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Saturday, June 01, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: Which way do we go?

Summer is pretty much here in my part of the world. For others winter is just around the corner.  What we all share is the end of the Easter/Pentecost/Trinity cycle of special days and the entrance into that big, long (liturgically) green season of the year. What path are you taking?

Are you working with a special sermon series? Much of my summer preaching will be based on our congregation's (finally approved) core values and new mission statement. 

Are you a diehard RCL gal or pal? If, so will you work with the centurion in Luke, asking am I worthy. Or Elijah or Solomon, where God's sovereignty prevails in the former and the foreigner is included in the latter? Maybe a Galatians series is in your sights.

The Narrative Lectionary folks might be starting in a Lord's Prayer series or working with one of the series from a previous year.

There are lots of paths before us, and we may be going in lots of different directions as we prepare to preach the Word this weekend, but there is one Spirit guiding us all along the way. May she visit you soon!!! Pop in the party by joining us in the comments. We'd love to hear which path you're taking and offer any support you may need!

87 comments:

  1. Leading worship tomorrow. After a few sad weeks for our congregation (2 deaths in the last month, one expected after a long battle with cancer, one completely unexpected) I've decided to build the service around Psalm 96 with its promises of the greatness of God, with music that talks about God's presence and care for us whatever our circumstances.

    Prayers for all who are struggling with texts. (I was origionally rostered to preach and had been thinking of going with Elijah.)

    Fair trade peruvian coffee to share !

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    1. What a thoughtful way to address your comngregatin's grief. Peace to you s you prepar

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    2. That is - as you prepare. So the Blogger/iPad issues are going to start right away today?

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  2. Just back from a funeral. I get so cheesed off when people take the church for granted! Family belong to a denomination that would have had to pay for the nose for a funeral but we get an insult of an offering just because we don't charge as such.

    Ah well, gripe over. I am going with World Environment Sunday (per request of our archbishop). Think, eat, save. The Israelites and the manna .. . the man who planned to build bigger and better barns. But I really am not inspired!

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    1. I read the word "cheesed" as "chesed" -- humorous in that I myself am vacillating between "cheesed off" at being taken for granted and "loving-kindness" toward a bereaved family.

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    2. Ugh. Double ugh actually. I hate when I've got a theme, chosen by me or someone else, that just isn't speaking. S hard to be motivated. Praying the Spirit stops by soon!

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  3. I'm attempting a series on Galatians so this week it's Galatians and the centurion: grace, freedom, and service.

    Trying to remember those words myself. A patriarch of the church died Thursday; I did not learn of it till Friday, by which time his family had pretty much scheduled everything. They are not part of our church, so would not have seen the notices that I would be several hours away at a Presbytery retreat Mon-Wed. They scheduled the funeral for Tuesday.

    I am privileged to do this funeral (third in a month); we buried the wife just a year ago and the husband has been in terrible health ever since. In fact, he was hospitalized and unable to go to her funeral last June. (And yes, I suggested other options, including a service in the hospital chapel.)

    I just wish I had been able to move everything this year to Monday or Wednesday.

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  4. I did consider taking the psalm at its word and having all new songs tomorrow, .... but continuing from last week on 'being the church..', part 2 this week.
    Last week:
    Being the church is about Being the church
    Being the church is about being community
    Being the church is about Welcoming
    Being the church is about Forgiveness offering
    Being the church is about Hope bringing
    Being the church is about Peace being
    Being the church is about Jesus following
    Being the church is about Fostering awesomeness
    Being the church is about Worshipping together
    This week:
    Being the church is about Love making
    Being the church is about Healing and wholeness
    Being the church is about Bridge building
    Being the church is about Transformation
    Being the church is about Gospel seeding
    Being the church is about Faith growing
    Being the church is about Being Christ-like
    Being the church is about The ministry of all people


    I didn't come up with the list, a colleague did - each PPT slide has an image, the heading, a sub title and a bible verse.
    also asking the question, what would you write in a letter to our congregation [as in Galatians]

    next weekend I have off, then maybe I need to get back to some actual preaching :)

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    1. I love that list, sounds like it will be a thought provoking sermon.

