Confused by a new schedule and by being out of town, I begin my return to the Preacher Party rotation by apologizing! It took me until almost lunch time to get out from under piles of laundry and realize that I am on today!

Whether you are preaching the Slaughter of the Innocents (Narrative Lectionary – here is our discussion from Tuesday) or Epiphany (here’s our RCL post from this week), we’re definitely back to work after two holidays and a dislocated sense of time and space. I also commend to you yesterday’s The Pastoral is Political post for a different take on the gifts we bring.

Displaying IMG_4905.JPGWe have fresh banana bread (for real, something else I was doing to use up the ones that got too ripe while we were on the road – you can find the easy-peasy recipe here), and one more bag of delicious Star$$$ Christmas Blend in the coffee maker. Join us at the dining room table; there’s room for all, free WiFi and plenty of outlets.

Let us know in the comments what you’re preaching, what’s going on in your world, how the weather is where you are, and how you’re managing the holiday detritus. Is your tree still up? Ours is.

We can do it together, Gals and Pals.

131 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Wait, what? Is this Saturday?

  1. In this two preacher household, we are contemplating the Slaughter of the Innocents in one case, and the Magi in the other (that’s me). I’m also doing revisions on the manuscript for the RevGals book, which is exciting and distracting. Also distracting and exciting: wintry mix, no playdate for The Boy, and having our daughter home for three more weeks. She is trying to finish her Junior Year Abroad application and doesn’t appreciate being dragged into her mother’s YouTube procrastination tour. 🙂

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  2. First Sunday with a new congregation and Matthew’s story of the Magi is hitting the nail on the head. Praise be to God!!!

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  3. Not to mention The Boy got up and got dressed for Sunday which found me praying to the great god of “I ain’t ready yet” that he was the one who was wrong about the day, not me.

    Maybe in this household we could slaughter the magi and be done with it?

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    1. We had a similar situation one Easter morning, when our teenage daughter was up and all dressed for worship two hours early. Total panic ensued when we wold up and saw her and assumed SHE was right about the time…20 minutes later realized she wasn’t. Not the best 20 minutes of my life…

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    1. I’ve done that, revknits72. Does your congregation have ears to hear the scholarly pieces? I’ve been in some that do and some that don’t. Either way, blessings on your preparation.

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      1. I am focusing on Seven key words … trust, respect, follow (with tenacity), rejoice, worship, treasure and dream. not sure how I am going to weave it all together but there is still lots of time 😉

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          1. time zone = EST. taking a break to go to the World’s Finest Chocolate factory and to the factory where they sell locally made cheese, what can I pick up for y’all?

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      2. Yes, they do. As long as I don’t make it too scholarly. Plus, during the children’s story, I will be using Marci Glass’ Starward, and referencing that in the sermon, too.

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  4. Our tree is still up. We may or may not be having 6 people over for dinner on Monday. Spouse’s church is interviewing a youth director candidate this weekend. Thankfully I am not preaching, but preparing for a complicated meeting this week instead. What started as a “think outside the box about staffing” has become a “whose job are we going to have to eliminate” task.

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    1. We have company for lunch tomorrow (new Elders at kzj’s church), and I’m hoping this icy stuff makes the complete turn to rain so we can get to the grocery store while I still feel like making turkey chili. Prayers for your difficult meeting. There is plenty of that to go around.

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    2. eek! I hate those staffing dilemmas. We are in the middle of a similar situation.

      I’m not having people over for dinner, but I did promise lunch to the 6-person Lent Team whose first meeting is tomorrow afternoon. I decided that this time rather than ordering pizza or Jimmy Johns, I’d pop a soup into the crockpot and bring a salad. Seems easy enough. Which is probably why I haven’t done it yet. I think I’ll do egyptian red lentil…since it’s a pureed soup, no chopping required. 🙂 Then all I’ll need to do is make a salad dressing…I’m sensing a sermon procrastination tool.

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        1. Jan Shannon, you are a professional procrastinator! My only issue is I just need the person in charge (ahem, Mr.) to make a decision already. His delay already means I will have to make two separate trips to the grocery store, which does not make me happy.

