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Friday, October 12, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Paradox of Disorientation

Sometimes life comes at you fast and help seems far away...







Our readings this morning are a bit disorienting. One day life is going along smoothly, the next day everything has changed. There is a fleeting nature to life. The very thing that seems to diminish us may also become that which brings us our greatest sense of insight and awareness of God. It's a paradox of God's grace and mercy, through suffering can come new life.

 Job, tormented. All he has ever known, all of his life is gone. He sits in certain assurance that God will be present, he will know God, and all will be well. But after a time he begins to wonder. 

"Where is God?"

I think we all know this feeling. God is absent. What are we to do? Sit in sack cloth and ashes and wait? Somehow? Are we able to live in hope. Can we live for the hope of hope?

Psalm 22 echoes the words of every person who has ever lived through desolation, despair, the bleakest of times: 

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?

Hebrews reminds us that no matter the degree of our suffering, God is with us. Through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God has poured out God's love for all creation. This love of God in Jesus contains all the suffering of the world. Jesus has lived every pain and suffering of humankind through all the ages. 


Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

And Mark reminds us that suffering can have the paradoxical effect of helping us grow in empathy and understanding. Those who do not suffer, truly suffer, are unable to embrace the full reality of despair and desolation. Many things in life protect us, buffer us from suffering. The Gospel reading names wealth as that which prevents us from embracing fully the suffering of others.

Seriously....I have no idea where I am going with these readings this morning. ACK!

What I do know is that this is the preacher party and somehow we will all figure this out and get a sermon written. We'll do it together. We'll find our way through the disorientation.

Help is here!

We'll share ideas, offer suggestions, give support, pray for one another....But most of all we'll share some sustenance.

I have coffee and tea. Freshly made apple-cinnamon-cider donuts (OMG, divine). Pull up a chair - let the party begin.










110 comments:

  1. So, it's actually bedtime where I am - but I know some of you are well into your Saturday...so, please get the party started. I'll be back in about 8 hours...LOL

    I forgot to mention, but I also have some fabulous homemade apple crisp - help your self.

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  2. Hello everyone! I will be preaching Mark and we are beginning stewardship.
    First, Saturday morning, I get to marry a couple who met at church. Very exciting.
    Am thinking of using that video of the Haitians reading first world problems. Because I know that some in my congregation will think the text is for "rich people" and they don't identify themselves as rich. But everyone in my congregation has food, shelter, comfort. We are all rich. This text is not just for other people. I'm hoping that Haiti video might make that clear.

    And, other than that, I've got nothing.

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    1. Hope the wedding goes well and that you enjoy officiating.

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    2. marci
      can you please put in the link to the video. thanks.

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    3. I'm not sure I've seen the Haiti video, sounds potent for the text today. I do hope you have a link you can share. Many of us, even in this country, do not have good, shelter, comfort. Or we stand on the brink of losing everything - one disaster and we're over the precipice. In my community, a seemingly wealthy area, we have over 12,000 kids who never have enough to eat. That reality is startling. For the majority of people it is true that we are rich, it's hard to imagine the despair that might reside in the lives of our neighbors....

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    4. http://www.christianpost.com/news/first-world-problems-anthem-goes-viral-82955/

      I'm not good at posting things on blogger, but if that link doesn't work, you can just google "Haitians reading First World complaints"and the video will show up.

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    5. And thanks for your prayers for the wedding. It was a great celebration. One of those gifts in the church.

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  3. Thanks Teri. It's approaching lunchtime here (Beijing) - and our house smells amazing as our vegetable delivery yesterday included an enormous bag of basil that is being made into pesto. I'm preaching Hebrews (I think) - some kind of lectio divina style meditation on some of the rich words in the text but to be honest I'm spending as much time googling places to stay on a week's leave next month. Our home leave was postponed six months due to a variety of circumstances and we're weary! However, receiving mercy and finding grace seem like good things to be dwelling with so that's where I'm headed today.

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    1. YUM. Love basil. I hope you have a good trip home - after this sermon. A lectio divina approach meditation sounds wonderful to me!

