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Saturday, September 08, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Better Than Crumbs Edition

How could anyone resist?

Maybe if you think dogs are scary or revolting or just not that great, it wouldn't be so hard.

Maybe if you think it's bad practice to feed a dog at the table, and that is perfectly reasonable although I am known to break that perfectly reasonable rule at the least provocation, you wouldn't consider the possibility.

But lots of us would find it hard. They're so patient and sober. Surely we can find a little something for them?

If only tomorrow's gospel lesson were actually about the etiquette of feeding dogs at the table!

Instead we have a tough one that challenges people with high views of Our Lord to find a place of agreement with those who embrace the humanity of the man from Nazareth.

Also, that word he called the woman? Not so nice.

What's on your plate making crumbs for the dogs today? Join the party in the comments. Let us know what you're preaching, how you're handling the children's message and any challenges to your schedule and your writing. I've got some really good coffee (Starbucks Blonde), and I promise a run to The Holy Donut, where they have upgraded the Maple Glazed from out-of-this-world to Positively Heavenly. We'll be here until Saturday becomes Sunday, and we will get our sermons done!


128 comments:

  1. Early afternoon in Beijing. I have too many words about the Syrophoenician woman. My best story about this narrative comes from my first assessment for my Spiritual Direction training. We were supposed to take one encounter with Jesus, and write about what we could learn about ministry from it. I wrote about this story - about the importance of learning from the people we are in ministry with and particularly about how her confidence comes from her domestic experience - that she knows dogs gets crumbs from the way she runs her household. Those seemed to me like important ideas. The essay, however, was graded as well written but unsuitable! I was asked to rewrite choosing a more suitable example of Jesus' behaviour!

    So my task this afternoon is to trim some words - as well-loved as they are!

    (I always saved some apple for my fruit-loving dogs - though they were never fed directly from the table they certainly were always hopeful about what might fall their way! One was also found standing on the dining table after our regular Sunday night group had moved into the living room, carefully licking out the butter dish! When he realised he had been spotted, there was little he could do but pretend it was perfectly normal for him to stand in the middle of our round table, snaffling up the crumbs!)

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    1. Jemma, on my daughter's 8th birthday, our first Bernese Mountain Dog, Molly, took a whole plate (paper) of cucumber sandwiches right off the table without disarranging anything else or leaving behind a single crumb. She was amazing.

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    2. Our dog (Tibetan Terrier/Wheaten Terrier cross) was a little short for that! I'm sure he was jealous of dogs with longer legs and better snaffling skills! He had a bit of a thing for strawberries and would sit by the bench with his nose raised as high as possible to sniff them! Despite my use of the past tense he is, as far as I know, happy and well and living with friends in New Zealand. It is only the "our" bit of him that is past tense!

      In other news - the sermon got shorter and then a little longer again! Oh dear! It is bedtime here - I'm hoping that sleep will bring sharp-eyed perspective for a morning edit.

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  2. Middle of the night and hoping I am not up till morning...
    Sunday is Rally day, no clue of who or how many kids will be there. Makes planning a challenge. We are having a western / cowboy themed Games and Grub event after church. I am trying to tie together western parables, with James wisdom on living a Christian life and Jeses learning something about how expansive his ministry is

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    1. Along the trails used by covered wagons headed west, people found all manner of things that the pioneers had left by the side of the road. China, carved clocks, pieces of furniture and household items. As they went farther and farther, they discovered that they had brought the wrong things, or too much, or that what they brought wouldn't work in the land that would be their new home. So they just left it by the side of the road. I wonder if this story of J and the SP woman isn't a story about J. leaving something he thought he'd need and which had worked perfectly well in his old "country" - his understanding of Jewish "chosenness"? - at the side of the road. He saw that it wouldn't work where he was going, so he just discarded it. (In the Kansas Historical Museum there is (or used to be, at least) a display made up of many of the things left along the trail (Santa Fe? Oregon?) as it ran through Kansas territory. Looking at the items, you sort of see that moment in people's lives where they finally "get" what they are doing and what it is going to take to make it through.)

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    2. I hope you got some sleep, Celeste.
      pastor cindy, that's a great approach to the text.

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    3. Cindy, interesting take on the Gospel reading...fits with some of my thoughts - perhaps leaping off from the NPR Fresh Air interview with Thor Hansen on his book "Feathers, The Evolution of a Natural Miracle"...I may develop this sermon along the lines of "growth" and adaptation? As in, even Jesus had moments where this happened - a sign of his humanity even within his divinity?

      But we will have kids in worship, too - and the church picnic...so, short and sweet needs to be the point.

