…Have you not heard?..
… he cured many who were sick…

….he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed….

The fifth Sunday after the Epiphany is here. Ash Wednesday and Lent are a mere few weeks away – I am thick in the middle of preparing for what comes next – always living one or two seasons beyond the one we are currently “in.”

Such is the life of a Pastor and preacher. And so, with all the work I have been doing in preparation for Lent I have barely looked at the readings for this week. A classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees. But here I am, Saturday. (BTW, wasn’t it just Saturday?)…

Anyway, here we are…so, are you like me, wondering not only what the texts are, but (YIKES)what you are going to say about them? Or, are you well on your way to having a sermon written? Or do you have a title and some working ideas but not much more? Or are you responsible for the Children’s time but not sure what to do to convey the meaning of these readings for the kids? Or do you have the week off? Or are you working as a supply clergy or at a neutral pulpit?

Regardless of the specifics of your circumstances and the reality in which you will preach tomorrow, we are here. WE ARE HERE. to help you. to support you. to read your sermon and offer feedback. to feed you in body, mind, and spirit…(best as we are able)….(I have some delicious coffee, lots and lots of choices for tea, some homemade yogurt…and later I will probably make some cookies). So, pull up a chair, join us for some conversation and sharing…here, let me get you a mug – would you like some tea or coffee?

98 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: eh, what’s that you say? edition…

  1. I am here again, trying to finish up another funeral sermon for tomorrow morning. But will be back later, after the funeral, to focus on preaching Sunday. Think I'm going with Mark and Jesus' healing, perhaps for the first and only time this season. (such great OT readings for most of the Sundays!) That's all I got right now.

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  2. tomorrow we have a Back to School celebration, so with that and communion, I decided not to try and address the gospel. I am preaching [very briefly] on the Psalm. how our praise witnesses to God – or something like that. thank you Working preacher! It isn't written yet. The service is already looking longer than normal, and we have after church study group starting tomorrow, which new for us.I think I have all the bits for the children's time and after church study, and the liturgy is done. almost time for dinner, hamburgers are about to go on the BBQ.be back in a few hours.

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  3. 200 words, the shortest reflection ever! I won't even post it. if you are interested in the psalm, I suggest you look at Working Preacher and it is only 9.00pm. time to get everything together for tomorrow in one place, maybe the car would be the best idea, then I will have it all with me. children's beginning of school year gift packs; worship liturgy; orders of service; material for study group.we have lots of passionfruit to share at the moment, growing like crazy and only my husband eats them.

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  4. I've typed this post twice and lost it so it gets shorter every time!I'm going with Mark and healing. Jesus prepared to get his hands dirty, to break rules out of love. Healing is for mission and service, but prayer to find out the direction in which God is calling. Then a brief look at Paul being compelled to share the gospel and meeting people where they are. Our OT reading is Job, not Isaiah (unfortunately) so the final message is, if you are feeling like Job, come to the altar rail for healing and for re-energising for mission. I will have 3 helpers and this is the first time it's been done in our parish for years, so wish me well!No cookies for me thanks – trying to shed excess Christmas weight — but I also have lots of coffee if you'd like some. Grapes are in season here too.

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  5. Good morning, everyone!Way to go, Pearl! And I'll have some of that passion fruit for my breakfast smoothie.I've got the gospel and Isaiah talking to each other about prayer and how it "works" which ultimately gets to the way that we "work" prayer by what we do or don't do that is consistent with our praying. I'm referencing a sustainable sermon, adapting it for this context and making it make (I hope!) a little more sense than it did to me when I read it again yesterday.But first, a trip to the Philadelphia airport to take some people to their flight and then a meeting with the Assistant Pastor to hear "what happened" when I was gone. It is my *prayer* that the malfunction of the Fellowship Hall thermostats (or furnace) is the most challenging thing. I'm in the mood for good surprises, if there are surprises at all!I'm putting out my usual call for a Children's Time idea. (Please)I just made fresh coffee; help yourselves!

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  6. Good morning! I'll take some of that coffee. My empty house contained little to eat or drink upon my return, and on my quick trip to Trader Joe's yesterday, I sadly forgot half-and-half. :-(Book Group this morning and a District Chorus concert for my 16yo this afternoon (including travel to and from both) means a busy day and not much time to pull together my thoughts on Isaiah and Mark. I am looking at a sustainable sermon and hoping I can use its framework to create something that works in a (surprise) busy service that includes both Installation of Deacons and Communion. Really, I won't need to say much, will I?

