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Friday, February 01, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: Too Fast, Too Soon, edition

Oliver, my daughter's dog. Photo taken by someone at the equestrian center where my daughter is a trainer.



So here we are. Some of us are still putting away Christmas decorations. Our annual meetings are barely over-  or about to be over. It feels as if the season after the Epiphany has only begun.... and then, just like that, it's almost over. This Sunday, and then we're at the T-fig and then Lent begins. Every year when Lent begins early feels like a race to me, leaving me breathless.

What about you? Feeling like you can't go fast enough to be ready for pancakes and ashes - coming a week from Tuesday and Wednesday. Oh my.

But before we get to that  we have today. Groundhogs and sermons and winter...at least it is deep winter here with frigid temperatures...and it's unlikely spring will arrive any time soon. So, indoors I am today, working on my sermon. You?

Are you considering reflecting on Jeremiah, and what it means to be "called?" Are you thinking about the call of all believers, the priesthood of all? Maybe you are pondering how hard it is to follow God? Perhaps you are also considering the reading from 1 Corinthians - the well known (ahem *overused* perhaps) passage about love. I admit, I used this passage in my wedding and so it remains significant to me...but, oh, so much more than just that. I think my core sermon is always about love. Hard love, God love. So, maybe you are thinking about love and how to preach on Paul's words? Or maybe you want to talk about Jesus. Poor Jesus, son of Joseph...turned on by family and friends in his hometown. Maybe you are thinking about that - about what it means to be known?

And...what about the kids? Any ideas for children's time that you care to share?....

I'm not sure where I am going with my sermon tomorrow. I'm leaning toward Jeremiah...but who knows? The Spirit will take me where she needs me to go...that much I trust.

One thing I do know, the Spirit tends to show up at the party! So come on, let's welcome her in - y'all are welcome too. I have good, strong! coffee. I have tea. I think I'll make a run for fresh donuts. Or maybe I'll make pancakes...so pull up a chair. Grab a mug, and let the party begin!

66 comments:

  1. First one here and I'm on leave. Just thought I'd drop in as I am so sunburnt the beach is not a good idea. Sorry those of you in colder climes! Back to work on Tuesday, though. :(
    Thinking of you all as you prepare yourselves for tomorrow.
    Pizza just arrived . . . like some?

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  2. Welcome, Pat. I'm sorry to hear about the sunburn - they hurt and can leave one feeling miserable. I hope you enjoy, nonetheless, the rest of your holiday.

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  3. I'm up and ready to party on this dark, bitterly cold morning. There's a fire in the fireplace and plenty of strong, hot coffee! I have reading to do so I can get the sermon written early. Must be at church late this afternoon for a meeting and then a gathering of our Rite 13 kids and parents. Tomorrow is a Rite 13 celebration (rite of passage as the kids become teenagers, part of the Journey to Adulthood curriculum). So I have to be finished by 3 so I can get everything else ready for tomorrow. Cheers, all! Let the party begin.

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  5. Hmmm . . . a fire would be a great idea, but I see that there's no wood in here and I'm not going out there.

    Sermon finished; continuing with Luke 4 and urging my folks to become more attuned to "the other," and to recall that sometimes the other is us.

    I did some research this week and discovered that my church is located in a county that's 97% Caucasian, and has no mosque or synagogue. I'm struck daily by the differences in concerns between where I live and where I pastor, but I'd never looked at the stark demographics before.

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    1. Good morning Robin! Welcome. I must admit, a gas burning fireplace is too easy to use and over use...sigh. But delightful on this morning.

      Curious about the demographics on the community of your congregation. Who is the "other" for them? Or, perhaps you are suggesting, they may be the other, we can be the other...I am certainly reminded of that reality here in the Detroit area where a person of my skin color is often in the minority.

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    2. The most visible "other" there are the Amish, who by their own nature and convictions are an insular and impenetrable group -- which in itself raises some interesting questions about hermeneutics, doesn't it?

      I am trying to remind them that there are others they never see, and that to those others, we are the other.

      Basically, I am suggesting that they cast a wider view toward the news, etc. I feel accusatory, but the reality is that in 1.5 years, I have not had more than a handful of substantive conversations with anyone about anything beyond our community, and that when I ask "Did you see this or hear that?" the answer is generally "no." The news is the local paper for the nearby city of 20,000 and FOX, the radio is Moody Broadcasting, and there is very little internet literacy.

