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Friday, January 11, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: Baptism of the Spirit



A friend of mine posted on Facebook last weekend that it is only 12 weeks until Easter, changing her cover pic to one of Cadburys Creme Eggs.
My reaction was a groan - that means it is only 6 weeks until the beginning of Lent.
I'm not sure why but, with Epiphany celebrated on a Sunday this year, I have a heightened awareness of the accelerating Liturgical seasons. And my trip to NOLA for BE 5 last year afforded me new insight into the unseemly (for the preacher) progression of Christmas rolling onto Epiphany, rolling onto Mardi Gras and Lent, accompanied of course by appropriately festive food.
Perhaps it's no surprise then that, in the seemingly pared down baptism narrative in Luke, we see the focus on the Holy Spirit mirrored in the Lenten desert and then again in one of Luke's last words from the cross ("Into your hands I commend my spirit"). It seems that all else is incidental - these significant moments come down to Jesus and the Spirit.
The Lectionary omits the verses that tell of John's imprisonment - a fairly glaring omission. Will you be leaving those out or throwing them into the mix too?
Is baptism on your radar this week or are you going with the "Do not fear for I have redeemed you" from Isaiah, with " The voice of The Lord" in the Psalms or the gift of the Spirit in Acts? Whatever you go with, it seems hard to escape the Spirit - that has to be a good thing!  
There is some helpful discussion from Tuesdays Lectionary Leanings that can be found here and the texts are here.
Is your pondering and/or writing accompanied by King Cake or left over Christmas goodies or something else, perhaps less calorie laden.
Whatever you have, pull up a chair and share in the feast that is the Preachers Party.

110 comments:

  1. First to the party (after Liz, that is) and I brought home-made mead! We're, um, "testing" our first batch, and I think it's ready to bottle. Lovely stuff...which is more than I can say for my sermon.
    It's my first Sunday at my new church, my first Sunday as a fully-fledged local pastor after two decades of preparation and practice. Is that helping me write this sermon? No, not so much, at least not yet.
    So, Gals & Pals, I lift a glass to you and return to my assortment of baptismal blather. I'm leaning heavily on David Lose to get this one done. How about you?

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    1. Congratulations and blessings. And I often lean heavily on David Lose.

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    2. What a great week to start - with the commission and promise of baptism. Home made mead? We'll help you test it!

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    3. Congratulations, MaineCelt!!!!

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  2. First Sunday in a new church here too...and to celebrate, my voice has gone on vacation and left me with a sore throat and a mild panic.
    Of course, I don't have a sermon written anyway, but still.

    I'm hoping to tie together something about baptism being about identity--along the "you are my beloved/i have called you by name" lines--with living our baptismal calling together in a new way, baptism being about community, etc etc etc...
    In other words, I don't have a clear idea yet. Though I could really use one. Also, for my voice to come back.

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    1. Teri- Throat Coat tea! Horehound drops! Praying for you and your voice, Sister.

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    2. Hope you find your voice, Teri. Blessings on your first day.

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    3. Teri, hope you find your voice beloved child of God.

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  3. I am off to bed but will check in tomorrow. Blessings on each of you and "remember your baptism."

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  4. Up and at it again here. Been to gym to try and work off excesses of retirement dinner last night. Heading out for breakfast shortly. I can offer lots of berries and strong coffee to keep you going just now. Then I'll be back to wrestle the Spirit.

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  5. Baptism and identity as a beloved child of God for me. But though a draft was written some days ago I'm finding it very difficult to think about the sermon as I have a group from the men's society here putting in a back tap, replacing the plates on the stove and re-puttying windows. This means no water and on-and-off electricity so I can't really concentrate on sermons. But it's taken them 15 months to get started on all the repairs that need doing, so I'm not going to discourage them!

    I made a lovely dessert last night - brandied cake fruit surrounded by ice cream. Made it for 6 but 2 people had to drop out and one didn't eat dessert so there's plenty to spare for anyone who'd like!

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    1. Pat, dessert sounds good. And it is after lunch here. Hope you feel beloved having that work done - even though its taken a while!

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    2. Yes, it's good. Except that there is a fault in the stove and they can't figure it out so no stove tonight!

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  6. I am preaching Isaiah and Luke. I've got a beginning and an end; looking for the middle. Sermon title: The Original Valentine!