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  7. Good morning Jane Ellen – it was stilll Friday when I wrote this post, the end of a long day. Now it's morning, Saturday, and I hope you slept well.Sefem, I hope the funeral goes well, prayers for you.Hey Pearl – I preached from the Psalm last week! I find that it can be more challenging to say something in fewer words than more? But with all you have going on a short reflection seems right.Hi Pat, welcome! Sorry blogger is giving you problems with posting. Thank goodness for hot coffee. Look forward to how you develop your sermon ideas.Sharon – welcome! I may end up going in the direction of prayer as well. Our Lenten series this year will focus on the many entrance ways to prayer – offering opportunities to pray through art, movement, song, candles, and even healing prayer and anointing. SO – I look forward to seeing how to develop prayer in your reflection.Martha! welcome. Cofffee is essential, and these days so is half and half. And, honestly with all you have going on, no you really don't need to say much….Well, I am trying to wake up, grateful for coffee. Tending to my dogs before I get going on the sermon. I'll be around all day – so, welcome to the party! Would you like more coffee? or some tea?

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  8. Good morning all! I just walked 2 blocks in the cold to Starbucks because we are out of half and half too, Martha. But now I'm settling down to write. Not sure why nothing was written yesterday? Anyhow, I am using both Mark and Isaiah. Won't really know where it is going until it announces itself, but at this point, I am seeing resonance between Isaiah "those who wait on the Lord will rise up" and Jesus healing Peter's Mother in law, when she rises up. Sharon, for children's sermon, I am using the idea from a few weeks ago with the grapes in one ziplock bag and marbles in the other. It was the week before the cruise.

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  9. Marci, that's my first stop on the way to Book Group.I did find an old sermon on this text with a great story about my mom in it. As I recall, it preached. I've got a draft of something, but of course I wish it felt fresher, and I think I may just tell it. (Really, Martha? Really? Does anyone believe any of this? Don't we all know you're coming home later and writing a whole new sermon?)

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  10. Marci – welcome! Yum, a strong Starbucks sounds great….I agree that point between the two is intriguing. WorkingPreacher has some thoughts along that trajectory which may spur my direction…or, not.Martha, so far I have yet to use a sustainable sermon, although I do often reused illustrations but in a different context that previously used…so, I hear you!

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  11. Good morning, Rev Gals. Off to walk the dogs and then to start on my sermon. I'm excited about this one in a way I haven't been before. Am working on Isaiah and in the middle of the night I woke up thinking that the God who created me was shaking me by the lapels and reminding me of that and that I was made in her image and shared her DNA! What a thought to get me through the times of exile. Then when I woke up for the second time this morning, it struck me that though on first read this God of deutero Isaiah is much like the God of the whirlwind, there's a vast difference. This God is not so wholly other. There are all the images of a mother God in deutero Isaiah. Yikes–what a great getting up morning! For those of you who are just starting on the texts, Brainwave has a good podcast this week and the Tillich sermon posted on Textweek is excellent. Have fun. Off to walk the dogs.

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  12. so january here was 50 degree days mostly (very unusual) and now that february has arrived the blizzard is on. will we have worship? do i really need to finish the sermon that is 2/3rds there and i forgot where it was headed?grrrr…. anyone seen my conclusion running around in snow boots and a scarf??? anyone???

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  13. Good morning pals,I've been up since 6:00am packing for the big move that will be happening at the end of February. Yes I know it's early but I have all those @#$% books to sort and pack. Beloved decided we needed a break and she's running to the store for some coffee and chocolate. I'll have her bring some to share with you all.

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  14. Hey HotCup…and to think I was hoping that storm was headed our way, but it appears the storm will stay too far south. sigh. I do like a good snow storm! Oh, and that sermon conclusion, if I see I'll head it back your way.Welcome GG, packing is a pain…

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  15. Good morning, everyone!I'm back from vacation and a first call retreat and the drama of my van dying (never to rise again!) on the trip between the two. If there ever was a time I needed a sustainable sermon, this week is it!Alas, nothing to fall back on. I'm preaching Mark and toying with a couple of ideas. I could use David Lose's excellent sermon outline, maybe with the modification in one of the comments. We did a text study on retreat and the question "What does it feel like to be completely, instantly healed?" has been rolling around in my head. Finally, I've been pondering how the three healings – in fact the whole first chapter of Mark – shows what it means for the kingdom of God to be near.I'm not terrible motivated right now. Hopefully, the rest of my coffee and a hot shower will remedy the situation!

