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Union Presbyterian Church, Endicott, NY

Good morning Gals and Pals, and a belated welcome to our preacher party! It’s particularly appropriate that I’m hosting today, because, as you can see, even this post is going up at the 11th hour. Whee!

It is still, most decidedly, the Easter Season. For those of you walking the road to Emmaus and wondering about sin in this Eastertide, we have the wonderful Rachel Hackenberg’s Lectionary Leanings here.  And for those of you following Peter’s complicated “Eureka!” moment, we have the Narrative Lectionary sermon-starter here.

As for me and my house, there is Greek yogurt, lovely blueberries, and granola, with excellent local honey. Coffee coming.

I’m heading off to church for a Memorial Service, but I’ll be checking back in as soon as I can. Pull up a chair! Share your thoughts! Let us know what is on your table, both literal and scriptural. And peace be with you, friends! The gospel is ours to share, and the Spirit has our backs.

altar with fish
Communion Table with Little Basket of Fish (And Flat Jesus) July 2014, Newton, MA

52 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Open Eyes and Hearts Edition

  1. I discovered at the last minute that I had prepared Year A readings! Not that it would have mattered, but it didn’t seem to be what God wanted me to do, so I found a Year B sermon and adapted it. Preaching on being Children of God.

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    1. Oh my! So you have one in the barrel for two years from now, I suppose! I am glad you were able to find something that worked for you… blessings on your preaching!

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      1. We head off together, Ruth…. my sermon for tomorrow (for a baptism, so I’m departing from the Narrative Lectionary) will have to wait until this afternoon. Blessings to you!

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  2. been at a meeting from 2-9 pm yesterday, then 9-12.30 this morning – an hours drive home, then a meeting with a family for a baptism next month, and a birthday party this evening for a lady in the congregation who is 70 [and has dementia] ,
    in the morning, having all of Acts 10 read, I am using the Message version, and have put it into 6 parts, Narrator, Peter, Cornelius, Spirit, Voice and the men. Also a baptism of a three year old boy, and some of the extended family from the party tonight.
    11.30 pm, and I think I am all but finished.

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    1. Oh Pearl…. that is a full day in the way that preachers’ days sometimes span the fullness of life itself. Blessed and peaceful sleep to you tonight, and blessings on the preaching tomorrow. I’d love to see that sermon! 🙂

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  3. Any ideas for a family service sermon? You know, the kind that is interactive, sparks the imagination of kids and stirs the soul of adults, opens the gospel in a new way, includes a dose of humor, and all in less than 5 minutes? Yeah, right…how about anything at all? 🙂

    I love the bit about Jesus eating the fish and have pondered talking about being a Christian in the ordinariness of life, but I chant seem to figure out a creative way to explore that.

    Offering up some delicious oranges this morning, great for eating or juicing.

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    1. Betsy, I haven’t done anything on this passage in the style you are talking about. I wonder about thinking of the fish as a blessing the disciples were able to give back to Jesus. And open-ended questions like, “What’s it like to eat something prepared by someone who loves you/ to prepare something for someone you love, and watch them tuck into it?”

      Last summer at the RevGals’ Boston event, at our closing liturgy we were all give tiny fish cut-outs (2 X 4 inches or so), each with a blessing written on it. Mine says “companionship.” Trying to paste the picture below…

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        1. Betsy, did you see Dee’s post below about Bright Sunday/ Holy Humor Sunday? It seems to me that much of that could be adapted to your purposes as well.

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  4. Sitting at a community meeting we are hosting with police, councilman, neighbors – learning about challenges on our street. I’m doing an experiment tomorrow with sermon shorts, based on the idea of the film shorts my daughter and I just saw at the Cleveland Film Festival. We love to go to these — 8 films in two hours. So I am breaking Emmaus into three shorts — taking a walk, sharing a meal, and hearts on fire. We’ll see. It really breaks up the service in perhaps a strange way, but I am wondering if folks might hear more in shorter time frames.

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  5. Oh, and then a long meeting this afternoon with consultant and potential merger churches. And then a funeral sermon service tonight – our matriarch achieved her goal of dying on the 20th anniversary of her husband’s death last Sunday. Not exactly sure when I’m going to write the third sermon short.

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  6. Waiting for the community to show up for a cookout after a morning of Aikido lesson’s for the girls and wrangling the lil man. No clue as to what to preach. The bulletin says 1 John. Looks like the tooth fairy might be visiting tonight. Perhaps she will bring the sermon fairy with her!!!

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  7. So, I came up with a whole thing last night about fear and being behind locked doors and then realized that this passage (RCL) doesn’t even say that the door was locked. Hopefully I can adapt it. Ugh.

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    1. Rebecca– I heard a sermon preached from a woman at Nat’l Cathedral about how we sometimes lock ourselves in…from the inside. The repeated question was “What locks us in?” It was a great concept and kept me thinking all week. Maybe you could adapt this.

