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Saturday, May 05, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: What's Stopping Us? Edition

Painting by Paul Goodnight
"There is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?"

Here is Saturday! What is to prevent us from writing sermons?!?!!

No, no. It's okay. Everyone has distractions and disruptions. Imagine you're traveling straight toward Sunday and the Spirit sends you chasing a guy in a chariot? We get it.

We're all about inclusion this week in the lectionary. Everybody ought to love everybody (1 John), the rich and the poor gather to worship God (Psalm 22), Jesus is the vine and we're all the branches (John 15, unless we get pruned) and even that guy in the chariot is getting baptized (Acts 8).

What are you planning to preach? We want to include everyone, in every time zone, the coffee drinkers and the tea drinkers, the ones who eat real donuts and the ones who only sample the cyber version (which have no calories!). Everyone has a story to tell, and we hope you'll share the joys and challenges of this weekend in the comments. 

151 comments:

  1. I'm up late Friday night, reading and thinking, thinking and reading...right now I think I'll use the vine and the branches for children's time and the Ethiopian eunuch for the sermon, but I've already changed my mind half a dozen times this week on which text to use for what!

    Not quite sure what will ignite the Spirit for me, but I am pondering the idea of fruitfulness...both as the vine and branches, and as the eunuch could not be "fruitful" in the traditional sense, but was able to do so in another way.

    But then there was also an excellent conversation earlier today with the deacons that made me think more seriously about preaching on 1 John and "is it really enough to just love God and each other?" Aaah...you see my dilemma!

    Hoping others are out there making more headway than I am! (or will be soon!)

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    1. semfem, I once had a great time in Sunday School with five-year-olds and the Acts story, but I'll admit I didn't define what a eunuch was. They just liked turning over a table and putting wheels on it to use as the chariot.

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  2. Preaching Acts 8 here. The good news of a boundary-transgressing God. Transgressing the boundary of death in resurrection life, transgressing boundaries in the inclusive grace that invites an Ethiopian Eunuch to baptism and to Life.

    I've been thinking about the cut-offness of expat life - about how many people experience themselves as far away: from family, from culture, from heritage. That we can experience ourselves as both powerful and marginalised - as was this chamberlain of the Ethiopian court. In charge of the entire treasury, yet by the law not able to enter the Temple to worship.

    I've also been thinking about those whose bodies render them outside of the heteropatriarchal norms. Families that do not confirm to "traditional" shapes, infertile bodies, non-heterosexual bodies, transgendered and intersexed bodies.

    Somehow (by God's grace) looking to preach a good word, a word of life and encouragement to my diverse community (diverse in culture, language, theology and body).

    Plenty of ripe mangoes to share on a summery day in Beijing - 30C here and blue sky after a week of smoggy grey haze.

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    1. Jemma, I appreciate your thoughts on Acts 8, which is my text for tomorrow along with 1 John. Thank you. Also, mangoes sound yummy!

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    2. I posted a longer version of this comment on my blog: http://exilicchaplain.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/on-belonging-to-the-eunuchs-family/

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  3. been to a meeting of ordained women from my denomination yesterday and today, so now to write a sermon [saturday 8pm], looking at John and 1 John - thinking about the way sap runs through a plant to keep it alive, so love has to run through us for us to be alive - now to write that in a way that makes sense.

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  4. Been at the UMC's General Conference for the past 12 days. Using Acts and the Gospel. Yesterday morning I was thinking unchristian thoughts about pruning but rereading the text was struck by the abide in me language. The Holy Spirit decided to move mightily in my heart. Don't have my sermon written yet but I at least have some inspiration.

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    1. My prayers are with you and all our UMC RevGals and Pals.

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    2. I've been on vacation for almost two weeks and only started thinking about the sermon yesterday. Thanks for the abide in me reminder. I think I can go there! One of the books I read while away was Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith. Both of the main characters - and, I think, Albom himself - got that, first and foremost, we must abide.

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    3. Megan, I am also praying for the UMC. Hard to read the Acts text and not think of your General Conference. That struggle in the PCUSA is still ongoing and painful.
      Thankful the Holy Spirit is moving clearly for you during this time!

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    4. The best sermon I have ever heard on this passage was from General Conference 2000 preached by Bishop Janice Riggle-Huie. I watched it on dial-up, kept losing the connection, and reconnected more times than I can remember to get all of it. I can still see her stretching her arms out wide as she talked about the mustang grapevines that provided a place to "abide" for the birds and small animals.