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  4. Hi there Jemma - I am so tickled by the idea of pesto in Japan :) I love what a small world it is, especially on this site. Anyway, just back from a week of vacation and not really in the mood to think about Suffering after a really wonderful week at the beach, but that's where I'm going this week, so I'm hoping for inspiration while I sleep. On the docket tomorrow - a visit to a new widow and a haircut. Will see what else the day brings... See you all on the other side!

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    1. Hey Jennifer, hope inspiration struck in the night!

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  5. Hi Terri and others,

    4pm Saturday afternoon here. Spent most of the morning at church helping with the cleaning. the cleaner [paid] has moved, and we are in the process of looking for a new one. but in the meantime, the cleaning still needs doing.
    Preaching on Mark - do we recognise our need for something more than material things of life? what stops us taking that next step?

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    1. I like that - it sums up the thoughts that have been floating in my mind all week! Thanks pearl!

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  6. finished earlier than usual tonight, 8.30 and the sermon is finished, a bit of tidying and I will be printing. it will be good to have a [hopefully] earlier night than usual for a Saturday.

    The Challenge of Grace is here if you want to read it.

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    1. I'll be over shortly to read your offering. I like your premise - finding more in life than the material...

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  7. I have put on SO MUCH weight that there is definitely no party for me today! (This has been a bad week for unhealthy eating culminating in my son and daughter-in-law's 3rd wedding anniversary last night with champagne etc.) Summer is coming here and I can't fit into any of my clothes so drastic action is needed.

    I am full of sinusitis and really don't feel like preaching tomorrow, but there is no escape. I am going with Mark - What gets between me and God? I don't want to focus just on money but will look more at time and talents that we keep from God.

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    1. Pat. Me too. My goal this year - finding balance - with weight and exercise, rest and activity, work and play...it's not easy. I hope you feel better. Good premise for your sermon, "what gets between me and God."...a lot some days :-)

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  8. Oh, I am up way too early for the long drive to church and the Pancake Breakfast, and then tonight one of our members is having a huge harvest party. So I'll have to deal with my too-long sermon this afternoon. I'm starting Job a week late since I wanted to do a series but didn't want to begin on WCS. It's taken me too many words to introduce the book and characters and lay the groundwork for what I want to convey: the importance of engaging with God instead of resorting to platitudes.

    I have to admit, though, I am unsettled about this preaching as I realize, considering the entire book and all four sermons, that if much more terrible stuff happens in my life, I am likely to be done talking to God -- which is exactly what happened in my family of origin.

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    1. Robin, that is an honest, from the heart, risk...suffering and God are often irreconcilable realities. I appreciate that you have helped me grow further from "platitudes" as a response to suffering ("God never gives us more than we can handle" - ACK - who is THAT God?)....praying for you as you move through this series. I plan to do the same, preach on Job for awhile. I may go back and re-read Richard Rohr's book, Job and the Mystery of Suffering. I read it 13 years ago, wonder what I will hear in it now?

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  9. Good morning - I won't be partying too much today. I am walking in the Avon walk for Breast Cancer in 2 weeks - and it's a LONG walk! 26.2 miles the first day and 13.1 the next. So, I have to get in some practice long walks first, and I have most of today set aside for that. But, I am preaching on Mark - dropping things and following when we don't get the answer we want.

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    1. Chilly - I hope it's a good day for a long walk. I have often used walking to help me "write" my sermons....maybe this will help you too? Good premise for you sermon too - keep on truckin' right? works with your walking and with continuing to follow even when we don't get the "answer" we want...

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  10. I've been up for awile. I have coffee and a fire in the fireplace to take the chill out of the air. The sun, at 8am, is just rising high enough to light the ground. Mozart is playing. I have a cat on my lap. Yes, it is relaxing here. But I do have a sermon to write and the books I want to use are at the church. ACK! (Richard Rohr's Job and the Mystery of Suffering)...so I'll have to settle for an intro to the story and make reference to Rohr next week...I think I'm going to comment on Job, for the most part, but make some connection to Hebrews and Mark as guideposts for the journey of faith through times of tribulation and despair...

