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Friday, February 22, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: Gathered together

As we make our way deeper into the season of Lent we come in the RCL and the Narrative Lectionary to one of those beautiful, but all too rare divine feminine images.  How wonderful to be gathered together in our pondering, prayer, and proclaiming as we are gathered under the wing of God herself.

Of course, in addition to this wonderful, but not necessarily easy Lukan passage, there are other great choices.  In the NL the passage includes the parable of the fig tree from earlier in the chapter.  In the RCL there is also the promise of God to Abram and Paul's encouragement to press on toward the goal.  Still others are working on their own series for the season of Lent.  Whatever you are doing, wherever you are going, there is a place for you in this preacher party.  May our time together throughout the day (and of course into the night) be sheltered by the wing of God.

Join us in the comments, lurkers and regulars alike!

115 comments:

  1. I'm going with the psalm and "what if I had not believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Think it fits with citizenship in a different realm.

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    1. Oooh! I didn't even look at the psalm since I'm a narrative lectionary gal, but that line is beautiful. I want to chew and pray and preach on that more. Wonderful!

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    2. I also am preaching on the psalm...taking the tack of confidence. I'm going to begin w/part of "I have confidence" from Sound of Music. The truth is, rather than "I have confidence in me!" many (most?) of us lack confidence in ourselves (impostor syndrome) My personal experience - felt like a fraud till faith in God matured...my confidence now isn't in me, but in Christ working in/through me...w/gifts of the Holy Spirit and fruits of the spirit. Confidence that will not waiver can only come from being grounded in God.

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    3. I used that song from the Sound of Music for a sermon one time - changing confidence to God-fidence.

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  2. I haven't actually started writing, though I should because tomorrow is ridiculously busy, but I wanted to give a shout out to Robin; I have been floundering trying to figure out where to go with my sermon, and reading some posts on her blog about God collecting the pieces of our life (forgive me if I am not conveying this well, Robin) struck a chord with me. My life is more like those little chicks going in every direction than it is a neat row of ducklings, and I desperately need God to gather me together and near. So thanks, Robin!

    Some of those pieces have been the death of a parish member who left behind a young daughter, a good but unsettling trip to Haiti, some health issues of my own (nothing life threatening, but enough to be significantly distracting), and assorted family matters both good and bad. Not sure how much will make it into the sermon, but it feels right to acknowledge them to myself as I begin.

    If anyone else is here for the late night pre-party, I'm offering Girl Scout cookies!

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    1. Holding you and your "chicks" in prayer tonight!

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    2. What is the link to Robin's blog about the pieces? Thanks!

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    3. I am having Blogger issues and can't get the link to post. But go to Robin's Metanoia blog and then to her Ash Wednesday sermon, Ashes III. Her previous post, reposted from 2009, is also about this.

      Thanks again, Robin...and your words became all the more important for me overnight because of the death of a young man whose family were members of our parish.

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    4. Just got here -- thank you; you are very kind and I am grateful to be able to offer any help at all, however obliquely, to a family whose life has just gone to hell. Keeping them in prayer.

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  3. great photo!
    I am focusing on Genesis, and as it is almost 9 pm Saturday, I need to come up with 1000 words quickly.
    I have been checking FB etc, and this is awesome

    hate mail origami

    Now time to get settled into sermon mode

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    1. I hope your 1000 words came, pearl! Peace to you in the night.

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  4. Saturday morning here in the Scottish Borders; a pan of butternut squash soup is simmering on teh stove for when I am in need of sustenance. I have half an A4 sheet with some scribbled ideas beneath a print off of the gospel... on TV we currently have an amazing docu series on penguins - this week focussed on the Emperor huddle: to protect the young chicks; the warm mantle of love from the parents and the utter devotion it takes to raise young in those inhospitable wastelands - so I've got some awesome chick pics!
    It's a start!
    I've got a whole load of random thoughts:
    Pharisees giving Jesus a kindly warning?! "Aye Right!" (That's a real Scottish double positive negative btw!)
    Jesus saying not until you cry bless him who coems in the name of the Lord echoing forward to Palm Sunday
    Jerusalem the Golden City - pride which comes before a fall.... which brings me right to the epistle and our pride in heavenly things.

    there is definittely a sermon in there somewhere!!

    blessings sisters

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    1. Sounds sounds like you have it all set up if not yet in writing than at least in thought. May the rest come smoothly.

