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Saturday, March 16, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: "Pour It On" Edition

Oil

Hello, preachers and friends of preachers!

This week a new pope was recognized, and this week the gospel tells the story of a woman who recognizes Jesus as worthy of an extravagant gift.  My 13 year old niece was shocked to find out today that there has never been a woman pope.

Are you using oil this Sunday?  Do tell.

Sunday is St. Patrick's Day.  Will that make a difference in your worship service?  How about in your plans after worship?

Spring is coming.  Spring fever, anyone?

Is your Lenten season coming together in Week 5, or are things falling apart?

It's the 11th Hour Preacher Party once again, and another sermon deadline approaches.  Here we are, with gifts to pour out and soak up as we get our sermons preachable.  (Really, Spellcheck?  That's not a word?  I beg to differ.)

So glad you all are here!

If you are one of the quiet ones who have been hanging out at the edges of the party, please introduce yourself and let us know a little bit about you and how you got here.

Please share a snack, a sermon illustration, a story, a prayer concern, or anything that is on your mind today.  If you don't see what you need, just ask.  It's your party!

Welcome, everyone!

114 comments:

  1. "If you don't see what you need, just ask" What a lovely invitation to the table. Thanks, Sharon. That has set a whole warren of rabbits running in my head - might need to blog those later! Meantime, I'm not preaching tomorrow. But I do have a wee gathering time to prepare on The Passion. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I'm using coloured ribbons to get folk thinking about the colours of the passion.
    But, first, I have a funeral service to conduct - someone I didnt know at all (parish ministry in Scotland involves us in that a lot). and then, we're going to a cream tea to raise funds for mission in Malawi.
    Just now, I can offer pink grapefruit, Scottish breakfast tea and wholemeal toast with marmalade. Help yourself.

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    1. Welcome, Liz!

      I have to ask: What's a cream tea? Should I know this?

      Thank you for getting the party started, Liz, and with such delicious treats.

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    2. Sharon, cream teas were perhaps the most important learning experience of my study abroad. :) Yes, you should know!

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    3. The deliciousness of scones (similar to biscuits) heaped with butter, jam and fresh cream accompanies by hot tea or coffee all served on fine china. Come on over and we'll lay the table. Xxxx

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    4. Yum! i love a good cream tea. Liz...what are you doing specifically with the ribbons. I saw the beautiful picture on your FB post.

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  2. A sermon would be handy about now. it is 8pm Saturday and I haven’t written a thing. at least the liturgy is done, and there is a Baptism.
    After worship in the morning it is home to pack for a night away visiting my father in law in hospital 3 hours away. We get to stay with my best friend, which will be great!
    Preaching on Isaiah. God is doing a new thing, how hard can that be to preach on?

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  3. 10 pm and 767 words; I did find other things to do for an hour or so :)
    now to get an ending to the sermon. Baptism tomorrow and the family of the baby tell me their will be about 75 people with them [50 adults and 25 children]. A normal Sunday for us is 50, so a big increase. Now I am worried that I should have tried something completely different, too late now. Isaiah it is! and I am sure that a short sermon will be appreciated.

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    1. Good morning, or evening, or night (not sure), Pearl!

      Sounds like an exciting day at your church. That number of children should make it interesting. A short sermon may be exactly what is needed.

      Please let us know how it goes!

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    2. Here it is Saturday evening/night. 25 children, and I am told they will probably stay in church rather than go to Sunday School for part of the service. So extra activity tables to get ready as well, but that will be in the morning.
      Good Night all

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  4. finished and printing a new thing

    looking forward to bed, I hope those who are starting their day havea good one.

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  5. Good morning, everyone! The sun is up here in Bayou Country. I said goodbye to relatives who were here for a family event. Then I discovered we were out of half & half, an unacceptable thing for a Saturday morning.

    That has been remedied and there is fresh coffee -- hot and Fair Trade! Please help yourselves!

    Welcome!