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  5. Just about to reheat the beef hotpot I made yesterday but not before finishing off sermon on the Matthew 2:13-23 passage – first time having preached this particular passage. Ramona was a huge help with her fantastic retelling through the eyes and words of Mary and then some ideas from the Narrative Lectionary facebook page and some of my own have helped shape this : http://ragdollbrokenandbent.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/sermon-for-sunday-4th-january-2015/

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    1. Glad that the reflection helped. I’m still not sure I’m preaching it. I’ve done a lot of storytelling the last few weeks – it might be time to switch it up.

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    2. Revshuna, I was wondering if it might be okay if I use that Old Yellar example in my sermon tomorrow? I think it’s such a great comparison!

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  6. Here in sunny FL I bring peanut butter fudge to share. Thanks to Marci Auld Glass’s idea for star words, I just finished my sermon on The Magi, epiphanies and setting intentions for the new year.

    Tree is still up. Hoping to get a family photo tomorrow (before church) since we’ll be all dressed up to see The Phantom directly after church in Tampa. At least, that’s my intention 😉

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  7. returning from vacation at 10 am (just 6 hours ago) I reread the service sheet I prepared somewhere around Dec 20th (So I could GET a vacation) and wondered at myself!
    I began last year with giving out star words… so even though we are using NL I am only doing the Magi – no time to explore the slaughter today. let alone tomorrow.
    I have also reused parts of last year’s – for the Starwords stuff
    so, now it’s just coming up 5 pm; I have a service I’m relatively ok with; and a sermon that will do – not enough energy to do more with it than that.
    Oh and it is our tradition to have Holy Communion to celebrate the New Year – so that’s in the mix too.
    Trees still up in church and at home – funeral of one of our dear matriarchs on Tuesday 6th (she died on Christmas Eve) – and her family expressly asked for the trees to stay up for her – she loved everything about Christmas.

    So here is the sermon as it is now….
    http://julie-acountrygirl.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/sermon-january-4th-2015.html

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    1. Well done, you! I also got my service together before Christmas and for the same reason. I had a hope of doing star words, but that will depend on getting out to Staples (and on our Staples having the cut out craft stars mentioned in the RevGals Facebook group – looking for the link and will post if I find it).

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      1. I have just finished cutting my stars by hand…. and sticking the words on. It is done – I have one word over – Al suggests this should be my word. Peacemaker. When I showed it to him, he said, maybe not!!!!

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  8. Communion and stars, so a short sermon on what the stars are all about. Thanks to Marci and everyone else for the star insight the last few years. I’m excited to do them, as they were my plan for last year, but a year ago yesterday I acquired my ankle plate and pins and by today I was wondering whether I would ever really walk again. New Year’s Resolution: no broken anything!

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  9. Fighting some kind of crud (hit on Tuesday) that has my voice playing hide & seek between coughing fits. Blurgh. I am so thankful for a gently used Epiphany sermon about magi and mission, as well as a potential (cancelled) road trip that required me to have liturgy done before the illness lnocked me down. Offering airhugs, hand sanitizer and lysol wipes as party favors today.

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  10. I am preaching the Matthew text about the Magi. Tom Long’s CC blog about setting off alarms got me thinking. It is precisely what we are called to do-set off alarms by doing what we do best – follow the star (maybe trust our intuition in where God is leading us); worship and offer our gifts; and let ourselves be changed by each encounter we have with the divine. Now if I could only get that down on paper – 12 pt font–double spaced – 6 pages!

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    1. I’ll be working from the idea that our GPS culture means we don’t look around enough to perceive the big picture. If we only follow the lead from one point to another point – a point we have chosen ourselves – where is the openness to God’s direction?

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      1. Love the idea. Reminds me of an episode of ER when a couple is brought into the emergency room because the followed the GPS directions and it landed them in the river.

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      2. Can I borrow the line: If we only follow the lead from one point to another point – a point we have chosen ourselves – where is the openness to God’s direction?

        I’m using the Magi as a model for how a congregation might explore the new year – with a balance of curiosity and focus. (have goals, plans; but don’t fear them or get so laser-locked on them you don’t see the Spirit at work IN them)

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          1. I just explained (for the millionth time) the difference between “may” and “will.” “May I please have some pretzels?” Yes. “*Will* you pour them in a bowl for me please?” Yes.

