If you’re like me, you might still be a wee bit tired from the Holy Week hustle, and the postponement of all those other tasks until after Holy Week. Perhaps you have been called in to spell a weary pastor, maybe you’re the Associate, reporting for Associate Pastor’s Preaching Week duty, maybe it’s Youth Sunday and you’re in charge of the youth. Whoever you are, whatever you’re preaching about, welcome to the party!

First, let’s take a nap, like these happy piglets:

2012, RGB Free Stock Photos user Ayla 87
2012, RGB Free Stock Photos user Ayla 87

Feel free to return to the napping position any time you need to. Oh wait. Well, you really do need to get that sermon finished sometime today. Is it Faithful, Doubting Thomas? We discussed that this week. Or the Narrative Lectionary passage of the Great Commission? We discussed that too. Or something different? Starting an Easter Season sermon series? A Holy Humor Sunday? What are your plans?

We have plenty (plenty!) of Easter candy to share. Come and join in the party!

60 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Still Tired Edition

  1. I had decided to quit prepping and go relax when I saw the 11th Hour Party pop up in my email. LOL I’m hoping that it’s not a sign that I should keep working, ’cause I really am stopping for the night.

    I’ve read one commentary, have my three main points ready (Peace, Power, Proof. Dull, I know…) Have half an idea to preach a narrative from Thomas’ viewpoint, but I have one more commentary to read before I start writing. But all that will wait till tomorrow night.

    I hope by the time I log back in, all of you will be done sermonizing, but if you are still here, I’ll have snacks, and coffee, when I return.

    Blessings on your work!

    Jan

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    1. Nope, not a sign to work late tonight–we post it Friday evening to catch those further east in the time zones, and the international date line thing that I can’t begin to explain!

      Thanks for stopping by, and blessings to you as well.

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  2. Thanks, Monica – as one of those further east, I’m always grateful to see the Preachers Party when I wake up!
    I can’t remember the last time I preached the Sunday after Easter, but I’m gone next week, so thought I’d better step up. Looking forward to preaching The Great Commision(NL) – but no words on paper yet.
    Off to conduct a funeral service and then I’ll get back to it. But thanks again for starting the party early.
    I have home made bread proving at the minute. Should be ready for lunch – or your breakfast!

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  3. morning all – as another “Easterner” I too am happy to see the party up & running.
    Preaching on the Great Commission – we have an infant baptism too – so lots of visitors and non-regular church folks. So the aim is to keep it short & sweet…

    It’s a coffee morning for our village civic week this morning – so yesterday I baked – so, most has gone over the road, but I have a bag of flapjack bits, a couple of malteser slices, queen cakes and rocky road for passers by – and fresh tea & coffee on demand!

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    1. And more delicious food! The snack table is looking good this week. Great Commission and a baptism certainly seem to wok well together.

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  4. I wrote my sermon yesterday. It niggled at me that it wasn’t right overnight. But got up reread it and you know – apart from a few tinkles the main jist is still the same.
    I have gone with the great commission too – thinking about what we do as a church and how that differs from what Jesus told his disciples (and us to do) I found a very helpful sermon on Textweek that helped with some good quotes and a train of thought: http://day1.org/5868-the_great_omission also Spill the Beans sermon notes.
    After a morning of catching up on Spill the Beans writing I am off to shower and make bacon sandwiches for lunch – there is enough for sharing if you fancy one?

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    1. Yes, please. A bacon sandwich sounds perfect. I am going to be full before I even get up to make breakfast here! I hope the niggles and tinkles were effective.

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  5. Happy Saturday! It’s Little League Opening Day here, with lots of baseball festivities, and in between them we have planning a town meeting on a major congregational initiative, two sermons, a wedding, packing for a Continuing Ed trip (the latter two for my spouse).

    In between throwing in laundry, I am working on a sermon about Thomas, a guy about whom I have preached many, many times. My basic points are (1) Hey, we can all understand how he felt about being left out when he was one of the guys who (a) was willing to die on the way to raising Lazarus and (b) willing to ask the hard question during the Farewell Discourse and (c) clearly brave enough to leave the room when everyone else was locked up there; (2) Jesus in John’s gospel does come back to show the marks on his body, which are marks of his love; (3) as a congregation in significant transition – about to start a discernment process to share ministry with a nearby church – we need to do our own inventory of our enthusiasm for following Christ, our willingness to ask questions and admit vulnerability and fear, our courage to try something new, and our capacity to see what is not yet visible.

