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The confessional is open, so let me start.

I think of Mother’s Day celebrations as what we do in and among families.  I look forward to calling my Mom tomorrow, and then I anticipate making connections with my own beloved grown-up offspring.  There’s always the chance that I could get a Skype moment with the almost-two year old grandson.
My confession:  I do not look forward to Mother’s Day at church.  There.  I’ve said it.
There is so much to savor in this week’s texts that doing Hallmark-ish Mother’s Day Church just has no appeal for me.
The Psalmist’s new song makes a joyful noise (Psalm 98), Jesus calls us friends (John 15:9-17), Peter’s a power preacher (Acts 10:44-48), and John welcomes us into the family of God (1 John 5:1-6).

What’s your take on all, or some, of that?

This week’s RevGord-initiated Tuesday Lectionary Leanings got us off to a good start.  There’s sermon inspiration there, of course, as well as some discussion of what RevGals are (and are not) doing about Mother’s Day at church.  Check it out!
So, Saturday Preachers, pull up a laptop, grab a cup, and open the Word.  You are among friends!

Help yourselves to some Fair Trade coffee or your beverage of choice! Your offerings of food and encouragement are always welcome. Let’s put on some sermon-writing music, too, if that would help.  Let us know what you need and we’ll do what we can.  

Welcome, FRIENDS!

149 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Making Friends With Jesus Edition

  1. I have no idea why I am still up at 2 am but here I am, so I'll be first, which has never happened before!I am preaching on Jesus calling us friends, and I may rely on a sustainable sermon because I have another big piece of work I need to get done tomorrow (actually today, I guess) and it would be nice to not spend as much time as usual on the sermon. And it's been a hard week. Sunday afternoon I am preaching and presiding at our local version of Common Cathedral — local as in nearby Ivy City — and I think the sermon I'm thinking of will provide the needed 3-5 minute homily I need for that as well. We'll see how I feel about this later.And now I really should GO TO BED. My night owl habit is getting out of hand.

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  2. Also not really doing anything about Mother's Day. IME that's such a touchy thing, with the potential to hurt unintentionally. I'll wish mothers a Happy Mother's Day at the door, but that's about it.

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  3. No idea why I'm up either since I spent the whole day trying not to fall asleep. Ugh. I am finishing a series on Responding to the Risen Christ: Head, Heart, Hand. This week is "You put your whole self in." I planned that thinking I would work with "Abide in me" from last week and this week since I was off lectionary last week. It was to be simple – we respond to the risen Christ in all aspects of our lives – home, family, work, shopping, stores etc. Tying in mother's day only in the sense of steeping our home and family life in our faith. However, this has been a tough pastoral care week – lots of my folks are hurting – even my step mother is in the hospital. So, I'm making sure I talk about how abiding in God affects how we respond in the rough seas of our lives as well as the even keel times. I've been preaching from a picture map rather than an outline for the last two Sundays. This Sunday will be much harder because the scripture passages I'm using are not stories. I have lots of ideas, but no picture map yet. As for Mother's Day, I used to hate going to church on Mother's Day – 5 years of infertility made it difficult to go. Instead of not mentioning it, I am careful to acknowledge the many circumstances that make Mother's Day hard for so many people. This will be the first Mother's Day since one of my families lost a son last October and since at least one lost their mother. I'm always conscious of this day in relation to my own son's birthmother and how it must be hard for her too. I usually address the joy and pain during prayer time. Our kids make bookmarks or cards to give to all the women of the church since we all have taken vows to help raise the children of our church in a Godly way as a part of their baptism service.

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  4. Here in the UK, we observe Mothering Sunday the 4th sunday of Lent – I think that helps to tone it down a bit and rescue it from sentimentality but I' am always aware of how difficult it is for many, some of whom simply stay at home that sunday.This week, I'm still working through 1 John – and, since the confessional is open – I'm getting tired of love!!! Especially this week when out of love I am biting my tongue and not defending myself with a self righteous colleague. I know it's the right thing to do but it feels crap! BUT back to love….

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  5. I have been on holiday for 3 sundays and last week was an all age service where I went off lectionary so I am finding it difficult to get back into the rhythm of preaching on a set text. I was also at a retreat for 3 days this week and was so inspired that I have to resist the temptation to shoehorn into the sermon a whole load of what I was reflecting on this week. I think I am going to focus on love as an action not an emotion and how we can pass it on to others (moving from "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you" to "love one another, as I have loved you"). Not too sure how it will work but may have to watch the movie Pay it Forward to remind myself of an illustration – or would that just be procrastinating!!

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  6. Hi, just starting to write, after 8pm on Saturday evening. last week's education group came up with the theme of joy, so now to write something about faith and joy – the joy is staying connected with Jesus. How hard can that be to preach!

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  7. I wrote an unexpected post about Mother's Day yesterday. I plan to enjoy my family's presence, grit my teeth through the carnations, and prepare a prayer to incorporate the many layers of emotions the day evokes.I'm preaching on Acts and John: inclusivity and Jesus calling all of us to friendship. I'm not planning on naming the specific issue of inclusivity — well, I might use the word "lifestyle" at some point, which isn't exactly what I mean — at issue for us, but the President and North Carolina may be moving that discussion to the forefront without any help from me.

