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Saturday, December 01, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party: Light One Candle Edition

It's time. Do you know where your candles are? I made a trip to the Ave Maria Gift Shop yesterday, where all your Advent needs can be met (though they still seem to show a preference for purple over blue). I bought two sets of candles, just in case the candles burn dangerously low on Christmas Eve, or to leave an extra set behind for next year.

What are your plans for Advent 1? I hope you'll share them in the comments. Let us know what you're preaching, what's going on in your world, and what kind of goodies you can bring to the party! I'll be making the traditional trip to The Holy Donut and will let you know the flavors of the day when I get them. We're brewing Starbucks Blonde at my house, and it's a smooth cup. Join us, and if you're a lurker, make this first day of the new church year an occasion by saying hello!

147 comments:

  1. well, it's midnight friday night and I've spent three days this week down with a cold that won't quit (it's round two already!). I have spent not one minute of the week thinking about the texts on which I'm preaching. They were chosen by the confirmation class--Isaiah 9 (the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light...wonderful counselor etc) and John 1. The theme for the week is obviously Light.

    To complicate matters, during Advent we are doing a congregational project in which we are asking people to come up and tie pieces of fabric onto a Christmas Mosaic that will progress throughout the season until it becomes the centerpiece of the decorations for Christmas Eve. In order to do this, the sermon has to be structured around the participatory time--which give me just about 5 minutes to talk, on either side of the tying time (during which we sing O Come O Come Emmanuel). This sermon needs to set up the project, expound upon scripture, and tie in Confirmation.

    hahahahahahahhaha.

    i'm pretty sure it's not the cold medicine telling me this is impossible....

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    1. What is impossible for people.... Hope there is grace in the preparation and that you are feeling much better before Sunday rolls round.

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    2. That's like trying to get a Venti into a Tall cup when you don't have coffee on hand. Yet I trust God will provide, somehow. Hope you got some sleep.

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  2. I woke to yesterday's 'I'm not feeling great' co-pastor having a fever and feeling pretty miserable. So with two pastoral appointments done, orange juice fetched, house guests arrived, I'm attempting to squeeze out a sermon. Something about the personal apocalyptic narratives we have (sickness or poverty or global disaster or ...) and words of hope, promise and salvation drawing near.

    We are experimenting with an Advent Tree this year. Kind of like the plywood ones that are decorative for play-rooms. Except not really! We sent a picture to our Chinese-speaking assistant, she is having one made. We have a slightly pixelated picture and an assurance that it will be about 5' tall. It looks quite different from the first picture but also pretty cool so I'm preparing many props in the hope that one will be in proportion to the tree and we will be able to make it "sprout green" tomorrow! (Did I mention it is being delivered tomorrow morning, about an hour before the service, to the room we rent?) Next Sunday we plan to clothe it with leaves during the prayers of the people (in the leaves of the trees is the healing of the nations) then we have two weeks more to bring our tree to life while helping the congregation grapple with the spirituality of Advent. I think the theme for the day is improvisation!

    As for goodies for the party... anything you can get a man on a bicycle to deliver to our house would be up for grabs! Thank goodness for leftovers in the fridge (and for delivery!).



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    1. Sounds great! Post pictures?

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    2. I would love to see it, too!
      Meanwhile, I wish I could get the man on the bicycle to bring you the donuts. :-(

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  3. I am working tonight on an Advent event for tomorrow that somehow got out of hand. We're been working on our pageant all fall as an experiment in children's ministry (the spark of which came from a long ago blog post of Jan Edmiston about taking the "Glee Moment"), and the pageant is this Sunday. It's been a lot of fun as I've collaborated with various musicians and others, but recently I've been getting push back from people who haven't kept up on what we're doing (in spite of numerous newsletter articles, bulletin announcements, mentions by the pastor in the sermons, etc.) To be expected, I know, but now I have anxiety about it being good.

    Now that that's off my chest, tomorrow was supposed to be a pageant rehearsal + let's make advent candle holders, but it somehow became an "All-Church Advent Event," and even though I don't think many people will show up who aren't intimately involved with the pageant, I have to be prepared in case they do. So I still need to make posters and a slideshow. I'd just like to get one thing on the to-do list all the way done instead of almost done.

    The pageant is the centerpiece of the service Sunday. Our pastor is going to have the children sit down on the chancel when they finish the pageant and improvise a time with children in lieu of a sermon, so I guess I kind of wrote the main proclamation for the service back in October. I met with musicians and they picked songs, and I played with the theme of "Stars" we are using for Advent, and cribbed part of (with full acknowledgment) and wrote part of a script around those things.

    So tonight I party alone, and tomorrow night there will be nothing I can do except hope (pray) that God's Word will be made alive anew in our young people who have been working very hard preparing to lead us in worship.