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  3. Good morning! I'm up and will have the coffee ready shortly.
    I've had a very hectic week. The gospel lesson has been on my mind every day, but never quite in the forefront. Therefore I have too many side dish ideas and no main course.
    I'm also enforcing rest on myself due to a Rheumatoid Arthritis flare. I'll be missing an annual event in the town where I serve, which is a bummer, but I need to be able to lead worship tomorrow and have to make that the priority.

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    1. Rest is a good thing. Sometimes we just can't do it all. Sigh. Prayers for a healing day.

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    2. As Mr Curly writes to Vasco Pyjamas, "In response to your question "what is worth doing and what is worth having?" I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest". Hope you get enough rest to make Sunday easy (or at least easier).

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    3. Thank you, Jemma. Hope you sleep well tonight.

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    4. Hope you are feeling better Martha!

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    5. Hi, I do hope you are feeling better and all goes well Sunday!!

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  4. My pal was talking over her all-age talk with me the other night re. SP woman and Jesus. She'll be focusing on 'little' things. First thing will be to challenge the kids, and a few of the adults to line up in order of height within 20 seconds. When they've done so, she will head along to the littler end of the line and ask folk about what is good/ not so good about being little. After some chat, adults back to seats and kids gather round and sit in circle. She'll re-tell the story in a 'Godly Play' kind of way, pulling out a doll of a girl, a puppy [it wags its tail - we like! :)] and talk about a mummy, a little girl, and a little dog...etc.
    As she tells the story and does some 'wondering' questions [after noting the little girl is ill - e.g. I wonder why she went to see Jesus? etc], she'll be handing out a bread roll to the kids. When she gets to the crumbs bit, and says sommat along the lines of even the little dogs get crumbs, she'll scatter the crumbs and the dog will happily eat up crumbs.
    Then she will talk about how big God's love is: even a crumb of God's love is more than we will ever need.

    It's a nice way to get into the pointlessness of partiality/ causing exclusion for later on in the sermon, methinks: viz. given the immensity of God's love, the notion of needing to 'save' it, or ration it, for only certain folk/ in certain situations basically becomes redundant... Challenge: get out of the saving God's love for a rainy day mentality, perhaps?

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    1. Hi, Nik. Good thoughts. But what does it say when it's God/Jesus who seems to be setting the limits?

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    2. ahhh, good point, well presented! :)
      right-o, that perhaps even God/Jesus needed to be reminded that the concept of rationing love was a little odd...?

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  5. Hi
    I am on week 2 of the Season of Creation, that means Humanity Sunday - the Genesis one account of the creation of people. looking at the idea of what it means to be created in the image of God, and a little bit on sabbath. Twice this week I ahve seen alternative indices to GDP, so it seemed I should include that as well. :
    The Image of God?

    about to put the kettle one and make some chamomile tea, help yourself. Oh and there is still some home made ice cream left, vanilla, and very nice.

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    1. Homemade ice cream? Delicious! Thanks for sharing, pearl. I will come look at your sermon in a minute (after the coffee kicks in).

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    2. Pearl, I am a week behind in Season of Creation - and so we are in "Creation" Sunday. Unlike last year, I decided not to change the readings this year, just the prayers, hymns, and themes...and would adapt to the readings along the themes of the season. We'll see how that goes :-)

      I'll be back to read your sermon later.

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  6. Hi. not preaching this Rally Sunday. It's the new Sr. Pastor's turn.

    Last night I was up half the night with a sick dog (stomach problems). I don't feel so hot myself this morning...

    blessings on all of you who are preaching!

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    1. Oh, Diane! Poor Scout and poor you! Hope the day improves.

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    2. Oh Diane, I'm sorry. I so understand as my daughter's dog is sick too...it's a sad thing when our dogs get sick...I hope both of you feel better soon!

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  7. Off lectionary again. Working on a series on commitments in our spiritual journey. This is Bible Sunday - presenting Bibles to our 3rd graders (both of them). I have a sketchy outline that needs to be translated into sketches - i.e. drawings that will remind me what I wanted to say.

    Hubby is taking our dog for annual vet visit. I have Special Needs Ministry event at another church this afternoon and tonight is our church's Concert and Auction - so I should get crackin' on this sermon.

    Orange Cranberry muffins and tea to share.

    Oh, here is the best news of all - it is only 67 degrees out there! Yesterday started in the 80's and went to 106. Today's high will be in the 80's. WooHoo for cool fronts and relief from the heat!

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    1. You're well north of us, mlr. We dropped about 10 degrees, to a lovely-feeling 90 high. Amazing what a difference that makes.

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  8. Returning to the pulpit after two weeks (one Sunday) off and feeling remarkably lethargic. First my daughter and I are going to spend hours in the rain at the local Out of the Darkness (suicide prevention) walk, so I suppose I will feel even more like going back to bed after that!