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  5. Galatians for me -- a summer series on it seemed like such a good idea a few months ago...now, less so!

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  6. I am preaching on Luke and the whole worthiness theme, but "only say the word" is sort of my line. right now, though, I am sort of in despair about the whole project and hope that changes after some coffee and a dog walk.

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  7. done and ready for a cuppa and bed.
    last week I took the service on iPad as well as paper [just in case], this week, just the iPad - saves time and printing.

    hope those just starting teh day have a good day and lots of preaching inspiration.

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    1. I love the iPad idea - it's something that I've wanted to try for a while, but don't quite trust the technology... I'm excited to hear that it worked for you!

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  8. I am a Lay-Worship-Leader-in-training, and tomorrow will be my first time leading the service and preaching in a congregation other than my own. Needless to say, I'm a little bit nervous and excited at the same time... I'm going with Luke - what did/does it take to amaze Jesus. Sermon and bulletin are done, I just have to get a few more bits of liturgy done, and print everything off this afternoon.

    This afternoon is also going to be bread-making day in my house, so I will bring some freshly baked rolls and bread to the table this afternoon, and maybe throw in some of my homemade jam from last summer.

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  9. The good news: My Love made coffee before he left for work. The not so good news: I am exhausted from a matriarch's funeral yesterday along with emergent pastoral care; I have another funeral today (for which the reflection needs some major editing - and where there is no eulogy); tomorrow's sermon is stuck in the idea stage (with 1Kings18), tomorrow is grad Sunday (for two youth I've never met!) and I have a worship service in the Personal Care Home afterwards - for which I have nothing planned yet. I'm really wishing I had a sustainable sermon somewhere, but none is to be had at this point. There are a couple of family bits going on too, so the long and the short of all this is: come Holy Spirit!

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    1. Lord, have mercy. That's a lot. I hope you can get some rest in the new week.

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    2. ayamihawina
      may the spirit well up inside you, and flow out inspriation adn peace.

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  10. Elijah and the prophets of Baal here. Elijah may be my favorite OT guy. I'm thinking that this is not a familiar, Sunday School type story, so maybe a good chunk can just be retelling it. I hope. Because any other ideas are pretty fuzzy right now.

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    1. I'm doing the same thing!

      Sarah

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    2. Elijah and the prophets was one of my very favorite Sunday school stories. But I have found that most folks didn't get as thorough Sunday school education as I did! So I'm excited to tell the story too.

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  11. I am doing a summer series...the Twelve Sundays of Summer. This Sunday it is "Twelve Stones" using the Joshua 4 text where the Hebrew people cross into the promised land and erect 12 stones so when their children ask "why are these here" the people can tell them. Pairing that with Luke 2 and Jesus, 12 years old, is found in the temple asking questions.

    I need to re-work the ending but I am asking the congregation (which are all adults) what they would tell their children about God, etc.

    The rest of the Sunday's will follow numerically...11, 10, 9 etc

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  12. Good morning! Passing through to mention that there is some sort of problem with our home page, which appears to be a Blogger issue, not ours. When you click through to comment, all is well. But on the homepage the sidebar is beneath the posts. Annoying, but nothing has been lost. Bear with us!

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  13. The Lord's Prayer - children's Sabbath style - for me today. Tomorrow the kids will lead the majority of worship in a service where afterwards people will tell me how nice it must have been to have a Sunday off... ahem...

    This afternoon is little league baseball playoffs so drinking my fluids now.

    Love to read about everyone's sermon series in the summer.

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    1. Kathryn, I'll be doing the Lord's prayer, but after a bunch of "every June we....." Sundays are done, so, starting June 23.

      I've purchased "The Greatest Prayer" by Crossan on audiobook, but haven't started it yet...

      Will this be your first year doing NL? I absolutely loved doing it last year. So enlivening to my preaching, and received really well by the congregation.

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    2. I'm reading "the Greatest Prayer" too. I'll be doing my sermon(s?) on the Lord's Prayer later this summer. I look forward to reads what you two have to say!

