Welcome, to the 11th Hour Preacher Party!

RCL Preachers can tackle the “funeral passages” from John, the stoning of Stephen from Acts, and living stones from 1 Peter. Discussion and directions are here.

Palmetto State Park, TX. Photo by Monica Smith, 2012
Palmetto State Park, TX. Photo by Monica Smith, 2012

Narrative Lectionary Preachers can ponder the Athenians’ altar to an unknown God and Paul’s appropriation of same. Lots of good background info and more discussion here.

In other good news, no one will be fretting about it being Mother’s Day this week!

Bring your prayers, your children’s time ideas, your worries, your frustrations, your stumbling blocks. We will make our burdens lighter by sharing them, and multiply our joys.

On the snack table: brownies leftover from this week’s End of Year Teacher gifts. Help yourselves!

 

78 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: The Way

  1. First?! Me?
    Going with the gospel. I wasn’t going to, but the more I pondered, the more it spoke. Focusing on what Philip says “show us the Father” and how we can find our way
    Also going to sing the fabulous Georeg Herbert poem/hymn Come my way, my truth, my life.

    I wrote a good deal on Thursday, so hope that today I will be filling in the gaps

    I have fresh coffee, home baked ham and free range eggs to share

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    1. Yum.
      I’ve somehow never preached on this Gospel text, but it wouldn’t let me go this time, so I know what you mean. Blessings!

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  2. On vacation! Headed for an evening with friends in Tallahassee and then a week on St. George Island. But I just woke up from the worst-ever Sunday lack of preparation-lost sermon-wrong-clothes-car-accident-lost-en-route dream. Do I have Stuff to deal with or what. ?! Have a great day, everyone.

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  3. sermon (?) is about half usual length.we are including our annual election of church council members, and accepting the budget after the sermon, so i am trying to keep it short. i have kept Acts 2 and Psalm 23 from last week for this week. Thinking about how we live out our life as a congregation , and what would help us to live it out more fully?

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  4. It’s graduation weekend here. My congregations are small enough that I go to all the graduations (usually one on Saturday and one on Sunday). The twist this year is that the one on Sunday is my son’s, so it’s more than a little hectic around here.And my daughter and her boyfriend are coming this weekend. Plus, I have a pre-baptismal meeting this morning, and a funeral Monday morning with the accompanying family prayer service Sunday evening. Needless to say, there’s lots to do this weekend.

    I’ve been preaching an Easter series on the resurrection appearances – this week it’s Breakfast with Jesus, part 1. I tried out my sermon ideas at Thursday’s nursing home service. I’ve started recording those on my tablet, so when I sit down on Saturday I have a most of the sermon done. Still I feel more than a little stressed out!

    My spouse is making breakfast – sausage and eggs, lots of protein to sustain us today. Help yourself.

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    1. What a brilliant idea to try out ideas at the nursing home. I usually get it the other way around, where they get a rerun of the previous Sunday’s sermon. Your way makes more sense. I hope it comes quickly so you can get to the graduation business at hand.

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  5. Decided to go with next week’s readings since there’s a baptism this week, I will be at a Conference meeting next week, and church will be there too because we’re part of hosting it. That also means that I need a shorter/longer version of the sermon this week, since the baptism is at one congregation, but not the other.

    That said, it’s been a busy, crazy week, AND we decided it was time to put our beloved cat down yesterday, so I haven’t done a lot of the prep I normally would have done. It wouldn’t be so bad, but my faithful four-legged companion used to “help” me sermonize in all kinds of ways (blocking the computer screen, sitting on my books, snuggling on my lap, or on her nearby perch that’s still on my desk). It was our Saturday ritual for just about the past 5 years, and so I’m missing her presence. Perhaps I’ll find my way over to the library for a change of scene as I contemplate the gospel and the Good News that God doesn’t abandon us… and finding some way to link that to a baptism.

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    1. Sorry you are missing your sweet sermonizing kitty. A change of scenery might be a good idea. “God doesn’t abandon us” is always good news!

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  6. blah, I truly can’t be bothered, I just want to go and play. Not the best way to kick off sermon writing!!! lol
    Pondering 1 Peter, stones…stones that proclaim the wonderful acts of God etc… thinking of church as a community of story/ies… which is pretty much where I was at on Tuesday.
    Ah well, onward, ever onward.
    I have nectarines, bananas and greek yoghurt to share…*she said, virtuously* πŸ˜€

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    1. Very, very virtuous. πŸ™‚
      I love the 1 Peter text. Not that I have an idea where to go with it, but I do love it.