    At any rate, my sermon is much like the approach Jemma had deemed unsuitable -- as James tells us and as Jesus discovers, we are called to more than we might have imagined.

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    1. Re-enty to preaching is tough in general, and you have special circumstances. I hope the rain lets up.

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    2. Thinking of you Robin. Hope the lethargy ebbs away...

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  9. Another post solely to hit subscribe by email, which I never remember to do.

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  10. Here's what strikes me as I look over the gospel lesson again. I am much more interested in (1) Jesus trying to get some rest and maybe being grumpy, (2) how to translate and nuance the dog word, (3) the treatment of dogs in the contrasted cultures, (4) what it might mean that these two stories are in different places, and (5) really anything that keeps me from looking at what I'm avoiding -- which is that these are two healing stories, one by ooky-spooky remote control, the other about as tactile as a thing could be. There are lots of people struggling in my smallish congregation; right now I'm struggling, too. Healing stories are tough.
    My thoughts have been about how we view Jesus and what this story does to our impression of him. But I have too many possible ways to go and not a right one yet.
    Maybe more coffee?

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    1. Martha, what to do with the healing in both narratives is a timely challenge for me, as I also cope with the flaring up of an immune system disorder and am in danger of preaching in a way that makes the daughter's healing almost beside the point to the encounter. Hope you find a good word to speak to your congregation.

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    2. Someone once talked to me about different kinds of healing: miracle, medical, living victoriously inspite of, and death. Someone else talked about how Jesus' healings returned or brought folks into the faith community- this is where much of the disability community finds faith in healing stories. None of the may be helpful. It may be worth exactly what it cost you - nothing.

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  11. It's kinda of overwhelming day for me. I've got lots of stuff undone from the week, a sermon to write, an afternoon nursing home worship to craft, a benefit supper for a parishioner to attend. Time to separate the urgent/important from the non-urgent/important.

    Preaching James tomorrow and blogging through James this month. Although I haven't gotten yesterday's blog posted yet. Too many shut-in visits combined with my son's football game. Sometimes ministry gets in the way of ministry! At least I have a sermon outline jotted down.

    What's really stumping me is what to preach at the nursing home. These texts don't really lend themselves easily to that context. Any suggestions would be welcome.

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    1. God loves everyone - how is God present to these folks in the nursing home? In the caretakers? In the simple moments of compassion? In being fed and clothed? Even in the fact that you are there leading a worship service - God shows up, is present, and reminds them that they are not forgotten?

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    2. What jumps out at me from James is that faith calls us to mercy, and showing mercy/care for others is not just a material "work." It's a work of attitude. (Or something like that.)

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  12. I've never had to preach on this one before. I've been wondering and praying about it all week. Thinking at the moment about how being around Jesus, mouths tend to be opened (as well as ears and eyes) - even when Jesus seems to want a little peace and quiet instead. The Syrophoenician woman feels quite comfortable speaking up, the second healing story has someone whose tongue is freed, and there are also people who go spreading the news even when told not to. I'm imagining how there might be something about Jesus that makes people feel free, open, even when he's feeling tired and cranky. (Being fully human must mean really wanting some down time now and then, though he does eventually respond. It takes him a minute with his mother in Cana, too, so it's not the first time.)

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    1. I'm also praying that God open MY mouth(pen/computer) rather soon, as I am attending a funeral this afternoon and trying to get ready to leave the country Tuesday morning. Yikes! Blessings on all as we do our listening and writing today.

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    2. Sarah, that's helpful. Thank you. I do think this is a great opportunity to talk "Fully divine/fully human," but I don't want to end up giving a seminary lecture. Maybe if I just started writing...

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    3. Sarah, thank you for that Cana reminder. I am talking about the divine/human aspect as related to Jesus himself needing to learn the full range of his call -- which will probably be a startling idea to many in my congregation. So it will be helpful to remind them of another example in which someone else is needed to call him to the fullness of his ministry.

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  13. I was able to get the sermon in the bag since I am at a Saturday meeting in fun city. (about 3 hours from TRC...tiny rural community )

    I wrote it as a page from Jesus' journal. I went back and included some of the events leading up to the event in tyre. The title is "crumbs to buns". It seems to feeding of the 4000 which directly follows this is also a piece to understanding this encounter. At the end of the service I have a basket of bread rolls which I will throw...yes throw into the congregation until all are included.

    This is purple. Can't get blogger to connect with my blog login.