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  14. I have a sermon hanging over my head for next week, when we will be racing back into town the night before after four days away for LP's graduation. I had hoped to be writing that sermon today, but I also have to work on a poster for her party (yes, I got about a week's notice). Ugh. So that's my priority this morning.

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  15. RCL for me -- taking the alternate reading I Kings 8 so I can pair Solomon's "foreigner" and the centurion in Luke, somehow will get the Galatians in there too, possibly with a shoehorn, but I can't do without Paul's "and how do you like me NOW?" question.
    It's also a farewell sermon, which has its own rhetorical imperatives..."fresh woods and pastures new," next week.
    I have what I fondly imagine to be a Killer Quote from Jill Paton Walsh to end off with. Always a comfort to have the peroration in place. Now for the hermeneutical Parkur required to get there from the text ...

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    1. Love the shoehorning! Blessings on you, your preparation, and your farewell.

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    2. If anyone can pull off a hermeneutical Parkur - it is CR! What a great image!

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    3. and this sucker is IN THE BAG...printed, collated (it's a LONG one)...and so is the "pup" for 8 am. which is all BCP readings and there was NOOOO overlap this week, ah well. Babysat sweet grandbaby this evening and we played, and played, and played...just glorious. Good night all.

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  16. Sermon done. Not brilliant by any means but useful as an introduction to stewardship month which is about to happen. Much needed as the church cannot pay its bills!

    I am now embarking on baking some unleavened bread for tomorrow. I have never tried this before and have no idea how much I need. Found so many recipes on the internet but don't know which are any use. They seem to call for wholewheat flour but my husband went to the shops for me and couldn't find any anywhere, so white it will have to be. Whatever happens, it can't taste worse than the red champagne on Pentecost Sunday (I hope!).

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  17. I'm headed to preside at my first memorial service and there are only a few details I forgot to address like having our sexton open the columbarium. (!) woops. Then it's cracking down and writing this reflection on Luke. What struck me is the way faith is described (he loves) and comes from the "enemy." I feel like I'm living this part of the story right now, but it's too fresh and personal for the pulpit. Looking for stories about love/faith coming from the unexpected "enemy." Anyone have something they'd like to share?
    strong coffee, fresh cream, and berries for all

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  18. My family let me sleep in long than I anticipated. I've read through all the comments, but Blogger has already been giving me a hard time with comments. Lots of different things going on, but they all sound great. Prayers for all those dealing with memorials and funerals.

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  19. My current thinking is to talk about authority using Galatians and Luke, maybe also Solomon if he wanders by at the right time. I plan to talk about Pope Francis' amazing speech this last week and the horrified response of the Vatican which has now questioned the authority of a pope out loud. I think it will work but never know until both services are done. :-)

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    1. I totally get that feeling of the unknown until it's all over.

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  21. Daughter and boyfriend should appear any minute -- first time we are meeting him! If I were any remotely adequate kind of person I would be preparing a beautiful lunch, but I'm not so out we go!

    Also I think we just finally worked out the checkerboard family August vacation -- husband and me to Providence, Boston, and Providence, dd to Portland OR, Boston and Providence, ds with us and then on to London. Now if the airlines and accomodations will please cooperate!

    Really focused on that sermon.

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    1. sermon...vacation. No contest. I don't suppose you could start the Luke reading with something like, "And then Jesus went on a vacation. On the way...."

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    2. Margaret...I am so using that line sometime "And then Jesus went on a vacation..."

      Robin, vacation so much better than sermonating.

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    3. Vacation planning would win for me, too.

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  22. Good Saturday morning! I'm pretty much an RCL lectionary preacher (using track 2 this year) but I'd really like to know more about the narrative lectionary. Any thoughts or helpful places, sisters?

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    1. This last, cycle September-Pentecost, was my first trip through the narrative lectionary. After 10 years in the RCL it was wonderful for me to change things up a little. I loved it and will do it again next year. Here's the Working Preacher website with the weekly commentary. Here's the Narrative Lectionary FAQ page.

      Next fall the RevGals page is going to include weekly text discussions on the Narrative Lectionary as well as the RCL.