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  6. Good morning! I'm getting an earlier start than usual on my Saturday. One of my congregation is hosting our conference assembly today, so I have a devotion to finish up. Who would have thought 15 minutes would be so hard to craft!

    I have one half-formed idea for the sermon tomorrow, but it wants to go nowhere. Meh. I usually preach the gospel text and have been working with it, but it's really proving daunting. I have been drawn to the Isaiah text - I used it at last week's council meeting, and today's assembly devotion.

    Breakfast is ready. My spouse has eggs, bacon, bagels, oj and coffee ready to fuel our sermon-writing. Dig in!

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    1. Great breakfast!

      Perhaps the Isaiah text is where you are really going? Perhaps there is something more that you would like to say. It's a good one!

      Many blessings today, Ramona.

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  7. Good Afternoon! Inspiration struck for the sermon at a Cupcakes and Cocktails for Comic Relief party last night. One of the girls there asked what me sermon would be about on sunday and I said I had no idea but told her that the reading was the pouring of expensive perfume on Jesus feet. Her immediate reaction was - well he was worth it. That just struck a chord. Do you guys have the L'oreal adverts over there "Because you're worth it!" I think that might be a tag line for the sermon tomorrow.
    Combined with an excellent sermon a friend sent me last night that she had done on Extravant Love, I think I know roughly where I am going with the sermon. Now to do the Baptism visit and then get stuck into writing.

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    1. Very nice, Tanya! I love how inspiration comes like that.

      "Cupcakes and Cocktails," huh? Fun!

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  8. Finally getting to the Prodigal Son this week. About how each of the three identified characters is a prodigal in one way or another, and aren't we each all three of them?

    Not feeling it. There are some folks really unhappy with my preaching -- they want to hear "get saved or hell is yours" -- and one woman sat scowling with her arms folded across her chest for my short homily on Wednesday night: lost sheep, lost coin, we turn to God because God first seeks us out and forgives us. (Someone else told me it was awesome but, you know, it's the unhappy reactions that stick.)

    I am in need of some sense of prodigious love myself.

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    1. Praying that God's extravagant, prodigious love will pour on you today.

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    2. Robin - if you're offending people, then you're probably preaching the gospel! The cross is scandalous, grace is scandalous - as scandalous as a patriarch running RUNNING!, or a year's worth of costly perfume used to wash someone's feet. Working Preacher's podcast for this week's lectionary ends with talking about how offensive the new two weeks are.

      We really are the elder brother!

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    3. Robin, echoing what Wendy and Ramona said.

      Sounds like you have something to preach: Good news that sounds like bad news if you are looking for bad news (or something like that, maybe).

      Hugs and love, wonderful Robin!

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    4. Yeah, that's what my spiritual director said last month. If you preach the gospel, you will cause offense. Live with it.

      Four and one-half years of wrestling with God and my son's suicide have led me to a clear place -- not happy, but clear -- either God is as scandalously, lavishly, extravagantly loving and welcoming as I believe, or not -- and if the latter, why would I be a minister of God's word and sacrament, or a churchgoer, or a woman of faith, or anyone at all? What would I care?

      Thanks, sisters!

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    5. I hope that last paragraph finds its way into your sermon. Powerful testimony!

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    6. Robin, hugs, prayers, and positive energy coming your way. It is draining to have to deal with constant negativity.

      Some famous person once said that it's our job not to comfort the afflicted but to afflict the comfortable. And there is definitely some truth in that. (I've heard that quote attributed to a number of different sources). The gospel is good news but it is rarely easy!

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    7. Not preaching this week, but praying for those who are. We have Stations of the Cross in place of the sermon this weekend - kind of a Show & Tell for those who have never walked the Stations before. Challenging at the biggest service since all cannot see each station well, but it works great at the smaller services. Then the push to Holy Week begins.

      Ramona - "We are the elder brother" is where I went last week - and the question is never answered for us about whether or not he found and celebrated.

