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Saturday, November 03, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party - Putting the pieces together


My biggest distraction from sermon writing is Tetris.  There.  I said it.  It's not Facebook (although that's bad).  It's not even knitting (which I love).  It's Tetris, because I play these one-on-one battle games that are only two minutes.  Or at least "only" is what I tell myself.  It's only two minutes if you only play one game.  I can't seem to play just one.  There's something completely addictive for me about trying to make those little permutations on the four square polygon all fit together in nice even lines.  It's a problem.  Seriously.

However, I'm hoping my Tetris skills will somehow come in handy this week.  It feels like there are a lot of pieces to put together in one sermon.  I'm guessing I'm not the only one.  For some of us stewardship season is in full swing.  For others there are transitions into and out of calls taking place.  For the US contingency there are there election and storm on the East Coast that may need to be addressed.  Add to all the "usual" stuff of parish life and ministry and it may feel like we're twisting and turning the pieces around to see how they will build one cohesive sermon.

How are you working with all the different pieces that are facing your congregation this week?  What will fit into the sermon and what will need to be addressed in other ways?

I hope you'll join the party in the comments.  There's always good support here for the toughest sermon battles.

(My schedule has changed a bit for Saturday, and I probably won't be around to comment until the afternoon.  Party on!)

117 comments:

  1. I wrote my sermon today (Friday)! Whoo-hoo. I'm finding, though, that I'm struggling with the use of the word "saints" after a lot of recent reading reading the LDS/Mormon church. Love saints, concept of saints, etc... but now my thinking is hyper-sensitive to what I'm saying about saints being made, God's saints, saints past/present/future... etc. Anybody else having this problem?

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    1. Interesting Julia. Growing up in the Mormon Church I have no memory of saints or Saints being discussed - we didn't celebrate them, really, even though Latter Day Saints is the official name of the church. We were anti all things and any thing that hinted at Roman Catholicism. And if we used the word saint to talk about ordinary people it made no impact on my spirituality or faith at the time. I wonder how many Mormons today have a similar understanding/memory as mine? Or if it has changed? I don't know...

      All that is to say, not I don't have that problem. I didn't learn about Saints or saints until I was well entrenched in the Episcopal Church. So my entire frame of reference is within this tradition and all the Holy Women and Holy Men I have lifted up in weekday services and occasionally on Sunday.

      Nice that your sermon is written! YAY for you.

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    2. I think others probably won't have your immediate connection to the the LDS, so you're probably safe. Meaning, other people probably won't be distracted. Hope you are having a nice relaxing day.

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    3. Yes, I think it's because of the more immediate reading I've been doing. Terri, in some of the latest writing/scolarship, LDS authors will refer to the group itself as the "Saints", as in the Saints did X or Saints usually understand this to mean...etc. Non-LDS authors say "Mormons". I think it's probably not that big a deal. It's just sticks out to me. This is the first non-writing Saturday I've had in ages. And I just got up from a 3 hour nap, so I'm not going to let a little vocabulary stand between me and what's done! ;)

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  2. We are focusing on All Souls with a candle lighting for those who have died. Struggling with my sermon but trying to focus on saints and souls! Have my very first wedding this afternoon so it's hard to think about death and judgment!

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    1. Your All Souls day service sounds lovely. Nonetheless it is indeed a peculiar interior juxtaposition for the clergy to move from death to new life, from saints and souls to a wedding. I hear you!

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    2. We certainly have to be able to turn on a dime sometimes, don't we? Blessings on your turning!

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  3. With 4 funerals this week and a stinking Head Cold, I am very grateful for a sustainable sermon on the Ruth and Mark readings. I am doing a pulpit swap too (so I can baptise a child as the locum at the church I am going to is not ordained) so lots to cope with this week. Back later to fill in the blanks after a visit to the optician.

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    1. Feel better! I find it very hard to function with a head cold. But how fun that you get to baptize a child, always delightful!

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  4. I'm doing my field placement, and my supervisor chose this Sunday for me to preach because he's really busy the week prior.

    So I looked at the lectionary, and Ruth sang to me this time. I took the first thought of how to preach it and discarded it. (I usually do this: too often, it's been preached many times before.)

    The next thought I had was the resonance between this passage and Genesis 19 with Lot's daughters: women in difficult circumstances in ancient Palestine. I wanted to shine a light on the desperation these young women may have felt, and how it motivated them. I also wanted to make the Moab connection.

    Then I thought about Naomi. We usually preach Ruth (or Ruth and Naomi) for this passage, but I wanted to think about Naomi.

