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Saturday, June 30, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Love of Friends Edition

Hello, Gals and Pals~

I love you every week, but some weeks are harder than others in the ministry life, and I know this has been one of those for some of us. We may not go out to battle carrying a bow, but we're definitely in the trenches of every day life, responding to whatever gets flung our way and to whatever befalls the people around us.

So this is a big thank you to everyone who participates here, whether you comment every week or just chime in occasionally. You are all this community. Your humor, your kindness, your exegetical insights and your presence make the 11th hour manageable. 

Where are you headed this week? Are you saying the V-word, a gauntlet thrown down by our friend, Wil? Tying the gospel lesson to the news about healthcare? Planning to explore the relationship between David and Jonathan? Looking for options that sound less like a minefield? 

Whatever your direction for preaching, whatever the circumstances in your context, you are welcome here. Join us in the comments and share what's going on in your world.

At the church I serve, it's Strawberry Festival day, so pull up a chair to the virtual table and enjoy some strawberry shortcake! And pick up a pie to take home for later. I'll keep the Fair Trade coffee coming, too. Let's party!

125 comments:

  1. Mmmmmmm! Strawberries for the pre-4th of July preacher party for those of us on this side of the pond. And Strawberries with cream for those on the other side of the pond enjoying Wimbeldon.
    I am working on a sermon on the Gospel text. Thinking really hard on the pairing of the two stories together and what it means to seek the touch of Jesus.
    Also, what it means to associate with the "unclean" in today's times. Who are the unclean among us ( in our congregaitons, communities, and places of work). Thougths

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    1. There was some great stuff at Lectionary Leanings about what it meant to be unclean, thanks to Wil Gafney.
      The strawberries were early here this year, and we worried about the timing of the Festival, but I guess they were plentiful. I'm excited to see what we have!

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    2. Even those of us on this side of the pond sit with our strawberries and cream watching Wimbleton, Grace. Lamentably we don't have Devonshire cream to clog our arteries. ;>)

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    3. Every year I covet the strawberried and cream and wonder how they taste and if they are different from ours

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  2. It's Saturday 2pm here and I'm not sure I've got anything preachable yet - but I did just pack a box of congregational crockery (we're moving apartments on Thursday, and the congregational dinner set is too large to be stored in our new place, so someone is taking it away for us this afternoon. No church building sometimes makes things complicated).

    I'm still with the grief of the first reading and wondering how to speak a word of hope or encouragement to that, without preaching a "cheer up, Jesus will make it better" kind of sermon in a way which cheapens grace and glosses over our experiences of grief and of the pit. I've been helped by an article on David Lose's blog in which he writes "maybe faith is being willing to ask a question, even being willing to call into question something you once believed". He goes on to say "Faith, again, is a question: what might be possible if I am open to the movement and presence of God?" (You can read the article hereThe possibility of healing... The possibility of life... Those are hard things to lean towards in a season of grief.

    Best get writing... There are pumpkin muffins here if anyone needs one (we're trying to use up the things in our freezer before moving: one cup measures of pumpkin puree and mashed persimmons).

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    1. Jemma, welcome. Blessings to you in the transition of moving. I will definitely take a look at the David Lose article.

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  3. Off to the PC(USA) General Assembly for the day, knowing that my sermon has no ending. Literally or otherwise. But it's something about how healing is broader and deeper than the physical ones we long for and so often don't get, and is rooted in the presence of Jesus. Sermon title: Twelve.

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    1. Hey, a beginning is good, too. Also a middle. :-)
      I hope you have a good day at GA. If you see any RevGals, hug 'em for us!

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  4. I'm up! I'm up!
    I'm preaching on the Mark text, but it's been a very tough week in our community as the news spread about (1) the death of a 22yo in a car accident, (2) the death of a beloved older lady from a neighboring town killed in another car accident cause by a young man from Church Town, (3) the small plane crash death of the beloved country doctor who practiced in the center of Town We Share Schools With for the past 30 years and (4) on the same day, the death in an ultralight plane crash of the grandfather of two young people who grew up in our church. So it's all very well to talk about Jesus healing people, but our minds are on accidents and helplessness and ...
    (Not to mention several people in our small congregation dealing with cancer that just won't go away.)
    I did the service for #4 yesterday, and 2 of the other 3 were at the very same time, all in that small community of two towns that share a school system. In my own congregation it's #3 having the greatest effect. He cared for the older people who used to go to the previous doctor in the country practice, and he delivered babies, and he was the lifelong doctor of the 30somethings. There's something there about healing and attention and touch, but all the writing I did yesterday did not get me to anyplace close to a sermon.
    So it's that for me today, plus the Strawberry Festival. And my daughter returning from camp with her laundry. Which is why I'm grateful for all of you.