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    8. Robin, you do have a great start--middle--finish with your own story.

      If only we could preach with our eyes closed!

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  9. Good morning preachers. Sitting in my office this morning instead of on my couch b/c there is a diocesan women's event going on here, and I need to be at least partially present.

    Tired, have a headache, and no sermon idea. Actually I thought I had an idea until I realized I was reading the wrong gospel :( and then I remembered a possible sustainable sermon on this week's gospel only to discover that I actually used it three years ago here. (Wonder if anyone would notice if I used it again?) This afternoon I have a funeral to do. And did I mention that I am tired and have a headache?

    I have a headache in part b/c I stayed up too late last night. And maybe because the leaders of our women's group are the same women who verbally attacked me at our annual meeting a few weeks ago. Ugh. And I am discovering that when they are around I am very tense -- and not just me -- the parish secretary and the organist feel the same way. I have to figure out how to deal with this.

    But right now I have to figure out what to preach on. Come Holy Spirit!

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    1. Prayers for headache relief, Rev Dr Mom. And energy for the journey. And for healing from hateful remarks.

      Sometimes what I do with a sustainable sermon: I take some time to list the hot issues in the world, in the church, or in the community. Then I can put those new and relevant things on the bones of the previous sermon. Sometimes that will inspire me to go in a significantly new direction.

      Does this story have anything to say about that incident several weeks ago? There may be an opportunity there to talk about attacking people who are offering their best gifts. (Just wondering . . . ???)

      I hear this story saying that our sermon gifts, poured out generously and un-self-consciously, will be plenty good enough.

      (((YOU)))

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  10. A brief foray into next week:

    I have been preaching on spiritual practices this week, and this morning I am thinking about practicing donkey-riding, i.e. humility.

    Am I the only person in the entire world not to have noticed until just now that both Mary and Jesus rode donkeys toward intersections of heaven and earth, events that were not at all what they appeared to be?

    Back to our regularly scheduled discussion...

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    1. Practicing donkey-riding. Love it!

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    2. Woah. That's going to start the wheels turning in my mind for next Sunday! Thanks Robin...

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    3. Wow! Thanks, Robin! You've kick started my thinking for next week. No critics here. What an inspiration.

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    4. I love that thought! Thanks. I'm keeping that one in my heart and pondering it for next week.

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    5. Umm.... Mary did not ride a donkey.

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    6. :( I guess she didn't. Or at least it doesn't say. Shoot, I really liked that idea. And I loved the children's book, The Donkey's Dream. Oh well. At least Jesus rode a donkey. Or not. I can still preach about donkey-riding.

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  11. I meant this Lent, not this week.

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  12. I'm going with Isaiah - much the same as a pearl downunder. Mainly because I will have to preach on the same gospel in Holy Week. Panicking over how much needs to be done in 2 weeks! I am just not getting it together. Some parishioners are not too happy because I have said the lay ministers have to take communion to the housebound this year and I will visit them all after Easter. I have to draw the line somewhere or I'll collapse. It's not that I don't visit them at other times.
    But thank goodness I did most of the sermon yesterday as we went out last night and when I got back I couldn't sleep at all so I am not very with it today!

    Settling down to an evening whisky. Anyone want a drink?

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    1. Blessings on your relaxing evening, Pat.

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    2. Lay minister here: Thank you for empowering your lay ministers to serve -- for letting them do what they have been trained to do and what they want to do. I think that the more lay ministers are in action among the other parishoners, the more people will understand and respect the nature of their service...AND understand that it's perfectly fine for you to delegate work to them. In my congregation, which is used to laypeople assisting and preaching, I think most of our homebound would be supportive of lay ministers doing visitation.

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    3. I have the same problem with preaching this gospel again nine days later - or is it eight? Anyway, I am probably going to do the gospel and ignore it on Holy Monday. Bishop Robert Wright has a good sermon on Philippians over at Day 1 and I might start there.
      My premise is that Mary's action bothers the disciples - and us - because she totally gets discipleship. She does a radical thing in more than one way, turning societal norms on their head (just like Jesus). She may be the best disciple role model we have in all four gospels.

