that.

      But my sermon has one main story so it's practically done.

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  7. Good morning, everyone!

    You can probably tell that I'm not easily hiding my heavy heart about the totally unprovoked, yet possibly lawful, murder of someone's child. I also feel over-saturated with the mindset that seems set on a severe roll-back on women's rights. I just can't believe it. I thought we did this already. I thought that "liberty and justice for all" was not just something we say; I thought that was actually "written on the heart" of our society to a greater extent than it seems to be.

    I was talking last night with the mother of the little guy you see in the picture. She happens to be my grown daughter, and I was getting permission to use the pic of her son, my grandson. It was somehow comforting to hear that she is feeling similar sadness and helplessness and also anger.

    My hope comes from God, voiced by Jeremiah, who declares that there will be a day ... there will be ... !

    The coffee is finally ready! Help yourselves!

    I'm also making strawberry banana smoothies, the secret ingredient of which is something called Amazing Grass chocolate green superfood (link provided to save you the Google, in case you are curious).

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  8. Uuuurgh, blogger is not my friend. I just wrote a profound comment and it was lost on the innerwebs.

    Anyhoo, I'm thinking of a sermon that Barbara Brown Taylor gave at the last festival of homiletics called "Learning to Fall" In it she talks about how difficult it is to preach the gospel to a culture that is scared to death of death. However the way to move into to new life is letting go of the old ways to fall into the unknown of the blessings of new life. Too often we rush to resurrection forgetting that there is death before new life.

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    1. Ack, G_G, I hate when that happens!

      Good word about that "death before new life." Now if I can just remember that when things feel like they are on the shrivel side of the pendulum swing.

      Hope all is well in your new setting!

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  9. Sharon - we are doing wholeness and healing in our service this Sunday - laying on of hands and here is where I think I may be headed (provoked by your reply to my initial comment in this thread).

    Is the Christian response to put our hands over our eyes or over our mouths? No, God has called us to put our hands over our hearts, to be reminded of God's new life and then reach out and lay those hands on a wounded, angry world.

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    1. Thanks for that word of hope and for the "body language" that is, indeed, a better way.

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  10. So nice to join so many colleagues this morning! My draft is done, and it's mostly a sermon in stories: talking about holding too tightly to your life--examples of Treyvon Martin's killer (did you know he's called the police 46 times since January of 2011?) and Ruby Turpin from O'Connor's story "Revelation"; talking about losing life--examples of Henri Nouwen and from our congregation. Now for the editing and practicing.

    Blessings to you all.

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    1. Blessings to you, too!

      Good word about not holding on too tightly. The storytelling will be powerful. Nice.

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  11. hello everyone. I'm struggling with major burnout after two years of interim and five funerals last week. I stayed home and wrote my sermon yesterday. I had at first considered Jeremiah (and Martha's post was excellent) but turned back to John and the seed and struggled with "hating our life in this world." Ended up using an illustration from the Hunger Games. I've been as well thinking of Trayvon Martin all week, but at this point, Trayvon is not in my sermon. As I practice aloud, he may be...

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  12. I also want to thank Sharon for all the links.

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    1. You are welcome.

      Five funerals in a week, Diane! That alone is a recipe for burnout. And two years of interim would begin to wear on a Rev, too. I hope you are scheduling some extra self-care time this week, because you know it's not gonna happen in Holy Week.

      Did you see the Hunger Games movie or is your illustration from the book?

      Congrats on writing your sermon yesterday. I hope that gives you some well-deserved room to breathe today.

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    2. my illustration is from the book, but I hear it got into the movie, too.

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    3. Peace to you, Diane. I cannot imagine five funerals in that short of time.

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    4. Five funerals in a week is a lot

      What's the illustration from Hunger Games???

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    5. It's when Peeta says that he doesn't want the games to change him. He doesn't want them to make him into someone cruel. I say this is something like what Jesus has in mind when he talks about hating our lives "in the world." Hating what the "world" can make us.

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    6. oh ... well played! That is one of the favorite parts/themes of the story for my 15yo. For those who have read all three books, your comment will resonate at a deeper level as well.

      I think the Hunger Games are a great opportunity for deep and/or reflective conversation with youth who are "thinkers" if we will just ask them to tell us their thoughts.

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  13. Good morning, all, and thank you, Sharon, for setting the table so beautifully for us.