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    1. wow Martha, my prayers are with you in this hugely difficult time. That is way too much for one week.

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    2. Lord, have mercy. That is way, way, way too much.

      I'm doing massive laundry today, so do send LP's this way and I'll do it and return it virtually. "Imperfectly folded" as my boy and I used to say. You save me some strawberry goodness. Praying for your process.

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    3. Thanks, y'all.
      There's something about internal injuries, the things others can't see, maybe. I don't know. More coffee.

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    4. That's an overwhelming amount of grief in your community this week... One of the commentaries I read on 2 Samuel speaks of the importance of daring "to speak of kingdoms we hoped for that have suffered defeat and left us despairing of justice or peace or hope" (New Interpreters). Perhaps there is also the community we hoped for, with people living long happy lives, and much-loved physicians taking care of their patients into a graceful retirement...

      Oh, just read that you are preaching Mark. I'm wondering about the importance of giving permission not to be fine... If the woman with the haemorrhage had put a brave face on it, soldiered on, being determined to mange would she ever have pushed through the crowd and reached out her hand? Sorry to ramble on in this comment... Still clearly working out what I'm trying to preach!

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    5. oh my...many hugs to you.

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    6. That's a lot. Too much. God be/is with you all.

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    7. Oh, Martha, what a week! Hugs and prayers.

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    8. Prayers for you and for all in your community this week. That is way too much.

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    9. that is too much. my prayers for the consolation of the Holy Spirit who lives and moves within you to give you what you need

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    10. prayers and grace to you

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    11. oh Martha- no words... hugs and prayers

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  5. mmm, strawberries. ours are pretty much done here already, but I will long for them all summer anyway.
    this morning I am up early to write a homily for a civil union ceremony, which happens early this afternoon. It's going to be a packed house--we anticipate standing room only in the sanctuary--and someone from Presbytery has already let us know they're watching to make sure we don't cross some invisible line between celebrating the legal covenanting of a relationship that has already lasted longer than I have been alive and calling it a "marriage"...so I'm off to write something that gets at that but doesn't all at the same time.
    I'm also getting my hair cut this morning--praise the lord! My hair person was on maternity leave at Easter (the time I normally get my hair cut) so it's been since Christmas, and I'm kinda dying. Earlier this week I almost took scissors to it myself!

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    1. Gracious. Will there be lions released if you cross the line? :P Blessings on that delicate task!

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    2. Hoep the haircut is just right and the celebration this afternoon joyful with words that do justice to the occasion without causing strife!

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    3. How does Presby always manage to find out about these kind of things? Yet, they seem to overlook the more serious (in my book) issues that come up?
      Time and energy get misspent.
      Is that a word? It should be. I like it

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    4. Teri, blessings to you and your holy task, no matter what Presbytery says.

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    5. oh Teri...
      may God's spirit of love and life and joy and truth be with all of you on this momentous day.
      And may the watchful eye from the Presbytery be blessed by the blessings that will abound in the covenanting of this union.

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  6. I'm here although feeling as I have no right to be - not preaching again until July 29 and actually off on vacation tomorrow! It is the first time in a long time that I am intentionally skipping worship to drive back to Massachusetts, but there is no way we could do it today after a week of VBS with 170 kids and we want to get there for Fun on the Fourth in my old hometown.
    I've been struggling lately to complete the papers for my commissioning process, on number 12 of 19, and the sermon on the 29th will be videotaped, and must be on The Priesthood of All Believers. So I'll be bringing all that with me and MUST get at least two papers done while keeping three girls entertained at my parents' house next week.
    Blessings on all of you today!

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    1. And on you! 170 kids, whoa. That is huge! I hope your trip is restful, recreational (in the re-creation sense) and productive, too! Okay, maybe asking for restful is too much. :-)

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  7. I'm on Psalm 30 this week, talking about the mourning into dancing thing. I have a beginning and an ending (both stories) but the middle.....not so much.

