I’ve had another one of those weeks which really means, at this point, I’ve had one of those months.  There’s been a lot of pastoral care to do, some of which lead to two different funerals back to back.  I’ve been doing what I can to stay on top of caring for myself, too, but sometimes, well, you know.  Sometimes this is how it goes.  We have some of those weeks; we even have one of those months, and Sundays just keep coming.  What I want to do today is sleep like my not-so-baby-anymore, but what I have to do is find a way to make space where the Word of God can be heard in our worship tomorrow.  What I want to do is sleep….

How do you do it?  What gets you through when you’re tired or your non-pastoring life presses in or you just don’t think you have a sermon in you?  How do you do it when you’ve had one of those months?
One of the ways I do it is by coming here – – sharing the task with sisters and brothers in Christ.  I’m not afraid of the sustainable sermon either.  What do you do when the well feels dry but Sunday is coming around one more time?  I come to the party, and I’m glad to share it today with you all.  Join us in the comments.  We’d love to you have today.

97 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Seeking Rest

  1. A very good question, and one I'm asking as well. It's been an intense, pastorally demanding week here; the preaching mojo tank feels at least a quart low. I'm putting steel-cut oatmeal in the crock pot for the morning, and praying that the Spirit, she remembers where I live.

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  2. after 4 weeks off preaching, due to meetings and time in lieu – during which time I was also ill – I have a few things in mind for tomorrow, but not sure if I have the energy to 'preach it'. so far have written all teh liturgy and part of the sermon, unusual for me, but I look like finishing before dinner on Saturday, because I need to get to bed early, so that I am awake for morning worship. so far focused on Acts, mainly the first half of the reading, and thinking about freedom – found a great song on YouTube We who believe in Freedom and linking in teh Bangladesh building collapse. I will blog it when it is finished.

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  3. in answer to the question about how do we write when stress is coming at us. Often I listen to a favourite piece of music, to settle my mind, or sit intentionally still for 10 minutes. even though it feels weird to stop and focus on anything other then the sermon when life is stressful. this is one of my favourite pieces to calm and focus my mind and spirit.you will know blessings for those struggling this week, and month.

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  4. Good morning – a cloudy day here, but it is warm enough to open the windows to hear the birds. I, too, am lacking preaching mojo this week…am hoping that HS will figure out that I've opened the windows and she can feel free to blow in at any time. I've also really been using "Praying in Color" recently. It has helped me to stay still in the presence of God when my natural inclination is to 'do this' and 'do that.'Coffee is on!

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  5. Very short on sleep here. Long story that involves all three of us traveling in the next 3 days; each to a different place including my son to Taize Community in France. Meanwhile we are trying to deal with a non working car, insurance claim, moving out of the dorm, and finding a place to store stuff for 10 days while in France from different states. Bottom line, the lovely weekend home alone has turned stressful. The easy sermon based on the book Sticky Faith seems, well, more sticky than easy. Energy low, but sleep not happening. I think I will make blueberry muffins and steep some tea. Perhaps some music too. Happy to share in just a bit.

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  6. good morning and prayers for you all. I am not preaching this weekend (on staff) after two weeks and a funeral, and I will have another one probably soon. But it is spring here finally. so I'm taking the afternoon off for spiritual play and rest and just going somewhere else with my husband may visit the nursing home before we go.how do I write when stress is coming at me? it's not pretty. I am not above looking through old sermons for an idea or two. sometimes I go to bed praying that when I awake there will be a glimmer of an idea in there. (sometimes it happens, even).getting together with friends, either in person or online, like this group, helps….

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  7. Good morning! I am presently repeating the benefits of having written two reflections on Ascension for Abingdon, and trying to weave them together, because I have never, ever preached it before, and I am starting a new ministry (a four month sabbatical coverage) and want to do well on this first Sunday.Well, every Sunday. kathrynzj and I are both writing, which is fun, but it's easy for me to say that because I had some ideas already, including one she gave me when I was desperately trying to write Reflection #2 (see above) on Ascension.We have to break for a Little League game later, but then I'll be back.Meanwhile, remember, every Saturday is Preacher's Day. Go look at the RevGals' swag and cheer yourselves along! Here's a link to our Cafe Press store.

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  8. That is a great idea. I think I will try it later tonight. I recognize the need to just sit, but I don't think my usual way of doing it – – getting sucked into old or bad TV – – is helpful. It drags on and on longer than it should, making me more and more tired. Something focused and intentional would be a good idea.