    So I wound up with this: Here's how tough it was for single women in ancient Palestine. Here's the story told about how the people of Moab came to be, as an illustration of the tensions between Judah and Moab. Here's three more women in similarly dire straights. And here's Ruth making the more difficult choice. Why? Because she saw something in Naomi that informed her about Naomi's people and Naomi's God. Our faith informs some of our better qualities, too. How do we let our Naomi qualities shine, so we can attract the Ruths in our lives?

    So I have a bit of saintliness and a bit of stewardship of our gifts in everyday life.

    Sermon title: "There's Something about Naomi."

    Sermon should appear on Sunday at 10:00AM CST at cindik.com/2012/11/theres_something_about_naomi.php

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    1. I'll be over later to read your sermon. I think you have chosen an excellent approach to the text!

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    2. Sounds wonderful! Blessings on your proclamation tomorrow!

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  5. finished for the night, well finished the sermon, still a few bits and pieces to get together to take with me in the morning. what does it mean to love?

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    1. I'll be over later to read your sermon Pearl. Hope you are resting now!

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    2. You're sleeping, I'm reading. Soon you'll be preaching, and I'll be... well, if I'm honest, playing Tetris. Blessings on your night and day.

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  6. Ruth and Naomi here. I tried last night and it's not looking good. You would never guess that I translated this book back in div school. Something will come! I still haven't gone shopping since the hurricane, so I have nothing to offer except for bottled water and snackfood. Chex mix anyone?

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    1. Oh my Susan, I wish I could share my, soon to be made breakfast with you.I do look forward to where you go with the Ruth text. I'm not preaching on it, but it is one of my favorite.

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  7. I am write there in the mix of everything with She Rev...although my game addiction changes from bejeweled to scrabble to solitare to angry birds and back and forth...

    We have a ton going on tomorrow! Our Festive Communion service for the kids who did the Communion Instruction class, our pledge in-gathering, All Saints' Day, a celebration breakfast...ok, not a ton, but a good amount.

    So, I'll be preaching on All Saint's Day and the theme of gratitude. Somehow I'll tie it into the scripture readings - Wisdom and Mark, I suspect....

    Praying for all those trying to recover from the hurricane. We got remnants of it here in Michigan, most people have had their power restored as of today, I think. What a tragedy!

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    1. oops, not Mark, but John...I have read the texts for tomorrow, just not well enough, I guess :-)

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    2. Don't get me wrong, Angry Birds is HIGH on my list, too. And there are still new Halloween game to play and then Space updated this week, too. It's a good thing I have an extra hour tonight!

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  8. I have tailgate food to offer. Not my own, but that of my city. This town is being overrun by crazy crazy football fanatics (I love football too, but seriously this town is CRAZY) for a giant, important game tonight. So between the funeral Friday, the funeral planning Monday, crazy football luncheons and youth group planning I am preaching on All Saints. I'm using a "beatific vision," idea. That even tough the saints, after they have passed, finally receive the full and complete picture of God, saints in our lives, both those who have passed, and those quietly among us, each saint gives us a piece of God's love and only in seeing each of us, and inviting all of us to the Lord's table do we have a chance at this complete vision of God. Let's hope it finishes nicely!

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    1. I think you have a good approach to the text....but it is those endings right? at least the endings usually hold me up on finishing a sermon...

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  9. Hi, y'all. I'm juggling getting my house ready to show and wrapping up the Stewardship campaign at church, and there isn't enough of me to go around. The campaign has been built on Hebrews 12:1-2, and the finishing word for tomorrow is the part about being fixed on Jesus. I'm using the words to the spiritual "Woke Up This Morning" as a framework for my sermon, which is to be called, "Stayed on Jesus," but what I've just written is all I've got.
    On the home front, I thought the kitchen floor was going to get a second coat of poly on Thursday, after being sanded Wednesday. When it didn't seem to happen, I assumed there had been two coats Wednesday, and yesterday with help I reloaded the kitchen. Last night at 6 the floor guys came by and said they were going to come and do the final coat first thing this morning. So this means I had to unload the kitchen again (thank goodness The Father of My Children had come by to pick up our youngest and was willing to lend a hand), and it also means the house smells pretty awful this morning. In between a run to the dump/recycling center and picking up my daughter from All State auditions, I need to find a place to write that doesn't give me a headache. At least it's not as dusty as it was the other day. That's something.
    The chief frustration is that the realtor was going to come take pictures today or tomorrow, but that will have to wait until Monday as we won't be able to put table and chairs back until after church tomorrow.
    Add to that the un-comment-able things (since they are not mine to tell), and you get an unfocused mess.
    I guess it's natural to be focused on my life and loved ones as I prepare to leave a call and move 500 miles, but I still have to find my way to a sermon, somehow.