    Thanks for listening.

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    1. Oh, dear. It's tough when people push back after not paying attention themselves. Prayers that the day goes smoothly and all find inspiration.

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  4. I am reworking a sermon from 3 years ago. though this time I ahve swapped Luke readings, we are hearing parts of Luke 1, about the birth of John. Not sure it will get a mention.
    working on hope, thinking about the ways we can grow hope in our own lives., and in the world. hopefully the rest just pops out, as it is 9pm, and still 86 F. at least tomorrow should be cooler than today.
    today there is also a Baptism and our monthly communion service, so surely that means that there will not need to be too much said by me.

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    1. It's 22 F here this morning! Your 86 sounds pretty delicious.

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  5. sermon is done, it is about half as long as usual, and only a few sentences in common with three years ago, but at least that gave me a place to start.

    HOPE

    so 10 pm, and I should be finished printing etc in about half an hour. need to get some sleep after a few hot, humid days.

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  6. I'll be out the door in a few minutes to deliver LP to the SATs. I was up very late finishing the book for our church book group (11/22/63, my first Stephen King; I loved it!), which meets this morning at 10. I've got a Deacon coming to church at 9:30 to help set up the Advent wreath, etc. All of this is happening with the bittersweet awareness that there are four more Sundays, 6 more services (2 on Christmas Eve), and then I'm on my way.
    On the home front, I've got lots more packing to do, and things of a higher than Goodwill level to dispose of, and three more seminary class sessions to teach, and all that has me in a slight panic.
    For now, though, I should just get dressed. ;-)

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    1. blessings Martha- for today; for these "last things"; for the start of the new adventure; for joy and sadness in the partings... for you and all the love you share with us xx

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    2. Prayers and good thoughts for you--changes are exciting and scary and fun and terrifying, aren't they? Blessings to you!

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    3. Thinking of you Martha. Keep doing next thing that needs to be done. All will be well.

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    4. Thanks, Celeste. I have spent most of today wrestling with a sustainable sermon that ended up needing an almost total re-write. No progress on the packing front what-so-evah.

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  7. A few things left to do at the church in the a.m., but otherwise it's as done as it's going to get. Good morning, all. I'm off for 3 or so hours sleep.

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  8. One of the joys of no longer having a day job is that I got organised in advance - case of having to, as we have the 2-year-old grandson this weekend, which should enliven proceedings considerably! Taking a fairly straightforward take on Advent and preparing for Christmas, in terms of "Emmanuel: God with us" whether Christ returns or not!

    My main concern is that we have had an Advent liturgy imposed on us by the clergy (I expect there was discussion at the Circuit Leadership meeting, but I wasn't there) which I didn't get a copy of until everything had been organised, and it doesn't really fit. Still, I don't suppose anybody will notice - and what I am not sure is whether the church will be able to supply readers. Last time I was there, the only "Young Person" was 3 years old - if he and my grandson are the only 2, I do wonder how we will find a "Young Person" to read that portion of the liturgy!

    I'm also preaching on the 16th (and again, will probably have the grandson, although I'm hoping his mother will be there, too, if I do), but haven't thought that far ahead. John the Baptist, isn't it? Will start reading the lectionary tomorrow evening!

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    1. When we have "Young People" in the liturgy, I always suggest that being young is a state of mind. (Because we always have some kids, but they don't always read along!)

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  9. It is Saturday, 12.30pm; I returned to a freezing manse yesterday after a week away, during which instead of decorating and prepping my house I lay on the sofa feeling miserable as I tried to cough up a lung. This morning woke to first sprinkling of snow this year. I did service order chose the scripture and theme before I went away. Today I do not feel "Signs of the Times" speaking to me. But the service sheets (printed off and ready to go) say I must!.
    Coffee and dark chocolate are making things more bearable.
    And today I only have blocked sinuses/ ears to deal with!!

    Going with the gospel... and have a thought bubbling away about what would Jesus think if he were here today. Would we know? Would we be delighted or embarrassed by our presence with him....

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    1. Oh yes!! I just checked my blog- last updated in August. AUGUST!!! How the heck did that happen?! SO I'm going to challenge myself to do some short Advent Dailies (which worked for me during Lent!) - here's hoping & praying for inspiration

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    2. Julie, so sorry you aren't feeling well! It's a tough time of year to be a sick preacher.

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  10. Good morning, preachers! I am going with Jeremiah tomorrow and preaching that hope is something we have to rehearse. It's mostly done because I wanted to have today to do some things around the house - tomorrow will be spent at the church from 9AM to 9PM in preparation for our Hanging of the Greens service.

    I love all that stuff, but sometimes the preparation makes me feel like the Grinch. Now, what's this I hear about rehearsing hope??