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  8. I'm preaching Mark in two different congregations tomorrow; thought that might mean two sermons but I don't think so. Focusing on Jesus as Great Physician - healing of people in the body; "Feasting on the Word" has been very helpful this week. Importance of looking past the illness to the person, relationship, connectedness. Psalm 30 dovetails well. Still a mess, but the focus is there.

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    1. Christina, I'm trying hard to get to the healing of being in community/being restored to community, which sounds similar.

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  9. After Skyping with my expert sermon consultant, kathrynzj, I conclude that there's a theme to be developed about the interweaving of the two stories in Mark and the interweaving of the stories of loss in our faith community. Being in community matters, no matter what we're facing. Jairus had the community; the woman didn't until she took a chance on touching Jesus. Something like that.

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  10. Good morning, everyone. I'm doing this and that, enjoying a quiet morning after a rough night of thunderstorms and dogs wound up by thunderstorms. Blessings upon all of you writing this day.

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  11. Blessings on all of you--all of US--trying to write sermons and minister to so many others in the midst of challenging transitions, post-(or pre-) activity exhaustion, grief and suffering.

    I, too, am preaching to a congregation wracked by death, cancer, and chronic suffering. I'm using the Gospel passage. My approach, for the most part, will be to emphasize transformation and wholeness, rather than the trickier term, "healing." I'm writing about the beautiful double outreach of the central, respectable, powerful Jairus and the fringe-element, overbold Bleeding Woman. There's something about the defiant--and yes, faithful--daring of these two figures, as one humbles himself utterly and the other claims her own volitional power to connect to Jesus in the quest for restoration and transformation.

    And somehow, this sermon has to happen between unloading a truckful of loam for our greenhouses, an eight-hour shift at my other job, and hungry houseguests who'll be here before I get home from work. And with that, I'd better stop for now and get the chicken cut up and braised for the crockpot.

    Thanks for the strawberries and cream... I made some iced herbal tea for y'all, using the "tension tamer" teabags. Hope it helps!

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    1. OOO, I'll take some of that tension tamer!

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  12. Okay, head down now. I'm writing!

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  13. I am preaching from the perspective of the woman who has decided to do whatever it takes to be cured of her vaginal hemorrhage. I will say vagina a couple of places including at the very beginning:
    She was Sarah’s daughter and she decided to do whatever it took to heal herself. Sarah’s daughter was bleeding from her vagina, again, still. It wasn’t the not-so-secret monthly blood whose scent was part of the cacophony of smells which perfused the Iron Age and passed largely without comment from anyone else. This was something else entirely. This was a flow that never quite stopped. It dwindled from time to time, giving birth to aborted hope that this time it had stopped for good. A day or two of respite, and then the bleeding started again. There were some years that she had gone for months without bleeding at all. And just a few months – she could count them on one hand – that she bled like other women. She had bled this way since her first bleeding. It was nothing like what her mother and aunts told her. Her sisters didn’t bleed like this. She drank the teas the midwife gave her, tied the knots in the cord around her wrist as prescribed by the healing prophets, nothing helped. She never felt clean. There were stains on all her clothes, her chair, her bed. She was tired, tired of bleeding and just tired...
    I will also do something with the last 12 years of her life being the only 12 years of Jairus' daughter's life. ANd a bit on her faith - that she could be healed that Jesus could heal her - for that matter that everything else she tired could work too, but not necessarily in a Jesus and Christ, a correct doctrinal understanding was unnecessary.

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    1. Wil, I'm looking forward to hearing how it goes.

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    2. wow, Wil. Can't wait for the rest!

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    3. I think I should skip church tomorrow and just listen to Wil, how about that y'all?
      I'm off lectionary, preaching the congregational focus scripture for the year since we are at mid-year. Then I'm off for 3 sundays, conference and vacation. Really looking forward to being out of it for a bit.

      Did get to see (not hold) a newborn today! (Did you know they won't let people with nailpolish into nicU? I scrubbed and t hey gave me gloves and told me not to touch the baby. Learning something all the time! She is beautiful and healthy.

