Welcome to the banquet, friends! Come on in and find your place at the table.

This new blog home is one of the many ways we are joining together and Boldly Going into Our RevGal Future.

I hope the detour didn’t confuse you too much.

Oh, do you like the new decor? All the credit goes to our newly-selected, multi-talented RevGalBlogPal Director and tirelessly creative blog techno-whiz, Martha Spong. Feel free to offer her your own bouquets of appreciative superlatives!

Don’t be shy. Make yourself at home. Mingle. Meet new friends. Introduce yourself, if you please.

Take the self-guided tour. If you have any questions, please ask!

May all who enter here be blessed.

May you find here a feast that is generous, inspired, not-too-messy, and utterly delicious.

You can count on the coffee to be hot, delicious and Fair Trade. What did you bring to share?

Oh, yes, and that sermon. R-r-r-i-i-g-h-t. That. How’s it coming? How can we help?

WELCOME, friends! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

209 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: “Place At the Table” Edition

  1. Doing my usual procrastination before actually writing. Preaching on the gospel – and pondering- was the important Pharisee with whom Jesus is dining just as “on the margins” as Jesus’ other usual dinner companions. Lofty positions isolate too! Working that out a bit.
    Breakfast is berries and yoghurt and hot tea.
    Want to get some writing done before I head out to conduct a wedding about an hours drive away.


  2. Also love the look of the new site – but WILL NOT PROCRASTINATE by exploring it instead of finishing the sermon. (I have a text, but it reads too like an essay – probably because it started life as an essay on Work.) This morning’s project is to make it sound like a sermon. I want to help people to dream – and to realise that their every day lives are places where they can received God’s blessing and serve Him.

    I’m also breaking my own rule by having people for lunch tomorrow – one of my “house rules” is “mummy doesn’t cook if she’s led the service, she expects to be taken to a restaurant” but some old friends are in town this weekend so I invited them. Making a bunch of prepare ahead stuff this evening, so all I have to do tomorrow is a little light garnishing.

    OK – enough procrastination. Olive and chorizo bread to share and an unlimited supply of Bush Tea.

    (Hmm, can’t work out how to comment with my usual alias so I’ll just have to be myself.)


    1. Alison, I thought I had earlier today properly welcomed you. That might have been during the early challenges of the day on the new blog.

      Please do enjoy being yourself here! Olive and chorizo bread? Yummy!


  3. I can get replies without checking back .. Awesome! I am otherwise known as Ruth. Just about to make a start on Hebrews.. The sun is shining and calling me out to play.. But I am trying to resist . All about love, fellowship & entertaining angels unawares…


    1. Ruth, thanks for bringing cake to the party. You are an angel!

      A little sunshine-y play can be great sermon inspiration. If it calls you, it could be the Spirit. Sometimes it really is. No, really. 🙂


  4. like the new blog and the new look, well done Martha, feeling I need to reconnect here too, it is the beginning of the Methodist year tomorrow, a good day to be preaching…


  5. Good morning!
    Patty, you can sign in via WordPress as you apparently did, or use a Twitter handle, or use your Facebook identity. My suggestion is to create a WordPress sign-in (just as many WordPress and Typepad users did over at Blogger), so WordPress knows you when you get here.
    Alyson and everyone, I hope you will find time later to explore.
    We are off to an adjoining state +1 to a major league baseball game, so I will be checking in by phone. I have known about this trip since March, and it seemed like a good idea when it wasn’t my last Sunday covering a Sabbatical. …
    More later, and I will do my best to help with tech questions along the way.


