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Friday, July 13, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Mid-Summer (at least for some of us) Edition


Wasn't the summer (at least for us Northern Hemisphere-ers) supposed to slow down?  That's always the promise, isn't it? If the summer is supposed to slow down, why does my office look like this?  Seriously, this is out of control.

How is your preaching going this season?  There was a great conversation over on Facebook earlier this week about all sorts of different sermon series for the times of year that are a little longer and a little less attended.  It's a fun time to do something different, and it looks like a number of us are taking advantage of that opportunity.
Where are you heading this week?  The lectionary has John the Baptist losing his head (literally, not figuratively), more David (which isn't any easier!), Amos's plumb line and some of his call story (maybe a way in there???), and the start of Ephesians.  I think at least one of us is embarking on an Ephesians series.
Anyone need a children's sermon?  My advice - - go with the Psalm!!!
I have a feeling we're going in lots of different directions this weekend, but there's one thing I've learned.  We still have plenty of wisdom and support to share with one another.  Join the party today in the comments.  We'd love to have you, regulars and newcomers.  Let's get this party started!







118 comments:

  1. Thanks for getting us started SheRev. I will be back in the morning.

    I am working with the Gospel and Ephesians. Sermon Title Herod or God:Whose child are we? In another congregation I might have gone with Who's your Daddy.

    We have a couple of powerful adoption stories in our congregation. Hoping to lift up that it makes a difference who you look to as family.
    Herod and his Game of Thrones dysfunctional family and unconditional loving adoption into God's family.

    We are struggling with who we are as a congregation - not as big, and influential as some remember and long to recapture. There is a push to fix the blame rather than deal with the real issues. There is also a history of heads on a platter... Trying to help them not go there again.

    Right now my sermon is a bit of a hot mess. Hopeful that I can wrestle it into better shape tomorrow. Will be back tomorrow to check on how folks are doing. Good night!

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    1. Who's your Daddy! Love it. I'm going to hold onto that for the right setting someday.

      Hope your sleep refreshed you for today.

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  2. Blessings to each of you! Our congregation is sharing worship with a sister PC(USA) church on Sunday, so I am not preaching this Sunday. Next Sunday we will do shared worship at our church and I will take the preaching slot.

    I am grateful to miss the "John the Baptizer" passage, if I am honest. A tough one to preach.

    I am in Michigan picking up my daughter from Interlochen Arts Camp. Friday drive up and Saturday drive home. I am grateful not to have to preach the next morning but I will be thinking of all of you.

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    1. How fun! I loved the shared worship idea. I should do that with our good friends the Lutherans. We shared a lot of services while their building was under construction last fall-spring. We should do it in the summer "just cuz" sometime. Maybe next year.

      Hope your reunion is lovely!

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  3. I'm grateful not to be preaching this Sunday, as I'm leaving early Tuesday with a group of teenagers and two other adults for our national youth gathering. We'll have a blessing on Sunday. In reality, though, it'd be easier to preach on John's beheading than to plan a week with a group of teens in New Orleans! So many details....!

    We're (my husband and I) are doing a summer sermon series on "Tough Faith Questions". This Sunday is, "Does God Really Love All of Us?" Next week deals with "What Does God Want?" - dealing with God's will. The congregation has really appreciated the series. Then again, they gave us their faith questions!

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    1. "Does God Really Love All of Us?" would be a great one in our community this week. I live in WI just about 5 miles north of where a father killed his 3 daughters this week. Lots and lots and lots of ugly hate speech toward the father (somewhat understandably)

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    2. but it's making me very uncomfortable. Language as violent as his actions. I'm not hearing it in my conversations with my congregation, thank goodness, but I hear it in the larger community.

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  4. So is anyone doing the Amos and the plumbline text?

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    1. I'm not, but I feel like I have at some point. I'll look and see if I can find it.

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  5. anyone linking the death of the woman in Afghanistan this week?

    it is late Saturday afternoon here, and I have changed my mind a few times this week about which reading to focus on. We are hearing the Psalm 24 and Mark.

    My husband is leaving early tomorrow for the airport, so I need to be done by 9pm at the latest, we will see if that happens :)

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    1. I hope you got done in time! Blessings on your night!

