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Friday, March 01, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: A Rich Feast of Thirsty Figs

Back in my college days my roommate received a package from her aunt in Texas. Inside was a huge bag of homegrown figs - the most delicious figs I have ever had!



We ate those figs right from the bag, savoring every last bite.


I'm sure she only shared some of them with us, her roommates, and tucked a few away just for herself. They were after all a gift from her aunt, she was entitled to savor them in a special way.

I always remember my friend and her aunt's figs, whenever figs come up in the Gospel reading. I think of rich sweet fruit, so rich that a little bite satisfies any sweet tooth. Like the sweetness of God's grace - abundant and immensely satisfying.

The reading from Isiah offers another perspective, the paradox of God who is both abundantly known and yet abundantly mysterious:

The preacher who comes to this text hears the story of the prophet’s appraisal of the neglect and injustice endured by a community of exiles in Babylon. The image presented here summons the preacher to do some thinking about the doctrine of God. A personal God is depicted at the outset of this passage, one in step with humanity’s greatest needs, the solitary source for human renewal and the restoration of life. However, the developing narrative reveals another side of God. In unequivocal expression Second Isaiah insists that mystery, not intellectual comprehension, reflects the divine life. The prophet holds two realities in paradoxical tension: “Come, thirsty one,” and “My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts not your thoughts.” Language of an elaborate banquet is heard in the opening words of invitation, words spoken over against cultural excesses that never satisfy. (Feasting on the Word Year C Lent through Eastertide, Lent 3, Isaiah )

So, where are you going this week with your sermon? Do you have thoughts about thirst? About what it means to either have too little water or too much water...or, have just enough water to satisfy? Or what about figs and what it means to tend to trees? Pruning? Or offering nourishment?Or a banquet of grace, like a rich feast of thirsty figs?

I have been thinking a lot about my sermon this week. But that's all I've been able to do - think about it...in a cloudy-headed kind of way. So, to make my way through the thick fog of my over tired brain



I am offering plenty of coffee. And fresh fruit. Pull up a chair, grab a mug, have a fig, and let's talk. Or sit.



Regardless, it's the preacher party and we're here to party with you.

May your thirst be quenched.


114 comments:

  1. I planned to focus on the fig tree story, but my plans are suddenly complicated by the news that a Pillar-of-the-Congregation is facing possible foot amputation surgery, and I suspect I'm not the only one who will wince slightly at the ol' "give it a chance, then cut it down..." bit. Oh, dear.

    That said, I like what Jesus does in this story--the way he listens to the "pop theology" of the people around him, then completely reframes the issue in the name of mercy and personal repentence.

    I don't have any figs, but the hens are laying again with these longer Spring days, so here's a lovely platter of egg-salad sandwiches for everyone.

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  2. Oh MaineCelt, what a terrible circumstance to parallel this reading...still, it sounds like you have a good handle on Jesus and where he is in all of this. I will be holding you in prayer as we prepare for Sunday and tend to your congregant.

    Me, I would really love to have a flock of chickens and fresh eggs. So, thank you for sharing.

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  3. Just finished re-reading Luise Schottroff's take on the fig tree parable and its antecedents the blood of pilgrims and the tower of Siloam. She places all three squarely in the context of the here and now of the oppression of the Roman conquerers. The tending of the fig tree opens the way to resistance. Interesting approach that gets me wondering what Jesus was shooting for in that parable and how it fits in the world of sequestration, police violence and other ills in which I live.

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    1. RevAlli, very interesting take on the fig tree parable.....I'm wrestling with needing to have a prophetic voice and a hopeful voice in this sermon as we continue to "tell the story" of the church in Liberia and our emerging partnership to build a school...a country built from former slaves in this country sent back to Africa but only as far as the west coast ie in a land that was tribal but became Liberia....former slaves who constructed a country modeled on the USA....and then recently spent 20 years in civil war - a war festering from years of conflict between the tribal people and the former slaves who took over their land. We tend to think of oppression in terms of skin color in this country - but there are places where skin color is not the issue - ultimately I think it is those who have power, regardless of skin color - and the risk of oppressing others in order to gain and maintain power. Anyway, you have provoked a lot of thought for me with this comment. Thank you.