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    4. I've listened, Wil, and managed to say 'vaginal bleeding' even though I'm mainly preaching from 2 Samuel. I'm using 'out of the depths I cry to you O Lord' as a refrain and talking about the cry of longing for God in times of suffering. Australians are possibly less squeamish and euphemistic about body parts but I think it's fair to say that vaginas don't get mentioned in male preachers' sermons. Thank you for the inspiration. rachel

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  14. At some point last week I had such a burst of inspiration to use the storm and boat story this week, but for the life of me I can't remember what was so exciting about it. (I was off lectionary last week, so I'm not doubling up.) Feeling a whoe lot uninspired

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  15. Reading through all of these and pausing to pray for the many needs and sorrows. I also offer virtual hugs and my gratitude for strawberry treats and Tension Tamer iced tea.

    I am not preaching tomorrow; the Assistant Pastor is on deck. We are reeling from yet another contentious congregational meeting after church last Sunday, the second one this month. The presenting issue is "money" but the real energy is out-of-control anxiety from multiple origins. As the Interim Pastor for 9 months, I tried to do what I could, but somewhere along the way, the issue became the pastors and our compensation, so we have been excluded from many of the meetings.

    Bottom line: At last week's meeting, I told the congregation I would be completing my time with them at the end of September and offered to do whatever I can to help until they can get their next interim. The good news is that the Assistant Pastor and I have not been pulled apart by this. But we're both hurting, as is our congregation. I'm interested to see how, or if, he will see our church's story in these stories.

    The hard news -- or *exciting news* -- is that I don't know what's next! Or where. Or anything. So, this is me, reaching out to touch you all, and believing that healing is possible.

    And offering ICE, plenty of ICE, for whatever anyone is drinking on this hot and humid day!

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    1. Sharon, I'm so sorry about the way things have turned out there. It sounds very unpleasant! May the next thing be a better thing.

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    2. I wish your whole congregation could be bathed in that Tension Tamer tea! Hard to be able to see the dynamic and yet not be permitted to do anything to help them change. Peace be with you!

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    3. Oh, Sharon. sounds dreadful.
      Reaching out and touching you back with prayers and love and hope...

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  16. That's whole. yway, the day is busy so I don't have time to think now anyway. It's our town's festival weekend, so we've got the parade this morning.thankfully the fireworks are tomorrow night. I'm walking with my sn in the parade since his karate school has a group. He's VERY excited.

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  17. Summer preaching schedule is pretty flexible and the church is not tied to me following the lectionary. So, I am "reaching back" to pick up the parable of the sower and mustard seed from Mark.

    Must get it mostly "sown" by noon as I may have company stopping by and staying the night.

    Ok...open document.

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  18. I've got not title yet but am coveting my colleague's: The Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan, ‎"Stop the Bleeding" Healthy cycles have a beginning, middle, and end.

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  19. prayers as I catch up on your lives today. Wil - I cannot wait to read the rest of your sermon - the beginning is breath-taking.
    I have a sustainable sermon to dust off - and I promised mission trip stories as well, so I will figure out how to weave it together today. Lots of prayers for those in wildfire locales.

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  20. Thank you Amy+. I'm having another conversation on FB about whether healing means returning to healthy menstruation and fertility or healthy menopause, reading the 12 years as her adulthood making her mid 20s or the last 12 years making her any age.

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  21. Good morning preachers!

    I had some ideas earlier this week, but they seem to have fled, so I feel like I'm starting from scratch. I'm starting 10 days of vacation Monday afternoon and I CAN"T WAIT so I just need to get this done. DONE I say. But first I need some inspiration.

    Yesterday I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to see if I could run even half a mile, and I ended up running 1.6 miles, and today I did 2 miles with just a bit of walking up a big hill. So I am feeling pretty good about that. And did I mention vacation?

    After all the church drama last week I have a new jr. warden, and had some good conversations with people who reassure me that the unhappiness/conflict is not as widespread as some would have us believe. Still, part of me is waiting for the other (next) shoe to fall.

    Thinking of all those folks without power today in the Baltimore/DC area and elsewhere, and those suffering from heat.

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  22. I've not posted much here (if at all!) but am pondering how the health care reform in the US fits into the Mark texts of healing. Not sure how/if I can do this - oh, and the 11 yr. old (almost 12 - hah!) is beckoning for some time at the pool.