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      3. Oooh…like that idea. Trust you won’t mind my using the concept? That makes me think of one of my favorite vacation memories when, on the Olympic Peninsula, we made a turn too soon (we eventually figured out) and our AAA map of Washington and Oregon didn’t nearly cover the tiny roads we were on. However, I knew that to our north and west was ocean that would keep us from going too far wrong, so we could stop worrying about nose-in-a-map and relax, looking around and stopping at little spots we never would’ve found otherwise.

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        1. Go right ahead! One of my favorite places to visit in Maine was the place where they make the Gazeteers that show all those roads. Of course they are no help when you are driving alone.

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      4. Ooo, I like that! *makes note for next time* Also realized (expletive deleted) that I completely left out any reference to the magi worshiping. *makes note for tomorrow penciled insert into sermon somewhere appropriate*

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  11. Hey there – thanks for the post and the thoughts. RCL, Magi and Jumping on the star words bandwagon this year 🙂 And the sermon will be a guided meditation for following the word into the journey of the new year. Not written yet, and working instead on a proposal for a new committee structure (ugh, speaking of things they never taught you in seminary!) to get to the leadership before the annual meeting in a couple of weeks.

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  12. I’ve had quite a couple of weeks and am sure I’ve crossed all the boundaries CPE warns you about in order to help these 2 sisters who have no family, transition from hospital to nursing care. But I’ve had incredible help from another colleague and the congregation. Along with all this, of course I got sick, but the Board chair took over tomorrows service and All I have to do is pray and manage communion. He’s preaching and everything else. AMAZING!!! And the sisters did finally get legal paperwork signed found and they are in a safe place. at least for now. whew
    glad to see all the activities here. as always we are human.

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  13. I am fresh back from a week of vacation (mostly spent nursing a shape-shifting cold that went from stomach flu to hacking cough to stuffy head and now to draining sinuses and more hacking cough). We’re doing mostly Christmas 2, except with the Epiphany Gospel – Wise Men instead of the John prologue. I would have used all the Epiphany texts, but I didn’t think about it before leaving on vacation; and I hate to pull a last-minute switch on lay readers.

    I’m tempted to read the Henry Van Dyke story of “The Other Wise Man” in place of a sermon, if I can find a version that’s short enough to be done before my voice gives out.

    Tree is still up, for about another hour. I would leave it up until Epiphany; but our local FFA picks up trees tomorrow, so I compromise.

    I have some yummy almond bread to share (a gift from a woman at the Knit-A-Long party I attended on Thursday), as well as ginger ale, fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, Kleenex, and Day-Quil.

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    1. There is an abridged version by Carlos Wilton on Textweek for Epiphany. It is in the Lectionary Reflections section about half to 3/4’s down. If you get to the Sermons section you’ve gone too far. It is well done, I have used it before.

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  14. We are reading the Matthew text about the Magi, AND the John prologue tomorrow. I am preaching about The Star and The Word, talking about so many stars / THE star, and so many words / THE word. The challenge, as always for me, is to get myself from so many words to just enough words about THE word. And of course to connect it to the star words we will be giving out for the second year. And of course communion. Here at home I have a dozen hard cooked eggs, some seriously sharp cheddar cheese, and a half dozen or so clementines to offer. I’m even down to my very last pot of coffee. Better go shopping on the way home from church tomorrow….

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  15. Christmas 2 for me. Our worship team decided to celebrate Epiphany on the Sunday after Jan 6, so I’ll be sifting through all your wisdom on those texts next Sunday!

    For this week, John 1:1-18. I’ve got a start comparing the start of John with the start of other Gospels and Genesis. Plan on talking about focusing on the big picture – sometimes you have to step back and absorb the feeling of a passage rather than analyzing every word, and John’s Prologue is a great example. Only 2 pages into what needs to be a 6-page sermon (based on the font size/margins that I use). What do you think?

    Fresh fudge here, made it for the grandparents-in-law but have some extra! Happy sermonizing everyone!