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  9. Good morning, everyone. And thanks, Stephanie, for offering us a place of rest and encouragement.I'm back in the pulpit after a two-week "vacation" which was mostly a trip to PA to pack up and move my stuff. Everything went amazingly well, and there is much to be grateful for. Still, I'm feeling a little out of whack being back.One thing I do when I'm having a day like this is to do some pre-writing — a.k.a., "dumping" or, more poetically, "morning pages" — and just write out all the stuff I'm feeling that I have no business saying aloud, sermon or otherwise. That, plus some upbeat music, often gets me in a better place.Of interest to us UCC preachers, this week's gospel is the UCC reason for being — "that they may all be one" — and I plan to emphasize that for this congregation where I'm serving as interim.Coffee is essential preaching prep fuel, always, and I'm filling up my cup right now!

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  10. Acts for me and trying to balance not wanting to exploit the women who were found in Cleveland or the woman who was found alive after 16 days in Bangladesh, but also not quite able to ignore the timing of it all.Other people writing sermons in this household are typing more than me… this makes me nervous.

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  11. Ack! End of the school year move out/move in stuff. My least favorite school year ritual as a student. I dread the day we will get there as a mom. Sounds like there is lots to anticipate in all of that, so I pray for your energy to push through to the good stuff!

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  12. Good morning preachers.How I'm doing it this week is with a sustainable sermon on Ascension- that starts with "Beam me up, Scotty!" It definitely needs some work, but it's what I've got. It has been a brutal week here. I've mentioned the on-going conflict I've been dealing with and this week we had a consultant in to work with the vestry on facing up to it. The consultant was awesome, and I know the vestry has my back, but it was really really hard listening to people say how much this person dislikes me, and how much *&^% is being said out in the community, and how if I were a man she wouldn't treat me this way (duh!) I am also stunned by how much crap is brought up that I had NOTHING to do with, and yet it is pinned on me. I am grateful that the vestry seems to "get" how inappropriate all this is, and I think the consultant helped them see that they really have to say something, and empowered them to do so. We'll see.Meanwhile I had a phone interview with another church in another diocese…I think it went well, but it is early in the process and I am trying not to get my hopes up. too much after having my heart broken in the last search I was in.Sorry to hijack the preaching thread, but this is the only place I feel safe mentioning this stuff…I know the FB group is supposed to be safe, but I still worry …As for the Ascension here is a link to a YouTube by Fr. Matthew using Mary Poppins to talk about Jesus' ascension..sounds silly, but there is actually some theological meat there.

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  13. although we are reeading Acts, to acknowledge Ascension, it is also the first infant baptism since I arrived here some 27 months ago – and my first since baptising our beloved Aila in hopsital just weeks before she died (nervous? moi?!) So I am preaching on the theme of one church one baptism/ and how we each are fearfully and wonderfully made – each unique (borrowing from the wondrous message posted on the FB page earlier this week) the sermon is done – but doesn't feel rightso I am sucking mint humbugs and pondering and fighting an energy sapping slump of spirits

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  14. you aren't hijacking – you are doing what is necessary in order to do what is necessary… it's what we doblessings on you with all of the needless stuff you are having to hold…. and blessings on that future glimmer – remember – She has your back – and we are all bombarding her with prayers. Seems to me that many of us are under extra pressure and strain just now – praise God we have each other x

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  15. I'm not any further on the sermon–which is to say, I have several paragraphs on Acts which I now think I am going to dump in favor of starting anew with Revelation and thirst–but I feel better being in the company of others who are in the same spot! Here's one new to me: my 18 y.o. graduating son preached last Sunday and he did such a fabulous job (really! Not just proud mom talking…) that he's hard to follow :-oI am interested in the idea of the Acts story from the perspective of the jailer, how he was set free too, but my mind keeps wandering back to being thirsty, what kinds of thirst we experience and how we quench that thirst, both positively and not so much. I know that I simply should go with where my mind is pulling me or I will pay for it later…I have delicious, healthy pineapple carrot bran muffins to offer, made fresh last night 🙂

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  16. After a week with 4 funerals (requiring early starts every day this week) I gave myself permission to sleep late this morning and didn't start doing much prep until well after lunch. That is certainly one of the ways I try to cope with an overload – not always practical but much appreciated when I can do it. But tomorrow is a Family Service – so no Sermon! Yay!I am trying to combine Christian Aid week with Ascension and bringing together some ideas I had earlier in the week while travelling in the hearse. No time is wasted!I will be making a nutella cheesecake and "forgetting" to have any Nutella – then talking about Christian Aid helping to provide cocoa plants to help those in need. followed by a game of "earlier/Later" based loosely on the old gameshow Play your cards right (I think that was what it was called) and the congregation will guide the children to get the events in Jesus life in order. followed by bubbles from the bubble machine linked loosely to things disappearing from view and used as part of the prayers. Now that the outline is roughly there, off to buy all my ingredients for Nutella Cheesecake and make one tonight so I know how it works. Anyone want anything while I am out?