    That middle is going to have to wait as I drove to really big city yesterday for a meeting today...then hit the roads to make it back. Thankfully the snow stayed away and Interstate will be clear all the way.

    Party On!!! Party Well!!! :)

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  7. Purple, travelling mercies. We're expecting snow to hit Scotland this weekend. Look forward to you joining the party later. Hope the meeting is worth the drive!

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  8. I am using Isaiah and Luke to focus on beloved, redeemed and called as we welcome an Ordained Local Minster who will be working with me and our congregation part-time for the next year or so. I want to combine welcoming her and affirming her calling with re-emphasising the calling to everyone in the church.
    As part of the tea afterwards I will present her with a few useful gifts for her ministry - I have thoughrt of things that are relevant particularly to her ministry with us (e.g. keys for the church, map of the parish) but would also like to give her some gifts relevant to ministry - helpful things (not just another bible!) Anybody done anything like this or have any thoughts? What was the most useful thing you receved as a new pastor/minister/priest?

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    1. A small bottle of anointing oil that i carry in my purse, a portable communion set, a lovely pectoral cross, a book of rituals for using for everyday occasions (by Ylvisaker-Nielson Family: 75 Blessings for Everyday Use (maybe??)) ...

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    2. Those are really good ideas. thanks.

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  9. I am at a middle school youth conference as we speak. One keynote down, two more and a sermon to go. WAY more nervous-making than my regular supply preaching gigs.

    'Tis good to be here with old friends. Even better: my very own room that has wifi!

    Trying to get this one in my head before breakfast.

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  10. Call, identity, and name -- Beloved - - all coming from God. It has the potential to be a controversial sermon in a congregation where many people believe that it's all up to us.

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    1. Thats the great thing about Luke's version - its pared down to the basics - all down to the Trinity, no distractions.

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  11. just about finished up here. Using Isaiah and Luke: title: chosen, known, loved
    reflecting on how we all need the affirmation of knowing we are chosen, known & loved, by each other, just as much as we are by God.
    How in paring back the baptism of Jesus, Luke got to the real nub of it all: God pleased with his Son.
    God fulfilling the promise made through Isaiah that we are not alone.

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  12. Back at it here-- and there's enough ginger-apricot-almond oatmeal for anyone who wants some!

    Writing about the contrast between Sunday School images of the newly-baptised Jesus, his robe shining white, the water clear and sparkling, and the agricultural reality of the Jordan River today, so full of sewage and fertilizer run-off that people are
    discouraged from touching it, let alone bathing in it.
    Never mind the Sunday School art-- isn't it the very meeting/blending of earthiness and divinity that gives glory to this event? Trying to explore the "muddy blessedness" of all faithful folk as we try to live into God's love for us and live out our own distinct callings.

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  13. Good morning! It's a lovely fresh-snow day, and we had a good laugh watching our sheltie romp in the snow. Not enough snow to affect having church tomorrow, but enough to make us question the wisdom of today's scheduled trip to the City.

    I have to get the annual reports printed, and the councils graciously approved outsourcing it instead of requiring me to take 3 days with our grumpy antiquated copier to do it myself. Quick poll - if there's no church secretary to handle such things, it is the pastor's responsibility to get the report printed and assembled? I'm just wondering if this is something I should be asking the council to handle instead of doing it myself.

    Anyway, our trip (and the movie we were going see) is up in the air. The snow is mostly stopped and the roads have been cleared by now, but there is blowing snow and 30+ mph winds. I guess if you have to question the advisability of driving, then you probably shouldn't go.

    But snowy, blowy, bone-chillingly cold days are perfect for sermon writing - at least that's what I keep telling myself. I've already preached Isaiah, with a smattering of Jesus' baptism at the nursing home this week - no manuscript, just teaching the text. So I have a start. I'm looking at baptismal promises and identity. And I haven't ruled out just lifting an outline out of David Lose's dear working preacher article and using it to form my sermon. He also wrote a great blog on baptism this week too - What is Baptism? - if you missed it, be sure to check it out!

    My wonderful spouse made breakfast - there's coffee and bacon, eggs and toast for those who need a protein boost for inspiration this morning!

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    1. My UM-PCUSA church never did an annual report before, so I took on the entire (very short) project -- other than asking ministry leaders to write up summaries of their year, which some did and some didn't -- and then the latter got mad at me for not including everything they would have. Good luck.