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  6. not preaching on Sunday, but SheRev, I must say, I appreciate the photo of your office. Mine looks similar!

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  7. almost 9pm, and the printer is going and violence as usual is posted.

    As I will be up earlier than usual tomorrow, I can see how you are all progressing before I go to Church.

    I guess some of you will be up soon, hope you have a great day.

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    1. Nice job! I didn't see ths post earlier so I didn't realize you finished. Sleep well!

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  8. Don't tell me those of us preaching are in the minority? That can't be right. Come on, preachers!
    I am way ahead of last Saturday, by which I mean the Word Doc is open and a title is at the top of it. :-)
    This morning I pick 17yo up from a week of being a CIT with 5th and 6th graders at our UCC camp. Then tonight we're invited to a Lobster Bake at another organization in our church town. So in the next hour-and-a-half, and in a five-hour-block this afternoon, I need to get 'er done. I'm preaching Ephesians with a glance back at Mark 3:31-35, talking about how in Christ we have a new kind of family. We had a guest preacher the week of that Mark 3 pericope, so it wasn't read. Yet I referenced it in a sermon a couple of weeks ago when recounting Jesus' adventures thus far in Mark. It seemed so familiar. Surely I had preached it? Wrong again. We talked about it in Bible Study. So it's in there for tomorrow. I think the texts will work well together. I hope. I'm leaning on a reflection I wrote for our RevGals' book of readings for Ordinary Time, published in 2006. Which also means on my last two sermons on this text. If you move around enough you can do that kind of thing. :-)

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    1. You can do it! You can do it! I'm sure you're going to love your reunion. I would love the Lobster Bake!!!!

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  9. Good morning all! Off for my walk and more thinking through of my sermon. I am preaching a teaching sermon this week; a few months ago our young people told me that they don't understand anything about church - for instance, "What's all that stuff?" (now the sermon title) up there? I'm going to attempt to explain why we have a pulpit, a communion table/altar (we are Presby and Methodist), and a baptismal font. The youth have instructions to show up, so I hope they do. But if not, it won't hurt anyone else -- I was probably in seminary before I understood any of what I was looking at each week, so it should be helpful to the adults, too. The themes running through the sermon are community and attentiveness to God.

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    1. I think that's great. I would like to find a time to do something like that, too. Maybe I can do it in August. I have a couple of weeks with no big plan before Labor Day weekend when I'm out of town.

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  10. I'm preaching tomorrow, focusing on the Ephesians text, although I'm not yet sure where that's going exactly. I liked Sally Brown's commentary over at Working Preacher so will likely use some of that as a springboard. I'm wondering what it looks like for a community to be in Christ and to live to the praise of God's glory and grace. Is that something you can see from the outside? the inside? Praying for speedy inspiration as today needs to also include packing for a week at a camp (which means laundry too), attending a grad party, and welcoming some family for an overnight prior to our departure for camp immediately following worship tomorrow.

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    1. I had to do a double take because I have an aunt named Sally Brown who most certainly wouldn't be commenting on any scripture.

      Busy day! I hope the Spirit makes her deliver soon!

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  11. Good morning, gals and pals! I'm joining the party for the first time in awhile! Been out of town for continuing ed and vacation and am now trying to reengage the sermonizing part of my brain. Oy!

    I'm preaching Ephesians, sermon title "Blessed to Bless," and have a bunch of swirling thoughts I was excited about earlier in the week. About to go for a long run and then see what shakes loose. Back with y'all later!

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    1. Run well! Good to have you back. Reengaging that sermon brain can be so hard sometimes. I'll sit down and think to myself, "I forget how to do this." It's weird.

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  12. I'm getting started early today which means I might just have time for a swim. House guests late in the day. Dan Clendenin at Journey with Jesus sent me on the path of choices--Hereod's, John's, and ours. Think I'll focus on the little choices that lead up to the big ones.

    Am intrigued by Celeste's adoption angle and also by a sermon by Barbara Lunblad that was linked on Textweek to last week's propers. Lunblad links together both banquets. As I write this last comment, I'm wondering about the guests at each banquet, the roles we play, and the choices we make.

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    1. Sounds like you have a good start! No heads on platters with your guest, OK?

