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Saturday, September 29, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: An Old Story Edition


In a week where the texts are challenging, it feels like a good idea to share a little piece of the gospel according to RevGalBlogPals.

In the beginning, it was a Saturday. One preacher emailed another, and they realized they were both online, and they kept sending little words of encouragement via the Internets. And it was good. God said so. And it crossed their minds that other preachers in the webring might need the same sort of cheering up as Saturday afternoon turned to evening, and thus the 11th Hour Preacher Party was born.

The first Antonio Banderas reference appeared in those very comments (49 in all). You see, one of the evening-long email festivals took place while my daughter and I were watching Shrek 2. Somehow the notion arose that a completed sermon delivered by the voice of Puss in Boots, Antonio Banderas himself, would be, as the MasterCard ads say, priceless.

Also in the comments at the very first Preacher Party, my email partner reassured us all with the following--

Now for the two things that one of my homiletics professors told me was absolutely essential to preaching:

1) Let it go... the Holy Spirit has got your back.

2) If you got a dog, walk it proud.

This is our old story, gals and pals. We've been throwing this party for over six years now. It's by far the most-visited feature on the blog every week. It's been a place to make friends and get help and let off steam. Thanks to all of you for your participation and contributions over the years.

We've shared many cyber-treats and I promise you, they are absolutely calorie-free. I'll supply the Holy Donuts and keep the coffee and Diet Coke coming today. Pull up a chair and get out your laptops. Let's help each other find a good word this week!

95 comments:

  1. Faraway friends, I am so sorry this post is late! I had the retelling of the story planned for next week, then realized I was on *this* week!
    We have Confirmation tomorrow, and while we're reading the first few verses of the James and Mark lections, I'm leaning more heavily on our United Church of Christ Statement of Faith as a text. Our confirmands have studied it, and it's a good opportunity to present some of its concepts to the whole congregation.
    I'll be going out for donuts, for realz, just as soon as I wake up a little more...

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  2. For the third Saturday in a row, my day is consumed with an event - today it's the quarterly Presbytery meeting, with Tony Campolo speaking about sustainability.

    Preaching on Esther, with a little gospel preceding her, and beginning with Pope John XXIII, thanks to a post of Michelle Francl's: Consult Not Your Fears. Make choices out of imagination and hope rather than fear; do not fear those people whom you least expect to be engaged in the work of God; do not fear your own calling for such a time as this.

    I am actually planning to talk a bit about my arrival a year ago in the midst of BC diagnosis and treatment -- not to focus on myself, but to use all of us as an illustration of choices made out of imagination and in spite of fear.

    And now I am off to repeat last night's very long drive to Presbytery.

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    1. Robin, travel safely, and we'll see you later! MaryBeth shared a great blog post about fear with me. I'm not sure I'm up to having a cup of tea with mine, but it's a helpful image to consider.

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    2. Great post from MB.

      Now I have to think about how to insert something re: "Consult not your fears" doesn't mean don't acknowledge and come to terms with them; it means don't let them be the determinative factor in your decisions.

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  3. Good morning, preachers!
    My mind has been consumed with NEXT Sunday so here's hoping I can dial it down a notch to THIS Sunday. The Boy's game is not until 3:30 so I have time as long as I don't procrastinate too long (ahem).

    Can't believe we've all been connecting like this for so long. What a God-send... and Antonio-send (although, as always, I prefer Teh Clooney).

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  4. Not preaching this week (co-pastor has that task), but there is no Sunday School as it is mid-autumn festival here in China, followed by National Day - which makes it Golden Week so many will be travelling as schools and businesses close for the week. I'll be hanging out with any children that come, possibly relying rather too much on Veggie Tales and metres of newsprint for a collaborative mural. Thinking of all of you writing today.

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    1. That sounds like so much fun. Wonder what my congregation would do if I showed up with newsprint and asked for a mural?