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  8. Good morning pals,I will be exploring being friends with Jesus. I will talk about the different kinds of friends we make beginning with facebook and working towards being in relationship in a faith community having agape love for eachother. I don't know if that made since. Time for another cup of coffee.

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  9. Good morning, gals. I'm in Chicago to perform a wedding tonight and am FREAKING OUT about the state of my sermon. There has been so much going on with getting ready for this trip and then being on this trip that I didn't get my sermon done before I left, as I'd hoped. Now that I'm here, one of my sons has been very sick with some sort of stomach virus (we think) and I have been feeling really awful as well (head/throat/chest, not stomach, thankfully!). I've got a couple of pages written, which on a normal weekend would be great by this point, but today is a full day and then we drive back after the reception late tonight, to get home between 3:00 and 4:00 am. UGH! Anyway, I'm preaching John, focusing on "I have called you friends," and I've got a lot of stuff in my head that I hope I can get out of my head starting … NOW!!I would appreciate any prayers, and I offer mine for all of you!

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  10. earthchick, that just makes my head hurt. Godspeed.I've got a wedding this morning, sharing the officiating duties with a UU minister. She's got the hard parts (vows, etc), and my contributions are pretty much coming off the top of my head. We'll see how that goes…Where the sermon is concerned, I have an opening, but no solid sense of where it's going from there. I'll be back this afternoon and hope to have something more formed in my head by then. Lots of driving between now and then, which usually helps.

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  11. I'm going with the "abide in love" passage from John — what it is to let love surround and guide and pick us up. How faithfulness finds its expression in our lives…the faith we have in God and in love, and the ways faithfulness allows us to keep going. I might use some of my own "bad mother" times as an illustration of how faithful love transcends even our missteps and selfishness, but I don't want to dwell on the "saintly mom" issue b/c like most of us, the people in the pews have such varied and nuanced experiences that aren't addressed by idealizing motherhood. Before I get that sermon written though I have a confirmation class this morning, then a stack of hospital visits, all people who have had unexpected (and undesired)outcomes from medical procedures. Blessings on all of your sermons and ministries this day!

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  12. Good morning, friends.Usually I reserve Mother's Day for the prayer and often the person who does the children's sermon mentions it. This Sunday, I'm doing the children's sermon. I will not be mentioning it. It will be in the pastoral prayer with many of the things all of you have already named.Here is my conundrum. I have spent the better part of 2+ weeks coming out to the pillars, Session and Deacons of my congregation that I am gay and in a committed relationship with a woman. The strategy is to let the news unfold from there, and to some extent it has. I desperately want to respect the culture here in south central PA which is to say, be subtle and not make it a big deal (think one step beyond don't ask, don't tell). However, the writer of Acts and Jesus in John is NOT subtle. They are practically shouting: BE INCLUSIVE AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!!!"And so there it is.Right now my strategy is to tell the story of the writer of Luke/Acts, the story of the centurion and the story of Peter and let the texts do the talking…We shall see.

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  13. short sermon, but a sharing time earlier in the service and a person is speaking about their experience of joy and faith. I am on prayers of the people tomorrow so the Mothers Day prayer I wrote for field ed while at seminary is part of tomorrow's service. here is my take on joy good night all, hope you find your sermons early this week.

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  14. What a slacker host I am! Today was a rare occasion when I just slept until . . . and then it was 8:00, for goodness sakes!Coffee is brewing, and there are fresh carrot muffins over there, raisins and/or nuts are in some and not in others, depending on what you like. There is also butter, cream cheese, and an assortment of jams to go with. Help yourselves!

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  15. wow. I am not preaching again until Pentecost, or doing the children's message, for that matter. felt weird, at the time, but now that I have a terrible sore throat and think I may be coming down with a cold, I don't feel so bad about it.However, i do have a wedding this afternoon. so I need a little voice for that.On the preaching front, I do feel the Mother's Day conundrum on many levels. I usually do not preach on it, sometimes it gets into the sermon as a side issue, usually there is a prayer petition.on the other hand, I've always wanted to preach a sermon on the Mother images for God in the Bible.I like these texts, and especially the John 15, about being friends with Jesus. Because being friends with Jesus, in this text, is not about how we share with Jesus, but about what he shares with us.

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  16. "Mothering Sunday" sounds nice! Don't you just cringe at the idea that people would stay home from church . . . I started to say "because it's Mother's Day." But I think that it probably happens more than we know when people think "The last place I want to be is church" while I go through this, or on this tragic anniversary, or on Mothers/Fathers Day, or whatever.

