Visit our new site at revgalblogpals.org.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

11th Hour Preacher Party: Back in the Saddle Edition


It's my first week back after being on the "conference circuit" for a couple of weeks.  I've had two full weeks, including two Sundays, off for vacation and continuing education.  However, even the vacation week was at a Presbyterian conference with my family.  I've heard speakers and taken workshops.  For two weeks there I had the opportunity to worship in some sort of community pretty much ever single day (Confessions of a Tired Summer Pastor #2: It was kind of too much.)

I know I'm not alone in having hit a conference or two this summer, so here's what I'm wondering as we come to the Preacher Party this weekend - - How do you get back in the saddle again?  Do you have a "sure fire" way to preach that first sermon after you've been gone without totally stressing out?  The first one back is often as hard as the last one before I leave for me, and THAT one is hard!

Anyway, the party is here, for those who are just back or those who are still working their way through the season.  Join us in the comments so we can support each other in all our different lives.

Peace,
SheRev/Stephanie

(P.S. My house went on the market this week, and an open house got scheduled for Saturday right in the middle of the day.  I have some cleaning up to do in the morning, but not too much. Yet, my internet is going to be spotty in the middle chunk of the day, so I apologize if I don't get to chime in well throughout the party. I'll be back in the evening!)

61 comments:

  1. I've had the last two Sundays "OFF" -- a great luxury -- and have only a vague notion of what will get preached day after tomorrow. But tomorrow should be a quiet day -- laundry already done, enough fine left-overs from dinner tonight for all my meals...no other pressing chores...car is gassed up.. I might could cut the grass, I guess, if it doesn't rain yet again -- otherwise, it's sermon-a-rama all day long, w00t!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you got to enjoy that luxury. It sounds like you have a day that continues to enjoy your refreshed body and mind. Blessing on your sermon-a-rama!

      Delete
  2. I co-pastor in a "two weeks preaching, two weeks off" model. However, I don't think that means I have any insight into preaching after a break! One of the things that helps me in general though is that I understand my task is to speak a Good Word for this moment. It doesn't have to be definitive and it doesn't matter what is left unsaid (because there's always more that could be said).

    This week I'm preaching about it being God's good pleasure to give us the kingdom. At our place tomorrow it will be the baptism of a four-week-old baby and I'm talking a bit about what his father - the earthly one and the Godly one desires to give him, and making a bit of a contrast with the kingdom that the newborn Prince George of Cambridge will inherit. It may be the second sermon ever where my congregation hears me talk about God as Father - I feel so deeply ambivalent about that name for God so I'm a little uneasy but ready to "keep calm and cowgirl up" (though I'm a vegan from a sheep-farming town and have no real experience of cowgirling up!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that is good advice, Jemma. Sometimes I get hung up on my "coming back" sermon needing to "make up for lost time." It's like I need to knock it out of the park, so to speak. A little less pressure might help.

      Blessing as you tread into maybe uncomfortable waters, maybe just ambivalent.

      Delete
  3. I don't have much insight into preaching after a break--as an associate I'm not accustomed to preaching two weeks in a row and I'm finding it a challenge! Maybe it's any change in routine can throw off your usual writing patterns.

    I thought I had my plan on the Luke passage on staying awake--how we tend to sleepwalk through our days and need to be reawoken to live out of our deep convictions. And apparently I had just enough inspiration for a reflection/blog thingy and am petering out on the sermon. Or having too many ideas to coalesce into a sermon. We'll see!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I was an associate in my first call, and also struggled to preach a couple in a row when the occasionally chance came up. However for me even just preaching once a month or so was a struggle because it meant adding an extra task (and a time-coonsuming one) to a weekly schedule that was already a full-time job. I think you're onto something - - a change to the pattern is the challenge!

      I like your start on Luke!

      Delete
    2. Good morning! Here we go again. Still fiddling with the sermon. Here's the reflection on waking up in case it's a help to someone: http://www.lisahorstclark.com/2013/08/09/millennials-and-waking-up-on-sunday/

      Now to try to make this sermon a bit less windy...