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  5. Hi, I have a funeral this morning, and have a sermon (I guess) for this weekend. Not in love with what I wrote; perhaps I will be back later, perhaps I will let it go and believe that "the Holy Spirit has my back."
    Preaching on James, and prayer.

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  6. Jemma and Diane, welcome! I'm headed out for a run to the dump. I'm hoping to have my house on the market in a few weeks, and there is lots to do! (Including finishing a roughly outlined sermon...)

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    1. Oh...house on the market. Blessings on that, Martha.

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  7. Later than I usually do my sermon, which makes me a teensy bit crazy. Preaching on the Gospel as I did last week. Right now it's looking like a riff on "it's all about me" when the disciples continue to worry about somebody imitating them when they haven't even figured out what beginners they really are...another case of focusing on the wrong thing, like last week. Jesus is never about excluding, he is always about finding a way to include, but these guys want to be viewed as the ones who do it right, rather than that other guy. Talking about lopping off the parts that offend us and the ongoing pressure to get plastic surgery to conform ourselves to some external notion of beauty (it's all about what YOU think of me) rather than simply seeing ourselves as full of beauty and possibilities without comparing ourselves to others. Probably will not be one of my better ones, but I'll walk that doggie....and I've also got to get started on a homily for a memorial service for anther parishioner who has died from cancer, this one at the age of 59. Sigh.

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    1. Mibi, that sounds like a tough one. I'm so sorry.

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  8. It's an unusual Saturday of meetings for me, and I feel unprepared for any of them. So I'm in my 'just in time' ministry mode - get the stuff for the baptism prep meeting first, then worry about the council meeting and so on. Which likely means that I will be writing my sermon after 7pm. Ugh.

    On the other hand, I used David Lose's idea last week to have the congregation write down questions - and I got some really good ones. I'm preaching James and prayer/community, and some of the questions were on prayer, so if push comes to shove, I may just take the note cards and answer the questions. Sermon problem solved.

    I love the 'birth' story of this party! Thanks be to God for you all!

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  9. I'm back from the dump, and I stopped at the Donut place. The special offerings for today are Maple Glazed and Maine Apple with Cider Glaze. I promise, you will not regret partaking! The coffee is Organic Fair Trade Breakfast Blend from Trader Joe's. May I pour a cup for anyone? You can have it in a genuine RevGalBlogPals mug, or the old-fashioned favorite that says "Does This Pulpit Make My Butt Look Big?"

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    1. OMG those sound AMAZING...and since they are virtual and I ran six miles already, I"ll have one of each (and only sorry not to be close enough to have a REAL one).

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    2. I was at an apple orchard yesterday dreaming of apple donuts with cider glaze. Cider but not a donut to be found. Yes Please!

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    3. They are ridiculously delicious. I'm glad to share.

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    4. I love the autumn pastry offerings! Our local bagel shop had pumpkin bagels! Yum.

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  10. Nothing like filling two pages with context... but as I like to say, "Two pages filled is.... well, two pages filled."

    Hand me a donut!

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  11. Martha, I'm in awe. I have never, ever been to the dump. Much less have I returned with donuts.

    Dinner guests last night, 5 year old (how did that happen?) birthday party tomorrow, with a potluck lunch at hubby's church thrown in for fun. I've been trapped in the kitchen and would much rather be writing a sermon.

    Leftover lasagna, iced tea, and lemon squares. Soon to come: chocolate cake and cupcakes and cheesy potato goodness. Help yourselves!

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    1. I felt pretty powerful, esperanza. It's the first trip I ever made there by myself! I unloaded the stuff and drove away saying, "I am Woman. Hear me RAWR!!!"

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    2. On the other hand, I'm now at home being instructed in the housewifely art of measuring and installing shelf paper by my Domestic Goddess.

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    3. Esperanza! How can you have a five year old?!? Happy birthday to the girl and to mommy! I so remember her arrival. Guess I've been hanging around a while....