    I'm preaching John and am having a love-hate relationship with it. No words written yet, just a swirl of thoughts. I'm going out to run 5 miles and see if that gets the juices flowing. I'll be back later this morning! Looking forward to partying with y'all!

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    1. A good run sounds like just the thing, earthchick. See you on the flip side!

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    2. Thanks, Sharon! It was a good run - so that'll mean a good sermon, right? Heh. Here's hoping!

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  14. I feel like I have too much, which I suppose is better than too little. I think I'll hit the shower, then come back and look at it again. It's possible the personal story is too long...ahem.

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  15. Sharon, thanks for all the links.

    It has been a brutal week in terms of dealing with *crap* People's sense of entitlement continues to gob-smack me. The high point of the week was having my organist agree to retire so that I don't have to just let him go. Long story there that I won't get in to.

    I have some chores to do before I start writing--someone is coming to help me set up an antique bed I got a couple of months ago and I need to get up all the dust bunnies that are floating where it is going (among other places!)

    kathrynzj's comments have pushed me to think about a new direction for my sermon, and I think I'll let that stew for a bit while I vacuum.

    Has anyone seen Hunger Games yet? I loved the books after thinking I wouldn't like them, but I'm unsure about seeing the movie.

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    1. RDM, sounds like you are doing some much-needed cleaning in several areas!

      I have not seen Hunger Games and I haven't read the books. The premise seems very dark. But then again, so is the Lenten season/journey. "Let's all go to Jerusalem with Jesus" and see how that ends. There was a good surprise there. I've also heard that the Hunger Games trip is worth it, according to readers who had been reluctant to go there.

      Too much of a theological stretch? Perhaps, but that's where I went!

      Enjoy your vacuuming while stewing, and vice versa!

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    2. RDM, I saw The Hunger Games yesterday (after reading the books and loving them), and I thought it was great! Very well done and extremely well cast. My husband enjoyed it, too (he hadn't read the books).

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    3. I saw the Hunger Games at the midnight showing (remember I have a 15yo & I am the best mother in the world :) ).

      The movie adapted the books as well as movies ever do. I have a couple of quibbles but overall good.

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  16. Waving to Esperanza, who sneaked in up there in the nested comments! Welcome!

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  17. I am at 'preachable draft' for which I give thanks since I have a big meeting at 2, some work to do on Palm Sunday scripts and a funeral on Monday for which there cannot be too much preparation (if you were here last week, it's 'that' funeral).

    Julia S., you have preached all week and you will preach again.

    Heading downstairs to vaccuumm (I'm not sure I've ever typed that before). I'll check in again later, I'm sure.

    Blessings upon all of you!

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  18. Some great ideas here. I confess that the news has not penetrated my world this week, which was spent at the hospital with a parishioner and finally having allergy season hit with a vengeance.

    I am thinking of linking losing our lives for Jesus' sake and dancing with God, that willingly joining in the dance is taking up our cross. Not to make the cross less difficult, though. Dancing is really hard work. Anyone who knows anything about dancing professionaly knows how totally it takes over and is the sole focus of a dancer's life. So it is when we put our hand in God's and allow God to lead us out into the dance. We have to learn the steps, practice every day, give ourselves over to the dance. And when we think we have got it all down pat, God introduces a new routine, new steps, changes the costumes and sets. Our response has to be to keep dancing.

    I am remembering my first school dance - I think they even called it a sock hop even though I am pretty sure we kept our shoes on - and how awful it was to stand around waiting for someone to ask us to dance. I can only imagine that the guys were experiencing that same anxiety about doing the asking. God has no such qualms. God reaches out and fills up all the spaces on our dance cards. All we have to do is follow God's lead. Alas, I was never very good at that. ;-)

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    1. Dancing and new steps -- very hopeful, very much so! Thanks, Margaret!

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    2. That sounds fantastic, it may make it into my sermon.

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  19. I want to share some blog posts about Trayvon Martin that I found to be very meaningful. They are not written by preacher-types. The first two posts are written by one of my favorite craft bloggers, All Buttoned Up. She's a 30-something mom of two white children (a boy and a baby girl) and two black children (biological brothers that she adopted as babies).

    Her first post is Front Porch for Trayvon , which includes a beautiful picture of all four children in hoodies (including the baby!).

    She wrote a follow-up post yesterda, Not Done. Not Even Close. In that post, she also links to several other posts and essays, I found this one especially powerful: No Apologies: On the Killing of Trayvon Martin and Being "Good."