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  5. Good morning, all~
    We're starting the day earlier than usual as my 16yo (along with all other Juniors in Maine) has SATs and needs to be at school by 7:30 a.m. I'm then headed to church where it is our Spring Clean-Up, followed by Book Group, which I will leave early for an interment. It's been raining all week, so even though it appears the weather will clear, the cemetery will be muddy, with temps in the 50s, and that makes it hard to choose footwear. That's "Spring" in Maine. :-) I'll be checking in as we go along, then be back to write this afternoon.

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    1. Martha,

      an early start, hope the weather settles in time for the internment.

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  6. One other note, we've had some trouble with Blogger's spam filter being overly aggressive. If you post a comment and don't see it here in a timely fashion, email me at revsongbird@gmail.com. I'm trying to keep track, but will be (as noted above) busy this morning. Thanks!

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  7. I'm off to handbells and baseball this morning after a few days away celebrating Songbird's birthday. Tomorrow is music Sunday so I will go in soon and find out what I've been assigned. Blessings to all who are writing today!

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    1. Thanks for making it a wonderful day. :-)
      I hope the sun shines on the baseball field, since it didn't shine here all week.

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  8. Hi, I'm not preaching this weekend, but I have a funeral and a wedding this afternoon. so, I've got a busy day, anyway. Both the wedding and the funeral are at the church, so that's good. (we have a small chapel as well as a sanctuary.)

    I'm tired and don't feel so good, but will probably feel better a little later.

    Songbird, I love the title of this post. What's stopping us, indeed?

    Kathrynzj, I like the idea of having "music Sunday."

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    1. Sounds like a very busy day! Thanks for stopping by here.

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  9. finished, posted Vine of Love

    early in the service I am reading a reflection on the vine from an Iona Community book called Dandelions and Thistles.

    kettle has boiled, time for a cuppa, can I make you anything?

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    1. I've already had two big cups of coffee, so tea sounds perfect!

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  10. Alison-in-FranceMay 5, 2012 at 8:29 AM

    Also not preaching (shame, I'd love to preach on Acts 8 having read all your comments today and on Tuesday). Its a "standard text" for baptismal services here, but I haven't heard anyone adddressing the implicit "boundry transgression" from our pulpit. so I'm adding it to my "list of texts to preach one day."

    I am leading worship. As it is Presidential election day here, I've chosen a text (psalm 67) and songs that emphasize God's sovereignty and the idea that all early authority is accountable to Him. I have also yet to write a very-carefully-worded prayer for the new president, carefully-worded so as not to betray my own preference...

    cheesecake to share !

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    1. Mmmm, cheesecake!
      Political seasons are *very* difficult. Blessings to you as you navigate that one.

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  11. So far the turnout for my two dozen donuts, er, clean-up day, is low. But they will still be good at coffee hour tomorrow, I guess. I'm trying to get a running start on the sermon before the book group arrives, in between greeting the cleaner-uppers.

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  12. Church lawn sale this morning, Sunday youth and adults proclaiming the promises of their baptism, celebrating Graduates (seriously too early for my brain!) Communion followed by potluck and confirmation party. Oh and encouraging those who have been taught to understand these practices as graduation from church to stay connected. Just coffee in my place and not even the good stuff! Blessings all. Will check in later

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    1. Celeste, I've had a lot of coffee, but not all of it has been good. I feel your pain. Blessings on this busy day.

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  13. Am working with Acts 8 and Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. Had fun this week forcing my focus to the Ethiopian and watching his initiatory role in much of the action. Then it dawned on me--they both went down into the water and they both came up changed, a transformation at the margins of their worlds. Not sure where I'm going with this. Right now to walk the dogs and a then a short bike ride to clear my head. Now only five weeks until our big bike trip and, for me, really long twenty-mile daily rides.

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    1. Ooh, RevAlli, you just illuminated the text for me in a whole new way! We talk a lot about the change for the eunuch, but what about the change for Philip? You rock!

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  14. Not only am I not ready for the interment/committal, I haven't worked on my sermon, because you got me thinking about the vine instead: No Topiary.
    Really must get to it now.

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  15. Not preaching tomorrow. Am thinking of not going to my parish tomorrow as we have dinner planned on another part of town and I could go to J's church for a change. But my prayers are with all of you. Please keep in your prayers Mary-Margurite Kohn, a priest in the diocese of Maryland who was shot in her church on Thurs. Her administrator was killed.

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    1. Prayers for her, the parish, and the diocese. This is the second horrific shooting at an Episcopal site in a short time, as a number of weeks ago the head of an Episcopal school in FL was killed by an employee who had just been let go.

