OK Gals and Pals, we are almost there.  How are we all doing?  Still hanging in there?

I know many of us are up to our eyeballs in Scripture, liturgy, children’s moments, and sermons, but what I want to know is – – are you taking care of yourself this weekend, too?  It’s so easy for that to get lost in the shuffle, but it will make the celebration of the resurrection so much more joyful if we’re doing it with good health and good energy.  Take some time in this last leg of the marathon to grab some water, walk a bit, and breathe in the breath of God.  The Spirit is with us and guiding us.

I know lots of conversations have been going on this week about what we’re doing at each of our services, but refresh our memories.  Who’s on John?  Who’s on Mark?  Who’s on something completely different?  Do you need anything to help with your preparations?  There’s been talk about children’s sermons in the Facebook group.  Someone else needed a last minutes 20-25 Sunday School lesson plan.  Can anyone suggest anything for these pieces?  Join the conversation in the comments, and we will be to the resurrection together!

May our day together be a blessing for each of us and all of us together.  Peace!

326 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: The Son Will Soon Be Rising

  1. Just posted in yesterdays RGBP, but here it is again:Sunday sermon is written, except it is only 500 words, plus the ‘children’s story’ . here it is, any suggestions? About to go to the church and dress it for tomorrow. Then maybe the hospital for a visit. Why do people tell me one minute before Good Friday service is due to begin that a member of the congregation has been in hospital since Sunday evening, mostly in ICU? At least they told me the family are not allowing visitors beyond the family. One of those complicated family situations 🙂 I’ll ring the hospital later and found out if I can speak with him.

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  2. Greetings! I can't believe we are almost there. So much yet to do.Blessings on each of you. May you find joy in the midst of the chaos.Any one have a good intergenerational Sunday School idea?Thank you Stephanie for the reminder of self care.

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  3. Oh pearl! You must have relatives of folks in my congregation. I am always the last to know.RevKel, I still have a bunch left to do. Well, not a WHOLE bunch, but enough. I have my sermon to write, but I'm not worried about that. I don't yet have the slides/order finalized for our 8:00 a.m. service because it just kept slipping to the bottom of the list this week. All the details are organized and ordered on a piece of paper in my chicken scratch handwriting, but I have NO MOTIVATION to turning that chicken scratch into a polished order of worship and liturgy by tomorrow morning when the musicians need to add their own pieces to it. I've given myself to 11:30 tonight, then when make myself get out of bed in the morning when I wake up and finish it then.

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  4. 9 hours sleep for me last night. I feel a different person.Pearl – I love that sermon, especially the not understanding and not wanting to move on. May I use some of it for my sermon?I have to preach twice, first (vigil just before dawn – 5:30 am for us!) and then at 8am. First is Luke, then Mark, so I want something fairly general. The choir will just have to hear it twice! Rehearsal at 10 so will check in later. This parish uses incense (:() and I have to find out how it fits in with the vigil service . . .

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  5. I am so not in the mood for this. If I am honest, I haven't been in the mood for any of Lent; I think this is because the last year has been like one long Lenten stretch for me, with a steady series of losses that I have barely begun to process. Every time I think I have taken some steps forward, I get knocked back again. I am hoping that preaching Easter sermons will turn me in a new direction, because I am ready for some resurrection!I am starting with an ancient sermon; at the Vigil on Saturday night, I am using the Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom, with congregational participation. It is an amazing sermon, and I really hope this will work the way I envision, encouraging the congregation to listen closely to his powerful words. On Sunday, for the big family service, I have a working idea and about half a sermon. I just hope the other half shows up by the time I need it! I am thrilled that a member of our parish who is facing her second bone marrow transplant in under a year is going to be able to attend; she will wear a mask and have seating with her family a bit away from everyone else, but she can be there. Her presence and her faith are the face of Easter for me this year :-)Prayers for all who write and pray and lead and serve this weekend, that in the midst of it all, we also will find time and energy to worship our risen Lord.

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  6. Pat, that's one thing I love about RevGals sharing ideas. Mostly I get ideas, feel free to use what works for you.seeing it is Saturday afternoon here, I am guessing it is still Friday evening in the US?tomorrow an early start, 5.45 am sunrise service, one of the lay preachers is leading that service, I only have 9.00 am to go, then going away for 2 nights!

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  7. Pat, so you are at teh start of Saturday, here it is 4.30 pm. we are singing a song from Iona 'Lord of Life and Resurrection'. if you have the book 'Fire and Bread' it is on page 25 and continues that theme of moving from where we are. it is 87.87.D so can be sung to a number of tunes.

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  8. One of the things that I preach about the empty tomb is that it brought hope more than joy. Yes, John talks about rejoicing at the appearance of Jesus, but before that when all they have is the empty tomb there is hope. No belly bumps or high fives at the tomb. Praying you can find hope in resurrection this week.