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    1. Purple, you rock. And roll, apparently. ;)

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    2. Thanks for the great idea, Purple. Last night I ran to the grocery store and bought lots of individual packages of goldfish crackers. A couple of children handed them out to everyone while we were singing the hymn before the Gospel readings. Then I was able to begin my sermon by noting that they had just been fed with loaves and fishes. (They got a kick of of the fact that both had been packaged together for them!) The point here being that I was able to talk about the reading within the context of the two feedings and how the woman was only asking for crumbs. More involved than that, of course, but can't go without thanking for 11th hour idea!

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  14. Our lectionary skips out the SP woman and only has the deaf man, so I'm concentrating on deafness. Different types, what makes us deaf, effects of deafness (isolation, muteness), Jesus the healer and seeking healing. Pretty basic stuff but life here is so hectic. Next week is our synod ending with a diocesan Eucharist at which the Bishop is hoping for 5 000 people (I doubt!). We are going crazy with endless information overload. On top of that a Eucharist across 3 dioceses to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first ordination of a woman in this Province. And then a conference for the women clergy on Monday. Sigh. Seems I won't have a day off for about 3 weeks with this and everything else going on!

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  16. Tried to link Mu sermon. It is up. Click on purple to get there.

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  17. Starting from John Chrysostom's premise -- cuz I love all his hermeneutic principles, he's the best single guide to tackling the Gospel stories I've EVER found -- that JESUS ALWAYS KNOWS EXACTLY WHAT HE IS DOING AND EXACTLY WHY (John the Baptist too by the way), now it's up to us to figure it out. Along with that is, JESUS NEVER FORGETS WHO-ALL IS LISTENING AND WHO-ALL IS WATCHING. I'm going to have to post this puppy, I can tell. Sigh. Back atcha later.

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    1. So do you think Jesus turns these situations into dramas of sorts, to demonstrate who he is? That instead of Jesus receiving new insight into his ministry to all peoples, he is offering that insight to those with him?

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    2. And how would that apply to Cana, in which the conversation is a private one? If he knows that his time has come, then might he be demonstrating to Mary that relationship and cooperation are necessary in order to further his ministry -- or even to initiate it?

      Intriguing ideas . . .

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    3. CR, that's a perfect reflection of the high-low Christology contrast. I get more out of thinking she took him by surprise. Not to go all Process Theology on you. And I got some serious pushback from my 17yo who, even though she isn't always sure Jesus was divine, objects to the notion that God could be changed by people. Or changed at all. But when you consider the Dysfunctional Family Dynamics of the Old Testament, in which prophets frequently get in there and change God's mind about cutting off the people, there's a case to be made, imho.

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    4. I guess I lean towards a process theology perspective...somehow it makes Jesus MORE human to know that he could be moved, that he could broaden his perspective. If he was truly human why shouldn't that be part of his make-up? And as you note, there are plenty of places in the OT where God's mind seems to be changed, where God backs down from some threat to punish or destroy.

      I was, however, called on that by someone at our Wed. service. She believes Jesus was testing the woman to see if she realizes who Jesus is...or something like that.

      Tricky text, no doubt about it.

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    5. I love this CR- it is how I am most comfortable with this text, but I have forced myself to go the other way this time - and I think it fits Mark's version better. I can make the high Christology case for Matthew where "her faith" was what made the difference. I have thought about this soooo many times since BE 5 - that was such a rich conversation!

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    6. But! Amy! It's NOT her "faith" that's at issue here, it's her WIT in picking up his cue and producing the dramatic "LINE" that he needs...he commends her for what she has SAID. He needed to have that simple everyday everybody-knows-this-is-true thing SAID, and she responded the way he needed her to, for the sake of that bunch of passive-aggressive dusty-knuckled cloth-heads standing around pretending to be disciples!!!!! Improv! entirely improv!

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  18. I have my sermon laid out in a very loose draft. Beginning with some reflection on the red tail hawk, birds and feathers (NPR Fresh Air interview) which will lead to a comment on the reading from James (What are we being asked to do?) and Mark (Where is God and what are we being asked to do?), and conclude with a comment connecting season of Creation - God created the earth and all that is in it - the earth is in essence "God's body" (Sallie McFague) adaptation - creation adapts, Jesus adapts, we too are called to adapt to the changing times as a response to God's justice (James reading and Mark)

    well, that's kind of where I am. Now I'm going to take a break and exercise, which always helps me see into and through what I'm trying to write.

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  19. I'm focusing on the way the Syro-Phoenician woman changed Jesus' understanding of himself and his mission--unstopping his deaf ears. Thinking of playing with the role of the outsider's voice in the church, in our lives, in history. Thinking about South Africa this morning. Who knows what will finally end up in the mix. Since I don't even have my thoughts together, it's clearly going to be a long day in the high desert.

    Have some green-chile apple donuts on the counter. First cool day in months. A good day to curl up with a mystery. Guess my mystery will have to be the sermon yet unwritten.