      I saw a photo in the Baltimore Sun (?) that has a sermon in it: police in the foreground, along with crime scene tape. Church in the background. And in between, the church sign with "Alleluia Christ Is Risen" on it. That is the challenge, isn't it?...to continue to believe and proclaim that Christ is risen in a world where sometimes it looks like brokenness and pain are winning, where innocent people are killed and injured and lives forever changed by someone who himself was so in need of that love and healing. Not going there today, but I think I probably will in the next few weeks.

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    2. Muthah+, such a scary story. Betsy, that is indeed a powerful image.

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    3. I saw this as well and honestly haven't been able to process it other than to invoke the Name and presence of God. Still having a hard time with it. I didn't know her, just troubled by violence motivated by religion or used in religious settings.

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  16. Hi all,

    My MIL is visiting this week and it is just a delight having her with us. I am going with a sustainable sermon but I need to "prune" it quite a bit for a communion Sunday meditation. I can go one of two ways, I can focus on abiding or on the vine. My heart is leaning towards abiding especially given the struggles that the Methodists are struggling after their annual conference. My prayers are with you all.

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  17. BTW, regarding the Acts text, I heard the best sermon ever on this text by a Pastor whose adult child is transsexual (MTF). His willingness to go there was quite courageous. I wish I had a copy of his sermon because he spoke from the heart about what his child went through before, during and after the transition.

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    1. G_G, that must have been an amazing testimony.

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  18. Just a note: The priest from MD died. Rest in Peace and rise in glory. Pray for her parish and the diocese.

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    1. I passed her church often when I lived in Maryland. Prayers for her family, loved ones, congregation, students, and diocese.

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    2. Heartbreaking. Prayers indeed are lifted. Peace.

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  19. I am going with the vine and love for the family service, connecting abiding in love with being on the vine. I think it will involve construction paper leaves attached to a crepe paper vine, with people first writing their name on one side of the leaf and then the name of someone to whom they want to show God's love on the other side. However, the first stumbling block I have encountered is finding brown crepe paper; turns out to be harder to locate than I expected!

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    1. Betsy, I've seen a fantastic vine made out of brown paper (like grocery sack paper) twisted and stapled to the wall. I don't know if that would work in your situation. I love the leaf idea!

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    2. I think the brown paper will be my fallback. All our brown bags--and there are fewer around since our county started charging for grocery bags (which I think is a good thing)-- now go to the food pantry, so I would need to do some searching. Hmmm...there's that brown paper like you'd wrap a package in; maybe I could find some of that. It is not yet 9:00 here, but when stores open, my first plan is to get on the phone to call more party places. Upside to that: it feels like I am working on my sermon without actually having to put forth any real mental effort ;-)

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    3. For those who might be inclined to try this at some point: it appears that brown crepe paper streamers are not readily available!

      So off to consider either making vines from brown paper or (latest idea) using brown twine. I just want this to be simple!

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  20. I am preaching Acts and the non-lectionary addition of Isaiah 56:3-8, in which God talks about welcoming the eunuchs.
    This sermon was mainly written on Tuesday. What? (I know. Nobody was more suprised than me.) But I will be doing some editing this morning.
    Took the kids to a late showing of the Avengers last night (which was AWESOME!) so we are starting a little late this morning and thankful to only have one soccer game on the schedule this weekend (as opposed to the 8 we had last weekend!).
    Muthah, thanks for letting us know the sad news about the priest in Maryland. Prayers for all affected by violence.

    And, like all good preachers, I'm sure we're rooting for "Rousing Sermon" in the Kentucky Derby! Best horse name ever.

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    1. Marci, seriously! That's one horse race I'm watching!

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  21. Preaching about keeping Sabbath this week. Both as a healthy lifestyle issue and as an economic statement.

    I think,

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  22. We have had a heck of a week around here. Suffice it to say it has not involved enough sleep nor space for thinking through a sermon.

    I'm re-working an old one on the eunuch called "why not?" Trying to connect it with communion somehow. The inclusion angle should work for that. I was hoping to write a new one on the gospel passage, but that is simply not going to happen. I will reform next week!

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    1. esperanza, we still love you, reformed or not. ;-)

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  23. So, with the added buttress of RevAlli's comment, I am going with transgressing boundaries (letting that vine grow over the garden wall), for the sake of the Good News, for the sake of those we reach, and for us--we too are changed, just as the people to whom we speak are changed.

    I will have to really push myself to focus today. I brought home a new "roommate" yesterday--a 2 year old tuxedo cat, and I am so distracted with wanting to play with him and figure out his name (I'm thinking of Dylan, because he's a bob(tail) and also it's Welsh--my pets have tended to have Welsh-ish names). And then I have to be pretty much done with the sermon this afternoon as I have dinner plans with a friend.