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  23. Good afternoon from the eastern US time zone...finally sitting down to write or at least outline a sermon I have to preach tomorrow at our evening service. Not feeling especially excited about it, not sure why. The series is called "Encounter" and the topic for the week is "Encounter of Inclusion" and the scripture is Acts 10:1-35, which according to the amazing Textweek is not anywhere in the lectionary. As a lectionary preacher, this is kind of hard for me! The service is modern - music, sermon, prayer, communion (first Sunday) and more music. Our young associate is usually in charge but he is on vacay.
    I'd like to ask prayers for our lay leader, a.k.a. the "Donut Man" of our small city. He brought his donut maker to our elementary school road race this morning and as I was helping him with it we lifted it too high and he got hot oil sloshed all over his right arm, a pretty bad burn. In real life he plays bass for a pretty big and well known orchestra. I feel terrible. Prayers for healing much appreciated.
    Blessings on all of you in your preparations.

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    1. MP, I left you a long message on voice mail yesterday -- I want to try to come to your commissioning!

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    2. yay Robin! I'll be back at work tomorrow.

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    3. Ouch! Prayers for your Donut Man!!! And for you!!!

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    4. Donut Man is going to be ok! I got a text saying his arm is not hurting so much and he has it bandaged and salved. He was grateful no children were hurt. What a guy.
      And I have about 2500 words on inclusion, hopefully they won't get me in too much trouble! I'm such a radical ;) now, hopefully tonight some star trek TNG and sleep.
      Good to be back among you again. Not preaching again until July 21 :(.

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    5. thanks for prayers SheRev!

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  24. Just sitting down to pull it together--Solomon praying for foreigners, Jesus healing the unnamed slave of that nameless Centurian, a headline in yesterday's USA today that read, "Churches sever Scout sponsorship" and a pastor who said, "We are not willing to compromise God's word," a local Roman Catholic high school that refused to allow a transgendered senior to graduate in the black robes of a boy, and the Biblical tradition of welcoming the stranger. Think I'll be doing a slide to Matthew 25: 35. Don't know where it's all going yet.

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    1. Lots of thoughtful pieces. I'll be interested to see how it comes together. Sounds great!

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  25. Preaching about singing tomorrow. (note that this most certainly NOT mean preaching by singing--nobody wants that to happen). And I thought I might sound y'all out on a couple of things I just tweeted...
    1) How would you finish the following? For me, worship without music would be...

    2)Why do we sing? Old hymns, new hymns, praise choruses. Why do we sing what we sing?

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    1. For me, worship without music would be dry, dusty, incomplete, shallow...

      I love to sing old, new, happy clappy - variety speaks to different times and moods

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  26. Sermon is done here

    Headed out for a windy drive today...hopefully no storms.

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  27. My 3 year old is crying desperately (and creatively) about being stuck in her room "napping" (which she obviously isn't). Her pathetic sobbing version of "Rock-a-bye Baby" that she is singing to her doll is cracking me up. The problem is that when we give in and finally let her out to continue our day, she's going to pass out in the car on the way to the store and end up more grumpy than she is now. Oy vey.

    I'm tweaking a sustainable sermon for tomorrow when I begin a summer sermon series which will be based on our newly approved Core Values and Mission Statements. Tomorrow is "We value caring for each other," and I have a sermon from 4 years ago on Mark 2 where the friends lower the man on the mat through the roof to see Jesus. I'll cut a lot of it out and let one of the team members who works with our benevolence budget talk about a couple of "open cases" they are working on - - a mom, fiance, and two kids who are homeless and need financial help before there is room for them in a shelter, and a church member out of work due to surgery who can't quite make ends meet until she goes back to work. Of course, they will all be disguised, etc. I'll talk about how we care for each other, like the value says, but we also are called to stretch our idea of who we thing "each other" is. We care not just for the people we know in our little church circle, but also people beyond our family of faith, in effect widening our family to include the entire family of God.

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    1. Oh do I hear the 3 year old nap conundrum. Ugh.

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  28. I've been at a Spanish Ministry Intensive all week. It was awesome; but the 12 hours/day of learning have left me with a desire for a day off rather than putting my thoughts to sermon writing today. Tomorrow is our graduate recognition. Titled my sermon, "Reach out and touch someone" - from the Gospel reading. Graduate recognition, regular worship, and then Spanish worship with 2 baptisms and 2 confirmations! It will be a very full day! Then I can unpack from continuing education and repack for VACATION! YAY!