    I hope that will preach.

    This was my second week of being in Christian Century’s Living By the Word, and one of my pieces on Thomas is free online here: http://www.christiancentury.org/blogs/archive/2015-04/thomas-speaks-gut

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    1. Yes, that preaches! At least, it does to me. That locked door–both weeks, even–fascinates me. It sounds like you have a busy day.

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  6. It’s a dreary Saturday morning here. We have a birthday party to attend later that was supposed to feature pony rides, but we’ll see if the weather cooperates.

    This year’s Doubting Thomas is more about the other disciples, and how our fear paralyzes us. It’s mostly a recycled sustainable sermon–the John 20 file is thick! I’m filling in for several Sundays of a nearby colleague’s maternity leave, which is a treat.

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  7. I did not mean to hit post yet! Not until I had a chance to bemoan the unwritten sermon on a day of hospice visiting, long meeting, and way too many errands.

    Tomorrow the church with which we are considering a merger is worshipping with us, and then we have a lunchtime conversation together guided by our amazing consultant, so John and Acts it is, as I talk about the transformation in Christian community from frightened disciples cowering behind locked doors to flourishing community caring for one another and in mission to the world.

    I have been told that the merger business gets harder before it gets easier, and we have now stepped into the place in which testy words are being exchanged. I tend to be just a little bit outspoken, so great self-discipline is being demanded of me these days! I need to do better with that . . .

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    1. You have a lot going on–not just busy, but lots of levels of things to consider. Peace be with *you* as you make your way through the day and through this piece of the possible merger.

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  8. I think I shared my “Thomas” sermon from last year on the Lectionary Leanings post, but here’s the Great Commission sermon, for what it’s worth: http://pastorsings.com/2014/06/14/making-disciples-sermon-on-matthew-2816-20-trinity-2014/ Interesting to look back and see what this congregation has accomplished in the past 9-10 months. I’m not usually a “series” preacher, so I thought I’d take advantage of the 1 John stream this Eastertide to do a series on being the church, loving each other. But I haven’t really gotten very far. Still recovering from Holy Week, and my 20th funeral in as many months on Thursday, it was fun to go to a Trivia Night with my husband and some friends last night. Now I need to get to work on this whole “living in the light” idea. Whole wheat French toast and stewed berries are on the table if you need some breakfast.

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    1. I toyed with the idea of a 1 John series myself. I will be interested to see how it turns out. Glad you got a break last night, and I hope it serves you well in your work today.

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  9. Hello, preacher friends!

    Thinking of you all today as I continue my “leave of absence” (UCC’s official designation for “pastor without a call and not ready to say she’s retired”) and remembering how the Sunday after Easter can be difficult to get back up for.

    So, I found my sermon from 3 years ago — “See the Light of God Revealed” — and posted it on my blog in case it would be some kind of help to any of you. It’s Thomas with a little John thrown in and not specifically contextual to that place where I was serving as an interim pastor.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. Thanks for the sermon, Sharon.

      In PC(USA) land, we call it “member-at-large,” which never fails to crack me up. I picture myself sneaking around the countryside, preacher on the loose!

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      1. Yeah, Patricia! Me too! I’ve talked Thomas ALOT and we are ready for a new piece of good news. If you get the Minister’s Annual Manual, I am using a lot of this week’s ideas, including actually saying out loud “God is not a capitalist.”

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  10. One down, one to go. Preaching the peace that comes when love drives out fear. To the congregation of housed and houseless am focusing more on the individual though I do believe the Gospel of John and the Johannine epistles and Jesus himself speak more to the community than to the individual. That being said, people on the streets (and the rest of us too) need to hear words of love and comfort.

    Think I may play with the notion of communities operating from a place of peace that living out of love brings when I wrestle with the sermon for the housed community.

    No Thomas for me. I am so tired of him.

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    1. It’s easy to miss what else is going on in the John passage because we get so distracted by Thomas. But there’s a lot more there. Your ideas sound good. I always like hearing what you are preaching to the housed and houseless congregation.