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  7. FYI, preachers, there is a good conversation going, with ideas about all of the RCL texts, over at the revgals facebook page. You may need to scroll down a little, but it’s a long thread with good stuff.

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  8. I’m going with living stones, royal priesthood. But first I’m riding my bike to the first farmers market of the year. Then I’m going to an Art Quilt meeting in Santa Fe. Never been to one before. A step out into the unknown (and a a step away from must-do church meetings). Check with you all later. Have a most preacherly morning!

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  9. here I am, a Narrative Lectionary preacher, trying to come up with something to say about Paul in Athens. I’m enjoying the fact that this happens long after Athens has slipped from its glory days, and I’m pondering beginning the sermon with “once upon a time…” and then trying to use it to talk about how we often make an idol of our past, while God is busy with new life/resurrection/new things. I included the end of the chapter that says that some of the people Paul was talking to decided not to listen anymore once he started talking about resurrection…cuz isn’t that kind of what we do when it comes to trying to look forward rather than back?

    We’re having a fundraising concert (well, a piano recital) tomorrow night, with a reception after, so there’s lots of baking going on at my house. As long as you leave some for that, feel free to help yourselves to banana bread, strawberry-limeade cupcakes, mexican hot chocolate cookies, and anything else I whip up during the day. πŸ™‚

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    1. I think you’re on a good track with the idol of the past/not wanting or being able to look to the future.

      And Mexican hot chocolate cookies sound perfect. Thanks!

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  10. I’m preaching about re-claiming our identity…particularly the identity of the church. It is God who gives us our identity and calls us to the responsibility that comes with it. It’s one thing to be called God’s people, living stones, royal priesthood, disciple etc…it’s another to be those things. The challenge to the listeners will be: what does it look like for the church to be those things in today’s context? I think the sermon will be a blend of the Acts, John and I Peter passages. We are in the middle of a communal discernment process, so it is my prayer that it will offer resurrection hope to a congregation that is struggling to find it’s identity after a decade of decline and conflict. I may, however, first take a walk to our local farmers market and special outdoor craft show before I wrap up the writing.

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    1. And I’m thinking how the “ask anything in my NAME” ties all this together – since the biblical idea of “name” was “everything I am, my whole being, is represented by this name.” Finding our identity means seeing ourselves through Christ’s identity.

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  11. Living stones for me, though it has not been an easy one. I have ploughed my way (sorry about the mixed metaphors) through this one. It seemed a good idea when I started but didn’t develop well. Apart from holding up a stone and asking for characteristics and then taking a (living!) child and asking for what characteristics he or she show to prove life, I am singularly lacking in any inspiration. I’ve put something together, but I’m not boasting about it. I avoided the gospel as I had a funeral this morning, attended by many of the parish, and preached on the same gospel reading. Doesn’t help I have a major headache. I think just a week with too many people in it — I need some space in my life!

    Cappucino fudge. Please have some as I will get too fat if I eat it all!

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    1. Lots of chocolate at the party! Thanks, Pat!

      I hope you can get some rest and space and get rid of the headache, and that the Spirit will surprise you with where the sermon goes!

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  12. A sermon is written. It is not the best thing I’ve ever written, for sure. I am going to let it rest for a bit and see what it looks like when I come back.

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  13. Tomorrow is a baptism of an infant whose family has heard we do the best baptism in town and a new member is joining. So the sermon has to be short, sweet and to the point. I’d decided to preach on John, for which I am now kicking myself because I feel like I have to apologize for the ways we’ve misinterpreted the text for longer than I have to preach the sermon. Did I mention, I only have 6 more weeks with this congregation that I love and care for before being reappointed? Prayers for you all in your sermonating. I know the Holy Spirit will lead me to write something soon.

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    1. Now I am very curious about what “the best baptism in town” is like!
      Over at workingpreacher.org (if memory serves), they encourage the preacher to just preach what it means, which will speak for itself, not worry about apologizing for the prior yuck. I don’t know if that will be helpful to you.
      (And I may be Presbyterian, but I’m married to the UMC, so I know about reappointments and moving on and how hard it can be. Hugs.)

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  14. Best baptism? Who knows what that means, but that is what the mother told me. The husband did grow up Methodist so I felt like it was a good thing to do despite the fact the family has never attended worship here. We make baptism quilts for the babies & give the family a candle to light on the anniversary of the baby’s baptism so the family can remember the baptism and be thankful. I also walk the baby down the aisle so the congregation can get to know the baby a little more, but I don’t think these are particularly different from other congregations in town. Thanks for the hugs, Monica. My previous reappointments were at a good time for the ministry. This one was out of left field for me and for the congregation.