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    1. I think there are some great directions about access to care and healing, Kerri.

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  23. I am doing the family service tomorrow and we are using the Independence Day propers. Relating to the Deuteronomy lesson, I am heading for the point that no one is free until everyone is free, I think I have a good way to make this point visually, but now I have to come up with the words to underscore it.

    This morning I need to get in a run and grocery shopping...hoping I can find a place with a good sale on hot dogs that doesn't limit the number I buy so that I can get the ten dozen I need for the BBQ after church without running around! This evening, a concert and picnic at th fabulous botanic gardens nearby, joining two clergy colleagues, definitely a reward at the end of the day.

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    1. Betsy, there are Independence Day Propers? What are they?

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    2. Martha, the Episcopal version of the RCL has propers for Independence Day. You can find them here.

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  24. My text is Mark and I am using a clip from the very end of Shrek in my sermon. It's the first time I have had all the pieces in place in a church to use clips so I'm kind of excited about it. It's the end of the movie where Fiona says "But I don't understand. I'm supposed to be beautiful." And Shrek responds, "You are beautiful." Because as much as the passage is about healing and touch, it is also about how we value one another. It's too easy to let ourselves off the hook because we don't have the power to heal anyone else. And yet, the way we stand against the values that say someone is "less than" is a strong healing power that touches and heals souls whether it ever includes any physical contact.

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    1. Nice connection! That'll preach.

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    2. What fun to be able to use video! I often wish for that. It's a great message.

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  25. Good morning, all. Whether due to heat or my son's sleepover last night or stress or hormones or all of the above, I am feeling CRANKY today. Not exactly the best frame of mind to be sermonating! But, alas, so it is.

    I am preaching on Mark, and contemplating tackling the challenge of what happens when our prayers aren't answered as we hope. At one point a couple years ago, our congregation was praying for three little girls who were seriously ill. One by one, we lost them. One of them was a friend's daughter, who died at age 3 of neuroblastoma. In the past week, I know of two other families who lost children to the same disease. Their fresh heartache is on my mind as I consider Jairus' daughter. I also think of all those I know with chronic illness/pain when I consider the other story. One of the commentaries in Feasting on the Word addressed this a bit, and I might head that direction--how even if our prayers aren't answered, our praying brings us closer to God. It also mentions relationships and considering what "healing" is. So, possibilities, but no real direction.

    I also am carrying two other weights. Tomorrow I will announce to the congregation that after 3 years as their Associate Pastor, I have accepted a new call. This will be particularly difficult for them, as our Senior Pastor departs at the end of July. We will also be commissioning 10 of our youth, who I will be bringing on a mission trip to Ecuador which leaves Thursday.

    So lots on my heart, but in different directions. Not sure how to tie it together yet.

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    1. Oh, Beth. That is a lot of heartache. Praying for you and your community.

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    2. Telling of a departure is always hard, and you and the congregation have extra layers to it tomorrow. May the Spirit hold you all in peace.

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  26. I'm feeling very un-motivated today to finish the newsletter, and write a sermon. Alas - it must be done.

    I've been wrestling all week with these healing stories in congregations with people battling cancer, two families waiting organ transplants, members whose need for dialysis separate them from their families (have to move to the city to get treatment), a woman in hospice who is very angry about her upcoming death, another woman with late stage ms, and the recent death of a much loved matriarch who suffered from memory loss. How do these healing passages speak to people who may not receive healing in this day?

    I've decided to tell the story of the woman with the bleeding. I won't use the v-word (sorry Wil!) but I do want to ponder with the congregation what her telling the 'whole truth' to Jesus meant (idea I got from the sermon brainwave podcast at workingpreacher). It's a delicate sermon, I don't want empty platitudes, and I don't want to belittle real physical suffering in favor of spiritual healing (although that's critical too!). It just may be an open-ended sermon that allows us to sit with the truth and turn to God with our questions and fears. I just have to wrestle with my desire to wrap everything in a neat bow vs. leaving the questions dangling.

    On the home front, we have our last (YAY!) puppy school today. And the dog is getting groomed too! I am so glad that we will finally have a weekend when we can just hang around here and I can write in the afternoon instead of the evening!