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  13. My pastor's away, and I'm filling in.

    A bit more than a year ago, I wrote a sermon for one of my seminary classes, and recorded video for it. One of the specifications of the assignment was that it be for our current congregations. My pastor saw the video, and thought it would be well received by our congregation.

    So tomorrow I'm preaching

    [deep breath]

    Ezekiel 16:35-41.

    Remember me in your prayers.

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    1. You can do it!!! Deep breath prayers here, too.

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    2. Done.

      They did take the small children out of the sactuary before the scripture reading.

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  14. Phew I'm struggling on this one and it's mid-afternoon here. I lay down for a rest and had it all in my head and when I got in front of the computer - all gone! I think I want to look at passion - the passion that led David to dance before the Lord and the passion that led Herod to violence and death. I am wondering about RevAlli's idea of choices and wondering if that can fit in too. But I'm running out of time and beginning to panic!

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    1. Ooooh! I hate that. I have the best ideas evaporate when I snooze. Kills me!

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  15. Ephesians for me. There is a baptism that should fit right in and be an excuse to not worry about length. Also, it's mid-July - who's going to complain if we get out a little early? Not me.

    I have one of those Saturday evening events with The Boy that couldn't be avoided so I'll be getting to church basically just in time to preach - unshowered and exhausted but with my 'Best Mommy Ever' pin secured to my robe... if only that is how it actually worked.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. It has never been my experience that a congregant complained about a sermon being too short. YMMV.

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    3. I make sure to remind people during coffee that when I get them out "early" I'm really just "banking" time for when I go "late."

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    4. Actually, I have had one congregant complain that I don't preach long enough. The rest of the congregation doesn't agree with him!

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  16. I'm on this week...we're answering people's questions/requests this summer, so tomorrow I'll be attempting to answer two questions: what is grace? and what is the fellowship of the Holy Spirit? yeah...a nice easy summer sermon series. lol.
    I was hoping to get it written on Thursday, because today I'm going on a mini-road trip: two hours each way in order to have a 2 hour lunch gathering with the pastor of our sister church in Egypt. Since I still have zero words written, maybe 4 hours in the car will offer me some inspiration??!?!?! I hope so, since I'll be home for just a couple of hours before I have to go out and do a vow renewal at an anniversary party...but, get this: the couple doesn't know they're going to renew their vows. Their kids contacted me and asked if I'd come to the party, then later told me the vow renewal was a surprise. I feel extremely nervous about that!
    I'm getting ready to be gone for three weeks, so have no food to offer...but I have tons of tea and the water's always hot, so enjoy!

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    1. Whoa. Surprise vow renewal. That's interesting. I get your nervous feeling for sure.

      Do you have a way to leave yourself voice memos in the car? I find driving a really good sermon thinking time, but then lose my thoughts because I have no way to capture them.

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    2. You can always call yourself at office/home and leave a voicemail. Or even my dumb phone has a voice memo feature. I used to be a professional commuter, and sermon ideas flow much more freely while driving ;)

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    3. I drive 2-4 hours a day 5 days a week, so I have a tendency to compose sermons by shouting them in the car in a bit of fire-and-brimstone tone. By the weekend, I have the arc down and can write a manuscript that's toned down a bit. By then I know the pieces well enough that it doesn't sound like I'm reading.

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  17. Having problems with iPad and Blogger this morning. Just lost my whole post. Oh well - - short version.

    No worship prep to work on today since the VBS kids are doing the "sermon." It will be crazy chaos up there on the chancel, but oh well. I wrote a prayer of confession about the way we treat kids in worship and the expectation we have of them. I'm a little nervous that it's kind of heavy handed, but at the same time, I think it's very honest and I like it. A real confession. Anyway, I hope it will also help put us in the right frame of mind to accept a little chaos from the kids.

    My husband and I are going out to dinner tonight for our anniversary which was Thursday. We spent that night at the church softball game (him playing, me watching). Then I came home to put kids to bed and work on the church website while he went out for drinks with the guys from the team. We won't talk about that. :)

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  18. Good morning preachers!

