“When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens.” (Luke 12:54)  

 After a summer filled with cool temps and LOTS of rain we now face a week of heat with no rain in sight. Perhaps my tomatoes will ripen? Maybe my allergies will ease? Maybe I can sit outside on the deck and drink iced tea. Alas, this random thinking is not at all where the preacher party is going, but it does reflect the state of my mind…..(vacation is less than 48 hours away)

And so here we are, another Saturday! What in the world happened to all the other days in this week. 

Oh, right….they have come and gone. In my case they were all consumed by our Summer Arts Camp, “Growing in Faith Through the Arts.” It was a fun, exhausting, busy, exhilarating, exhausting (yes, worth mentioning twice, ergo the state of my mind) week. (There really is nothing quite like spending creative time with children!).

That’s why the weekend has come way too fast, for me. What about you? Are you ready for this day, this 11th Hour of preaching prep? And if so, what text are you considering?

 I have to admit. The Gospel this week is NOT my favorite reading. I have preached on it, or at least on one of the texts for this week, many times in the past. But I am not fond of reading this passage let alone preaching on it. Especially this

Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

Seriously?

Thankfully, I’m not preaching this week, our Curate is (see above, “exhausted”…). But if I were I would probably preach on the beautiful words of Isaiah.

My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.

Yes, reflecting on yielding wild grapes would definitely be a metaphor I might play with.

So, what about you?

Pull up a chair and grab a mug. I have plenty of beverages to share and fresh produce aplenty (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, corn on the cob…)…Regardless of where you are going with your sermon, if you have a brilliant idea or are completely stuck, we are here to journey through this day with you.

93 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Not This One again…

  1. I've been thinking about what passes for peace (as opposed to the peace that passes understanding!) in our culture, especially in my church's city–where deaths and injuries by gun have reached record numbers. Complacency, laziness, learned helplessness, suppression, oppression–Jesus says he didn't come to "smooth things over" [The Message]. He's kind of "firebombed" our notions of peace, says Luke. I just don't know how this one is going to end/supposed to end. So I'm going to bed to think on it.

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  2. Meg, I do think that the reading from Luke speaks deeply into issues of oppression and civil unrest and injustice – there indeed is a call for division! I spent much of the summer reading Dorothee Soelle who has a lot to say about readings like this and Jesus' call to tend to the poor and oppressed.

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  3. Good MORNING! Sermon finished, which is a good thing as it has been a no good terrible very bad couple of days of one rejection after another, call-wise, writing-wise, and family-wise. Feeling rather apathetic about the fact that one of my members is doing a presentation during worship tomorrow during which I am confident that she will essentially preach 100% the exact opposite of the message I consistently put out there, because an hour later I will be ON VACATION and headed in the direction of a beach. Burned out a little?

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  4. a meeting all day today, and a week that was full of meetings and appointments. so an interactive sermon again. I must admit to feeling a bit lazy for not researching more about background and doing a proper sermon, but no time or energy – and this is what came to mind. faith, race and grace now do I prep 50 packages with the 3 pieces needed for each person, or just hand them out as I go??? hmmmm – it is 10.00pm – and do I have anything to package them in??? I'll think about it while I have a cup of camomile.Good morning to those just starting Saturday.

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  5. Muddling back in to the thick of it after a lovely vacation. We got back on Tuesday, so I've had a few days in the office, but I'm not exactly inspired sermon-wise. Fortunately, I'm in the middle of the series on the Lord's prayer – forgive as we forgive. Should be an easy enough sermon to write – but as we all know, sometimes those 'easy' ones are deceiving. But first I have the dreaded Saturday council meeting. It should be pretty low-key, but the upcoming changes to health care has us on edge – we know the denomination's plan is changing and we don't have much information yet. The anxiety is a bit hit right now. I smell bacon…which means my wonderful spouse is going to help me start my day off right with a good breakfast. A loving spouse is truly worth his weight in gold!

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  6. well, it's done not fabulous, but it'll preach. Focusing on Hebrews text, playing around with the old hymn 'I sing a song of the saints of God' and talking about running the race as the everyday saints of God… God doesn't call superheroes [ref. the list of named and unnamed people of faith in the text] but very human people. Found the various lists floating about on t'interwebz [and corrected the incorrect ones] re. 'Noah was a drunk, Moses stammered, Rahab was a prostitute, etc.' and added in a few more women… At some point in the sermon I'll say to the folk that I have pictures of other saints and then get the live-stream camera to pan over the congregation, get them to look at each other – we are the current crop of everyday folk down through the generations who God calls to pass on the baton of faith etc.Not wildly original, but the poor blighters did have to cope with one of my more academic sermons last week!In the meantime am having a nostalgia session with the sounds of Petra playing in the background. Ah, middle-age!On this chill, damp, dreich day, I am about to make a round of hot buttered toast and a pot of tea – help yourselves!