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  11. That was fast! Once I sat down to write, there it was. I guess I have been writing this sermon in my head since we began planning for the future last summer.

    http://metanoia-mrc.blogspot.com/2015/04/transformed-and-transforming-sermon-for.html

    I m thinking that my lady in hospice may actually be exerting the kind of take-charge behavior over her death that she pursued in life. Her husband died 20 years ago tomorrow, something of which she was very aware two weeks ago. I saw her this morning, and she just may pull it off.

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  12. I’m preaching about Thomas’s faith and how people like to label us for one less than stellar moment. How reasonable his doubt was and the fruit of his faith, the Mar Thoma Church. I’ve had it done since Monday so I can finish my Inaugural Lecture for Tuesday. Still tweaking the end of that. Here are some snippets on Thomas:
    Today’s Gospel focuses on St. Thomas who is significant to me for many reasons: My home church in Philly is St. Thomas. It is a very special St. Thomas, the first Episcopal Church formed by and for persons of African descent, dating from 1792. The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas is one of the treasures of our Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion and I encourage you to visit it. There are some other St. Thomas churches I think you should know about.
    The Mar Toma Church is not a congregation but a denomination. It is a Syriac-speaking Orthodox Church – Syriac is a dialect of the Aramaic that Jesus spoke. The Mar Thoma Churches were founded in India and spread across the world, including the United States, including Dallas, Carrolton and Mesquite. What is it about St. Thomas that inspired such devotion?
    …I want to tell you that Thomas had good reason to doubt. He had seen folk crucified before. Beaten, tortured, bloodied, flesh hanging from their bodies in shreds, broken bones, strangling, suffocating, drowning in their own fluids. And this was Jesus. He had power like they had never seen before, and only heard of in the days Moses and Elijah. And these petty men, religious leaders that he could preach circles around and bureaucrats who had no power to make miracles, they caught him and convicted him and he didn’t defend himself. And that voice from the heavens didn’t speak on his behalf. And he died. He died with two no-count thieves. Jesus died and the next morning it wasn’t a horrible dream. He was still dead. And the next day too.
    And then the stories started. People said they saw Jesus. Women said they saw Jesus. The men he followed Jesus with said they saw Jesus. Every time someone said they saw Jesus, Thomas was conveniently not in the room. Now what were the odds of that? Thomas said, I need to see him for myself. I don’t blame him. I would have said the same thing…
    Thomas ceased to be the doubter that day. The Western church still calls him that. But the Eastern church calls him apostle and seafarer. After Thomas saw Jesus and had his faith strengthened he took the story of Jesus’ resurrection to those who would not have the blessing of seeing and believing but could receive the blessing of believing through faith. And who better to teach about faith in what sounds like an impossibility but one who believed in Jesus, heard his teaching, saw him perform miracles, witnessed his death, doubted his resurrection and then saw and touched him alive after his gruesome death. Thomas took this Gospel to India, where he founded the Church in India. In a few hundred years at least one Indian bishop from this lineage would be a signatory of our Nicene Creed.

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    1. Thanks for coming to the party, Wil! And thanks for all of the good and thought provoking information on Thomas. I’ve always liked him.

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  13. Been thinking about the world those doors open on to. Got stuck on “Imagine” so I tinkered with the lyrics. With gratitude to John Lennon

    Imagine heaven all around us
    It’s easy if you try
    Heaven right within us
    Expansive as the sky
    Imagine all the people
    Living from that place.

    Imagine no divisions
    No boundaries, no borders
    Nothing to kill or die for
    It’s not that hard to do
    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace

    You may say God’s a dreamer
    God’s not the only one
    Maybe one day we’ll join her
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    A world without a pall
    No need for greed or hunger
    Community for all
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing what they have

    You may say God’s a dreamer
    God’s not the only one
    Maybe one day we’ll join her
    And the world will be as one

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  14. These seem like such apt to text for my church is this Sunday. I’ve been here nearly 2 1/2 years now serving 2 covenanted congregations in what was originally meant to be a full-time position. It quickly became evident that definition would soon prove to be overly ambitious. I now begin to think that in another tradition it might be called The Church of the Perpetual Discernment. But, on to this Sunday’s sermon.

    We come to the text finding that Jesus has already once appeared to his disciples. While we often focus on the fact that Thomas who was absent the first week wants evidence, I think it’s equally interesting that a week later the disciples are still fearful behind closed doors. I appreciated the comment by Karoline Lewis (Working Preacher) that Thomas has the courage to ask questions the others are undoubetedly thinking. And that is the direction that I am taking. Because I feel that for these two little churches the key to congregational vitality given their small size is the willingness to proceed with boldness and confidence …. To risk being like that community described in Acts.