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  13. Thinking of you all today, my preacher pals. God's blessings on your writing.

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  14. Wondering if most folks ever have an idea how mean people are/can be to pastors. Praying for y'all.

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    1. My mom sure did--when I told her I was going to seminary at age 52 to become a priest, she said, "Oh, Susie, will you be safe?"

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    2. Sad, but true.

      A man in a previous congregation who gave me lots of grief started panicking big time when his teen-aged daughter began to show an interest in being a pastor. Funny. Or not.

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  15. Checking in for the afternoon shift at the party! Good morning meeting today, then Messy Church in a few hours, so I'm trying to get something pulled together in between. It would be lovely if I could get a draft done, but that would be pretty remarkable.

    It's the John text for me, and I've read a lot of lovely interesting things on it, but am not sure how to really string them together yet. Hoping to find the trajectory soon.

    Praying for everyone in difficult situations at church...which is always way too many people.

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    1. Welcome, semfem. So happy you stopped by.

      Blessings on finding that trajectory soon.

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  16. Finally getting down to focusing on the sermon. Or maybe not. Am grappling with the "finger nails on chalkboard" sound of Jesus saying the poor will always be with you and Mary's extravagant gift of herself and all she held precious. Want to tie together all the great cliches RGBP's provided on facebook, the way we can fill in the second half of most of them, Deuteronomy 15 and how the folks within earshot of Jesus could fill in the rest of that passage, Mary's gift, Jesus' gift of solidarity with the suffering--even those who die on the cross. A handful. Will have to be disciplined in my work this afternoon.

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    1. I really enjoyed that conversation yesterday about the cliches, RevAlli. I am very interested to know how your sermon turns out!

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  17. Good afternoon (est)! I'm wrestling with Judas as this week's sermon foil because way back when we were planning a sermon series that seemed like a good idea.

    I am ridiculously, slowly working towards having a something. Sigh...

    Chocolate covered pretzels and some fruit to share!

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    1. Hello, Kathryn! Thanks for the chocolate.

      Don't you just love it when a brilliant idea back then doesn't shine as brightly when the time comes? Wrestling with Judas . . . I wonder how much Jesus did that.

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  18. Got out my tiny bottle of myrrh & spikenard oil to inspire my sermon-writing. Thought putting some on my wrists would help me get into the Gospel story. Mistake. The scent is so overpowering I can hardly think, and I swear I put on the tiniest possible dab...

    Now all I want to do is lounge around on cushions and read Rumi & Hafiz. Oh. Dear.

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    1. LOL MaineCelt. I have this lovely image of you lying back on red cushions, (pipe smoking for some reason) dictating your sermon to a scribe!!! Maybe I should get down to some work.

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    2. Maybe my bottle of frankincense might help? :-)

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    3. That is a great image, MC. I believe the Holy Spirit could show up there.

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  19. My sermon is TOO long...and I can't figure out what I can cut. Sigh...off to the first of a series of 3 y/o birthday parties, editing will have to wait while I eat cake.

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    1. A series of 3 year old birthday parties, Joy? How did you get on that wild and crazy party circuit?

      We like birthday cake leftovers (hint, hint).

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    2. Wouldn't you like to know! It was GOOD cake too! And, since I'm not a three year old, I am thankful I like the parents too (and there was good beer--a friend of mine was bummed I couldn't continue the drinking into the night, you know Saturday and all--plus, I'm a lightweight when it comes to alcohol!).

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  20. I've been a another church in our denomination for a women's spirituality and movement day. It was nice. I had to force myself to go but it turned out relaxing, even tho I skipped the chair massage. (Don't like to be touched...my problem, huh?)

    anyway, back to what I put together on Thursday and see how it sounds today. Great ideas already stirring here for next week. Love the donkey riding stuff.

