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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prayer for Sunday Proper 8B/Ordinary 13B/Pentecost 5


God of freedom,
As we celebrate the freedoms of our countries,
May we not forget the many who sacrificed to make that possible.
And may we not forget that there are many living in places where freedom is lacking, so
We pray for justice and liberation for them.

We are also grateful for the freedom you give us in Jesus.
We are aware that many do not know that freedom
so we pray that we are not afraid to tell others of your wonderful freedom for all.
Come, O gracious God, who led your children Israel from slavery,
keep us free from all that might hold us in bondage.

We pray for all those who are vulnerable and in need,
 that you would strengthen them and hear their cries for help.
We pray for the sick and the suffering,
And Lord there are so many in our community, our families, and friends.
We Pray for your healing to come their way.
We pray for the poor and burdened, that they may find relief and be set free from their poverty.
We pray for those suffering in this heat, those that work outdoors in this heat keep them safe.
We pray for those who are dying and for those who have had a recent death in their lives. Bring solace to their grief and pain.

We pray for ourselves as we seek to follow you and love you.
We pray for our families, Lord it can be so difficult to be a loving family these days.
We pray for our friends, and companions that we support and love each other as we walk this journey of life and faith. Amen

Cross posted at a Place for Prayer and rev abi's long and winding road

11th Hour Preacher Party: Love of Friends Edition

Hello, Gals and Pals~

I love you every week, but some weeks are harder than others in the ministry life, and I know this has been one of those for some of us. We may not go out to battle carrying a bow, but we're definitely in the trenches of every day life, responding to whatever gets flung our way and to whatever befalls the people around us.

So this is a big thank you to everyone who participates here, whether you comment every week or just chime in occasionally. You are all this community. Your humor, your kindness, your exegetical insights and your presence make the 11th hour manageable. 

Where are you headed this week? Are you saying the V-word, a gauntlet thrown down by our friend, Wil? Tying the gospel lesson to the news about healthcare? Planning to explore the relationship between David and Jonathan? Looking for options that sound less like a minefield? 

Whatever your direction for preaching, whatever the circumstances in your context, you are welcome here. Join us in the comments and share what's going on in your world.

At the church I serve, it's Strawberry Festival day, so pull up a chair to the virtual table and enjoy some strawberry shortcake! And pick up a pie to take home for later. I'll keep the Fair Trade coffee coming, too. Let's party!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Five: What I Really, Really Like...About Summer(Winter)

 (Not where I live)



We have members all over the globe, so while I stepped out this morning and thought, "oh, my, Summer's really here and it's just the end of June...ugh...hot, hot, hot" -


some of our folks are deep into Winter and thinking the same thing.  Except about cold/rainy/whatever it is weather.

So, for a better attitude (for me anyway) and maybe a boost for you too...

What are five things that you REALLY REALLY REALLY like about the current season where you live?  

and, for a bonus:

Something you are looking forward to about another season?

As always, let us know in comments if you play. Even better, get in the habit of posting a direct link to your blog entry in your comment: For a complete how-to, click here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ask the Matriarch - Handling Next Steps in the Call Process

The search process for a new call can be as fraught with anxiety and complexity as any dating relationship, and sometimes more so. How does a person know when to take the next step - and when not to? And how does a candidate handle things with the search committee when the candidate feels uncertain? Our question this week comes from a colleague grappling with these issues.


I'm in the middle of searching for a new call, and am wondering what to do when a church loves you but you're not entirely sure they're the right fit for you. If a search committee tells you that you are their top choice (or one of three), but you have hesitations, how do you proceed? It's so hard to get a good read on them only from written material or from phone conversations (especially if it's one where the committee passes the phone around the room to speak, so they're hard to hear too!), and I want there to be plenty of room for the Spirit to move...but do I agree to visit a church I have reservations about? 
And the follow up, of course: when a church wants you, but you don't feel called there, how do you let them down? What words are appropriate, how should it be handled, etc? 
(yes, this is my first search process...help!!)

~searching

Martha, blogging at Reflectionary, writes:
A good friend went to an interview with a church he had some doubts about, and during the discussion he asked a question about church leadership that left the committee dumbfounded with its perspicacity. He had picked up on something that made them as uncomfortable as it made him curious.

He did not get the job. He really didn't want it. But he tells me he concluded he had been sent there to ask the question.

I think it's important to interview in person as many times as you can, especially when searching for a call is a new experience. We have no idea what work God might be doing in the process until it's over, and sometimes not even then.