    It is about time for lunch here and I have some fantastic carrot-ginger-cashew soup to share.

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    1. That soup sounds delicious!
      And our 1.5 year old tuxedo would love to play with Dylan.

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  24. It is early yet, but iin a few hours of simmering time we willl have some frshly made pasta sauce to share. So I have accomplished something this morning.

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  25. Here's an interesting news tie in with the Acts passage:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/rev-sean-harris-pastor-wh_n_1477646.html?ref=religion

    One of the reasons the Ethiopian comes through this story okay is because he chooses to listen to someone who knows God, who doesn't only know a few verses of scripture. Philip could have been like the pastor from NC in this story. Thankfully, he's more like the pastor in NY.

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    1. If that link doesn't work, it is from the religion page at Huffpost. And a church in NY is having the kids write letters in sunday school to mail to the kids at the church where the pastor said it was okay to use violence against effeminate kids.

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    2. Here's a clickable link: Judson Memorial Church sends cards. Just a note, the story calls it Judson Baptist Church, but it's an ABC/UCC church in New York City.

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  26. anyone have a CT idea for a Sunday which is about Sabbath-keeping?

    I got squat

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  27. Sunday School service tomorrow. I'm going to get the children to walk round the paschal candle holding hands - a wheel running smoothly because of love. Then talk a little about God's love - active, in the midst of us (like the candle), sacrificial. Then onto the Acts passage - do we love people who are different? Then see what happens to the circle when two people fall out, stop loving and drop hands - the wheel is broken and cannot run smoothly any more. And the gospel -- love takes cultivation. We are grafted onto Jesus, but we remain who we are (as the various grapes keep their identity while grafted onto another stock). A colourful Jesus branch! Pearl - I like your thoughts round sap and may bring that in as well.
    I hope it works. The big problem is that one of the children, while practising with the Sunday School teacher, knocked over the paschal candle and snapped it in two so now it just balances. I hope I can move it without further disaster!
    My mind is really not on the parish as I leave in just 3 weeks time for England and Scotland to see my daughters! One I have not seen for 2 years.

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    1. Pat - that sounds like a great trip to be planning/anticipating.

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  28. Rainbow Pastor, have you finished our sermon yet?!! I'm just sitting down to work. But I just remembered Isaiah 56: 3c-5: "and do not let the eunuch say, 'I am just a dry tree.' For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off." What a conversation Philip and that Ethiopian eunuch must have had. No wonder they both went down into the water!

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  29. Preaching on Acts. Since we have been going through a period of discernment about same-sex blessings, it is a natural place to go - the God who joyfully welcomes all to baptism, especially those who are different. Focusing on what made the Ethiopian eunuch different was not the color of his skin, but his altered sexual status, and how the passage from Isaiah that he was reading, with its imagery of a shorn and humiliated lamb, must have landed on his ears. If he had been reading Deuteronomy, he would not have gotten such a lesson of mutual suffering and eventual hope - it would have been one of exclusion. So his question "why should I not be baptized?" isn't one of "well, cool, there's water, let's do it!" so much as "are you, Philip, going to deny me a sacramental blessing because of what I am?" We'll see what my folks do with that one...

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    1. Mibi, that sounds like a great approach.

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  30. ...Amen RevAlli - I'm also referencing that passage from Isaiah.."a name better than sons and daughters!"

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    1. Thanks, Rev. Mary Brennan Thorpe, for tying this to the same-sex blessings question. Recently we had a presentation on the same-sex blessings liturgy and the process the committee went through to get to that liturgy. What I found fascinating was how focusing on same-sex blessings and the theology behind that and the pastoral care in front of it shifted folks' perspective and understanding of heterosexual unions. What cool synergy this morning.

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    2. I have pretty much promised my parish that I will not preach on same gender blessings. Of course, I talk about what's happening at the announcements, a time some have dubbed "the second sermon." If you haven't read all of the material in The Blue Book on this - there's more than was put up on the SCLM site - I recommend it. Lots more education-related stuff that I will use in June, I think.
      That said, I do think I might talk about what separates us from the love of God, referring to the last bit of 1 John. How can we abide when we are judging?

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  31. Quickly checking in before I speed off to a hospital visit in the city to the east, then back to visit a parishioner's new baby goats (!) and be present at our planting event for our church garden. Ah, rural ministry! Looks like good stuff is flowing out there. No progress here on my front, but I'll be back later.

