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Saturday, January 12, 2008

11th Hour Preacher Party: The Coastlands Wait Edition

Good morning, preachers, wherever you are!

It's been a busy week here, and my mind has been on other things, so I really need the encouragement of community today. How about you?

This picture from the Gulf Coast (before Hurricane Katrina) reminds me of the Isaiah passage in the lectionary today. If we look at tomorrow's texts not only as a story about Jesus but as a call to all of us, as individuals and as churches, what justice might we be expected to bring, what teachings might the coastlands await?

But first, coffee, and lots of it. May I pour you a cup?

Whether you are an 11th hour regular, or a first-time visitor, or anything in between, please join us in the comments today. Let us know what's on the schedule today, what you are preaching about, what else might be going on in church tomorrow. Anyone looking for a Children's Moment? Anyone have one?

And friends, if you've already finished your sermon, try not to rub our noses in it too early in the day, okay? ;-)

Let the Party begin!


  1. Yes, coffee, please!!

    I dragged myself out of bed extra early today, which might've made some difference if I hadn't spent the whole time reading things of interest online (none of which is remotely related to my sermon).

    I'm preaching the baptism text, focused especially on the last sentence, on how those same words - you are my beloved child, in whom I am well-pleased - are pronounced by God over our lives, and toward what end. Am also mulling over the image of "descent" - Jesus' descent into humanity, then descent into those waters for baptism. Our spiritual journey as descent, rather than ascent (looking at stuff Thomas Keating has to say in "Invitation to Love"). Descent into the baptismal waters, the arms of Christ's love, and the letting go of ego - and the relationship b/t that descent and the freedom that comes from claiming the divine words of love/acceptance over us.

    But I'm not really sure how to say all of that. Don't have a starting point yet. AND I'm singing in a special concert of our church choir tomorrow afternoon (Vivaldi's Gloria) and there's a dress rehearsal from 10 to 12:30 today. So I really should be writing by now....

  2. Coffee, don't mind if I do- right now I am brain dead.... having managed to hand in a 6,000 word assignment for my MA this week my brain would like a holiday....

    As for preaching I love Isaiah, and will probably go with the "Here is my servant" theme- bringing in the baptism account. I like earthchicks themes of descent and freedom...

    first coffee.... no sweet stuff today I am watching those calories, vegetable soup later though.

  3. Earth chick, I'm glad I'm not the only one who is going that way with the beloved child part of the baptism passage. It sounds like you have a great plan. It will come.

    I'm actually preaching Romans 8:31-39 - nothing can separate us from the love of God, then flowing into a Remembrance of Baptism. The little church I'm preaching in doesn't necessarily follow the lectionary or Christian year, but I'm going to stretch them just a little.

    I'm filling in this month for Pastor K who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer. Please keep her in your prayers. This is my mother's church, so while I'm not committed to a church in my denomination right now, I'm helping out.

    I have a handwritten outline so far. I will be going to Emmaus Reunion Group for breakfast shortly, coming home to pack, driving 200 miles to town of the little church, attending wig and hat party for Pastor K, then finishing my sermon. I'll check in later today. In the meantime, many blessings for all the other 11th hour sermon writers out there.

  4. Our day includes a round-trip to church (69 miles), which is unusual, because my husband has been asked to help replace the ceilings in the education building. Considering that most of the other helpers are 20 or more years older than he is, it seemed like a good idea to help. But the idea of hanging around at church on Saturday afternoon with an unfinished sermon hanging over my head is not too appealing, I must say.
    I just haven't been able to get any traction on sermon prep this week, due to a busy schedule both at home and church. Obviously 2008 is the year to figure out how to make the quiet time I need happen. But that's not much help this morning.
    And really, I would rather go for a walk.
    Attitude adjustment needed, clearly.

  5. I am finishing the funeral meditation for this afternoon's funeral, and then will come home to write for Sunday. The funeral meditation is coming so very very slowly and awkwardly, and I have no idea where I am headed for tomorrow. But it will come, I am sure.

    I would be happy to trade a pot of yummy fair trade coffee and some banana bread for a children's sermon!

  6. I've been a bit distracted myself this week. I'm going with the baptism next and using an idea from Anna Carter Florence in "Lectionary Homiletics." She talked about doves swooping like birds of prey making baptism like spiritual target practice. So, I'm running with that. I have a great title...Hit Me with Your Best I just need the sermon!

  7. Songbird, here is some encouragement for a friend for all you have going on. And earthchick can't believe you are up so early.

    I am preaching on Gen. 1, In the Beginning. I start a sermon series taking us through the Bible. I know, I know I am a little crazy.

    I have a person dying in ICU,so I quickly wrote a draft yesterday, but I was so tired, no telling what I wrote.

    I am off to a District Committee on Ministries meeting this morning, which I wish I wasn't having to go to, buttttttt.

    I have coffee and pancakes? Help yourself. Blessings on your sermonizing.

  8. Friends, I'm popping out to a Weight Watchers meeting, but I'll be back to check in with you later this morning. I seem to have a few ideas collected now.
    On my mind at the moment: I wonder how people whose experience is of infant baptism relate to the adult baptism of Jesus? I used to be Baptist and am now UCC, so I've lived with both kinds.

  9. I'm up and at it, just about ready to pour my first cup of coffee.

    I'm preaching Isaiah, as a first part of a 3-part sermon series on discipleship. We are also reaffirming our baptism in worship.

    For children's time, I am going to be focusing on communion for a few weeks, at the request of the Sunday School teachers, so the kids will probably think I am totally mixing my sacramental metaphors.

    I haven't felt this unprepared for a long time!

  10. Like you Songbird I have lived with both infant and adult baptism, I must say my preference considering the symbolism would be for infant dedication and adult baptism, but I am required to and will baptise infants.