I tell the story about my friend for a second reason: in searches at various points in his career, he talked to any church that wanted to talk to him. I think most male pastors do this. Many of them keep a profile (or whatever it might be called depending on your denomination) out there floating around all the time. I find women clergy more inclined to play for keeps, as if we're betraying some ideal of perfection just by having a conversation. I encourage you to have as many interviews and site visits as possible. The more churches you see, the more pulpits you stand in, the more towns you visit, the more church members you meet and get to know, the more you'll learn about the difference between existential hesitations, badly written church profiles and actual red flags -- and the better able you are to discern where God is calling you.

And Jennifer responds:
Dear Searching,
I think it’s necessary to visit with a search committee in person. Go, with your questions, and listen for the Spirit’s surprise or confirmation of the sense that you’re getting from afar. I don’t think a visit implies that you would accept the call, if offered.

If you get further along in the process, and still have reservations, be sure you voice them in such a way that the committee, or their references, can speak to them so that you can make the best choice.
Calls should be mutual. I think it’s appropriate to say that, to share what you like and appreciate about them, and also what it is in your life that is not confirming that sense of call. Genuine, faithful conversation should allow for such dialogue, so that the Spirit can truly speak in your midst and in the midst of the congregation.

And Muthah+ offers:
Dear Searcher:

I think that being very open with the congregation is very important.  If you do not feel called to a place, tell them that.  But be sure to tell them that it ISN'T about them.  However if it IS about them, such as you see real difficulties in the way that they run their church that is not in keeping with how you do, tell them.  Do it in a kind way.  They deserve to know if there are things that they are doing that do not proclaim God's message.

If there are issues that are particular to you, share that too.  They are not just trying to fill a place--they are trying to incorporate someone into their family.  Slowly we will be able to help congregations understand that they cannot use the business model of employment when they call a pastor.  

I am thankful that you have been able to recognize that this is NOT a place where you are being called and are saying so.  You aren't falling into that "I have to have a job" trap that so many of us often devolve into.  

You continue in my prayers as you discern your call.

--

Thank you, Matriarchs, for your wise words! What about the rest of you? What have you learned along the way about how to handle this? Please join the conversation in the comments section. And, as always, if you have a question for the matriarchs to respond to, please send us an email at askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Festival: Who Knew Church Could Be This Way?

Today's post is from RevMaria at Everyday Thinking.  

On Sunday our congregation played host to a choir from a Christian women's recovery home.   They have been coming to Delhaven for the past 5 years, to sing and give testimony and then join us for a picnic.  I'm really not sure which group gets most excited about this annual event - the women or the congregation.  We are excited because they sing praise songs and share amazing, horrendous, hope-filled stories of redemption.  They are excited because they get to spend time interacting with folks outside of their home for a couple of hours.

One young woman passed by me on her way to the coffee pot practically skipping and grinning from ear to ear.  She said, "I've already made a friend here!" and spent the next hour in close conversation with one of the church members.  Another, whose grey hair marked her as considerably older than the rest of her peers, spent the time with several retired ladies trading life stories.  Some were playing with the children, others were offering to help with serving the food.  All of them helped out by carrying tables and chairs outside and back in again at the end of the meal.

As the ladies were making their rounds to say good-bye one of them came up to me and said, "This has been an amazing experience.  I never knew church could be like a family before."  She went on to say, "They actually like being together.  They seem to really care about each other and about us.  They don't even know us and they care about us!  Who knew church could be this way?"

She hadn't been involved with any church in a long time.  Her understanding of "church" came from growing up in a large congregation where everyone just got in their cars and went home after the services ended.  Some of the folks were  involved in committees and things, but for the most part no one really seemed to know each other or spend time together.  Church was just a place she had to go on Sundays.   Even when the ladies from the Home visit other churches on Sundays, they usually leave pretty quickly afterwards. They don't often get the chance to sit and talk to folks in a casual setting like a picnic.  So her experience with us on Sunday was essentially her first experience of what church can be.

In just about every church I've ever heard of we talk about being a family in Christ.   Jesus even says it in Matthew 12:48-50:  " Jesus replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”  He stretched out his hand toward his disciples and said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers.  Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven is my brother, sister, and mother.”  However, as much as we talk about being family we, the Church, somehow manage to be less than welcoming and familial to visitors and neighbors.   This must be true - I keep reading it in books and blogs and magazine articles.  