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  11. I'm back from SAT drop-off, filling my gas tank for the drive to church and ... wait for it ...

    Donut pick-up!!!

    Today's offerings include Pumpkin Spice Glazed, Allen's Coffee Brandy (I hear they taste like coffee ice cream), and Gluten-Free Sugar Cinnamon. There might be a Fresh Lemon and a Very Berry in the box, too, as well as a Dark Chocolate Sea Salt. And always a few Maple Glazed. Dig in!

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    1. Dark Chocolate sea salt? Oh My I'm in!!!

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    2. those sound amazing! What are you going to do in teh absence of Holy Donut?

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    3. I have a three month sabbatical in which to find the delightful nooks and crannies of cuisine in South Central PA. :-)

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    4. We will have to compare sabbatical plans. I am soooo looking forward to mine!

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    5. Definitely! Mine starts with Take Naps. Then Big Event. After that, who knows?

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    6. Naps... oh my... I think I might just sleep for a month

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  12. Good morning (est)!
    I am grateful that I wrote the paper for this week for my lectionary group and I am extraordinarily grateful that this many months later (they were due LAST January) - I still like it. It does need more pulling together though and there is also a funeral to attend and a visit to make and a Boy to drop off at a birthday party and... and... and...

    We are sticking with what we know this Advent season, keeping things traditional and familiar (we have our reasons). I LOVE this time of year and this year I am all the more blessed.

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    1. I'm glad you like your paper, too. I am equally enamored of my sermon from six years ago, which is getting a dust-off in this busy week. The rest of Advent, however, will be teh original material.
      Also full of blessings here. :-)

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  13. Hi, I forgot my computer cord at church yesterday, and I'm running out of juice, so I'm not going to read all of your comments (yet), but will come back and read them when I have a little more power. But I'm preaching tonight/tomorrow on Luke, the "second coming", calling my sermon "the third coming", because the "third coming" is how Jesus comes to us in bread and wine, and in daily life every day, and not just at the incarnation, and at the end of time. And how this every-day coming is what helps us be faithful and stay alert in all times, whether it is the end/time or the meantime. I'm using an illustration from the movie Joyeux Noel, about the Christmas Armistice, about how on Christmas eve both sides were "looking for a sign" for what to do next, and heard the song, and how, in the movie, anyway, a priest gave communion to both sides in a Christmas Eve Mass.

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    1. Diane, that sounds like a great concept!

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    2. thanks Diane, a start for next Sunday and Peace.

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  14. Good morning preachers! Just a quick check in from me before I go over to the church for what I think will be a largish funeral--one of our matriarchs who died peacefully at 96. Interment in our memorial garden (which holds only ashes) and then a lunch in the parish hall to be followed by hanging fresh local greens (a first for us after years of artificial which had become a bit scruffy) in the church....then finally home to write the sermon. I am thinking of going with the sermon series outlined by David Lose in his weekly column...we'll see.

    Martha the donuts sound AMAZING! I have cereal and berries and kefir which I love but which definitely pale in comparison!

    I'll be back later!

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    1. Hi, RDM~
      By now the service is over; how did things go?
      Glad to have you here, as always.

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  15. Good morning all,

    I did write a sermon in the bleary-eyed misery of this past week of sickness - did not step out-of-doors from Mon-Thurs, but did go to Lincoln last night and delivered the car to the tire store this morning, which has so completely worn me out that I am going to take a nap in a minute (10 am here) -- so I guess that eventually today I'll have to see whether it's viable. If not, I suppose I'll have to preach it anyway.

    You all sound so energetic and cheerful! I could sleep the entire season away, I think.

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    1. Sometimes it's just overcompensating, Robin. ;-)

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    2. robin, i can barely keep my eyes open and would vastly prefer to spend the next three weeks in my bed, petting cats when they deign to come to me. alas...

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  16. For the first time in several weeks, I have a (semi) quiet Saturday! Sermon to be written, a couple hospital visits (conveniently, their rooms are next door to each other), a play tonight.
    We have not only First Advent but World AIDS Day tomorrow. The latter should have been last week, but it was also our annual congregational meeting and Reign of Christ (of course) and I could not pile one more thing into the service.
    So I am talking fig trees and a new beginning, carrying on from what I said last week, that it's not the end but a new beginning.
    I have Christmas cookies to share and various coffees.

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    1. Ooh, cookies! I love Christmas cookies. Thanks for sharing.
      We really do have Sundays into which we cannot pack another thing. I've got several of those coming up.

