brbjesus

Jesus is back!  That most certainly calls for a magnificent, very excellent, give-it-your-all sermon. Yes, indeed.

So . . . first things first.  Take a breath.  Or two.

Breathe in through your nose into your lower belly for 4 seconds.
Hold for a second or two.
Breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds.
Pause.
Repeat.
[From Calm Breathing]

There, now.  All relaxed and ready to go?

OK, then.  It’s all going to be fine.

We are here together.  And we have that amazing good news to tell.  Jesus is back!

Easter Preachers, welcome!  This is your party.   So, share what you’ve got, ask for what you need, and tell some good news here today.  What is going well in your life, work, family, hobby, or community?  We might even laugh a little.

Let’s fill up the snack table with Easter basket goodies or egg-inspired things or whatever you’ve got to offer.  Help yourselves to some Fair-Trade organic French Roast coffee.  You know it’s good because it’s brewed in New Orleans, baby!

A very special welcome — and tons of gratitude — to all of our not-preaching-this-week RevGals and Pals.  Thank you for stopping by with an encouraging word.

If this is your first Preacher Party — whether you are new to RevGals or if you have been lurking here on the blog for awhile — please introduce yourself.

Let’s party like Jesus just showed up!  Cuz, guess what?

[The pic (above) of the Southminster Presbyterian Church sign is made available through the generosity and good humor of their pastor, RevGal Marci Auld Glass, who said I didn’t have to give her credit, but I did anyway.]

137 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: “Jesus is Back!” Edition

  1. I preached tonight, and hubby is preaching tomorrow (I got Easter last year). But if I were, I think I’d be tempted to use a quote from Barbara Brown Taylor’s new book, “Learning to Walk in the Dark”: “Resurrection begins in the dark.” Maybe even make it my title. It’s such an obvious, overlooked truth. Maybe because I’ve been in the dark a lot lately. Waiting for resurrection to happen, any day now! Blessing too you, Sisters! You can DO IT! I have lots of coffee and chocolate to share! I can’t believe how much coffee we’ve gone through lately. Y’all must’ve been drinking it when I wasn’t looking. Or else I’m addicted.

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    1. Apropos of the dark on Easter, here’s a brief reflection I wrote for the back of the United Church of Christ’s ‘official’ (if there is any such thing in the UCC) bulletin cover for Easter Day. For what it’s worth.

      While It Was Still Dark

      “And very early in the morning the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary came to the tomb…”

      God’s glory dwells in the dark, beyond knowing and naming, mystery of love. God’s Spirit brooded over the void with the midnight beauty of a raven; thus were all creatures created. Under cover of night God hurried the Israelites out of Egypt, shadowing their flight with a dusky cloud. Jesus was carried in the hideaway of the womb and born at midnight, when everything was still. He sighed his last sigh in a darkness that covered the earth at noon. It was dark in the airless tomb where they laid him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary came and, through her tears, found life.

      Easter is a brilliant day, a sun that never sets, a glory that outshines all other glories. But it also a day of darkness, a mercy always half- hidden to our hearts. It is a ray of darkness. The light shines, yet the love that gave us Easter is no more comprehensible today than on any other day. It has always been this way. It took a while before the disciples stopped mistaking Jesus for a gardener, a ghost, a stranger. It took time for the Christian heart to find its voice and confess, “My Lord, and my God!” It will take us more than one trip to the tomb, more than one search of the garden, more than one good cry in the dark before we too begin to see.

      Jesus used to say, ‘Unless a grain of wheat is buried in good black dirt, it remains a grain of wheat. But if in that dark it sleeps and grows, it will yield and yield and yield.’ Easter is a seed that requires darkness to mature, and time. Too much light all at once damages the eye. You cannot hurry Easter. So don’t fret if you can’t see it yet, can’t see it all, or believe you don’t believe. Easter is in us, dark and rich, biding God’s time. That’s enough to know, enough for now. Enough for every heart to sing its alleluia.

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  2. I have nothing yet, though I have several disconnected ideas. I’d really like to have time to go to the consignment store in search of an easter outfit, so…yeah.

    When morning comes, I’ll have coffee with Caramel Macchiato creamer! And leftover enchiladas for lunch (because Good Friday Mexican food is a tradition for me, and this year I came home and cooked it instead of going out). mmm…

    If only a sermon was as easy to make as enchiladas.