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  15. Hey preachers! Busy morning here after a busy week, with another busy week headed this way. But that’s life, right? I am preaching on John “in my father’s house there are many rooms” I think I am anyway. As I said on Tuesday I’ve preached this passage before (focusing on the way, the truth and the life part) and it is hard for me not to just want to go the sustainable route b/c i think I said what I had to say…nonetheless I’m trying for something fresh. We’ll see how it goes.

    FIrst I need some lunch! Since it’s, oh, 2 pm already!

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  16. 3:45 pm Saturday. Sermon consists of two sentences and a stack of books. Not on lectionary – preaching on music/poetry as a means by which to experience God / the sacred. It seemed like a good plan when I said I’d do it.

    I have the rest of the service put together, which involved picking hymns and writing some other liturgical language first. Now I need the Holy Spirit / Muse / Sermon Fairy to send me eloquent prose instead of squirrels to chase. Have spent most of my day scrambling around the house looking for misplaced books with vaguely important things in them.

    I’m also preaching next week – it’s unusual for me as a seminarian to preach two weeks in a row, and I’m questioning the wisdom of practicing this part of the vocation RIGHT NOW. Because as soon as I finish this worship service, I need to come home, write a newsletter article, revise a paper, and start figuring out what to say NEXT week.

    Somebody tell me this gets easier eventually?

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    1. It gets easier eventually. A comfortable (ish) rhythm will develop, but it does take some practice. But I will say I giggled in recognition of “scrambling around the house looking for misplaced books with vaguely important things in them.” Oh yes.

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      1. 9:45. I have half a sermon. (Beginning, with notes for middle and end. Needs duct tape.) This is better than no sermon, but the pace of sermonizing does not bode well for me getting a decent night’s sleep tonight.

        This too shall pass. At least I am not getting graded.

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  17. I’m trying to connect John and 1 Peter to the fact that it’s Confirmation Sunday, and we recognize our graduating senior(s). So it has to be short, and I need to weave in some quotes from the Confirmands’ statement of faith papers. And then write a blessing for each of the four, based on the Bible verses they chose for themselves. And I have way too much material. And my husband worked out in the garden all day without me, to give me “writing room” but it really just made me guilty/jealous, which has not helped. Sigh.

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    1. Your cup overflows with things to include, for sure! I totally get the guilty/jealous thing–my husband set aside his own sermon to give me writing time this morning.

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  18. Preachers, supper has been delivered! One of my husband’s parishioners just dropped by pot roast, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, home-canned fruit, and brownies. Why? Because she was making one for the youth minister (whose wife just delivered baby #4) and decided to make us some too. Help yourselves.

    If only sermons arrived, fully prepared, on our doorsteps!

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  19. Yum! What a great supper. Thank you for hosting today, Monica.

    I’m late to the party due to a serious case of procrastination. What I have so far is 1 Peter text, “Stones of Salvation” title, a sustainable sermon that is something to jump off from but too specific from previous church situation and 3 years ago current events, and enough stones (thank you, Michael’s) to give everyone one.

    I am planning to invite people to take a stone before worship and invite them to hold it during the worship service, or at least during the sermon. There has been a tradition of offering individual “altar prayers” that they can come over to me for after they come up for (intinction) Communion. I dropped that awhile back because no one was coming up, even the Deacons who thought we should keep doing it “just in case.” So, I plan to open that again to invite people to come, if they want, for a “Stone Blessing” of some kind. When I see where the sermon goes, I’ll know more, but somehow I would be blessing each one as God’s own “Stone of Salvation.” Work in progress . . . !

    I have guacamole! Help yourselves.

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        1. Thanks for sharing, Kris! I might quote a line from your sermon in mine tomorrow, if that’s OK. You found a much better way than I did to say “do what Jesus told you to, now!”

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  20. What was I thinking? I should have taken this weekend off. My house is full of young adults waiting for tomorrow’s graduation and EVERYONE had drama! And in the midst of the commotion, I still have a sermon to finish and the funeral/family service/funeral sermon to attend to.

    Ah well… next weekend will be really quiet cause everyone will be gone for thier summer jobs.

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  21. Terri, your question–“what does it look like?”–got me to picture those living stones, that royal priesthood–the stones and brick and mortar and clapboard and adobe of all our churches all put together. I’m preaching in the morning at the shelter and I’m pretty sure those living stones, that royal priesthood looks like the people who worship in the back of a day shelter Sunday after Sunday. People with guts and gusto. I’ll post some pictures on my blog later. First the Live at Five weekly letter and then the quilt square I need to finish.