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    1. Baby goats!!! Cute!!! See you when you get back.

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    2. Had to skip the baby goats, sadly...hospital visit took longer than planned. Next week. I gotta see those baby goats before they grow up and are sold.

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  32. Hi everyone - was going to offer you gluten free pancakes but I burned them. But there's granola, and bacon (also burned, but really, it tastes better that way, doncha think?)

    Taking kiddo to tae kwon do - then home to work on grant application (anyone else working on this this weekend?) and sermon. Been awhile since I've preached, so I'm brimming with ideas, only need to make sure to keep it succinct enough for a communion sunday. first week on a 3 week series on the book of Ruth - excited! there's a lot in there!

    Sounds like lots going on here - I'll check in later.

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    1. Not working on that application now, but I received one of their grants 5 years ago...it was an awesome gift to me, my ministry, and my congregation. Good for you for dreaming! Think big; they fund all sorts of things.

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    2. Blessings on your efforts! (And if I ever stay one place long enough, I hope the grants will still be around.)

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  33. Popping in to say hi (it's one of those weekends when ministry and life are both wanting their fair share.

    I've been doing resurrection appearances since Easter. Tomorrow John 21: 1-17, 25. You can fine it here...title P.S.

    It is heavily inspired by two sermons from Festival of Homiletics 2011. (wish I had time to add some fun photos etc)

    Blessings to all...late tonight I shall catch up with all the party inspiration from today.

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  34. My sermon has been reworked to here.

    I'm going to take a nap while beloved and MIL are out to brunch.

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  35. Back from all the day's events, and I've had lunch. I really ought to start writing but might need a little snoozle first...

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  36. returned from children's musical rehearsal and checking in on the church garage sale--both have made great progress. The musical is tomorrow, so good thing! :-) That means no preaching here, but I do have two book chapters left to write, so I'm working on that today. although I too might need a little "snoozle" (thanks for that word, Martha, I love it!).

    I can hardly believe the activity here today--can't wait to read all the amazing sermons y'all are working on!

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  37. Wow, busy here already today!

    I had a long meeting with my wardens this morning, plus other various and sundry catch-ups to do, and then got distracted when I received a wedding invitation from a seminary classmate, and am only now sitting down to start writing. I'm surprised to see how many of you are preaching on Acts. I said on Tuesday I didn't want to go there, but then changed my mind after reading the commentary in FotW which really helped me. I'm thinking along the same lines as mibi, but I'm also a little wary; my congregation is pretty conservative, and though they've heard me talk about being open and inclusive (frequently) I haven't tackled it as the main focus. Their previous rector was QUITE conservative and quite opposed to inclusion of LGBT persons, so I am a stretch for them. But I've been here almost 3 years and it might be time to preach on it directly. I don't want to be intentionally confrontational but I do want to preach the gospel as I understand it.

    OTOH, I also have a sustainable sermon on vines that I could rework if I chicken out....I guess I need to start writing and see where the Spirit leads me.

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  38. I am holding in prayer today the people of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Elliot City, MD - their parish adminstrator, Brenda Brewington was murdered, their co-rector Mary-Marguerite Kohn shot, and the apparent shooter, who died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Please pray for the people impacted by this tragedy.

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    1. Last word, Mary-Marguerite is in the hospital in critical condition, and received my information via Facebook and the Episcopal News Service.

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  39. Had a little snoozle myself. A cocktail of asthma medication, m&m's, and caffeine have left me a bit jittery. Let's hope I can put it to good use! Hubby has taken the girls for a few hours, and I have much to do.

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    1. "Snoozle" came from a book my oldest loved, about a puppy who was looking all around his house at various things a small child might identify. It ends with, "Think I'll take a little snoozle, and then find out." Love it.

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  40. Here's the puzzle of my day:
    I've spent the past month coming out to my church leaders in 1s and 2s, and they have been wonderful. Starting last week, we let the news go wider. This week my beloved kathrynzj was in town, and they showed her quite heart-warming hospitality. I feel called to preach inclusion (the bulletin lists Acts and 1 John), but I don't want to have it seem like it's all about me, and while many, many people know, some may not have caught the news yet. I swore I would never come out in a sermon, but is that the same thing as *being* out in a sermon?
    I write this with kzj's permission. She's been doing the same thing in her church.
    I would love your input, Gals and Pals.

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    1. I don't think I would hear it as "all about me" because you do preach with personal stories--that almost feels like part of your "trademark" to me. And I would add that I don't think we can ever assume that "everyone knows" (fill in the blank about the background/context) so if you feel like you have told all/most of those you'd want to tell individually, I wouldn't worry about over much about that part. I think you need to be yourself, however you feel called to present yourself, and like others have said, you'll be in my prayers as you discern where the spirit is leading you.