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    1. I’ll be first in line for those enchiladas, Teri. My very favorite food, thanks to my El Paso childhood.

      I keep thinking I need a new outfit too. I hope you have time to check out the consignment store. Do report back!

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  3. i found this in last eyasrs service, so if you are looking for a childrens talk idea.

    Before class, use a permanent marker to label seven plastic Easter eggs with the numbers one through seven. [ i kept track of colours rather than numbering – the colours dont mean anything] Place the following items in the eggs:
    1. Pink – bread;
    2. Orange – wine
    3. Yellow – rope – arrest and trial
    4. Green – a thorn;
    5. Purple – a cross; and
    6. Blue – a stone – in front of the tomb.
    7. Yellow stripe – empty – liker the tomb on Easter morning

    Hide the Easter eggs around the room. Tell kids that you’re going to have an Easter egg prayer hunt. Let kids hunt until they’ve found all seven eggs; then gather everyone in a circle, and have kids take turns opening the eggs in order.

    After each egg is opened, have kids combine their knowledge of the Easter story to tell the significance of that item.

    Excerpted from Children’s Ministry Magazine
    CHILDRENSMINISTRY.COM BLOG NETWORK
    Copyright © 2012 by Group Publishing, Inc.
    http://childrensministry.com/articles/easter-egg-prayers

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      1. I do something similar to this with the students in school chapel, with the larger size plastic Easter eggs. For the wine, I use a small plastic cup; the set was given to me by someone else, but if think it may be an individual communion cup (not sure because we don’t use them, but it is nice looking).

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  4. saturday afternoon, finally got the liturgy done at 1pm, then lunch and down to the church to change the colours for tomorrow. musician arrived while i was there, and i had picked 8 songs [including doxology and blessing song] for tomorrow. i took one out, but just looked at the order of service, not sure what else to leave out. so many good hymns for Easter morning; and there are some you HAVE to include 🙂

    i was thinking about reflecting on surprises and change, but now i am thinking about fear and joy, and living resurrection. so who knows what will get written in an hour or three.
    and Soul Wiggles i love the idea of resurrection starting in the dark,.
    sometimes i wonder if i could preach Easter sometime other than Easter, when more of the congregation are here rather than on holidays.
    time for a cuppa and some date and apricot loaf, help yourself.

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    1. You describe so well the multiple heavy expectations that are heaped upon Easter Sunday. It is ours to figure out what to do with all of that, how to honor the Resurrection in the most wonderful ways, and still get people out in time for their holiday dinner plans. Tall order.

      Date and apricot loaf — yum! Thanks so much.

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    2. I have pondered doing a series (probably in the summer here, because that’s when many of our series seem to fit best) on big celebration texts–just preaching through the liturgical calendar’s readings one a week, so I could preach the texts outside their usual liturgical use (and could pair other hymns rather than the “required” festival hymns!)…and there are just enough to fit a summer series because I would need 10-12 weeks. (Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, MT, GF, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity, Annunciation, CtK…11!)

      Of course, then this year in the Narrative Lectionary we had the MT and GF texts on random lenten sundays, and it turned out that preaching them outside their Holy Week moment was surprisingly difficult, so maybe the series wouldn’t be as fun as it sounds after all. haha!

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  5. Good morning Gals and pals. Thanks for hosting Sharon. I don’t have to preach tomorrow- we do a fun all age service with Communion and Baptism. Communion Liturgy is here:http://www.tableliturgy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/not-seeing-is-believing.html
    With the children, we are doing an egg hunt similar to the one described by Pearl except that we don’t worry about the order of the symbols and so tell the story all higgledy piggledy! I like that!
    I’m about to have an Americano but making a Caramel Macchiato for hubby, so happy to take orders.
    And remember, when we feel we have to be stunning in our preaching on this Sunday of all Sundays, we can never trump that empty tomb!!!

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    1. I expected nothing less than higgledy piggledy from you, dear Liz! And you have just been crowned Barista of the Day here at the party. I’ll have a Mocha, for starters.

      Yeah, the empty tomb is the message, all right.

      Happy to see you today!

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  6. On Good Friday I spent the 3 hours in narrating the passion through the eyes of Mary Magdalene. It seems good and proper that tomorrow I tell of the resurrection through her eyes. Written. Definitely proclamation, not teaching.