      My sermon's just finished and I just glanced at the David Lose link -- I guess I can say that I touched most of the main bases!

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    2. Have the council undertake the task!
      Purple.

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  14. In case it's helpful, or for whatever it's worth, over the last several days I've been posting a bunch of stuff, old and new, on the Baptism of Jesus and on Baptism generally at www.sicutlocutusest.com. If you read any of that stuff (older sermons, a couple of excerpts from keynote addresses, and even a new thought or two -- yes, I have a new thoughts now and then -- please keep in mind that I come from a tradition that baptizes little ones. That colors the way I read things....

    Mary Luti

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    1. here hopefully is a link to those posts. Thanks. Mary Luti

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    2. Oooops, sorry, still haven't quite gotten the hang about how to do things here. Thank you, Liz.

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    3. No worries - I had to try twice! Can't seem to get the hang of doing things like that on the ipad - have to go back to the faithful laptop! But really helpful material, thanks.

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    4. Mary you have some wonderful stuff there...thanks for sharing. I look forward to going back to reread some of it.

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    5. This was so good! I just got to reading it and will have to file it away for next year! (especially the post about being quick to jump to the "you are beloved" conclusion for the congregation --- on Sunday I totally co-opted that statement to Jesus for all of the rest of us. I don't regret it because pastorally it fits, but next time that's the direction I go, I need to make sure that the "baptized into Christ body" move connects the baptism of Jesus to our own).

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  15. I too am leaning heavily on David Lose; both what he wrote on Working Preacher and at his blog were really helpful. I'm going to talk about baptism and identity, and baptism as God's work....or that's the plan now.

    It's been a week. Lots of little things and one bigger one (my mother's failing health--but she is doing better now TBTG) but the thing that put me over the edge was the message I received last night from a parishioner telling me that he and his family are leaving the church. I am stunned--no indication of unhappiness, felt like I had a good relationship with the whole family, very active members. So I need to call him back today and try to get a clue about what went wrong. W;hat ever it is it will be all my fault in the eyes of the trouble-makers in the parish. Ugh. This place makes me feel like such a failure at times. I know that I can't fix what ails the place (despite the expectations of some), and I know in heart that I'm doing what I can, but it is still hard.

    Now I need to get my head around the sermon....

    MaineCelt that oatmeal sounds amazing!

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    1. Ugh - sorry Rev Dr Mom. sometimes its hard to see why we are in a particular setting when we feel like failures - its hard to discern God's purpose in it all. hoping that some good affirmation sneaks in to lift you. Hard to write with such distractions too.

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    2. I hope you speak to the family that you have a useful conversation. Some people leave because they cannot manage their anxiety around the tensions of the congregation. This is particularly sad because as Pastors we need people who can stick it out, not get anxious, and be part of the solution to move toward greater health. But some folks just can't do it.

      Whatever the reason this family is leaving, very sad. Always very sad.

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  16. That sounds really lousy. What a kick in the gut. I am soooo sorry, especially coming so out of the blue. Courage and grace!

    Mary

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  17. Right - think I've procrastinated enough today. Just back from lovely walk on the beach with our puppy. Time to write! I'm thinking of going with the verses the Lectionary leaves out - Johns imprisonment (which I'm having read tomorrow) and echo last weeks thoughts about what happens when folk find the good news threatening? We'll see where it goes = first, a wee visit to amazon...

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  18. My wonderful spouse just went out to shovel the walk and drive and such and discovered - SURPRISE! - that the church's snowblower doesn't work. I am resisting the "I told you so!" urge, which will accomplished nothing but create tension between us.

    But I did tell him so! I did tell him, several times in the fall and in December, to go and check the snowblower to make sure it works so exactly what happened today doesn't happen. So I'm venting here, hoping that I can get my anger out in this safe space and get back to my sermon writing.

    Arrrgh! Arrgh! This has been a regular argument between us - he promised that because he 'loves' snow, that when we moved here, he would handle the snow removal. And yet, I trudge from the parsonage to the church through drifts of snow on the walks. My pleas to have the sidewalk (which people use on Sunday morning) shoveled fall on deaf ears.

    So I guess if I want it done I'll have to do it myself. No matter that it will probably give me a heart attack. No matter that I don't have time today to shovel the walks.