      And Jesus said, there are people in Zarephath and Syria.

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    3. Robin - I hear you. We do have twin congregations! But I have Hutterites instead of Amish. I think a big part of what I am called to do here is bring the world to my congregation - in prayers for current events and people around the world, in mission focus and special (giving) projects, and sometimes in my sermons.

      But it does get tiring though. I have to think about how much unpacking an illustration needs, and often because of the age and insularity of my folks, I abandon ideas because the suitcase is just too big to carry!

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  6. Hi, I'm not preaching this weekend. and may not go in to church at all. very rare on a Saturday. We're trying to get ready for my oldest stepson to visit, and a birthday celebration for him. which will help us get some pre-Lent cleaning as well. Also preparing for an interview next weekend. Was doing a lot of that and then, until this one, not so much. So, would appreciate prayers.

    And God's blessings on everyone who is preaching!

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    1. Prayers for you for sure, Diane!

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    2. thanks, Terri! I've been missing the party lately. hope to be able to attend more, soon.

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  7. I have a title: Angry Birds! and hopefully a sermon later on in the day. (Part of using that metaphor will be explaining what/who Angry birds are as very few people in the congregation use technology. I may print off the angry bird characters so they can physically see them)

    Preaching I Corinthians and a dash of Luke. "Though I may speak"...so I am thinking of heading in the words matter direction which also affect our actions or perceived actions. I have a couple of stories to intersperse, one from Charter from Compassion, the other from a family whose child struggled with addiction.

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    1. I used Angry Birds as part of one of my sermons awhile ago - it was fun...but then I also had people in the congregation who knew what I was talking about, along with those who did not. Always good, I think, to unpack "LOVE" and remind us that it means more than it means...

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  8. I'm up and have been to pick up our Bountiful Basket of fruits and vegetables - so fresh apples, tangerines, and strawberries to offer.

    Anyone doing Narrative Lectionary - healing of the centurion's slave?

    Back later, after some light housekeeping and other duties!

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  9. I had to laugh at Terri's opening sentence - my guys are matching ornaments to boxes (all those little Hallmark ornaments have to go back in the right box!) even as I type! But our absolute latest un-decorating goal is to have the tree down before the Superbowl and we'll make it!

    Thanks for the prayers last week for my son's hospitalization. He's home and doing well. There's follow up visits and therapists to see, but he's safe and stable.

    It's amazing - a week ago I was caught up and now after my son's 4 day hospital stay and a funeral, I'm once again staring at a impossibly long to do list and one day to get it all done before I head off to the mandatory first call education retreat after worship tomorrow.

    I think I am preaching on Jeremiah, and on Jesus a little bit. I'm leaning toward "Everyday Prophets" - we're all called, we all feel ill-equipped, God gives us what we need. Maybe throw in a little Martin Luther on vocation. Right now my sermon is just thin little wisps darting elusively around my brain.

    Wispy. Yeah. My sermon is wispy.

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    1. Ramona, glad to hear about your son....I hope the wisps of sermonettes weaves into the fabric of a whole sermon - without too much labot.

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  10. Good morning preachers!

    I am challenged by this weeks readings, but in a good way I hope. The phrase that keeps resonating with me about the gospel is "it's not about us...but it is about us." I mean Jesus hastens to point out to his hometown crowd that God is not coming just for them or even especially for them but for EVERYONE, so it's not about us. And yet we are all called to respond to that call...with love...so it IS about us. This for a congregation who has, it seems to me, very little sense of what it means to be a church beyond being a community of insiders.

    I like the Jeremiah reading and was thinking about using that and Isaiah from 5 Epiphany next week for our annual meeting when I remembered that next week is Last Epiphany not 5 Epiphany--ugh, so tired of T-fig, I may just go off lectionary--which is very unusual for me!

    Using Corinthians last week as a backdrop for the gospel seemed to work; I wonder if something like that would work again this week? Hmmmm......

    And yes, Lent is coming WAY too fast. WAY too fast.

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    1. Morning, RevDrMom....seriously, I hear you - T-fig already. sigh

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  11. Am doing Candlemas and the presentation of Jesus. Think I'll focus on Simeon and hope. Just starting to put things together after a week of simmering. I've been so distracted this week--one of my closest friends died Wednesday of cancer that had gone to her liver. I'm going to Minnesota Monday to be with her family and for the service. Truth be told--my head is already there.