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    1. Judy, if you have a chance, read Robin’s sermon (above). It’s quite similar to the direction you are talking about. That is, if you read sermons before yours is done–I try not to! Your direction sounds very pertinent for the context you describe. Blessings~

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  15. Hi!!! Thanks for hosting Monica! I have had a busy day as I prepared a family to baptize their baby tomorrow, wrote the sermon, cleaned the house, did a ton of work for General Convention of the Episcopal Church this summer, and prepared to go out of town for a week….anyway, here is my sermon….

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    1. Wow! You’ve had a productive day! Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy your trip (I’m assuming it’s the enjoyable sort…)

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      1. No, it’s all work – clergy conference for three days followed by three days of Clergy Clinic at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center. I am spending some of it in Chicago, so will get to see my daughter and son-in-law, that will be nice.

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  16. How is everyone doing? Snacks holding out ok? Anyone feeling daring enough for some caffeine?

    I’m re-familiarizing myself with the order of service for tomorrow’s congregation and trying to stay awake until the kids fall asleep.

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  17. I am so stuck. Have never been this far away from having a finished sermon this late in the game. I don’t even have an introduction down yet. Lots and lots of notes, lots and lots of rabbit trails. but no sermon. I’ve forgotten what my One Big Idea might have been. Sweet Jesus, help! (Whose bright idea was it to try to preach through 1 John, anyway!?!?)

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        1. Yum on the butter pecan. And the biscuits, for that matter.

          I always find non-narrative texts so much more difficult, just because my seminary taught us how to preach from narratives. I usually have to find a way to turn it into a narrative in order to get a starting point. Prayers for you. And may the butter pecan be inspiring.

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  18. I’m late to the party, and late to the sermon writing in general. It’s my first week back at work in almost 10 months of maternity leave. I had every intention of having my sermon written much earlier in the week… but other bits intervened. Also, in my great wisdom I thought a sermon on Acts might be more refreshing than one on Thomas – since I’ve preached on him year in and year out for many years… so here’s to hoping God will guide me in her wisdom in the precious hours when my little one sleeps!

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    1. Welcome back to the party! 10 months! Hoping your return to the sermon-writing habit will be smooth, and may the baby sleep soundly.

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  19. Well, I’m back. One small problem… I have two sermons for John 20:19-31 going…really just need one… Anyone wanna do eeny meeny miny moe with me?? The bulletin says the title is, “What I Need.” Who’s bright idea was it to require us to come up with sermon titles BEFORE we write the sermon?? Ugh.

    I attended an anti-RFRA rally today, and thhinking about that current issue is leading me to preach about the need to live in fear and not love. Not hide behind the walls of our “religions” but rather step out in love and “serve” all the people – serve them God’s love.

    The other sermon is along the lines of the three (obvious) things that the text suggests that I need are peace, power, and proof, but rather than preach them as things we all need, I want to point out that we already have these things – Jesus already gave them to us, so…why are we, the Church, still in hiding?

    What do you think? Eeny or Meeny? Ugh. At least I have pizza, because I have a wife who loves me and takes pity on me. LOL Pizza? Anyone?

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    1. Oh, I so wanted pizza for supper, but we ended up with leftovers. So it shall be on Saturday nights at the preachers’ home.

      Either sermon sounds good, and appropriate, and relevant. But it sounds like your heart is leaning toward the first?

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  20. Preachers, I am turning in. I have lost too much sleep this past week over Big Projects that I am responsible for. And I’m too tired to fix the poor grammar of that sentence, so accept my apologies. Blessings to all of you still working, rest well, and always remember that the Holy Spirit has your back.

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  21. This morning was clean-up day at the church, so while the Boy Scouts and others were doing the heavy lifting around the grounds, I took on the pastor’s study. No one had actually gone through the many cabinets and drawers to organize in… well.. several years. I managed to get the furniture shifted around a bit, too. Got the sermon written this afternoon, so that we could have friends over this evening. Even with all the churchy responsibilities, it felt very Sabbath-y. Here’s my take on Thomas: http://wp.me/psDHQ-Me

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