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  20. Well, I don't agree that Jesus always knows what he's doing. I don't remember who said it but the point was made that this is a turning point in Jesus' ministry from "the chosen" to "all the world." In effect, the brave woman says to Jesus "How much do you mean all of that stuff you say to the Pharisees about 'it's not what's inside that defiles?' because here's your chance to make *your* actions match your words." In another sense I see her as a parallel to Jacob wrestling with the angel and refusing to let go until the blessing is given. However, Jacob is wrestling only for himself while the brave woman is wrestling for the benefit of another.

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    1. I really like the way you put this, Vicar!

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    2. Thank you!

      I'm also willing to consider that Jesus' "essence of being" isn't being challenged but that she calls him out on his inconsistency, he recognizes the truth in her assessment, and changes his behavior immediately.

      That self-reflective ability alone (no defensiveness/blaming) could *prove* divinity for me. I don't know the last time I saw that kind of behavior in an "all human."

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  21. Yes, Vicar, thanks for putting that into words.
    I'm back from visiting someone in the hospital; bedside prayers are working on me. Hopefully they will work me toward a sermon, although this feels pretty raw at the moment.
    First, though, I'm going to make a tomato sandwich for lunch. Who's hungry?

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  22. Heavenly Holy Donuts have no calories, right? I still want one and its almost lunch. Well, I wrote the draft last night and finalized it just now. I'm going to move on to worship and our new "Big SS" which is a once/month emphasis in the hopes of getting the couple of families with children to bring them to SS the same sunday even if that's only once/mo.
    There's some kinks to work out but I have hopes that this will help prioritize their Sundays while still coming to church the rest.
    I went with Ashton's take from FEasting, about Jesus' being opened by this woman's challenge/request and then he can open someone else's ears. But I love some of the ideas here! and now I'm even wondering about taking our old dog to church to eat some crumbs.... hmmm

    Our other dog once took a slice of pizza off the counter disturbing nothing. If she hadn't brought it down to where everyone else was eating in front of the TV, no one would have known!! but she wanted to be part of the family. I'll post in a bit.

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    1. Molly once got a coffee cake out of a big plastic bag, leaving behind the cardboard circle that supported it. Scary smart.

      I think I've preached that take before, Nancy (long before Feasting), and that's probably where I'm going today, after much inner wrangling.

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  23. as long as we're sharing dog stories. a friend makes pound cakes every Christmas. They have a miniature schnauzer. She came home to find a cooling cake with all the outside edges missing. It was up in the middle of the counter and only the upper edges were gone so they blamed the cat.
    Later testing couldn't get the cat to eat any cake.
    THey finally learned the dog had stood in his toes, pushed the plate against the burner to hold it and spun it around eating as much as he could reach ALL the way around the cake... what they won't do.

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    1. Melech (my cat) had a sweet tooth. He loves muffins, coffee cake, etc. He will get into anything left out and knows how to open the plastic bakery containers better than me.
      Fortuanley, he will not touch anything chocolate, so i don't have to worry about him getting sick. Well, unless he eats all of the muffins. But he does favor sweet stuff

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  24. With the Vicar of Hogsmeade on whether or not Christ could be changed by his encounter with the woman....it was a major focus in my thesis on the Matthean version of this story. Sermon is cooked and in the can for tomorrow. The power of words (and of the Word) and how they can be transformed and transforming. Using some of the fabulous Wil Gafney's riffs on this...and there is even a reference to that awful sitcom "Don't Trust the B___ in Apt 23). It'll be on my blog Sunday morning. Yeah, I write weird sermons. what can I say? As Popeye would admit, "I Yam What I Yam."

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    1. Isn't that what God told moses at the bush...i am what i am?

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  25. Good afternoon preachers!

    I'm not feeling a real sense of direction yet...last week's sermon on James sort of wrote itself, and I think I've been hoping for more of that kind of inspiration, which has yet to arrive. I may follow up on James although I sort of hate to leave Mark unaddressed...ugh.

    Right now I'm feeling kind of sleepy but whatI think I need is lunch!



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    1. I conked out for 20 minutes. Woke up to the doorbell being rung by a Liberty party candidate for state representative. His platform: fight welfare fraud, eliminate taxes, legalize marijuana. He had very bright, sharp-looking teeth.

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  26. Back from being with 3 women in our nursing home- one is dying- one is rehabbing - one never recovered from a horrific accident. Fascinating conversations with each about where God is in these very different places of their life. Tomorrow is our kick off to Sunday School and Western theme after church party. That means I have to be up and functional earlier... Still need to write a cowboy connected short sermon, an energetic Time with Young Disciples, prayers and stuff and I am very very tired... Grateful for this group! Party on preachers and pals!