    On Friday I attempted to wear a scarf wrapped over my head, Eastern style, whenever I was acting Mary. Apparently it was very effective. Also very amusing because I battled to keep it on my head all the time. I had a headache from tilting my head to keep it on! Either the scarf was too flimsy or my hair is too slippery. I shall not be trying that tomorrow!

    Hot cross buns on offer. My husband has just brought some in — I shall take them for those who have to stay on for both the dawn service and the 8am. But plenty to spare!

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    1. Ah, the pesky props. How powerful to see all of this through Mary’s eyes. I can imagine your congregation hearing some familiar things in a very new way this year.

      What is Easter without hot cross buns? Thank you, Pat!

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    2. I was just wondering how I could pull off yet another first-person-narrative from Mary M, after doing the woman at the well just a few weeks ago…. and I’m thinking maybe not this time, especially now that I know you have that covered, and someone will hear her voice! Thank you!

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  7. Good morning preacher galpals, spent the first part of my (too early) morning reading Matthew 26 – 28 through non stop to revisit the sequence of events and to experience the feelings and activities of all the players. Laundry on the go, a pot of tea well underway, sermon thoughts rolling around my cranium, and craving all the goodies y’all are mentioning. Several hospital visits to make today as well as a funeral and following up with family and friends about my mom’s recent fall and damage to her elbow. Thank goodness for a sense of humour and anticipation of tomorrow’s celebration of the resurrection! Blessings to one and all.

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  8. My congregation has experienced multiple deaths recently, including that of my father’s 4 weeks, which was both sudden and unexpected. We are all having a difficult time with resurrection. I am definitely sitting with the disciples this Saturday.

    I am using the Matthew resurrection story this year and saw this on fb a while ago, and it seemed to make sense, so F-E-A-R is the title of my reflection. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202836701412278&set=a.1408022314266.56020.1043676905&type=1&theater Not quite sure just where I will go… buy hey, it’s only 8 AM where I live!

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    1. Prayers for you as you wrestle with seeing resurrection in the midst of so much grief, your own and your congregation’s. Whatever you say, they will listen carefully and with love, because they know how real this is for you right now.

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  9. Good morning, Catherine. Gentle hugs and God’s healing hand on you and your congregation as you deal with so many deaths and long for Resurrection. Sitting with the disciples . . . nice place to be today.

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  10. A magnificent, give-it-your-all sermon? Uh-oh.

    I liked where mine was headed two days ago, and then yesterday not at all. Got up early this morning to try again and still not happy.

    I think I am overly focused on the possibility of newbies being there whom I’d like to see come back, and so of course I want to say something that tugs at their imaginations and pulls them toward church.

    What it says, essentially: Jesus sees that Mary Magdalene could go either way, backward or forward, and tells her to GO and preach resurrection, new beginnings, new creation — which are visible all around us.

    Going to brunch with a friend who was very suddenly widowed two months ago and has come into town to spend Easter with her sister. Maybe she’ll have something to contribute.

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    1. Hello, Robin! I do think that the “go back or go forward” choice is preach-able to newbies as well as the usual crowd. If there is any way to lift up ways that your current congregation is embracing Resurrection and moving forward, that would be good news to all, and might encourage repeat visitors, some of whom might be surprised that there is good news in a church. If there is anything you could say about your own “moving forward” story, I know that would be powerful good news.

      Many blessings as you enjoy time with your friend.

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    2. Robin, you might also want to take a look at what Rich Melheim posted on FB earlier this week (https://www.facebook.com/richmelheim, scroll down to April 14). He has a lot to say to young adults who have drifted away or rejected church; I think my favorite part is this: “When you were baptized you were branded with the mark that stands for total, complete, unwavering, fiercely passionate love. You belong to the greatest love in the universe. A love that would DIE for the friend. A love that would SACRIFICE for the poor. A love that would GIVE ANYTHING to bring health and wholeness to the downtrodden. A love that would GO TO THE GRAVE for the undeserving… even the ones who would spit in its face and spit at its faith. Christians may be xxxheads, but Jesus is not. He’s the most radically pure and righteous, tough and tender man who ever lived. And I believe… no… I know he is the will of God incarnate. The work of God in flesh. The wisdom of God – the impossible wisdom that gives us the free will to nail him to a tree and ignore him and call his people to a higher calling then they could ever achieve because, as humans, yes, they are xxxheads.”