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    2. Terri, I'll be interested to see what comes of all your cogitating. Agree with you on power and the lengths folks go to maintain it. Have you read Helene ___________'s(I forget the last name but she's a NY Times correspondent who fled Liberia) autobiographical book? It's fascinating and speaks to what you are saying about power.

      The very first death I witnessed as a priest and the first funeral I did was of the Liberian matriarch of the West African community in the Bay Area. What an experience! As I listened to the stories family and friends told, I could hear echoes of those power issues! So glad your congregation is building that school! You might want to be in touch with St. Paul's Oakland. There's a parishioner at St. Paul's who was working on a similar project.

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    3. I know I'm commenting hours after y'all but I'm mindful that when I was in seminary whenever anyone would get carried away pointing fingers at "those" folks being against each other and the tones being any sort of judgement or "we don't do that" kind of stuff, Dr Billy Abraham who was from Ireland would speak up (Irish accent in full force) and say "And the White Christians never do that to each other do they?" If the US students didn't get the point he'd spell it out with detail saying basically that all humans are prone to sin and draw lines against each other which makes our task as ministers all the more important. How else will they know of God's love and grace?

      Sarah

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  4. OOH RevAlli, I didn't know the fig tree parable was in Schottroff's book! I will have to get that from my office before I write my sermon. Thanks for the tip.

    I really haven't begun working on my sermon, besides two hours of text study yesterday and checking here to start thinking, in preparation for tomorrow. As for now, I need to sleep.

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    1. Welcome, Semfem. I hope you slept well.

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  5. almost 8 pm Saturday evening, and I ma feeling like I am coming down with something. Hopefully nothing that a good night's sleep won't fix, which means writing a sermon and going to bed. Preaching Isaiah, and maybe the psalm. Oh, and any ideas for a children's talk?

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    1. Pearl, we are using a curriculum on chocolate for our kids this Lenten season - looking at the economic and environmental justice issues of growing and producing chocolate and comparing that to "growing" Christians...so, alas, I may not have any useful ideas for you for the children's talk...others?

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    2. We're talking about fig blossoms and making fig blossoms out of pipe cleaners. More than that I do not know yet.

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    3. It could be fun to bring in real figs - they are such an unusual fruit, and cut one open to see all the seeds inside...

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  6. Saturday morning here, and I'm surprisingly ready. Its an all-age service with advanced prep involving the children which meant that everything had to be done further in advance that usual ! DH is downstairs cutting wave shapes out of cardboard for me for one of our activities (text is Jesus Calming the Storm.) and I'm ticking off items from my "to do" list...

    Nearly had a problem though. Our (newish) pastor asked me to preach. He also asked a member of our denomination's youth committee to come and do an afternoon's training for the children's team. He didn't make the connection that the youth committee guy usually preaches when he visits to do training.

    Fortunately, as I look after the children's work I had a phone call with the youth committee guy just now and we worked it out... So we won't have 2 preachers and 2 sermons on disparate themes.

    (Still getting used to the new pastor - he's a little flakier than his predecessor on organisational stuff.)

    Anyway, I'm preaching for the first time in 3 months. Unusually for us I'm also leading the service, and also co-leading communion (with pastor). So starting to get some butterflies.

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    1. Sounds like the new Pastor has a number of learning curves to manage....but good that the other two of you are organized and know the system. Praying for you and those butterlies! I'm sure all will go really well!

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  7. almost 10.30 pm, 995 words will do. I think I will ask the children about choices they make, unless there are some ideas here in the morning.

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    1. I think choices they make could be a very good idea....

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  8. Mmmm...fresh figs - reminds me of a wonderful, sunny holiday in France when we ate fresh figs for breakfast! I have my first sermon prepared this week - on Repentance. But still to look at evening sermon - on abundant life. Enjoying 48 hours with friends at their Scottish Highland retreat - but also finding space and inspiration from the beautiful scenery to work. Sermon is here

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    1. Oh Liz, that sounds like a delightful place to work! I'll be round to read sermons in a bit. Need to get a handle on mine....