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    1. oh my Celeste...what a day. Hope you find rest and energy.

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  27. Good morning! (Even though it is after noon...)
    I slept in until 9, which never happens, and then went for a long run and am so excited about a whole day of NOTHING on the calendar, not even a soccer game. Not sure how this happened, but thank you calendar gods.

    In this text, I see proof that Jesus was fully human and needed a break. I don't really feel a need to apologize for his behavior or even to find nuance in it.

    But it seems to me that once he realizes she is only asking for crumbs, he seems to snap out of it. Maybe he realizes she isn't asking him for every last little bit of his time, energy, or whatever. She just wants what is left laying around. This text isn't too far after a feeding miracle, and there were plenty of crumbs there. So somehow she calls him back to abundance.

    But I am also struck by voices. The woman uses hers, even though everyone in the day would have told her she didn't have a voice. And then Jesus actually gives the gift of a voice to a man who is mute and deaf.

    So how are we using our voices? To call out for justice for our children--like the woman does? Or the way the people go to Jesus and ask him to heal the mute man who can't ask on his own. (Kind of a Lorax moment--"I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues and I'm telling you sir at the top of my lungs....")

    I am a white, educated woman with a literal pulpit. I have a voice and a place to use it. Who are the people whose voices aren't heard? I'm also thinking about the people who are trying to take away my voice in regards to my ability to make my own decisions for my body.

    Thankful to have you all with me on this saturday. I have some carmelized plums left over from last night if anyone would like some. They are delicious!

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    1. I love the Lorax reference. It just gave me a way into Children's Time! (and it may get repeated in the sermon)

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  28. "Drag Queens and Did Jesus Just Call That Woman a B-----?" is mostly finished. I'm preaching it Wednesday at the seminary chapel. I wear a feather boa for the first part of it. The drag queens help us think about constructions of gender and name-calling. I'll talk about how I hear the B word as a black woman in America and how I wrestle with a Jesus who would say such a thing. I will invite the assembly to consider the notions of Jesus they bring to the text, how they hear the encounter and what that says about their Christology. I am thinking of leaving it open ended.

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    1. I would just love it if you post this sermon. Let us know, please.

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  29. Back from the Out of the Darkness walk. This is a small one with organizational and PR needs. I introduced myself to the chairwoman and next thing I knew I was delivering the closing prayer.

    Another woman did an opening speech on her experience of the past 1+ year. It seems that her son was a senior in high school and seriously, this is for real, someone said to her "at least you don't have to worry about his college tuition."

    I am thinking about Jesus changing his approach in response to an unexpected claim on his attention, and how very difficult it is for us to do, and what appalling things sometimes come out of our mouths when we are surprised.

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  30. wow. Glad you could be there in vigil for your own family and for others. But good grief. Cannot believe anyone could say that. Fits well with this text.
    ugh. Lifting up a prayer both for the woman who gave the speech and the person who said such a thing.

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  31. Influenced by David Lose and this conversation I have a draft. It still needs a a good ending but it's mostly there, so I'm going to take some time to get the prayers of the people and the blessing of the backpacks printed up and make sure everything is in place for our first Sunday of the fall schedule.

    Back later :)

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    1. YAY! we're blessing backpacks next week...

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  32. Why oh why don't I jot down more notes when I get an idea? I put in a Stewardship thought titled, "Beyond Quid Pro Quo" and just re-read the article in Lectern Resource that gave me that idea and NOW I have no idea what I was thinking...I really can't think of anything for the Children's Moment so I'm getting hubby to bring the dog. I'll be saming something really lame at that point but maybe no one will care if they are watching the dog. sheesh, glad the sermon, Gone To The Dogs is done at least.

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  33. I've sunk to the level of looking at a nine year old sermon for inspiration.

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    1. Martha - well, you just may find it, too! I hope there, or if not, elsewhere.

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  34. Friends, I am perkier after fixing dinner and eating it. Amazing how that works. Protein! Human companionship! I have an entry point and am writing. Go me!
    And go y'all, too!

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  35. Still looking for an entry point. Maybe I'll sneak a piece of my husband's leftover steak. (If it worked for Martha, it might just work for Mary (Susan)! I know what I want to do is take people with me on a journey to the opening point. For me that's a scary journey. I have to go back to the places where the pain was greatest. Think that's what is holding me up. Am wondering if in my thinking process what it would be like to start with the deaf-mute man and work backwards. Yuck. I hate this point in the process. Sorry to whine.

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  36. Well, I finally discovered my sermon amongst the crumbs of home made apple pie and, any excuse to post another pic of our puppy, posted it here
    It is already Sunday here, so just in time!

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    1. You have crumbs *and* a puppy! Lucky thing.