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    1. Hi there Nancy - I'm with you. Cant think of anything that makes me feel tenser than a massage. People are always touting it as a way to relax. No thanks!

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    2. The first time I went for a pedicure I felt really really awkward having my feet and legs touched. I got over it, but it was definitely not something I enjoyed so much at first.

      I like chair massages, not so sure how I'd do with full body though.

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    3. I am desperate for a massaage, usually back and neck and shoulders, but haven't had the time. So thanks for reminding me to email my massage therapist.

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    4. Rev Nancy, looks like there are those who do and those who don't. It's good that you know yourself, right? It sounds like the rest of the day was worthwhile.

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  21. Not involved in either preaching or assisting this week...but when I read the Gospel lesson the part that struck me was Jesus telling the disciples to leave Mary alone. The image of Jesus defending one disciple from the others (especially when, in a couple of weeks we're going to be hearing his prayer that we all be one) I find both profoundly sad and profoundly comforting...and a little frightening, all at once. When am I the one that Jesus defends? When am I the one who needs to be told by Jesus to leave [fill in the blank] alone?

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    1. Those are powerful questions, LutheranChik. I hope you can file those away so you can use them later. There is also something about the opposite nature of the questions that reminds me of the examen discipline.

      Great to see you here, LC!

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  22. Hey Pearl, hope the baptism/big family reunion/worship service went ok. Yikes - 75 extended family members! That sounds exhausting - for them, I mean! Wondering if they show up like that for every important event?

    And, thinking about meanness and pastors, too, and remembering a spiritual director once telling me that most of the time the people who gave her the hardest time were the people who had thought about a call to ministry and did not pursue it for whatever reason. She said in a non-confrontational moment, she had defused more than one conflict by saying "Have you ever considered a call to ministry?" and then sitting back and listening. (Havent tried this, btw, but it's an interesting thought...)

    And, sermon, of course. I preached on these two texts when they came around last time (Is and John) and am having the relative newbie problem of "I said all this 3 years ago!" So, trying to get my head around a different perspective, I'm thinking of Judas. And how he expresses so much concern for "the poor" as an abstraction, but can't feel compassion for a suffering one right in front of him. Talking about seeing the One instead of idealizing the many, I think.

    Childrens time ideas welcome. Consdiering doing something with annointing the kids hands with lotion - have you ever tried this and how did it go?



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    1. My pastor anointed our kids hands with lotion sometime this last year. I think it worked really well. (My kindergarten daughter did spend the rest of the service sniffing her hand.)

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    2. Jennifer, kind of like "Think globally, act locally."

      I love the idea of anointing the kids hands with lotion.

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  23. Thank you Jesus, we are at preachable. Wow... it's a Lenten miracle!
    (Hopefully Songbird likes it.)

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    1. Yea, preachability for you! (I say that's a word, too.)

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  24. I'm glad to be with you. Seems like I start and stop on this week's text without enough energy to choose a direction. I have pieces of sermon all over the place with nothing much else. I'm fascinated with the dinner with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Mary rubbing perfume on Jesus' feet, Judas' snarky comment and Jesus' retort about the poor. One commentator said the passage was filled with "deathiness" and that word sent me off thinking of Stephen Colbert's "truthiness".

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    1. Hey, there, Sally-Lodge! I can almost see you from my house.

      What "deathiness" made me think: If there was so much "deathiness" in the air, that just adds to the awkwardness of the occasion for everyone who is trying to do and say the right thing. Wouldn't it be great in those "I don't know what to do" situations if we could know what Jesus would bless and when Jesus would say, "You can do that later. This calls for a different response than the one you think makes sense."

      It is so very challenging to focus on a story that is so rich with directions to go.

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    2. Hee hee, now I have a mental picture of you two up on your roofs, hollering over at each other.

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    3. Hey Sharon! I can see you from my house, too! Thanks for your reponse. I can see the awkwardness thingie, too.
      Mary Beth! We are in contiguous States, so just waving each other from our front porches...