    Maybe shoveling will work off some of the anger.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

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    1. Oh Ramona, that is frustrating! I am very clear here that I *don't* shovel. so the people who plow the parking lot are responsible for all the sidewalks around the church, including the ones that lead to my front and back doors. I am lucky that is a possibility...is there such a possibility for you to relieve the family pressure?

      I do sure empathize with the "if I want it done I'll have to do it myself" theme tho...lots of that here :( and it can be crazy-making.

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    2. Unfortunately, being a married female pastor works against me on that one. If I have an able bodied husband - and able bodied teen age son - then there's no reason that the pastor's family can't be responsible for shoveling (and mowing) - it doesn't keep the pastor from her duties, and everyone else has to do their own shoveling!

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    3. Wow Ramona, that is really unfair--if you were a male pastor would they still expect you to take care of it?

      Taking care of church grounds--and that includes the parsonage/rectory --is the responsibility of the congregation, not the pastor. Or it should be.

      Just out of curiosity, who plows the parking lot (if you have one?)

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    4. No parking lot, but someone is hired to come and plow the drive behind the church and the parking spaces on the street (we don't get much in the way of snow removal in our little town), and to shovel the sidewalks. On a related note, we also hire someone to mow the church yard (that someone happens to be my husband).

      They expect the pastor to take care of all regular outdoor maintenance of the parsonage. None of my predecessors (all male) have asked to have someone else shovel the snow or mow the yard.

      However, a male pastor can play the 'would you rather have me shovel snow, or do pastor-stuff' card. If he was married, his wife would not be expected to shovel snow (we're still somewhat gender traditional here) A single female pastor can play the same 'shovel snow/pastor-stuff' card. Alas, a married female pastor has a built in someone to shovel snow!



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    5. As an update, my spouse did go out and get the snowblower running - fresh gas in the tank did the trick. So the sidewalks are clear for people who park in front of the parsonage. And I didn't have to do it.

      Wish this wasn't an issue for us.

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  19. Titled my sermon, "New Beginnings" - on the Baptism of Our Lord. I will use our 25th anniversary of the ELCA theme, "Always Being Made New" as I write a teaching sermon on baptism. I'm looking for one of our daughter's baptismal gown to hang from the pulpit as a visual. Planning to unpack some of the images and metaphors that we use in baptism.

    Dr Mom, so sorry to hear about that gut punch. Been there, done that. Some places are just plain difficult. Other places are so filled with light and grace. I am convinced that congregations have their own DNA and history that repeats itself. And all that on the heels of "Always being made new." How does THAT work?!

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    1. soulwiggles - what a great idea! I wonder if I can work the "Always Being Made New" theme into my sermon. Thanks for the idea!

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    2. I think that part about congregations have their own DNA, culture, whatever you want to call it is spot on, The question is, can it EVER be changed? And how DOES that reconcile with being made new, and with all things being possible with God?

      Argh....

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    3. RevDrMom, maybe that would be a good question for "Ask the Matriarchs" with the group wisdom chiming in as we together wrestle through what our theology tells us is truth, with the juxtaposition of the realities many of us have encountered along the way. Add to the queue?

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  20. Oh! And I'm happy to share a fresh pot of "Ooh! La La! French Roast coffee (delicious fresh ground beans from the Women's Bean Project), and dark chocolate Frango Mints - to die for! YUM!

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    1. The Women's Bean Project and Frango Mints... both those references take me back to my years in the West! SoulWiggles, in what state do you reside?

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    2. I'm in WI - Janesville. The Women's Bean Project coffee beans were a Christmas gift from our daughter in CO., and the Frango mints are from Macy's - whever you can find a Macys! I've spent most of my life in MN - where I met and fell in love with Frango chocolates.

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    3. Ah, I knew there had to be a Colorado connection-- there were some folks at my seminary in Denver that were involved with the Women's Bean Project. And I didn't know Frangos were sold so widely--they were invented in Seattle, where I grew up, and only available from Frederick & Nelson's dept. store. Looks like Macy's "bought the rights." Anyway, thanks for the memory jog!

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    4. Yup MaineCelt, when Frederick & Nelson's went out of business they sold the receipe to the Bon, which then of course was purchased by Macy's. Ah, memories! :)

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    5. I had no idea! Interesting. Thanks for the history lesson.