    Had a great unpreacherly day with women who really are quilt artists. I was more than humbled. Almost cowed. But their quilts were stunning, and I learned a lot. Beats a deanery meeting any day!

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  22. Hey gals – very late start for me this week and today! Started out at a meeting with my supervisory committee, then did some necessary errands about town. Hand scribbled some noted before dinner a few minutes ago and holy cats it’s after 9pm! Anyone got coffee?

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    1. Coffee coming right up! I hope the hand scribbled notes give you a jump start. (And I’m stealing “holy cats” as an excellent exclamation!)

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  23. Maybe it’s just me, but it struck me as funny that as I was mumbling under my breath about how loud it is upstairs, my voice recognition software picked up the mumbles and typed “I had a rough year.” What was not what I was saying but is so true for today!

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  24. home after Sunday worship and looking forward to a full 24 hours off.
    we included the annual general meeting of the congregation in the worship service, instead of after – one positive comment, but no other comments, so i think it went OK. keeping Acts 2 from last week helped.
    blessings for those of you still birthign a sermon,

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  25. Well, I’ve got about 500 words written, but the ideas aren’t really coherent, and it’s not all that interesting. Ruminating on the idea of the Holy Spirit being sent so that we’re not left orphaned, and asking questions like what the Spirit looks like, and trying to find a good story of the Spirit at work in our lives.

    If only the Spirit would blow the cobwebs out of my brain and help me to untangle my thoughts. In the meantime: mint chocolate chip ice cream cones anyone?

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    1. I have un-coherent ideas and not all that interesting sermon myself. I hope the Spirit blows in your direction soon!

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    2. Have you seen The Italian Job? The new one from 10 years ago, not the one from the ’60s. There’s a great scene in there when they’re pulling the job and the tech guy who is overseeing via computer from a distance shouts “YES!” when something goes right. The camera zooms out and he’s sitting in a crowded airport and people are looking at him funny. He recovers by saying “Got the… Holy Spirit!”

      Not sure if that actually helps, but I like that scene on how the Holy Spirit truly can move in our lives – if the Spirit couldn’t make us shout out like that, it certainly wouldn’t have been a good excuse for the dude in the movie to use πŸ™‚

      Actually, I love your idea of the Spirit being sent so that we’re not orphaned – also ties in to Jesus asking John to care for Mary – JC had a sincere concern that his loved ones and followers be cared for, tangibly, when he wasn’t around to do it anymore. Happy writing!

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  26. Hectic days for me. I preach my last sermon tomorrow morning. I am in a good place with it all. Yes, I am sure there will be some tears. I am leaving in order to be in a place which has more opportunities for me outside the church. It is for my health as well as the health of the church. I have already had lovely notes and cards…the people are good, generous, and yet very comfortable with the status quo.

    Here is my sermon: http://fpccozad.blogspot.com/2014/05/sermon-all-i-knowi-learned-from.html

    It is my first “leaving” sermon so if you have any comments to improve it (and have the time/energy to read it) I would appreciate it.

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  27. after a whole day of procrastinating (without doing any of the things that need to get done, like finishing the baking, the laundry, the…anything), I finally have something. I don’t think it’s inspiring, but it has an appropriate number of words. It’s here. Would love feedback! I think I need a vacation–my motivation seems to have slipped and I need it to come back! Of course, we’re in the midst of an intense visioning process (trying to do a significant thing in a shortened time), so that is coloring the direction of my preaching these days.

    Must write a note to myself to mention the Nigerian schoolgirls in the prayers–I wanted an opportunity in the sermon to say something about how the media dropping their attention doesn’t mean we should, but it didn’t fit. Since I made kind of a big deal about it last week, I need to do that again.

    Off to make the frosting for the cupcakes, and the last round of cookies (blueberry muffin cookies!). stand by if you’d like to lick the spatula!

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    1. I like it! For some reason, my tired brain can’t figure out how to leave a comment there. But, I especially like the first part. For those with ears to hear, the church is Athens, Athens is the church.

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  28. Preacher Pals, I’m calling it a night. My sermon is uninspiring, so I hope it gets a visit from the Spirit as I rest.

    I pray for each of you in your preparations, in your sleep, in your proclamation of the good news.

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  29. I am so glad to discover that I’m not the only one…
    I always feel so guilty that I don’t have it all together, polished, printed and waiting to be preached…until about now (after midnight).

    good night.

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      1. Mine is never polished…I reread on Sunday and there’s always something that feels like it needs to be tweaked. I put it down last night with a number of penciled edits to make this morning, Nonetheless, I am ready to bring it to the congregation and let the Spirit through it…

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