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  11. I have zero words written, and most of the day to spend with the two preschool cuties. Hopefully my husband will make some time appear this afternoon.

    My single idea is that Job and the rich man are both seeking God. There. That's it.

    Feel free to run with that and see where you get.

    Hoping to go outside and do some planting this morning. We'll see how cooperative the preschoolers are.

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    1. Hi Esperanza! I think you can run with that idea - and find places of commonality and differences in how they seek and perhaps find God...

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  12. This Sunday we are celebrating the birthday of our denomination, as well as Coming Out Day, so I am working with Hebrews (humans seeking to understand God's truth and that what we understand as God's truth may be different from what others see as God's truth) and giving up everything for the sake of the gospel includes giving up our fears.

    It's a lot to pack in but I can see (in my head) how it will flow. However, I need time to actually write it, and I am not sure where it will come from. I have two wedding meeting today, back to back, and a fund-raising pig roast this evening for a friend's dragon boat team (they raise funds for breast cancer, which of course is near and dear to me!). I will have a couple hours this afternoon, unless that is when my godson (living in Shanghai) Skypes to discuss his upcoming wedding, at which I am officiating!

    Can I have another day in the weekend, please?

    Not much exciting here for breakfast...leftover pumpkin pie, anyone?

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    1. Oh rainbow - you do have a lot going on. wowzer. I hope that whenever you can carve out a little time to write the sermon flows from mind and heart onto paper with ease!

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  13. We are in the second week of the stewardship campaign, which this year is called "Acts of Faith"--and we are preaching on Acts, obviously! This week I have a good chunk of Acts 5--the apostles teaching in the Temple and the Council wanting to kill them, but then deciding to let them be because "if their activity is of human origin, it will disappear, but if it is of God then you cannot stop it." I'm working with the idea that God's church is unstoppable--but we still have to get out there and share the good news, even against all odds, because nowhere in the story does it say "and then the apostles went to Starbucks and stayed there all day without ever talking to anyone, and miraculously all in the place became believers." lol. (this week's stewardship focus? Education.)

    I have one hour right now in which to write, then I'm headed out to my last Chicago Ideas Week workshop (I've blogged about several of this week's workshops here)--a west african drum/dance lab! tonight I have youth group, so if I don't get done in an hour, I'll be back late late late. Help yourselves to the fruit in my organic food box--pluots and apples and pears and bananas and kiwi-berries! (I don't even know how to eat kiwi-berries!)

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    1. wow teri that sounds like fun - the ideas workshop...I hope the sermon falls into place....always seems to me, though, that whenever I NEED the sermon to fall together quickly...it does not. Sigh...still hope for you prevails...

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  14. Good morning, party people. I'm an infrequent partier around here, but this is my week, I guess. I'm going to be tweaking a Sustainable Sermon (I feel like I should be paying royalties to whomever coined that phrase).

    So far Blue Eyes and I have cleaned the garage and put the deck furniture in the attic. We have two rooms in the basement that need our attention, then maybe a movie as a reward!

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    1. RIght...who coined that phrase? Martha? Kathryn? Someone else? Well - yay to whoever did!

      I am almost never able to reuse a sermon - mine do not seem to be sustainable. I guess that reflects on me in somewhat? Or are my sermons simple too contextualized for the time they are first given? Or maybe I just don't like them later? Well, what ever.

      You on the other hand have some fabulous sermons and they should be repreached! Go YOU!

      Also, a movie sounds fabulous. I hope to do that on Monday. Thinking about seeing the new film by Ben Affleck with John Goodman "Argo"...

      Thanks for stopping in, Jules! Happy Chore Day...

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    2. I believe we owe that one to the Vicar of Hogsmeade. :-)

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  15. Good morning! It's always a good morning when you wake up to eggs, sausage, toast and coffee, prepared by your loving spouse!

    We had a late night last night - we traveled to our son's away game (3 1/2 hours one way) to see him in the starting line up for the very first time. They won too! It's so much easier to concentrate on the game when your child is not standing on the sideline the whole time!

    Today I get to go to the local Tour of Tables - themed tables, salad lunch and raffle. Last year's was so much fun!