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  21. I'm working on dissertation instead of sermon today. I'm on a path of using mostly sustainable sermons for awhile because my advisor has me projected to defend the dissertation before spring break. The only way that will happen while being a full time pastor is if I use sermons that are already mostly written. But after having a stoke, even the thought of defending a PhD six months later is pretty miraculous to me. So sustainable sermons to the rescue! And I'll party on with y'all because I'm writing nonetheless. Sarah

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    1. It is indeed miraculous and sustainable sermons rock! Go Sarah!! I was just wondering and praying about your dissertation yesterday.

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  22. So. Let's see. I got up early and took care of my dogs. Spent some time reviewing my notes for sermon prep. Wrote the children's worship piece: a retelling of the Gospel (Jesus' baptism in Luke) in story form for the kids and then pointed them to the Lord's Prayer. Added some discussion points on prayer and summarized it by talking about the gifts that come from baptism (whatever we do will include our gifts from God). Then I emailed to the worship leader and went to church for a baptismal class and rehearsal. That was followed by more work getting ready for Children's worship and putting up a new bulletin board display...

    Now I am home, have had lunch (peanut butter on toast with an espresso)...

    With all of that I have done zip on sermon. All I know is it needs to be very short because the 18 month old we are baptizing is never in church (long story about anxious parents and the noise their child makes...which no amount of coaxing seems to console)....and very rambunctious. We have to move this service along!

    I think I am going to preach on prayer - as in right after Jesus was baptized he prayed... and do a tiny bit on the Lord's prayer as the prayer Jesus taught us.

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  23. Two keynotes down, one more this afternoon and a small piece of worship tonight. I really love youth work, but for the most part I don't get to do much anymore. I'm thankful for this weekend.

    LOTS of flu symptoms going around, not such a good thing in close quarters.

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    1. Esperanza, sounds like those youth are lucky to have you as pastor. Praying for immunity from those flu bugs.

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  24. Wrote a sermon 'outline' and I use the term loosely because it's 450 words. Showered and then procrastinated about all I can, now it's time to get back to it.

    I'm really wishing I had spoken earlier to the 3 families that approached me last week about baptizing their babies - would be so great to have at least one of the little ones baptized tomorrow. I thought about it, but wasn't sure if the pastor asking when they were planning to get the baby baptized would be considered pushy.

    Oh well, baptismal renewal it is.

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  25. Well, I spent two hours (more?) getting myself to urgent care and waiting to be seen, so they could tell me that I don't have strep (I didn't think I did) and they can't find any reason why my throat should hurt or my voice should be missing. I did get a prescription for "magic mouthwash" (no joke, that's what it's called) which is basically something I'm supposed to gargle, and it's full of lidocaine. mmmm. So hopefully the numbing will work and I can get something done other than drink tea with honey and lemon.
    SO now it's 1:30 and I still have a blank document. Hoping for inspiration to strike soon. I think I might be sort of psyching myself out about this Sunday...my first in a new place, mystery illness, and a liturgical holy day, and and and....My desire to be liked may be coming between me and the words that need to be on the page. Not in the sense that I anticipate a sermon that'll make me unpopular, but that I so want it to be AMAZING that I can't write anything. Sort of a perfect as enemy of good situation.

    Time to get over that.

    If anyone needs tea, I've got tons. And local honey too.

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    1. Well, Teri it is both good you don't have strep and a pain, since there will be no magic cure from antibiotics. dang. I hope the other magic stuff works, though.

      And, I hear you on wanting to be amazing in a new place...but here's the thing.

      You are amazing.

      And, they will know that by you just being you.

      Tell them a story about you, something that will help them see you as a person, share a bit of who you are over the next couple of months - nothing too revealing, but something to help them know you. A funny story is always good, if you have one. But no matter. They will love you.

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  26. I have a draft, which came pretty easily, TBTG. I hope it's not too teachy, but teachy is my style for better or worse. I use the difference in Luke's gospel--with John in prison and maybe not there--as a way to highlight what is important about baptism: it marks identity (Jesus' and ours) and it is God doing the work, claiming and empowering. Thanks David Lose!

    I am going to let it sit and then take another look after I have a late lunch.

    I am pet-sitting for my seminary prof friend who is leading a trip to Turkey, and I am surrounded by sleeping animals. Two dogs and three cats. It is amazing how much time they can spend asleep!