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  5. OK, sermon written, now printing the future is in God's hands

    not really in sermon mood today, unusual for me, probably too many late nights this week.

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    1. Blessings on your day Pearl - often those Sundays when all feels too much are the ones with the unexpected blessings

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    2. I know exactly what that mood is like. Blessings on you!

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    3. I'm in the same place. Too many evening meetings, too much work and too little sleep does not equal sermon mood!

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  6. I am using selected verses from Psalm 27 and the same from Genesis. Sermon title comes from the Thoughtful Christian (I think) Lenten study called "An Acceptable Fast" and this week is "Taking the Long View". I sketched some ideas on Wednesday, Thursday became a snow day (which was scooping snow to keep ahead of the game). That worked really well until the wind came up Thursday night along with a little more snow.

    Breakfast time is usually pretty boring for me but in my virtual world how about some raspberry muffins?

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    1. I'll take your virtual raspberry muffins! That was some snow you guys got, Purple.

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    2. Yes it was! Round two up for tomorrow and Monday...we are on the edge of 6 more inches of snow.

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  7. I am going to focus on Paul's "Imitate me." New science says our DNA and genes are living things, that change as we interact with each other. Imitating Christ changes us and changes those around us in ways that get passed on to generations after us. This should not be foreign to Episcopalians because of our lex orandi lex credendi understanding. In 12 Step circles this would be known as "fake it 'til you make it" or "acting as if"

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    1. That sounds like a great angle! The idea of

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    2. Genes changing in response to their environment and experience is wonderful.

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  8. Ugh. I'm having annoying Blogger/iPad interactions. Hopefully this will not be the case all day.

    I'm going with the NL gospel which includes the fig tree parable the RCL coves next week. My focus will mostly be on that parable, but will come back around to the hen and chicks - being examples of God's grace and desire to gather us in Christ even while we are running amuck. I had a lot of fun this week thinking about who is who in the parable and all sorts of possibl einterpretations. I, looking forward to playing with it later.

    This morning though our family is off to a state park to try out our new snowshoes. The kids and my husband have tried them on in the backyard, but I've nev tried any. Should be fun. I hope. I'm counting this as my two mile training run even though I'm sure we won't cove that far.

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    1. Yuck it wouldn't let me edit in my comment before I posted it.

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  9. I had hoped to have a sermon posted by now. I've got a council meeting this morning, and then we have to go to the city for some much needed supplies (the kitty is hungry!) - a trip we postponed from last week because I was so busy.

    Which means I have a sermon and a nursing home service to craft when we get back tonight, and a funeral sermon to start on. The highly anticipated day off will have to be moved to later in the week!

    We've started a Lenten study on David Lose's Making Sense of the Cross. I'm trying to bring themes from each week's study into the following Sunday sermon, and thought I could do it with out going off lectionary. So, we talked about how Jesus reveals God, especially how we see God's power most fully revealed on the cross. So I'm working with the two sides of God we see in the gospel - first the powerful, in charge, won't-be-denied God who is completely in control of the events. Then we have the tender, protective mother hen gathering her chicks.

    I have about 400 words in an quasi-outline - if worst comes to worst I can preach from it. But that's never a good thing...I tend to ramble.

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    1. A 400 word quasi-outline sounds like a great start. I know what you mean "if worst comes to worst." I have the opposite problem, though with my outlines. I preach way too short when I go straight from my outline.