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    1. Lifting up prayers from the other side of the country. May you find your focus in the midst of it all as the Spirit moves through it all.

      Maybe getting out of the house, wiritng in a coffee shop or some such, is just what you need to combat smells and distractions.

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    2. Oh my, Martha, that is all quite a lot. What a pain about the kitchen floor!

      OTOH, your sermon thoughts sound fantastic! I will look forward to reading it once you post it!

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    3. Ha! earthchick, I read your comment in the car while trailing around Portland in circles, because this morning's timeline broke down completely. My reaction: "I had thoughts?!?!!!" I then typed some into my phone. To fix our eyes, or stay our minds, on Jesus means first to determine what his foundational message was, and that's easy because it's IN THE LECTIONARY, yay!!!
      So I'll be bringing in the Great Commandment, even if it doesn't say so in the bulletin.
      I'm finally home, with space to write, even though the place smells awful. I'm going to try working here, but will decamp if necessary.
      New goal for realtor to take pictures is Monday morning, thanks be to God. I can give this afternoon to sermon and preparing for the class I teach on Monday.

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    4. Wendy, thank you. It took most of the day, but I finally got some focus. :-)

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  10. Back from the wedding. I am not yet a marriage officer so had to get a colleague to be there with me to do the legal bit. Just as well as he was able to support me when I felt too panicky! It was a full Eucharist so lots of bits to juggle around. Now going to rest a bit before putting in an appearance at the reception. I wouldn't normally go but this is a particularly lovely couple and stalwarts of the church. The groom was confirmed on Wednesday!
    I was going to set up the church for tomorrow but was physically and emotionally just too exhausted. Will go there early tomorrow. At least the sermon is done. All pretty vague about saints and souls but I hope someone gets something from it!

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  11. On my way to presbytery meeting.Martha I feel with you. House is a mess with piles if stuff to be disposed of , put in storage, packed for a cruise( do not misplace that pile!) Moved with us to next temp place and left at house until it sells... my brain hurts.


    Tomorrow baptism of 2 sweet boys into the saints followed by remembering 9 died this past year as well as lightning candles for others Communion and a pot luck meal after. Service in as close to an hour as can get it. Sermon will have to happen after I get back from the meeting. Good news it's only an hour away. Off to it.

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    1. Since I'm on the Narrative Lectionary this year I completely forgot about All Saints Day. Good thing no one seems to have honored before I arrived here a few years ago anyway. I don't think it will be missed. Next year. I'll be back with it next year.

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  12. I have PW Equal Exchange "Love Buzz" coffee to share.

    I'm doing some work in children's and family ministries this year. Today, I'm working on an Advent meditation that was due Wednesday. Then it's heading to the church for our Officer's Retreat, meeting the family at Chuck E. Cheese for our first kindergarten classmate birthday party, and then going to a Robot Expo at a library. Somewhere in there I'll need to make a bunch of phone calls recruiting winter church school teachers (how I do procrastinate the extroverted parts of what I'm doing) and figure out how to have a pageant script read-around in church school tomorrow when I told the Pre-K-K teacher we could start combining everyone for rehearsals and crafts this week (should've been next week).

    I will gladly write someone's sermon if they'll make my phone calls... Anyone? Anyone?

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    1. Wendy! you are busy! The most difficult aspect about making phone calls is the first one, once one has started the process it is a lot easier - and usually goes by a lot faster than I anticipate...enjoy this full day of yours!

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    2. Oh Wendy, I feel for you. I've been in your position before, and this time of year is so hectic. And the phone calls never end. Much peace to you.

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  13. (gratefully holding out my cup for coffee)

    Empathizing today with those in the throes of the moving dance. I am already at the stage of having "left the house with the stuff that will be there until it sells." My address (for mail, voting, etc.) is Baton Rouge, but I just got a place to live in New Orleans (where I am starting an interim ministry) so I don't have to go back and forth. My world still feels more chaotic than I would like, but it's all worked out better than I could have imagined. I get to serve a wonderful congregation and I get to go on the B.E. cruise!

    I think a few rounds of Tetris would help!

    For tomorrow, I am going with the gospel and Deuteronomy, with a sermon title of "And Then What?" Thinking about the "marching orders" in Deuteronomy, echoed in Mark -- also the covenant promises made tomorrow by the congregation and me, and the baptism promises that some parents will be making -- these great intentions and promises and beginnings -- "and then what?" That's all I've got so far. Good time to cast a vision if I can come up with something!