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    1. Thank you for the links. I thought about preaching in a hoody tomorrow . . . but probably not. Actually, not sure I own a hoody--though I could borrow my son's.

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    2. On Facebook, The Christian Left has posted pictures of many different kinds of hoody wearing men and women.

      Monks wore (wear?) hoods. Just sayin' . . .

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    3. Love the metaphor of dancing with God, but I've never before made the connection of just how much hard work goes into being able to dance. Good stuff.

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  20. Thank you for those, earthchick! I look forward to reading them.

    I have to be away from the computer for a couple of hours. I am taking my next door neighbor to get his driver's license -- finally! It was scheduled for the week his mother died unexpectedly, so we are glad to get this milestone accomplished (fingers crossed!).

    See you all in a little while!

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  21. Well, at the risk of being too impersonal, and acknowledging that I still carry a guarded heart, I reflected a bit on the rampant racism and sexism through the lens of our readings. Here is my draft which I am calling Tenacious Love

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    1. Thank you, Terri, for this great sermon. Think you can take the rest of the day off. Maybe go looking for tulips and daffodils.

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    2. This is a wonderful sermon, Terri. You have helped me see how I can weave these themes into my own sermon. Thanks!

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    3. Thank you Margaret and Alli. I'm grateful it can be of help to you!

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  22. Hello everyone! Just saying a quick hello before I'm off to church for a premarital coaching session and Messy Church. I have sermon ideas swirling in my head, mostly around this "new covenant" and how writing something on our hearts causes pain...but the gospel reading helps us make sense of this pain. As you can see, nothing fully formed yet.

    Be back later...hopefully not too much later :)

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    1. That sounds like a compelling start, semfem. Do share where it all goes, please!

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  23. I think I say this every Saturday...home alone with the girls, who are in their rooms for a "nap." Have not one word written. I think I'll lay down on the couch.

    The RevNightOwls should expect to see me tonight.

    In the meantime, I'm hoping for some divine inspiration on the gospel. For some reason I chose it when I love the Jeremiah passage.

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    1. Yea, RevNightOwls!

      Sometimes couch lounging does spark inspiration. May it be so for you!

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  24. I am revising a sermon from 6 years ago about what we in teh UCCan believe--which is about as nebulous as one can get. THe original is here

    THis morning started with an 8am breakfast meeting and will end with a fund-raising dinner. Time for a nap---after I write a piece for the newsletter that is

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    1. Just noting my "LOL" in response to your "nebulous UCC" remark! :)

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  25. And I keep meaning to say that is an adorable picture of an adorable boy, Sharon.

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    1. Thank you very much. I think so, too!

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  26. The clocks go forward in the UK tonight so losing an hour's sleep which I could do without. Tomorrow is an all age service on creation followed by a new communicants' class followed by a meeting with some prospective new office bearers. I have prepared the meetings but still have quite a bit to do for the service. No sermon tomorrow but 3 all age talks which are not finalised. I am sure it will all come together!! It usually does, doesn't it? A lot of props to remember too! Must get them all together tonight!

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    1. Your day sounds wonderful, Tanya, but also a little more challenging with that hour of sleep evaporating in the night. I hope you will enjoy the longer days now!

      Ack! Just remembered that I'm doing the children's messages! How could I forget that???

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  27. I have procrastinated the day away, and am no closer to a sermon than I was this morning. Argh. I think part of the problem is feeling pulled in too many directions, and already thinking about all the Holy Week and Easter sermons coming up.

    One thing at a time....

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    1. RDM, I know exactly what you mean! I am having the very same problem. I wish my Easter sermon would arrive, already crafted the day before Easter, so that in the meantime I could only focus on Lent and Holy Week!

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  28. Good evening ladies.

    After a rather manic week which only really finished a few hours ago I find myself in the position of it being 7:30pm Saturday night and I am yet to write a word of my sermon, I'm going with the John passage and have a basic idea but that's about it. Aarrghh

    Preaching tomorrow as a visiting preacher at a church where I am aware that a member of the congregation is continuing to struggle with the sudden death of his wife some time ago, so not wanting to focus on the death aspect to much but am feeling like I can't steer completely clear of it and preach with integrity.

    As has already been said we will be losing an hour tonight, which I don't need as I think it's going to be a long one.