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  11. This is what I would really like to say tomorrow … He’s not here, don’t be afraid, now go out into all the world and share the good news. The end (or is it the beginning) 🙂

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    1. That’s what I’d like to say also, Susan! It would be great some year to seriously just do that. State the mystery of the Resurrection in a sentence or three, and just repeat it a few times, have the congregation repeat with the preacher until they memorize it. And maybe they’ll actually remember the message when they leave, and maybe it will change their life for a few hours or a few days.

      Of course, then the naysayers will come and ask why the preacher didn’t do her job on Easter because what do they pay us for if not writing sermons? So I don’t have the courage for it this year. But I do think it’s worth seriously considering! 🙂

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  12. It’s almost 7:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time (U.S.A.).

    What I have is a bad title for the sermon — “The Bad News of the Resurrection” — which came from a previous sermon. I’ve been using old titles and sometimes intending to go “sustainable sermon,” and then end up writing a whole new one anyway. I know this one will need lots of help to overcome a title that seemed interesting on Tuesday and now just seems unfortunate to me.

    So far, the sermon idea — a lot like Susan said above — is that Resurrection doesn’t sit us down and offer us a warm blankie and a cup of tea now that “it’s over.” Rather, accepting that Jesus is alive means that we just woke up, too. The disciples had to — got to? — decide all over again to follow, or not. Seems like the decision would be even harder after Resurrection.

    But first, coffee. And I am planning to blow part of a Christmas gift certificate I got to Peace Bakery where they (supposedly) have gluten free beignets. Not sure how good they will be, but I’ll also bring back some of their muffins for y’all, and I know they are absolutely delicious.

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  13. As I have been reading the Matthew texts for last week and this week, two little details have been rattling around in my brain. In 26:32, after Jesus tells the disciples they will desert him, he tells them that “after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” And then in 28:7 the angel gives the women this message for the disciples: “indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” There’s something about those bookends of promise made, promise kept that feels important to say tomorrow. Especially since those bookends surround our denial, our fear, our betrayal. Right now, that’s only a nugget, and it may not grow up to be a sermon. I’ll find out later today.

    Before that, however, I need to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things, then to church to bake communion bread with our first-communion students. Right now, I have a bag of Honeycrisp apples to share; and a little later I’ll have some fudge in spring colors and flavors (pink – raspberry, yellow – lemon, green – mint, and orange that tastes just like a Creamsicle).

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  14. Good morning!
    I’m using Matthews gospel this year and am focusing on the “fear and great joy” and how Jesus appears to the women when they are in the midst of contradictory emotions.
    At this point, I’m planning on showing the funeral of Chuckles the Clown from Mary Tyler Moore, to illustrate “the other other Mary’s” reluctance to laugh when she feels she should mourn.

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  15. All-Age Baptism and Communion service tomorrow so I’m preaching a five-minuter! It was inspired by an article from Susan Russell on Huffpost about continuing to tell the truth and letting the truth do the work. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-susan-russell/for-holy-week-the-gospel-_b_5156366.html It is our (co-pastors) last Easter in this community and less than a month until we leave China so there are lots of things on our minds – some theological and liturgical and a really long to-do list. I hope to be really present tomorrow and not in the swirl of the busy.

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  16. Resurrection – so what? now posted. short, but that is Ok as we celebrate communion tomorrow. also to open the service i have put images to ‘Easter Hallelujah’ , thanks to RGBPs for linking to this beautiful song – and it goes for over 5 minutes.

    almost done, just a few things to tidy up, then a cup of tea and bed.
    the Ministers Fraternal have a dawn service tomorrow at 6 am, first time they have done this – I suspect i will sleep through it.

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  17. Not preaching tomorrow, but doing practically everything else. I’m the children’s team leader and we have been given the whole service to lead, so as team leader I’m being m/c. Our 10 to 13 year olds are doing a sketch (Sunday afternoon at the Arimathea’s house), other children are reading texts, still others have spent several weeks creating the set for the sketch (we also have a tent that will make a wonderful empty tomb). We will also be handing out little cards with encouragements/invitations on them, and inviting people to share them with each other. Oh and last year on 21st of April one of our member’s died. Her (non-churchgoing) family contacted us last week to say they’re planning to come – apparently they will be quite a crowd (around 12ish, for a congregation of 80ish). So our plan is to announce the hope of the resurrection in a joyful and (possibly quite chaotic) way. Our pastor will give a short (he has promised) mediation, and will also lead communion. After the service, there will be fizzy wine and nibbles for the adults, and an easter egg hunt for the kids. In the interests of fairness, they will be told to bring all the eggs to me to put in a basket. At the end I will share them out ! (because last year the teenagers found and ate all the eggs before the little kids could get there !)