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  9. Back in January when I was planning a Lent of spiritual practices, I glanced at Isaiah and the psalm and decided upon Practicing Thirst.

    Then, having to finish the bulletin early in the week due to the secretary's schedule, I made up a "spiritual practices" insert -- I am suggesting three short practices each week -- mostly focused on learning and praying about tangible thirst and mission for clean water.

    Then I really didn't know what to do, but Working Preacher contained a helpful exegesis linking the text to world water issues.

    Then I ended up with a sermon that goes from Augustine's longing for God to Etty Hillesum's desire to make love visible to others to clean water being inaccessible to one billion people, connected by thirst for God ultimately creating in us a thirst to serve others.

    Then I realized that I had completely forgotten about communion, so: more thirst.

    Meanwhile, one of our leaders is publicly acting out her issues with me, so I am more focused on figuring out what those are than on anything else, and my own thirst is for transparency.

    Cream of wheat comfort food, anyone?



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    1. YES! Cream of wheat. yum...

      so sorry for the acting out behavior and it being focused on you - which is only part of the real issues and what is really going on with this woman...(you, that is, other aspects of her life are no doubt being triggered....)

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    2. oops hit publish before I was finished - also, love what you are doing with "thirst"...in this series. very nice!

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  10. Mornin' y'all, I'm not quite awake yet. I need caffeine but can't have it. Virtual is all I get. But I do have a sermon pretty well done on God's mercy. I just need to tweek before this evening.

    I have some rather Lenten cold cereal to add to the mix.

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    1. Oh Muthah+ - oh my no caffeine, sad. Glad you have a sermon, however - which is much more than I have at this point in time..

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  11. Terri, I am about to put mine up on my blog. Decaf is doing the trick.

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    1. Ok, I'll be over to read yours in a little while. I could manage with Decaf, caffeine is not really what I yearn for as much as I just love coffee.... glad you can at least have decaff

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  12. Ok, I think I have a general idea of where I am going with this sermon. Now I am taking a break to make a couple of soft boiled eggs, whole wheat toast and a latte...who's hungry?

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  13. At a conference until 330 this afternoon and my in laws arrived yesterday. Will have to join you all again later. I'm doing the fig tree and I think focusing on God's patience and our lack of it. Not really sure where its going g beyond that, and nothing is written. Hooray for Sat night special!

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    1. Blessings Deb - sounds like a day of holy distractions...ack! but hope they lead to an easy pouring forth of a sermon.

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  14. For Lent this year we are focusing on the questions that Jesus asked. There's been one for daily reflection time, and one that has been the focus for Wednesdays and Sundays as well. Tomorrow's question is, "Do you also wish to go away?" This came up earlier in the daily readings, so I have done a reflection. Now that I am blogging regularly, I am also wondering about adding my blog to the webring. How to do that? I have a pot of freshly ground Italian roast with cinnamon added, and a box of frango mints that I definitely shouldn't eat alone!

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    1. To apply to the web ring for membership you go the link on this page: "Our web ring - to join email us at revgalblogpals@gmail.com. In the email request membership. I think the criteria is: you will be partnered by another web ring member who will read your blog posts. You may not know who this "partner" is...After three months of fairly consistent posting you will be granted membership (assuming your posts and your blog fit the other criteria listed in that same box under the heading Our Web ring...

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  15. Thirsty figs - sounds like the name of a great bar!

    I'm in surprisingly good place after the crazy week I had. This morning is slated for office cleaning and organization. The piles of paper and general messiness is seriously messing which my ability to concentrate. And I'm going to help the guys with is bit of housework as well.

    I'm not sure where I'm going with the sermon. I think I'm going to talk about 'are they worse sinners' and how we live in this world of random tragedy and suffering - repentance, and living as followers of Christ. I remember reading Kushner's "when bad things happen to good people" during CPE, and what stuck with me the most was that we ask 'why is this happening to me' when we could as easily as 'Why not. Why am I not suffering when so many others do."

    At least that's what's been wandering through my mind this week.