      I hope you get that day off soon when these pressing matters pass.

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  10. OMG! Blogger has eaten my comment *three times* now!!! What the heck?!?!

    Anyway! I'm here! Preaching Luke! Borrowing a bit from myself from 6 years ago! Have homemade vegan chocolate cake to share! Etc.!

    Okay, blogger, be gentle with me....

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  11. Totally in poultry mode, here. In the last week and a half, we've had a guinea fowl killed by a hawk and then somebody dumped three roosters in our yard, one of which got taken by a fisher (basically a monster weasel from hell). We managed to eventually catch and safely house two of the roosters--who we hadn't wanted or asked for, but for whom we're now responsible.

    So, that's where my story meets the Gospel, just now. And there's something in it all about living in the feather-strewn mess between catastrophe and communion.

    Have I started writing it yet? Well, no, not really. See, we have another blizzard coming tonight, and church was already cancelled two weeks ago for the last one. I'm excited to preach this sermon and I love Lenten worship dearly, but I also really don't want to drive 20 miles each way through a blizzard that's supposed to peak on Sunday morning! Yeah, what was that thing I just said, about the messy space between...?

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    1. What rich illustrations you have to inspire you! I might save this sermon for another week if you don't get to preach it.

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    2. My sister has chickens and the same rooster thing happened to them! How strange that people dump unwanted roosters on other poultry farmers!

      Sermon is on the gospel and it isn't done, probably won't ever be done and I'm not at all thrilled with it. But it's on paper - a rarity for me - and I'll probably stick with it unless the Holy Spirit swoops down in the shower tomorrow morning and tells me to start over.

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  12. I am preaching on Abram and trusting God, even when things look impossible. I am leaning very heavily on a sermon from 3 years ago which I preached during my training and which I am so grateful for this week. Like many of you, I have had a hectic week. A previous minister of this parish who had moved back into the parish died this week so I have his funeral to conduct next week as well as one of an elderly lady who was a member but had moved to a Care home. Right now I am trusting God that all of it will happen despite no day off last week or this week.
    It is also our Stated Annual Meeting tomorrow - which on the plus side means a shorter service and on the minus side means writing a summary of the year and also chasing all the information I asked for weeks ago which has not got to me yet. What is not in tonight will not be dealt with at the meeting!
    A funeral visit several towns away this morning means nothing is on paper but I think most of it just needs to be gathered into writing.
    Still looking for a childrens talk though, if anyone has a good one on trust.

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    1. oh, man. Children's time. Thanks for the reminder.

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    2. Prayers for your strength and stamina in the days that come!

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  13. I am a poultry dunce. And so I have decided to preach about poultry in the top poultry-producing region of the state. Seriously, in my drive to the supply congregation tomorrow morning, I will pass at least a dozen large chicken barns. So I'm in the unenviable position of not knowing what I'm talking about in front of people who do.

    I think I'm going to skip the chicken image, much as I like it, and go with the Jerusalem lament mostly. But I have no idea and limited time to make it happen.

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    1. What if you paused, in your exegesis, to invite some "poultry insights" from the congregation, and then riffed on them a bit? On the other hand, if the locals only see industrially-raised birds, they may have little knowledge of anything other than the tremendous, eye-watering, acrid stink of overcrowded, unhealthy birds. Most industrially-raised birds never get a chance to display the full range of natural social bird behaviors. (That's a whole 'nother sermon!)

      One thing it may help you to know is that--other than her sometimes remarkable mothering instincts & related actions, there is very little that separates a hen from her reptilian ancestors. Chickens are basically dinosaurs with feathers. They can be cruel and "heartless" with each other, and the "pecking order" is all too real, with the lowest-status birds pushed to the edges of everything, shoved away from the good food and the best/safest roosts. Yet a mother hen can truly be self-sacrificing, placing herself between her chicks and whatever might harm them. She attends them so carefully, and does everything in her power to fit every single chick underneath her for warmth and protection.
      In a way, Jesus shows us the best of what a human might be, and a good mother hen shows other chickens the best of what a chicken might be.