    I like the British Methodist liturgy surrounding infant Baptism as the parents make promises on their own behalf and after the pronouncement of God's grace. Having said that both of my younger sons wanted adult baptism and went to another denomination as Methodism is strict on re-Baptism.

    Oh help, now you have made me think!!!!

  11. Not preaching tomorrow, but am off to help lead a confirmation retreat on worship, music and the liturgical arts. I'm pretty excited about it! There's going to be African drumming and paper banners and I'm teaching the kids a movement prayer to the Lord's Prayer.

    Prayers for all who prepare for worship - may the spirit descend with words and inspiration.

  12. Good morning all... I wanted to be in the office working on my sermon half an hour ago. I'm not.

    Please forgive me if my early completion last week was experienced as nose rubbing. I have not. one. word. written yet this week. If that helps.

    But I have funeral counseling to do this afternoon and some visits to make and a praise team rehearsal so... by the grace of God the expansive three points in my head right now are going to have to rapidly take shape into a communion meditation- a short one.

    i'm preaching on isaiah. honoring the memory of M.L.K. Jr.

    first necessity- unpack the concept of justice- one of those things that doesn't resonate here.

    next- talk about whether the servant is an individual or a community- or both- using mlk as an illustration- a powerful individual servant who non-violently fought for justice who sought to empower a global community in this struggle.

    finally- take about the nature of Jesus' servanthood which was a servanthood that was community building for the sake of furthering God's salvation and justice. as we are invited by him to his table, it is so we might be nourished for our own service and shaped as the beloved community.

    ummm.... something like that.

    oatmeal with applesauce and almonds, anyone?

    chilly fingers- awesome title and concept.

    great thoughts on baptism here!

    blessings all!

  13. I'm focusing on receiving the Spirit at our baptism. Just like Isaiah's servant received the spirit and Jesus received the spirit, it is then that their ministry began. When we are baptized we receive the spirit of God and are commissioned into a life of service to and for Christ, we are baptized into the priesthood of all believers, stuff like that.

  14. Morning everyone! I have missed the last couple of parties, that's how crazy my life has been recently!

    However, it's starting to settle back into something like a regular groove, so here I am!

    I too had a busy week, and got nothing done on the sermon except for a few notes. I know that I want to talk about the baptism, and Jesus hearing the voice of God, that he is God's beloved child, and the uncertainty (in Matthew) as to whether anyone else can hear God. I *think* I want to go with that--hearing God's love and blessing for us, even when others don't. I will probably pull in several people here, from MLK to the founder of our denomination, Troy Perry, to John Wesley and maybe a few others. I also want to relate it to us as a congregation--we've always been small and there are always rumours that we're about to close, but somehow we keep going. We know we are God's beloved children and have been blessed with a mission for River City. This ties in nicely with our anniversary next week, too.
    And other than the sermon, I have some planning for the next year, some writing on other topics, and some house chores to do.
    I'll take some pancakes...I have zero to offer this morning, grocery store is one of those house chores...

  15. Oh. I wrote a draft the other day, weaving in a poem from Mary Oliver called "Heavy" and occasionally repeating one line,

    "Surely God had his hand in this."

    In addition to weaving in the poem I am weaving in Isaiah,

    "I am the Lord…I have taken you by the hand and kept you…"

    and connecting all of this to the baptism of Jesus.

    And, as if that weren't enough all of this is connected to the Saint for whom small church is named...yeesh.

    the poor sermon needs work...but like others here this morning I am way too distracted...

    Plus I have to go see my MIL who is in the hosptial recovering from knee replacement. My daughter is looking at her first apartment and thinking of moving out. And I am deep in the midst of contract negotiations for a new call.

    **heavy sigh**

    coffee, sausage, and french toast, anyone?

  16. This place smells amazing with all that great food! I haven't been to the grocery store in weeks. I have...umm...about half a gallon of organic milk to offer. Oh, and I still have a brand new jug of Trader Joe's Spicy Cider to heat up and enjoy in the afternoon! That's all my contribution for the day, sadly...

    I am not preaching this week, but when I asked SP for a sense of what he would say so I could adapt it for Children' Time, he said, "oh, I don't know...something about grace." Okay then. We're doing baptism text and a reaffirmation of baptism where people come up as if for communion (or ash wednesday) and will be marked with water.

    I bought a djembe yesterday, fresh from Guinea (W. Africa) and so am vastly more interested in playing than in coming up with children's time and prayers of the people!!

  17. I'm doing children's sermon and have no idea what the minister is preaching on... she leaves on a 2 week overseas mission trip Monday, and I'm not sure SHE knows what she's preaching yet. at least I get to hear it at early service before I do the children's message at second service.

  18. oh my friends... the balance is difficult some days between our personal lives & pastoral lives. that being said, 2 cups of coffee are already down the hatch...

    okay and infant baptism - oh let me speak! in my draft i wrote about how when Jesus is waist deep in the Jordan, in that moment God inaugurated Jesus into the ministry for which he had been born. When water was sprinkled on our heads, in that moment God inaugurated us into the ministry for which we have been born.

    without wanting to draw out a big debate... the direction is that God chooses us in Baptism. The taking us by the hand, upholding us, and other lovely Isaiahy images.

    whew. gotta get ready. counseling session forthcoming. *cue violins* i don't, really don't like working on my day off... yadda yadda yadda.

  19. Just here to say, GO PREACHERS!

    I have no idea how you folks do it every week (though the good food and fair trade coffee has to help!) I am bowing down before you all to offer virtual pedicures. Sorry that I'm not as cute as some of the other folks you've had on this staff, but I give a mean footrub. :)

    Praying for your processes today & your proclaiming tomorrow.