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    1. Ramona, that is an excellent question to ponder within the texts this week....and the call to mission that can be found as we tend to and nurture the fig trees in our lives - those who are suffering?....

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    2. ..and if I opened a bar named "Thirsty Figs" it would have to be a coffee and pastry bar...and maybe some good wine and cheese too...

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    3. ...and chocolate! Sounds good!

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    4. Figgies is the name of a cafe here, where I have lunch on Sundays. coffee, cake, all day breakfast, yum.

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  16. Now it is time for the eggs and toast, Terri. I am posted at stoneofwitness.blogspot.

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  17. Good morning preachers.

    Still pondering where to go with the sermon. After doing Lectionary Leanings on Tuesday with Vanderbilt's lectionary page, I failed to check the Episcopal page and see that we actually have a different OT lesson (not sure why both weren't given at the same place as usually happens when TEC varies from the standard RCL, but whatever.) So maybe Exodus or more likely Luke and the figs...not feeling it yet, but hoping it will come some.

    Meanwhile, I spent the week at a Mediation Skills Training Institue workshop put on by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, and it was AMAZING. I like this work, and hope to do some more training in it. It was a great week, with a wonderful group of new colleagues and friends. (Also learned a great deal about Presbyterian polity since this workshop was sponsored by a presbytery in a neighboring state :)

    And I may need some of those skills in my own parish. UGH. At last week's annual meeting I was totally ambushed by the two trouble makers who REALLY don't like me and think all our woes are all my fault. And what am I going to do about it was the question they posed to me in a very confrontational manner. I left right after church for my workshop and haven't seen anyone from the congregation but I've heard through the grapevine that people were upset by the inappropriate behavior; it remains to be seen what will come of it. I'm kind of dreading tomorrow, actually. And very glad I've had a week away to process it, especially in light of learning more about family systems and conflict mediation.

    I have some wonderful *bux Willow blond roast decaf. It is REALLY good (thanks to Martha for suggesting it as some point) and it's still hot, so help yourselves!

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    1. RDM, I am just back from a very long walk in the snow in which I, too, have been pondering how family systems and conflict mediation might apply to a Situation!

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    2. RDM, if only adults would be adults!!!!!! I'm glad you've had the week away and that the week was good. Also glad there are some adults in the congregation and that they're acting their age.

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    3. The Mennonites are the BEST! I brought them in to help me with some stuff years ago - very profound work. I've always wanted to take their training workshops!

      Robin, they can be really helpful. So can the consultant I use, I can send you his contact info...

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    4. That training is terrific! I did it years ago and have used it over and over!
      Sarah

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  18. has anyone seen my conclusion running around?

    added International Delight York Peppermint Patty creamer to my morning cups of joe... oh yum. can a Lutheran be this decadent during Lent? guess so... since I've been decidedly undisciplined for most of this Lenten season.

    again... conclusion? anywhere? anyone?

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    1. Oh my...was that YOUR conclusion I saw running down the street? ACK! I think it was heading off with my entire sermon...dang.


      but, yes, I love the peppermint patty creamer...yum! maybe your Lenten discipline is a search for "freedom"...? that could also be a "discipline"..

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    2. I bought a container of that creamer once. I think I used it all in two days. Holy moly, was it delicious! I would buy it again if it came in larger containers.

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  19. What a brilliant shower. Youth church school--I'm subbing--is planned. Now to outline it and hope it holds up out of the shower. Something about Isaiah and our own prayers for a better world and photos and posting words and images to be Monday's prayer on the church website (which I am discovering more and more people need to be pointed to again and again because they still (2 years later) aren't used to having a website with up-to-date information.)

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    1. Takes people a long time to learn new routines and routes of information...sigh..hoping your outline from the shower holds up in the light and air of this day!

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  20. Retread of a 6 year old sermon tomorrow, The Church in the World: IN but not OF. And because I had very little I went back and listened to the old one. IT was good. But too long and needs updating...might have to listen to it again today to get my mind wrapped around what tomorrow's will be...

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    1. Cool, Gord, that you have a sermon you can reuse with just some updating and editing...In the world indeed!