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  7. Hot buttered toast sounds great, Nik. It is dreich here too. I have a Ruby Wedding celebration to go to this evening in a marquee.. so praying for a few angels to do some cloud sweeping.. Like this idea too- it was what was knocking around my head too. What I need now is a working brain… any idea where I might find one of those? Ruth

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  8. I don't usually play, because I don't usually preach, but tomorrow it is my turn to fill the pulpit at my home church and surprise, I haven't got my sermon together yet, although I've got a pile of notes, and I put all the rest of the service together early enough to get the hymns to the pianist and the order of service to the office administrator on time… This is only the second time I've done this. Not exactly nervous, but having some performance anxiety issues. Last time I led service, seminary wasn't on the radar. I fly out for a week's orientation next Sunday. So I need to spend today NOT doing yard work and NOT reading the Preacher Party or lurking on Facebook. I also need to not spend today writing up the enormous mass of deeply self-revealing preparatory paperwork for the career assessment I have scheduled later this fall (which needs to be mailed out in a couple of weeks and is nowhere near done.) And not shopping for textbooks on amazon. And not composing my packing list and wondering if there's a suitcase in this house that will stay locked long enough to get me to Chicago and back. Holy smoke. This is happening. (!!!!)

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  9. In amidst a sea of knots and nots, a 'do' which is most useful: breathe, and breathe again… and remember the motto 'the Holy Spirit has your back'. What might be the one word or phrase/ or image that wanders through your thoughts as you contemplate scripture and as you read your pile of notes? Praying you find that calm centre in the midst of this 'holy smoke. This is happening' whirlwind. šŸ™‚

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  10. 'cloud sweeping' – nice picture. Wondering how that might link to that great cloud of witnesses… shall file that little nugget of a phrase away for another time Ruth šŸ˜€

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  11. We are highlighting stewardship through the lens of Christian education. We will share the many ways the congregation supports the nurture of our members through Christian education. The sermon is a letter that I am writing to "a student," who is embarking on a new endeavor and how what they have learned in church can inform their future. We have college students leaving this week though I hope this sermon has implications for us all. I am using the salt and light passage from Matthew.

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  12. I have a sermon I'm not wild about, based on something I wrote three years ago. hoping that by 5:00 tonight, I'll have it tweaked enough that I like it.

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  13. Good morning preachers! I am back after two lovely weeks off, which I spent in NYC petsitting for friends. I love being in the city and it was great. And I am supposed to start vacation 2.0 on Thursday, going to spend 10 days with my kids and grandkids, but my supply priest is ill and had to cancel for next Sunday, so I've been scrambling to find someone last minute. I *may* have found a Rev Gal to fill in for me and if she can it will be awesome–I know she is a great preacher. And if not, well, I haven't given up yet!Meanwhile, I am still feeling uninspired. I am tempted to preach on Isaiah, but even if I do I have to come up with something to say about the Luke passage because I am also preaching at the outdoor Chapel on the Green service tomorrow afternoon in nearby Ivy City, and they only read the gospel. Sooooo…….we'll see. I've had a run and some breakfast, so I really don't have any reason to procrastinate any longer…except maybe to go take a shower. I would love to get this baby written tho. I'll be back….

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  14. I too, am just back from 3 weeks out of the pulpit (nice vacation). In August we use alternative liturgical resources, i.e. New Zealand and Scottish prayer books. Also, our organist/pianist in at her father's hospital bedside — an unforseen emergency — so we have no music tomorrow. I'm rather "embracing" all the awkwardness of the liturgy to springboard into the "cloud of witnesses" and "running OUR race" . . . we are sometimes awkward, moving forward into God's inspiration re ministry and service — going with the enthusiasm and passion God plants within us. Our Christian heritage (and cloud of witnesses support us) – but, ours is a new day, a new experience of God's involvement in our life, community, parish and world. "We make the road as we walk it" — but, we never walk it alone.

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  15. It's my first year with this congregation so I decided I would tell them that I have a policy of not preaching fire-and-brimstone until at least the third year. But I like the Luke text and decided to explore the waiting and anticipating Jesus is doing – coming to hurl fire but waiting until it's time, wanting this baptism to be completed but being constrained by the divine schedule. Psalm 80 will be used in the liturgy, and also explored a bit, as well as our desire for God to "restore us". The congregation will be invited to join together to say (pray) the last section of the Brief Statement of Faith – waiting for God's new heaven and earth while saying, come Lord Jesus.

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  16. Hello preachers! After having last Sunday off (I spent a lovely week at our retreat center in the mountains of N.C. working on my DMin dissertation…and may I just say that I made good progress). Anyway, I am venturing off lectionary this week. I know, I know, it's a walk on the wild side, but I am preaching Luke's "shake the dust from your feet" text. We are doing some house repair stuff this weekend – painting, replacing cabinet knobs, etc.