    I'm just back from a wonderful week of vacation, and also trying to reengage the sermonizing part of my brain. The Episcopal Church just finished its once-every-three-years General Convention and approved a rite for blessing same gender unions--we've been talking about it for years so many of us are in the "It's about time" camp but there are some in my congregation who will be less than pleased. So I am going to use Amos and talk about prophets and speaking the truth to power and mention the same gender blessings in that context. I have a sustainable sermon that uses some of that theme as a starting point. We'll see how it goes.

    Off to take a shower (still in my running clothes from my morning run) and try to get my brain going!

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    1. Blessings on you as you navigate potentially tricy waters!

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  19. So I think I need an illustration of someone doing fun and amazing things for others because they themselves are giddy in love.

    Anyone?

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    1. Not sure if this fits . The man who spent his birthday making other people happy. Handing out money, buying meals etc. Said he had the best birthday ever and wants to do it again

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    2. There is an orphanage for children with disabilities in Antigua, Guatemala. For the most part these children are ignored or viewed with fear. There was a local family who dewrly loved their baby son. To celebrate his first birthday the parents decided to extend their love to children who are unloved. They held his birthday party at the orphanage- complete with gifts for all of the children, decorations, games, cake and icecream. Their love for their son brought joy to lonely and neglected children.

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    3. Lida, kathrynzj says thank you so much! She's at work and can't load this page on Internet Explorer. The story is going right into her sermon.

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    4. Thank you Martha. I am glad that Kathryn can use it. It took not only great love from the parents, but also courage to do something so counter-cultural.

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  20. We have a guest speaker on mission in the DR. His daughter works there and our can recycling money goes to support her. Worship will be in fellowship hall so we can use technology. We are commissioning our people for Synod School since most them will leave next Sunday morning. I wrote the liturgy and thought it needed just a bit of playfulness so I added this question, "Will you have ice cream at least once during synod school.". I am hoping this pilgrimage brings back a spark of imagination and a willingness to take some initiative.

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    1. Commissioning for Synod School. What a great idea. I'm still working hard to try to get people from my church to come. In my last church it didn't happen until I was gone and now I have a good reunion with folks when I'm there.

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    2. I will accept the commission to have ice cream at Synod School!

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    3. Looks like it could be a mini-revgals meet-up?????

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    4. Celeste is coming, too? Fun! Root beer floats all around!

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  21. Good (late) morning. I'm finished my supply gig and on holiday in Ft. Lauderdale with some heart family. I will offer a blessing and aspurge in honor of the 40th anniversary of a MCC congregation, Blessed text wrestling one and all!

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  22. Amazingly, I got my sermon finished yesterday, so I was able to go the street dance last night for Dairy Days - AND I get to go to the dance and fireworks tonight. Yay! I get to play!

    I'm preaching Mark and comparing the two banquets, and since it's communion Sunday, I sneak in a third banquet at the end. But the sermon's about 200 words too long,so I need to edit. But that will have to wait since we are heading to the City this afternoon, to pick up some last minute necessities before I leave with the youth on Monday for our National Youth Gathering.

    Wonder who else here is going. Think I'll ask over on the fb page.

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    1. Yippee for dancing and street parties and fireworks and finished early sermons!

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  23. Well, I'm deeming this thing 'preachable'. Heading to my last shower for 24 hours and then the office to print this thing out due to tonight's event. Also have to pack The Boy for camp.

    I believe if you are looking for me on Monday I will be the one in bed with an ice pack on my head muttering something that sounds like "it was worth it but..."

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  24. I've done but only in note form. Will have to "wing it" from there. My daughter (visiting from Scotland) says it's better when I do that as I don't use my "Anglican voice". I hope it will do. I'm not happy with it so hopefully the Spirit may change it tomorrow.
    Kathrynzj, I'll also be found in bed on Monday - but because it's my birthday!

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    1. Funny. Your Anglican voice. There was a pasto I knew who was as American as can be, but he put on this complete Scottish accent only when he preached.