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  16. It’s my first Sunday in a new church and my first church (other than a new church start) in a multitude of years. Fortunately, I’m with the Magi and TS Eliot’s Journey of the Magi (the church uses a sacred and contemporary text for all services). I’m focusing on the choices we make. We choose to seek Christ. We allow ourselves to be transformed by the encounter (or to acknowledge the transformation anyway) and then we choose what to do with our new selves so to speak. I’m not a manuscript preacher so all this will jumble around in my head and who knows what the Spirit will pull out of my mouth…
    I have ginger tea, made fresh from organic ginger root, and grainfree/dairy free chocolate chip cookies to share on this cold winter day while I wait for the sky to spit out the snow it seems to be savoring at the moment.

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    1. Rachael, if I could only preach the sermon that is in my mind at 1:30am, I’d be fine, but by Sunday morning it’s gone and I’m tongue-tied. So, manuscript for me. One questions, do you try to write down what you said after you said it? Like on Tuesday morn or sometime? Since we post ours to facebook and Twitter, and send it by email to homebound folks, we need to have a written copy.

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      1. Jan, I don’t know what I will do if this church wants written copies of my sermons. For the past six years I preached at a psych hospital and no one ever asked. I suspect that my new church is more likely to have a podcast than a manuscript, but I could be wrong. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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  17. Martha, I am still on vacation, so still have the kind of chaos you describe to face, although we did take down the tree before we left! I always take this Sunday off, so we do Star words next week, along with the Baptism narrative.
    For the next few months, I will have two assistants, so won’t be preaching every week. To “counter” that, today I set up a new blog, hopefully so that I will be disciplined in pondering the texts each week – we’ll see how that goes! But, I began by pondering the Flight into Egypt: http://www.starsinmud.blogspot.co.uk
    Offering left-over steak pie and pigs in blankets as food for the journey, along with some Buck’s Fizz.

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  18. Our last Sunday school session, I and another member found ourselves pondering what effect the experience of being a refugee and surviving while the others in Bethlehem did not might have had on shaping Jesus’ heart and mind. If, as orthodox theology teaches us, Jesus was fully human as well as fully divine, might he have had some survivor’s guilt? He was probably too young to remember, but no doubt he heard the story later. Or would the memory of fleeing for his life when he was too little to understand what was happening have surfaced from time to time in dreams and seemingly irrational actions?

    Obviously it’s impossible to know for sure; but one wonders.

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    1. On a related note, maybe Jesus was good to women because they were the only friends/playmates he had growing up, since all the boys his age were killed. That would have made a distinct impression on a developing child too. Jesus as refugee/survivor is a fascinating point to consider….

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  19. OK, I’m here. Finally dragged my tuschie out of bed, made coffee (Can I get an Amen?!) and am eating ugly eggs in front of the computer screen. (Ugly eggs are halfway between sunny side up and scrambled)
    So far, after having read the commentaries, on the magi passage, I’m leaning toward how following Jesus used to be fairly dangerous…and still is. How following Jesus doesn’t, or shouldn’t, look much like the way our culture tells us it should look like.
    We have snow on the ground, mid-20’sF, and only one chore needs doing. (clean the coffee pot)
    I’m still doing that weird squinty thing…I’ll go grab more coffee. There’s also cinnamon rolls for those who are so inclined. Back with updates later. Blessings on your typing!

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  20. I’m doing a combo of Star Words (small wooden stars from Michael’s spray painted yellow and words written on with ultra fine Sharpie) and being open to receiving gifts, and the magi and offering our gifts. The latter is wonderfully facilitated by our fabulous new Haitian metal work crèche, made specifically for us as a reminder of our partner church/school in Haiti, which has two kings carrying traditional looking gifts and the third holding a pineapple! I am in love with that figure and all it conveys about particularity of gifts, hospitality, first fruits, and more. Mind you, I have no actual sermon for either part yet, so I’m very interested to see what others have to say. Writing will wait until after a celebration of life in which I am considered a marginal tip of the hat to faith, but oh well.

    Black bean and ham soup in the crock pot, and a small veggie version for son’s gf on the stove, so come back later for some comfort food.