      Delete
    3. This is very helpful to me, as I'm stalling a bit on my writing/thinking/motivation. Thank you!

      Delete
    4. Lisa- Thanks for sharing your writing. I especially appreciate this word of caution: "If the church echoes the trends and realities of our culture, it can wash over us as more of the same." I am under pressure from our young parents to make Sunday School and the service as much fun for their children as their extracurricular dance lessons and karate classes for which the parents pay a pretty penny. When I engage parents in conversation about "meaningful" versus "fun" they fall asleep. I'll keep praying and trying, though.

      Delete
    5. Thanks for encouragement folks. S Str, I agree it's one of those tensions. Especialy if meaningful needs to not put us to sleep! But do the opposite... tricky!

      I'm calling it done.

      And in case you need it: http://tinafeywithacat.tumblr.com/

      Delete
  4. not really a sermon this week. for teh past 2 months we have been hearing about one Millenium Development Goal each week. Micah Challenge has prepared some resources, and we will have the 8 stations for people to interact with during the service. so the 'sermon' from me will be very short - based on Hebrews. what is it that we know exists, but can't see. Hopefully some responses like love, patience, joy, God.

    prayer stations are here about page 30 onwards.

    finished for Saturday evening, hope you all have a great Saturday, however much remains of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love doing stations, but have such a problem doing them in our regular Sunday worship. It's too difficult for people to move around in our space. I can do them for small services like Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, etc, but just not on Sunday. :(

      Delete
    2. If I could get rid of the 3 front pews and take care of the sloped floor in the sanctuary...stations would be wonderful. I can dream can't I....

      Delete
    3. stations were in teh hall, that way nothing needs moving from the church :)

      Delete
  5. I'm preaching about faith, the faith that doesn't count in Hebrews: Hagar (who believed in spite of being raped by God-fearing folk), Keturah (who believed in spite of being abandoned by Abraham with six children and no child support), Rebekah (in spite of her own imperfections & biased parenting), Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah. And Sarah, she was the token woman allowed by the author of Hebrews, who, even if she was Prisca/Priscilla wrote an incredibly male list of heroes including more than a few rapists (I'll do part two next week at a different church).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that take "faith that doesn't count." May God's blessing be on you as you bring this take on God's word.

      Delete
  6. Good morning preachers and pals. SheRev you certainly have a lot going on! Like others, I am an associate and have found it hard NOT to be preaching every week after 5 years of doing so. I find I way over-prepare when I don't preach every week, so I would say, just know you have it!
    I'm here at the church early for a memorial service, then off for a hike with some friends and my girls. Lots and lots of unbloggables going on in my life, and I need to put them all away RIGHT NOW and get my mind into what I need to do here. Prayers appreciated. I think there are blueberry pancakes being made at my house for the 6 12th- birthday party sleepover girls, if you'd like to drop by.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prayers that you can set your unbloggables into God's hands and be present now. 6 sleepover girls? God bless you!!! My kids and I are hoping Dad brings something yummy home from the monthly men's breakfast at church. We hold out on Saturday breakfast on these days each month because usually he has leftovers that are yummier than anything I'll bother to make!

      Delete
    2. Sounds like you need someone to be making those pancakes for you while you sleep in! Prayers for all that weighs upon your heart and mind right now to be held gently in God's hands as you go about the tasks of the day.

      Delete
  7. Well, I'm up or at least awake and trying to scrape myself out of bed. I've got some house tidying to do to get ready for the open house this afternoon. Mostly I need to figure out what to do with our cat during these things. Not easy. Praying for an interested buyer soon. The house just went on the market on Tuesday night, though, so I'm not getting anxious yet, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a lot going on, Stephanie! Thanks for hosting the party today.

      Praying that your house sale goes smoothly and in a timely manner.

      Peace be with you!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for hosting Stephanie. You have had a full 2 weeks without adding home selling on top of that! Peace as you navigate the next part.

      Delete
  8. Just come back from a wonderful quiet day -- "honeymoon with Jesus" -- and not really in the mood for finishing off my sermon. We are observing a month of compassion in our Province and this week I am focussing on refugees. Fits in quite well with Isaiah but I have to find a way to end it off to my satisfaction.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good morning, everyone!