    After that, it's sermonating time. Preaching on Mark, but not sure yet where I'll start, but I know I'll end up with radical discipleship. I'm looking for practical descriptions on what that looks like. The one I have so far is: radical discipleship is being able to let go of the hurt and forgive and repair a relationship torn apart by a family feud. What does radical discipleship - or any kind of discipleship - look like in action?

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    1. Ramona, the distance you travel just to do the ordinary things of life is impressive!

      Discipleship - that was our theme last year at the church - I wrote 8 or so newsletter articles on that idea and called it "Discipleship, What DOES that mean?"...I used examples of discipleship that I saw active in the parish. So for example, radical discipleship in action would be: working in the soup kitchen, setting the altar for Sunday morning worship, tending to the kids in youth group and Sunday School, learning how to move through conflict into reconciliation through listening, love, and compassion..

      Unfortunately my computer died and I may have lost most of my computer copies of that series....we do have hard copy somewhere. But mostly I just tried to pull up real examples that I saw around us and also some examples for us to move toward....

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    2. Thanks Terri for some good ideas - gives me a jumping off point.

      Traveling to do just about anything is just daily life in South Dakota. I was amazed as how casually people around here consider an hour and half drive to go do something! I really need to get some sort of voice to text software - I spend so much time in the car when I do visits and go to pastor's meetings. It would be nice to be able to be productive while driving!

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  16. Greetings everyone...I'm low on sleep but have plenty of coffee. Trying to get a decent start on the sermon while I have a few hours to myself...later there are errands a-plenty to run. Also trying to think of a good interactive children's sermon--we started doing a thing recently where I give them an "assignment" during the children's sermon and they can work on it in the nursery or in their seats. Not quite Sunday School, but something where kids can engage more fully during worship.

    Preaching Mark in my series of "tough lessons from Jesus." If anyone is stuck and needs some inspiration, Barbara Brown Taylor has a great sermon on this text in The Preaching Life. I'm especially taken by Peter's exclamation towards the end--I can just hear a congregation saying, "Look Jesus, we do a lot for you! Don't you appreciate us?? This is not impossible!"

    I'll pick up a chocolate babka to bring to the party. Yum!

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    1. Welcome SemFem...sorry for the lack of sleep. But thanks for the BBT reference and reminder!

      Chocolate Babka? Not sure what that is but chocolate anything is good in my book!

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    2. The lack of sleep was due to attending a lovely ordination last evening two hours from my home, so I am dealing with it by applying lots of coffee. :)

      Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode about the chocolate babka???

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    3. I never watch Seinfield...married with kids, not much television watching. Now I catch it in reruns but can't say I've seen this one?

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    4. I didn't watch it obsessively like friends in college did, but I do remember the episode about the chocolate babka. Suffice to say that the babka is DELICIOUS.

      Pondering children's sermons that use the "Would you rather..." game and talk about making difficult decisions like the rich man...but it's not quite what I want. Hrm. Or maybe something with actual sewing so they understand the needle illustration.

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    5. So fabulous to see you at the ordination. I had a lack of sleep Sat night due to little one. Sermon is definately a dog I will walk proud.

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  17. I'm at BWI, way too early for my flight home, hoping to get my sermon well underway or even finished before I board in a couple of hours. It's Stewardship for us over the next few weeks, the theme being "Let's Run the Race," adapted from Hebrews 12:1-2. This opening week is a focus on the Cloud of Witnesses and how people in the past (both Bible past and little town in Maine past) persevered in the face of loss and challenge with the help of God and one another. Or something like that. I asked the congregation for stories of people in the history of the church who exemplified faithfulness, and I got a number of emails I'll be using, gladly. I'm mindful that this Stewarship campaign is for a year in which they will begin searching for a new pastor, a lot sooner than they expected, and I've focused the theme on how the community works together. But still, this is hard, for them and in some ways for me, too, even though I'm happy about where I'm headed. So, here goes!

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    1. Martha, no doubt transitions, even ones that make us happy, still come with an ending...the impression I have is that these people are good, solid, faithful, intelligent folk and they'll navigate the transition well...celebrate, grieve, live. Sounds like you have a good plan to help them through the part of the transition that you will be apart of...