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  21. well, I’m finally here. 1pm (Central time), I’ve pasted the reading into a document and read some stuff on the interwebz…and I have an inkling of an idea but I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to turn out yet. So this comment will probably be ridiculously long as I use it to work this out. I’d say grab some coffee, but I don’t have any (!!!!!!!)…but I do have Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Chai, and really big mugs, and a boiling water dispenser…

    Our theme for the Epiphany season is “Blinded by the Light” (do not go looking at the rest of that song, trust me…that’s the only line that’s church appropriate). We are pondering how we see the light, but so often close our eyes, or put on dark glasses, or otherwise try to avoid seeing the fullness of what God is revealing. It hurts a little, and we’d rather be confined to what we can understand or what we like. So for the whole season the planning team has asked me to try to lift up some of the hard parts that we’d rather block out. (some of this started in a conversation about “preaching about Jesus” v. “preaching what Jesus preached” in the midst of a Bible study…) Since we are following the NL, that shouldn’t be hard. Except that somehow I’ll have to be sure that there’s good news that helps us take off the glasses just a little bit, rather than so much AAAA! that people get darker ones. (metaphorically speaking, of course, since it’s gray here and will be for the foreseeable future.)

    So for tomorrow I have both last week’s and this week’s NL text–all of Matthew 2 together. I am pondering a number of things: how the Magi followed the star but then their own blinders sent them not to the light but to the place they expected to go…and how the light revealed in the Christ Child is too much for Herod–he needs to add darkness in order to make it bearable for him. Then I’m grasping at an idea about how “Rachel weeping for her children” is actually a way to let some light back in, to lift the dark glasses and really look at the world and at where God is in the midst of it, rather than always looking away and insisting (however politely) that we all get used to the shadow.

    Or something. (I say that a lot…because it’s all I’ve got!)

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  22. OK, got a lot done on the New Committee Structure Proposal (thrrrrrrilling) but nothing on sermon and now I have to get out of dodge to pick up kiddo at friends an hour a way. I’ll be back for the late night party.

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  23. still trying to piece it together. The theme is “We are Stardust” loosely based on the CSNY “Woodstock” song and tied into the Magi and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Also printed all the Star wards and will connect that to visions/dreams/what the journey looks like once we have found Christ. Hoping I am at a point that it will just tumble out since I’ve been drinking coffee, looking up banana bread recipes, listening to classic rock, and brought up the empty boxes to put the Christmas tree ornaments. and it’s nearly 3pm ET on a rainy Saturday!

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  24. Magi and Innocents here. Really focussing more on teh Innocents. I just posted this to Twitter. I think it is the first sentence of my sermon:
    Faith tells us ‪#‎Xmas‬ changes everything…the world’s actions tell us #Xmas changes nothing. Which is true? ‪#‎sermonating‬ ‪#‎HolyInnocents‬

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    1. Love it! I’m focusing on the Magi and following Jesus but the same truth applies. Good stuff!
      (And…I’ll go find you on Twitter. I ran out of other procrastinations…)

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  25. I wonder if God nudged all those parents but only Joseph took heed and took flight. Remembering the lepers–10 healed but only one turned back in gratitude.

    Also looking at the arc of Jesus’ story as it appears in Matthew–before he is even born we know him as Emanuel–God with us. The gospel ends with Jesus saying, “I will be with you always even to the end of the age.”

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  26. I just cut up an apple and put some peanut butter on a plate. Anyone want some?
    I’m stuck at that place between saying what I want and saying what God wants. Kinda hoping it’s the same thing. How’s it going with you all?

    Oh, and the coffee pot is clean. I thought you’d want to know.

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  27. Just finished our annual Advent Open House that was cancelled due to illness and rescheduled for this weekend. We have plenty of coffee, appetizers, cheese plate (all cheese from the local cheese plant where my spouse works), fruit and cookies. Help yourself! The nice thing about an appetizer open house is that I don’t have to cook dinner!

    i’m procrastinating on my expense reports. The treasurer from one of my congregations is a CPA and works in Vegas (we’re in SD!) and she’s leaving Monday, so I have to had my reports done and to her today. And I hate, just hate, doing them.

    It’s the NL for me and the flight to Egypt, slaughter of innocents. I wrote a reflection earlier this week –
    http://ramblingsjesusfreak.blogspot.com/2014/12/marys-reflection-on-flight-to-egypt.html – and could preach it, but I’ve done a lot of storytelling over the past few weeks, so it might be time to change it up. Then again, maybe that can wait till next week.