  20. As I was upstairs in the kitchen a few minutes ago puttering and staring vacantly out the window, spouse walked in and said, "Oh. I get it. You're writing your sermon, aren't you?"

    Gee, it only took him about four years to figure that one out.

    Okay, done procrastinating...

  21. I have been crunching around with the concept of being "beloved" by God--what that means. I am doing the sprinkling of the congregation at the beginning of the service to remind people of their baptism.

    I want know what it means to hear the words that Jesus heard--"This is my beloved with whom I am well pleased". And yet I still want to have an edge to it. Coffee is not helping.

  22. Earthchick, I love the 'descent' image. I have always thougth that the Incarnation is the most awesome event--more important than resurrection, but I shan't say it to a bunch of Lutherans!!

  23. oh muthah+ why not??? i've not been stoned yet... so i think there's hope they'd take the news well.

    i wonder too about the very word "beloved"... not one folks use much is it? somehow i picture Cary Grant saying to his sweetheart in a classic movie...but beyond that i have trouble wrapping my brain around it.

  24. more cows, I'm sure we've ALL done it! Who isn't relieved to be finished early?
    I have a story now to go along with the idea of being called to bring justice, and I am thinking I'll unpack the baptismal vows. Did I mention I'm baptizing a whole family tomorrow: Mom, Dad and infant?

  25. One of my profs pointed out, in that ever-present tension of Grace and Free will, that most denominations have settled into a pattern of 2 events: one as an infant where we recognize the addition to the church family, and a second at an age of reason where we publicly proclaim our faith. In the "grace is an act of God" stressing communities, the first is baptism, the second confirmation. In the "we must make a choice to accept" stressing communities, the first is dedication and the second baptism.

    Luther and Calvin came in on the "grace" emphasis (big shocker), but the great awakening really brought forward the "choice" emphasis in the US.

  26. Current time: 10:45 a.m.
    First service: 5 p.m. tonight
    Word Count: 0
    Ideas: 0 (other than it's Baptism of our Lord Sunday)
    Motivation: none

    I'm so overwhelmed and underprepared I don't even know where to begin.

  27. Like many of you, it's been a busy week, shaped by a funeral service for one of our saints on Tuesday. My sermon mojo is definitely lacking on Sundays after funerals. You'd think that with hubby being gone for two days to a COM meeting I would've used the time more wisely, as in writing my sermon, but instead I used it to try to replenish myself.

    chilly fingers, I also read Anna Carter Florence's article in Lectionary Homiletics and I'm going with that theme too. Love the image of being God's "prey" and God swooping down for us.

    I'll have lemon bars later made with lemons from my parents' lemon tree in California, which I schlepped all the way back with us (the lemons, not the tree!)

  28. Silent, can you talk about your own baptism? I'm moving in that direction as part of the sermon.

  29. Cheese - that's how I write sermons too!! Doing dishes seems especially helpful for me. Glad your hubby has it all figured out now!

    My sermon is in deep, deep trouble folks. Really.

    As I posted yesterday on my blog, the best I've got is an image of those two cartoon chipmunks (the really polite, and therefore Canadian, ones) saying "No,no. You first." And the other sayng, "Really. I insist. You go first."

    I'm seeing John and Jesus in the Jordan doing the same thing. "I ought to be baptized by you." "No really. I ought to be baptized by you."

    Won't preach, but it made me giggle a bit.

    Sermon. Must. Write. Sermon.

    My son who lives away has been visiting all week, so I've been spending time with him instead of thinking sermon-y thoughts. Now it's caught up with me. Back to it.

  30. Songbird- a whole family to baptise- how wonderful!

  31. I'm slow starting today. At least I had a of many...written before lunch! It's grilled chicken salad here, with banana bread. I could be persuaded to brew a pot of the good coffee my friend sent from Germany, too.
    And Mary Beth, I'm ready when you are...but be careful, my feet are VERY ticklish!
    I'm not preaching about the baptism of Christ, although I'm using both the Isaiah and Matthew texts. I'm working with the title "When Heaven Speaks" and thinking about how God speaks to us...mostly in the OT with dramatic happenings and otherworldly visits, while since Jesus' birth, there's been less fanfare but I think more occasion for each of us to hear from God in some way...thinking too about the old commercial: "When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen."

  32. I am in roughly the same place I was on Tuesday. WHich is not muchmore than a good start. HOwevern the church is cleaned up from the funeral yesterday and set up for tomorrow.

    One (rather stupid) question though. WHat do you call that practice of sprinklng water from an evergreen bough as part of remmebering of baptism? The only word that comes to mind is aspersion and I'd rather not sound like I am casting aspersions on the congregation :)

  33. I am going with the idea that rivkah has
    "it is then that their ministry began."
    Text Week has a great article on being baptized into life -- "The Meaning of Vocation," A.J. Conyers,

    "'Vocation' is distorted by two disastrous misunderstandings: a secularized idea of 'career' and a monastic concept of the religious life. Both are less than the biblical idea of vocation... Vocation is about being raised from the dead, made alive to the reality that we do not merely exist,
    but are 'called forth' to a divine purpose.

  34. Gord, according to wikipedia entry for Holy Water, you are correct: "holy water is sprinkled upon the congregation; this is called aspersion, from the Latin, to sprinkle."

    So cast those aspersions!