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  17. Thanks. Being Unitarian Universalist, I'm not on lectionary or anywhere near it. Tomorrow's service is site-and-time specific but the broad theme is choosing adventure, taking risk, engaging the unknown… Possibly a little bit of Grace and Providence will find their way in there. It seemed like a good idea when I said I'd do it. šŸ™‚

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  18. I am going with Isaiah b ut with a different twist. YEs in the Isaiah worldview it is a crisis that the vineyard wall is torn down and the vine produce wild grapes and things just generally go to pot. But maybe we need to go wild a bit to be who God would have us be? Maybe we have gotten to domesticated? Maybe our walls are too well-established?THere are a few phrases running through my ruminations:"Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" (one our USan neighbours hold dear)"Peace, Order and Good Government" (a concept from Canadian Constitutional theory)"Decently and in Good Order" (I am convinced my Presbyterian grandmother held this as her personal motto — as long as you shared her definitions of the words of course)"There are those of us who prefer a dead Christ in his place to a living one outside of our control." (does this strike close to the bone in many of our churches?)MAybe we need to be indecent and disorderly? Maybe we need to have the courage to renew the vineyard by letting our understanding of it be destroyed?

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  19. I'm enjoying reading all of your sermon plans. I have been in deep procrastination mode, and that means cleaning the living space rather than getting busy with sermon prep. It's all running around in my head.I made more coffee if anyone wants some. I just noticed with delight some sprouts popping up from the basil seeds I planted last week in a patio container. So many ways to procrastinate!

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  20. I am back from a week of holidays wondering what I was thinking when I choose this scripture to focus on a month ago – one thing I was thinking was that I did not want to wade into the mire of the gospel lesson for today – so I pulled the Amos 'basket of fruit' forward and declared tomorrow a Summer Celebration (I live in a tourist community where our numbers swell in the summer with cottagers and visitors). So I am muddling about trying to reconcile the doom and gloom prophesy of Amos and what I find a quite hopeful image in the basket of fruit. Then we go out to the beach for a picnic – so short and sweet is also a goal.I have some wonderful 'last of the season' fresh raspberries to share.

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  21. Nik, I'll be around to read it soon! I think you have a good idea – and really sometimes the "good enough" sermons end up being better than one imagines….because somehow they speak right into what someone needed to hear. So I say, let it be! Trust the SPirit.

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  22. Just when I think I'm not getting anywhere with the way I do council devotions – we have a nice talk about this Sunday's gospel text through the lens of the 'forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." I'm pretty excited since it's the first time ever my opening devotion has sparked discussion! Then there was a discussion on the value of the regular liturgy and changing things up a bit that veered off into some nice moments of personal sharing among the council members. A very good meeting indeed.Of course that doesn't help the sermon get written. With the funeral planning meeting and all that goes with it, it's not looking good for starting writing until this evening.

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  23. Sometimes I don't like my sermon's until after I have preached them and "felt" the connecting points with people….weird, but true. So, regardless I bet your sermon has connecting points that will be effective.

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  24. Welcome back RevDrMom! Will be easier if you can write one sermon for both contexts….will have to ponder the connecting points between Isaiah and Luke….(harder to do since I am not preaching tomorrow..)

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  25. How nice you had a good time off! How unfortunate about the organist/pianists father – hope all will be well. A contemplative said service can be lovely – hoping your congregation embraces it, even if it is a bit "awkward" at first….

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  26. I have changed direction.. with a breath of God's inspiration I am hugely grateful for, having a weary body and a brain like fudge. I am focusing on Hebrews 12- 1&2 and going with: The cheerers on- the very human 'saints' like Gideon who was told to "go in the strength he had" – enough because God was with him & sending him.Asking "Who is in your crowd of encouragers?" saints gone ahead. (Heaven has enough saints I have known and loved, for a street party!) "lay aside every weight" – what are you carrying? Going to give them each a stone and ask them to bring it for a Divine Exchange when they receive the Eucharist. Leaving whatever it represents at the cross and receiving grace, forgiveness, peace in exchange bought the with broken bread and poured out wine of Jesus life. Then to turn their backs on the altar and walk away from whatever they have left with God. Finally following and fixing our eyes on Jesus the Pioneer. The one who forges the way for us, laying the path into the unknown.. ( Haven't written the last bit yet. I have a party I have to be at, and so will be up very early tomorrow am to finish it all off.. and find some stones!) It has come and flowed alot easier than I imagined. Others must be praying for me, and God is good to this weary preacher. Ruth

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  27. I have a draft! I tied Isaiah to Luke with the theme of unexpectedness–some times it brings us joy, other times it brings grief and hard times. Also a challenge to think of the fire Jesus came to set as a fire in our hearts, a fire to live as committed believers I think I will just use the Luke part tomorrow afternoon at the outdoor service.Of course, I need to let it sit a bit and see if it still makes any sense when I reread it. Meanwhile I need to run to the store, and to the church to write the Prayers of the People.

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