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  29. Still vacillating between Galatians and Luke...Galatians and Luke...every time I think I have decided, I think of something or read something that sways me back the other way. I would be tempted to go for a Galatians series, but I will be only be preaching for three of the six Sundays we have it. So, swinging back to Luke. Hmm. Or maybe Galatians as a one-off. ARGH.

    Much of my day has been consumed by a sinus headache, so now that it has lifted, I really should be getting down to business. We are also blessing the church gardens tomorrow, so I suppose I could procrastinate by working on that since it has to be done anyway.

    Wow, I sound pretty whiny. Let me offer sparkling cranberry lemonade and peanut butter MnMs to everyone to lighten the mood!

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  30. Sunday morning, time to shower and go to church. cooler and wet today, so maybe some of those with Sunday morning sport will turn up?

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  31. Looking for my sermon. Afraid it got lost in the whole sweep of the Biblical tradition of welcoming strangers like gay Boy Scouts, transgendered teens and atheists. If anyone sees my sermon floating out there, please send it my way.

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  32. That thing where the substitute preacher (me) who was called in because the regular preacher is sick, also gets sick? yeah, I hate that. Not super sick, but I cannot quit sneezing and sniffing, which does not make for pleasant sermon delivery. And fuzzy brain does not make for clear sermon thoughts.

    Sorry to whine. Zero words. I'll be here a while.

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  33. I have something written and printed on Luke heavily leaning on David Lose encouragement to name those we love who are not so churchy. Not my best work but it does address a theme I have heard often in just the last 2 fast weeks. I am finding myself out of practice with every Sunday preaching after my long and much needed break. Computer finally came Thursday. Moving van came yesterday so I am living in the land of boxes both at home and in my office. Grateful to have both and for you all! Peace sisters and prayers for those who are dealing with storms of all kinds.

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  34. Im getting much better at taking time out on Saturdays to spend with family. Today, summer seems to have arrived in Scotland and we've spent the day mostly on the beach. However, the other discipline needed to augment that is writing earlier in the week and that is not yet happening! So another late night, early morning!
    I'm going with Elijah for next few weeks but we've changed it around a little so that we can look at the story chronologically and not all mixed up as in RCL. So, tomorrow, it's the widow, the replenishing oil and the son restored to life. Developing a hospitality theme with those elements, hitch fits well with our communion tomorrow. Everyone else is in bed, so enjoying some peace and quiet to write. So - back to it...

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    1. I considered going with the chronological, but I'm gone next Sunday and want my lay preacher to have the story of the widow.

      It's beyond me why they put the stories in the order they did. If you really stretch it, the stories after this Sunday's sort of go with the Gospel, so maybe that's why...

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    2. Ramona - that seems to be the explanation - to match the gospel readings. But we're just going to read Elijah, so don't have to worry about that this time around. Would love to have been a fly on the wall when that Lectionary was put together!

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  35. What do you know--I found my sermon. You'll find it here. Boy Scouts, a transgendered teen and the Biblical tradition of welcoming the stranger. There's so much more I want to say but I'm trusting the Holy Spirit will be writing on folks' hearts.

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  36. Hello, Folks! It's been in the 90s here today--a day I spent mostly in an unventilated university gym doing church business with about 300 other heat-wilted clergy & laity. I was thinking about doing a lectio divina bible study on the Luke reading instead of a sermon tomorrow--asking "who represents power and authority for you? & "Who do you think of when you think of outsiders? and a few other guiding questions. My other option is to share the story I used in our UCC Annual StorySlam last night--a zippy, energetic excerpt from my faith journey--but I can't decide if I want to be that self-revelatory on this particular Sunday. I think I'm gonna be bold--or really, really foolish--and sleep on it.

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  37. Just got back from the City with my spouse - we had a nice lunch, but spent most of the day running errands. Still it was good to have some time together. Especially since last week was our VBS which ate up all my evenings.