  35. songbird, how cool that you get to baptize a WHOLE family on baptism of the Lord Sunday. woohoo! may God's grace abound.

    wow. it sure is comforting to know that so many of us have been swamped this week. i was supposed to be going on a retreat with my covenant group Sunday-Tuesday, but all of us are in the same boat and just can't get away right now. Who says things slow down after Christmas? Honestly friends, I'm not sure there is a slow season in living churches, are you?

    i start in on a very full afternoon and evening shortly so i am happy to say i have a draft i can live with. it is longer than ideal, but not all that long. i think it is clear and focused. i haven't had a chance to run it by anyone yet, so if anyone is interested in listening and you have my number, give me a call, k?

    thinking of mags who is often at this party, but has a crazy full day today. hoping all is going well.

    mompriest, i really like what i'm getting from your notes on your sermon. have good courage...

    honestly, i'm reading LOTS of good stuff here!

    the Spirit is within us, God has taken our hands and kept us, all shall be well.

  36. oh, rev kim, lemon bars! How do I love them (and thee)...let me count the ways!

    Ok, for real, I have to do some work. After my last post I went back to sleep--a sign, perhaps, of the severe exhaustion and wall-banging I've been doing lately? I have a confirmation class field trip that I need to leave for in 4 hours. I need a plan for how to talk with them about it afterwards (we are visiting Willow Creek) AND I need a children's time for tomorrow. These kids are tired of hearing me talk about sacraments and how Jesus loves us, I think. I don't know how anyone could get tired of that, but there you have it! Maybe I can take Rivkah's focus and transform it for children. Yes, yes....(thanks downstairs friend!).

  37. PS--I am experimenting with trying to make chocolate chai. There is a place in Atlanta that makes it and I love it. I have chai tea mix and hot cocoa for my first attempt...wish me luck.

  38. Thank you, all as I read through these comments it suddenly dawned upon me that John must have been surprised, after all Jesus was a second cousin, surely if Mary visited Elizabeth in pregnancy they would have known one another if only a little....

    Jesus surprises us when he comes to serve us, and like John we struggle with recieving his gift and try to push it away.

    I've written a quick poem; this is how I think wierd I know- just in case it might help anyone else it is : here on with the sermon

  39. Songbird - very cool!!

    Gord - I always thought the word was something like "aspergus" and it made me laugh that it was like the vegetable. But I would go with wiki..

    I found a poem in my file written by Rev. Valerie Oden from Grace United Church in Edmonton, Alberta. I think I picked it up at a worship conference a few years ago. It is called "The Threshold Breath" and I like it in relation to Jesus rising out of the baptism water - and all of us standing on the cusp of a new life in faith...

    The Threshold Breath (Rev. Valerie Oden)

    Living and moving and being
    between two worlds
    in a space where the old is no longer
    and the new is not yet,
    hearing the Deep
    in awe
    of its own sacred possibility,
    we exhale.
    And wait.
    In faith.
    And just as dusk hushes
    the sounds of day
    and ushers in
    the soft stillness of night,
    so Dawn sings light
    through the dark,
    filling the sigh
    with the promise of life.
    And somewhere between
    the Deep sighing
    and the Dawn singing,
    we draw in a fresh clean breath
    and take our next first step
    in the Rising
    as new life.

  40. Greetings, preacher-party animals!

    My little merry band of congregants and I will be remembering and reaffirming our baptisms together.

    When it comes to preaching this subject, I think our pantry is so full and rich, it's hard to decide exactly what to prepare and put on the table for our folks. OTOH, any "dish" we choose to prepare is bound to be delicious, even if challenging in some sense to eat.

    I'm taken with an article I found on textweek [Textweek is the EVOO of my preacher-kitchen], "Ready for Revolution," by Brad Ronnell Braxton, which concludes with this intriguing quote: "The church would look different if we lived out the revolutionary implications of baptism. The next time I baptize someone, I will ask that person, "Are you really ready for this revolution? It may just cost you your life!""

    But that may be a question the Spirit is asking me, and not necessarily my congregation ...

  41. RDQ--
    Procrastinating here to ask, "EVOO?"

  42. PS, the Epiphany Bread experiment went so well last Sunday, I decided to bake some rosemary olive-oil bread this week. There's some left, and I have EVOO with herbs and black pepper ...

  43. Sorry, RP ...

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

    Rachel Ray talks about it as much as Paula Deen talks about butter.

    Yes, I am a Foodie ...

  44. Extra Virgin Olive Oil....

    (Raechel Ray is forever running around her kitchen talking about "EVOO"--fun.)

  45. Good morning preachers! Stopping in lickety split to offer best wishes and grab some of the eats. Then Nicholas and I head for a lived reflection on the Baptism of Jesus--a School of the Americas protest in downtown LA. I'm excited but nervous about the logistics so please pray for me as I will for you all.

  46. Teri-
    I do think you could talk to the kids about how at their baptism, whether as infants or older, they are brought into the family of God and are called to help show other people Jesus' love just as other baptized people have shown it to them. Something like that. It's a good jumping off point.
    Blessings, O She With Noisy Shoes! :)

  47. We were gone all week at a conference, so I find myself on Saturday morning at square one, sermon wise. I know it will be about baptism. I know it will be short, because of some Sunday morning scheduling issues.

    Earlier this fall I did an emphasis about our questions about last things, and had people write down their questions. I am still haunted by one of the (anonymous) slips of paper I got back, that basically said that this person has carried around a load of guilt and sin their entire life and wonders if they will get into heaven. After a lifetime of hearing "good Christian preaching" this is still the primary message this person carrys in their head and heart. I'd really like to talk about how baptism takes that pain, guilt and sin, and replaces it with joy and new life, beacuse of Christ. I pray that the Holy Spirit would help this person (and all of us!) truly believe this!