    Have to force myself to focus. This afternoon I'm going to the blessing of a same-sex union--a couple I've known for years and two people who encouraged me on my path to priesthood. Excited that they are the first in the Diocese of the Rio Grande. My how things have changed here!

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    1. Things have really changed in that Diocese....how exciting. But how sad for you and the loss of your friend. I too would be distracted and already there...Prayers for safe travel.

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  12. I have just finished my sermon on the Presentation. I am not really happy with it because the Presentation is about as confused to what it is as I am about preaching on it.

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  13. Ali, congrats! I did my first on in Sept. and am still catching flack.

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    1. Muthah+--I am so sorry that you are catching flack still. But isn't that flack worth catching!!!

      Today, I'm just attending. I did blessing in the Diocese of California during that short window when unions were legal there. Doing my next blessing in October.

      I ran across a great poem about Simeon that extends his greeting to all children that come his way. Also hearing some great echoes in the passage (There are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God (9: 27) and that great Hebrews passage on faith (11:1)).

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  14. Morning Muthah+ and welcome to the party...where being confused means being in good company?

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  15. I am happy to have a draft and it's still early afternoon! It needs some tweaking, especially the ending, but hey, it's a draft! I did go with the them of it's not all about us. I'm in a parish that is shrinking, that has as far as I can tell little sense of being part of God's mission, that would rather turn inward and is more of a social club that a religious body. I know that sounds harsh, but it feels real to me, and as far as I can tell it's been that way for a long long time. So not sure how they will hear this.

    It's a little scary how many conversations I've been part of lately that have to do with churches and church goers who aren't that interested in God. Yikes. I don't quite know what to do with that. Community is great--a sense of community is part of what got me back into the church after a long absence, but if it is not community centered on God/Jesus is it church?

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    1. RDM, exactly what I wonder every day.

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    2. Robin, I think our contexts must be similar.

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  16. I think I'm having the post-Christmas slump. I'm a little slow on these things :) Was very busy through January, and now I'm just tired. To that end, recycling a sermon on the Jeremiah text that was not too bad, last time I checked.

    Also, doing a tiny happy dance that I managed to escape a preaching gig on T-fig this year, for once.

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    1. YAY you Esperanza! Actually one of my favorite sermons is a T-fig sermon...but I haven't preached it in years (so maybe not so much anymore?...)

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    2. Too many years as an Associate, and too many years as a supply preacher add up to too many mediocre T-fig sermons. I'm just tired of it. And Doubting Thomas. Expect me to complain about that on Easter 2.

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    3. Esperanza, lol...but not really. sermon fatigue is real! Complain away! this is surely the place to do it and find like minded colleagues.

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  17. So I posted mine, because I have to start moving onto the other things on my to-do list today. Thus, it is what it is...won't have much to time to come back and tweak it...The Call to Love

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  18. My posts keep disappearing. let me see if this goes up.

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  19. wow, everything went away that time. Maybe I need a break... <a href="http://pastorspost.blogspot.com”>the draft is here</a> unless it all disappears again...

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  20. sorry about that link,
    trying again. or disappearing again. I always wanted to be invisible..

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    1. RevNancy, are you typing with your iPad? I can't seem to use mine on blogger today - mine disappear too. Weird. Well, at least now we can see you! Welcome!!

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  21. Finally back home after being gone 7 days...wishing it was 7 days of vacation but it was a training meeting.

    Siri (I know...first world problems) was not cooperative on taking notes as I was driving. Hopefully I can remember some of those thoughts. I've got 300 words...

    Maybe I'll play some Angry Birds....LOL

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  22. SO I am working with Luke. And I have been pondering for the last few days what it would take for our congregations to haul Jesus to teh nearest cliff...


    What would be the trigger points in your contexts?

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    1. Jesus' radical hospitality, his invitation to sit with those deemed as "other"....

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  23. It's a quiet party today. Our BE6.0's are missed.

    I think I'm done, but advice would be welcome. Everyday Prophets can be found here.

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  24. I chose the Corinthians text. Easy way out, I guess ;)
    http://theshepherdesswrites.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/love-song/
    We've got snow here in the Appalachian mountains so it has been a lovely groundhog day! Best to you all!