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  17. In addition to everything else, tomorrow is fraught with the possibility for unpleasantness. The women's group which is headed by the two women who are creating the conflict, is hosting coffee hour–which should be totally non-controversial, right? Only not so much–it is their way of saying they don't approve of the way we've been doing coffee AND my not choosing to make mother's day the focus of worship. Ugh. Why does this have to be so hard? I mean, hard is one thing, but hard over silly crap is another.

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  18. In the good news, the Little League game is cancelled, giving preachers more time to write. In the bad news, we are out of coffee!!!! So a trip out is now required.

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  19. It is so hard to be one's best self when conflict-creators are spreading their…well, issues…even to coffee hour and the like. Prayers for you, that you may have a smile, a Teflon coating, and peace that passes understanding (or reason).

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  20. Month for mission here, so I am preaching VERY briefly on John — Jesus was sent, we are sent, love love love — and then turning it over to a member who has put together something on mission in Japan (we have a Japanese member) and in general. And then there's the whole Mothers' Day thing which, too, shall pass.

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  21. When I am where you have described I need to spend time in prayer and quiet, even though it feels like there is no time for it. Prayer and silence (even just 15-30 min.) can make a huge difference for me and refill me like nothing else can. I also ask for prayers from others. I have said a prayer for you.Blessings,Lee

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  22. It's Mothers' Day here, always problematic when they expect me to focus on mothers and I won't do it because I know how painful it is for some. So I'm going to preach on God as Mother, which will blow their minds as I'm certain most of them have never thought of it before. It's always "Father God" which irritates me immensely. Will let you know if I survive! I mentioned my theme to a pastor from another denomination and he got this glazed look of total incomprehension in his eyes! The liturgy focuses on the compassionate, nurturing side of God.Sorry how difficult some of you are finding things. Especially you, Rev Dr Mom. It never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably unpleasant some church people are. I have a good friend going through a similar experience and my heart bleeds for you too.What do I do when inspiration departs? Take a bit of time out, pray like mad and scramble something together. What shatters me on those occasions is how often people go on and on about how the sermon spoke to them. Perhaps when we feel uninspired we give the Holy Spirit space to work on her own without our realising it.

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  23. I love the notion of God as mother, but just using the phrase in my current parish raised a lot of eyebrows. I am choosing not to even mention Mother's Day tomorrow; I assured one member who normall avoids mother's day because it is so painful for her that it would be "safe" to come to church and she could just skip coffee hour. My omission will mightily annoy some, I'm sure.

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  24. I have a draft, a revision of my sustainable sermon. Next time I preach Ascension, if I am in a different parish, I will use the Mary Poppins analogy. I just don't have the energy for it this year.This is the earliest I have been done in weeks and weeks and weeks. Now for some lunch and then, who knows?Back later.

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  25. I am off lectionary all of May…heck…all summer as well. This week is "The Spiritual Practice of Attention…Prayer". I wrote yesterday and then closed the document. I'm getting ready to open it and see if what I said yesterday makes any sense. I asked lots of questions…and leaving quite a bit of room for the Spirit. At least I hope I did. I got out of the fishbowl this weekend and will travel back this evening.

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  26. It sounds like you've gone in a beautiful direction. Don't let that slump get to you. Let it sit. Go do something else. Come back to it later if you need, too, but I imagine it is your nerves. Peace to you. Peace be on you.

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  27. You are wonderful, Lee. Thanks for the reminder of quiet. I tend not to worry about not feeling like there's no time for it, but that it isn't really DOING anything. You're right though. That doesn't matter; in fact, that's the point. Quiet. I need it.

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  28. I call God "mother" in worship sometimes, very rarely, but sometimes, actually probably more than I use "father" outside of the Lord's Prayer at least. It still just doesn't even roll off my tongue, neither reference does. I force myself to write it into our liturgy occasionally because I think it is good to do, but it doesn't come naturally to me – – neither "parental" term is how I relate to God personally most of the time. I've never gotten any comments when I've done it, but I'm sure there are folks who bristle. I'm glad they are either tolerant enough or understanding that it's not all about them or too timid to say anything. 🙂

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