      Hope this helps!

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    2. I think it could be fun to invite folks into the discussion, too, but then I could also see it as difficult in a supply setting. I was also going to say the same "on the other hand" as MaineCelt.

      Thanks for more insight, MaineCelt!

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    3. Thanks, MaineCelt! It's mostly industrial chicken farming, but lots of folks do keep a flock at home. I'm just admitting my ignorance and moving on.

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  14. Is anyone else finally at T-Fig today?

    I wrote the sermon a few days ago focusing on prayer as watching and listening -- I hope I still like it tomorrow. I am giving my congregation a handout each week on the spiritual practice of the week, so tomorrow's will be an introduction to silence with God, lectio divina and visio divina. The most elementary of introductions to prayer that's not talk-talk-talk.

    Then tomorrow night I am preaching at one of the three UMC churches with which we share Lenten services. Still on prayer, but using Anne Lamott's new title as the basis with three psalms and three hymns interspersed. Last year I preached The Practice of Paradox in the same venue and I think everyone thought I was nuts. (Although they listened very politely.) This year I thought I'd better lighten up.

    Breakfast with friends this am and then my daughter came to visit. My 26yo daughter is the best source of wisdom I know and besides she is just beautiful, so an hour with her is worth many spent otherwise.

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    1. I want to hear both of those sermons!

      And so sweet the way you talk about your daughter.

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    2. I have made prayer without so much talk-talk-talk my own Lenten discipline this year. I am trying to also make sermons that use words more economically (and therefore shorter) part of my discipline. I failed last week. I'm guessing with my excitement over the next this week that I'll fail again.

      Thanks for the reminder of visio divina. I've been trying to figure out how to lead prayer with icons or images at one of our mid-week services, and I wasn't quite sure how to do that. Now I've got something to Google!

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    3. Robin, what has been the reaction to the handouts?

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    4. I don't know; we've only had the desert handout so far, last week. I posted it as Desert Meditations on the church blog here:
      http://nankinchurch.org/ministry-and-mission/sermons/

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  15. Hello everyone! Checking in with lots of coffee and a few donuts for the peckish. (see what I did there with the hen thing? ha!)

    esperanza, I am with you as I forgot to ask my parishioners--many of whom own chickens--more about this image. Um, oops. I guess I could ask a few of them before tomorrow, or maybe ask for input during the sermon (which always gets "interesting" with this group!).

    Unfortunately I cannot just settle in for the rest of the day and ponder the hen and chicks thing and the Lukan RCL passage, because I need to make sure I am all set for Messy Church tonight (we are doing it every Saturday evening in Lent). Also hoping my laundry will dry quickly so I have something to wear there!

    Please have some of the coffee. I'm a little wired right now. WHEE

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    1. I think I'm a bit wired, too, because the "peckish" pun made me laugh. a lot.

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    2. I'm glad someone besides me is laughing at it!

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    3. I'll add my giggles. I'm not wired, but tired.

      Good luck with Messy Church tonight!

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    4. Thanks SheRev, but it tanked. Nobody showed up except the planning team. Trying to set aside the disappointment now to focus on the sermon for tomorrow.

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    5. So sorry. I have felt that disappointment, too. Sorry

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  16. I just want to get the emails. Forgot as usual to hit the subscribe button.

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  17. "Take the Long View" here.

    It seems a bit clunky to me...it didn't come together quite like I had envisioned it on Wednesday.

    Now...that 'long view' for working out...too many days with no treadmill so I am off to the local treadmill.

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    1. I traded in my treadmill for a snowshoeing today!

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  18. Hey, folks-- if any of you have questions about chickens, I'm very happy to answer them. I have a flock of about 30 laying hens of different breeds, as well as a handful of roosters and some guinea fowl. I also raise a few batches of meat birds each year. Seriously-- if you want to know anything about bird behavior, I can help.