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  25. Mine is still largely in my head, but taking shape! I am part of an experiment in being church in a "post-parish" context. Three congregations calling themselves a regional ministry and finding ways to define ourselves by our ministry rather than our geographical boundaries. This was a brutally hard week in our life together: some financial realities have made it necessary to make very tough cuts in our budget in order to survive *and* keep building ministries that are forward and outward looking. A lot of these financial realities are the result of plain old human brokeness--greed, fear, clinging to old ways of doing things, church politics and the blame game. It is in the middle of those places of brokenness that ministry has always happened. I really liked the reflections provided by "Sermon Brainwave" and see the connection between this pericope and the small, but real, deaths we're dying, the sense of having our head put on a platter, and having to wrestle with the meaning of ministry deaths and failures as a part of the work of faith. The sin is there. The death is real. Are we capable of staying open to God's ability to take all that and make something new of us? Hope it will preach...

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    1. Sounds like a wonderful experiment. May the details not kill the dream.

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  26. it's been a week. hot, hot, hot. had to put my beloved dog down yesterday. damn, merciful or not i hated doing it.
    sermon is 2/3 there on the beheading text... what a story to tackle.
    but mostly i'm dizzy today... thinking perhaps i'm dehydrated?! and well grief makes our bodies freak out in unanticipated ways. so i'm going to eat and then nap, or watch a movie. but perhaps not walking the other dog today... coming on noon and we're already at 90 degrees. puhleeze.

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    1. Sorry for your loss. Merciful or not, it still sucks.

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    2. Oh, hot cup. I am so sorry. (((you)))

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    3. Oh, Hotcup!!!! Terrible. i'm so sorry.

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    4. Hotcup, I am so sorry. :( Hugs to you!

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  27. Sorry about your dog. It's such a painful decision to make and the loss is so real. I envy you the heat though. It's warmed up to 13C here in Cape Town. Snow on the mountains makes the wind chill factor really bite.

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  28. Never. Ever. Easy. Our pets give so much to our lives.

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  29. Just checking in and catching up. Pat and She Rev--interesting conversation about voice. Mary Donovan Turner has an interesting book, "Saved from Silence", about women's voice in the pulpit.

    Took a long break then read today's NY Times. Interesting contrast between Joe Paterno and a Mexican priest working in Oaxaca serving the migrants who pass through there on their way North. Love what that priest said about his call to serve migrants,
    "God speaks, and the voices inside cannot be quieted. I wanted to blackmail God. I said, 'Look, Lord, of everything I have spent, I will give you 30 %, even 50% of what I have bought, and I will give it to your poor.'
    "But that voice wouldn't be silent. I continued to be anxious until I gave up and I said: 'Lord, you have won. You don't want my wallet." (NY Times, Saturday, July 14, p. A5)

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  30. I'm waking up a little and starting to do something that resembles work. The kids (thank God) are playing outside. We had a lot of together time this week and the bossiness and bickering is about to make my head explode.

    I have a meeting the afternoon with a wedding couple - non-members. They actually live in DC, but the bride grew up in our community. She grew up Catholic, but is bitter and upset and never going back to that communion. She had a younger sister for whom I held a memorial service a couple of years ago. Her sister lived until 21 with innumerable physical disabilities and medical problems. She was never able to speak and therefore couldn't participate in confessions, which meant she couldn't receive communion and was never confirmed which meant in the eyes of the priest of their childhood that her salvation was sketchy.

    Long story how the family ended up with connections, but not membership in our church, but anyway, I was asked to officiate a public prayer service the night before the Catholic funeral (new priest wasn't has hard line as the old one) that might be more comfortable for the many in the community who knew the family who weren't Catholic. It connected deeply with the older sister who later asked me to do her destination wedding Labor Day weekend.

    Very honored and very excited. The groom is of Iranian decent, first generation American himself. There are all sorts of Persian cultural things they'd like to include, and I'm totally open to it. A number of his cousins have had two totally separate ceremonies, but this couple wants to weave it all together into one, and I'm willing to do it. He has an aunt who is usually the keeper of traditions. She and I were supposed to work on it together, but she had serious heart surgery recently and may not even be able to come to the wedding now. I'm starting to do some internet research to see if there's something I can figure out. I figure many of the traditions are probably similar to some of the things we do in our weddings - - seek the support and blessing of friends and family, prayer for the new life (potential family) of new couple, etc etc. Instead of doing the Western Christian thing all at once, then the Persian cultural stuff later, I'd like to use our order, but hold our version and their version of these things side by side. I just need to find out what these things are and who is going to do them. I can talk to the aunt about it on the phone even if she won't be here to lead them. Then she can help designate someone to lead them for the family. Should be interesting!