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    1. Sharon - wow! glad to hear how well everything is settling in for you, even though the chaos ensues (and will for awhile longer, as extended moves tend too)....

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  14. What idiot thought it was a good idea to schedule a church service day at the local food bank on the same day as my sermon prep? Oh right, that would be ME. I'm excited about the service day (25 of us, ranging in age from 8 to 60ish, will help sort food for distribution), but am stressed about the sermon. I couldn't focus on it as much this week as I would've wanted, between planning and executing a Halloween party for our college students and writing a final paper for my current doctoral class. OOF.

    Am doing yet another sermon in our series on being the church together, this time focused on caring (as in the internal practice of caring for each other, versus the external practice of caring for/serving those beyond our congregation, which is the focus for next week).

    Looking forward to partying with y'all!

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    1. Oh, days of service are excellent! I hope it's a good experience for all of you...and what a nice counter balance to the interior focus of your sermon...

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    2. Thanks, Terri. I'm back from it now, and it really was excellent. So much fun to work with my people, especially since there were a number that came to help that aren't plugged in much elsewhere in the church.

      Now switching gears and getting back to the grind of sermon work!

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  15. I'm doing All Saints, with remembrance of our recent saints, prayers for the recently baptized and first communion at one congregation. My original plan was to do a 'narrative' Holy Communion, but with everything else, I think it will make the service too long. Although maybe I could do a really, really short sermon, trusting that the narrative would do the work of proclamation?

    Except there's Lazarus' death (and restoration to life) to deal with. I read the text and hear the cries to Jesus - if you were here my brother wouldn't have died, if you can heal the blind why didn't you keep this man from dying - they jump out at me. If those verses are haunting me, I can only imagine how my congregation will hear them - with the recent failed transplant and death of a member's mother, the couple who were just told he can't have a transplant for the cancer that's killing him, the member whose baby niece is dying from leukemia, the member getting treatment for her 3rd round of cancer....that's my context, how can I not preach Lazarus?

    I really didn't want to tackle suffering in the world tomorrow, but I think I have to go there. But first another visit to the city to see someone in the hospital. I'm tired of the traveling - it's been a tough month of hospital calls and each one eats up three hours in travel time. Thankfully, she's being transferred to a local hospital soon. Thankfully my spouse is doing the driving today so maybe I can so some thinking and sermon prep on the trip.

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    1. Ramona, I really understand the wear and tear of constant all day long distance driving...ack! I do hope you find inspiration as the passenger...and that there is available to you real inspiration for hope and grace in the midst of all this sorrow...

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  16. I have the privilege of preaching an anniversary (closing) service at a church I served three years ago. I am on maternity leave at present so struggling with managing a baby and a sermon -ahh!

    Anyway I am focusing on Exodus 6 and the 'love God with heart, soul and mind etc. and Mark and Jesus using the same words as well - I have titled the sermon - 'what we tell our children' and hope to leave the congregation with a sense of hope instead of failure as they close down a 128 year old church. I am trying to find a bridge and to remind them that they are the ones now that 'tell their children' the memories of the church and the purpose of their ancestors - to love God with heart/soul/mind.

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    1. Revheath, a church I served for 8 years closed a year after I left. It was very sad. But each one of these people have gone on to be faithful members in other churches in the area - they carry with them the love of their years together as a community and take that love and add it to a new community. They bring wisdom, and gifts of ministry, and knowledge of faith, and real lived experience of community - and share that with new communities. They did not all go to the same church, they have spread out to several, but they stay in touch and offer their gifts to their new church home. That is the Lazarus story - the ability to grieve the loss of this place they have called home, and loved so well as family - and then trust that in time they will bring those same gifts to a new place where they will be unbound and find new life.

      Prayers for you in this tender time of preaching.

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  17. Trying to figure out where I came up with the readings for today and totally lost... I'm using John 6 (bread of life passage) but not sure why. It does speak to All Saints--which is what we are doing--but not sure where I got it.

    The other one I am using is Romans 6--presumably got it from the same source--but it is not much help either.

    Add to this that last week's sermon really moved people and so I am feeling some (self-induced) pressure to at least equal that, and also that there are some family issues going on... Let's just say my head is not in a tranquil writing space.

    My hope is to look at life and death as simply two sides of the same coin--the Henry Scott Holland poem ("I have only slipped away into the next room...") fits here.

    Other than that, emotionally drained and having difficulty focusing.

    Coffee and maybe some chocolate would be fantastic...surely there's some leftover Hallowe'en candy somewhere?