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  21. Sermon outline is done... at least in my brain. Now to flesh it out! I'm feeling a bit iffy about where I'm going with this sermon... honoring the judgment elements of the fig tree parable but also suggesting we might be gardens ourselves and need to prune something things that are just taking up space. Why the iffy feelings? I've been listening to some serious self-helpy sermons for my DMin course and now I'm worried that I'm turning into a self-help preacher!

    Of course I'm not but I can't get those sermons out of my brain!

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    1. Amy, it's always good to learn how to do a healthy self-examination in the Ignatian way...no doubt gardens ourselves in need of healthy tending too...hope the sermon in your head unfolds in ways that feel more like nourishment to you than dieting...

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  22. I feel like I am pulling this sermon out of me word by tortuous word...ack! the process is literally giving me a headache. No pressure here, of course...only self-imposed pressure as we welcome our guest from Liberia and I try to tie his visit here with the readings and promote our sister church project of building a school. and then to be done so I can go to the dinner tonight honoring our guest. sigh...

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    1. I am feeling the same way. This sermon has been torturous. I keep feeling like I have a sense of where I'm going, then the writing doesn't lead there. I'm coming close to the end, and I'm still not sure that I'm saying what I want to say. Been working for days . . . it's nuts.

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  23. On our way home now, so thoughts turning to second sermon on the Isaiah passage. But really congratulating the Spirit on writing the first sermon on the gospel while we enjoyed time with friends - very understanding friends! Maybe I need to build in retreat time every week to give the Spirit some space to work.

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    1. Oh yes, retreat time, Liz! I think that is a great idea...of course it would be even lovelier in the highlands of Scotland...
      :-)

      I hope your second sermon pours out as easily...

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  24. I think I have a reasonable draft....much work is still needed on it. but there is a semblance of a sermon.

    Now I really think I need to go exercise and meditate and get ready for a dinner party with our guest from Liberia.

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  25. The wheels are turning, thanks to some more reading, but I can't start writing the sermon just yet...need to head to Messy Church soon instead. Just hoping the wheels will still be turning when I get home!

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    1. Messy Church - have fun. Hope the ideas stay clear and fresh and pour on out of you when you return.

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  26. I am in Internet Purgatory today. Whatever service there is where I live is so slow that nothing loads. So I had to come into the office to get organized and check email, etc. (ugh)

    I am working off of an old sermon. It doesn't say what I want to say, in fact it says the opposite. So now I have to figure out where the voice of God is speaking. I like it when the voice of God says what I want to say! =)

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    1. Ugh, Sharon..internet purgatory on Saturday is the worst. I hope that sermon finds its turn around and heads in the direction you desire!

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  27. This is one of those preaching assignments where I have an assigned Theme and an assigned Text and Communion and it is not at all transparent how all of those things are going to fit together, but I trust they will. The last time this happened to me it was Obadiah on the 4th of July, and with the Holy Spirit and a little help from my friends, it actually worked. This one is not as challenging as that one was, but I'm starting to suspect that the "sermon helps" that I was given for how to tie my text and theme together aren't going to be that helpful, so I may have to go back to the drawing board and make my own connections. Lord, have mercy.

    I only brewed a half pot of coffee this morning, which is a Good Thing, because if I had more coffee I'd be drinking more coffee, and I'm at the point where that wouldn't really help. In fact, I think I need to go get some real food in me and then hunker down with my books.

    Godspeed, fellow preachers.

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    1. Go for it Rachel.

      I was also given a text, a title and a sermon outline (by the NGO we're supporting this week) But when I started working on the text myself I realised I didn't agree with their choice of theme and that I didn't like the points they were trying to make. Once I gave myself permission to ditch the outline, find my own title, and get to the point they want to make in my own way, it all got much easier...

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    2. Goodness, Rachel....that sounds challenging....no doubt real food will help. I just did forty minutes of kick boxing to clear my head....will a little exercise help you? Or are you too pressed for time?