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  31. 17yo had a great week at camp, and came home to happy news in an envelope containing AP results. I'm trying to get back in writing mode while she is having lunch with her dad. It's quite hot here, and we're going to try reinstalling an old window unit Air Conditioner to give us some aid during the coming hot days. Five days until vacation...

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    1. Five days but who is counting! :) Congrats to your 17yo on the AP results. We had some happy envelopes here too. Hope your cool down soon.

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  32. I'm using the Amos text and drawing on the question "What do you see?" In the midst of a difficult time this particular church is facing, God has not passed them by and they are still called to action - and responding well. I feel called to deliver a word of comfort - God is setting a plumb line within this congregation and vowing never to pass by again. We are reminded of the Lord's presence and action in our midst despite trials. And what do we see? We see faith and action in work through mission and care for one another. And we see God calling us on to further response.

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    1. A word of comfort is a faithful and blessed word to deliver!

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  33. Alison-in-FranceJuly 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    I'm on line trying to write a decent beginning and end to a sermon on Ephesians. I'm going with the idea of using the verbs (Eugene Peterson and Working Preacher) but i feel that the intro is too waffly and the ending lacks punch. If I have time, I want to do some visual too. Also we have no musicians tomorrow (we are deep into summer vacation) I'm wondering if I dare attempt Matt Redman's "Blessed be the name of the Lord" a capella !

    As we will likely be small in number, I'm toying with the idea of ending the sermon by putting up a list of the verbs and suggesting that everyone picks up one they need to receive for themselves, and then shares that with their neighbour. (DH things this sounds too touchy feely...) It will likey depend on how brave I'm feeling when we get there !

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    1. If saying it to the neighbors is too touchy-feely, what about just inviting a time sort of a-la-group Lectio Divina when they can speak their verb outloud to the room without need to discuss, explain, or expand on their choice. A little less intimate since they don't have to talk straight to a person, but still sharing. If you can take a microphone around, too, that's an option, so it's a little more direct sharing, but still no explanation, etc.

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    2. Alison-in-FranceJuly 14, 2012 at 2:15 PM

      Oooh Stephanie, that's a great idea. I think that could work in the form of a prayer. Just ask all who want to to say briefly "thank you Lord because you have me"

      Definately something to work on for tomorrow morning ! (Out loud free prayer is a strong part of our church's tradition).

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  34. Preaching on Mark 6:14-29 and the sermon title is The Power of One. Leaning into this text of terror I've come to see that speaking truth to power has consequences. This text is a foreshadowing of Good Friday. I'm weaving in 2 stories. One from the film the power of one, and the other from the band U2. In the film, the main character, an English boy growing up in South Africa 1939-1955 lives his life with intentionality and inclusion. He starts a ripple effect of justice and reconciliation with one action at one time. Like John Baptist this character also speaks truth to power and suffers consequences. I'm braiding that with the power of Christ (one) to overturn the structures and cycles of death and destruction, which this passage foreshadows. Finally weaving that with the U2 song One. I read that the band was experiencing tension and disunity while recording Achtung Baby. They improvised One and in working that song found new unity and purpose for their music. Now they play it at every single concert to promote justice...I've got a draft and am practicing it this afternoon and then need to put it to bed to attend an event.

    It's wicked hot here in Texas, so I've got some Blue Belle ice cream to share!

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    1. Suz, that sounds like a great sermon. Look forward to reading/hearing it.

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  35. Here in the UK it is the season for denominational meetings (synods, conferences, assemblies) & although I didn't start this sermon meaning to comment, I was inspired by David Lose over on workingpreacher.org to get on with preaching some serious good news in the light of all the politics. Sermon posted at http://thinkingaboutpreaching.blogspot.co.uk - just have to choose some hymns & I'm done! Praying for the Spirit to move us all.

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  36. Hi all. This is my first Sunday preaching as a pastor. I have a different sense of responsibility than I did supply preaching and it's different than a call sermon. So...I ended up wrestling with John the Baptist's beheading. The link for my post is here: http://claimedgatheredandsent.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-first-week.html#links. I'm sorry I forgot the formula to do it in the comment.