    I am getting ready for a funeral service this a.m. for a beloved 93 year old church member. One of his places in history is that he was the first African American Eagle Scout in Louisiana. His profession, from which he retired only a couple of years ago, was hypnotherapist. I had only known him for the past nine months and what a blessing!

    I posted on the RevGal FB celebration thread: I was totally stuck regarding my sermon this week and I asked the deacons at their meeting to help me look at it and they were willing. And it was a big help. We are doing a summer of favorite things and this week is Favorite Things: Making Purses. I have made a couple of purses, so it works with scripture and something I enjoy in life. It has been fun working with different images this summer.

    I'm glad I got a head start because this funeral will have a lot of things going on. It will be my first participation in a "second line" procession from the chapel to the cemetery. The weather forecast calls for extreme steam room conditions. I'm not sure there is appropriate clergy attire comfortable for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon- It is a humbling privilege to preach and honor those long time church saints. I wish I could see you in the second line. You certainly won't be the only steamy one!

      Delete
  10. Since I am 'not in the saddle' I am writing sermons for my blog simply because I am reading stuff and bouncing it off the lectionary. It keeps me stimulated and engaged with the texts that most of Christendom is wrestling with. Today I am working on The Underground Church by Robin Meyers and the Lk reading from the lectionary. While Meyers holds up the early Christian community and its holding all things in common, it is a very difficult thing to do in today's society. I do think that the Church must be willing to be the counter-cultural community to stand against the powers of Empire, I also think that such economic measures must start at home and at Church.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm still working my way through the series based on favorite hymns, and also entertaining my dad this week. I've been with him, and therefore out of the office though still responding to email, since Tuesday. On Thursday evening it occurred to me that I could use this week's sermon to talk about all those church words that we use without explaining. Like WTF is an Ebenezer? (of course, this occurred to me because we're singing Come Thou Fount this week, and I decided to read the 1 Samuel 7 passage where they set up an Ebenezer...I titled my sermon "Ebe-what?" but didn't really know how I was going to do it...) We also have Rock of Ages and Amazing Grace this week. So I'm pondering whether I could start off with talking about a couple of the words that appear in hymns or other church language--Ebenezer, Worship, Kyrie, Stewardship--and then ask for a few from the congregation: what are the words whose definitions are a little vague but you've always been too afraid to ask?--and address a few of those briefly, then end with GRACE...which I think we misunderstand all the time.

    Or something.

    For a children's time I'm planning to talk about the story and have the kids think of times they experienced God's care/love/help, and name them as they build an Ebenezer out of cardboard bricks, or possibly actual rocks if I can find some before tomorrow morning.

    I could, I suppose, ask people to write down the church words they wish they understood better, and have them collected and then work through a few of them in my sermon and write newsletter articles on the rest. hmm. I like the interactive nature of the conversational option, but people might be more willing to share if it won't be obvious it was their "dumb question." (plus it's easier for the introverts!)

    I'm taking my dad with me to the neighborhood of drumming class today. He'll hang out at a pub or something while I go to class, then we'll come home, go out for dinner, and THEN I'll finally be down to writing. All the more reason to go for a more spontaneous type sermon, because I don't know that I can focus on writing a coherent full manuscript while my dad sits on the other end of the couch trying to learn how to use his new iPhone (aka asking me lots of questions about how to use his new iphone....).

    this is the longest comment ever. You can tell I'm starving for normal human interaction, because my dad doesn't talk much and it's been just the two of us for five days now. :-) So I'll leave you with this (until after dinner!) : yesterday we stopped in at the new chocolate shop in town, and picked up some incredibly delicious handmade, no-preservative, organic, etc truffles. Honey Bear has peanut butter, smoky sea salt, honey, and dark chocolate. Violet Violet is dark chocolate, violet, and blueberry. And Salted Karma is, well, sea salt, caramel, and dark chocolate. enjoy. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the Ebenezer thing. It was always a question growing up!