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    1. Okay MaineCelt, I'll bite! I have read in a few commentaries about foxes and fire being two of the main threats to a flock of chickens. Another sermon talked about snakes. What other natural threats are there to chickens? I know they get sick (that I did learn from my parishioners), but what else?

      (In other words, from what might a mother hen be protecting her chicks?)

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    2. semfem, my family raised chickens when I was growing up, and one time a pack of wild dogs got in and got them - all but the rooster. He flew the coop. That's my experience of roosters (and I'll be touching on this in my sermon) - they fly or they fight, but they don't just stick around to be killed.

      Weasels are another natural threat to chickens.

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    3. Semfem-- Here, we have coyotes, fishers, hawks, owls, racoons, and skunks. Stray/loose dogs have run onto the property a couple of times and decimated a flock in minutes. Other natural threats: exposure is a real risk here in the north-- I've had roosters lose their combs to frostbite when they foolishly hid under the barn instead of roosting indoors on a cold night. Disease and starvation are also risks. I feed probiotics to my chicks and almost never lose one to illness, but most farmers lose about 30% of each hatch to illness or predation.

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    4. Thanks earthchick and MaineCelt--that's very helpful. I was pondering using the "hen and forest fire" story but think it's a little too graphic. You've helped me put together an alternate image that still incorporates the element of protection the mother hen gives the chicks.

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  19. Alright sermonizing sisters, I have hit a sermon wall. Normally I'm a Friday sermon writer (precisely in case I get stuck!) but yesterday was my birthday so I was completely unproductive.

    I am writing about hos God's love is the non-coercive foil to the world's coercion & destruction. But I want to give a couple of really strong examples of people living out God's non-coercive love. I'm thinking may Bonhoeffer (I'm re-reading Cost of Discipleship so he's on my mind) but really want to have a female example. Thoughts?

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    1. I've got some Bonhoeffer on the brain, too, as I'm also reading the same.

      What about Dorothy Day as a female example?

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    2. How about Etty Hillesum? A Dutch Jew who ended up dying in Auschwitz but not before she brought light and warmth to many of her fellow Jews in the deportation camp and even before they reached that camp. You can find many examples of her shining light in the preface to her autobiography.

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    3. (Belated Birthday Blessings to The Brekke!)

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  20. Sunday morning, and I am tired - too many late nights, and a 3 hour drive [each way] to visit my sick father-in-law. it has been very wet and windy here overnight, so I wait to see how many turn up at worship this morning. this summer we have had crazy weather, from exceptionally high temperatures, to the past few weeks of rain.
    I am hoping a shower will wake me up properly,and improve my energy levels; I doubt it will improve the sermon, but hey if I am properly awake, it may not be so bad :)

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    1. I'm certain it's not as bad as you worry it is anyway. :) Peace to you as you get your day going!!

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  21. I'm back from snowshoeing with the family. It was our first day out. My husband hauled our 2.5 year old in the hiking backpack. The rest of us had our own shoes and hauled ourselves. We probably pushed it a little far for the kids, 5.5 years old and 7.5 years old, but in the end they can be proud that we covered 2.22 miles. I decided that counted for the 2 mile run I was supposed to do for my half marathon training today.

    All the kids are snoozing, so what I'd like to do more than anything is snooze, too. I think, in fact, I will.

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    1. What fun to go snowshoeing! It's something I've been wanting to try ... one of these days.

      When's your half-marathon? I'm theoretically in training for one on April 13 but am quite behind myself!

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    2. It's something I've wanted to do since we moved up here 5 years ago, and the kids are finally at an age where we can. My oldest did it on a field trip a couple of weeks ago and LOVED it so we bought the shoes for everyone and gave it a shot. It was a hit.