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  9. about 4 am here in my part of the US and I'm up – ugh. Hopefully I can take the very sketchy outlines that seemed adequate if not brilliant on Thursday morning and make it into two whole sermons for Sunrise and regular service. Prayer walking in a neighborhood near the church at 9 a.m., and printing bulletins after. So still plenty of time for sermon bolstering – just need the ideas.

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  10. Beth, my most difficult Lent/Easter was as a preacher when I was living my own Lent. I remember sitting at a table staring at my 'Hesed' tattoo reminding myself that my head had faith in God, even if my heart was broken. – all while I scratched out an Easter sermon that rang hollow (in fact I copied a lot of the choir lyrics and had them sing right after the sermon so it looked like it all tied together).All is to say, I'm praying for you as you witness to a faith that believes even in the dark.

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  11. Mark for me this year. My challenge is that last year I preached the best. Easter sermon. ever.I can say that because I used a paper that my friend wrote that explained the meaning of the word lairos (bullshit) and then listed the hopelessness in the world, followed each time by the word 'lairos!' How do you beat saying 'bullshit' in the pulpit on Easter morning?I need to let the competition go, and just write a good sermon. Baseball practice at 10 and then I'm not sure if the Boy is staying with Dad for a bit or coming home so I'll need to spend a bit of time getting the Easter basket hidden and a proper trail of hints to find it.I'm ready to be done with the Easter bunny.

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  12. just printing out the service for tomorrow. planning for an early night, as sunrise service is at 5.45 am – a time I rarely see. At least I am not leading.sermon for tomorrow is still incredibly short, which probably means I will ad lib as I go along. hope your Easter Saturdays give time for rest as well as final preparations for Sunday celebrations.

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  13. OK, so I am preaching Mark with a peppering of Saturday Night Live—The title is Really??!Starting with a modified sketch of Kermit the Frog and Seth (SNL) belaboring the fact that tomato sauce in school cafeteria pizza is considered a vegetable, and then they riff off that–look it up on YouTube.It's hard to explain, but then I am going to use the theme of Really??! to explore the text, and then end up with the hope against hope that Liz talks about above. It may or may not work, but hey, it's only 7:30 am here, and I have plenty of time! (besides carving out time for a birthday party, errands, stuffing eggs, oh, and doing some self care!

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  14. Good morning! I just finished typing up my notes for the Sunrise service reflection. Of course, we're not sure we'll have that service outdoors, because this is Maine, and there's snow in the forecast. It's a bummer, because the place we go is great, but with 40+ people signed up for Easter Breakfast, I suspect we'll get a turnout even if we move it back to church. (In fact, some of those people come to breakfast without going to the service…)I'm struggling with my sermon for the regular service. Well, not that there's anything regular about Easter, but you know what I mean. I made what seemed like a very wise choice to adapt something I preached to a small group at an early service in another church a couple of years ago, and I made some additions to it, but I went to bed last night feeling very dissatisfied with it. I guess if you're going to go back to an old manuscript, it might be a good idea to consider what sort of place you were in that year. And I realize now I barely believed any of what I was saying. So I'm going to take another run at it this morning with that in mind and see if I can give it what it needs. Later today, my Confirmands are helping set up and prep for the breakfast tomorrow. Church members have donated the groceries and defrayed all the expenses so that the students can take an offering at breakfast for scholarships to our UCC camp here in Maine. That's what they wanted to do as a service project: to help other kids go to the camp that has meant so much to them. I love that. And tonight, I'll have all three of my children here, which means I have a few things to do to get ready!

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  15. Well a bit more sleep anyway. I woke up again realizing I haven't planned for the logistics of flowering the cross and I haven't found anyone to help with parking (our lot isn't marked and gets kind of random and space isn't used well without some direction) and I haven't asked 8 people to park in the cemetery spaces to open up more room in our lot. Ackkkkkk!

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  16. Good morning, friends!I, too, am adapting an old sermon, but today it seems dry and empty. Or is that me? Thanks for hosting, She Rev! After coffee and an attitude adjustment, I'll be back.

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  17. Good morning friends. I am shortly (after getting dressed) on my way to church for a graveside service followed by a funeral (for complicated reasons having to do with the cemetery). The good news: I didn't have to write the funeral homily; the gentleman who died had requested long ago that an old friend preach his funeral, and we are presiding together. However, since I've been, you know, kind of busy (with Maundy Thursday service/ communion/ sermon) and Good Friday (7 last words, quiet meditative service without a sermon) and the general prep for the funeral… I haven't started my Easter Sermon.Tomorrow we have sunrise at a nearby park, really truly AT sunrise, and then our regular 10:30 sermon. I don't plan to write two different sermons, but to do the same one informally, without notes at the park, and then using the full text in the church.Preaching John this year. When I was first ordained (7.5 years ago) I decided that I would do the following: alternate between the gospel of the year and John. That means this year I am preaching John. But I'm thinking that next year I want to stop adhering to an arbitrary rule I set for myself and go more with what inspires me???Oh, and I have not.one.word written. And I won't sit down to write until 2 pm at least, after said funeral. Not complaining, it's just the way it is (as Bruce Hornsby says).Thanks all for being here. Blessings and the Spirit and good self-care to you.