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    1. Revdrmom - I really appreciate teaching sermons. I offer them a lot too, and truth be told, I think people like them too. I just try to not fall into a pattern of always preaching the exact same way, likes a formula. That pushes me to break out of molds, too.

      So - anyway, yay! for you for having a draft.

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  27. Well, after my crazy morning (see previous rambling post), I actually managed to get a draft written. How did that happen?

    I'm going to let it percolate while I go exercise and meditate, and then I'll be back to finish it.

    It's quiet here today. I hope everyone is okay?...

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  28. What has come so far is more of a poem than a sermon. Which is okay--I like it--and in fact one of my favorite sermons in the past was a poem. But the first problem is that it's way too short. The second problem is I'm running out of time. Hubby's back went out so the normal time I have while he plays with our two girls (ages 4 years and 20 months) is gone plus we are supposed to go to an event tonight. The third problem is even if I get it written, in my head I find myself standing at the baptismal font saying it and having a manuscript doesn't seem right--though I could print it really small on half pages or something.

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  29. I've been talking with my daughter on the phone and trying to get my blog site up and running. Last week I completed the basic first steps. Today I added a banner, some color, and a little content. Baby steps. I was unsuccessful in adding the RevGal's button to my front page. I don't know if that's because my blog is a WordPress? And when I post here, I still don't have a picture.

    But now I've spent several hours trying to understand this new 'art' and it's time to hunker down and "sermonate"! On to "New Beginnings". Gotta love technology!

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    1. Soulwiggles, figuring out the technology just gobbles up hours! Sorry I cant offer assistance, i barely know the basics and am useless when there is a problem. im sure youll get there soon.

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    2. I had fits getting the button on my blog. With Teri's help, I finally got it on with the text in an image widget and resized it myself instead of letting the automatic sizing do it. I'll help you if I can.

      Your picture won't show up here as a WordPress blogger. You also cannot follow by email like Blogger folks can.

      Sarah

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    3. I had fits getting the button on my blog. With Teri's help, I finally got it on with the text in an image widget and resized it myself instead of letting the automatic sizing do it. I'll help you if I can.

      Your picture won't show up here as a WordPress blogger. You also cannot follow by email like Blogger folks can.

      Sarah

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    4. Look a double post because Blogger didn't want to cooperate! And then it did

      Sarah

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  30. I'm just checking in here while I let my draft sit for a while. About to go and find some chocolate to keep me going.

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  31. And...I'm done. Actually finished earlier this afternoon, but had unexpected guests stop by and they just *had* to try some of that mead we made... all this is hilarious to me, as I grew up a Temperance Methodist and I never thought I'd end up with a partner who keeps bees and makes mead!
    I'm feeling pretty good about the sermon and VERY happy that the forecast has clear skies and no snow or ice in the morning. Next task: to convince the congregation to help me set up a fully-accessible, well-lit, friendly office space in the fellowship hall, since their so-called "pastor's office" is in the back of the old, unused parsonage up two rickety flights of stairs!

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  32. Checking in late today. Accompanied some church members to a seminar on audio-visual stuff in church. To "screen" or not to "screen"? Ha. (sigh)

    This week at lectionary Bible study, the theme they kept on coming back to was "the voice of God" part -- "the pep talk" as they called it -- in both Isaiah and Luke. The sermon title (in the prematurely printed bulletin) was, therefore, fortunate: "Beloved, Be Loved" which was "lifted" from the UCC Sermon Seeds page. One man in the group said, "Make sure you tell us we are loved." Wow. Not sure if he meant in the sermon or as a message of our interim time together. Either way, good idea, huh?

    For anyone who needs a snack, I can share my strawberry yogurt and almonds.

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    1. Sharon,
      I'm amazed (and saddened) by how many times folk in church have told me that they need to be reminded they are beloved of God. What are we saying to folk?

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    2. Sharon - a UMC pastor ordained for 50 years told us once in seminary "always tell people that they are God's Beloved no matter what the topic or lectionary" His theory was that it is part of our broken nature that we can only glimpse our belovedness - not dwell in it. We need continual reminding.

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  33. Surely a short sermon for my first Sunday won't be the end of the world, right? People will hear my voice and be happy I can preach at all, right? I mean, it's not ridiculously short but it's not what I would quite consider "full length" either...

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    1. OK, I have to say it: In sermon world, length doesn't matter.

      You are in my prayers.

      And, to restate the obvious: They will love you!