      I like that you are using stories from the congregation - that's a great idea.

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  18. greetings gals and pals! I almost never check in any more, since I almost never preach any more, but I wanted to share my good news that I have FINALLY completed my written work (answers to 19 Discipline questions, a paper on Christology, a sermon, and an autobiographical statement) to be commissioned as an elder in my denomination! I got my call to ministry when in high school in 1983, started seminary in 1997, graduated seminary in 2003, and have been a youth pastor, a part time preacher, and now a part time associate/licensed local pastor. I have been at this last stage (a "certified candidate" since 1999. So, one might say this is a long time coming! It is just one hurdle and I have many to go until full ordination. But it feels like a big deal to me...and it was at least as much work as my master's thesis in engineering! So please help me celebrate - I have some fresh hot donuts to share, and will likely make some brownies later just because. Enjoy! This feels a little like bragging, but, hey, I am pseudonymous, and anyway, I know you all will get it!
    Prayers for all as you prepare, and blessings and thanks for this community

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    1. Not bragging at all MumPastor--a real reason to celebrate! Congratulations, and may the rest of the path to full ordination go smoothly!!

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    2. YAY - totally celebrating with you! And, yes may all the rest of the path go smoothly.

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    3. Such fanTAStic news, MP - so thrilled for you! What a journey!

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    4. Yippee! I'm married to a Methodist elder, and all those terms are giving me flashbacks! Glad you've cleared a hurdle.

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    5. Yay! That's terrific news. Blessings on your journey to ordination.

      BTW - I've missed your sermon posts!

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  19. Good afternoon preachers!

    I spent the morning at church at our fall "clean up" day. And got to throw away some junk that was long overdue to be tossed; I wish we could get rid of our psychological/spiritual baggage that easily!

    I am starting a four week stewardship series tomorrow. This is the first time I've ever gone off lectionary for a series, and it makes me a bit nervous. I am using this week's Mark text, but I switched out the other readings (b/c I'm Episcopalian right down to my DNA, I need 3:) I'm using James Weldon Johnson as a substitute for Gen. 1 for OT and Isaiah 40:12-31 in place of the epistle. I want to focus on creation and God's gifts of abundance to us etc. etc. this week. I sort of have a plan for where this is going but I really have NO idea how it is all going to turn out!

    It was 27F when I woke up today; I keep saying I like winter but I feel psychologically unprepared for it right at the moment. Part of it is that I feel the cold so much more since losing a largish amount of weight (which I am thrilled to have shed, don't get me wrong!) And I've just started enjoying running but I am not so motivated to go out when it is cold. I think I will be buying some silk undies and other layering items this winter!

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    1. That would be James Weldon Johnson's Creation for Genesis 1

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    2. Exercise is crucial to my well being. And I love to be outside...but not so much in the cold. So, I hear you...

      I have found it challenging to go off lectionary...but it's a good thing once in awhile. I think your series sounds fabulous, and the readings for this week, too!

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    3. We used that same Creation poem (from God's Trombones, which I highly recommend to anyone) as our first reading at the blessing of the animals last Sunday!

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  20. I have a sermon written...but it is TOO long. sigh. Will need to edit it. But first, a shower. I don't have much time before I have to head over for the youth spaghetti supper and tin-can raffle to raise money for their pilgrimage next summer...

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    1. Too long is better than nothing, right? Good luck with the trimming.

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  21. I'm getting somewhere, but there was a fair amount of noodling around on Facebook first. I was saved by having the free wi-fi run out...but then was able to get it again after waiting a little while. In between, however, there was writing. :-P

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    1. noodling around on Facebook? No one else here has ever done that, I'm sure. Especially not to procrastinate a sermon.

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    2. Seriously, I hesitated to confess. At the moment I'm hung up trying to draw a link between the Old Testament survivors listed in Hebrews, St. Perpetua and ladies who faithfully made biscuits. Pray for me, now and in the hour I have left before the flight.

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    3. I see that link and think I've done a similar thing before.