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  18. Slept in late here….Ah…..a joy! Onto shopping, and making strawberry boden – to share w/you all. 🙂
    I began the 1st of 2 Easter sermons yesterday, and may stay w/the theme of fear and joy, but re-write it. Haven’t begun the 2nd using John’s Gospel yet.
    I’d preached a Good Friday sermon that was kinda simple – no theological treaties here- but got into the emotion of experiencing Jesus dead, really dead – and there was nothing to do. Ended w/watch the rock being rolled into place, and going home, because there is nothing else for you (emphasis on you) to do.
    This morning, via a fb post, my congregational matriarch shared, via a long post, the emotions she is feeling, her take on my sermon…and she got it…Yeah!
    Now, after shopping (during shopping, in my mind) and lawn mowing and Easter basket prep and hanging the Alleluia sign in over the altar….find a way to share the Good News!

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  19. Good morning, gals and pals!

    That’s actually the title of my sermon tomorrow – “Good morning!” – focusing, in part, on Jesus’ greeting of the women as he met them on the path, and how sometimes resurrection power greets us like that – how we have to go ahead and more forward in faith and fear before we actually encounter resurrection. Am also closing with a few lines from Maya Angelou’s stunning poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” which actually ends with the words “Good morning.”

    In a stunning move, I managed to get my sermon draft finished before our Good Friday service last night – it’s an Easter miracle! I set that goal for myself early in the week, knowing that today would be busy with other kinds of prep (dyeing eggs with my kids, preparing Easter lunch for extended fam, etc.).

    Blessings to all of you on this Holy Saturday!

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  20. I’m wishing I had chosen the Mattthew instead of John (Methodists get to choose!), after reading Alyce McKenzie’s Edgy Exegesis commentary: http://www.patheos.com//Progressive-Christian/Favorite-Angel-Alyce-McKenzie-04-11-2014.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+patheos%2FNzEA+%28Column+-+Edgy+Exegesis%29
    But the sermon title/text is already printed in the bulletin, so John it is, “Racing toward the Impossible.” Here we go. Time to get a-writing. Someone left an Easter basket on my desk during the funeral yesterday – so I share with you homemade treats and plenty of chocolate for everyone!

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    1. I always check in with Alyce McKenzie, Jan Richardson and Mary Luti’s writings before I choose texts. They always managed to crack them wide open for me!

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  21. I’m not preaching on Easter for the first time in three years, so feeling a bit wistful. Hubby has managed to get his sermon finished last night, so has the day to spend with us (who’ve been a bit lonely this Holy Week!). Picnic by the river with a church family today (making those smashed potatoes with cheese and bacon on top). Easter dinner with a different family tomorrow (making lemon squares). And, I need to finish up those Easter dresses for the girls! Just a couple of seams, hems, and a good pressing left. (All these things brought to you by me not preaching tomorrow!).

    Blessings and prayers for each of you. The potatoes will be done soon, and I’ll leave them on the snack table. The lemon squares will probably wait till this evening, for a little pick-me-up.

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  22. Ok, heading out to a work party at church – yes, we are weeding/dusting/etc today :b Got a sermon knocked out yesterday, will have to see what it looks like when I get home this afternoon. Blessings you preachers. For the snack table, I have a few avocados and… not wait, that’s all I have. Guess Ib etter hit the grocery on the way home…

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  23. Heading off to a work party soon as well, and to train the young woman who will be thurifer tonight for the first time. My son is the one who has done the training or been thurifer for the last several years, but he at school a continent and an ocean away, and I am I suddenly find myself missing him a lot.

    Using the interactive St. John Chrysostom sermon at the Vigil tonight, so I need to get my timing and pitch for that worked out. Tomorrow I am preaching at the family service. I talking about fear, and after relating a fearful childhood experience of my own, I’m bringing up that people who knew Jesus were afraid too. I have very short monologues, which members of the congregation will stand up from where they are sitting to give, about their fear: Mary Mag, Mary the mother of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, a guard at the tomb, and Peter. I am working on focusing the different types of fear each ones had, of failure, of loneliness, of loss, etc. There’s a fuzzy part in here (that’s always the problem, isn’t it?) about bringing their fears to the tomb and the fears being banished–not denied, but put to flight–by the resurrection; that’s the core of the sermon. I do have the ending figured out, using those same 5 voices again as an echo…should work well.