      I'm hoping my half marathon will be on June 22. I'm in a lottery and will find out on Monday. It's my first ever. I started running two years ago - ran a couple of 5Ks that summer, did two 10Ks last summer, and decided to try to tackle this in June. I'm not speedy, but I'm pretty confident I'll be able to finish jogging most of the way. That said, I haven't even gotten up to half the distance yet in training. 6 miles on Monday. If I don't get in this race, I'll try to find another one, but it's one of the only Saturday races around. I'm not crazy about taking one of my vacation Sundays to run a race.

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  22. Part of the gospel text for this week is kinda funny to me---those helpful Pharisees warning Jesus about mean ole Herod!
    http://theshepherdesswrites.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/or-is-it/
    Blessings everyone!

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  23. Well, I went on a 5-mile run in 20-degree weather - if that won't clear my head, I don't know what will! I'm feeling a bit better about my sermon than I was earlier. Am hoping to finish it on up and help myself to a bowl of hot chili (my favorite recipe, and i have plenty to share, so help yourselves!) before turning to work on Church School prep.

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    1. Whew. I haven't moved outside yet. I'm not a fan of the dreadmill, but I'm terrified of slipping on ice or snow. Glad you've gained some confidence on your sermon!

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  24. Finished. In the nick of time. Some reflections on the goodness of God in the land of the living. Here it is

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  25. with a week full of late nights and a day of training liturgists and constructing the Lent tree, I'm behind on getting words on paper. By which I mean, I'm eating dinner and then buckling down, I swear.

    But for anyone who's hungry, I have a soy-ginger stir fry with soba noodles to share....

    This week we're talking about being rooted in God's promise as we grow in faith. I'm working with both Genesis and Luke, thinking about how we can hold on to the promise and live as if it's true even when there seems to be little evidence, or when we feel like there's a fox in the henhouse...because not only does that nurture our faith but it also is a key part of the coming of the kingdom: if we live as if God's promise is true, it creates a little bit of kingdom-of-god wherever we are.

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    1. Sounds like you have a good start and direction. Here's to buckling down. (Obviously, I haven't.)

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  26. Hi everyone!

    I have some delicious chicken and rice soup to share. Trying to buy local and that's been fun . . . and good!

    I'm (still!) working on Luke, wondering what Jesus was trying to tell "Jerusalem" and who was he really talking to. I feel like I need some more background. I'm also feeling a little lost without all my preacher books which are still in PA. I'm a little grumpy about that, and also about a race (marathon and half marathon) that is happening here tomorrow that will close off the only street I can get out from. So I will have to leave for church before 6:00 a.m. unless I want to park blocks away, and I really don't want to do that.

    OK, time to pretend I'm an adult and go get this sermon in some kind of shape.

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    1. Sharon, I love that you supporting local food producers--and I love that you are offering us CHICKEN! ;-)

      There was a great link on TheTextThisWeek with some expanded ideas of what "Jerusalem" means as a rich metaphor in the Jewish imagination... scroll down to the section on "Prayers, Prefaces, Litanies, etc." and look for Suzanne Guthrie's piece, "Lament over Jerusalem."

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    2. Hello, Sharon! I'll take some of that soup. YUM!!! We had to fight the marathon traffic/route in my last church. Drove me crazy. Attendance was always REALLY down on that weekend. People couldn't get to our downtown church because of all the road closings.

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  27. This has been a rough week. I am definately struggling. On Tuesday our boiler died and we've relocated to a hotel. My four and six year olds are not adjusting to the new digs well and I had planned on sermonating down in the lobby after they went to sleep, only to find a very loud and rambunctious group of people have already staked out all but one of the tables. Sigh. Preaching on either Genesis or Luke, but I have no idea what yet. Totally uninspired. The theme during Lent at our church is remembering our baptism/membership vows. The worship committee came up with an idea of using street signs as a visual image this season which seemed very logical last month, but now I am scratching my head about what to talk about and how to incorporate a stop sign. Pray for me, for our broken boiler and for the as of yet not acquired asbestos abatement company to repair my pipes so the new boiler can be installed soon.