      I may or may not have a facebook tab open as we speak ;)

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    4. What would sermon writing be like if we didn't have FB noodling to go along with it? I can't even imagine :) That and the Preacher Party to keep us company!

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  22. Garage sale run and done. Front yard raked and bags to the tree dump. Left over books to the library sake and clothes to the hospital resale shop... feels like I am missing something... oh that would be my sermon. My office has been under 55 all week.get the call at noon that the boiler is on and my office at least 60.

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    1. Office is at 70! I have needed to wear gloves for the last 2 weeks. Of course now I am in a turtleneck and sweatshirt... hears hoping the heat will go to my brain so that I can get this done and get done

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    2. Celeste - we had boiler issues too...heat is a good thing...but too much heat, not so much. You've had a productive day!

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  23. My first Job sermon is up.

    Too much tell-the-story and basic exegesis, but I'm trying to lay the groundwork for a series leading to the idea that we are called upon to tell God our actual, real feelings, and from there on we will discover things we had no idea about. I have heard enough platitudes about bad s--t in this first year of ministry to bury me under a pile of them forever.

    Preaching WAY ahead of myself in this one. Four+ years since my son died, and I am pretty sure that I can say that if something happens to another of my children, Mrs. Job is my girl. I am personally nowhere near the kind of person we are called to be by the end of the book. And I get to say that, and be honest about it (although not from the pulpit).

    I am very curious to see what I am saying three weeks from now.

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  24. Robin, no doubt you get to say that! But honestly I experience you as just the kind of person we ought to be when going through suffering - one who wrestles and argues and questions and threatens to leave and yet gets in the pulpit every Sunday and tries to be faithful. I hope the series is fruitful for you in whatever way that might be...I'll be over in a bit to read yours. I suspect mine goes a little too far in the direction you rightly disdain...although I tried not too..sigh

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    1. Robin, your sermon is fabulous.

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    2. that went in the wrong spot, it was meant for Mumpastor.

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  26. Just got a call from one of our music people. whose elderly mother was hospitalized last night with life-threatening injuries, and for a variety of reasons her family has decided no surgery and has signed a DNR. The Job series may be what they need. But she told me that the choir (and the director knows what I'm preaching on), in which she and her three sons all sing), is singing a song called "I'm So Happy."

    ?????

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    1. Curious...wonder what the lyrics are...

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  27. So I have to head next door for the youth group spaghetti supper...back in a little while! Keep the party going, 'k?

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  28. Oy vey. I have a whole lot of words, and I just hope some of them are preachable, but right this minute it feels like I am going around in circles. I think I will heat up a bow of vegetable soup for supper and then see what it looks like.

    Plenty of soup to share if you're hungry...

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  29. I have a draft up here...feedback appreciated! I'm not entirely certain about this one. (and yes, the introduction is in no way related to the rest of the sermon....I'm hoping to figure that problem out later!) In the meantime, i have to go play laser tag and go care-package shopping with the high school youth. good times. (hoping I win at laser tag again!!)

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  30. Teri, Have fun playing laser tag - your sermon is good just as it is!

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  31. Next Sunday is Confirmation, with one teenager being confirmed. this morning after worship, one of the older ladies asked me about confirmation and baptism, she has not been baptised. she was not sure about doing that. another lady then joined us and she hasn't been confirmed, and thinks she hasn't been baptised. so now it looks like two baptisms [both 80 +] as well as the teenager being confirmed.
    I am very excited. A little more notice would ahve been helpful, as the coming week is very full already, and I need to find time to visit both these ladies.

    all the best for those who are still in sermon writing mode.

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    1. now that is very exciting! I usually have the baptismal candidates meet with me for some time the day before the baptism. We talk about baptism and do a "rehearsal"...that way I can have all of the baptismal candidates in one room at the same time - saves me time...

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  32. well - I am printing something that may well have to pass as a sermon. Will look at it again early tomorrow.

    This congregation is very triggered by money and fear. Actually they are triggered by a whole bunch of old and deeply rooted stuff. Some are sure that I am rewriting Scripture to fit my liberal leanings.
    I have been letting go of being extremely responsible, which just happens to be my most treasured possession. Hard and I keep wanting to take it back. But this next part of this church's journey is not mine. Let is go...