Imagine my gratitude upon hearing this young woman affirm that in this congregation the notion that  everyone who shows up is part of our family and should be welcomed as such comes through loud and clear to our visitors.  Imagine my relief to discover that in this little church on the corner we live up to our boast that we are welcoming and caring toward the stranger.  

Who knew church could be this way?  Jesus did.  In John's gospel, chapter 13 verse 35 Jesus says, "This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”  Jesus expected that, if we claimed to follow him and live by his teachings, then this is the way we would live.  He expected that, like him, we would sit down at the table with all comers, judging none and rejecting none.  Rather, we would welcome all who come in his name as our brothers and sisters in Christ.  

May we continue to strive toward living up to our Savior's expectations, as his brothers and sisters doing the will of God. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings~~V* word edition

As we prepare for the coming week's sermon, let us begin with prayer:
Companion in life an death,
your love is steadfast and never ends;
our weeping may linger with night,
but you give joy in the morning.
Touch us with your healing grace
that, restored to wholeness,
we may live out our calling as your resurrection people. Amen.



This week's readings  follow closely on last Sunday's. Our reading from 2 Samuel continues the complicated story of David as we hear his lament over the death of Saul, a lament that is echoed in the cry of Psalm 130. Alternatively, readings from the Wisdom of Solomon and Lamentations offer  comforting and reassuring words of hope to those for whom hope may seem out of reach, whether in the days of the Babylonian captivity or now.

We rejoin Jesus on the other side of the sea where the crowds once again gather around him and he is met by Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, who implores him to come quickly to the bedside of his daughter who is dying. Jesus goes with Jairus, but on his way he is touched by the hemorrhaging woman and is waylaid as he stops to speak with her. Meanwhile, the sick girl dies and when Jesus finally arrives he is met by professional mourners, whom he dismisses as he enters and says to the girl, "Talitha cum." This passage from Mark is rich with possibilities;  our own Wil Gafney has challenged us to tackle the "unspeakable" head on and actually use the v-word (vagina) in our sermons.  Are we up for that? Or will we take this story in another direction?



Join us for the discussion--questions, ideas, ponderings, inspiration, poems, thoughts for children all are welcome. 



(And SORRY for the late posting!) 

Monday, June 25, 2012

RevGalBookPals: Summer Roundup

We're well into summer in the Northern Hemisphere and our Southern Hemisphere gals and pals are into winter. Regardless of the season you're experiencing, we can all use some recommendations. Earlier this week, I asked on the RevGals Facebook page what people were reading. Below is that list, in no particular order, but with a slight attempt at organization.

With all book recommendations, as with parables, your mileage may vary (YMMV). One person's beloved War and Peace is another person's @*!&!*^ War and Peace. Still, whether it's summer vacation or winter holiday, browse this list and share what's keeping you up at night in the comments below! There's always more to read!

Church Related (In Some Capacity) 
Keeping the Faith in Seminary
Scattering Seeds
Walking in the Valleys of Darkness
Wisdom Jesus
I Heart Sex Workers
Out of the Fog, Into the Sun
Still
Falling Upward
Called to Question
Follow the Path
Being with God (Journaling Series) 
Jesus Freak
Take This Bread 


Not Church-Related (But always potential sermon fodder)
Quiet
The Fault in Our Stars
Are You My Mother
A Wrinkle in Time
The Distant Hours
In One Person
Pride and Prejudice
Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? 
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth
Theophilus North
The Long Christmas Dinner and Other Plays
The Cabala
The Uncommon Reader
The Frugal Gourmet
The Art of Possibility
The Games of Thrones
Change of Heart
Wonder
The Chronicles of Narnia



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Prayer: Proper 7B


(a prayer for the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, adapted)

I ask your prayers for God's people throughout the world;
for this gathering; and for all ministers and people.
Pray for the Church.

Silence

I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations;
and for the well-being of all people.
Pray for justice and peace.

Silence

I ask your prayers for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the
oppressed, and those in prison.
Pray for those in any need or trouble.

Silence

I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of her.
Pray that they may find and be found by him.

Silence

I ask your prayers for the departed [especially ].
Pray for those who have died.

Silence

F
or whom else shall we pray (add petitions).
We give thanks for all the blessings of this life: (list blessings).

I ask your thanksgiving for (prayer for all the blessings of this life –birthdays, anniversaries, etc).

Silence


Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored
[especially whom we remember today].
Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day.