      And I need a "like" button for kzj's comment!

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    2. Seriously, she is teh funny. :-)
      Thanks to all who are praying. I've started writing and will see where it ends up.

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    3. THe things you learn at a Preacher Party....

      It is my belief that when we preach we bring ourselves in all our glory (and lack thereof). And so sometimes the SPirit leads us to tell a part of our story we had no intention of telling (for those of us who do not preach from a manuscript this may come as a complete surprise mid-sermon when all of a sudden we realize where we are headed and the train can't be stopped). A reference to something is different to an announcement I think. And so I would say 'being' out in a sermon is not the same as coming out in a sermon. It is merely being honest and open.

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    4. Gord, I would like to think it's good news. Hope it's okay that I shared it.

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    5. Martyha, people being in relationships that are life-giving is ALWAYS good news! ANd maybe that answers the sermon pondering too.

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    6. Martha, late in the day, I just want to chime in and say your words, whatever you end up preaching, will carry the grace of love. For weeks I have wondered if life was taking you in that direction and it has been just beautiful to watch joy blossom and bear fruit in your own life and beyond. That preaches. Thanks be to God!

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    7. I think you can preach inclusion, even radical inclusion, and bring out what you wish to bring out at this time. You're not called to air out the whole closet at once (nor should you keep it shut for the sake of anyone else). I think you can hold up the congregation as an example of gospel inclusion, as you're mentioning, and note how welcoming they've been to kzj and what that's revealed to you re: love, openness, expanse of the gospel.

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  41. hmmmm. excellent question.
    I am always "out" in my sermons, e.g. talking about my beloved, or whatever.
    My personal opinion is there is a difference about coming out and being out--because being out is just being who you are, living in your created being.

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    1. Right, and that's how I've always preached, talking about the family, the dogs, etc. One of the reasons I knew it was time to come out to the church was that I felt hampered by having a secret. But since I can't know if everyone knows, saying something about their welcome to kzj and putting it in the category of baptizing a Jewish Ethiopian eunuch by the side of the road as a sign of inclusion is potentially confusing. :-)
      I am at least the third gay woman to pastor there, so it's not like it's never happened before, but it's new information about me/for me. I don't want to hit them over the head with it. Maybe it's enough that the people who know will get the subtext?

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    2. Just don't compare me to the eunuch.
      Just sayin'.

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    3. I can see both sides here, and I really am not sure which way I would go. However, I will hold you in my prayers as you discern what the Spirit is leading you to do in this particular setting and moment!

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    4. What Betsy said. I've been pondering this since you posted it, and I still am not sure. Prayers, certainly.

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    5. LOL over hear about the eunuch comment, too. I'm with what everyone else has said - and many blessings on your preaching tomorrow!

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    6. LOL on the eunuch comment. I don't think you need to worry Kathryn.

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    7. @Martha they are going to suspect there's something in the water. :) Then you can talk about baptism.

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    8. well I am pretty sure kzj does not have the specific body parts that a eunuch is missing. But for an entirely different reason.....confusion should be avoidable

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    10. I "came out" in a sermon about being a birth mother who had placed a child for adoption, and I want the congregation to be able to talk about it, but I also recognize that not everyone was there that one day, and some who were there might have been sleepy or distracted. So when I reference it, I try to make the story inclusive for people who may not know about it. But I hear you about not wanting it to be THE only issue.

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    11. Marci, I think you make a good point. When there are important identifying stories in our lives that are not physically obvious, we have to keep telling them. Being adopted is one of those stories for me, and losing a baby, and now this.
      Rosa, thank you. I hope it's going to preach without being about me at all, but we'll see.

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  42. I have notes that are a little drafty, but good enough to shut down computer for now, and escape this chilly Starbucks. Two venti iced-coffees will keep me charged up until late tonight, so I think I will be fine for editing.

    Schnoozle...luv that.

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  43. And thank you to Marci and RevAlli for the Isaiah passage. Perfect!

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  44. I give a tip-of-the-halo to any of you who are engaging with John and that crazy vine. I have preached more than one crappy sermon on that passage. How goes it?

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    1. I am but a branch hanging in there with the true vine.

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  45. I wrote an intro, and then I too took a little "snoozle" (I think that's another term that is going to enter the preacher party vernacular!) but I hate that it is after 5 pm and I have so little written. Nonetheless here I am still procrastinating.