  48. Hello my dears...
    Pressure somewhat reduced this week, as I only have to produce a meditation for the 8.00 congregation and then some sort of an act of worship for the home for the distinctly confused in the afternoon, where ideally I'll reuse the morning material. I'm presiding at 10.00, and a retired colleague is preaching.
    I'm wondering whether there is anything to be made of the similarity in the situation between John demurring over baptising Jesus and Peter demurring over having his feet washed....but I'm not sure.
    I'll probably just go with some sort of variation on the theme of God's pronounced over Jesus at this early stage in his ministry...He just looked at him and loved him, as he looks on and loves us. The question is, as Erin says, what we actually do with that love.
    Not a clue where I go from there.
    But I do have some very yummy Christmas cake left still...and a pot of spiced Christmas tea too. Can I pour you a cup?

  49. oooh - that sprinkling thing is "asperges" (like the syndrome only different)...My first Holy Saturday as a priest I was given the sprig of rosemary and instructed to get on with asperging the congregation...but the wretched branch snapped and went flying through the air, hitting my youngest son (who was standing with the choir a few feet away from the font)...He caught it neatly and hurled it back - so it landed IN the font.
    At which point any semblance of solemnity was lost as we all, congregation, choir, ministers, dissolved into helpless giggles.
    Not sure I can work THAT into the sermon though

  50. My experience with asperging [?] is that, not having practiced, the first person I asperged got absolutely soaked and wasn't too happy about it.

    So, I went thru the rest of the congregation [exercising restrained asperging this time] and ended by going up to my first victim, offering him the water and bowl and branch and inviting him to asperge me --which he did. With gusto.

    We laughed. I wiped off my glasses because I couldn't see, dried my face with a communion napkin [horrors!] and we continued with the service.

  51. Hi Preachers!

    It has been a very strange time. I think I've got my mind wrapped around the fact that I must resign, then something happens to make me question my judgement, than the other way. Last's weeks sermon (I told you all I would be speaking the truthin love) went well. Thanks so much for the prayers. I was heard, I think. Last week was the foundation for this week. Unless something extremely unexpected happens, it will be one of the last sermons I preach before resigning.

    I am at peace, though still confused. Does that make sense? There is no other position waiting for me, and there might not be for a long time, but...

    Well, one step at a time. First to finish tomorrow's sermon.

    Then to watch the big PACKERS VERSUS SEAHAWKS game,and then....tomorrow...

  52. Thank you for some much-needed laughter, Kathryn :)

    This was a bizarre week--not exactly busy, just bizarre--and so I have three large things on my plate:

    1. Write a sermon. I think I'm leaning towards the Isaiah text (which was the first reading at my ordination). Gord's and Tripp's links on Tuesday were good food for thought.

    2. Prepare for a Confirmation retreat after church, from scratch. Must call Sunday School teacher and find out where in the heck they are in the Bible. I wonder if the parents would be upset if I cancelled?

    3. Prepare materials for upcoming annual meetings at both churches. My report at St. Smaller is due tomorrow, plus there's the constitution, the packets, postcards, etc.

    I'm in this emotional weepy come-to-Jesus state for some reason...hopefully I can harness that for sermonizing.

    Or maybe I will run over to Timmy's or the Bux for a mocha.

  53. Rev Kim:
    Where are these lemon bars of which you speak? Shoveling the driveway is hard work, you know!

  54. Singing Owl, you are brave, and you continue to have my prayers.
    I'm grateful to Tripp for the link he left us in the lectionary discussion on Tuesday, which helped me with my puzzle about what "the coastlands" might mean.
    I'm at the church waiting for my husband and a group of guys to finish re-installing the ceiling tiles taken down to install a new sprinkler system. The YMCA before and after care is moving into our building and starts its program Monday! So wonderful. Meanwhile, I visited the Wall-Smart here in town to look for a new slip, and that is naturally where I met up with a parishioner, just as I was pawing through the foundation garments endorsed by Queen Latifah. Yes, my cheeks were rosy.

  55. I just came back from having lunch with both of my sons (who are not often together in the same city) - it was delightful.

    Now. Back to beating my dead horse of a sermon. *sigh*

  56. Oh Songbird, lol. That is too funny.

    I would probably be laughing harder if I had actually finished the sermon. I lack motivation this afternoon, made worse by anticipation of a movie tonight with someone who. well, maybe might be important later on. Not sure. Friends right now. We'll see.

    Anyway. Distraction, just when I wanted to really go places with this sermon and give it wings.

    I'm making another pot of coffee, would the crowd prefer mocha or plain columbian?

  57. Mocha here, please, RP. I hope tonight goes well for you!!!

    Make sure to put extra foamy whipped cream on top of my mocha....

  58. ((((((Singing Owl)))))) --prayers too.

    Songbird: "How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord ..."

    At least it wasn't a Freudian slip. :D

  59. Rev D Q- that is too funny....

  60. Mmm...mocha, please, RP.
    I have no motivation. I have about 1/3 of a sermon, with no ending. I have a sick husband. So I'm going to the coffee shop, I suppose. They do have the best brownies ever...can I bring anyone back some?

  61. "Freudian slip" - I just snorted my mocha all over the screen.

    (((singing owl)))

  62. Heeheehee!
    I wasn't exactly sure what I had purchased until I got home...

  63. you are just the BEST people with whom to spend a Saturday night
    Please feel loved and appreciated :-)

  64. I'm not preaching tomorrow but am lifting up a prayer for all of you who are still in the midst of preparation. I pray that the peace of God will enfold you and you will be able to relax and allow the inspiration that is already within you to come into your awareness. Blessings to you all.

  65. (((Singing Owl)))

    Y'all, I am simply not feeling this one, even though it's kind of one of my favorite themes (maybe that's why I'm not feeling it - dead horse, perhaps?). Am roughly 60% done and have no energy, enthusiasm, or vision to get through the next 40%. I feel like I've already shot my wad, so to speak.

    Meanwhile, I've been having a dizzy spell ever since I got home from choir rehearsal a few hours ago.

    Am still laughing over SB's lingerie experience and the subsequent commentary here, though.