    Anyone want kumquats, grapefruit, or lemons? Lots to share!

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  24. Good morning Gals and Pals,
    Preaching at tonight’s Easter Vigil, probably my favorite of all worship services in the church year. Using the Matthew Text, title “Afraid of the Light?” and now have a lot of fodder, thank you! Definitely going to spend some time with BBT today and her new book, and then finish this up in time to go dress shopping with the middle girl, the one who shaved her head to raise money for children’s cancer research a month ago. It’s all last minute here, it just is, with three busy girls and always too much to do. Good Friday with the confirmands went great, seven last words. Tomorrow, four services in the morning and one in the evening, but not preaching at any of them. Still looking for some good, quick children’s moments though! Bring em on!
    Blessings to you all.

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  25. Apparently I am destined to not listen to the wp nl podcast today. It just won’t play.

    Hectic, hectic day. In addition to the usual Easter stuff, I have a baptism today and the mission trip participants are doing a breakfast and bake sale tomorrow. More thing st o get ready for. I’m gone next week, so the newsletter and other assorted paper work need to be completed. I’m rethinking the strategy of taking a vacation the week after Easter! Maybe the week after the week after. But then I have to preach on low Sunday…..

    No start yet on the sermon. I had a pretty good idea last night as I crawled into bed, but I didn’t get up and write, so now it’s gone.

    Maybe a shower would help.

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    1. Yes, Ramona, a shower sometimes helps, or (in my case) a drive. I totally hear what you are saying about the mixed blessing of going away the week after Easter.

      Peace to you in the midst of the hectic day.

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  26. Holy Saturday…Easter Resurrection News!

    I just finished sending out the last official emails. I am taking a leap of faith and trust and moving to a new area. Phoenix!! I have the best friends and that is allowing me to make this transition. I will look for a part time call and then establish a spiritual direction practice…which has always been a deep love of mine.

    The congregation received their letter and has had some time to begin to digest that news…they are excited for me…and sad for them.

    It really does feel like resurrection…to be in a place where my cultural and creative side will have choices and provide balance for my ministry.

    Now…on to that sermon writing (oh…and laundry…as I leave for a week’s vacation right after the AMEN tomorrow.)

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    1. Resurrection News, indeed, Elaine! Many blessings upon you! You sound sure and confident that this is the way for you now. May that sense of call sustain you and your flock as you navigate this transition.

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  27. So thankful to have brought the bulletin home…because when I opened it to look for the number of the hymn after the sermon so I could check the lyrics again (hoping for inspiration!), I discovered that it wasn’t there, and in fact almost everything after the sermon was actually last year’s Easter bulletin, complete with hymn numbers from the hymnal we no longer have in the pews! A text conversation with the secretary, and she is going to go fix and re-print. Tomorrow morning I’ll go in half an hour early to swap the inserts to the new copies. phew!

    Let this be a lesson: my proofreading skills during Holy Week? not exactly up to par.

    Now to figure out what I’m going to preach about. The title is “We Do Not Know.” Though if I want to change the title, now’s my chance… (lol/sigh)

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  28. Just back from children’s sketch rehersal. oh dear… why did anyone ever think that that was a good idea. Two no-shows from kids with speaking parts. Young adults lined up to replace if they’re not there tomorrow. Also one of the costumes involves a yellow feather boa. It sheds everywhere – and our floor is black so it looks like an explosion in an easter-chick factory. Have blu’tacked surprise Easter cards underneath chairs and benches. Really hoping I don’t discover tomorrow morning that they have all fallen on the floor overnight !!!

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    1. deep breaths, there. Rehearsals for children’s sketches and pageants are always terrible, and they always pull it off well when the time comes. Sounds fun!

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    2. I like the exploding Easter boa! We can’t stop the good news of the resurrection from getting all over the place, just like we can’t control those feathers from falling off the boa… and even though the feathers and the news sometimes make things look like a mess, it’s really good news that some things are just out of our control! Roll with it 🙂 And thanks for the inspiring imagery of uncontrollable Easter goodness.