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    1. Oh my, yes. Coffee and chocolate always help! I hope the focus you need comes and is also inspired.

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  18. I'm way behind this week. Working today on the All Saints' sermon for tomorrow: "Ordinary Saints". We'll be remembering 19 members of the congregation who have died this past year. Then a funeral sermon for Monday morning, and a wedding sermon later in the week. There's been lots of 'stuff' going on here, so I'm feeling very scattered. Focus! This week for us, like for many of you, includes All Saints, stewardship (wk 3), and certainly some reflection on political etiquette. If it's an even split that would be 4 min each woven neatly together.

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    1. WOW - and I thought I was weaving a lot into my sermon...prayers for focus for you!

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  19. Argh. My annoying computer ate my comment. Anyway...Good afternoon gals and pals. After a great time preaching last weekend, I am back in associate mode and doing the children's time this week. Focus is on All Saints, and all I can think of at the moment is a photo of my grandmother, mom, myself and my oldest daughter, along with an icon of Mary and Jesus, talking about saints as not just the icons, but the real folks in our lives that show us God. Any other ideas appreciated! I am really struggling with unbloggable issues today that have gone on for four years now and I seem powerless to change. It is putting me in the worst of moods and I really am not sure what to do about it except struggle on. Sigh. Monday are my interviews with the District Committee on Ordained Ministry, the next step in a VERY long ordination process. One day at a time. The fact that Sandy has whipped our butts here for the past 8 days or so, and the sun isn't due out until Monday, is not making me happy either. OK, enough ranting. I wish all of you well in your preparations!

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    1. MumPastor, the effects of the hurricane are traumatic indeed, and deserving of a little ranting from you. I hope your interviews go well. Prayers for you!

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    2. MP, were you without power too? I thought it was ok up where you were. But then I haven't been up there. Prayer and hope for Monday!

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  20. So...I wove a lot into this sermon, I hope it works! Gratitude, The Hearts Memory

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    1. It works very well! Such encouraging words! Of course, it doesn't hurt that you used one of my all-time favorite quotes - that of Meister Eckhart. I really appreciate how you wove gratitude with the All Saints theme and the Gospel for the day. I have "trained" the congregation I serve to answer, "Grateful" when asked, "How are you?" And then be ready to give witness to why they are grateful. I've challenged all of us to become known as, "That Grateful Congregation!" How often that reminder comes back to me through the week now through the members of the congregation. ~Anne

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    2. Thank you! I love that you have taught your congregation that - what a wonderful idea!

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  21. Back from serving breakfast (and having a Very Weird Interaction with another volunteer who refused to tell me his name and then refused to tell me why - he was very chatty with other people so now I'm left hanging about what I did which is not a very nice feeling). Anyway, kiddo off on a playdate, all is quiet in the house so it would be a good time to get some things done. I am not "really" preaching tomorrow - reading a scripture, telling a short story and then inviting people to think/pray/write about "a saint" who inspires them. I think it will be kind of nice. BUT the BIG thing is that I have a "rehearsal" with the kids tomorrow AFTER church for the childrens sabbath they are leading the following week and I dont have too many ideas for what I'm actually doing with them. So, I have to make a plan that can last an hour, will keep kids ages 2-12 busy and interested and also get us ready for the next week. Mildly panicking. Also, got a call for an emergency pastoral visit and have to work on some mailings at church sometime today. So, lots of stuff happening, but not much of it actually in the preaching dept. Just wanted to write all that out somewhere. In my head it seeemed impossible - written down it looks do-able, tbtg. Blessings to you all on your busy day! :)

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    1. Yikes, Jennifer! What a weird exchange?...Regarding the kids - Prayers for inspiration!

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  22. So sorry I've been an absentee hostess. I ended up spending the night with a friend whose husband is out of town, and I don't have internet access at her house. I got home in time to run to the church Senior Lunch for members and friends 80+ yo. I'm home now, but at the lunch was reminded that I'm doing a new home blessing at 5:00 p.m. today. I would have TOTALLY missed it if the person I ran into hadn't reminded me. Oh my. I've got a great book for things like this (Healing Liturgies for the Seasons of Life if you don't have it already), but of course I can't find it anywhere at work or at home.

    Google, here I come!

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    1. Stephanie, I hate it when that happens to me! I hope you find it!

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    2. I haven't found the book, but I found an RCA adaptation of the same (Episcopal) liturgy that's in the book. Working on tweaking it even further for this setting. I want to include a time for everyone present to write their prayers or blessings for the family and home. I'll figure out where to put that.