    I also want to thank everyone for their prayers and support last week when I had "visitors" -- my meeting with the search committee went very well, although I don't know the outcome yet, whether I will be invited for an interview. But I do know that the entire day I felt surrounded and lifted up by your prayers and I am grateful.

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    1. RDM, keep us posted! It's amazing how powerfully the prayers of the group can touch us.

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  46. I am reading the John as an adjunct to the 2 passages about Sabbath (both the 10 commandment sections from Exodus and Deuteronomy) and so may reference it as the fact that Sabbath time helps us connect to the root. But I am not sure I have ever preached on that passage itself. Which is odd since whne the church of my childhood chose to have a motto they chose the vine and the branches imagery.

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    1. The church where I was ordained has a gorgeous banner with a vine and grapes. But I can't get over my mother's obsession with the pruning. ...

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    2. Martha, some years ago a colleague in my Presbytery (who later became Moderator of the UCCan) wrote a wonderful column about pruning. You can read it here. Hopefully it will help you re-focus past your mother's obsession, or at least five a different POV

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  47. Hey there - Random question - I am preaching on Ruth and remembering seeing a video called Uppity Women of the Bible, and the presenter had hilarious nick names for all the characters. Does anyone have that - or remember them?

    PS: Today's new Hebrew word: Ploni Aloni. So fun. Say THAT 3 times fast!

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  48. Is it just me, or are the commetns being timestamped by Pacific time today? Is that new or am I generally oblivious? (I thought they were usually on Eastern).

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    1. It has been that way for a few weeks now. I think it is a Blogger issue, and it's annoying but I'm adjusting to using the times in a relative sort of way :)

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    2. It is definitely a Blogger issue and has been going on for a couple of months. We also haven't been able to update the Blogroll for many months.

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  49. Finally, at last. Thanks to Marciglass, Rev. Mary Brennan Thorpe, Rainbow Pastor, Wil, Esperanza and several cups of coffee. Now time to bake the communion bread. You'll find my sermon on the Ethiopian eunuch here: http://revalli.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/249/.

    Sorry--I forgot the formula for the link mechanism.

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  50. Calling it done and collapsing. This pneumonia recovery business is no walk in the park. I advise against getting it in the first place.

    Saved the communion tie-in for the invitation to the table. It just cluttered up the sermon a bit.

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    1. Seriously, take care of yourself. You're in my prayers.

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    2. Thanks...I've had lots of extra help this week, for which I am most exceedingly grateful.

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  51. It's what I'm here for, revalli: revalli's sermon. It takes a village, right?

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    1. Thanks, Martha. Hope that you've resolved your dilemma. I'm betting the Holy Spirit has your back!

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  52. well, I was writing along, more than halfway through a chapter, when I decided (foolishly) to take a break by checking my email. there I discovered that my confirmation teacher has decided it's too soul crushing to take any more and she's quit, effective immediately. So now i've been looking for someone to cover tomorrow night and the lock in two weeks from now, as well as responding to her, and my writing mojo is no more. Good thing we're close to the end of the year, but still. sigh. Now I think I'll make burritos and pour some wine, even if it is Saturday night.

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    1. Teri, that is rotten. I'm so sorry. She couldn't hang in for a few more weeks?

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    2. she's been hanging by a thread for a while now...I can't blame her, it has been soul-crushing for her (and for me in many ways). I get that she feels that she is doing violence to herself by staying. I'm mostly selfishly sad because she is so ridiculously good that I'll miss being with her those last few evenings.

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    3. Teri,
      totally feel that burritos and wine are most appropriate here.

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    4. excuse me, burritos need margaritas ... or so I've heard based on the recommendation of the guy at Senor Iguanas

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  53. When I typed "And he was a eunuch," Word prompted me to make a correction. Here it is: "And he was not a eunuch." Ahem.

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  54. my sermon still lacks a eunuch, or a really good reason for pruning. other than that, all is good!!!

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  55. would also like to add, what the heck time IS IT????

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    1. The comments are on Pacific time. It messes with my head, too!

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  56. It does indeed take a village--apparently to birth a sermon, too, and I am grateful for this village today. Mine is at least a complete draft and since it is 8:50 pm here I think I'll have some dinner (!) before I do a final edit. So much for being finished early tonight.

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  57. Folks, I am reading a truly wonderful book, "Any Day a Beautiful Change". Timely too, as I just read the chapter on Sabbath (so now reading it counts as sermon prep right?). I encourage y'all to explore it. It is one I will have to go back to and enjoy chapters again.