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  37. Well, I really hope you'll forgive me appearing after such a long break and posting my all-age 'monologue' for tomorrow on James 2: 1-17? Needing a bit of confidence really if you could have a read/comment!
    It's here

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  38. After a day of cleaning and having 2 extra boys at my house, am just getting going. Anyone here doing Genesis from Narrative Lectionary?'

    Pizza to share!

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    1. I'm with you RevTSB. This is my first time trying Narrative Lectionary and I'm looking forward to it (although I'd love to be further along than I am at the moment)! I'm feeling the challenge of short and sweet with tomorrow as Rally Day with Blessing of the Backpacks and Teacher/Leader Commissioning. Yikes!

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    2. Mir,
      Me, to with the short and sweet - communion!

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  39. After a frenzy of industriousness, I have all the little things done and a clear enough desk to start writing - sermon, blog (yesterday and today's post) and nursing home sermon.

    First I have to have nourishment - pancakes and homemade sausage at the benefit supper for my parishioner. I wish I could stay for the auction, but I'm just not far enough along to risk it!

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  40. I loved this discussion on BE5.0 - all about how our Christology affects how we interpret this story. On the boat, I was definitely a high Christology person, but since I've been sitting with it for many months now, I am preaching it differently. My sermon is here. I'll be preaching in a different place tomorrow, so I get nervous about preaching where I don't know the congregation, but I like the sermon so I'm hopeful all will be well.

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  41. Here's my question: is this the last time in Mark's gospel Jesus retreats? Anybody know?

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  42. I mean, other than the Transfiguration, which is different than the earlier attempts to go off and pray alone.

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  43. How do you who weave pictures into your text do it? How do you get the text to go down the side of the picture? Is this something a baby boomer can learn?

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  44. And while I am at it--how do you get your pictures to the left side of your name on this blog?

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  45. RevAlli, I can explain all that. I just can't do it on Saturday night. Email me on Monday, okay?

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Martha. Will do. I probably shouldn't even be thinking about such things when I haven't even started a sermon yet.

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  46. Here we go, I finished. I will try to get around and read yours as well.
    Be Opened.

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  47. Just did some serious editing to the sermon and reposted it: Adapting, The DNA of Love

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  48. For the record, pancakes and sausage are NOT brain food - they are nap food. Sadly, I need to think, not sleep.

    However, a $75 jar of pickles and 2 dozen buns for $140 (both homemade if that helps) may just give me fodder for my sermon on James. Those are the going prices at the benefit auction this evening - the community is raising money for a neighbor (and one of my members) who is on the transplant list. Last year, and a different person with huge medical bills, it was a $45 case of pop and $70-60 dollar buns.

    The 'royal law of love' in action - and we have a bit of fun in the process

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  49. Well, here I am back from a funeral and back to the sermon. I may be the last one sermonating tonight. Anyone else still out there?

    I had the human Jesus needing a break and I had her being persistent and being given a hearing (also thinking of Job, which we've been reading at Morning Prayer all week, also not getting the answer he was demanding but not giving up till he got a response). Now I have to remember how I was tying those together and what the third thing was. I think I'd better begin by praying for clarity!

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  50. BTW - I hope there will be some late night partiers. It's going to be a late one for me, and I'd love the company!

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  51. Now I'm just procrastinating, because....

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  52. ....I've never been the 100th comment before!!!

    Yay.

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  53. Ramona, you make me laugh. That's a good thing.

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  54. congratulations ramona.
    I am home from Sunday morning worship, time to eat, and get ready to go back for Messy Church this afternoon.

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  55. Sermon printed.Balloons where I will not forget yo bring them tomorrow. I need to bring clothes to change into suitable for three legged races and picnic games, then change back for a hospice family visit. After that prepare a mailing to go out Monday. I feel every minute of the 2 hours of sleep I had last night. Oh Lord, sleep tonight would be a very good thing. Next week is going to be a long one. Night all. Thanks for hosting Martha and Terri.

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  56. Yay, ramona!
    And on that note, I'm going to bed. Last one up, get the lights!

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    Replies
    1. I will message you next week. I want to learn how to add a picture to the left also.
      Thanks for hosting. I lvoe Blonde coffee.

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  57. Still up. How is everyone? I am workng away at James and talking on the sin of partiallity. This is especially interesting as i just attended a 4 hour workshop/ training on Boundary Issues in our Presby.
    Learned lots and was impressed with the materials from Faith Institute.
    Made me think about ways that I have seen boundaries crossed and partiallity shown to church members(by clergy).
    I decided on the title before going to workshop and knowing what it would cover. I mainly thought of sexuality type boundaries, but this covered so much more.
    Anyhow, wish I could have been here earlier to see what types of boundary issues have come up for others. Maybe a good topic for the future.
    But, I do recommend the training event if you have a chance.
    Now back to James

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  58. I'm up tonight and just arriving, ramona. We had a transformation retreat last night and all day today. I have played way too much Tetris for getting a sermon done, but exactly enough to clear my head from my long 24 hours. This is my first weekend preaching in football season again, so it's also my first weekend in a long series of very very exhausted Sunday afternoons. The teams we really care about are done for the night, but now the games I don't care about, but are still great procrastination are on. Good for me. Or not really.