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  29. Woke up this morning not ready for Easter. I find I need this day of darkness, this day of entombment, before I can wake up to Easter. And even then I much prefer the empty tomb without adornment. The open question of Easter morning. “Suddenly Jesus met them and said ‘Greetings’ feels like rushing it to me. So often I’m not ready for Jesus to get in my face. I prefer the rising to the risen Jesus–the one growing more slowly into the risen life–his, mine and ours together. But then again on this gray Saturday morning with a world teetering on more war and with parents in Korea hoping against hope that their children will somehow be among the living maybe we and I need an in-your-face Jesus meeting us on the path with a bold “Greetings.”

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    1. this year i am starting with a song and images that tell the 3 day story – then a piece of poetry. this year it isnt the normal ‘big bang’ start.
      nice to know it isnt just me

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  30. And this quote from a prayer from the NEXT Church by:

    Jenny McDevitt, Pastor of Pastoral Care, Village Presbyterian Church Prairie Village, Kansas. (Jenny writes: “My theology professor Dawn DeVries assures me that “the church lives by a thousand resurrections” comes from John Calvin.)

    ‘Help us to remember and trust that “the church lives by a thousand resurrections,” and resurrection does some of its best work in the dark.’

    May your Easter be filled with much joy even in the midst of the exhaustion! Thinking of you all.

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  31. I’m vamping on the Paschal greeting for tomorrow’s sermon. During the children’s time we’ll talk about what makes us scared – are angels and Jesus scary? then why do they say “do not fear”? – and then I’ll be teaching them the Taize piece “Be Not Afraid.” I have a story of an Easter I spent at Taize, and all these people who didn’t speak the same language went around proclaiming Christ’s resurrection to one another because we knew what the person was saying even if we didn’t understand the words. If I said “Christ is risen” to someone, I knew that their response meant “He is risen indeed” regardless of the language in which it was spoken. Good news: the Resurrection is for everyone. And then we’ll sing one of the African Easter songs out of the hymnal. Hoping it all works together! If it helps in your context, feel free to steal my story about sharing Easter greetings with people you don’t know in languages you don’t understand, simply because you use the traditional greeting. This is one of those times when using the ancient practice can actually help the church today be more welcoming and united…. especially important to remember in a year when Orthodox and Western Easter are on the same day!

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    1. Thanks for this! I had the same experience greeting Orthodox nuns on the way up Mt. Sinai, nowhere near Easter. How wonderful to be greeted with the good news of the resurrection every day! Thanks for reminding me of that memory.

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  32. Good afternoon preachers….checking in here in hopes that it will force me to get on task, since I have not a word on paper yet! Working on the theme (I think) of “do not be afraid.”

    Day so far: woke to persistent knocking on my backdoor around 7:30, found the florist there wanting to deliver flowers to the church. Tried to go back to sleep to no avail, so started the laundry,went to the gym, did an hour on the treadmill, did some errands, went over to the church and made sure everything was in order, including getting out the “alleluias” and putting the new paschal candle in place; nice phone chat with a special friend, a bit of lunch. Now all that’s left is the sermon, and I really need to get it done. Attending the Vigil at a neighboring church tonight and DO NOT want to have to come home and write.

    It’s been an interesting Holy Week; low key in some ways and intense in others. My sermons for MT and GF were a bit different for me and I’m still not sure whether that is good or not. I have some interesting new developments in my life that are making it hard to concentrate….not ready to talk about it yet, but soon I hope!

    Now….MUST WRITE

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      1. I thought I was on to something new and fresh here (so hard at Easter) until I pulled up my sermon from three years ago and saw that it’s theme is, are you ready….. do not be afraid. Now the temptation is to use it again. But for Easter that just doesn’t feel right. Argh. Hope I can make it something new enough to feel authentic….and soon!

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  33. We’ve had a lovely sunny day here in Scotland. So I lay in the sun and took a nap. Much needed. I have to confess that I’m feeling very ambivalent about Easter this year – our congregation is being hit hard with bereavement. And, though I know that is precisely when we need to hear the good news of resurrection, it makes it harder to proclaim.
    We would normally chalk the path with Alleluias but I think I’m going to give that a miss this year and proclaim resurrection gently. Hope that doesn’t sound too terrible but it just feels to me that we need a quiet reminder of resurrection rather than an all singing all dancing celebration. We need rest and healing and the comfort of Easter this year rather than the high energy version.
    Meantime, I’ve written a reflection for Holy Saturday: http://liz-vicarofdibley.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-waiting.html
    I’m about to make some chai latte and serve up some lemon meringue pie, a gift from one of our matriarchs. Come and join me.