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    1. Yikes. I knew about the boiler, but not the other stuff...prayers are yours! Can you go somewhere else to write?

      Is the street sign thing from Creative Communications? Do they have any starter thoughts on using the stop sign?

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    2. The street sign thing was from a webinar I took pre-Lent, of course the notes to it are half an hour away at church. Enough with the pity party, I have a grande non-fat chai. I can do this. Or at least I hope so. Scratch throat and runny nose started tonight. Can I honestly get this cold three times in two months?

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    3. Well, can't hurt to check Creative Communications if you still need someplace to start. They have the litanies for each street sign which would give you a clue how a stop sign might fit in. (there are photos of the product that show the full text.)

      BUT...if you're off and running, then you don't need to check that! You can do it!

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    4. Prayers for you as a try to focus in enough to get something done!

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  28. home from worship, and a nap is scheduled for this afternoon - it has been a long week, and I pick my husband up from the airport tonight around 11pm.
    those looking for a children's talk - the rostered person brought a live chicken in, she has chickens in her suburban backyard, as well as a veggie patch. it was good, but the carpet did need cleaning afterwards.

    all the best to those still writing,

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    1. A LIVE CHICKEN...GENIUS! Filing that one away for the next time this reading comes around. Happy napping pearl!

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    2. I immediately flashed to my most uptight head of the altar guild at my home congregation - if someone brought a live chicken to worship, she'd have a cow!

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    3. Another children's sermon idea--there is a Chinese children's game called "The Eagle and the Chicks" where the mother hen has to protect her "chicks." I know nothing more about it than what the interwebs just taught me. :)

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  29. Ok - I am now thoroughly panicked because the Sunday prayer is already posted! It cant' be that late can it?

    I had a very nice day in the city with my guys. We had a belated birthday dinner with our son - 17 already! And I had way too much caffeine today, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to sleep tonight.

    Which I guess is ok, since I just now get to look at my 400 words and try to morph them into a sermons. The sermon fairy didn't come while I was out - rats! What do you have to bribe that chick with anyway!

    So I'm munching my favorite sermonating snack - snow peas - and hoping for inspiration. I've got plenty of peas to share, if anyone needs a virtual crunchy break.

    Enough procrastinating - time to write!

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    1. Pay no attention to the prayer (right now - - unless you need it). Don't panic yet. 400 words is a lot of words. You're a lot of the way there. :)

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  30. This one is like pulling teeth. I was on a roll this afternoon, but had to interrupt myself. I can't quite figure out what I was doing or where I was going. It needs some livening up, for sure. It may just have to be short.

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    1. Short, short, short, short. That's me chanting for what I'm hoping for myself. I had a plan to try to write shorter sermons during Lent - - actually as a discipline for myself. I think sometimes I pridefully fall in love with my own work and just let it go on and on. Last week was a fail. Tonight I'm going to try again for short, short, short, short.

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  31. I haven't a word on paper/computer screen yet, but that's okay, because I'm in California and have several good hours left in me before my brain turns to mush. Working with the Psalm and the Epistle, and starting (once my new pot of [decaf] coffee finishes brewing) to wrestle broad, amorphous themes into particular exhortations for this people this week.

    Any other late-night preacher partiers in the western part of the western hemisphere are more than welcome to raid my fridge for nourishment. We have Subway sandwiches, fried chicken (ha!), pork roast with garlic potatoes, and I think a bit of Chinese take-out left. Please, help yourself to whatever looks good. (Why, yes, my family's version of hospitality is to foist our leftovers onto our loved ones. How did you guess?)

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    1. Your leftovers sound much better than my leftovers. Want to come and cook for us for a week or two? All I have to offer is nacho cheese sauce!