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  17. Is everyone sick? I had it but am better, yet am worried because son who started it, is sick again! Does that mean mutated virus and we will all get sick again?
    We are supposed to have his girlfriend for dinner tonight and it was my suggestion because she is often here on Sunday and I don't cook on Sunday. Meanwhile I don't understand why people who offer to decorate sanctuary, don't understand that it is supposed to have advent decor on the FIRST sunday of Advent and that is tomorrow! It's not one of those thanksgiving weekend years either - sigh.
    So I am getting a couple plants to place around and setting up.
    Luckily I got a draft yesterday morning, but meanwhile I sit in my robe trying to fill out worship and get back to the sermon. My coffee is cold and martha's donuts sound like enough to make me drive to Maine!

    Ah well, thanks for letting me gripe here. back to work, or maybe a shower to liven me up before I crash thru these tasks.

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    1. Nancy, I had it, was better for about 4-5 days, and then round two came and was worse than round one. I hope your immune system is better than mine!! I also hope someone shows up to decorate ASAP.

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    2. I am not liking these stories of relapse. I finished my z-pac last night and the instructions said it keeps working days 6-10; all I can say is it better work a lot harder.

      Although I am not blogging this Advent, I guess I will post my sermons. I had this idea back in September to approach each week's readings in monologue form from the POV of someone not in them, so tomorrow is Mary trying to make sense of Jeremiah and Luke. Next week will be Elizabeth trying to make sense of John the Baptist. I don't know anymore whether it was a good idea, but it's the one I have.

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    3. Any idea is a good idea at this festive season of the year.
      The Advent/Christmas decorating thing always mystifies me. I got the parts I'm responsible for underway this morning, so if there's nothing else, there will be an Advent wreath tomorrow. With candles.

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    4. Oh please don't tell me this...a relapse? Ack! Really hoping that will not be so...and really sorry for those for whom it is...sigh...

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  18. Those donuts do sound great, don't they?

    Julie, my last blog post was in September! I am not sure what it would take to get inspired, or just to get busy!

    Praying for all of you who are ill or whose colleagues' illness means more responsibility for you.

    The Christmas tree at church was up in the sanctuary last Sunday (last Sunday!) with no lights or decorations. Yesterday someone "stopped by" and put up the lights. "The people who used to do it have left" is the reason for the confusion of the season. I always wonder if it would be possible to celebrate the anticipation about, and birth of, the baby Jesus without a Christmas tree at church.

    The music director told me that he doesn't to Christmas carols until Christmas Eve and I thought "that's great" until I saw his picks for this week which included no Advent hymns! I guess "Lord, I Want to Be a Christian" could work! (sigh)

    There is quite the start-up curve for me here in this new interim!

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    1. That's why Sense of Humor is an essential item in the Interim Minister's Toolkit.

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    2. whole first year- steep learning curve! Agree that sense of humor is essential

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  19. okay, I'm awake. kind of. I have that feeling like I'd rather just let my eyes droop again....and I'm still in bed, which is so comfortable it's like sleeping in a cloud. One of those clouds in a cartoon of heaven, not an actual wet and cold cloud, obv.

    As long as I remain laying down, I can breathe. So I may very well attempt to write a sermon from my bed. Normally I try to keep work out of my bedroom because the psychic space gets all messed up, but I don't feel a lot of options coming my way today.

    I still have no idea how to make everything happen in the time allotted. Too too much going on this week. Not to mention that I get/have to set the tone for Advent and set up the entire congregational participation for the whole season...and that I have only 3 Sundays left here, and this is my second to last sermon with them.

    That's right, while I was asleep I realized even more things that need to fit into this week. haha.

    okay, seriously, off to read the text and pray and hope desperately that something comes to light. Get it, light? ;-)

    I'mna need more than just donuts. lol.

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    1. Trader Joe's Three Layer Hummus?
      Or are we talking the hard stuff?

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  20. Teri, if you can breath except laying down, what are you going to do tomorrow? Sounds like you need help! and a voice recognition software (new macs have it) to speak your sermon instead of type it.

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    1. I am hoping desperately that all this enforced rest will have me healed by tomorrow!

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    2. Teri, I am much better tonight. Exhausted but functional. Hoping you feel the same (at least) in the morning.

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  21. I am not preaching tonight and tomorrow but I just love 1st Advent! Today J and I are going to start decoration for Christmas and Advent. Since we can't quite get to all the Christmas decorations (still boxed up and in places we can't get to) we will be be restrained for Texans. Prayers for all of you sermon writers. And prayers for us all as we head into the 'heavy duty' of pastoral ministry.

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    1. Muthah+, we're on the other side of the moving transaction, and I am loathe to taking anything *out* of a box. But we will do some decorating tomorrow; I promised LP.