  6. Wow! Loving the new digs and hoping I don’t crash the party with a prayer request. Basically, my life feels like it is falling apart on this early morning. Many unbloggables. The ones I can share – I am feeling terrible (sore throat, headache, etc), and tried to go to bed early last night but instead had to deal with a nine year old screaming temper tantrum until way too late. Then up at 6 this morning to take the 11 year old to her first cross country meet, only to have her screaming at the top of her lungs 10 minutes later because she couldn’t find her team jersey and so wouldn’t be able to run. I am not done with the wedding homily for today and it is a complicated service with three kids involved and I need to line it out before I get there. And the sermon and prep for the three services I am leading tomorrow isn’t done either. And the unbloggables make me want to alternately punch something and curl up in a corner and cry.
    I am preaching tomorrow on humility around the Luke text – the difference between self-flagellation and being humble and yet aware of one’s own worth. Perhaps I am preaching to myself. I’ve got the 2007 spring edition of Alive Now magazine filled with quotes, thank goodness. And fresh blueberries, homemade hot cocoa, and oatmeal and yogurt coming later. And I am sure this day will be filled with lots and lots of chocolate – I like the Trader Joe’s dark nonpariels. Plenty to share. Thanks for listening!


    1. Thank you Martha – and thank you for your support as these unbloggables have been going on for way too long! Now, I need to stop checking over here and get to work!


  7. Love the site–holding my palm cross and praying for all, especially you, MumPastor. I pray there are corners and pockets of peace in the midst of what you have before you. I often believe my kids (near in age to yours) pick up on my own energy….thus, the yelling/stress/tantrums arrive when I feel most near to that edge myself!

    Preaching on the Gospel–reflecting on the moments i have been starstruck and drawn toward “places of honor,” only to miss some truly honorable exchanges in the margins. I’m leading in the direction of Jesus not only asking us to choose our places wisely (including some being prepared to step forward into honor!), but also asking us to complete reset the table. It helps that our Hartford area newspaper included an article on a UCC church that has prayerfully determined to remove its cross so as to make their sanctuary hospitable for Jewish neighbors who will hold their Rosh Hashanah services there. Struck me as just the kind of thing Jesus was inviting from us. And of course we have the gift of Communion right there in the midst of it all. There are days I love the lectionary. Other days, meh….but this one is a gift.


    1. That UCC church story is powerful, Jennifer. And I know all too well that star-struck feeling. Sometimes it propels me forward to seek the best place and other times it makes me not want to take my place at the table at all.

      Still pondering what it means to completely re-set the table . . . thanks!


  8. OK, having succeeded in getting here, I wish I could delete the above, but I don’t see a way to do that.

    Just finished my sermon, Chicken or Egg?, to introduce the narrative lectionary: which came first, the church or the story? Personally, I give most of the credit to the narrative, but the question created a lively discussion in seminary one day. Lots of unbloggables, going on in my church life, compounded by this being the first time I’ve tried to work through this births-and-death anniversary week-end, which I am now seeing as a huge mistake. I am going to accept reality and let the sermon lie flat as a pancake.

    I am saving the week-end off for that year-delayed trip to Chicago, which my daughter and I are planning to make on Columbus Day week-end. If any RevGals want to join us for dinner on Sunday night, let me know!

    The site looks fabulous, Martha!


    1. Welcome, Robin!

      I could probably delete your comment above. Instead, I honor it as another bit of precious authenticity from you. It’s a great approach to this new blog and also to today’s gospel lesson! Well . . . it is!

      Knowing how challenging (understatement) this weekend is for you and yours, the church unbloggables are so unwelcome (another understatement). Love and prayers, dear one.


    2. Robin the prayer highway down Cedar and Euclid Heights is flowing strong. Sending prayers your way. What a difficult weekend.


  9. Welcome, everyone!

    I hope you don’t mind a slightly disoriented host. We just moved in and I’m still trying to figure out WordPress. That, and my life in general. (moving on . . .)

    Apparently, a nested reply moves the whole thing down to the bottom (newest)? That helps with keeping up with the latest comment.

    More coffee for everyone!


        1. And a very handy feature it is, indeed!

          Can I just claim that I’m trying to model grace in the face of total disorientation? That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. That, and I’m keeping the snack table especially full today.

          Cinnamon rolls and breakfast quiche for everyone!


          1. It gave me a generic gravatar after I went to all that effort to upload a real picture?!? You *know* this is more important work than making sure the nearly finished sermon is actually finished, right?


  10. oh my dears!!! the new site is fab, fab, fab…. and loads immediately (which was always a problem for me with the old one) and is easy to navigate and looks gorgeous and you are all here too!!