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  25. I wrote mine up yesterday, but am stopping by to bring you all a big bowl of berries and whipped cream with honey and rosewater, in honour of St Brigid's Feast! My tradition doesn't do much with saints, but I love Brigid's legends and her patronage (matronage?) list, which includes dairy animals, poets, blacksmiths, weavers and midwives!

    Tomorrow will be a very sweet day for me: my first time presiding over Communion in "my own" church, not as a student or associate or guest preacher, but as THE pastor of a congregation. I am feeling very honoured and very blessed--and all this is held gently with the knowledge of the ancient, gas-leaking cookstove that needs replacing, the church food bank in a building full of lead paint, and the folks that might not want same-sex couples married here.

    Blessings to all who minister and preach!

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    1. presiding over Communion is a wonderful privilege of being in ministry. you comment brought a smile to my face :)

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    2. Lovely, hope the day goes well.

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  26. Preaching on the gospel and 1 Corinthians - and relying heavily on Working Preacher! I've posted bedtime here so will edit in the morning. Hoping that the BE6 folks don't have too rough an awakening!

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  27. Just barely thinking about maybe getting started. I just remembered about an hour ago that on top of the sermon I need get plans together for my adult ed leadership. Mostly I need to recreate some slides from a workshop I attended and try to remember enough about what was said to reteach it. Problem is the slides are in the car in our detached garage, and it's 2 degrees out - - Fahrenheit. Not too excited about piling on my clothes to go find the binder. Ugh.

    I'm on the narrative lectionary, and my text is from Luke when the woman washes Jesus's feet with her tears and hair. I haven't thought too too much at all about it (horrible, I know; I'm in a preaching energy slump lately), but since it's a communion day, I'm going to use that as my angle - - what happens around the table with Jesus - - great love that is shown and received in different ways. I think I'll do this one out of the pulpit, probably around the table - - maybe just do some wondering about what is experienced by different people around the table. Sounds more interesting for me to create than a straight up sermon.

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    1. Sounds like a good idea to me....the sermon that is...the temperature outside, not so much (about the same here)

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    2. I suppose you wouldn't want to know that it was about 85 here today. We played outside, barefoot.

      I'll be going now.

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    3. Is it too snarky to go 'pffbbbbtttth!"

      We made it to 20 today, but I did a funeral with grave side service a couple of days ago and it was -6 with a wind chill of -38.

      I'm trying really hard to forget that there are places in the world where it is warm!

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  28. Hi all,

    home from church and lunch. a busy morning with back to school blessing, a baptism and communion. Someone noticed 'there wasn't a Bible reading', [there are 2 in the Baptism liturgy and one in the communion liturgy - they weren't worried, just surprised]; I talked about Baptism and Communion.


    Next Sunday I am not leading worship in my home congregation, but will be leading teh Induction service near here, at least I am not preaching, though I do love T-Fig.

    all the best for those still preparing for worship.

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    1. Goodness, Pearl. I hope you enjoy the rest of the day. I'm heading to bed so I can be ready for Sunday! Blessings,

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  29. So, we had a tiny but fine party today - thanks everyone who joined me. And, blessings on your day tomorrow. I'll keep you in my prayers.

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  30. Has anyone seen the ending to my sermon on 1 Corinthians?

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    1. Heehee...I hope it found its way home,,,

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  31. A Blessing service, a party and a homily done all in one day. This is a first for me. With thanks to the poet and pastor David Steele for pointing me in the direction of the Simeon's many blessings.
    Here's my short sermon Blessings on you still writing.

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  32. Just checking in...my sermon is really not "on topic", per se...but it's my farewell offering to my congregations.
    It's done. It's up.
    The next few weeks will be hectic and crazy as we finish packing up the house, move, and I start my new call in one week. #headspinningalready

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    1. You have a lot on your plate. May you feel the Spirit holding you in these dizzying days.

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  33. I'm up. I'm up! I swear, I'm up. It's just hard to tell because the keyboard isn't click, click, clicking much yet. I'm up slowly. I've got about 90 minutes to turn my pretty solid outline into my sermon/communion meditation before I need to get my adult education slides in order. It's all very doable, if I'd just open up the correct document and start typing. 3 -- 2 -- 1 --

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  34. Hopefully it all came together for you Stephanie, and everyone else, too!

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