  66. Well I have what I have. Luckily, I also have tomorrow morning, as my service isn't until 1:30 pm.

    (((Singing Owl)))

    Blessings on those of you still working and writing--may God's spirit and grace strengthen and refresh you.

    Off to dinner and a movie! :-)

  67. Dear friends ~ this is the first time I've looked at the 11th Hour Preacher Party and I have to say y'all are just better than BREAD.
    I am going to talk about what BELOVED means, with the kids; I don't think we'll asperse each other but maybe make wet crosses on each other's foreheads to remember that we're BELOVED; and then in the sermon I'm using a long quote from the intro to Mike Higton's book on Rowan Williams' theology, "Difficult Gospel." The difficult part being, BELIEVING that we are beloved...the contrast will be between BELOVED and DESPERATE; the DESPERATE (whether rich or poor)can't do justice, the BELOVED can.
    I knew a priest who used to recruit the kids in the parish to do the aspersions whenever he was in an interim posting. He used just fiendish sprinklers like whole bunches of parsley -- or even broccoli -- have you any idea how much water a broccoli crown will hold? The parish hated it passionately. He claimed he did it to make life comparatively easier for the next incumbent. That, at least, was his story.

  68. Back from session retreat with nothing on paper for sermon tomorrow - fortunately we are looking at sermon meditation and fortunately again comments here have started to get things to gel... a bit.

    Before writing I am going to chill with The Boy and Toy Story and some popcorn. We need some time him and I and I am sure it will be well worth having to buckle down once he is in bed.

    Thanks for the inspiration all.

    And Songbird, thank YOU.

  69. Welcome, Crimson Rambler!! Love the broccoli story.

    Any chance you'd be willing to share the full quote from the Higton book?

  70. "Any chance you'd be willing to share the full quote from the Higton book?"

    We asked eagerly?

  71. And the chorus repeats:

    Any chance you'd be willing to share the full quote from the Higton book?

  72. Well, I'm back after a long day. MIL is doing well considering she is very disoriented, even more than usual. **sigh**

    Sermon has been reworked and printed so I can read, ponder, tweek...

    Now I have to run to the store so we have food for dinner, but more importantly, so we COFFEE in the morning...anyone need anything?

    love the humor here today, hope all continues...

  73. Hey, mom priest, if there are sermons there, how 'bout picking me up a couple?
    crimson rambler, please? I'd love to see that quote too. And glad to have you, btw...that's about how I felt when I discovered the preacher party.

  74. By the way, I have the same 4 pages I had when I took a short break to go to a wedding...6 hours ago. It's become an extended break; I'm much more successfully playing games than writing.

  75. Once again, I'm not preaching, since that's not my job. But my daughter is preaching at the great big church where she is an intern. She mentioned a week ago that she was working on her sermon -- perhaps you all remember the luxury of seminary when you only preached once in a while. I often think of the shock it must be for all the new calls in small churches who suddenly have to preach every single Sunday! Hoping the spirit is with all of you (and Cordeliaknits) tomorrow.

  76. I am stalled, friends. I'm typing this in a comment knowing that many, many times I've said just that, only to whip right ahead to the finish line moments later. But this time I am really nowhere. I've got a page of notes and various underlined sources and absolutely no idea how to pull it together.
    Where, I ask you, is Antonio in my hour of need?

  77. It could be worse, SB. I'm essentially where you are, only without the page of notes and various underlined sources....

  78. (((Songbird))), and all, goodnight, it is midnight here, and brain freeze or not I need some sleep, blessings on you all for tomorrow.
    S x

  79. Let's see:
    Reunion Group - check
    Packed - check
    200 miles driven - check
    Wig and Hat Party - check
    Sermon - ummmm, still a handwritten (hen scratched)outline

    I'm running out of steam. Any one got any instant coffee I can put in my Hot Chocolate?

    I'm dropping off a few party leftovers - pinwheels and queso dip with chips.

    Gotta go get my comfy clothes on and find the energy to type and fill out that outline.

  80. SB, it is raining where I am!
    But my little fingers are moving again. I don't preach every week, so I know I've no right to complain, but I swear it was easier when I was!
    Still slogging.

  81. Okay, so only one page into the sermon I got sucked into to watching the Packers "whup" the Seahawks in the snow. Now I am trying to stay away from watching the Jags and Pats slug it out. Got home a few hours ago from a two day presbytery council retreat - am tired, no motivation to write, and not sure where I want to go with it anyway. It's gonna be a long night. Pass the coffee my way...

  82. *whine*



    *stamping foot*

    I cannot make the rest of this sermon happen. But happen it must. HS, please help! (preferably in time for me also to prepare Sunday School lesson, relax with dh in front of TV with some knitting, and get to bed at a reasonable hour)

  83. Back from the store, alas, all out of sermons tonight...(I guess that's what happens on a Sat. night)...sorry!

    I did pick up some dark chocolate...

    I'm going to eat a late dinner and then take a look at that sermon...

  84. Okay, I've got something. I'm posting it on my blog. If it's the least bit helpful, in any way at all, have at it.
    And if it's howling like a dog, have mercy on me. I'll be walking it proud tomorrow morning.

  85. Well, SB since you have posted yours I guess I will go crazy and actually write mine.

    Keep chugging folks, keep chugging!

  86. Dark chocolate makes it (almost) all better...

  87. Okay, I'm maybe...half done? 678 words, almost a page and a half. And I'm kind of stuck.

    This is probably what I get for composing a meticulous outline, leaving to have dinner and watch the football game *sniff*, and then promptly chucking said outline out the window.

    Grrr. Where is Antonio, indeed?