    That’s enough procrastinating for a Saturday! My supplies include lemsip/ tissues/ chocolate/ sinus tabs/ and cough syrup… I will not share the bugs…. or the drugs… just the love!

    I created my order of service for tomorrow three weeks ago before I went on Summer leave; returned to home on Tuesday with the mother of all summer colds and a dislocated jaw. My head is think and my face aches… and somewhere in there I have the kernel of an idea that links MLK’s dream with the idea of a table that welcomes all… without question or condition… not sure if it’ll be scripted or just noted… plus we have our “JEsus Big Adventure” presentation to kick things off – remember “Flat Jesus” back in June – well my congregation totally took it and ran – I have pics from Wales and France and airports and trains and Spitzberg and beaches and parks….

    love being part of this group xxx


  11. beautimous Martha!
    yesterday I took a “sick day” to let the stress out of my body… so I say, fellow gals… if you need it, the time and space to do that… take it. take it. take. it.


  12. Lovely new site! Trying to decide if I’ll bring an eye-opening passage from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In (on women’s leadership) into dialog with Jesus’s words here. She tells a story of a high-powered meeting, with too few chairs at the table, and seeing every woman in the group defer to the men present and sit back. I think it connects with the “reset the table completely” idea above. Jesus certainly isn’t asking any of us to value ourselves at less than we are, but there’s more here than just helpful social advice to avoid embarrassment. What’s the cost of our presumptions about self/other, whether we’re the ones at the table or in the second tier?

    Now, all that sounds like a lot of fun to chew on, but I’m also very due–as in any time now–with a baby, which makes it hard to write a sermon that I won’t preach if labor begins! Grateful for the sub on call.

    Please help yourself to a brownie and a cup of decaf. I know, I know, the brownies aren’t quite sweet enough. A smear of Nutella seems to do the trick. Tell them the pregnant lady made you do it!


  13. Still trying to figure out how this format works. Preaching tonight, probably using Ps. 112 and Hebrews Contentedness and extending hospitality, bringing Heaven to Earth. The Lords Prayer is rattling around my head in reference to these two scriptures…on Earth as it is in Heaven.


    1. We can figure it out together.

      One thing I did figure out:

      If anyone wants to, you can go in and change what is visible to us from WordPress username (mine is sharonmtemple) to something you would like us to call you (Sharon Temple). It doesn’t have to be your entire name or your real name. It could be be just a first name or a nickname or whatever.

      I do think that Lord’s Prayer phrase “on Earth as it is in Heaven” is more than hope; it’s commissioning us. Challenging, all right.



  14. At the tidying up stage and looking for a piece of art of a photo to illustrate the idea of heaven as a big dinner party. I had planned to use this:–spot.html

    but the guests appear to be almost exlusively male (7 women out of 103 – seriously !) which is a shame as its a great idea. Any ideas for an alternative gratefully received (else it will be a photo of an awards dinner)


    1. Good morning, Alison!

      The pictures that are out there depict the (sad) truth is that women are not always present, in numbers or at all, at the table. Today, I’m especially thinking of the table at which the decisions to go to war are decided.

      Looking forward to alternatives that might come forth.


      1. Sharon – I so agree with you. If I was preaching the Luke text… (no no no too late to change) but for the Luke text I could imagine using this picture as a starting point…


  15. So excited for our new internet home!
    Tomorrow we are worshipping-through-service, so I don’t have to write a sermon, only prayers. We’re opening with a hymn sing, reading Matthew 25 (though a conversation in Lectionary Leanings on Tuesday has me pondering whether to read one of the lectionary texts as well), and heading out to work.
    Of course there is one person who is upset that I’ve excluded all the not-young-and-healthy people, which is in no way true factually, but is her feeling. 😦 Trying to both include their family, offer grace, and remember that has very little to do with me or this actual event.

    Today I will be spending my day of not-writing-a-sermon by getting my hair cut (praise the Lord), going to the farmer’s market, making something I can take to a party tomorrow evening, and cleaning for a houseguest arriving after said party. And reading a lot, pretending I’m a normal person with a normal weekend. It feels weird already, so I’ll probably be back to hang out with you all before long. 🙂

    I have an amazing local-fruit crisp–apple peach blueberry with only the normal amount of topping (instead of my usual double!). It makes an incredible breakfast, ice cream optional. help yourselves!