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  28. Whew. Done with the sermon, fig trees and all. Time to get up and take a break to go do all the afternoon farm chores, after which I hope my brain can be bent to another, more intimidating task: crafting my ordination service for next Sunday. I'm pretty stressed about it--even though the core is a "boilerplate" piece and I don't have to "perform" anything myself except the benediction, I want this whole thing to reflect the absolute best blend of my beliefs, my approach to ministry, my distinct and specific calling(s)... oh, and I also have to clean the house, as my relatives are descending upon us just before next weekend. Augh! (Thank goodness for the therapeutic matter-of-factness of farm animals. I may be all wound up about this, but they won't concern themselves with anything beyond the meals I bring them!)

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    1. YAY for you! Getting outside seems like a good idea! And, how fun to get to craft your ordination service...challenging though that is.

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  29. Done with the fig tree here, too. Maybe a little simplistic, but hopefully it will work, God as the gardener who gives us second chances (and third and fourth...).

    Now I need to go over to the office and check on things, get the prayer of the people done, and so forth. Back later.

    There's still coffee on, and I have sumos, the most wonderful citrus ever!

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    1. Sounds like a good enough sermon to me!

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  30. Office is cleaned, rearranged and organized! I feel so much better. And I'm breathing better too - amazing how much dust (and pet fur!) accumulated.

    I have a sort of outline that I came up with in the shower and I'm thinking about writing...

    But first, lunch and then I think we'll be making an emergency trip to the vet. Our Sheltie jumped up while playing with his boy, and came down with a whimper. He's limping pretty bad, and really not moving around much at all. He's even spent a couple of hours in his kennel, while we've been home, which is unheard of. Poor baby.

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    1. Oh dear, I hope it's just a sprain...and that he feels better soon. YAY for you and the cleaning!

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  31. Greetings, friends. A Navigators event and a crucial family calendar meeting have me pulling up to the writing desk a bit later than I usually do, but The Boy is with his Dad extra this weekend so I have plenty of space to get the variety of thoughts, illustrations and Lazaras related propaganda into a sermon-type structure. We're off lectionary so no figs for me.

    Happy to offer up some cream cheese brownies and a fruit plate to the masses.

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    1. Welcome kathrynzj....hope the sermon falls into place with ease, and, yes! thank you for the brownies!

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  32. So it's mid afternoon and I haven't written a single word. But I have made a quiche, egg salad, cookies AND cleaned my kitchen. Productive Procrastination!

    I am in a small, upper-middle class, rural ALL white, mostly retired church and am trying to slowly but surely open their minds about God. They're had a lot of therapeutic preaching in the last 5-6 years. So I want to challenge them. I feel like they need a discussion about repentance. That it's more than just "I'm sorry for screwing up Lord"; it's an intentional shift in thoughts and actions to correct one's internal behavior. But I REALLY don't know how to write it without coming off as finger-wagging. I'm young enough to be most of my parishioner's grandchild, so I don't want to sound like I'm saying
    YOUR generation need to repent." More like "for good fruit to grow we have to change the way things have always been done." You know?

    Any thoughts would be helpful!

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    1. I hope that someone sees this and responds.

      I don't really know what therapeutic preaching is -- although I googled it after reading this comment. But one of my homebound parishoners watches Charles Stanley preach every Sunday morning and tells me about it.

      This afternoon he shared with me the outline of what he thinks is CS's "excellent" sermon of this am. It's based on Isaiah 43:10-13 (Do not be afraid; I am with you) and is basically a psychological exposition of fear -- its causes and consequences, and solutions thereto. No narrative, no poetry, no exegesis -- no particular reason to base it upon Isaiah other than to say "God promises to be with you."

      The sermon obviously meant a great deal to this man. And just as obviously, he is trying to tell me to preach this way.

      Is this what you mean by therapeutic preaching?

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  33. TB, I've just been struggling with the question of repentance. Here's what I found:
    Luise Schottroff in Parables of Jesus asks, "What takes place in repentance?...The poor share their bread, they heal the sick among thepeople....They transform themselves from threatened victims into acting subjects." (62)

    Matt Skinner says that repentance calls for "aligning ourselves with the God who cares for all the world and wishes to enlist our help in ushering in newness, relief and justice"

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    1. RevAlli, two good examples.