Amen.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

11th Hour Preacher Party

I just got home from our community's American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  A few months ago, when I was asked to give the opening invocation at the Luminaria Ceremony, I never could have guessed how poignant the opportunity would be this week. Just this week we have begun to mourn the death of a beloved member of our church and this community who died on Monday after a two year battle with melanoma.  Just this week we have struggled to wrap our brains and our faith around the news that a woman who was making strides in the treatment of her ovarian cancer is now diagnosed with brain cancer.  And just this week we have found ourselves rejoicing and giving thanks that another member of our church family received the "all clear" news from his doctors following clear PET scans.  What I thought was going to be a sort of routine "civic spirituality" prayer turned into something completely different for me, and I didn't even realize it until I got up there to lead the prayer.




Preaching can be like that, too, can't it?  Whether it's the crazy coincidence of a well-timed lectionary passage or words that are heard that we never realized we spoke, preaching can turn into something completely different, something poignant, that we never even expected.  Thank GOD for the Holy Spirit!


Where are you as the task is before you today?  Are you tossing and turning on stormy seas?  Are you staring up at Goliath wondering how you ever got chosen for the task?  What obstacles are in your way?  What gladness or unity can you sing about this day?


The party is open.  All are invited.  Join us as we point to the hope in darkness.


(I took that picture tonight as I walked the track in the Memorial Lap.)
 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Five; What sustains you?

Over the last year I have found that life has been tough for various reasons, in bits and pieces I might cope with them all, but one after another in a relentless overlapping procession has left me drained and in need of resources that bring life. 


Sometimes even those resources are hard to lay my hands on, but even then if I choose to be mindful the memory of them can be sustaining. I am reminded of the words of Psalm 139:







Where can I go from your Spirit?

    Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens,you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

So I wonder,

  1. What brings you light in the dark places? 
  2. How do you connect/reconnect with God, and where do you find him/her holding you?
  3. Is there a prayer/poem/piece of liturgy that speaks life/sustains you?
  4. Is there a piece of music that lifts your heart?(share it or a link to it)
  5. Is there a place you run to (even in your imagination?
Bonus; Add pictures to any /all of these :-)


As always, let us know in comments if you play. Even better, get in the habit of posting a direct link to your blog entry in your comment, using the following formulation:
<a href="the url of your blog post goes here">what you want the link to say goes here</a>
For a complete how-to, click here.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ask the Matriarch - Calling and Family

Our question this week is quite specific, but it hits on broader issues that many of us have to grapple with at one time or another. Might you have some insight for our colleague? Read on...

My situation is this: I was told of a job that sounds good for me -- my interests, gifts and experience fit it well and it combines pastoral work with chaplaincy. The initial response to my application was quick and very positive. However, it is over an hour commute (with traffic) and though the hours are flexible, I would be away from home about 3 nights a week, plus weekends and taking a turn at on call. The pay isn't bad for pastoral work. There is the option of a parsonage/apartment. My spouse is well-established in a great job, and our youngest will be a senior in high school. We own our own home (or it owns us).


The decision is difficult since moving (i.e. to the parsonage) would take our youngest out of her well-established niche, a place where she is happy and thriving, and move her to a less desirable high school. The commute would likely kill my old faithful SUV after about a year of that much mileage. (Not to mention the gas money! YIKES) And the organization would like us to worship as a family with them, something that my family is not excited about changing at this point. Even a year from now, when Youngest Child is off to college, it would be a hard choice.

I came into my Call well into my marriage and family years... so their concerns are not without merit (i.e. this was not part of our life together from the start) and I am hesitating. I'm definitely pulled towards this job...

Any thoughts?

PastorChaplainWifeMama

kathrynzj writes:
I fully realize that my response here should be one of reflective listening and perhaps offering resources on discernment and certainly encouragement to pray and discuss these things with your family and God and your family and God some more. BUT, to be more blunt, I think your second paragraph answers the question. 3 strikes and this opportunity is OUT (1-moving senior from high school, 2 - commute that will void salary and family time, 3 - worship commitment)!

At the same time I hear your as you describe being 'pulled' towards this job. Certainly there is room for figuring out what it is that pulls you towards it (interesting that it does so even with the weeknights, weekends and on-call time). Is it possible this job opportunity opens up an avenue to talk with your spouse about what is 'next' once youngest moves out of the nest?

Prayers for you and yours as you attempt to hit that Call/family/personal  balance that all of us strive for.