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  22. I'm back from church and having lunch (local cheddar on really great Sunflower wheat bread, with chips and the above-mentioned hummus, and a yummy little Gala apple). As I look over my old sermon, I conclude it needs to be over-written. The form and the homework I did to write it are good, but it needs some significant re-phrasing. I've sketched in some of it, but there's a ways to go.

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  23. The Boy is off to the birthday party and I am once again plugged in keyboard-side, notepad handy in case of emergency.

    Here's where I'm headed (I think) - we are taught via the culture to fear the 2nd Coming (Mayan calendar, Left Behind, etc...) but what are we afraid of? Stand up! Luke tells us. Yes, the signs are all around us, but this is GOOD news - be ready, stand up! AND let our lives and the church be PART of the signs that are pointing the world ahead to the next.

    or something

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  24. So sorry to read about so many viruses running rampant with Rev Gal Blog Pals. Hope everyone feels better soon.

    Sharon, it is good to read your comment though that music director seems a bit too challenging.

    Robin, your sermon series sounds fascinating. Can't wait to read them.

    No preaching for me tomorrow--a guest preacher at both the homeless shelter and at Live at Five. However, like Muthah+, I do love this Sunday and the season of Advent. Spent the morning looking for a painting that speaks the season better than anything I have seen. It's called "The Hard Path (The Long Road to Bethlehem)" and I saw it at the Alte Pinokothek in Munich. The German title is "Schwerer Gang" by Fritz von Uhde. Now that I've found it, I'll post it on my blog. Am playing with the idea of walking this season with Mary. Interesting enterprise for a woman who has never given birth.

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    1. Glad to see you, RevAlli! I'll look forward to reading it.

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  25. Jonesing for those donuts, Martha!

    It has been a jam-packed week Chez mibi, with three surgeries (two in the same family!!!!) plus an elderly lady taking a bad spill in her apartment, plus our neighborhood clergy group hosting a statewide ecumenical conference, plus the usual madness filled with joy (sort of like a filled donut) that is Advent. AdventIII is our children's pageant with carols, so for Advent I, II, and IV I will be focusing on the trimesters of pregnancy as parallels to the Scriptures of each Sunday. This one is about the remarkable signs and wonders, the mystery not yet visible, like a 1st trimester belly, and yet we sense something is happening for which we need to prepare. Sermon for tomorrow is done, and I'm thinking ahead to next week, since I'll be away doing DMin work Mon-Weds. Oy.

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  26. ...and there is a pot of curried butternut squash and apple soup on the stove, so c'mon over and have a bowl!

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  27. just shuffled the sermon around. a much cooler morning today, which is great, the forecast today is for 75F, much better than the close to the century it was yesterday.

    I'll come and say Hi after worship.

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  28. I'm back--finally. The funeral went really well and in a very touching moment the deceased's great-grandson (around 6 years old) took it upon himself to refill the hole where the ashes were committed.

    Afterwards however...ugh. Lots of setting up going on for tomorrow as the women's group is beginning it's "basket raffle." One of the women who has disliked me from the get-go didn't like something I said--actually a request I made about tables for coffee hour-- bitched me out right in the middle of hte parish hall. Fortunately only a few other people were present but wow-- I didn't see that coming, and can we say inappropriate?! I didn't respond but kept right on with the task I was working on, but a few minutes later I said to her (while she was alone) that I would like to talk to her in my office, but she left without stopping by. Not really surprised. But I am still seething ....

    and I need to get my head into sermon mode. I had an idea forming this morning so I hope once I sit here for a few minutes it will come back.

    Oy. I don't need this. And I'm sure I haven't heard the last of it. Everyone knows that this person is full of negativity but she has a small cadre of co-complainers in the women's group so it will spread.

    Ok, back to my mantra...Let it go, let it go....sung to the tune of "Let it Be"

    Hope everyone feeling poorly recuperates quickly!

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    1. While I, on the other hand, am now trying to compose alternate lyrics to "Let It Snow."
      I'm so sorry she made you part of a scene; awful!

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    2. Oh geeze...I'm so sorry this happened to you. I've been there, it is truly awful. Let it go, indeed. Easier said than done....

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    3. Good Lord deliever and save us from the never satisfied ones of the women's group

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  29. I dragged myself out of bed to go to Trader Joe's for some hummus. And the missing ingredient for tonight's dinner. And $70 worth of things I obviously really needed once I saw them. Candy Cane Joe Joe's, anyone?

    Now that I've run my two errands, I've discovered that 2 hours is about my limit before I really just want to lay down. Which means that dinner is not being made at this moment. However, I have managed to be mostly-congestion-free and only sneeze a few times in that 2 hours, so bonus!