      I'll probably include all the bedrooms in one blessing for rest and refreshment. The kids are teenagers, so the children language will feel dorky to them.

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    3. Hey Stephanie, I've been trying to keep the party going...not to tread on your hostessing, however :-) - but since I'm here anyway I thought I'd pitch in. I always love it when I'm hosting a party someone does the dishes for me - or something like that...

      Glad you found something.

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    4. No territory issues here! Thanks a bunch.

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  23. Another random request....does anyone have any clue how I can get my rss feed back for this blog on google chrome? I can't see the button anywhere!

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  24. A little late to the party. But had a successful party for 50 at my house last night, hosted a presbytery meeting at our church today, and now, FINALLY, working on Ruth.

    I'm re-writing the opening line from "in the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land..." to
    "in the days when the election was about to take place, there was a storm on the East Coast that devastated the land..."
    and will be talking about people on the margins.

    I think.
    We'll see what actually happens!
    Still have tons of Halloween candy and am happy to share with all of you!

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    1. Marci, Sounds amazing. I would be interested in seeing your rewritten text when you ahve finished.

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    2. Thanks all. Will post it tomorrow. Surely it will be done by then, right?

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  25. I haven't played Tetris in YEARS, but putting pieces together is definitely what I am trying to do this week. We are wrapping up stewardship and celebrating All Saints with baptisms, and the service is followed by our "celebration lunch" and a hymn sing (a first for this parish, which doesn't really like to sing all that much so we'll see how THAT goes.) So I am using the Luke text from the sermon on the plain assigned to All Saints Year C which seemed like a really good idea when I chose it--only I can't remember why I did at this point...Fortunately yesterday a bit of inspiration came to me and I had the presence of mind to jot it down; we'll see if it works out. Revolves around God's mission in the world ...

    And yikes, it's almost 4:30pm and I haven't even opened a document (so I hope that inspiration works out!) Started the day by helping to set up for tomorrow's lunch, then a run, a shower, and meeting with baptism families, some paper work and a quick trip to the store to pick up last minute supplies for tomorrow and to *bux for my first skinny peppermint mocha of the season. FINALLY I am sitting down to get started. I am grateful that we get an extra hour tonight--I think I am going to need it!

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  26. And I'm HUNGRY...sometimes I wish I had someone to cook for me:( Most of the time I don't care, just sometimes....

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    1. me too. I get very tired of cooking meals, even though I do often like it too.

      I hope your sermon writing goes well. This is my favorite Saturday night of the year!

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  27. I'm late to the party too. It always takes a while to read thru and catch up. We had our annual "Soup and Pie Bazaar" today and I am pooped. I didn't do 1/2 of what everyone else did. I greeted, wiped tables and generally "Smoozed" as my husband says. fun times, we raise a lot for Heifer international, Servv and a few off-budget church projects. Such fun, but I had forgotten how much I DIDN'T have done here. sigh. drinking tea to warm up the insides and get my brain moving again..

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  28. and if you want to read a sermon on the reading from Isaiah check out what Crystal wrote for the Feminist Theology blog All Saints' Day and Susie

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    1. Thanks, Terri, for the heads up. It helped.

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  29. Terri, you are right, this IS the best Saturday night, altho vacation Saturdays rival it. I've finished my worship pieces altho the children's time is a bit lame. Maybe I'll find some inspiration to liven it up while I sleep. Now to edit the sermon and see how I left it last night...almost afraid to look.

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  30. Gee, I sure hope all these notations, "this point needs developing" are ones I just forgot to delete as I was writing last night...

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  31. Hey, I'm still out here. I fell asleep this afternoon, which I must have needed. I'm about 2/3s of the way there, trying to keep things light because we're dedicating pledges and the campaign has been super-positive, but also to encourage people to keep their focus on Jesus when they VOTE, for heaven's sake, without in any way saying how to vote, because I would find that objectionable.
    I have a polyurethane high, I fear, so I'm making a run to someplace else for dinner. I want to be sure that floor dries or sets or whatever it's doing thoroughly before I step on it at all. 17yo had dinner with her dad and is now on a date (yes, that continues, no stress...), so I'm on my own. Back in a bit.

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  32. It's getting better. or so I think. Maybe I'll post it in a bit.

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  33. Not preaching tomorrow, but I spent the morning at a youth planning meeting for the Presbytery. I am keynoting a weekend retreat in January. They chose Hebrews 12:4-13 as a text. If you want to be grateful for what you're preaching on tomorrow, go read that. H.e.a.v.y. I have to break it down for middle schoolers. At least I have till January, but it's swirling in my head tonight.

    Blessings to all you busy preachers out there.