---
I (earthchick) am with Kathryn! I personally couldn't conceive of pursuing a call that would be this disruptive to my family and my life. Even though my call came well before family and marriage, it does not somehow trump that part of my life. To me, there are too many red flags on this one. It sounds like it would be ideal "if only" - if only every other major part of your life (spouse, child, house, car, worship) were not an obstacle. I like Kathryn's suggestion that you might consider this an opportunity to explore with your husband what might be next. This has obviously triggered a yearning in you - how might you listen to that yearning without necessarily attaching it to this particular opportunity?

We did not hear from other matriarchs this week, but we would to hear from you! What counsel would the rest of you offer to our sister? Please join us in the comments section. And as always, we welcome your questions at askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com. The queue is empty, so now is a great time to send your questions our way!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Festival: The Best Worst Organist Ever

Today's festival post is by Jane at Jane's Journey.  Her post title is "Musical Jello" but I've titled this from her closing line.  It made me laugh out loud.  It made me glad. 
 
 
 
Few things bring a church congregation together like a shared adversity. It’s usually something tragic like a death or maybe something merely difficult like a budget crisis or busted A/C.  Everyone shares the tough experience and bonds with each other like mad. But a couple of Sundays ago it was the guest organist. Those in attendance that day are thinking of having t-shirts printed.

I don’t know who the guy was. I can’t remember his face or name. And that’s probably for the best. Through God’s grace he was fairly forgettable. Except that he will indubitably go down in the history of our congregation as The Best Worst Organist we’ve ever had.

I know I am spoiled. Over many, many years I’ve never known my church to have a really bad organist on staff.   Ever. Some of them were even sterling. A couple of times we had Masters of Sacred Music students from SMU and they were always good. Our current organist is a member of the congregation who has a soul for music. Margaret is not only artistically great but she knows our “congregation’s personality.” She likes her music the same way we do: short and snappy. Play the music, have fun with it, play it loud and don’t hit the wrong keys. I don’t think this is asking so much.

The guy last week wasn’t so horrible. I mean, he hit all the right notes—mostly. It was his tempo. It was like he has just now seeing the notes for the first time or maybe he learned to play the organ in a vat of jello. Every beat was about a beat slower than it was supposed to be. And, as if that weren’t enough, he played far too long. Short and snappy he was not.

He wasn’t bad enough to feel sorry for him. And he wasn’t good enough to be mad at him.

The youth timed the prelude at 14 minutes but I really think it was more like 20. Mind you, this is a one hour worship service. Maybe this guy is used to large funerals where it takes a while to get everyone seated. Maybe he thought he was going to get paid by the note.

When it looked like we would never start worship I pulled out my cell phone and started looking for someone to chat with on facebook. I was kind of surprised when none of the youth were on-line. There they sat like angels and nary a cell phone in sight. My God, these people text everywhere they go!  What were they doing over there when I needed a diversion?

One friend sitting in the back of the church commented on my status so I know I wasn’t the only one checking facebook. I was too scared to look back at her because I knew we would both burst out laughing. Then I got a reply from a Jewish friend sitting at home who said it was verboten to text during worship at her Synagogue.  They obviously have better substitute organists.

An invisible aura of conspiracy spread throughout the Sanctuary-- unspoken yet clearly understood: this guy was not what we were used to. And we weren’t going to be able to change anything. We were all going to have to just sit there and suffer together. The message spread throughout the Sanctuary through ESP as much as eye contact and body language. We are a church family and family can read each others’ minds.

And it wasn’t just the prelude. Everything the poor guy played was wrong. The Doxology was too slow. The Kyrie was unrecognizable. The ushers were totally flummoxed by his playing and didn't understand what their cue should be.  There were unsure fits of starting and stopping with the offering. With each musical part of worship it got only worse. Some people just stopped trying to sing; others tried to sing over him, as though you might lightly flick the whip over the horse’s back. Nothing worked.

The last hymn arrived and, as before, he was about one beat behind the rest of us. I found myself swaying over to the right as if to urge his hands along. I looked over at Gail, my pew partner of 30 plus years. She was as frustrated as I was. Then we noticed with horror that there were two optional verses of the hymn. Margaret always includes all the extra verses -- Margaret always plays every little bit of each song, the joy of music being what it is under the right conditions. These weren’t the right conditions, not at all.

I scooched over to Gail’s side of the pew and we consulted behind our hymnals. We decided our only recourse was to pray earnestly that he would skip those two verses. And he did, Praise the Lord. The last verse ended appropriately enough with the word Alleluia. And we were out of there.