    Okay, I have to get dinner in the crockpot (and I still won't eat until after 7)...perhaps something sermon-like will come to me as I peel butternut squash. a lightbulb moment, if you will. (a girl can dream) (somehow I don't think the puns are going to make a sermon)

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    1. Teri, I feel partially responsible for the shopping trip given my mention of their hummus. I hope the aroma of food cooking inspires you.

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    2. I'm sorry you still feel so bad - that was certainly me a few days ago...sigh. Thankfully I found a sustainable sermon that I managed to significantly rewrite, but at least it gave me a really good starting point. Because I gotta say I had nothing in me. I do hope inspiration strikes for you! and, that you feel better, too.

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  30. Spent most of this day at a fundraiser for the local garden club with women from church. It was fun. But I am not fun on Saturdays...especially Saturdays when I am recovering from a bad cold and sinus infection... sigh. Well anyway. I have a draft which may end up being done... I'm calling it It's just the debris of life

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  31. I am going to reuse the bginning story of my sermon from 3 years ago because that is what stories/illustrations are for right???

    Then I am going to talk about looking forward to a change, even a change we believe we want, often brings both hope and fear as we look at the future. Because lets face it, both are present in the Christmas story both as narrative and metaphor

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    1. It's definitely what they're for, although that was part of what I needed to overwrite in mine.
      Also, "The hopes and fears of all the years..." Yes? Kind of wish I had used it as a hymn tomorrow.

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    2. ooh! I hadn't thought of including that reference! Thanks Martha

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  32. Glad some of you are getting the sermon done and crafting deliouciousness in the kitchen. I have done everything but... Shopped for poinsettias and got just enough to beautify the church for tomorrow. the 'Advent' decorator will add to it next week. I changed the altar clothes, set up advent wreaths, etc. I hate leaving the changing for sunday morning. I don't think it looks good to have people come in to the turning over, I want it to look nice right off. As one of my dear parishioners with a sense of humor says, "Why do you need an Altar Guild when we have a perfectly good pastor!" ha ha

    so, back to writing. I promise to be back but will try to stay away long enough to get something done. Oh and dinner for son and girlfriend got canceled cos they are both sick. Sorry they are sick but glad to not be cooking!!!

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    1. No kidding about the altar guild. Been there.
      I'm sorry your people are sick, but we take our breaks in Advent where we get them, don't we?

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  33. Someone on Twitter posted this link to a children friendly advent calendar. It's a free giveaway. Open to anyone so I'm passing on the link.
    here it is

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    1. I don't think that is the link

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    2. That link goes to my email---ummm, weird? help!!!

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    3. o.k., it just goes to google if you aren't signed in to your google account. but would love the real link....

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    4. Sorry, I really didn't come back till I had a sermon; let's see if this works: try here

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  34. Ugh. I can't bring my sermon to an end. It's too teach-y or something. Time to walk away from it, fix dinner, hope I like it better or have a solution when I come back. Other than starting from scratch, that is, because I can't stand the thought of that.

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  35. don't worry, Martha, I was missing an ingredient for dinner too! And I had your basic No Food In The House problem after being sick most of the week. I've depleted the thanksgiving leftovers, so needed something, and tri-layer-hummus is perfect! Plus it'll work for my lunch tomorrow too, when I have to have a meeting right after church. Perfect.

    Okay, I have curry in the crockpot, on high. I have sparkling pomegranate juice. I have tomorrow's bulletin. For real, I'm writing. Slash making powerpoint.

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    1. Joining the others who have wished you speedy recovery! Being sick sucks. Being able to eat and breathe rocks.

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  36. haven't posted for ages
    am preaching tomorrow on Light 1 Jn 1
    prayers appreciated

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    1. Blessings as you open the Word, stf. May the Good News be spoken and received.

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  37. Not a sermon but some thoughts on Advent and also Fritz von Uhde's wonderful painting here.

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  38. I think I might have part of what could be a sermon...wish the sermon fairies would come wave the magic wand and be done with it. This is one of those days where I know the seed of several good sermons is in there, I just can't get one to grow...nothing like a bunch of metaphors when I'm stuck. And tired.

    Back to it, I guess. So glad y'all are here to listen to me rant. I talk to myself way too much these days as an empty-nester.

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    1. Keep talking to us, we're here for you!

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  39. Tomorrow is my last sermon here. Last baptism- sweet baby of a dear family who are not "joiners" but have found a home. Last communion here... I seriously doubt I will make it through the hour without tears. Party after church to celebrate our time together.

    Oh and did I mention my house goes on the market Monday morning? Photographers coming first thing Monday and showings all day? So this week has been a whirl of replacing baseboard registers and washing windows and touch up painting... Sermon..? not so much... The song running through my brain all week is REM It's the end of the world as we know it ... ( and I feel fine) So I feel a need to offer something hopeful and short with all else that will be part of the day. 6pm... time to hit it.