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  34. I just got a text letting me know that someone tried to break into the church last night. The custodian discovered it today, police were called, and there are some repairs that need to be made. I wasn’t requested on site, so I am staying out of the way.

    Sigh.

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  35. Well, I rewrote most of the sermon and re-oorganized all of it. I think it’s much improved, and I also think I may just have to live with that and no more — maybe for several weeks, as I rethink my preaching altogether. My daughter, who will be there to sing tomorrow but who has no interest in a life of faith, said to me a couple of weeks ago, “Mom, you’re a pretty good preacher for people who already believe what you do, but I’m not sure you’re convincing anyone who doesn’t.” She’s right, I think, but her timing wasn’t great.

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  36. Sermon is done. Laundry is done. Yay.
    I did go with “Flunking Easter” as a title. Will post after I do another read through later.

    I’ve got fresh strawberries if anyone needs a little extra afternoon pick me up.

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  37. Well, I have a draft, helped along by Will Willimon’s commentary in Feasting on the Gospels. Not sure I like this draft but it will have to do for now. Will edit after the Vigil I guess.

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  38. A prayer for pastors on Easter – Brian McLaren

    Dear Lord, I pray for all the pastors today
    Who will feel enormous pressure to have their sermon
    Match the greatness of the subject
    and will surely feel they have failed.
    (I pray even more for those who think they have succeeded.)

    Help them to know that it is enough
    Simply and faithfully to tell the story
    Of women in dawn hush …
    Of men running half-believing …
    Of rolled stones and folded grave-clothes …
    Of a supposed gardener saying the name of a crying woman …
    Of sad walkers encountering a stranger on the road home …
    Of an empty tomb and overflowing hearts.

    Give them the wisdom to know that sincere humility and awe
    Surpass all homiletic flourish
    On this day of mysterious hope beyond all words.

    Make them less conscious of their responsibility to preach,
    And more confident of the Risen Christ
    Who presence trumps all efforts to proclaim it.

    Considering all the Easter choirs who will sing beautifully, and those who won’t,
    And all the Easter prayers that will soar in faith, and those that will stumble and flounder,
    And all the Easter attendance numbers and offering numbers that will exceed expectations
    And those that will disappoint …
    I pray they all will be surpassed by the simple joy
    Of women and men standing in the presence of women and men,
    Daring to proclaim and echo the good news:
    Risen indeed! Alleluia!

    For death is not the last word.
    Violence is not the last word.
    Hate is not the last word.
    Money is not the last word.
    Intimidation is not the last word.
    Political power is not the last word.
    Condemnation is not the last word.
    Betrayal and failure are not the last word.
    No: each of them are left like rags in a tomb,
    And from that tomb,
    Arises Christ,
    Alive.
    Help the preachers feel it,
    And if they don’t feel it, help them
    Preach it anyway, allowing themselves
    To be the receivers as well as the bearers of the Easter
    News.
    Alleluia!

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  39. Hi pals, Thanks for the preacher party today. I’ve checked in several times as I’ve worked and reworked my sunrise reflection. It’s been a long week, struggling through a bad cold/flu, and I meet my crew eaarrrrrrly at 4:30am to make our sunrise drive and hike. Just the teeniest bit of rest in store until then. So thanks for the camaraderie and inspiration on a day I have really needed it!

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  40. ah a busy day for preachers and the party is here. I’ve got my sermon, not completely happy with it. But now have worship finished. Back to edit again I guess. I’m using Matthew and Colossians and focussing on seeing differently so that we can see hope in the emptiness of the tomb. we shall see if it flies. best to all!

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  41. Done! Sneaking in an early Alleluia here, hope you don’t mind. Now to finish the Alleluia banner that the children must find in the morning. So grateful that the youth are completely in charge of the breakfast worship, and all I have to do at 7:00 am is show up!

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  42. It’s already Easter here so the Alleluias are back. We’re unfurling them from the gallery tomorrow. Meantime, I suppose I should get some sleep before it’s time to share with a congregation who need to hear words of Resurrection hope and love.
    I am so glad Lent is finally over this year.
    Blessings beloved RevGals.

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