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    2. Teri - the title of Sharon's sermon says it all. Beloved - be loved. Amen

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    3. Sometimes I wish we could hit an "Agree" or "like" to other posts. An "Amen" to Liz's post. Blessings and healing to you.

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  34. okay, so it ended up being kind of normal length anyway. though some may still get cut in the interest of not losing my voice for next week too. Here you go.... A View of the Water

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    1. There's also that Magic Mouthwash! And we expect a full report on that stuff.

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  35. I am not a singing preacher, but I think we are going to sing, "Jesus Loves Me" a few times during the sermon.

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  36. The party is probably going to come to life now as the evening and late nighters join us but its gone midnight here, so I'm going to call it a night. I'll be back early to put the coffee on and some hot water for those who prefer tea. Hope your sermon shows up, whatever text you're on and that you all get some rest and healing for those who ned it.
    I'm going to sleep on this
    Thanks for your company today. Already looking forward to tomorrows Holy Nap and reading your offerings after that.

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    1. Lovely sermon, Liz. Thanks for sharing! Indeed, what difference does it make that we are God's beloved?

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  37. I discovered my Dragon does not like my dog. Thankfully, there's not random bark.bark...bark,bark,bark's showing up in my sermon!

    I'm back from a break from sermon-writing. Annual reports are ready to go to the printer, except for the pesky pastor's letter. That's tomorrow's task. I'm mostly done. The ending's not great, but then maybe it doesn't have to be - we're singing "Borning Cry" and then doing an Renewal of Baptism, so maybe that's the ending.

    Enough procrastinating! I'm off to do what I hope is the final edit and then I'm putting this puppy to bed. And having a rare Saturday evening to myself!

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  38. Glad many seem to be finishing up! I still need to get started, but am going with the Isaiah plus Luke theme that many here are. Nothing groundbreaking in my head right now...just that we all need to hear "I love you" and "I'm proud of you" at some basic level, and that's what's going on here for Jesus, for Israel, and for us too.

    Distracted by the football game, but also by the fact that my grandma is in the hospital many miles away. Sigh.

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    1. I also secretly want to work in the story I heard last night about a woman who made a knitted Grim Reaper for her niece when she was baptized. That whole "being baptized into Christ's death" thing. But so far it just doesn't seem to work in the sermon. :)

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  39. Hello all. Exhaling in a big way as I read that Teri has a sermon - you go girl!

    I'm trying to re-engage with my preaching voice after 2 very busy personally weeks off. I jumped back in on Tuesday with a funeral, officer retreat, and an installation and new member class are on tomorrow's agenda as well.

    Trying to stay focused on Isaiah, and wishing it wasn't quite so hard to express to people that they are loved. Sermon title: You're Worth It.

    I have a vague idea and a brilliant illustration from Songbird, and so off I go...

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    1. Thanks! Now here's hoping that a) it's worth preaching and b) I have the voice to preach it.

      Sending you lots of good vibes for a long day tomorrow! Welcome home!

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  40. It's a little long - but it's done. Named, Claimed, and Walking Wet - what more does a child of God need?

    Blessing on everyone as you finish your sermonating!

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    1. Love the title! Way to go, Ramona!

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  41. A useable sermon illustration for the Baptism of Our Lord. I can't credit the source, except that I heard it at a midwinter convocation at Luther Seminary a few years back. It's a great illustration.

    Diane is a farmer. She has a sister who is a West Point graduate and a high ranking military woman. Both of them are seeking to live out their faith in their daily life and work.

    Diane, the farmer, wrote out a verse from Hebrews 13 for her military sister:
    “Now may the God of peace... make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

    Beneath it Diane had written to her military sister:
“You have been given ‘everything good’ in your baptism. You have been given the gifts to be the hands and feet of Christ wherever you find yourself. You received the love of Christ in your heart at your baptism. Now it is your calling to share that love wherever you are.”

    The verse from Hebrews and Diane’s very Lutheran understanding of baptism, hang on the wall in her military sister’s office. She told Diane that she looks at it often, and considers that charge as she makes decisions and talks with people throughout the day.

    “You have been given ‘everything good’ in your baptism. You have been given the gifts to be the hands and feet of Christ wherever you find yourself. You received the love of Christ in your heart at your baptism. Now it is your calling to share that love wherever you are.”

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    1. Soulwiggles, this is wonderful. Simple, and wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.