    Anyway enough moaning, I'll but the pot on and get stuck in.

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  29. Rough draft is done, I am going to take a nap before the rewrite. Please stop by and comment. Sermon

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  30. Struggling with this one. Holding in tension Trayvon Martin's death, bullying and bullicide, corporate sin and individual sin, God's forgetting and our remembering, Jeremiah and Psalm 51. This is hard. Praying for clarity.

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    1. Oh. Yes.

      Praying with you, RevAlli.

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  31. enjoying reading your comments, but realised I should be in the shower!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by on the way to the shower!

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  32. WEll I got the Newsletter piece done (and a good start on what I expect my Easter sermon will be). You can read it here

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    1. "The Easter story is full of uncertainty" -- this is captivating, challenging and full of good news possibilities. Thank you.

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  33. I am back with one happy kid who is now a licensed driver! Looking forward to catching up on the party fun while I was gone.

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  34. Ok, so after inspiration from you lovely ladies, and more thought, prayer and ponderings, I think I am going to use a before and after kind of scenario. ie old and new covenant, death and life, holding on and lettings go.

    With the main question being
    If God let go of the old covenant in order for us to have a new covenant with him, what do we need to let go of, what has to die, in order for us to grab hold of the promises of the new covenant we are offered through Christ.

    Does that mix too many metaphors?

    Mmmm some more pondering and stewing required

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    1. Sounds good to me, Revem! Nice pulling together of Jeremiah and the Gospel.

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    2. If I am in the congregation, I will be looking for personally relevant specifics. What can I (we) give up? What could we give up that would actually benefit us? What promises would we grab hold of and how would that make it worth it to let go of other things?

      So, I can easily imagine that the Before / After will really bring it personally to your congregation's lives and life choices.

      Looking forward to more, Revem!

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  35. Coming to the party fresh from a book signing -- always fun, but now my head is fuzzy from so much "people time," so I appreciate this conversation as a point of entry & focus!

    Kathryn, immediately love your reference to MJ's "Heal the World;" that might make it into tomorrow's service as an extension of the sermon (although then I wonder if I'll be able to preach without crying).

    Preaching Jeremiah. I have this sense that God is updating the covenant because the world has become more complicated. No longer is it enough to simply maintain the covenant through Bible lessons & temple sacrifices & weekly worship; it's time for the people to embody the covenant themselves.

    Also realizing that I don't usually name the same "issue" two weeks in a row, but then today I saw a Facebook comment that Trayvon Martin is not a preaching illustration but a gospel catalyst. So catalytic preaching is my trajectory....

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    1. Nice distinction that you shared, Rachel: "Trayvon Martin is not a preaching illustration but a gospel catalyst."

      I am encouraged by that, so much. I am having great difficulty seeing his death as anything other than a sign that we have done it again, or are doing it again, and we should know better already.

      Go for it, Rachel!

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    2. Thanks to you and youtube, I have now listened to "Heal the World" :-) I'd never heard it before!

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  36. We arrived in new town and I prea h tomorrow for first time at new church. I am enjoying posts but ou computer is on the fritz so I'm not a le to post for some reason. I'll be keeping company with the late nighters

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    1. Welcome, RevTSB! And many blessings on your first time preaching at new church.

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    2. Blessings in your new church!

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  37. I might be done, and I might not. Sad to say, I can't really tell! Preaching John is always so confounding. So dense, so rich, so beautiful, and so easy to screw up!

    I've ended up talking about the massacre in Afghanistan and the death of Trayvon, neither of which I set out to do initially. But it just happened, because it seems to me that God's love is cruciform in such pain, and it was hard to talk about the death and darkness in this passage without looking at the very obvious places of death and darkness in our own world right now. I hope I have done them justice. I hope I have done the text justice.

    I think I'm going to take a break for a bit and come back and see what I think....

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  38. Greetings to all ye women saints! :)

    This week has been rougher than most as my middle son has just been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. We are trying to get him stabilized and back to a healthy place, so my mind/heart have been distracted. Your prayers are coveted.

    I am preaching from John's gospel and Psalm 51. Have had some rich conversations this week with congregants about what it "looks like" to "hate one's life". I will most definitely speak about Trayvon Martin. It has been too heavy on my heart not to.

    Since most in my congregation do not own hoodies and the call to wear hoodies on Sunday is too late...I am planning to lay a hoodie on the Communion Table during prayer time.