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    4. Tell me about it! Though there's also a 2 1/2 year old--maybe you're just remembering her? But thanks. I thought we were keeping this party low-key, but it sure it taking a lot of preparation.

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    5. No, unless I've got you confused with someone else I remember both of them...and also from Wednesday Whining days, too, right?

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    6. You are quite right. The 5 year old was the one who decided to come 2.5 months too early.

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  12. Going with Esther and the dedication of the Guild (women's group - not sure if it's called the guild in other parts of the world or only in Scotland) whose themes this year are "a faith to proclaim" and "whose we are and whom we serve".
    no idea what I am doing with the children so any ideas welcome!

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  13. Actually, just remembered. This week's gospel lesson is illustrated in the Spark story Bible (the first part, not the maiming), and I'm going to read that to the kids.

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    1. Yay for Spark story Bible! I can't tell you how excited I was when I discovered that it included as many lectionary stories as possible.

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    2. I heart the Spark story Bible, too. As do the girls.

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  14. Stopping in for just a moment. I have been sick since Tuesday with a "knock the socks of my feet" flu. I have not been this ill in a loooong time. Thankfully on Tuesday, before I got too sick to function, I visited by dying parishioner and prayed the prayers for the dying. He died early Thursday morning - a well loved former trainer for the Detroit Tigers. He and I had great fun talking baseball back when he was well enough to care about baseball. His funeral will be Monday. So, in these early hours when I am resurfacing to the conscious world, I am writing two sermons - one for tomorrow and one for Monday. Grateful the fever is gone and my head is clear enough to think, if only I could stop hacking and coughing up the gunk that has accrued inside me from days of fevered subconscious inclination. :-)

    My sermon for Sunday is considering what it means to be "intentional." I begin with some thoughts from the YouTube webinar at General Seminary by Prof's Deirdre Good and Katherine Shaner on the recent papyrus fragment The Gospel of Jesus' Wife. That leads to some reflection on Esther and what it means to stand up for injustice followed by James who instructs to ground our actions in prayer and Mark who encourages us to see the qualities of mindfulness and intentionality which come from prayer and lead to action. If that makes any sense?

    Maybe my head is still clogged? lol

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    1. Love this Terri! Deirdre Good was my NT prof in seminary--sorry I missed the webinar but I undertand it will be available on line soon.

      Glad you are feeling better and hope a full recovery is immiment!

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    2. That sounds like it makes sense. :-) Hope you feel better soon.

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    3. Prayers for healing and endurance, Terri.

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  15. i dreamt last night that i had 3 funerals in the next week, was preaching at an ordination and i was so nervous before getting up there that my teeth were chattering. turns out i was grinding them in my sleep... pondering the mighty list of stuff to be done. argh!

    sermon is, thankfully. now onto the next things... like getting rid of a headache. taming the wild dog with exercise. cooking much, so i won't have to cook at all next week... this is the 'new' plan. we'll see.

    welcome back Terri to the land of the living!

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    1. Thanks, Hot Cup, even if I feel as though I'm only partially here it is a long way from where I was!

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  16. Mid-Life Rookie here - just not currently logged in. I'm home alone this weekend as hubby is off celebrating his mother's birthday with her and his sisters. I've been preaching on commitments we make as part of our spiritual journey, and yes this week is stewardship. Things have been going really well at the church in terms of giving and ministry so this will definitely be a keep up the awesomeness and don't loose the enthusiasm sermon (2 Cor. 8).

    It is drizzly here and I just learned I do not have to participate in the outdoor evening event that was scheduled. So, one more quick errand then settling in at home. Still some work to do on my sermon, but the basic outline is there. I need to translate that into my little line drawings I'm using for notes these days.

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    1. Sounds like it's drizzly in a lot of places! How long have you been doing the drawings? It sounds like it's working well for you.