  88. PJ's on, kid in bed, TV off, cat in lap, dark chocolate in reach, good to go. At least that's the theory. I'm all out of ideas, but need at least a couple hundred more words if it's going to be worth the effort. Since I'm writing all about the HS, you'd think maybe she'd send some inspiration this way. (I'd share my chocolate!)

  89. I'm close, SO close. If I could just get an ending. But first, a chocolate break.

    Have y'all tried Trader Joe's Organic French Truffles? OH MY. They are amazing. Dark chocolate, incredibly smooth, and a whole box for something like $2.99. I just got introduced to them recently, and I am quite in love.

  90. Just getting started here, too. It's just not coming this week. I need to find a way to get excited about the texts, particularly Isaiah and Matthew, which I've narrowed my focus to. I had zeroed in on righteous and pleasing early in the week, but I have nothing except what I've managed to gleen (? Glean?) here. I'll be here til 10 or 11 and probably up again early. Time to take a look at the Lectionary Preaching Planner and "Texts for Preaching." I always start here when it gets to Saturday, though.

    I'll put some water on for tea and hot chocolate, though I might have to take a break to finish weaving in the ends on the afghan I finished today.

  91. I'm signing in pretty late, but I think for the first time in the 11th Hour Party. It's sort of been my first week around here with any regularity at all. Probably because this is my first full week in my first call that includes preaching weekly. Lots of firsts going on.

    Anyway, I had HIGH HOPES to finish my sermon last night since my husband was driving all day today to finally move up here (the 2 kids and I moved almost a month ago). Well, a sick little boy up much of the night last night and an all day (too long) presbytery meeting today have prevented me from hitting my goal. Now I need to spend probably just two solid hours more (maybe less if I stay on track) on the actual sermon, a bit of time on my children's sermon, and double check my plans for the renewal of baptismal covenant and prayers of the people. Mostly I'll just work on the sermon. The other stuff is usually my Sunday morning routine.

    Anyway, I'm working with the Matt text. I sort of plan to carry a theme for the next three weeks. This one is about how the baptism reveals that Jesus is the Son of God, and the unique texts for this year tell us more about what that means - - obedient to divine will and bringer of justice to the nations (which, essentially, is the divine will). The bulk of my time is spent on Jesus baptism being an act of obedience and even solidarity. He didn't need a baptism of repentance, but he did it to be obedient to God and to stand next to us as we receive baptism and adoption. Next week is about what the Son of God does (the Lamb of God declaration from John). The last week will talk about how the disciples are called to join in the "family business".

    I struggled a great deal to get this one started because I was having a hard time finding a good "way in". I'm not good at the cutesy stories (which I see as an asset, but not everyone does). I saw this sermon as much more of a teaching sermon than one I was finding able to really "relate". It isn't the 6 great steps to get close Jesus or anything, which is not my style. It's just that I think I realized I was struggling to hard to connect all of the dots. It's OK not to give all the answers all the time about why this is important to your life. I think it's OK to just preach Jesus - - who he is and how he lives. I think I'll make the connections to more of our daily living when I move into the baptismal renewal. In our baptisms we are connected to Jesus' baptism. It's our time to be declared children of God, and while we will never live lives as obediently as Jesus did, we don't necessarily have to because he did it for us. In our baptism he joined himself to us, so his righteousness becomes ours in the sacrament.

    Whew. Guess that was a long post!

    Blessings ladies (and I guess a gent or two maybe)!


  92. I have a sudden craving for chocolate, so I'm off on a late night run to the grocer's ... after which DH and I will probably head for bed.

    Blessings upon you, all of you --good words for those still sermonizing, good rest for those winding down and preparing to retire for the evening.

  93. We're so close to 100 comments, not much further to go, just a little more chocolate?

  94. Well, whaddya know, I up and finished a sermon. Must've been the Trader Joe's chocolates. Anyway, here 'tis .

    (Or possibly not, given my historic and well-documented difficulty hyperlinking. We'll see....)

  95. well everything I want to say about baptism only makes sense in a Believers Baptism setting. ANd of course we practise infant baptism....

    SO it appears that making that distinction will become part of the sermon.

  96. Got my Lil' Princess to bed (just heard a GINORMous yawn coming from her room) so its back to the blank Word document. Taunting me. I swear it has an attitude. "Ya think ya got anything worth saying, do ya? Huh? Huh?"

    Yes, smart-alec blank white Word document, somewhere in me there is something! (Back me up, Holy Spirit!)

  97. Oooh, Ann! I heard Darrell Guder speak this afternoon and in his missional church stuff he also talked about vocation. I loved how he said that it is the vocation of all Christians (and all congregations/churches/traditions) to be witnesses to God's love in Jesus. Not brand new or anything, but it was just great to hear it again for the first time. Might fit a little with what you're doing.

  98. Reverend Dona Quixote - The pastor who baptized my son two months ago said something almost identical to that. I was between calls when we decided (after a bunch of praying and thinking about if it was appropriate or not) to have a friend in the area (someone I actually went to seminary with although we both had calls FAR from our seminary) provide the sacrament for our family in his congregation. Everyone agreed it would be OK.

    Anyway, before the worship service I was in my friend's office changing my son's diaper and my friend walked in a said, "Are you ready, W? From here on out it's a whole different life. You're no longer in charge!" It made me giggle at first, but MAN has it stuck with me.

    I wasn't raised thinking about baptism much, but really got "into it" during seminary. I think about its implications for adult Christians now all that time, but that morning was the first time I thought of how it means even an infant is no longer in charge - - an infant who had been controlling my daily life for 4 1/2 months at that point. An infant who was really at the center of our family world (even with a 2 year old also), and whose schedule and needs controlled everything we did. In just a few minutes he wasn't going to be in charge any more - - God was. It was neat. My friend preached on the binding and almost sacrifice of Isaac that morning and talked about how Abraham had to turn things over to God's hands. That's what it meant to follow God for Abraham in his covenant, and that's what it means to follow God for the baptized in our covenant. It was the first time I had heard my friend preach and I was floored. Good stuff. Good day. Good God!