      Also, it sometimes just helps to define what repentance is and means without saying specifically what these people should do...and use examples from a novel?

      Or think of a well known movie and use that as an example of repentance...(Chocolat? - the mayor ending up in the window of chocolaterie on Easter morning)...? plant seeds of ideas in their minds without pointing to them.

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  34. Terri - I think the idea of using the movie! Thanks. Alli, I read Matt Skinner's article too. I really like what he said and think that's the crux of the point I'd like to make. It's the getting it from the jumble of my brain to a coherent sermon that is always troublesome. :)

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    1. Having the same problem.

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    2. me too! I have a draft but not satisfied with it...

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  35. My brain is in a total fog today; stuck behind a headache. Hubby was out sick one day this past week, and I don't think I'm getting sick, but I'm sure zero on energy today. I don't even have "productive procrastination" to show for the day so far. Preaching on the questions of Jesus for Lent. Tomorrow's is: "Do you also wish to go away?" All I have is my blog reflection from earlier this Lent: http://soulwiggles.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=199&action=edit. It should prime the pump, but the well feels dry.

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  36. OOps. The permanent link is this:
    http://soulwiggles.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/beyond-question-do-you-wish-to-go-away/

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  37. Finally. Wretched it out. The Power of a Wince A big thanks to Terri for steering me in the direction of gentle.

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    1. Oh gosh, I had to go to a dinner party with the people from Liberia...now home and back at the sermon and the party...I really hope I get to read all of your sermons tonight!

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  38. I hate it when I realize that I got all the things at the store EXCEPT the prop for Children's Time!

    At least, it's not 11:00 pm as I'm getting into bed that I've remembered it.

    Sarah

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    1. Still, the time it takes to go back out....but, true at least it is not bedtime...

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  39. home from worship, all went well except for the children's talk. I was too tired yesterday to think about it much, and the children who were there today were very quiet and a bit young for what I had planned.
    used this meditation while serving communion


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  40. Lots on the "other" list today...including some church travel as well. Home and opened the sermon I wrote yesterday...didn't hate it...tweaked it...posted it here

    Using the photo book "What The World Eats" (thank goodness for Amazon Prime shipping as it arrived yesterday) for the kids time...which I may sandwich in as I am preaching.

    It's been an on-the-go-meetings-driving-kind-of-week...my 'beauty sleep' may be calling me even earlier than normal.

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    1. yes, same here - busy week. I'll try to head over in a bit to read your sermon!

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  41. Back from the vet - thankfully it's just a sprain and not broken. Some meds and cage rest - which will be hard to do because once he starts feeling better, he'll fight being in the cage when we're home.

    Almost 7:30 here and I haven't started on my sermon. So much for thinking I'd have it done before supper. Hubby went to be with a headache and the Boy is at work, so I have no excuse. Time to get started.

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    1. so glad it is just a sprain... I suspect he will feel a lot better in a day or two!

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  42. just checking in now, after a great day at a Presbytery leadership training event...but now I have to write this sermon! It's nearly 8pm and so far I have the scriptures pasted into the document. I've reversed this week and next week, so I'm working on the Joshua passage about the people entering the land, paired with the Prodigal story. This week's theme is "rooted in the rituals of our tradition" and I'm talking about how important participating in ritual can be to growing faith, and how harmful it is to both individual and community if someone decides to stay away from rituals (like communion, for instance). In Joshua we get both circumcision and passover, and in the prodigal story we get someone who removes himself from the rituals of the family (and the faith) and who later "comes to himself"...but then the brother refuses to participate in the homecoming ritual, and so still the family is broken.

    Or something.

    I have cocoa, though!

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    1. No doubt cocoa will help prime the brain for this sermon, Teri!

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  43. Well mine is posted Prayer in action

    Now to write the Sunday prayers and read some sermons...and go to bed and get ready for a big day tomorrow!

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  44. Back at the party, finally, after a GREAT Messy Church session (whew!). However it managed to completely tire me out and I took a mini-nap after getting home. Did a bit more reading and now looking for that spark I had earlier.