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  17. Not preaching, but do have some musings, ponderings, and even some wagon-circling here on the gospel passage for tomorrow...

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    1. Nik, thanks for stopping by and sharing your ponderings!

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  18. I'm at preachable, although the first half belongs on a leash, being walked proudly. It's definitely time to step away and let the brain focus on other things. Overcast and chilly for a baseball game - 'tis the season!

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  19. I'm using research done about a possible cell phone service switch to Verizon's "Friends and family plan" as an example of how God keeps expanding the circle and redefining who's in the circle - how Jesus has re-draw boundaries that include as many people as possible. WHEE!

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    1. Nice analogy, Vicki. Thanks for joining us.

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  20. Our free weekly community meal is called Esther's Kitchen- I have learned over the years that nobody knows the story, even the ones who choose the name. Am cobbling together an interactive storytelling version from some Purim sites. The harder part is getting some folks to agree to be part of the story.

    80th birthday party open house for one of my dear folks just started downstairs so I need to go make an appearance and eat a ham sandwich.

    Martha- thanks for retelling the RevGals creation story. I am very grateful for you all.

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  21. Good afternoon preachers! Martha, I love the retelling of the story. I've heard it before and every time I"m even more grateful for this community.

    It feels like I've been starting my writing later and later every week--a trend that needs to reverse b/c October is going to have a lot of Saturday things going on. And I have stewardship sermons to write. Which normally I don't mind, but the whole stewardship thing is kind of depressing as I enter my fourth year in this parish. More whines to come about that, I'm sure.

    THis week, I was really moved by David Lose's column in which he expanded this week's gospel to include those of other faiths. I want to preach that but I am also a bit fearful of how my conservative congregation might react. At this point I have no other inspiration so we'll see where I end up.

    Meanwhile I'm hungry and don't know what to eat at the moment. A *bux run for a skinny mocha might be in order once I get some words on paper.

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    1. And along the lines of David Lose's piece, I quite accidentally -- or perhaps should say serendipitously -- found this sermon. I may borrow the rabbi story from the beginning...

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    2. Oh - that is a great story! My sermon is already too long and too flushed out or I'd use it too!

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  22. It just occurred to me that this is the set of readings from which I preached my final sermon for St. Homeostasis - the last time I preached on these texts. What a very different place I am in now. Thanks be to God.

    Anyway - here is my sermon for this week: Is It Wrong?

    I'm hoping my voice holds....

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    1. Not at all certain about the ending. I had a different ending but then decided on using a question. Just not sure it's the right question, or that it's stated the way I want to state it. But my head is full and I need to walk away for awhile....

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    2. Wow, that is quite an anniversary. You have come such a long way. And yes, thanks be to God.

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    3. And more to the point Martha, I didn't even think of it until I suddenly noticed the last verse in Mark about salt. That final sermon was all about salt. Healing is a process but healing comes!

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  23. It's almost 9pm here and I have opened a word document, pasted in the Scripture, the gospel for me this week and - that's it! Puppies are such distractions! I've spent the afternoon enjoying the autumn sunshine with her on a beautiful walk around some waterfalls. But, when I got home, there was no carefully crafted sermon awaiting me. Time to try and get back to the thoughts I had when I participated in Tuesdays lectionaries leanings so that I have something to preach tomorrow. I have some Malteser tray bake to share for energy.

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    1. Seriously, I am seeing dogs everywhere, and they all look bee-yoo-ti-ful to me. It's a danger.

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    2. Puppies are evil chewers of all things in the house.

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    3. Would anyone like a high matienance kitty to take care of? Mine are all in need of attention and the sermon is not yet done. The lap top computer seems to cause jealousy. They think it is another cat.

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  24. Baptism Service. Sermon title "3P's of Parenting: Patience, Prayer, Power"

    Ideas anyone??????