    Blessings on each of you on this last Sunday in Lent.

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    Replies
    1. Oh! Beautiful idea to add a hoodie to the Communion Table!

      Delete
  39. Just rode my bike home from the shop where it was being repaired and saw countless folks out enjoying our bonus spring. Feeling anxious about tomorrow, about the many things that need to be written and arranged before Holy Week, about seriously ill folks at church, about our teenager's academic troubles which are beginning to affect everyone - I was so envious. Everyone else looked so carefree and I can't even remember I time I last felt that way. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sigh indeed, prayers and peace

      Delete
    2. Life feeling peaceful....wonder what thoat would be like

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    3. Where's the "like" button in Blogger when you need it? I think you hit a responsive chord, Anon.

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  40. I've spent the entire day going to, attending, and returning from the conference assembly. About the last thing I want to do now is work on my sermon.

    I'm still off lectionary, still writing on the book study. But this is the last week - yay! The small groups found the last two studies less that compelling, so writing sermons on the topics has been much harder. So very glad to be back with the rest of you next week.

    I wrote most of mine yesterday anticipating getting nothing done most of the day- oops, I meant going to conference. I need to edit once or twice more and then for better or worse, I'm preaching it.

    I think the magnetic clasp on my bracelet is freaking out my computer - it just shut off twice while I was writing it. Weird.

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  41. Almost at 100 and it's only 7:12 pm EDT. Wow.

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  42. I *almost* have a draft...I need an ending though.

    Sigh.

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  43. I have left the girls for daddy to put to bed and am attempting to work in his office. Word count = 0. Idea count is almost as dismal. Come on, Spirit!

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  44. Just finished writing here, and I think what I have is more a Good Friday sermon than Lent 5. However, since our congregation doesn't worship together on Good Friday, I'm not overly worried.

    For added interest, also our 4th baptism of the year in a little church.

    Preaching from Jeremiah and a little bit of Psalm 51, talking about how we forget each death, until the next Jesus dies. Comments welcome. It Is Written

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In your sermon, I felt a little bit of Easter sneaking up on me. Thank you!

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  45. Ha! Just found my ending! - 5 sentences before I had actually ended. Usually I don't realize that till the sermon has already been preached, so I'm pretty happy to have discovered it tonight. Just snipping out the excess and then letting it sit overnight to revisit in the morning.

    Blessings on all of you as you continue your preparations. I have to say, I am really enjoying the nesting comments and the feel/structure they give to the whole conversation. Thank you, Sharon, for your gracious leadership today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dontcha just love it when you figure out your sermon BEFORE you preach it for real? Congrats!

      I like the nesting comments, too, and the absence of the pop-up comment window. Mucho easier for this girl.

      You are welcome; it was a pleasure. And thank you for your enthusiastic participation.

      Delete
  46. I hate to be the Party Pooper Hostess, but relinquishing my place at the fun table so that you RevGalNightOwls can get the late night party going.

    That 8:00 worship service requires a very early get up and go time for this RevGal, and my eyelids are getting heavy already.

    Thank you for a fabulous time today and for party gifts galore!

    Preach on!

    And may the Spirit of the living Christ richly bless you and your congregations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and I were posting at the same time! Blessings on you, too, Sharon, and thank you for a great party!

      Delete
    2. Oops, we did it again! =)

      Delete
  47. Ended up rewriting not only the ending but also the beginning to concentrate on "hating life in this world" meaning hating --and working against-- the destructive forces that lead to thing like the killing of Trayvon Martin. I think I've written enough words for two sermons today. Now since it is almost 9pm and I've not had dinner, I think I will eat and then do a final edit.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Ugh, this is horrible. Word count = 1000, but they don't even go together. Off to search the files. I know I have a couple of sermons on the Jeremiah text. I hate changing course like this, but a decent recycled sermon is better than a terrible new one, right? John and I are not friends right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I say a decent recycled is better than a terrible new one. Unfortunately my files on these texts are EMPTY! I'm going with Jeremiah and with huge thanks to David Lose at Working Preacher, I think I have something. Not yet finished, but something.

      I hope you find something workable!

      Delete
    2. Thanks, I did. It is much better than what I had come up with on the Gospel. But I'm feeling disappointed...or discouraged...or something. Just couldn't get a handle on the John.

      Glad you have something. Working Preacher frequently saves me, too!