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  25. I swapped texts with last week so I'm on prodigal, but i'm letting a friend's story written from the older son's perspective do most of the talking. I'm asking questions of the story with the congregation to tease our what it means to us. This new way of preaching leaves me feeling unprepared because I don't have a long manuscript. Just some points that I'd like to get out, assuming the discussion goes in the direction I want. BUT if the Spirit takes it another way... I have to be ready too. what fun!

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    1. Sounds like a lot of fun, Nancy. You sound very pleased by the possibilities.

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  26. A walk in the woods has cleared my head a bit and I believe this sermon is ready. I'm still drifting over to Sufi-space, though, when I really need to snap into Martha-mode. I have a deacon's meeting right after worship in which we'll hash out service details for Holy Week. Oh, and then it's off to the airport to pick up three collegiate farmhands, arriving for their Spring Break week of "hanging out on a farm." Should be interesting...

    I have some quesadillas ready, fresh out of the skillet, cheese all melty, avocado optional. Help yourself!

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  27. Just made the trip back to New Orleans from Baton Rouge, and not without incident. Let's just say that, after 40+ of never being the cause of an accident, there was a minor (very minor) bump between my car and the car ahead of me. It was not enough to hurt my car, but hers had the tiniest of dents. There was another traffic pile-up as the result of a far worse accident further on. The "run by the church for a second" was another thing, but you all know that story, right?

    So, going back to read what you all have written and to see how my half-done sermon looks now.

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    1. Ugh on the accident - glad it was minor - maybe a hot bath tonight just in case you might be sore tomorrow? take care of you please, you are precious to me

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  28. I have an airport run to make and so I will be back later. Letting my sermon percolate while I drive. I will leave it stewing in the back seat while I give my full attention to what's around me. (sigh)

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  29. Really wish I had a sermon and not a headache.

    Really wish Jesus had a better PR guy who could have cut that "poor always with you" line from the record.

    Really wish I knew how to thread together the two pieces of the sermon in my head that seem - not opposed - yet not quite in sync.

    Two pieces: doing good is good - great even - but we can never forget the why.
    remembering "anointing" the feet of a family friend dying of AIDS. Teenage me putting lotion on the wasting away version of our friend, helping to nourish his dry feet not longer before he died.

    Yeah, something's there but it's not behaving. Maybe dinner the spouse is currently cooking will help!

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    1. Perhaps Jesus' PR guy is Peter - he never did know how to edit himself!

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    2. Hello, Amy!

      I never liked that "poor always with you" line either. Seems like a real slap to someone.

      Hope the food helped and you are taming that sermon even now.

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  30. Done and not done in! With a bow of gratitude to my Rev Gal Blog Pal sisters and their cliches! This is the first time I've actually liked working with this part of John's Gospel. Listen for the echoes here

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  31. I'm back after a funeral, lunch, some errands, and a short nap. And thankfully I have a sermon, using Martha, Mary and Judas as models of discipleship. It is what is is at this point.

    It's snowing outside although I didn't see any forecast....I don't think it will amount to anything, but this winter it's hard to tell with any certainty!

    Now to find some dinner, and perhaps watch an episode of Nashville before bed.

    Good to be with you all, as always!

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    1. Way to go, RDM. Enjoy the afterglow.

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  32. Back from the area conference assembly. Well, actually, I've been back for awhile. I chose to spend some time with my spouse while he was awake (his new work shift has him going to bed between 6-7pm). The Boy isn't back from state basketball finals. So, it should be perfect sermon-writing time.

    I had some good ideas earlier, but it's questionable whether I can recover them or not. I think I may just flesh out my devotion from earlier today and see what sticks.

    Right now I'm feeling very envious of those who have someone else preaching for them tomorrow! I think someone needs a vacation, and it's still a month and a half away!