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  16. Afternoon all – not preaching and won't be for some time now, as the PhD enters this last year. Am trying to stick with the discipline, however, of looking at the upcoming texts and wondering where I might go if I were preaching…Having looked at Working Preacher, what I began to tease out a little was the idea of disintegration, restoration, and reintegration.WP highlights Simon's mother in law along these lines, which I quite liked. She's ill – in a sense there is a physical disintegration occurring here – she is restored, and then she serves – is reintegrated back into her familial role and enabled to be the provider of hospitality.In turn, by being able to do so, she plays a part in the restoration of Jesus and the disc's – they are fed and watered and rested so that they too can serve… it prevents a possible 'disintegration' happening?And so, the disc's bring all the sick, the demon-possessed to be healed – from disintegration, to restoration, to reintegration. [Interesting the text says 'many' not 'all' were healed]For his own restoration – after giving of himself – Jesus goes off to a deserted place and prays…before saying to the disc's it's time to go so he can continue with what he came to do.So the passage could demonstrate a sort of ripple in the pond effect of moving from types of disintegration through to restoration and then reintegration… from a very localised context to a much broader one.

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  17. Oh Ramona, what a pain! I'm sorry the van met that untimely demise and caused you that stress and strain. If I were you I might seriously consider using an outline already created and just fill in the pieces for my context! Assuming of course that that will be easier than writing from scratch…anyway – welcome to the party – let me refill your cup!

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  18. I am in one of those states when my mind is muddled among the things that need to be done today and this week and as a result I am not thinking about any of them clearly…more like an impending sense of doom! I decided to try making progress on the sermon; of course, that starts with a visit here! I need to do a family friendly sermon that will connect with the once a month children's choir attendees and the once a year Scout Sunday folks. So, I am going with Isaiah and how when we are tired, frustrated, discouraged and can't get ourselves back on track, we can turn to God to raise us up. Preaching to myself, huh? I am doing it as a Keynote presentation, which allows for less work on words but much more on images and conciseness.This is a hard weekend for me; 18 years ago my MIL died on this weekend, and last year at this time I found out my Dad's cancer was inoperable. I sort of convince myself those things aren't bothering me, but I know they are weighing on my heart, and rightfully so.Thank you all for being here, a place where I can say this and be understood. May we all be lifted up and given strength for the tasks, great and small, that await us today.

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  19. Well, I spent all day yesterday in the office with that sort of blurry-eyed rocking sensation that tells me that i should have just taken the day off for re-entry, because absolutely nothing got done. On the bright side, I did come home with a copy of the bulletin, where I discovered that I did not put in a sermon title…which means that I have actually no idea what I thought I might be preaching on tomorrow. Something about the gospel, apparently. My cats have forgiven me for going away…so much so, in fact, that now they won't leave me alone. They both are trying to sit on my lap at the same time, which means sitting on my arms and between my eyes and my computer screen, so writing a sermon should be particularly interesting (read: dangerous due to claws) today.I have been contemplating the idea (I think I originally saw this in Feasting On The Word, but it's similar to what Nik gleaned from Working Preacher) that Peter's mother-in-law experiences healing and her response to that is to serve–she (to use Calvinist language) responds to grace by living gratefully. Meanwhile the disciples, who have also experienced grace, are busy looking for Jesus to do more works, rather than living a grateful servant life themselves.Or something.I can't even tell you how happy I am that it's the Souper Bowl of Caring AND communion this Sunday, because that means I only have about 7-8 minutes to preach. Surely I can write 800 words that make sense, right?Too bad I also forgot milk or cream or any other kind of dairy product that would make coffee possible. I think there's an epidemic of dairy forgetfulness going on!

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  20. Awake now, and grateful for the thoughts that y'all have stirring. I'm headed to the hospital to visit a parishioner, then to the office– and hiding there for a while because I have an annual meeting report to begin for next week, in addition to tomorrow's sermon. I'll have the hotpot plugged in for tea or hot chocolate; both are good lubricants for prayerful wordsmithing, and I have plenty to share.

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  21. Betsy, I'm glad you're working on Isaiah. Sounds like you are in the place those exiles were in. Seasons of exile we all experience from time to time. I just took a break to read all of deutero Isaiah. What a treat. The poet who opens with words of comfort closes with an amazing promise and an image even more comforting that eagle's wings. Have a delightful day of it.one other thought that came on the dog walk: UCC churches bear that beautiful red banner proclaiming "God is still speaking." I'm wondering if we need to make another banner proclaiming, "God is still creating."

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  22. Hi Nik, welcome! Walter Brugeeman uses a similar path for understanding the types of Psalms – Orientation, disoreintation, reorienation…good anchor for approaching the texts…Teri – LOL, I know that cat experience…Interesting idea to consider grateful living and being so busy one forgets to be grateful…'morning Jane Ellen! Welcome back.I'm thinking I may consider something along the lines of a reflection on being cured and being healed – not necessarily the same thing.

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  23. Morning, gals. Not much to offer this a.m. but cereal and coffee. Franctically getting ready to head off to neutral-pulpit location a few hours away. Think I'm going for the connection between Isaiah and Mark, too, Marci. At least that's what I thought on Tuesday.I'll be back later!