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  25. 45 comments... the night is so young. I just returned from a Women's Retreat where I was a PARTICIPANT! It was lovely. Frances Taylor Gench led it on Naomi and Ruth. Lots of feminist interpretations. You all were with me in spirit so I hope you feel refreshed! I have been working on the sermon but need to get back to it and add about 5 minutes. This may be a Sunday for a little ad lib...

    Preaching James 5 and lifting up our Deacons by having them do anointing from 4 corners of sanctuary while I stay on chancel for the choir. Our low church tradition allows me such freedom and I want to raise their visibility a bit. Here's hoping it all comes together.

    Also co-leading a Senior Adult Retreat on Thursday and need to have my stuff ready by lunch on Monday for a leader meeting. No rest yet.. but great retreat.

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    1. Nancy, that sounds lovely. Let us know how it goes?

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  26. I'm back. I met with a person who had to be the first person to hear something I'm telling a group of people tomorrow that other people will find out in a letter being mailed Monday...and I hope you get the picture. The meeting went well. Now I have to get focused on tomorrow's sermon, but I'm going to eat something other than holy donuts first. :-)

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    1. Martha- glad it went well. But what a distraction. Hope you get some focus back. Unlike me tonight!!!

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    2. Thinking of you Martha- as another very distracted preacher.

      Liz- no puppies but the church is filled with cute babies and small children who keep coming in to introduce their aunt, uncle, cousin etc to their friend Pastor Celeste ( who is trying to finish a sermon in her office...)

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  27. nah, stick with the donuts, Martha!!
    Liz, step away from the puppy... :D

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  28. Distractions of all kinds I see. Thinking of you Martha and trusting there is focus...for us all. But for now, food... chicken wings anyone?

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  29. Thanks to RevDrMom I think I fixed the problems I felt were part of my sermon. Newly posted here What Does It Mean

    Now. I am making some homemade beef barley stew and corn bread. Anyone hungry? (Martha, I'll send you some stew if you send me a cider donut!)

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  30. Just getting to the party. Hopefully those words will just float from my brain to the page. Thankfully I did get some notes down for the flow of the sermon earlier this week.

    p.s. I did see Viola Davis' new movie this week, "Won't Back Down". She is one excellent actress. There are so many places in the movie where you could insert "church" for the word "school".

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  31. We're watching The Princess Bride. I'm not sure this will help, but it can't make things worse. (Can it?)

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    1. That would be completely, totally and in every other way inconceivable!

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  32. I really want to watch something.. almost anything will do. I've got a few notes typed for the retreat meeting that I can revise tomorrow or monday and completed the parts of worship. Now I'm adding to a manuscript..such that it is.. and am going to call it quits, SOON!

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  33. Wait, you're going to finish your work, and *then* watch TV?
    (Heeheehee...)

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  34. Finally back from all today's meetings. I checked but the sermon-writing elves did not stop by my computer. BTW - meetings, especially council meetings are draining. I'm tempted to preach from my outline, but the last time I did that, I had a 25 minute sermon - my son still complains about it! Maybe I could set a timer and when it goes off, I'll just say, "That's all folks!" and sit down...

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  35. So traditional.. and boring, isn't it..:0)))

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  36. Well I finally have a draft. The rabbi's story in the sermon I mentioned above became my focus as I tried to do some of what David Lose was talking about. Not sure how successful I was. I"m going to let it sit for a few minutes and then edit.

    Ugh...its been one of those sermonizing days...

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  37. I'm back and staring a sermon in the face that is not so preachable as I once thought. More than half is setting the story in context?
    delete. delete. delete.

    No Communion or baptism or anything to rescue me tomorrow either.

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  38. Just popping by to celebrate the anniversary of the Preacher Party. So glad this space is here.

    Not preaching tomorrow (hubs is up). We have our church's big Block Party after worship tomorrow, and I've been worrying endlessly about it, but trying to let go and trust that all will be well.

    Party on, y'all! Preach on, preacher women!