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  18. It's amazing and yet not at all surprising how where we are personally infiltrates our sermons. My first Easter sermon was just post break-up with my husband, and I remember asking the senior pastor, "Was that a little dark?" And him smiling kindly and saying, "a little." Like the inside of a cave at midnight.I envy you the presence of your children. Daughter's spring break was last week. Son probably doesn't even know tomorrow's Easter. :-/

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  19. I am expecting 40 bales of pine straw to be delivered today, so I've been working really hard to get my sermon finished so that I can do some much needed yardwork…and I need to bake a cake. But, my sermon title is "Unleash the Alleluia." I am planning to quote a little of T.D. Jakes words from Whitney Houston's funeral – he went through a litany of things that can happen to make it look like death has won. It was a short, powerful message. Then, I've got a nice little story about a guy singing the Hallelujah chorus and thinking that it ended too soon, and he still had some Hallelujah's that needed to get out. For the first time, our community sunrise service was cancelled because only 4 people (outside of clergy) showed up last year. Honestly, I am not really a morning person, and I feel guilty to say this but, I'm glad I don't have to get up before dawn!

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  20. It's possible Easter was the draw for #1 Son. After all, the last time he went to church other than Christmas here was Easter last year in NYC. 🙂 Yes, I raised a Chreaster. But he's only 26. There's hope he'll be a Returner someday. Anyway, he's the draw for #2, who was just home. He'll be here for about 24 hours, including a cruel wake-up time for the 6:15 Sunrise Service.Now that I've had more coffee, I'm going to try and bring a little light into my manuscript.

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  21. Good afternoon ladies, prayers for each of you, there seems to be a lot happening for people this Easter.I am doing well as far as preparation goes, the services is done and the sermon is at 90%, but I am struggling to finish it. It is a monologue, looking at Easter through Mary's (mother of Jesus) eyes. Starting with he is risen, reflecting on the crucifixion and Jesus life and coming back to the resurrection.But as with others while it started with well I am now feeling dry. The draft is here. If any of you feel like procrastinating I'd be happy for to hear your thoughts.One other question if I may, I have an all age activity, but it's pretty standard empty egg = empty tomb, what are other people doing, I would love to do something different.Prayers for all that are on Easter journeysEm

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  22. I am very grateful that the sunrise service is being done by one of the other clergy in our Ecumenical Churches group and as I am the only one of the town's clergy who has been to all 10 of the services this week I am making a decision not to go!! (feeling a bit guilty but will learn to live with that!)I have new members joining tomorrow (first time I am presiding at such a service so getting that ready is nerve-wracking) and a few other "extras" at the service so realistically the sermon will need to be short and is probably the least of my worries. I found a whole lot of plastic eggs at the supermarket yesterday that you take apart and put stuff inside so I am now looking at all the signs I can put in them – flowers, eggs, stones, crosses, chicks/bunnies, lambs etc. – so that I can send the kids on an egg hunt which can then be used to tell the Easter story. I hope the egg hunt will appeal to the little ones and the bigger ones will get the meaning of the symbols. Marathon is almost at an end!!! I go on holiday (again!!) next week too and so feel the need of it!

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  23. Good morning.Preaching Mark tomorrow. Letting it stand at the original ending without attaching either optional ending. I preface the reading with sharing that information with the congregation.I wrote about 1/2 on Thursday and the Spirit changed direction for me…so the second half…needs to appear today.I was able to take a little time for myself yesterday. I "baked" my eggs to dye today (Alton Brown method…works great) and tried the Resurrection rolls (on FB group page) which I am going to use for the kids.Off and running….well metaphorically anyway.

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  24. Ha! I suppose I could work the pine straw in as a cover-up for a place where there is no new life…but then I'd have to rewrite, and Good Lord, I don't want to do that. Isn't it funny how everything is potential sermon fodder when you do this week after week?

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  25. Good morning pals!I am celebrating a holy moment this morning. Beloved and I were out for our walk in our tiny town and a little girl from my church was out playing in her yard. When she saw us she said hello, talked about her yard, then she gave me a hug and said she missed me and that she couldn't wait for tomorrow because it was Easter. That made my heart sail.I told beloved that I was so joyous that I wanted to skip and dance for the rest of our walk. So she dared me to do it. As I joyously skipped down the street we noticed the treasurer's house on the hill, she told me to stop skipping so that the treasure doesn't have to wonder about the new pastor.Will be preaching on Mark pondering how the new life that resurrection brings can be quite frightening. Thinking of using the example of how newly recovering addicts families' reacts to the changes that happen when said addict comes hope from treatment.