    I also started a “Bible In One Year, chronological order” reading plan with several others in my congregations. My goal was to blog each day on the readings. Jan 1st went ok. Jan 2 – not so much. Life got in the way. So I’ve got that blog to write as well as today’s. I am envious of those of you who blog regularly – I struggle with it.

    Our home tree is still up and probably will be until mid-January. Both congregations are ‘un-decorating’ tomorrow. But it’s bitterly cold here with wind chills in the -15 to -20’s. So attendance will be low for the church that un-decorates right after worship. And I may have to cancel youth group, and they do the un-decorating at the other church. Ugh.

    Enough procrastinating for now. Time to get to work.

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  28. Martha, Inspired by your recommendation (and the two black bananas) I now have banana bread. The recipe I usually used needed three bananas so I wanted to try another recipe. Added both walnuts and coconut and used half whole wheat flour. Yummy!!

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  29. There’s much to like here.
    1-Teri, I like your idea that naming the despair as letting in the light.
    2-Revgord, what a great first sentence!
    3-I have the stars I made and cut out earlier in the week, about 80 of them for my two small churches. I really like Juniper68’s idea for guided meditation suggesting we be open to where the stars lead?
    4-Revknits72 the Bible study group at one of my churches has been discussing the First Christmas by Borg and Crossan. So there will be a nod to that struggle in my sermon.
    5-I just found information about the European tradition of Epiphany House Blessing . Seems like a nice correlate to blessing our spiritual journey with the stars.

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    1. Of course! We are doing that tomorrow. I just wonder why my tradition omits it. What are we saying when we skip that part of the story? On a quick re-read of the Gospel of Matthew, I found several hard parts (wars and rumors of wars, one taken and one left behind, etc.) Don’t think the lectionary omits all of those.

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  30. I’ve finished working on the book manuscript revision, which is to say the sermon is a thing that has been in the back of my mind all day. The two Sundays before Christmas I preached without a manuscript, and that is my plan for tomorrow, too. I talked it through with kzj and think I have it … but come bedtime, I’m sure I will be feeling the “I can’t remember any of that!” panic.
    Either way, time to fix dinner now.

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  31. picked up from somewhere the pointer that everyone is a flurry of activity in the Magi story, and Jesus is the still point at the center. I’m thinking of talking about him as having a sort of spiritual gravitational pull, he’s the real star, carries the real weight, and the Magi are drawn to him, and asking what draws us, noting that things get in the way, like Herod’s attempt at changing the Magi’s allegiance. I’ve pretty much beaten the light imagery to death this season, so trying something not star focused.

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  32. I’ve got a few leftover Christmas cookies my neighbor sent over -anyone want the fruitcake? Preaching on John 1:16-17 in light of the Leelah Alcorn suicide. Her story hits too close to home to not use it this week. Law vs. Grace – societal expectations vs. love. Not exactly the star of wonder, but ending with “Let’s make grace go viral in 2015.”

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  33. A bit of preaching party humor – a collegue of mine posted a video “Sh** pastors say while writing a sermon.

    BTW – I’m still procrastinating.

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    1. Just saw this on a friends FB page. I am currently in the throws of saying all of it :-)! And I am still writing … or procrastinating depending on your point of view.

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  34. Hi there – am back from long drive with burgers and fries in a greasy bag – anyone want some? How are you all doing? Thanks for the encouragement, judy – I will know if the meditation thing is good idea hopefully when I get something down on paper.

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  35. Hi all. My first time at the preacher party. This is great! I’m a first call pastor who started in October so it’s all catch-up for me. I’m doing a mash up this week of 2 Christmas (Prologue of John’s Gospel) and the Magi. There’s a lot to connect. God the creator creates the stars including the Christmas Star….. He came to his own, who would not receive him. Herod and “all of Jerusalem” did not want a new king. They were afraid of this newness. But to those who received Him received the power to become children of God. Who received Him? Not the in-crowd, but the stranger. Not the chosen people, but the pagans. Not the religious, but the astrologers. Not the people like us, but the strangely dressed, odd-speaking, from-away soothsayers. And how did they know to come? God’s Holy Spirit……. still active today, in places and people we might not expect. Merry Christmas/Happy Epiphany. Time for the tea and maybe Downton Abbey before an early bedtime: we’ve got a storm on the way so the morning drive is likely to be ….. white. Greetings from Iowa! Be safe and warm.