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  17. Good morning friends. I am very far north at a weekend presbytery meeting. Think. 5 hour bus ride… lots of serious stiff to deal with on the docket. Some personally difficult dynamics for me to negotiate. No sermon … vague swirling thoughts that keep smacking up against my own unmentionable stuff. Best case is home by 8 then start writing. Ugg! Oh yes and mothers day… as one who was not able to bear children, not my fav. Prayers seriously appreciated, I will need then to get through this day

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  18. Procrastination is just another word for creatively using this time to be open to the Spirit. Or something!Let us know how you are progressing. I can imagine that a lot of us are probably doing some variation of the "love is a doing, not a feeling" theme this week. I would love to hear more!

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  19. finished printing and the read your comments. I am amazed at how many of us Rev Gals find Mother's Day uncomfortable. I too am unable to ahve children, and while we tried to adopt, so few children are available, it didn't work out for us. Sharon, Hope you enjoyed the extra sleep. Kathrynzj – hopefully people will hear what the Bible is sayingearthchick and Celeste – praying for youeveryone, blessings

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  20. For children's time I'll talk about how lots of people help us grow in our faith and are our "faith mothers" including the youth who help with VBS and people who aren't related to us. But since we are all God's family we're in the same family together. Then the children are instructed to give a carnation to every girl or woman older than they are. It is mass cute chaos. The older ladies get the flowers they want but there is some connection to God and our faith. Then the blessings and burdens of Mother's Day are carried to God in prayer.Today has a variety of things on the schedule including test driving a car as a fundraiser. How about that for creative moneymaking? Much better than a car wash!

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  21. Sounds good, G_G!Curious about what, specifically, "agape love" would look like in (or on?) your congregation. As their new-ish pastor, what behaviors will you call them to practice?

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  22. Oooh . . . Faithfulness is the fuel that keeps love actions going.I wish that we preachers who have first hand experience as mothers could get our congregations off of this "saintly mom" thing that idealizes mothers and even women.Our prayers go with you, Mary B. It sounds like a challenging, yet very good, kind of day.

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  23. Jesus is not subtle! I love it! I guess you could say that Jesus' love is in no way subtle either! Letting the texts do the talking is probably not going to be subtle either, I'm guessing.I hope you are writing a book, KZJ. I want to read it! And I hope that your church folk are showing you some of that not-so-subtle love that Jesus poured out for us to pass on.

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  24. Oh, Diane, I hope you feel better and that your voice holds out.When I was in seminary — over 20 years ago now! — they got a call from a local male-pastored congregation seeking "a woman" to preach on Mother's Day, and I agreed to do it. I preached on Mary and Martha, a sermon entitled, "Can you just stop?" I think it was well-received because, though it fit with the day, it didn't idealize women or mothers. Still, I think that may have been the last Mother's Day sermon I have preached.What???? There are Mother images for God in the Bible???? That news has most definitely not reached Pennsylvania Dutch Country! It would make for a good sermon, I imagine.

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  25. Vicar, thanks for the idea for children's time. Yes, God's family!In the congregation where I currently serve as interim, the Mother's Day flowers are, of course, a fund raiser. Combine that with "popularity contest" and that describes what we do. You "get" to buy a rose for a special woman/mother and then put the dedication in the bulletin. It presumes many things, including the fact that the woman honored is close-by enough for the giver to give the rose to. Or something. I'm a real curmudgeon about this, I confess — yet again. Lord, in your mercy . . .

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  26. This is the scary part…I feel a prophetic sermon coming on but am approaching with fear and trepidation. In the last 50 years our town has gone from being the richest in the our State to the poorest because the machine shops that employed our people have moved out in the 70s. Now 60% of the citizens of our town are on welfare and living in subsidized housing. There is a perception that the folks on welfare moved to our town because it is easy to get "free money" here. The place that I'm trying to get folks to is this…we did not choose the reality that we are living in rather it choose us, agape love calls us to find ways to help these folk to live the full sustainable lives that God desires for all of creation.

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  27. RevGal Powow…I love it. The image I have is of the opening scene of the Ya Ya sisterhood where the bedazzled girls read about their (ahem) ancestory and then drink chocolate dancing around a fire. I can totally see us doing that.

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  28. Kzj, prayers for you and your partner. T'ain't easy but it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. But then again, I lost my parish but that was 10 yrs ago.

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  29. It sounds to me as if you have your sermon in the very struggles you are having. I'm wondering about ways those struggles and what you are going through can be generalized to other people in other situations. Surely there are people who though not gay struggle with being respectful of norms, culture while at the same time being respectful of who they are. I agree with Sharon–the texts will do the talking and they likely won't be subtle. (There's a part of me that wonders if you've been talking through the texts for awhile. When I look back on the sermons I've preached in tough times, I see the subtext really clearly.)

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  30. It's not even 8:00 here and my sermon is done! Yahoo! I got by with a lot of help from my Rev Gal friends. Thanks. You'll find it here.There's a spot at the end where I link to Mother's Day. A couple of weeks ago, a former Roman Catholic told me how he was looking forward to hearing a woman priest preach on Mother's Day. Now to a deanery meeting and maybe some time to work on a quilt. I'll look forward to checking in with the conversation later in the day.

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