    My mom-xiety has been calmed - I just heard from my daughter in OH. They don't have power after yesterday's storms and probably won't for the next week, but she's ok. It's hard doing the mom thing from so far away. And hard to let the first one out of the nest to fly on her own!

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    1. It's tough. I have two out of the nest, and it just takes time to learn how to parent a new way. Glad you heard from her.

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    2. I second your inclination to go with open ended, allowing the questions to be spoken even if there aren't good clear answers. The gospel text of Jesus healing Peter's MIL was hpthe day after mine died, and if I hadn't known it already, I sure re-discovered that day the power for people of hearing these huge puzzles given voice.

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    3. The "whole truth" is very potent and quite pregnant with possibility...

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  27. Good morning - woke up at my regular time, then fell back asleep for an hour, which I shouldn't have done because I just had an anxiety dream the whole time (Im doing a wedding! a locale i don't know! IT's time to start and I don't have my notes! Cant find my computer to print them! I can't pronounce the groom's name! I scribble it on the edge of a scrap of paper! I stick the paper somewhere in a large and growing stack of paper I'm trying to carry around! I try to talk, but everyone else is talking at the same time! Oops! I forgot the vows! ...at least I had a robe on....). Woke up with a headache and read a distressing email. Came over here feeling sort of sorry for myself, then read your comments. And some of the tales of woe here - griefs and very hard congregational stuff - pulled me right out of the pity party I was about to have. Ya'll are in my prayers.

    And there is reason to rejoice as this is the last week of Corinthians for me! Doing a stewardship theme, which I'm weirdly fired up about, so hopefully it will go fast, so we can head off to family camp immediately after church tomorrow. (I think that is the source of my anxiety, actually. DH is disabled, and we have a bunch of new equipment to help with showers/transfers/etc that we've never used outside of home before. I'm sure it will go fine, but it's nerve wracking to consider.)

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  28. Friends, I'm off to the Strawberry Festival, leaving my draft behind me. I'll be back later in the afternoon to look it over again and check back with the rest of you. There will be pie...

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    1. Martha, it sounds DELICIOUS. Hope it all goes well, and that perhaps there may be some healing time in your community as you gather.

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  29. Just home from the farmers' market. Lots of beautiful produce to share. Will make greens in the crockpot today.

    I am preaching in 2 congregation's that doesn't know me nor I, them. They are people who have been out of their buildings since the schism. I really don't want to preach the healing readings--first of all because I am tired of them and because they have been dealing with healing for the past 4 years. But the Wisdom of Solomon reading doesn't give much hope today either, if one reads the whole passage.

    I may preach on the collect. 8>)

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  30. Wow, but there's a lot of healing needed. Lots going on.

    I'm battling a bad case of the grumps. Hubby was out of town all week, so I've been impersonating a single parent (for real, you have my admiration and undying respect). He arrived home late last night and has headed for the office today. Leaving me...doing exactly what I've been doing all week. Which leaves my sermon exactly where it's been all week. Word count: 0. Idea count: way too many for one sermon.

    A bit scattered. Seriously considering a nap during siesta time around here. Which will leave me with the RevNightOwls, but there's worse places to be on a Saturday night, right?

    Preaching at one my my regular supply places, but alas, the most uptight of them. No "v-word" for me. Also serving communion there, which came with lots of unnecessarily complicated instructions. Ah, the joys of the supply preacher.

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  31. Ummm, yeah. Got up early, did errands and brunch with my beloved, and then so tired came home for a nap.
    Now it's quiet in the house...and I just be blazing along, but instead, I am thinking about my next nap.

    Going with Mark, and loving the thoughts percolating here. I also am holding those of you with so much pain and loss and grief in your communities right now.....I've got some of that here, too. Sigh.

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  32. Sermon is done. I might post a little later. Right now I am watching the live stream of our GA from Pittsburgh.

    Still waiting to hear if I will have overnight guests or not.

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  33. Ok, at 700 words - will have to do some polishing tonite, but will have time for that when son is at a birthday party.

    Needs to be real short because we have a Big Communion Liturgy tomorrow and a mission moment. Sheesh, why can't we have a low-key holiday worship like a regular church?