      Delete
  49. I am also finished.
    I have gone with the concept of God being the ultimate Upcycler.
    Upcycling in case you are wondering.

    Closing sentences below:

    God is a God of new beginnings, of change and life giving and expanding experiences.

    If God let go of the old covenant in order for us to have a new covenant with him, what do we need to let go of, what has to die, in order for us to grab hold of the promises of the new covenant we are offered through Christ. What have we got in our lives that we can upcycle for God.

    I have posted the draft here

    Continued prayers for all that are still working, may clariity, alterness and the peace that passes all understanding some how infuse the next few hours for each of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the correct link to the sermon ignore the one above
      Here

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  50. The 15yo wants something to eat.

    So do I.

    will trade sermon for ...

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  51. I'm back! It's been a great day. Having a draft this morning meant no fretting, although I did some rearranging and polishing this evening. Perhaps I can learn something from this...
    Here are some ruminations on the cross, atonement and Trayvon Martin that don't even try to explain John 12 in full: My Heart Shall Be Thy Throne.

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  52. Very. Long. Day. But the sermon, March Madness is done.

    prayers of hope for all and in all

    ReplyDelete
  53. I'm focusing on how we are saved as a community at the foot of the cross---and what are the barriers that prevent us from recognizing those who are with us? (Greeks, etc)

    I'm struggling a bit with illustrations, so help would be appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Still hate my sermon after totally re-writing the ending. I think maybe I have 2 endings, tried deleting one, but then it seemed incommplete.

    Could someone tell my sermon to play nice?

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  55. Oh, wow, looks like I missed a great party - I have a sort of an outline that includes about 7 gazillion ideas about directions to go - and now having read some of your comments, have about 6 gazillin more. Better go whittle...

    Had a good day overall, but tiring - I'm a pooped pastor already and tomorrow's gonna be a big one. Anyone else always cry at a baptism?

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  56. Sunday afternoon here, mainly preached what I wrote, but added an ending, it is amazing what can happen come time to preach. Baptism was Ok - well he wasn't as happy as yesterday, but when we got to the water he was fine, and added a few more splashes over his own head after I had done the water bit. Then, the elder tried to walk around the church with him, totally overwhelmed [my husband can’t work out why I didn’t leave him playing in the water!] and loud, but after worship he and dad were at the door with me and the newly baptised 18 month old shook hands as people came out of church.
    Interesting conversation with a few at adult ed this morning - about the place of creeds, violence, what is a Christian - we covered a lot of ground, not intentionally but the conversation moved in various directions. Good to see people discussing faith, asking questions, and exploring where faith is in their lives. Adult Ed on Sunday morning is a new thing for me, but this is going well, so maybe I’ll try another topic when this is finished.
    Blessings on you as you continue to prepare,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the baptism story --- and for the hope that yes, Sunday afternoon is coming!

      Delete
  57. I'm back...at first I was pondering, then I was browsing, and then I found myself procrastinating. For a few hours. Sigh. Trying to re-capture my groove (or at least what I had of one) before it's incredibly late here...

    Hoping things are coming together for those who are wrestling a sermon!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Back from a great benefit/party for the homeless shelter where I'll be leading worship in less than 9 hours. Finished the sermon before I put on the party clothes. You'll find it here

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OOPS--Don't know what happened. Trying that link again.
      Look Here

      Delete
    2. Or maybe this will work. Here. It works!

      Delete
  59. Good morning! Blessings upon any preachers here of the Very Late Night or Very Early Morning varieties!

    I just made fresh coffee. Help yourselves!

    Praying this morning for your powerful sermons, receptive and good-natured congregations, and a peace-filled world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sharon! I gave up coffee for Lent (it is Sunday, but I also refused to have any on-hand), so I am now switching vices to hot tea... anyone like a cup of organic Nepal tea?

      Delete
  60. Ugh. Dozed in chair until about 5 am (usual MO). Now 757 words and climbing. But with my eyes all bleary...that coffee sounds perfect, Sharon, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And an aromatherapy wake-up face spritz, perhaps?

      Many blessings, semfem!

      Delete
  61. So . . .

    Coffee-to-go -- check!

    Water bottle -- check!

    Worship stuff -- check!

    And . . . heading out the door . . .

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  62. Done--whew! Just in time. Off to church.
    Blessings on all pondering, preaching, and proclaiming this day.

    ReplyDelete

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