    1. Ooooh, Teri, thanks for the delicious treat!

      Your “regular person” weekend sounds very nice. I’m enjoying something of that myself, since the congregation I serve is doing a New Orleans Celebration in remembrance of the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. A lot of work went into the planning and I have things to do today and tomorrow, but no preaching.

      Do come back and let us know how it’s going.


  16. Morning all
    Lovely place! Looking forward to exploring the nooks and crannies. Thanks Martha! And thank you Sharon for hosting today. Let the good times roll!
    We are off to the local farmers market to pick up bread from a fabulous baker. It has been a very full week. The open house/ BBQ/picnic was excellent. At least 105 folks came including a 4 household of neighbors. My fabulous transition team set up , managed the food and drinks and even cleaned up so I could attend to hospitality and house tours. I finally moved into my new office after a 2 month extreme makeover. All the furniture is not yet arrived but it is feeling like home. Speaking of home…we accepted the low offer on our “in another state” home on Wednesday. Over $30,000 less than where we started which is will alter other plans but we can continue supporting 2 places. Waiting on inspection and such. If all goes well, we will close in the first week of October.
    Yesterday was my day off and I barely got out of bed. But today is a new day and all will be well.
    Will check back later and try not to procrastinate too much exploring the new digs.


  17. Love the new site – and Sharon, the ‘paper’ background to your comments is way cool (does that make me too geeky to be excited over that?)!

    The fam just left for the city. I have 1) just to darn much stuff to do today and 2) no desire to travel after all the miles I’ve logged in the last week – so I decided to stay home. Lots of paper work and organization and a news letter in addition to a sermon to write. Plus a baptismal meeting.

    My head is swimming a little. In the last 14 days I’ve had a funeral, a marriage, and now a baptism. That’s a lot of activity for my small rural call,and the first time I’ve had that particular combination. I’m finding something meaningful and sacred about the juxtaposition of these life events. I can’t quite name it,but I’m continuing to ponder it.

    I’m preaching on the Luke reading. I have a nebulous idea to tell the wedding parable following the readings and connect it with the resurrection party God is throwing. Pastor Dan in my text study made a wonderful connection which put words to my own thoughts. I do have an ok sustainable sermon, so, with everything else I have to do today, I might just put the idea on the back burner and revamp the ss. We’ll just have to see where the Spirit leads!

    First I have to get out in the garden and harvest before it gets any hotter here. I’m making some gazpacho today. Who would have thought 6 cucumber plants would yield such bounty? If any one has any cucumber recipes besides cucumber and onion salad or gazpacho, I’d really appreciate it! We have some lovely slicing tomatoes too – help yourself.


  18. quick question – is it the same formula as before to post a link? Just finished, so need to put it to the blog first…..


    1. Oh, thanks, Ramona, for that feed back. I thought the paper was cute, too, but I thought it showed that way for each person for their own comments. This whole transition is geeky, so thanks for joining in!

      What a full and busy and delicious and wonderful — if challenging — life you have going over there. Perhaps your S.S. could incorporate your latest inspiration?

      Tomatoes, YUM!


  19. Lovely digs!

    I’m not preaching today for the first time in quite a while. I’m hoping to finish a sewing project over the long weekend. Well, it HAS to be done by Tuesday morning, so I don’t really have any choice! We have a chocolate overload/abundance here, so I’m happy to share chocolate-chocolate chip cookies and some brownies. Help yourselves!


    1. Welcome & thanks so much, Esperanza. An abundance of chocolate is a blessing indeed!

      In honor of the holiday weekend and our RevGal new house blessing party, I have put some burgers on the grill: beef and turkey are on one grill and veggie burgers safely sequestered on another. They smell yummy. Help yourselves to all of your favorite picnic food and drink.


  20. My brain is a bit slow to catch up, but I like the new look!

    I’m focussing on Jeremiah and cracked cisterns (how many of my people will imagine toilets when this is read?) leading to wading into the living water and forgetting our own egos etc. Very tentative but I hope it will do. Not sure how to end it though.