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    1. Celeste, dear friend, hugs to you. Yes, hopeful and short sounds just right. Let us cover you with prayers, in your writing and in all that tomorrow and Monday will hold.

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    2. I can't remember what the text was, but I did preach a sermon built around "It's the end of the world as we know it...and I feel fine" once.

      Best wishes in this time of transition...and tears are okay!

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    3. Celeste, it will be a beautiful day. Prayers for you.

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    4. hugs! holding you in the light tomorrow...

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    5. Blessings, Celeste. Startin anew in Advent. Great.

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    6. Thanks all!I will hold on to your hugs and prayers. It will be a beautiful day and I will try to enjoy it and be present.

      Time to go touch up paint another wall.

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  40. I'm at that point where the reading and surfing and browsing has all been sufficiently done, and now one just has to pick something and START WRITING. Hoping that typing that means I will DO this now!

    Long stressful week here, so just trying to squeak this out and make sure it doesn't suck too badly. This cannot be a "stay up almost all night" type of Saturday/Sunday.

    Pondering Luke and some stuff related to Diane's "third coming" comments way up there. Our theme for Advent this year is TIME...but I think I shot my wad on that theme for the newsletter article. Hmm.

    Wow--this is a pretty boring comment. Sorry. Totally doesn't bode well for the sermon!

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    1. Hey, if it helps you get your thoughts in order, that's the whole point of commenting here!
      Glad to see you.

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  41. I'm getting there...I think. In fact I'd like to stop right where I am but it is SHORT. Shorter by 300-400 words than my usual. I don't mind being short some times, but I fear that might be too short, even with the lighting of the Advent wreath.

    I was taken by David Lose's comment about the Bible as fantasy, especially these apocalyptic readings--as fantastical but containing a core truth. He likened it to Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and even Harry Potter. I am riffing on that, but it really makes me want to read or reread all those books (because I confess I've never read Tolkien) and develop something bigger around that theme. Another time I guess.

    Okay, let's wrap this up!

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  42. So I'm just going to jump back in and make the 100th comment. Ta-da! Unless someone beats me to it.

    Now really going back to work :)

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  43. Well this may be the shortest sermonish ever...I count by pages rather than words ( large type and laid out so I never lose my place) My last newsletter article was based in Fear Not. Really - that is the Word I am convinced they need to hear and believe. i would appreciate prayers and support. Tears will come as they may. All will be well. I appreciate this group and a safe place to name the complicated emotions of this transition.

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  44. Okay, this was a pretty significant overhaul, but at least I was able to take advantage of some of the "homework" I did for the old one: Signs of Hope. I'm going to fold some laundry. Be back later!

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  45. I reposted the link to the childrens' advent calendar above in the original conversation. Sorry I got that messed up. I did stay away until I had a sermon. Now to post it and finish worship.
    Just a little more... (My title is off, but the theme is "follow instructions and wait" that's our advent wisdom.

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  46. Done, pdf'd and emailed to the iPad. For better or for worse.

    I used to think I wanted to be Barbara Brown Taylor when I grow up; now I think I want to be David Lose. Seriously.

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    1. I do love his stuff. It is often my inspiration for the sermon.

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  47. Ok posted, its here And it will do, at least until a quick edit tomorrow. Now to watch "It's a Wonderful Life while I finish worship.

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  48. well, I wrote something. It doesn't say anything, and it takes too many words not to say anything, but it'll do. The enormous advent mosaic project will take most of the time anyway, so it'll be fine--assuming my words that don't say anything set up the project in a way that people can participate, anyway!

    sadly, my crockpot curry is taking much longer than the 4 hours I expected...probably because there's so much more of it than the recipe! lol. Ah, well, it'll be dinner tomorrow. :-)

    now for the important stuff: candy cane joe joes for all. Or, if cookies aren't your speed, how about some Pecan Pie Ice Cream? some Sipping Chocolate? all of the above?

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    1. thanks, pecan pie ice cream would be wonderful!

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  49. Looks like it's been a busy day for everyone. Prayers for everyone battling illness.

    We had to make a run to the City - a little Christmas shopping and picking up items for a couple of church events. But it takes most of the day. And due to the oil boom in North Dakota, sleepy little Bismark is CRAZY. We've gotten spoiled in our year+ here with very few crowds!

    So I'm just now getting started on my sermon. I realized that I forgot to ask how long the youth presentation is going to be - so I called and it's just under 10 minutes. Which means that my sermon only needs to be about 700 words tops. Hallelujah!

    But first I need to get in the right frame of mind (read: procrastinate) and read everyone else's sermons.