    In the time remaining, I hope to keep building up those who have a healthy sense of hope and reliance on God, rather than their own skills. And to keep reminding them that Jesus is looking on them with love and loves then too much to want them to stay broken and empty.

    Blessings all who are wrestling with these challenging texts. Praying for words to flow, good rest, and for the Spirit to work through you and your congregations. God knows we need it.

    Thanks Terri for hosting!

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    1. Celeste, I hope your day goes well tomorrow...and that the transition time is one of grace. Do you know the "Night Prayer" from the New Zealand Prayer Book?

      Here it is - a good one for all of us!

      Lord, it is night.
      The night is for stillness.
      Let us be still in the presence of God.

      It is night after a long day.
      What has been done, has been done;
      What has not been done has not been done;
      Let it be.

      The night is dark.
      Let our fears of the darkness of the world
      and of our lives
      rest in you.

      The night is quiet.
      Let the quietness of your peace enfold us,
      all dear to us,
      And all who have no peace.

      The night heralds the dawn.
      Let us look expectantly to a new day,
      new joys, new possibilities.
      In Your Name we pray.
      Amen.

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    2. Amen love the new Zealand prayer book. Thanks Terri

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  33. I've got a draft, full of fearsome church ladies and wild beasts in the coliseum. I sure hope it preaches tomorrow.
    Celeste, thinking of you. I'm a few weeks behind you in the letting go process. Tomorrow I'll be ducking out of a Deacons meeting so they can start making transition plans without me. Peeling my fingers back...

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    1. Martha, see the night prayer above....holding you, and all in transition, in prayer. Let it be...

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    2. Martha. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Transitions even when they are good and right are hard. Praying God's peace and blessings on you and all who are part of your life

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  34. Well, it is my bedtime folks. I need to get as much sleep as I can on Sat. nights - long days on Sunday....so - happy partying - thanks for joining me today! I'll keep the kettle on...last one up, get the lights, okay?

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    1. Sleep well, Terri! And thanks for hosting this week.

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  35. Yikes! My sermon is trying to run off in at least 3 different directions. There's enough teaching points here for a week long retreat! Can't I just say, "Do what Jesus says." and sit down?

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  36. Checking back in. I got a good bit done this afternoon, thanks to Daddy Time, and stealing a story from an old, unrelated sermon. Going to look at it again and then print.

    I'm preaching at the same congregation as last week, when we had a big World Communion Sunday. Feels a bit anticlimactic, but you never know what the Spirit will come up with.

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  37. I am in bad shape and trying not to panic. The scheduled preacher's father died yesterday morning, and I confirmed that I would be preaching on my way out last night. I had diocesan business until mid-afternoon today. And now I have a bunch of thoughts about Mark, none of which are headed in the right direction because this is the sermon that kicks off our stewardship Season of Gratitude and all that I have written so far is about the hard, high cost of discipleship, not gratitude. I know it is in there somewhere, but right now it is hiding. We have a really fabulous liturgy planned for tomorrow with a bunch of extra and cool stuff, and I want to get it right even more than usual. So I have gotten my knickers in a knot and I need to take a deep breath, possibly start mostly over, and make sense of this...while also finding the supplies I need for the family service and figuring out just what I am going to say there. This is my boss and friend whose dad died, and I am hurting for her, too...

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    1. Betsy, sorry for your loss. You have my sympathy for the situation you find yourself in as well.

      If I could make a suggestion - what came to mind was a suggestion from David Lose's "Dear Working Preacher" for the week. His first preaching option sounds a lot like your stewardship theme:
      "We need to remind each other that we have enough, actually more than enough, and share stories of when giving to others brought a sense of satisfaction that money alone cannot. (Indeed, recent research shows that the only way money can make us happy is by giving it to others.) So one possibility for the sermon this week would be to take time to share stories of when, in fact, we heeded Jesus' words and promise and experienced the blessing of giving to those in need." (www.workingpreacher.org.

      Hope it helps.