    Blessings to all preaching tomorrow.

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    1. Prayers that you will find joy in preaching tomorrow--it is nice to be settled in a place and know you don't have to say it all in one Sunday!--and that for you and the congregation this is the start of a fruitful relationship.

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  37. Here is the link Ivy posted above

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  38. So I have a draft....some Amos, some Mark, some J.K. Rowling, all on the power and role of prophets to speak the truth, leading up to a mention of TEC's approval of a rite for blessing same-gender unions (which for me is prophetic, and a matter of justice). Unusual for me, it's a couple of hundred words too long, so I'm going to let it sit for a bit and then try to edit it down.

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  39. And now to the store to get cookies and lemonade for coffee hour because no one signed up (again). This is a tough one for me--it seems hospitality dictates that we have coffee hour, but good leadership might be to let it go when no one steps up to take it on. Ugh. Hospitality wins this week I guess.

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    1. Oh, Rev Dr Mom, I hear ya! We have been grappling with this same exact thing, and stuck on those same two issues! I'm sorry you got stuck with it this week, but I think it's always good when hospitality wins!

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  40. I'm plugging along over here but really just want to be lying in the hammock in the backyard and reading a novel.

    It took me forever to come up with my opening. It seemed I was spending way too long on it, but once I finally got it going, I was able to move along at a pretty good pace. But now I've found myself in the tangle of dense theological imagery (I'm doing Ephesians) and trying to find a way to come back up for air. Parsing theological concepts is NOT what I want to spend this sermon on. I'm trying to focus on the concept of being blessed, being a community of blessing, and extending that blessing to our neighbors. (inspired still by Sally Brown's piece on Working Preacher) But finding my way towards where I'm headed isn't going as smoothly as I'd hoped. Feeling bogged down.

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  41. Friends, I could really use some prayers for myself, my husband, and our 14 y.o. son. In the last few weeks, he has hit the dark side of adolescence, in which rebellion, anger, angst, and stupidity all come together in an awful storm. He ran away this afternoon, both to get away from us and to get away from the consequences of his behavior. He has texted to say he is safe with a friend but will not be home for a day or two, and he won't tell us where he is...using quite colorful language to express himself. So we need prayers for guidance and wisdom about the next step or two, and for patience, love, and peace in the process. Prayers for him, too!

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    1. Oh, Betsy, how awful! I'm so sorry to read it and will keep you, your husband, and your son in my prayers.

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    2. Betsy, prayers for you all! Been there, done that with my first born, and it is not fun. Hope you all weather the storm.

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    3. Praying Betsy, for all of you. Been there. Patience, love and peace are true blessings in crazy making times. Let us know how we can continue to pray for you all.

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    4. Thank you, friends. It helps to hear others have gone through this; I know it is not uncommon, but when you are having to call the sheriff about your own kid, it sure feels different.

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    5. Prayers ascending. We went through this repeatedly with our daughter. Really embarrassing to have the police show up at the seminary apartments, but we had to know she was safe. It might be useful to remind him that choices have consequences, and the consequence of his choice not to accept the first consequence of his actions was that the police needed to be involved. Feel free to email me if you need to talk.

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    6. Peace and prayers for you and your son. Our son did the same and came home safely BUT the wait is hell. I ended up finding out where he was and went to the home to get him.

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    7. We eventually found him but it has been a very long day. Thanks for the prayers and support; it really helps.

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  42. Looks like some are finishing up, but some regulars either aren't preaching or haven't started. :) I'm heading out for my anniversary dinner, but will do some reading around when I return!

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  43. Finally! This may be a "kitchen sink" sermon. In the end it was She Rev's "Go with the psalm" that got the juices flowing. Thanks, She Rev.

    What do Joe Paterno, a Mexican priest working with migrants, Herod Antipas, John the Baptist, Amos and Amaziah have in common? You'll find the answer here

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    1. It's a great sermon! Wish I had written it!

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    2. Who knew a snide remark could inspire?!

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  44. I thought I was done messing with this, but while my spouse was decorating the chancel (it gets redone every week), something else hit me.

    For something that started out already written, preached, and recorded once, there is a lot of work in this.