    Got a children's time idea. I will give them each 3 quarters - one for each pocket (or shoe? if they don't have pockets?). Anyway, those two are save/spend. And one to hold out in hand - that is give. In case anyone else in the WORLD is doing Corinthians? Anyone...anyone...Bueller...? She I thought so.

    Off to pool, grocery story, bank, birthday party shopping, dollar store shopping. Will check in later.

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  34. oops, that was to be SEE, I thought so, not SHE, I thought so... Sheesh....

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  35. So I think my previous inclination was too much. I'm now going the "interruption" route. If I can stop interrupting myself to check FB, Twitter, and here...

    But thanks for the reminder that it's Communion Sunday, so I should keep it fairly short! ;-)

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  36. Sheesh, thanks for the Children's Sermon reminder. I forgot it last week and had to make it up on the spot. Not my finest hour.

    Beth, the "interruption" idea was one of my 10,000 on the gospel text. It happens to me constantly, so I thought it might be fun to preach.

    Up from my nap, but 4 yr old is also up from her rest time.

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    1. Man I hear ya on the last minute children's time! That's why I always post em when I got em.

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  37. Somewhat inspired by BBT's sermon on this text (The Problem with Miracles) in Bread of Angels although thinking of taking it in a slightly different direction...but stil not sure. And way to much procrastination on FB going on here. Even considering doing some laundry.

    #must.write.now

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  38. 950 words and all I've done is re-tell the story. Well, 2/3 of it. Oy.

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  39. I think I have too many stories. Using the 1 Peter 4 text on hospitality. it's our congregational focus and I thought revisiting it mid-year to see what we've done and where we are being called...would be a good idea.
    Huge storms all thru NoVa but we have power, AC and internet (obviously) is back. TBTG I take these things for granted.
    I think the sermon is done. I should review the visuals (using Keynote) and finish worship so I can nap, or at least chill.
    Had "Little Friends for Peace" do a half-day VBS style workshop today. Very well received.

    Checking back later for sermons to read.

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    1. Would like to hear more about little friends for peace. We r doing peace village - very modified.

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  40. Dangerous Hope is now posted. It is on the parable of the sower...so may not "help" those of you preaching other texts.

    I ran out to get a few things...making Rumi Salad for dinner (cabbage, chicken, onion, sesame and almond seeds, and a sweet/sour dressing). I'll take orders. :-)

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    1. You can tell where my mind is...that should be Fumi Salad...not Rumi Salad. I'll just rename it Mystical Salad.

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    2. Funny. Hope the GA livestream didn't inspire your sermon title.

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  41. I'm back and full of strawberries. How goes it out there? Anyone want a piece of pie?

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  42. I'd love some pie. And Purple's salad sounds delicious too.

    I grumped too soon. Daddy came home to play with Daddy-deprived daughters, and I'm at his office for a couple of hours. I doubt I can get done that quickly, but it's a start. If I--ahem--get off the internet.

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  43. I'd love some pie!

    I have a draft, inspired by both BBT's sermon and the commentary on the gospel on Working Preacher. Bottom line: miracles are still possible when we dare to risk and break down boundaries as Jesus did but they often come in unexpected forms and from unexpected sources. That's the general idea, anyway. Will edit in a bit.

    We start our summer schedule tomorrow and I promised lemonade and cookies which means that I actually have to make myself presentable and go to the store. Back later :)

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  44. It's FINALLY done. I'm feeling like the Holy Spirit and I need to have words. ;-)

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  45. My daughter is home from camp, so I am going to stop fooling around with this and post it: Reach Out and Touch Faith. We're having flatbread pizza from Trader Joe's for dinner. How about you?

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    1. What a wonderful sermon!

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    2. Shrimp, fruit, veggies, crackers, some of TJ's fine cheese, and assorted cookies, along with appropriate beverages, in the company of two good friends and dh, at the fabulous botanic garden near us, to the sounds of a musical group that is sure to be good.

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  46. Well, I've surprised myself (or, rather, that sneaky Holy Spirit has surprised me) by being just about done with a draft in two hours. Now, home to answer Martha's question: what are we having for supper?

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    1. Go, you!
      Not only do we have flatbread pizza, Lucy has leftover sushi from lunch with her dad, and I'm having salad, and then there's Ben and Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch. And more strawberries. It's a summer smorgasbord. Wish you could share.