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    2. I'm not too far over to the west, but I tend to be up with your coast anyway. :) I'll take the fried chicken!

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  32. Thanks to MaineCelt for the helpful reference to Jerusalem.

    Also feeling chagrined about serving chicken, under the circumstances. Although, given the circumstances, can we say that "body of Christ" now "tastes just like chicken"?

    A little punchy here, and still looking for a conclusion to an otherwise weird enough sermon.

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  33. I've wasted the first hour of my work time watching West Wing and playing Ticket to Ride on my iPad. Not good.

    Next step, go find all the notes I made for myself in the form of comments on posts in the Narrative Lectionary FB group, then cut and paste them into a document to see how many words I have with those ideas. :)

    Then, type in my Bonhoeffer quote that I fell in love with mid-week, hoping it still fits my plan.

    See how many words I have them.

    Finally, try to nail down the transition and conclusion that's been lightly floating in my head all week to see if it makes sense. I don't usually work backwards, but this time I will.

    At that point, see how much more I need to say to get to my conclusion and decide if I'll do it tonight or tomorrow morning.

    Plan! Let's do it.

    Right after this one last game....

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    1. Step one - - Notes from the FB group = 307 words. Nice.

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    2. Step two - - Bonhoeffer quote with little lead in = 105 words

      Whoop! Whoop! That's 412 words without starting.

      West Wing just conveniently ended, too, so now it's time to mess with that ending to see where else I am.

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  34. I'm over here standing on the promises...and also on the hope that this is comment 100. I never get to be 100!

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  35. I've got 896 words, but and I've got a good handle on the 'trouble in the text' but I don't think I've quite got the 'trouble in the world.'(We used Paul Wilson in my beginning preaching class, can you tell?)

    Maybe I don't need to spell it out - maybe people will just get it? The Hen vs. the Fox

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    1. ramona, if you really want to add that element in, you can probably add just a little bit to the paragraph towards the end that starts out, "Apparently the baby chicks of Jerusalem would much rather play with the fox..." Your second sentence alludes to "trouble in the world"--you could add just a bit to show HOW "we flock to the danger of playing with the fox."

      That being said, that one sentence puts us there, and that may well be enough allusion to the world. I like it! (and we also used Wilson, hurray!)

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    2. Thanks for the advice semfem. Getting specific has always been one of my shortfalls in writing. I'll have to think about it.

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    3. It's strong as is--no matter which way you decide to go.

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  36. I've got 901 words and am in search of that elusive ending! The second-most difficult part!

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  37. Okay, I'm off to bed. Thanks everyone for a great party!

    May the sermon fairy/Holy Spirit/Antonio visit everyone who still needs help and inspiration. And may all pondering, preaching, and proclamation this (coming) day be blessed.

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  38. semfem is off to bed. Is anyone else still up with me? I've missed by 12:00 bedtime, but I'm giving myself until 1:00 a.m. tonight because I am getting pretty close to having my thoughts all in the order they need to be in. Close. Very close.

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  39. I didn't last much longer. I was so sleepy. Got my outline mostly in order and headed down to bed. I'm back up now, and have my outline in VERY good order, so now I just need to buckle down and write. 90 minutes - - Go!

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  40. Morning friends! Up to finish today. Thankful for your thoughts. Yesterday presided at funeral of 36 year old who died of cancer. Couldn't really do much more than that.
    So praying the Spirit arrives here soon.
    Blessings to you all in your preparations!

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    1. Prayers for you in the emotional aftermath. I don't know about you, but I'm usually pretty good at holding difficult things at a distance until all the public stuff is over. It helps me get through them, but it sure can be hard afterward when other folks are "done" with the initial grief and I'm just getting started. Holding you in prayer.

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    2. Yes. It affects me similarly.
      And I didn't even know him. His mother is a member of the congregation. He lived elsewhere. Thankful to have been able to stand with the family through it all, but wiped. out.
      Thanks for the prayers.

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