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    1. Welcome to the preacher party and congrats on your first call, from South Dakota! First Christmas is fun – isn’t it. Sounds like you have a good handle on your sermon.

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  36. For Barbara, who wished earlier for an abridged version of Van Dyke’s The Other Wise Man, there is a version by Carlos Wilton on Textweek for Epiphany. It is in the Lectionary Reflections section about half to 3/4’s down. If you get to the Sermons section you’ve gone too far. It is well done, I have used it before. It is late, I know, but it is useful for those still wrestling with a sermon for the morning.

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  37. I’m not preaching (sadly, seldom get that chance these days) but am teaching. Our text is John’s Prologue, and I cannot get past that part about the Word becoming flesh. If we celebrate incarnation, why do so many of us act as if we don’t have bodies? I’ll pull a little from Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Altar in the World.”

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  38. 10 pm and I am just starting… pellet stoves in the Church went out and needed cleaning and the weather is so bad no trustees could get in to do it. I sit here, looking like Cinderella, the sour taste of ash on my tongue, trying to figure out how to start my sermon titled ‘What Gifts Do You Bring?”… Annnnd I think I will begin by talking about ashes, how many times our gifts seem to get consumed by the world and we have little to show for it but the remains of a fire that burned brightly once, but is now a story only told by ashes. Yet, when we are called by God to use our gifts, we are called to help fuel an eternal flame, one which always refuels us; the queering of the fire for our warmth, growth, and provision; this is as beautiful and mysterious as a poor child in a manger being given gold frankincense and myrrh…
    Did I inhale too many ashes, or do you folks think this might turn out ok?????

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    1. I think that sounds authentic and good.
      Did you see “Into the Woods?” Towards the end, Cinderella admits, “Sometimes I actually like cleaning!” It feels lonely, I’m sure, but you have provided the warmth needed for tomorrow, and that’s a gift both material and spiritual. Blessings to you.

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  39. I love Epiphany season! I was married on January 7th with golds and blues adorning the sanctuary and blue velvet dresses ( right Marci Auld Glass?). Sorry. I was reminiscing! I am preaching Epiphany but using the John 1 passage. We are sharing Star Prayer Words also and communion. Focusing on following the Light. And some play with The Word and our Prayer Words. Blessings to all!

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  40. All right. I’m done. It’s an outline, will be short and hopefully sweet, and as the hilarious video posted above says, “at least there’s Communion.”
    Night, All!! Blessings on your worship!

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  41. Oh my goodness, there is such good stuff here to read and I am realizing it really is the eleventh hour here in the central time zone. So here’s my Epiphany Sunday offering, for what it’s worth. http://pastorsings.com/2015/01/03/eureka-sermon-on-matthew-21-12-epiphany-b-142015/ I see from my blog stats that a few have found my John 1 sermon from last year and the murder of the innocents sermon from – the year before that? – who knows! The communion bread is cooling on the rack, and we will have time to clean house after church tomorrow, before the ministerial bunch come over for an Epiphany party. We will light the candles on our tree for the last time this season. It may not get taken down until after we return from the Holy Land – leaving on Wednesday! Two Sundays without preaching lie ahead … blessings on you all in this new year!

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  42. Ha! Just got the idea that pulls it together: we have a pedestal font that can move around, and I am going to put the stars in it, right at the crossing, and invite people to take one after communion (thanks for that suggestion from several here) as another of God’s gifts: God feeds us and sends us forth on our journey of faith and discovery. Or something like that…but definitely the stars in the font.

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      1. Because my ministry is with the homeless and minimal-housed, I chose to bypass the lectionary and do a New Year’s resolution as a result of hearing people grumbling because someone else had more than them or got a better Christmas package. Actually the resolution to not compare ourselves to others can be applicable to all of us, especially me, as I stated in the sermon.

        https://deniray.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/2015-resolution-i-thou-shall-not-compare/

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