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    2. thanks, Soulwiggles! That was just what I needed to firm up the ending to my sermon! last minute changes indeed (church is in one hour!)

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  42. "The Original Valentine" here

    Although it is not late (only 8:25 CST)it has been a long and busy week so I sense an early evening for the Purple Pres Preacher.

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  43. Went to the church for Men's Breakfast at 9 this am. Then worked on two funerals (today's and one on Monday) until the funeral today. Then did set up my bowls of water and floating candles for the morning. Came home at 4. Only problem, not sure what I am doing with the floating candles in relation to the sermon on Isaiah (with a touch of 1 Peter 2) and highlighting the challenge implicit in those words of comfort.

    Also was hoping to find a way to include some discussion of issues I touched a little bit in this post regarding the relationship between First Nations and Settlers in Canada in 2013. But I am not sure how that fits in with either this week or next week's scripture choices (next week I am all about water and wine).

    For CT I am thinking of 2 options. 1) something with those floating candles or 2) something about being called by name and what it means that someone knows you by name. I may choose the 2nd because at our last Council meeting we were talking about the importance of people wearing their nametags on a Sunday morning in conjunction with our proposed goal of building a sense of community within the congregation.

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  44. I am totally off lectionary as we are working our way through The Story. This week is Isaiah, though, and I'm using a passage from Isaiah 49. I just read a Working Preacher commentary on the passage that describes God as a tattooed mother (see Is 49:15-16). Loving that imagery! I'm not sure it will work its way into my sermon, but I loved it so much that I had to share it with *someone.*

    And now...back to your regular scheduled programming...

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  45. Still grinding it out... 2 Sundays off is bliss right up until the Saturday night before the third Sunday. :)

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  46. Many of us say that no one minds a short sermon, but how short is too short? Currently, I'm at about 4-5 minutes--which is about 1/3 to maybe 1/2 of my usual length. And it's really more like a poem. UGH! I like what I have, but it's so short...

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    1. Actually intentionally did a 5 minute sermon once on a bet - there are still people who remember it and can recall the main point.

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  47. Silent - truly, it will be fine.

    Friends, it is time for me to call it a night. Blessings upon you all!

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  48. Just getting to the party. As is usual any more. I've got a general outline in place and am tempted (but not tempted enough) to just go from for tomorrow. It's only my second week back from vacation, but I'm already tired. What does this mean? It means I really do need to two weeks off when I take vacation. One week at a time just doesn't do it for me. Oh well. That wasn't in the cards.

    I'm in the Narrative Lectionary so I did John the Baptist last week. I didn't do much with Jesus' baptism. The world didn't collapse around me. This week we're on to Jesus preaching in the synagogue in Nazareth and the crowd trying to throw him off a cliff.

    I've got multimedia illustrations for this one in the form of a picture of a "posable" Jesus doll and some clips from the movie Bruce Almighty. I'll start with some hometown hero talk which I can relate to our own town that has perked up this week with a local pastor's wife who is a contestant on The Biggest Loser.

    Hometown hero description to angry crowd description, made so because Jesus told them something they didn't want to hear (his work, his life, his grace isn't going to be just for them), to some wondering about what it would be like if we got what we wanted and asked for from Jesus all the time (insert Bruce Almighty prayer answering clip that ends in chaos), like hometown crowds we would probably want to keep him all to ourselves, too, then finally to declaration of the good news that Jesus's wisdom is beyond our wisdom and sometimes he walks right through us, THANK GOD, to work in ever widening circles of grace.

    Not my favorite sermon (and it's not even written yet), but it will do. I get a week off of preaching next week since we're hosting a neutral pulpit for a candidate who is actually a really good friend of mine. Very excited about that!

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  49. Three keynotes down, only one more to go. And it's more of a sermon, for worship tomorrow. My allergies are going nuts, and I'm hoping to avoid Teri's dilemma of losing my voice in the morning. I've taken benadryl, which should be knocking me out right...about...now...Good night, preacher friends.

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  50. The coffee is on for those of you putting finishing touches to your service. Blessings on your preaching today - and may God be in the hearts of those hearing and offering feedback!

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  51. I'm still fussing with mine. (holding out my cup)

    Thanks for hosting, Liz!

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  52. Thank you sharing the 11th Hour Preacher Party: Baptism of the Spirit post.it is a very nice post.

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