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  50. as usual it seems you are all so busy.Prayers for those moving,and finishing placements.
    there is a couple in the congregation visiting from Scotland at the moment, and she has commented a few times about how relaxed worship is - some days [like today] I think borderline chaos would better describe it :) but if it comes across as relaxed that is good. I never completely lost my place, but a once or twice it was close.
    I am hoping the cooler weather today, still warm and humid though, will stop my brain from melting.

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  51. Oh, God; this movie is so hard. It's A Wonderful Life was one of Josh's favorites. I haven't watched it in five years, but I though I would at least have it on as background tonight and force myself through it. I know the whole thing by heart, but I had forgotten this long discussion between George and Clarence about suicide. I guess enough is enough.

    Oh, January, please get here fast.

    Sermon's up. I'm grateful that I am in a line of work in which I'm forced to preach about hope.

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  52. Robin, I'm watching too. I dunno about forcing your way thru Advent but sometimes life is like that. Prayers for you and the hope for a blessing even if hidden as a surprise.

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    1. I meant forcing myself to watch the movie.

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  53. Anyone else still working? I am! And I think my sermon is almost done, except for, you know, the big theologically meaty conclusion. Sort of the important part. Just need to keep on trucking.

    All the comments about being sick drove me to go drink some Airborne...just as a precaution...but I have some very nice chai to share if anyone would like some.

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    1. Oops--Blogger wasn't showing me the last whack of comments that revealed a bunch of us were still here. My mistake.

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  54. Preachers and Pals, I'm headed to bed. Thanks for a great party today! semfem, chai sounds delicious. I'll take a cup upstairs with me.
    I'll be back in the morning with a fresh pot of Blonde. (It's Veranda, and it's delicious.)

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  55. Just showing up at almost 10 pm here. Nothing written yet, but there's a lot in my head. Long story, sht, I'm in the narrative lectionary, but still a week off even in that. Jeremiah 36 and 31 tomorrow as I kick off hmy Advent theme of God's longings. This week is God longing for obedience, or attention to the Word. I'll do a lot to intro the theme and a cut ally have a short time, so I'm thinking about going straight to bed here now, and waking up even at 4:00 am to write. So so sleepy.

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  56. Stephanie, I'm just showing up here myself. Uneasy about my sermon, not sure whether it needs more, or I'm just anxious about: the puppet show for the children's message, communion, the congregational meeting to elect deacons and elders, the baby shower, and the youth group advent retreat. (Tomorrow is going to be a long day.)

    Blessings to those who are still writing!

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  57. Goodness...133 comments and I am just showing up to the party. I've been on vacation and hit the sermon prep on Thursday...but then it was Billy Elliot (excellent musical...highly recommend)... and well...I just finally posted Decently and in Order...maybe not

    Blessing and prayers for whatever is needed for this night, through Advent/Christmas...and all the hard stuff...and the hope wherever it may be found.

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    1. Very nice! I'm stealing the Buechner quotations (and attributions) for my Advent Candle liturgy this year. Each week a different bit of Buechner . . . Thanks!

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  58. Why is it that the sermon that sounded so great while I was showering this morning makes absolutely no sense when I finally get the time to write it down?

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  59. Some thoughts that will be in the sermon tomorrow somewhere (I don't preach from a manuscript) can be found here

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  60. Finally got mine on paper - I an finishing with a re-written form of the Invitation to a holy lent as invitation to a holy advent using the words from the Gospel. The sermon is OK but I love the ending. It is here.

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  61. Some thoughts on Hope and the End of the World.

    It's not where I thought I was going with the sermon and the ending seems - un-ended. I trust the Holy Spirit and the youth group's mission presentation will fill in the spaces.

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    1. I think it sounds just fine, Ramona. And I totally used the NYPD story too. Must file that one away for Maundy Thursday too.

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  62. OOH I am done! 1302 words, a bit long, but ok.

    A few tasks around the house to clear my mind...a quick read-through...printing...and then bed!

    Blessings on all preaching, pondering, and proclamation this day.

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  63. I'm back and thankfully the headache that plagued me last night and sent me to bed (without one word written) well before my midnight bedtime is gone. We've got a lot going on this morning including a budget information session that the session wants held after worship, but before we are usually done at 10:30. Translation - - keep the service to 50 minutes, preacher! Lighting the Advent Wreath, choir anthem, sermon, communion... Sure 50 minutes! Whatever.

    I've got about 500 words written so far this morning and think 900 is about my max to do my part to keep this all "on time."

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    1. Ultimately this sermon will mostly introduce our Advent theme of A Season of God's Longing while delving a little into God's specific longing for our obedience, our attention to God's Word. Almost done and this time, really, I might even get to crawl back in bed for a little while. REALLY!

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  64. Wow! Hope you are able to take a Sabbath nap. God's peace through this full day.

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