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    1. For serious? Who decided that? Ugh.

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    2. The youth. For serious. I know. Expect more complaints from me about this in the weeks to come. ;)

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    3. Yikes, but I imagine the idea of the trials they face being for something (anything) good is hopeful for them.

      Lots of other places to look for that hope though. We'll be here for you. :)

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  34. Hi everyone.
    We did All Saints last week as I wanted to get a running start into Stewardship stuff this Sunday leading into next week's Consecration Sunday. My text is Hebrews and I am leaning very heavily on the first section of Miraslov Volf's book, Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace.

    There has been a lot of heavy lifting around here lately - both literal and emotional/mental, but the storms have lifted and it is time to move ONWARD!

    Time to type up what I have on the notepad (an actual notepad) and pray it's enough for a Communion meditation!

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    1. I need to start using the words "Communion meditation" instead of sermon on these weeks to see if it will help me achieve my goal of actually writing things that are shorter on communion Sundays. I always have that goal, but am pretty poor about doing it. Maybe a good first step is changing how I think of it.

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  35. Ok, done and posted. I'll probably edit again in the morning, but time to rest. Best wishes for the writers. I've tabbed some sermons for later reading. thanks y'all

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  36. Well I have something printed that will have to serve as a sermon...

    Today was perhaps my last presbytery meeting here as we intend to move in Dec. I am grateful for friends and colleagues I have met here- some wonderful and gifted folks. Found myself struggling with odd and dispirited energy - cake and ice cream to "celebrate surviving the last year without Exec leadership" immediately followed by lots of wrangling on what is the least the presbytery can get by on for space, salaries, people, ministries... since we plan to keep shrinking... The focus is all on "survival" of institution. Not surprised that there was also lots of evidence of resentment as fewer are willing to invest precious energy for the sake of institutional survival. Not sorry to be out of that

    Came back to fit the Tetris pieces together for baptism, remembrance of those who have been released to God and gathering with the saints - those who are, have been and are yet to come - around the table. Somewhere in there encourage folks to support Presbyterian Disaster Assistance already on the Sandy soaked ground and doing good work. All in close to an hour. I am supposed to make something for potluck after- will have to see what I can throw together quick.

    Tonight I am grateful for all of you - the saints and holy ones who bring God's healing and renewing Word. And I am very grateful tonight to gain an hour. God's peace preaching pals. Hope that we all get some good rest tonight.

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    Replies
    1. Sorry about your presbytery meeting, but I'm glad your moving on from what has been sucking your energy. Peace to you in the transition.

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    2. Thanks Stephanie. Keep our mutual friend in your prayers. He is stepping in as mod at the church I serve.

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  37. Missed everything -- happy to be warm again -- going to finish sermon, post it, and come back to read what everyone's been up to, in that order.

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  38. Hello friends, I too am trying to fit together too many Tetris pieces for one Sunday! What a great metaphor for what we do...sometimes they fit together seamlessly, other times not so much. Hoping it all comes together for tomorrow. I lost a day earlier this week as my parents were in town, so there has been some scrambling since then.

    Tomorrow will include: First Communion (complete with presentation of their final project), update/prayers/donations for Hurricane Sandy survivors, All Saints and reading of 12 names of new saints, our second stewardship temple talk, plus a very involved children's sermon that was sketched out months ago but details are now up to me. Whew. A recipe for a great Sunday, but lots to keep in the air. I will need every minute of that extra hour (and usually am up to see it happen).

    I LOVE the John reading for All Saints, just need to decide on ONE approach and keep it from being too long.

    May the gospel proclamation for all of us be unbound now!

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    Replies
    1. Holy cow! You do have a lot of pieces. Those kinds of services are always hard for me on this end, but they are so wonderful when they're finally happening. Blessings on you!

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  39. I'm dropping in while I create a Power Point I didn't finish Friday for All Saints Communion and the prayers. I'm glad we have an extra hour tonight. I hope it doesn't take that long to finish.

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  40. So...I just got home from an AWESOME day (seeing the President!!), but now it's nearly 8:15pm and I have no sermon. Even if I set the clocks back right now, that's still a little concerning.

    I'm on the Mark business about loving God and neighbor...and am trying to use the text as a way in to answer the last question in the People's Choice series from the summer (we had more requests than we could fit in summer, so a few were sprinkled throughout the fall as well), which is about the four greek words for love and which one is which in english, etc. I have absolutely no idea where that's going.

    Did I mention it's 8:15?

    But the President!!!! He was awesome, and totally worth the late start. :-)

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    Replies
    1. I think you can totally fit those two things together. Glad you had such a wonderful day (week)!