    I’m just back from the parish’s food fair which was very successful but tiring. With any luck we will now be able to pay the diocese our assessment for last month!


  21. Three quarters of the way there! Why does this some time seem to take SO long? ( and much cake)
    Stayed mostly with entertaining angels unawares … Re- wrote this familiar anecdote as part of it..

    Angels don’t always look like they are supposed to. We think of them as huge shining beings with enormous wings, but it seems they most often come in disguise. They come as strangers. Bedraggled, unkempt, untidy. The sort of people we perhaps wouldn’t want to sit next to on a bus, or in church for that matter. Strange. Not like us. A nuisance even. They may make us feel uncomfortable.
    I am giving you a lot of stories this am, but there is one of a homeless man who wanted to go to church. He was late, because he didn’t know what time the service started, and didn’t own a watch. He talked loudly to the people on the door, who met him with worried faces as he came in. He was fairly deaf, and had no idea of the volume of his own voice. They shushed him curtly, as he was disturbing the orderly worship within. His clothes were dirty and torn, and he hadn’t had a bath or a shower since.. Well he couldn’t remember when. He was hustled back out the door very quickly, much to the relief of the twitchy nosed congregants and the anxious preacher, who had almost lost her place in the kerfuffle.
    The man sat heavily and wearily on the steps outside the church. Being familiar with rejection, didnt make it easier, and he hadn’t expected it here. A barefoot stranger sat down beside The strange, rejected fellow. He had wounds in his feet. “Don’t worry, Dave,” he said gently, calling him by name. ” Laying a nail pierced hand into Dave’s weathered palm, he whispered. ” they haven’t let me in there for years”

    Also found a resource on my own blog when looking for stories of angels.. Sometimes it is under your own nose! Doh! If useful to anyone else it is a page listed on the front page of my blog, called ‘Water for the journey’

    Going for a walk to clear my brain and will finish up later.


    1. Here is my angel story. I had had a rough winter. I had a miscarriage, my husband and I were not speaking because I wanted another baby and he most emphatically did not, my oldest was in kindergarten and only doing reasonably well (he got an ‘unacceptable’ for scissor use….) and my little guy was showing all the signs of what would eventually be diagnosed as processing disorder, more probably high functioning autism.
      It was testing day for my kindergartener and we had been warned to be there on time, with a full tummy. But we had a new puppy and he escaped. I couldn’t find him anywhere although I looked and looked for far too long. So, with breakfast in hand, the boys and I left in the car for school. They were crying, I was crying. I finally stopped at neighborhood entrance and we ‘had a talk with God’ asking him to take care of our Howler.
      To school and back and when I turned on our street, I could see a woman standing in our driveway with Howler on a leash. My little one and I got out and rushed to the dog. Unhurt, crying those ugly nose tears, we looked up at the woman and she said “God sent me here. Is this your dog?” She said she had found him ‘over there’ when she was walking her dog and God sent her to our driveway after she took her dog home.
      I know everyone in my neighborhood who has a dog. I have never seen her again.
      God knew I needed Him to show He still cared even if only for a little rescue dog.


  22. In my best Jasmine-from-Aladdin voice: “It’s all so magical!”

    Seriously, the site is beautiful. Thank you to everyone who made it happen.

    As for preaching… trying to preach the last in my Job series, not a word written and three very different ideas of the direction I should take. Just saw my younger child off– she’s driving herself to college (7 hours) for the first time. A bit of nail-biting going on here. But the look of joy on her face as she drove off… priceless.

    Happy writing all!


    1. Ah good it finally worked….

      Tomorrow the sermonic query is “for what do we labour”. Using Isaiah 55 along with Luke on worry and birds and flower. Oh and a bit of Paul “he who does not work should not eat” for flavour.

      In other news, today is our (Patty and I) 11th Anniversary. SO maybe we and the girls will go out for supper????