      I heard a great sermon once, that although I can't remember the content, I remember. At the end of the sermon, all the congregation was invited to take a stone to begin their own Ebenezer in the world. Isn't it funny how you remember the hands on things?

      All the best with family and chocolate!

      Delete
    2. Oh my goodness, that chocolate sounds heavenly. Really good. I need some. Or I need to learn how to make it.

      Delete
  12. I am in that place where I have two little ideas with possibilities, spinning off of Hebrews, but no sermon wrapped around them.

    First, I have been pondering the difference between imaginary=not real, and imagination=expanding our understanding of reality. Seems to me that faith has a lot to do with the latter but is often written off as the former,

    Second, an idea from one of our bishops in a newsletter: the difference between proof and evidence. It is very hard to prove some things to the satisfaction of a skeptic, and not really our job, but we can offer evidence of what we believe. Hmmm...as I write this, thinking about our calling to be that evidence in the world. Maybe I have a sermon after all!

    Thanks to all who offered encouragement and support last week when I returned to work after 3 weeks off, surgery, and a dx of thyroid cancer. The sermon was a moment of grace for both me and the congregation, I ended up feeling like it did point to the gospel and not all-about-me, and everyone was so supportive. I'm on tomorrow, and then I will be gone for another 3 weeks or so as I have surgery again on Wednesday.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Spent the morning doing a Bible Study overview for the Presbyterian Women's groups in my area. Still not sure how I agreed to that! It was fun, though.

    Now I have half a sermon on the Hebrews text and not sure where I'm going to go with the second half. Going to preach at Prickly Congregation this week, which makes me either nervous or intentionally confrontational, depending on my energy level :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Steph, glad to hear that someone else feels that way about worship sometimes. I was at an event where the worship was just plain painful...but I digress.

    I've been off lectionary all summer and today is Jonah. I ended up only focusing on chapter 1. It is partially interactive and I hope on the light/playful side.

    Three Days in the Belly of a Big Fish"

    Elaine

    ReplyDelete
  15. So close with this sermon... and yet so very far away. I'm going the faith from our ancestors route and preaching to a VBS participant/parents heavy crowd.

    Trying to get my sermon from a solid 'B' to an 'A+'.
    Vanity much?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean the "vanity, vanity, all is vanity" kind? Or the "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you" kind?

      I'll stop now.

      Delete
    2. I fear mine would be both kinds.

      Delete
  16. SOme sermonic questions I am pondering on Twitter:
    How would you define faith? How does it impact your life?

    Hebrews 12 tells us we are surrounded by the great Cloud of witnesses. What does that mean to you? Support? Challenge?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Grammarians, a question: where do the possessives and apostrophes properly go in this sentence:

    Faith in God changed Abraham's and Sarah's lives.

    Is that right? It sounds awkward.

    ReplyDelete
  18. My task this afternoon is buffing up a previously written wedding homily to be used for a very young couple tomorrow afternoon. The theme: that our promises are not made for the good times, but for the times when things go wrong.
    This morning I got an email from the bride saying two of the groomsmen, brothers, were in a terrible accident on the way home from the rehearsal dinner. Both are in the hospital. The last conversation I had with all of them at yesterday's rehearsal was about not worrying if little things go wrong at the ceremony. (A bridesmaid was concerned about standing in the wrong place.) "Something will happen," I said, "we just hope it will be something small."
    Well, not that.
    At the moment, the plans are to continue with everything on schedule, although the condition of the more badly injured brother might change things.
    In other news, we are preparing for the arrival of all three young adult children over the next few days, and the romantic interest of the middle of those three, and that is a lot of joy and a lot of groceries and a lot of human traffic for the coming week. My desire for their safe travels is increased, unsurprisingly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh Martha, that is so sad...I hope all end up being okay and the wedding is not fraught with more sorrow than it has already.

      Delete
    2. so hard Martha. Praying for all the wedding party, and for your three (four) too.

      Delete
    3. Oh my - prayers for the wedding party!

      Delete
  19. I have spent this day pulling this sermon out of me...all 800 words were a labor of, well, something. labor.