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  26. I'm taking advantage of the calendar this year – after talking about April Fool's Day on Palm Sunday, this week I'm focusing on Easter as the "8th day" – the day of new creation, already begun. And stringing together examples of ways that the 8th day springs forth in our life – the alcoholic who knows for this moment, I don't have to drink – and a new "day" begins for him; the grieving woman who sees the sun shining and hears birds singing and realizes with a start that joy has crept back into her heart – etc. Then tying it in with Mary's "8th day," (John reading) giving her a new witness to share, and Paul's "8th day" (from 1 Corinthians 15 reading), a new purpose in life, and Peter's "8th day" (from Acts 10 reading), a new, expanded community to be a part of. It works in my head – let's see if I can get it down on paper.Not fully connecting with any children's sermon ideas yet, though you've given several I could use. Hmmm…

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  27. I ditched my first draft and am done with a second that is much more satisfying. Am talking about the Isaiah passage, particularly the destruction of the shroud that looms over all peoples, and the discarded grave clothes found in the tomb. The end of death as the end, the end of being defined by the shroud that carries us into the tomb… Or something like that! It is 9:30pm Saturday here, and I will take one more look at it over breakfast. We have one service at 10am, lots of children involved in different parts of the service but I somehow think they will find the Easter Egg hunt (I helped our Sunday School co-oridnator stuff 300 some plastic eggs with candy this afternoon) the crowning glory of the day!

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  28. Wow! This party has really taken off! I got out of bed later than I thought, but also later than I hoped. It was a rough night for my older daughter. She saw a exhibit about pirates yesterday and as I feared it gave her nightmares – not even nightmares. She couldn't even get to sleep because of the scary thoughts plaguing her minds. It was the up close discussion about a cannon that did her in. I tried several times to get her down and sleeping in her bed, but at midnight I decided she could just come sleep in our bed for a bit then I would move her to her own bed (or her brother's bed with him because I didn't think I'd be able to lift her to the top bunk). She and I shared my little space until 3:00 a.m. (not great sleep for me) until I carried her upstairs.Oy. Now I'm up trying to finish up the order of worship for the 8:00 a.m. service, the closest we get to sunrise. The worship team starts practice in about 30 minutes, so I need to get this delivered to them so they can add the words to the songs they are leading. I'll also see if I can stick around to help put up the gazillions of butterflies we are using to decorate the sanctuary.

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  29. Wow, it's been busy here already!On the topic of self-care, I decided last night that since I am using Mark at both the VIgil tonight and tomorrow's services I don't really have to have two separate sermons as I've done in past. The choir will have to hear it three times, but oh, well. And then after deciding that I let myself watch an episode of "West Wing" and go to bed; also slept in this morning. There is a tiny part of me that feels like I'm "cheating" by not writing two different sermons….ack. But I think I'm sticking with my decision. I've had two or three different ideas but couldn't get going on any of them yesterday afternoon between services, so we'll see where it goes now.I did finish Marcus Borg's The Last Week last night. It is definitely worth the read, and really informed my sermons for Palm Sunday and yesterday. I won't have any family here for Easter, and while I will miss them, I am also glad that I don't have to cook for anyone. Ok, must get writing. I *think* everything is ready for the Vigil tonight, but I need to go over this afternoon and make sure.

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  30. Things are hopping this morning!I've got an old manuscript of a Mark Easter sermon that I'm trying to rework but will probably end up rewriting entirely. Ending with verse 8. It's not very joyous, but thanks for the idea of hope instead of joy. Maybe I can work with that. Hm.I think hubby can give me some time this afternoon, but we have an Easter party before that. I need to get our stuff together (when the kids get older, does it still require toting so much stuff around? Please give me some hope here!). Glad to have companions today!

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  31. Greetings Gals and Pals. I am ready to shout He is Risen! Not ready to preach it yet. That is a whole other challenge. But very ready to focus in new life on the other side of the worst imaginable. This church and her people are so there. Leaning hard on the H.S. to help is al hear and believe. Meeting my fabulous worship team to set up our full size empty tomb and garden. I will be back…

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  32. Some professor pointed that out in seminary chapel one year. I think all of us wondered if we'd ever have the guts to say it in our own churches. I love that you could.While I didn't say bullshit in my favorite Easter sermon, I am running up against that similar competition. My favorite ever was three years ago when I wrote my first Mark one. Mark is my favorite gospel, and I just can't imagine writing something different about his Easter account than I did the first time.

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