    I'm starting a sermon series on Elijah tomorrow. I don't have word one written, but I;m not too panicked about that. I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting more comfortable in the pulpit and know that I'll find something to say, or if it's because I'm preaching more of a Bible study/sermon, so if worst comes to worst, we'll read a couple of verses, talk about it and read a couple of more. I've never done this type of sermon before, so it should be an interesting experience. My biggest worry is the 'so what' factor - it's a great story, but what does it have to do with us. Once I have that point, I think everything else will fall into place.

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    1. That's pretty much where I've landed with this Elijah story, too. I'm just walking through the story, remarking on where we also see ourselves in it. Not sure how I'm going to "so what" or even wrap it up. I'm not to the end yet.

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    2. I'm doing the "Bible study" version too. Worst case scenario is I say "Time for your response. For real. What does this say to you today? Just raise your hand so I know you want to talk. Then talk loudly so everyone can hear."

      Sarah

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    3. Hmm, I like your idea...maybe that's something I could try this summer sometime. My people are pretty outspoken, so they would participate. As long as I had that last paragraph with the "so what?" in my back pocket.

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  38. I am totally stuck. Brick wall. Out of gas. Stuck. Uninspired. Help!

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    1. I hope you find a way out soon! Prayers.

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    2. RCL: Luke 7:1-10. Jesus healing the centurion's slave. I'm stumbling forward. I think I just have total brain overload after a Spanish Ministry Intensive class all week.

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  39. oh. It's turning out to be an idolatry sermon. That'll work at this point on a Saturday night.

    Hubby just walked through and said "Don't you love Saturday night specials?" Um, no. Not exactly.

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    1. My hubby wanted to know if how my sermon was coming and if I wanted to go up to the local watering hole with him? Uh no - still working, and besides he keeps me out too late on a school night!

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  40. Very thankful for a strong narrative text to work with tonight. I'm about to print it. I'll preach it twice tomorrow, at two different congregations. Tricky, that. Then I'm taking my sneezy self to bed.

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  41. I finally went with Luke, and it's almost finished...just need to not...lose...momentum...

    A late supper will be my reward for finishing.

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  42. Arrrgh! My document locked up. Stupid computer. Stupid voice recognition software. Stupid me for not saving my document. Let's hope I can recover most of what I wrote.

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    1. Good MS Office, nice MS Office - thank you for saving my sermon for me.

      Bad, bad, bad, bad, very bad Dragon!

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    2. A friend of mine just posted on FB that her sermon was NOT saved after being written like she thought, earlier this week. So she's starting over right now. UGH. Glad one of the technologies worked for you :)

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  43. Well, I've been thinking since Wednesday. I'll not actually write a sermon for tomorrow evening - but I need to get a better idea of where I'm going. Still small voice for our theme "Emerge". I don't remember who gave me that idea, but thank you all the same! :)

    Spent the day with my family and a couple friends exploring parts of Los Angeles that I'd never seen before. We took the train all day, and by the end of the day my 18mo son could say "train" and "woaaaaaaah" every time the train came towards us. Was a lot of fun.

    We leave for Vacation to see my husband's family in Kansas City bright and early on Monday morning - so I have more desire to pack than to actually sermon write!)

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  44. Finally made it back to the computer. My 8 year rode with her training wheels off for the first time as soon as she climbed on the bike. Something clicked since last summer, apparently. A night of pizza, beer, and a meat raffle kept me out really late. Good thing I was already going the sustainable sermon re-tweak route. I'm going to look at it at little for about 15 minutes, head to bed, then come back to finish the tweaks in the morning.

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  45. Back! After napping in my recliner.

    The sermon is DONE, hallelujah, but now I need to put together the kids' sermon. If I can do it quickly I can get a bit more sleep.

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    1. Well, it's all finished more or less, so now let's see if I can get a tiny bit more sleep. Dangerous as that sounds.

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

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    2. Glad you're done! I need to get my children's sermon ideas fleshed out a little, too, right after I finish my regular sermon. It's almost there. Children's sermon will be centered on all the people who have been helping me out, friends and strangers, since I have been on crutches the last few weeks - - people who have lowered me through the roof to help my healing and what it's been like to receive their care.

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