    The title is "Not Literally, but Seriously"

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    1. At this point, any modifications are probably going to fall into the category of getting in the way of the message.

      Done with alterations, two copies printing, copy saved on blog set to publish at 10:00AM along with video from first time I preached it.

      Now for some meds to manage my cold symptoms.

      Blessings to all of you: may you speak the words, and may those assembled hear the message, that will help grow the body of Christ into what we were dreamed to be.

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  45. Feeling clunky as I shift back into sermonating gear, but I guess I finally got there. Just finished a draft and am feeling so-so about it. It's not everything I'd hoped it would be, and it includes almost none of the material I was so excited about five days ago, but I guess it'll preach. Here's hoping, at least!

    RevAlli, I am using your comment about "dissecting a rainbow," which I thought was so apt and just great. So thanks!

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  46. A Higgs Boson walks into a church. The startled priest asks what it's doing there. The Boson responds, "Without me, you can't have mass!"

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  47. It seemed this spring a good idea to have us sing our top ten favorite hymns out of the hymnal and the supplement and preaching based on those hymns. A few members of the congregation had commented that they didn't know the hymns I chose and I thought this might be fun... but in reality, I have not been inspired. However, tomorrow is the baptism of a 2 year old who was adopted from China. I dearly love his family and am so excited to welcome him into God's family formally tomorrow. Too bad I am stuck with singing "A Mighty Fortress is our God" and "Sanctuary". Any sort of inspiration you have, I'm open...

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  48. Well, I edited and cut out about 30 words and it's posted here. Sometimes, I just can't cut anything out. It will just have to be the length it is, and if time is tight travelling between my 2 congregations, then it is what it is.

    I can hear the band - tonight's street dance just started. And there's fireworks! Time for some quality time with my spouse.

    Blessing on everyone still trying to wring good news out of a gospel that seems to be anything but. May the Spirit pour through your fingertips to the keyboards!

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  49. well, I'm back. I had hoped to have something down before going to the vow renewal, but I didn't. I've been home for an hour and have a paragraph...but no idea how to transition from the opening I've written into, you know, the sermon. or how to connect the two parts of the sermon that need to happen but aren't yet written.
    so...yeah. i have pomegranate popsicles for anyone else who's still melting even though it's dark outside!

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  50. Not preaching this week, just popping in to check things out. Can a non-preacher have a popsicle? Because those sound yummy.

    Blessings and free-flowing thoughts to everyone.

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  51. Back from dinner, picking up kids, putting kids to bed, and chilling momentarily. I realized today that by the time I leave for vacation next Sunday after worship I will have been at church 15 out of 16 days. So ready for that vacation.

    This is about it for me. I'm going to read what's here then hit the hay. Blessings on you all as you finish!!

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  52. I just finished, and I tackled losing my head. Earlier sermon titles could have been "the Empire Strikes Back" or "Divide and Conquer"

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  53. For a little town of less that 200, we sure do have amazing fireworks. Of course, it helps that the local pyrotechnic guy is from town and gives us an huge discount! And the band was great - I hated to leave.

    But it's bedtime, so I had to come home. Have to model discipline and getting enough sleep for the teenager - who is still at the dance! Oh well, he doesn't have to be to church until 11 - I have to be there at 9:15.

    Such is the life of a pastor.

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  54. Is anyone else still up? I am walking a dog on a long leash tomorrow. Hopefully it will walk proudly for me.
    Amos and I just did not know much else to say. He is a tree dresser and well, I am not sure what I am today. Not a preacher.
    Is anyone still working on the Gospel text? Don't loose your head over it.
    Hee-hee. Biblical humor is my forte today

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  55. It's morning here, now. I saw most of your comments from my iPhone last night and wanted to say Betsy, you were in my prayers last night. I'm so glad to hear you found your son.
    Our Old Man Dog is having a hard time in a variety of ways, but I'm thankful he had a peaceful night after we managed to install a window A/C unit in the room where he spends most of his time.
    I'm preaching a mostly sustainable sermon and very grateful to have it. Lots of church members were at the Lobster Bake, and I'll be fascinated to see how many of them are also at church this morning. :-)
    Blessings to all who are proclaiming the Good News, or sharing a hard but good word.

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