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    2. Me too. We had grilled cheeses (for the girls) and quesadillas, take out. And fresh peaches and homemade chocolate chip cookies, both of which I would gladly share with y'all!

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  47. printing sermon (TBTG!) on healing hope. Preaching to a congregation that speaks openly of itself as dying and hopeless. Toxic spirit that sucks the life out of every worship service and ministry and at the same time they ask why fewer people come to Sunday worship... Duh...

    Lots of heavy stuff going on in our communities. May God give you all a Spirit of comfort and hope. Keeping our General Assembly and all those who are involved in prayer, that God's healing hope may be stronger than fear.

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    1. ugh, Celeste. That is energy-sucking, I'm sure. Blessings on you, sister.

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  48. the civil union ceremony was FABULOUS. So beautiful and holy and awesome and wonderful. The reception was also amazing! Thank you all for being great friends and supports for any kind of homiletical challenge. Sending you all good writing vibes and good preaching vibes. :-)

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  49. Gals and pals, I'm going to hit the sack. Blessings to those who are still writing. May the Spirit be swift and beautiful and allow you some time for sleep. Thanks for coming to the party!

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  50. Finally back from the city and I'm amazed at the productivity here. I don't have a single word written for my sermon, and I still have a newsletter article to write with zero ideas so my long suffering husband and son can get it printed off yet tonight. I may just scrap the article - too much pressure and I really need to get started on the sermon.

    I did 'write' it in my head in the car on the way up and the way back, so once I start writing, I think it will go ok. Except, of course, I have no conclusion and I only get about 2/3's the way through in my head and I lose focus.

    I still don't feel well, haven't felt good all day and I just want to go to sleep.

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  51. Ah Ramona, so sorry to hear you're not feeling good. Got your back -- and also some vanilla sandwich cookies if those will help.

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  52. No sermon this week. A great family wedding with all the generations represented. My husband's comment, "I like your family." About time. We've been married 31 years.

    Here's the reflection I wrote today on the landscape of a life. You'll find it here.

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  53. Ramona, I hope you are feeling well enough to get those words on paper and get yourself off to bed.

    I just came back from a lovely concert & picnic with friends, at which I ate too much shrimp but boy was it good! Any night owls hanging out here?

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  54. An unwilling night owl. I have enough written to go to bed, but I'll need to fiddle in the morning I think. Hopefully not too much fiddling, but I'm going to wait to send it to my kindle in case I want to make a last minute change.

    I've posted a very rough draft. If anyone is still up, I am desperately seeking feedback. Why do these things always sound so much better in my head than when I get them on paper? And wouldn't you love to have enough time during the week to write down every good sermon idea and sentence you think up so you wouldn't have to scramble to remember them?

    Shesh. I need a day off!

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    1. Ramona, as is so often the case for all of us, what you have written is far better than you realize. You've done a beautiful job with your storytelling...nothing to change. Head for bed in peace, knowing that the Spirit will put your words in the hearts and minds of those who hear them.

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  55. Well, shoot. Still very uninspired for my sermon tomorrow. I even went back to the preacher part from three years ago because I swear I preached this story (last week's gospel actually), but I couldn't find my sermon on any computers. I hoped it would at least jar my memory so maybe I could find it. Wow. That's a blast from the past, reading where we all were three years ago.

    Anyway, turns out I was on vacation, so no sermon of my own to steal. I guess it's time to type what I started in note form all week and see how far it gets me. I like where I think I'm going - - living out of faith, rather than fear - but my problem is that, well, they were in a scary situation! And well, they did what we often preach at people to do when they are in scary situations, which is rely on Jesus! So, why do they get scolded?!?!? If they had "little faith" what would "big/good/right faith" have looked like in that situations? I know. Everyone else did this last week. I'm on my own here. I need to work out my one hang-up, and then I'll be good to go. The rest of it is pretty much done. OK. the rest is thought through and composed in my head, but not written. Close enough.

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  56. Made my breakthrough last night. Got my plan sketched out, and now I'm up to compose. I'll put the coffee on for all those who drink it. I think an iced option could be good today, though.

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  57. Good for you, Stephanie!
    I've promised my daughter donuts to get her out of bed and later we're going to see "Brave. I hope your day goes as sweetly, all of you.

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