  99. HEy this works well! Last week in my sermon Gifts for God I talked about what gifts we have to bring and how finding one's ministry is where your passion/skills/talents intersects with the world's pain/need.

    THis week I am talking about the Isaiah passage as our commissioning to the world-changing ministry of the Servant (after some introductory blather about the SErvant songs). Well that and how our baptism, like that of Jesus, marks the beginning of that ministry. ANd just 5 minutes ago I realized how well they slid together. And next week when we continue on with Isaiah's next Servant Song the theme of discipleship/service carries forward.

    Now why did it take till 10:15 to realize that?????

  100. will smama - Toy Story could be a help for you. Both the first and the second, I think, have great baptismal themes - - how about Woody whose foot is inscribed with the boy's name? It's how he knows to whom he belongs. In the second movie there's a similar kind of "ownership" or "belonging" scene with the girl doll (whose name escapes me) and the song she sings about her little girl. There's some good stuff for preaching in those movies!!!

  101. Yipee! Typed and printed before 10 pm. It's basic. It's simple. I pray it will work. Preaching to a small group of another denomination is always a mystery as to how it will go. Oh well, trust the Spirit.
    The movie my mother has watched for last 3 hours nearing the end. Almost time for bed. Thanks to all for inspiration and ideas. Peace.

  102. w00t, Gord, your comment has helped me see a MUCH better ending to the sermon than what I had originally planned! Thanks!

    1300 words, and I'm working on crafting that closing sentence...

  103. semfem, you're finishing up early!

  104. It's nearly 11, EST, and that is my pumpkin hour on Saturday nights. I wish you all well as you finish up; someone get the lights when the party is over, and I'll wash the cups in the morning, okay?

  105. Well, it's done. Ain't sayin' it's good, just sayin' it's done.
    Blessings on anyone still up and at 'em.

  106. Finished at 10:00 p.m. My last little posting spree pretty much wrote the end of my sermon. Totally forgot about that interaction with my friend at my son's baptism. That'll preach!

  107. 1393 words. Stick a fork in this baby, because it's done! Yay!

    I, however, am not done, because now I have to plan the Confirmation lesson for tomorrow. (That's the hitch, Songbird.) And I kind of have no curriculum to give me a starting point. Long story. But there's more to go.

    But the sermon is done, and that feels good! Congrats to all those who are finishing up!

    Vicar of Hogsmeade should be here any minute...

  108. I'm still here. No more football games to distract me. 2 pages done - almost halfway there!

  109. hey, semfem, I was here earlier, too. Mine is already printed and I'm on the way to bed. Hope someone else won't mind getting the lights this week.

  110. I'm happy to get them, since I seem to be the only one left

  111. I have nothing, but off to bed anyway. It will come. It will come.
    Back about 4. Leave the coffee on.

  112. Closer to being done, and heading off to bed for now. Lights are going out until the early risers pop back in. G'night all.

  113. Confirmation's planned, more or less.

    And somehow I ended up comparing Christians to cans of food in the ending to my sermon.

    But I'm going to bed nonetheless. Night all!

  114. I'm back. Anyone else here? I said I'd be back at four, and I woke up a half an hour ago, looked at the clock which read 3:30, and lay there thinking. decided to get up and only then saw that the other clock, the one I had not touched when I went to bed, read 2:52. Somehow I had bumped the other clock up an hour, but I'm up nonetheless and the house is quiet, adn there is work to be done. I think I at least have some direction now. The servant song tied to the baptism of the servant and someone else's earlier comment tying John's initial refusal to baptize to Peter's refusal to have his feet washed. I think there is a connection waiting to be found, too.

    If anyone is still around, please say hello.

  115. kim, I'm up. wow, I hate it when I mess up the alarm clock and get up at the wrong time, whether too early or too late...hope you have energy for this day.

    It's now almost 5:30 CST, I've been up for 45 minutes. I keep looking at ths sermon I wrote. It's done. but I keep thinking it needs some work, I just can't figure out how or where or what. unless I just write a whole new one. and that's not happening.

    blessings all.

  116. I am up, too. have been up for awhile, trying to salvage something of this mess I am calling a sermon. Just got off the phone with a church member whose wife's mom is in the hospital and not doing well. When the phone rang, I first thought it was another church member whose mom has been dying for the past two weeks. Depending on how things go with these families, this could turn out to be a very busy week.

  117. Well, I think mine is done. 1700+ words. Amazing what a couple of quiet hours and the Spirit can accomplish. The better good news is I have enough time to go back to bed for about and hour and a half.

    For those still here and those questioning your work...Trust the Spirit to accomplish what you are not sure you have. Blessings on this day and your proclamation of God's love.

  118. Trust the Spirit, indeed. May you all truly bring the Good News this day!

  119. I am always impressed to see who the first comment is from each week. Well done, Earthchick. Heh.

    My sermon was finished Friday morning so I stayed away from the party. For those reading this on Sunday (Today) you should feel free to grab a cuppa. I made a fresh pot.

    Here is the link to my sermon. I used a lot of outlining in the composition this week. I am trying to wean myself from the full manuscript. We'll see how it goes. I am preaching on the Baptismal text following our theme of "journey' for Epiphany.

    Be well. God bless. Grab a danish.

  120. This may be the furthest I have pushed it but it'll preach. Never been happier for Communion in my professional life!

    Peace all and know that the Holy Spirit has our backs... and if you gotta dog, walk it proud!

  121. Will Smamma - I preached on Hesed today. Guess what I thought about???


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