    So I just now made coffee. With caffeine. To fuel the sermon that will hopefully now pour out of me. Plenty to share.

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  45. Two hours of staring at the screen, re-reading my notes isn't working. Think I'll go pace awhile.

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  46. Oh Semfem...I fear you will be rockin the late nighters at this party. I am about to go to bed and prepare for a LONG day tomorrow. I do hope that sermon pours right of you, as rich and warm as that cup of cofffee!!

    Okay, all y'all. It's been a party. Thanks for joining me. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers tomorrow as you break open the word!

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  47. Swim meet all day, and now to sermon. I'm in the NL so I'm preaching the lost parables - sheep, coin, younger son. Fortunately it's communion so it can be brief!

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  48. Ooh! Ooh! Just chiming in, and I think I'm 100. Working with the three lost parables in Luke - coin, sheep, son. Looking at how they are all different on the spectrum of how things get lost (completely accidentally, no fault of the lost thing; sort of aimlessly wandering, but not deliberate; outright running in the opposite direction), yet still the response to the loss is first searching, then rejoicing, then finally inviting others to rejoice too. Bam. Salvation, worship, and discipleship. All rolled into 3 parables. I'm going to read the stories, set the folks on a little Bible study discussions in small groups, then tie it all together at the end.

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    1. Ooh, I like it...makes me wish I were preaching next week, so I could borrow some of those ideas! :)

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  49. alright, I have something that will do for now. Maybe it'll get better while I sleep? I'm afraid I'm getting sick, but I'm hoping to stave it off at least through the (LONG) day tomorrow by getting a good night's sleep tonight. If I go to bed in the next 8 minutes, I can get 8 hours!

    Can't wait for next week, when I pick up the Isaiah/fig-tree readings from this week. ;-)

    (aside: next time I say "oh, I can totally see a series in these readings" remind me how hard it can be to remember what I saw in them 8 weeks ago. lol.)

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    1. Amen to that! Each week I look at my proposed sermon themes and say "what.was.I.thinking!"

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  50. I was going to hit the hay pretty early tonight since most of my plan is all in my head and feels pretty good. About an hour ago, though my in laws called from the road. They are driving up here from their home about 10-11 hours away. They got within 90 minutes when they hit a deer on the interstate. Yikes! Car can't be driven apparently, but they are both well. However, they wanted my husband to come get them tonight. (Not real sure why they couldn't just get a hotel room for the night and he could get them in the morning, but whatever.) So now he's heading down to get them and bring them back to town. I don't think I'll be able to sleep until he's home now. Oh well.

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  51. What a way to end the day. So sorry.

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  52. So apparently they didn't hit the deer, another car did, but the deer or parts of the deer went flying under their car and punched a hole in the gas tank. They aren't sure if there's other damage or what cuts of venison are stuck in random places on the underside of the car. Nice.

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  53. My son just got home from work and he's having another serious depressive episode. I think we'll be making a run to the city to the ER after church tomorrow. In the meantime, I'm watching a movie with him (and trying to finish my sermon) - depending on how he feels, it may be an all nighter.

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  54. Home from my Women's Convocation, where I heard 2 amazing sermons...so what has been on my heart is not the fig tree. BUT, that being said, I have 1200 words of a sermon, and its not my favorite, but my husband (also a pastor) likes what I'm doing. Too tired after staying up most of last night feeding my soul with laughter and other women at the convocation, so I'll hopefully find a good 300 word conclusion in the morning. :)

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  55. Ramona, prayers for you and your son as you pass the night hours. I hope he can get the help he needs tomorrow.

    I buried a 16 y.o. today who died very suddenly a week ago. The service was enormous--1600+ in attendance--but could not have gone more beautifully thanks to so many people offering their gifts and time. Justin is in God's care, and our hearts turn to supporting his parents in the months and years to come.

    May tomorrow bring blessings for each of us.

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  56. So the sermon did pour out of me. It just waited until after 6 am to do so. But it's done!

    Prayers for ramona's son, SheRev's in-laws, and all others who need them.

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

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