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  33. home from church, 120 + people today, which meant opening up the wall of the church so people could be in the hall, and still be 'part' of the service. Child being Baptised was beautiful, smiley and only 5 months old.
    children were all well behaved, well the ones in church were. Some of the families told me afterwards that they attend worship, so the children are used to being in church. I think some of the families who were sitting in the hall, took children out from time to time; not sure if that was for them or their children.
    Someone visiting for the Baptism told me through tears, how she hadn't been to church yet this year and she was moved during the service.
    Now to pack for a night away visiting family and friends, and drop in to a church lunch on the way.

    Children's talk was looking at team jerseys and labels, and how when we put the cross on the Bay's forehead it is like a logo or joining God's team. but just as me turning up in a football jersey doesn't make me a footballer, being marked with a cross means living as people of God.

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    1. Great idea on the childrens time ad glad the service went well - I was thinking about you all day!

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    2. Thank you for telling us about such a beautiful day! Your stories encourage us who are still wondering how it will go, Pearl.

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  34. Thanks to Anne Lamont and "Help, Thanks, Wow" my sermon is done and is here

    I used a more direct quotes than I had intended but I was gone this weekend (fun stuff...in big city to the East). I've also been taking Vit C to see if I can reverse what I sense is a chest/cough thing coming on!

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    1. Gentle hugs for you and best wishes to avoid any crud that might want to take hold.

      Thanks for the sermon, too, Purple.

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  35. Sermon here..
    http://reverendjoy.blogspot.com/2013/03/lent-5c-holy-desert.html
    (sorry, don't know how to link it in comments, you can just click on my name, it's the first post). Not thrilled with it, but it seems adequate.

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  36. On donkey riding: six weeks ago I was in Haiti and part of the journey to our sister church/school involved a 2 hour hike or donkey ride along a narrow trail on a mountainside and ridge. We hiked part way and then were met along the way with people from the church bringing down donkeys for us to ride; although I was not thrilled with that prospect, I certainly wasn't going to turn down their tremendous hospitality. What I discovered was that it really required me to let go of being in control; that donkey went up and down along the path it chose, even when I thought other routes looked safer. It sometimes slipped and scrambled a bit, and in the midst of holding my breath I had to remember that I probably would've been falling way down if I were on my own two feet. I wondered what a donkey would do if there was an earthquake while on a trail that basically runs along a huge earthquake fault...and then let go of that worry. And when I could just sit back and trust in the donkey and the moment, I saw the most glorious scenery and the loving, joyous faces of those who had come to get us and I discovered the thrill of something totally new. So...a few donkey thoughts, for what they are worth!

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    1. Betsy, thank you for a wonderful contribution to the donkey conversation.

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  37. Betsy, could I use that story if it turns out to fit?

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    1. Most definitely! I put that here in the hope that either directly or indirectly (food for thought sort of thing) someone might find it useful; until that trip, I had no personal donkey riding in my bag of experiences ;-) Here's the other thing: the donkeys are indiscriminate in what they carry: people, beans & rice, parcels, building materials, whatever needs to go up those mountains. Shortly before we arrived, our hosts had brought a toilet up on a donkey so that we would feel at home; it wasn't connected to plumbing, but it sat over the latrine hole as a sign of phenomenal hospitality! The donkeys simply do their job, what they are called upon to do, without fussing over the perceived value of the burden; in a way, that makes everything they carry more valuable.

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  38. Been back working for a while after Messy Church and some grocery shopping, but not really getting anywhere. Hard to find whatever groove I might have had before.

    I did get some yummy almond-filled cookies at the store, so help yourself if that rings your bell!

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  39. Just showing up. I'm on my own I imagine, having ditched both the RCL and the NL this week. All the rest of the Narrative Lectionary in Lent has been parables, so I wanted to stick with them this week even though the NL goes on to Jesus healing a blind man and Zacchaeus. I went forward into Luke 19 for the parable of the ten pounds. I LOVE the way it starts with the intro of the people supposing the kingdom of God is about to appear immediately. To me the parable then tells you how to act, how to live in faith, when we're right on the verge of the kingdom spilling into the world. I also love the end of the Message translation that says, "Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of." Sermon done.