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  41. I'm getting way too late of a start. I was able to rough out an outline on the trip up, but couldn't do much more on the way back than to "think" the sermon. So I need to get writing!

    I hate getting such a late start.

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  42. Ugh...10 pm and no sermon in sight.

    At least I get an extra hour tonight...

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  43. I am trying to reassure myself that I have yet to get up in the pulpit on Sunday morning without something to say. Small consolation right now . . .

    Is there coffee around here anywhere?

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    Replies
    1. I could use coffee to cut all this Halloween chocolate candy I've been stealing from my kids tonight. I'll brew a pot!

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  44. Hmmm.... I'm definitely at preachable and may be flat out done (thank you Miraslov Volf... and you know, Jesus).

    Is there any way we can arrange this extra hour every Saturday night?

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    1. Oh man, an extra hour every Saturday night sounds divine!

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    2. I'm on board with that.
      And I think I've got sermon!

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    3. I know. It's a Saturday night sermon writer's (and college football fan's) favorite night of the year. Love this stuff.

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  45. Whew! Lordy, lordy, I think I'm done. Ish. I mean, it's done, but it's a few hundred words too long for a Communion Sunday. Whoops! Well, I'm putting it to bed anyway.

    Now, on to Church School! Wheeee!

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    Replies
    1. With the right amount of caffeine, I think I can manage that!

      Delete
    2. I'm curious how many words is your usual sermon? I don't count words, but keep to a page count. Easy enough to do the other, though.... Mine is long this week as well. We have Communion, a stewardship temple talk, the handbell choir, and the candlelighting for All Saints. Full worship! ~Anne

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    3. Faith Luth - - I never counted words until I started hanging around here more. I was always a page counter, too. :) I do watch words now just out of curiosity. I tend to be longer winded than many around here at least. My non-communion lenght is usually around 1900. Sometimes 2000, occasionally (unfortunately) even more. But usually 1900-2000. I try for 1800, but rarely hit it. I want to be down to 1500-1600 on communion weeks, but I haven't hit that YET.

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    4. My usual sermon is anywhere from 1800-2200 words (that's a fairly wide range, I realize). Ideally, a communion sermon would be on the low end of that, or even less than 1800 (especially tomorrow, with All Saints' Sunday as well as a stewardship testimony). But my sermon for tomorrow is currently coming in at just barely under 2200. So far I'm not finding much to cut, though I'm hoping I can get through a couple of bits a little more quickly.

      I used to only notice page count, and I had a general sense of how many minutes it took me per page, but it seems my style has started to vary more than it used to.

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    5. Ha. She Rev and I were posting at the same time, and similar things! And ditto her - I didn't start counting words until I was hanging out over here with the revgals!

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    6. I come from the tradition of the 10-12 minute sermon and I usually aim for 1200 - 1400 words, although I sometimes go a bit higher (and longer). But this week I'm at 1100 and happy to be there! But then, every Sunday is a communion Sunday for us.

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    7. I'm with RDM...I aim for 10-12 minutes, which for me is approximately 1100-1300 words. If I'm over 1400 I know I'm running long...if I'm under 1100 it's going to be a short one.

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  46. So it is 10:52 and I don't have my sermon done...but I think I am ok. We get to fall back an hour right? LOL! My distraction is the passion of All Saints and remembering that once again as we gather at the table for the Holy Eucharist that we share in the kingdom here and now with all God's saints...those here with us and those who have gone before. And when I do this I remember what I have learned...the good and the bad and how the choices that I have made from those lessons have created who I am today and I give thanks to God for these saints...these paths, these choices, this journey...the good and the bad, are pretty good as this child of God gathers with the assembly to give thanks! I look forward to it...in humble reverence I will give thanksgiving for you all who inspire me to pause, think, give thanks and look for what is yet to come right here and right now! Shalom!

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    Replies
    1. Nice! Add few more sentences around each of those and you're done! Sounds beautiful. Put that extra hour to good use. :)

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  47. It's time to go "clock hunting" so they are all reset before I'm ready for bed. If I don't do it tonight I'll be too confused in the morning.

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  48. Finally done.

    I'm asking Why? I don't have answers, but I pray it bring some comfort to my community.

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  49. Am I the last one here? That hardly ever happens! But I think I am finally done. Don't really like it, but done.

    Good night, all. Enjoy the extra hour!

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  50. I went to bed at the new midnight instead of the old midnight. Oh well. Now I'm up and starting to put my handwritten outline into a typed out manuscript. After just one game of Tetris....

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