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  24. Welcome back BE5'vers!I am staycationing this week but thinking of all you as you prepare. I've just finished scooping a foot of snow…I think Hot Cup and I experienced the same massive storm system.

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  25. Hey Purple! Welcome…I hope you enjoy the time off, even if you are snowbound!My husband just left for work, which means I have some quiet time inwhich to focus on sermon writing….unfortunately I also have a meeting (which I almost forgot about) at the church in an hour….and I still don't know where I'm going with the sermon. sigh.

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  26. Blessings and prayers, RevTSB!My time between events turned out to be shorter than I would like, so now I'm rushing to get ready for my daughter's concert. I think I'll bring a notebook and jot thoughts down. I like all the stories in my (lame) (updated) manuscript, but I don't feel it has life. I'm going to sketch out what I liked about them and hope to rise up from the bed, creatively speaking, when I come back later. And if you haven't looked at the prayer blog today, be sure to! It's a video from BE 5.0.

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  27. Hey Vicar! I hear you….I just returned from my meeting at the church and am headed for my 'jamas, some meditation time, and a cup of tea! AND I read through the sermon from this date in 2009 and may use some of it again….or not. We'll see what comes from the meditation/prayer time…

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  28. David Lose has a fabulous blog about people in the church being in need of either care or call – represented by Peter's M-I-L being healed and rising up to serve. With kids – in a purely spirit provided coincidence the material I use for the pre-school chapel had a wonderful lesson on how God gave us hands to help. It talked about Jesus touching people and making them well and explored all the other ways we can use our hands to help one another. Blessings on you all. . .

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  29. Hey 11th hour gals,Freshly back and preaching at 5:30 p.m. today (Eastern time), it actually IS the 11th hour for me, but I thought I would share my little revelation which came (thank you Jesus!) this afternoon amidst cleaning and BUYING a new coffeemaker! What is up with the lack of coffee???Here's my revelation….Mary Poppins is Jesus. I'm focusing on "going on" to the next town….why does Mary Poppins go on? Because there's other children to help, and when she leaves, the family is supposed to take care of each other.We'll see how it flies…I have two more tomorrow if it's a bomber.See how I am already here when I committed to stop by more often on the cruise? And is anybody else still feeling like they're on a ship? Ugh.Peace,CP

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  30. snow is melting… rats! we might have worship tomorrow after all… i know, i know i should be excited, thrilled, motivated… whatever. it'll change by morning.my conclusion did come stomping in snow boots and all… disgusted that the storm was over and now town is just messy and melting… the quiet beauty gone. dogs are itchin' for that walk… better gear up.

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  31. Hot Cup, by any chance did your conclusion bring mine home with it? Once again, I have a sermon in search of an ending. I think I'll go print bulletins. Maybe my sermon ending is hiding in the copier!My son is moping – 3 of the 5 people he invited to his Superbowl/birthday party tomorrow have cancelled. I suspect that the fact that he lives 35 miles from the town where he goes to school has something to do with it. I feel so bad for him. He really hates it here – he's making the best of it, but this very rural/small town life is so hard for my born-n-bred city child. It's hard to know that I am where God called me but still see my child so unhappy.

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  32. Chickpastor, any chance you could pass out little cocktail umbrellas with that sermon??I will be part of the late night party today, but at least I got a start and sort of a direction. Went off to do home improvement tasks, now to exercise, then grocery shop, then come home and cook that food for a potluck tonight. After the potluck, I will be back!I am loving reading what all of you are doing with these tomorrow…very creative.

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  33. Ramona, I have some delicious Fair Trade (Equal Exchange) dark chocolate with bits of carmel and sea salt – here, have some! and a cup of tea, too!

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  34. Good evening preachers! I'm just back from a "working retreat" for our diocesan Executive Council–lots of good energy and productive revisioning work, but my inner introvert is EXHAUSTED; so grateful that my wonderful seminarian intern is preaching tomorrow.Love the Mary Poppins analogy!Going to check out the BE5 video now, and hoping to hear more about it from all y'all who went cruising.

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  35. Chick Pastor, I love Mary Poppins, but I confess I was expecting you to have a revelation about how guacamole in Mexico has healing powers. Seriously, Mary Poppins has me thinking about Isaiah too. Why do we need our strength renewed if not to continue on the journey? We don't get awesome eagle wings just to hang out doing what we've always done, right?

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  36. I have cobbled together something preachable. I have a church member who is dying and the family has exploded with drama which makes the grief and sadness worse for everyone. My asthma kid is back on steroids and breathing treatments as of yesterday. So for now done is better than good. I'll lean on the everlasting arms and trust the Holy Spirit to have my back.Blessings on your Sunday!

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