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    2. Thanks for the reminder of that idea; I read his words late last night and they had slipped away. After dumping my worry here, I got a text from a friend asking how she could help me, so I asked her for prayers. Then I got up, did a few things around the house, pulled together the family service stuff, thought about what I really want to say, and came back to it with a much better attitude! Still don't have a whole sermon, but I am on a better track. Works so much better when I give the Spirit a chance to breath in me.

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  38. How can I have written 1500 words and still have no sermon! I can't seem to find a focus. Sometimes I think it's harder with a rich text like this one - even if it's a 'hard saying' - there's just too much to say!

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  39. On study leave this week at Mo Ranch CREDO. Thinking of you all and giving thanks to God for the gift of other clergy women.

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    1. RevKel thinking of you at CREDO. While it had its bumpy depots it has made a significant impact on my life and ministry through the years

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    2. that would be spots not depots- auto correct is not my friend

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  40. 7:43 pm here and I have nothing written yet - today was spent getting a hair cut, going for a couple of visits, making a couple of phone calls, cooking and having dinner with good friends. Feeling dizzy, which is a Thing I get sometimes, but which makes it hard to concentrate.

    Anyone got a good childrens time on the Mark passage?

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    1. Here's what I am doing: I found a vase with a narrowed neck, and I put a bunch of marbles in it. My hand slips in and out just fine. However, if I put my hand in, grab a bunch of the marbles and try to get my hand out while holding them tightly...it's stuck. Only when I let go of the marbles will my hand come free. You can see where to go with that...

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    2. Thanks Betsy! Doing that! I did a thing with marbles last week, too. Maybe that will be my October theme.

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    3. Betsy - did this. Went ok. And one very thoughtful 5 year old busts out -"why doesnt the monkey just DUMP the marbles OUT?" Fantastic.

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  41. I've been at a transformation retreat much of the day yesterday and tonight all the way up to the art show and music concert at my church tonight. My brain does not want to think, but I still have a sermon to write. Pat helped me IMMENSELY during the week. I'm on the Narrative Lectionary with Hannah's prayers. I have a very good sense of where I am going, so being wiped out, I'm considering going to bed with nothing at 10:00 p.m., getting up at 4:00 a.m. and going for it. The sleep would be great. I think I can do it.

    Confirmation starts tomorrow night, and I need to get our first lesson together, but I also have a pretty good idea of where that is going, so I'm not too worried. It's actually been a long time (almost 5 1/2 years) since I've planned a youth lesson. I'm excited. I can solidify my plans for that in the afternoon after worship and before the class comes to church at 4:00 p.m.

    Sleep seems to be my best option.

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  42. It is late and Im just arriving, but I've finished my meditations for tomorrow and am almost ready for bed. Had a district conference this weekend so only managed to get one of 2 meditations written while I was away. WHY I thought a couple short meditations would be better than one longer one, I'll never know!

    Best wishes and good night, thanks for the sermon links for my sunday reading!

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  43. Is there any chance at all htt if I keep playing solitaire, one of these times a complete sermon will pop up on the screen rather than an ad??

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    1. About as much of a chance that if I keep hitting the undo button that I'll end up with something coherent. Now I'm starting to panic. I have a bunch of good starts and some nifty paragraphs, but nothing that can be pieced together.

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  44. Since this is the virtual world, I can share items for tomorrow's homecoming luncheon.
    We now have Texas Caviar with chips and a Mayonaise Cake.
    Oh, and go across the creek and my mom has made a blueberry salad!
    Any takers

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  45. The sleep was wonderful. I've been up for about an hour and half and have half of a sermon. Perfect. Kids start getting up in about 35 minutes, so I'm actually on track. The end tends to come faster than the beginning.

    Blessings on your days, friends.

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    1. She Rev,
      I did the same thing! Except I went to bed at 8 PM and got up at 5... I've been battling a general unhealthy feeling (most of the symptoms involve being Tired), so I knew there was no way I could work productively on a Saturday evening after an all-day conference event. This morning I'm thinking that going to bed at 8pm might be a healthy life change for every Saturday night :-)

      Holy Spirit be with you all this morning.

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