    I'm starting the narrative lectionary tomorrow with the Genesis 2/3 story. Trying to figure out how exactly to get into a whole lot with just one sermon. I had an idea about delving a little into what is "God's plan" and "God's will" when things don't go they way they should.

    I don't think I want to do that exclusively anymore. I ended up at the last minute giving a title of "The Very Beginning" with the song "Do Re Mi" in my head - - Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

    I think instead of jumping right to where is God in the middle of destruction, sinfulness, our messed-up-ness, I'll sort of run through all the intricate things that happen at the very beginning - - all the intimate relationships and partnerships that are set up from the start (adam and adamah, ish and ishah, creator and creature), the description of human curiosity and tendency to trust our own judgement instead of God's, and then ultimately, God's willingness to just keep holding on and stay in relationship even if the relationship isn't what God hoped it would be. (Or something like that. I am just getting started so this isn't all fleshed out.)

    One more hour to get something started then bedtime for me.

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  59. Done. Thanks all for being there. It's what I got Surprised what stayed in and what dropped out.

    Ramona and 1-4 Grace, I'm sure you're not alone. I'm calling it a night. Thanks for hosting, Martha.

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  60. I have 834 words - about 200 short of my goal, but I may have everything I need. Thanks to Purple, I have a sermon contrasting James' admonishment against partiality with Jesus' insult to the S/P woman.

    I'd really like to unpack the faith without works is dead thing (being Lutheran and all!) but I'm not really sure how I work it in.

    I'm also tussling a bit with some advice 2 different seminary profs gave me - never end with 'what we should do (law)" but "what God is doing for us (gospel)". My sermon doesn't do that, but there's gospel in it (we're all beloved children of God). Maybe this one will just have to be more law than gospel.

    Happily, I think I can preach most of this sermon at the nursing home too.

    The blog posts on the two shorter readings of James will just have to wait.

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    1. Wish I could get the word count up - it seems a shame to waste a short sermon on a Sunday without communion!

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    2. Wow,you do 1000 words? Hmm. Maybe I should try that. I shoo t for about 1500, but the rest of our service is short anyhow. We don't have as much music.
      My home congregation (before seminary) had a music pro guy who played loooong preludes and did long offertory music.
      The choir also did all of the little short songs to transition the service.
      We don;t have all of that here, so it is way short.\

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    3. For me, 1000 is about 10 minutes. I try to go about 1200 on a Sunday without communion. We have lots of liturgy, but that works out to about an hour if we have communion and 50 minutes if not. I have to be conscious of time because I travel between 2 churches.

      Of course, sometimes the Spirit moves and you just have to say what you have to say...

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  61. Also home from worship and it preached! I think the two most talked about things were that the women used what she knew from the way she ran her household to challenge Jesus and that Jesus could have a change of perspective/learn something. Several people talked about how they assumed Jesus learned stuff as he grew up but somehow, once an adult and 'in ministry' he didn't need to learn any more things. It opened up some space to consider whether that was necessarily true.

    All power to those of you still writing, and peaceful sleep to those of you now resting.

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    Replies
    1. I just read your post from yesterday a few minutes ago, as you were typing this one, I supposed. I love what you were talking about then, and what came up since.

      Did you invite those comments in the service or do people just really talk to you that much about the text afterward?

      I sort of ran with my wondering about that in my brain and it made me think about doing a sort of Godly Play "I wonder" session in the middle of each service either for the scripture I just read or maybe even for the scripture for the next week. How fun!!!

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  62. Done! Sermon is posted here. Now to shorten it up for the nursing home and get everything over to my tablet.

    I think my hubby went to bed without me! 6:30 is going to come awful early.

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  63. OK, it's up -- at least, the notes are up, and they can be found here.

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  64. Just woke up...time to start writing...

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  65. Hi semfem! I'm up and writing, too! Unless you are sleeping again. Then it's just "I'm up and writing!"

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  66. She Rev, I think I had just hopped in the shower when you posted that! This whole "fall asleep at 10 pm and wake up at 3:30 am and write until 7 am" thing is getting old, although it is less stressful than "fall asleep at 10 pm and wake up at 5 am and write frantically for two hours."

    Now? Craving a holy nap and hopefully will get one soon.

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