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  39. I'm taking a break from the cake decorating. Now I know that God did not call me to be a cake decorator. Hey--it's good to figure these things out, right? How much more I will enjoy writing a sermon next week! Remind me of this when I am whining next week, please.

    Good writing, everyone. Chocolate cupcakes are ready. And they are *really* chocolatey. Here, have one.

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  40. It's not pretty...but it's done...here

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  41. Well, thanks to Martha's patience, my congregation won't be suffering through a MASSIVE dog walking. Off to bed now, hope everyone has wonderful worship!

    Don't forget, the Holy Spirit has your back and if you have a dog - walk it proud!

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  42. And despite kzj's patience, mine will be suffering through a classic Confirmation sermon. Oh, well. It may still preach.
    Thanks to all who stopped by today. I'm headed to bed. I hope there's enough sleep for all who need it tonight.

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  43. I seem to be getting later and later finishing up my sermon! On the plus side, I'm a lot less stressed about finishing later. Maybe that's not such a good thing!

    Let Us Pray... is posted. I'm off to bed!

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  44. Blessings upon RevGals on this anniversary. Prayers for a good morning for everyone.

    We begin confirmation classes after church tomorrow. I always enjoy this time with the youth. Co-teaching it with our "shared ministry" pastor/friend and youth from his congregation.

    Going to bed after a very busy day...two trips to Cincinnati for cello boy, confirmation preparation, husband out of town, dog still very sick.

    I, for one, will be glad to get out of the book of James...come on Holy Spirit. Bring your grace.

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  45. Hello! I'm here, but not looking forward to the sermon I am writing. My general direction was not coming well this week, so instead of working earlier as would be smart, I've been avoiding it. I have a way in, a focus and a function. I haven't started with those things in a long time, but that's how stuck I was midweek. I had to go back to the basics.

    About 10 minutes until bedtime because I refuse to sway from that. I'll just stay up all night if I do. I'll give what I have one more look tonight and see if I have enough pieces to sleep on. I think I do. It just doesn't feel like a favorite sermon. I'm on my way into a busy couple of weeks including two nights away at a meeting, then single-parenting for 5 days. I know other people do the single-parenting for MUCH longer chunks. You all have all my admiration. Prayers for those who do it day in and day out. Shoot, even my husband is used to doing it more than I do since I'm the one who travels more for continuing ed, extra vacation time, etc.

    Anyway, I'm avoiding my date with the Passover. Peace!

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  46. Awesome!!! Found a poem (Forgetfulness) that will be perfect for getting me started, keeping me on track, and making me feel way more literary than I am. :) Seriously. Can go to bed with a plan! I'll be back in the morning and will turn on the (fair trade) coffee if no one else has done it yet.

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    1. I'd love to know how you are going to use that poem. I find it stunning.

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    2. I'm working with the Passover story and have been struck by God's words in Ex 12:13 that the blood will be "a sign for you" and then Moses' imperative "Remember," especially when they get to "a land flowing with milk and honey." What I hear and see is the reality that it is easy to forget from where we have come and who brought us there once life gets easier. But God gave the Israelites the festival to help them remember. I will start with the poem because it is such a wonderful illustration of the universality of forgetfulness - - even the use of a story at the beginning, even the story of God's faithfulness, the name of the author of redemption slips our mind after time passes. And the last line about the love poem - - that, too. The Exodus is an act of love, a demonstration of God's love, and even that runs the risk of drifting away.

      I am not a poetry person AT ALL, but some divine providence through Google brought that to me in the late night hours, and I love it!

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    3. oh my- that poem is amazing. Love when those perfect pieces find you.

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  47. Up early to finish writing. Well, it's worked the last few weeks! Not relishing this new habit. But here are the fruits this week.
    Might just have time for a nap before showering.

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  48. Friends, I'm sorry I didn't read yours last night. Mine remained too unsettled. My prayers are with this far-flung community of preachers and friends this morning. God be with you.

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