Word spread like wildfire. Wherever she was, Margaret almost immediately knew something had gone wrong. There were countless OMGs on facebook and autopsies of the service. The following week when Margaret returned to the organ her first song was so fast I wasn’t sure we could keep up with her. It felt great.

The redeeming feature of it all was that it brought our congregation together like nothing else can. There was no tragedy or death. Nobody got hurt. We still worshipped God but in a different way. For the next week that’s about all we talked about. Any short phone or email inevitably included a comment at the memory of the Organist from Hell who brought us Musical Jello. I can’t remember the last time our congregation was so united.

SNAFUs in church are a common guilty pleasure. If you started a conversation around the campfire circle about snafus in church you would probably be there all night, until the last ash dimmed at dawn.

Presbyterians have a little mantra: We always do things, “decently and in order.” And we mostly succeed. We succeed so much, in fact, that we are sometimes called “The Frozen Chosen.” So when we have a little foul-up it is delicious: a triumph of humanity and frailty shining through like a beacon. “See!” we seem to say, “We are human and God still loves us.” It’s like dodging a bullet holding only Grace in front of us as armor.

A lot of congregations have found themselves divided by politics, both government and church politics. And we don’t like the way it feels. It was nice to be united for an hour with a common enemy even if it came in the form of a well-meaning musician doing his best to help us worship God

Thank you, God, for the best worst organist ever.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lectionary Leanings~~Why are we afraid?

As we begin our pondering, let us pray:


Keeper of our lives,                                                                                             
you know the hardness and gentleness of human hearts.
You call your people to faithful living.
Through the storms of life
that bring suffering and fear, joy and laughter,
teach us to turn to you for all we need,
so that we may come to know your presence
even in the midst of the trials that surround us. Amen.


If there is one thing we preachers have this week, it's options~~lots and lots of options. For starters, we can choose from among three different readings from the Old Testament: the familiar tale of David taking on Goliath, the follow-up account of Saul's conflicted relationship with David, or God speaking to Job out of the whirlwind. Are you following one track through the summer, or the entire season of Pentecost? Or going by what strikes you each week? Or even being influenced by the psalms associated with each reading?

Our second reading continues with Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, reminding them that now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!"~~perhaps are good reminder for all of us.

And finally our gospel from Mark recounts Jesus calming the stormy seas, and in his very unflappable way asking his followers, "Why are you afraid?"~~an apt question for our times, and for our churches (well, mine, anyway...and you?)



Where are you headed this week, preachers? Slaying the powerful giant? Hearing God's voice in the whirlwind? Exhorting your listeners to open their hearts? Confronting fear and lack of faith? Or some other direction entirely? Jump right in and share your inspiration, your pondering, your questions..that's what we're here for!



Monday, June 18, 2012

Meet'n'Greet: new friends, just in time for summer

As we approach the summer solstice it's a perfect time to make some new friends and have a blog party!

Caroline from New Jersey, who writes at Windswept Worship: +Sermons+Prayers+Poetry+Quotes+and+Worship+Ideas+

Jen from Pennsylvania, who writes at Living Faithfully...or at least trying to.

and "Jake, eh," a preacher gal in PA who is adventuring through life thirty days at a time over at 30 Days of Adventures.

Take a turn around these new blogs and around the ring and say hello!

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Prayer: Pentecost 3, God in the Unexpected


(God manifests in small and unexpected ways...one must be attentive to the potential of God)

Holy God, bless our lives, sanctify us,
and in your way, grant us our hearts desire.
Anoint us with your grace, that what we desire is also what you desire.
Help us to understand that our hearts true desire is the love of you.
May the love of Christ urge us on, may we walk by faith.
Thank you God, for all our blessings.


 
Holy God, bless those who govern –
Bless the leaders of nations, countries, towns, and cities.
And those who lead in all manner – social, political, and religious –
Bless us all. Fill the hearts of all with your wisdom.
Guide us in the way of justice and integrity for all.
Guide us to walk by faith.


 
Holy God, tend to those who suffer in mind, body, and spirit.
Tend to the tired, the dying, the poor and the hungry.
Help us to follow the love of Christ, a love which urges us on.
Help us to seek and serve Christ in others, bringing forth a new creation.


Holy God, we ask all this in the name of Christ, our redeemer.
Holy God, we ask all this by the Holy Spirit who activates your love in us.
Holy God we ask all this that your love may be like seed scattered -
manifesting in small and unexpected ways - the greatness of You.
May your love may take root in our lives, and we may walk by faith.

Amen.