  23. I am once more making determined plans to not only blog more often, but to attend this party more often.
    And today, I am working at a coffee shop (which I like to do anyway) because my apartment building was struck by lightning in last night’s storm and we lost cable, phone and (most critically to me) Internet. So I am soldiering on…
    Not sure what I am saying yet…


  24. This new site is so lovely! i normally don’t leave my WHOLE sermon til saturday, but that’s the case today. preaching on luke, and on small ways that we seek status, since mine is a congregation that would willingly give up a seat or help others, no questions asked, so I needed other ideas. I’m using examples such as always needing to be right in an argument, always needing to be acknowledged, always needing to have all the news (gossip) first or be ‘in the know’ as examples of when we seek the exalted places. Haven’t got an ending yet, so I’m playing on the interwebs. I’m always so grateful for the companionship of the preacher’s party, even though I am mostly a lurker and not a commenter.


  25. Love the new site … great work, Martha … saying a prayer for all of you as you deals with challenges mentioned and unbloggable, and prepare to lead the people of God in worship tomorrow


  26. Good morning! I’m an infrequent partier these days, so many of you will not recognize me, but this used to be my usual Saturday hang-out. The new site is nifty! It feels roomy and bright!

    I’m about half-way through a Sabbatical coverage stint, and am re-tooling a “Sustainable Sermon” for tomorrow. I’ve noticed something as I sort through almost six years’ worth of old sermons–namely, a shift in my preaching as things got more and more ugly at my former congregation. It has not been a pleasant revelation, but perhaps a necessary one. As a result, many large chunks of the sermon I’m preaching tomorrow are from one I wrote in 2004. That means lots of retooling to do today.

    I’ve got homemade guacamole and tortilla chips I made from organic corn tortillas (baked, not fried) to share!


  27. I’m still messing around with the gravatar …. and I thought I clicked the box for all the email to the post but I seem to only be getting replies.

    It feels kinda like the equivalent of standing next to light switches and saying “What’s this go to?” while flipping it to see what happens.


  28. Whoo Hoo! a real picture and we’ve already hit 80+ “thoughts” clever labeling there! I can remember pushing hard to get 100.


  29. wow! almost to 100 and it’s not even noon central time yet.

    Sarah: I think the “notify me of follow-up comments” box is just what it says–it only notifies you of follow ups to your comment. ? Not sure if “new posts” would then mean blog posts or comment posts…

    I’ve been to the hair salon, the grocery store, the farmer’s market….the only thing I didn’t do was go to the hardware store to see if I could figure out how to fix my running toilet by myself. I’m sure I could, it’s just that it’s daunting enough that I don’t even want to go to Ace. lol. (the floaty-arm thing broke off, basically, so it never knows the tank is full. sigh. Good thing I know how to turn off the water behind there…)

    I’m enjoying some leftover risotto and pondering my next normal-person-weekend move. Netflix? A book? play with the cats? do some work that’s been waiting for a free day that never seems to come? clean? (HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA.)

    must be time to check facebook…


    1. The “floaty arm thing” is usually one of the easiest parts to fix! I can probably talk you through it over the phone. The hardest part is turning off the water.


        1. When I go into Ace Hardware and they ask if I need help that’s what I ask for and they know just what aisle it is on … 😛


        2. If you get fancy and go to the big orange or blue places you have to know big words like “plumbing supplies” or “toilet repair” but for simple people like me Ace is the place


          1. Even I have replaced the floatie arm thingie with great success – just took a picture of what was broken and took that to the hardware store with me. I felt so accomplished!


    2. Well, my toilet is running too, only it doesn’t have a floaty arm thing(ie). It has one of those black canister looking do-hickeys. My dad says it needs a new rubber seal. I have also not made it to the hardware store.

      Martha–maybe we need a plumbing feature on the new blog? 🙂


  30. I’m having such trouble getting started with anything. Part of it is that I really need to get the newsletter finished first so I can do the other stuff at the church while it’s printing – and I just don’t want to work on it! The biggest problem is that I’m so tired and I need a day off.

    Then I find these great works about listening and rest from Craig Satterlee at Working Preacher. Just the reminder I needed – I thought I’d share if case anyone else is in the same boat!

    Now to read some good preaching! At least I get that regularly from all of you here. The rest part is harder….


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