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    1. Gord, that's our own Katherine Willis Pershey! We'll have a book giveaway and book review on the blog later in May.

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  58. Friends, here is where I landed: What is to prevent us?. Thank you, thank you to Wil Gafney for her insights on the Acts text.

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  59. I sort of like having the comments on Pacific time...it's like a little piece of home for me!

    No goats today, but a good hospital visit and a good planting day (although we only had a small group and nixed the planned spelling bee). My peas and sweet peas are in the church garden and now we'll see what happens.

    And just in case there isn't a children's sermon in that, I bought some clearance pansies to use for children's time...thinking we might take them out of the dirt and explore their root system and how water and nutrients flow through them...a la pearl's sermon on the vine.

    Nothing on the page, though. Got to get started before all the fresh air gets to me and makes me want to snoozle.

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  60. Preachers, I'm headed to bed. It's almost 10:30 at my house, no matter what the time stamp says. Last one up, get the lights? I'll be back in the morning with a fresh pot of coffee.

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  61. I have had a full day today. I tried to log in via my phone but couldn't get it to work. So I'm finally joining the party.

    I am glad I "messed" with the sermon earlier in the week. I'm quoting from Bishop Janice Riggle-Huie who preached the an excellent vine sermon for the United Methodist General Conference 2000 when there was some major contention (sound familiar to anyone?). I'm not using the part where she says something about "read closely" we are not the ones doing the pruning, we are the ones abiding and growing fruit or dying and being pruned.

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  62. Good night pals. May the holy spirit have our backs tomorrow.

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  63. My post was just eaten by the internet. I'm just getting started, but not worried. My plan is in my head and this really needs to be less sermon-length and more devotional-length. We've got the ordination/installation of officers tomorrow and communion. I'm working with 1 John as the summation of the whole gospel and faith. Love. Cut to the chase (stolen title from somewhere on-line, but not a stolen sermon). Must. start. working. now. (even if I'm not worried)

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  64. Since I have now printed everything and no one has made any comments since my last comment, I'm going to bed. I hope anyone who is still sermon writing will feel the community presence in the previously posted comments :) or can draw a RevNightOwl crowd without me

    Blessings on your Sunday!

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  65. Hey Vic and whoever, I'm back after a matinee with the scouts and a fund raiser (not mine tbtg so I could leave early). I have a good outline, but zero energy and the mooooooonnnn on my mind! Have you seen it???

    Looking forward to reading that sermon sometime, Songbird!

    Anyone else still at it?

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  66. Hi,
    a lot going on in RevGal land. Sunday afternoon, worship over, and it went well, as usual I ad-libbed some, and it is often the better stuff, but such is life.
    during confirmation/disciple session after morning tea, we looked at next week's reading and the idea of joy was one that seem to take people. so now to see what I can do with that. and I had my rainbow socks on today, so the group suggested we could all wear 'joy' socks next week!

    I am guessing most of you are yet to preach, so may you know God's blessing as you lead.

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  67. Juniper, I'm still working, and not making much progress. Did something stupid earlier and am having trouble moving on and leaving it behind, so I can write. I'm choosing to blame it on the moon, beautiful as it is!

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  68. semfem - ooo, I hate those things that are hard to leave behind! You. can. do. it!

    Actually, just coming over to say that Sometimes it is so comforting to write the sermon title and my name at the top of an unfinished manuscript. "At least I know this part..."

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  69. Well, I'll say good morning as I'm sure folks are waking up to the right of me if they aren't already awake. I'm finishing up my sermon. Here's the problem, though, I just had a great brainstorm about NEXT week's sermon that's more interesting to me than THIS week's sermon. I hope the idea (which I've already typed down) is still flowing tomorrow. My parents come in town to visit next weekend, so if I have a sermon close to or completely done I will NOT cry.

    Oh well. Back to this one. I'll be done here in 30 minutes, I hope, so I may even go crawl in bed for 30 more minutes of sleep/chill out. It's a goal.

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  70. I'm up! I'm up! The printer was giving me a fit. But the coffee is on, as promised. And my blessings and prayers go with those yet to preach, just as my thanks go out to all who prayed and will pray for me.

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  71. I dozed at the computer and finally cranked out a sermon with a sustainable introduction from three years ago, but a totally different ending. Oh well...I'll take it! Now to get ready for church. Glad things came together for everyone. Prayers for those who need it this morning. :)

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  72. Baby joined me for LOTS of cuddles, so no extra 30 minutes of the bed, but it was so worth it. Done and heading to breakfast. I never did check the laundry to see if I have anything to wear this morning. That always makes it an adventure!

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