    But it is now on paper and done enough.

    Tomorrow I have a long day, three services and a Vestry meeting. In that meeting we need to address some parish dynamic crap.

    sigh.

    anyway, my simple thoughts are posted Be Ready to Receive Blessing

    ReplyDelete
  20. home from a really great drumming class, where I learned that next week there's a kind of class recital or something, for the other classes. eek! Now to try not to think about that while I also try not to think about the fact that I'm trying to write a sermon while sitting one couch cushion away from my dad who is silently reading the news on his work iPad...while actually thinking of things to say that will be in some way relevant, useful, and faithful. Not necessarily in that order.

    I am seriously tempted to suggest to him that we order a pizza for dinner. :-) If that happens, I promise to share.

    ReplyDelete
  21. All, it is 5 pm here in California. Tomorrow we are bidding farewell to a wonderful seminarian who has been with us for two years, and is moving to Bosnia for a year with her family. I'm taking the opportunity of four weeks off preaching to do something that I love and that is hard for me, preaching sans notes or manuscript. I'm using the Hebrews and Gospel reading to talk about how we might understand a new definition of being home in God...home being (as the wonderful OED says as a third definition) "where we flourish or where we came from." Perfect! So we will send Kirsten on her way with our blessings. I've a diet coke from McDonald's to share...it may be a long night!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Stacey. I needed that shift in direction. Spent the day at a Deanery meeting in Grants (home of uranium mines and 3 prisons and neighbor to Acoma pueblo). Now it's time to get down to the work of thinking out the homily for St. Martin's--the day shelter where the congregation I serve is housed. My "home" congregation (St. Michael's in Albuquerque where I came from) will be serving breakfast and worshipping with my "home" congregation where I have flourished. Questions of home course through that congregation of housed inside and housed on the streets. Still not sure of the details, but you have pointed me on the way.

      Delete
    2. I love it when the Preacher Party is a real tangible place to see the Spirit at work! Glad your musings, Stacey, were able to help a sister out!

      Delete
  22. hmm. Took the half-a-sermon, beefed it up. But it's still missing a little somethin' somethin'.

    ReplyDelete
  23. stations went well, though a little crowded, largest attendance for months, 59 - recently 40-50.
    Most people commented positively, but one person suggested a number of ways in which my ministry is lacking - at least I ahve supervision this week, so I ahve something to talk about. pity one person can knock my confidence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad the stations went well. I've been thinking about them today! So sad about the negativity. I'm glad you have someone with whom you can talk about it soon. I can remember practically word for word every negative comment I have ever gotten on a review. I don't want to remember them. I try to forget them, but they just stick. You are a blessing to God and a blessing in your ministry. Prayers for you confidence in that.

      Delete
  24. I'm not sure I've ever felt less like preaching -- I'm already on vacation (which doesn't start until AFTER church NEXT Sunday!).

    Spent last night and this morning on retreat with two spiritual director friends reflecting on turning 60. We might be accustomed to lots of silence, but we talked nonstop for 5+ hours today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no! The pre-vacation doldrums!!! Here's hoping the HS shows up quickly and pulls that sermon out of you!

      Delete
  25. Wow--it's been a while since I've been here, but it feels like a slow night. Either everyone is more on top of things than I am or else they are struggling just as much and also don't know what to say!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am using a couple of my sons' Bionicles in my sermon tomorrow, so I had an excuse to relax and put a few together for a little while; we are actually in the process of clearing them all out (thanks to a SIL who is an eBay maven) so it was accomplishing a good task while being able to call it sermon prep. Nice dinner at the home of friends tonight too. But now I need to finish the sermon I have been pretending was done and still try to get some sleep.

    Come back in a few weeks for some of dh's home brewed beer; he was bottling today, so it needs a bit of time to bubble and brew :-)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm procrastinating on the sermon so badly, I've even procrastinated on commenting here until now. That's a new low, even for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear that but very glad I'm not alone in sermon writing at this hour!

      Delete

You don't want to comment here; instead, come visit our new blog, revgalblogpals.org. We'll see you there!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.