    This will work well as we're heading into our Annual Meeting next week and TRYING to launch our transformation/strategic plan.

    I ran my first race since August today. It was a 7K (4.34 miles), and I won for me. :) Meaning, I actually ran the whole thing even up the hills. The temperature was 17 degrees and the crowd was so huge it took me 30 minutes to get TO the start line. My feet were frozen until about 1.5 miles in. Very proud of my time, though, and ready to sign up for another race in April or May before I run my first half marathon in June.

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    1. Congrats on your race!

      I'm seeing a doc tuesday and am hoping for a solution to my knee issues. I miss running.

      My sermon is done, without much fuss, which often does not bode well. But who knows. Thankful for not agonizing over it, in any case. Using John, but really connecting it to the passages immediately before and after.

      Blessings on you all.

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    2. Thanks. I hope you find out some helpful news about your knee stuff. I've only been doing this running stuff for a couple of seasons. And really just seasons. I've not been entertained enough to keep it up long term, so I tend to just run November-ish through June-ish. So not helpful and not healthy. This year I didn't start until January even, but jumped right into training for a half marathon and it's going well. I actually even enjoyed myself today. It was the only race of any distance where I didn't take any walk breaks. I ran/jogged the whole thing. I want to get in at least one more good size race before my big one in June just to get the experience of it all. Unfortunately my Saturdays get as busy as my Sundays in the next couple of months, so it may not happen. I'll be able to find a 10K for sure, but I was hoping for a 10-miler. Oh well.

      OK. Really. MUST get to sermon. MUST.

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    3. waving back, Sharon!
      I have a love/hate history with running. It took a while to grow on me. There is a great scene in American Beauty when someone asks Kevin Spacey why he is running and his answer is "to look better naked".

      End scene.

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  40. Done! I'm hoping it makes sense. I really want to inspire my congregaitions with the hope that God is still doing A New Thing.

    Still waiting for the Boy to come home from the trip to state BB finals. I don't think I'll wait up - it's going to be really late, and I have church in the morning and his father has convinced that I can trust the adults on the trip to take care of him. Mom never quits worrying though!

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    1. Just realized that the hymns do not go with the sermon at all. The downside of a) planning worship weeks in advance, and b) sermonating on Saturday. Too late to change it - I guess I'll just have to trust the Spirit to make it work!

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    2. There have been many times when I quietly tore my hair out realizing that a hymn seemed to point in a direction totally different from my sermon; drives me nuts, but O try to reassure myself that maybe someone there doesn't find what s/he needs in the sermon but does in the music. (make that "I"...Blogger won't let me go back and correct) Prayers that it all works together to touch those who are present in worship tomorrow.

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  41. The clock is about to strike midnight here, and so I'm going to call it a night. It has been a joy sharing this day with you and being encouraged by the conversation and inspired by reading your sermons.

    Next week, donkey riding. Stay tuned!

    Many blessings upon each of you as you pour out good news on God's people.

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  42. Ah, how difficult it is to change patterns...I just woke up after falling asleep for about four hours. Hopefully that's enough to fuel the writing of this sermon. I'd really hoped to get farther before falling asleep, but oh well. Time to get going.

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  43. Aaaaaand...we have a sermon! Didn't come easy, but it's here and it's done and that's going to be good enough.

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

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  44. Good morning Preachers! May the Spirit have your back.

    I get a special challenge this morning - preaching while letting go of the mom-worry-thing. Our son is not back yet from his trip. I'm trusting that the adults decided to stay another night (I would have considering how late the games were), and he just didn't bother to call and tell us. So Dad is going to see if he can locate the lost son, while Mom is going to go preach.

    I'm a obsessive worry-mom, so this is a big step for me!

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