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      1. To both Rebecca and Dee… during Lent I was listening to Richard Rohr, and he blew me away with his discussion on prayer in Matthew 6, when Jesus says, “Go into your room and shut the door.” Rohr pointed out that, at this time and in this culture, no one had separate rooms with doors, so it is very clear that Jesus is speaking of the interior self, the “room” of the heart. I was so struck with that, and it helped me understand a little more deeply about prayer… it also speaks to the possibility of locked doors, mentioned or not.

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      2. I’m working on it, but should probably rework a good portion of it. Our community experienced a big lock down this week after a shooting at the community college. I think i can still make the message the same, but my reliance on “locking” metaphors may not be quite as great as I thought. Oh well. I’m still relatively new at this preaching thing. Always a new lesson to learn the hard way. Thanks for the suggestion. Last week’s lesson had the disciples behind locked doors, which is probably why it was still playing in my head. But I don’t want to preach on last week’s readings…

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  8. Back from the boys’ last swim lesson. Toddlers are down for a nap…I am fairly tired too. Tomorrow we are observing Bright Sunday/holy humor Sunday and the theme is kites/flying, though we will have lectionary scripture. Those who want to do so in the church will meet in a park after lunch to play, walk, and fly kites or frisbees or just “be” with each other. I am probably going to focus on the disciples in Luke and this line “Because they were wondering and questioning in the midst of their happiness” and the substantive Jesus talking about a “change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins” being preached in creative ways…
    I have little “resurrection cards” with kites on them and toy kites for the children to color and fly (they can work as frisbees too) and a call to worship that “tethers” us to Jesus… Our music director rewrote the lyrics to Frank Sinatra (Come Fly with Me) and we are opening with a Mary Poppins tune “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” and I found a “Go Tell it on The Mountain” song that has re-written EASTER lyrics.

    It is a playful service to highlight an Easter tradition of kite-flying…but it will be reverent too— Holy Play can be reverent. And there is Communion…as we didn’t do this on Easter Sunday.

    Here are some great quotes:

    “Love of God is to our consciousness like a string to a highflying kite. When the connection is strong, we are free to rise to any height.” –Dadi Janki

    “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” –John Muir

    Here is the Call to Worship, in case it is helpful to others in the future:
    CALL TO WORSHIP (responsive)
    One: Tether us, O God, to Resurrection that we may rise as Jesus did and breathe anew.
    Many: Tether us, O God, to your teachings and Spirit that we may be lifted up
    and given a richer perspective.
    One: Tether us, O God, to the way of love that we may live in holy peace with one another.
    Many: Tether us, O God, to joy and justice that our sorrow may soften and our wounds may heal. One: Tether us, O God, to you that we may find blessed refuge from storms
    and freedom from our being tied up in knots or being cut down.
    Many: Tether us, O God, to you
    that we may soar, laugh, and sing.

    *HYMN #349 I Come with Joy

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    1. Sounds lovely, Dee. I need to keep this idea on file somehow as our parish does an annual kite flying event, but has never tied it into worship before. I love this!

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  9. Dee, so much fantastic creativity here, and thinking outside our normal ways of being together. I love it! Blessings as you enjoy/ experience the gospel with your people!

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  10. I’m looking at what Peter accomplishes by looking someone in the eye, taking them by the hand, and assisting someone to stand who is hindered from standing up by/for themselves: “not by our own power and piety.” Do not be astonished at what wonders God can work through such individual encounters?

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    1. This is beautiful Rosalind. I am preaching the Narrative Lectionary (well, not tomorrow, but generally), and it seemed to me the Easter Season readings were all about encountering one another, encountering the risen Christ in one another, etc. Blessings in the writing and preaching!

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  11. I saw a quote by Ana Carter Florence – “If dead people don’t even stay dead, what is there to count on?” and a translation be D. Mark Davis (Of Left Behind and Loving It), that used “to rise out of death” instead of “resurrection”, and the image that immediately came to mind was whack-a mole and how easy it is for us to stomp down opportunities gives our congregations for new life. Working on it.

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  12. Preaching the second week of 1 John, so like mrsredboots, the focus is that we are children of God. Have to find the common thread between what’s in a name and how anonymity and othering “those people” sabotage our life together. But have to rein in before I go to “so what” because that’s next Sunday.

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  13. I’m back from our new member orientation and then cleanup after our huge annual rummage sale to benefit our youth ministry. Time to start sermonating. I’m using the Earth Day lessons along with the assigned gospel in the RCL. So my sermon will begin with, “Have you anything to eat?” and linking that to sustainable food / global stewardship. I’m introducing “eco-tips” into our bulletin as a weekly addition to encourage people to think “green”. I do love the creation hymns I found for tomorrow, especially the sermon hymn, “Touch the Earth Lightly.” It’s new to me, with beautiful words and a simple melody.

    I haven’t done this before, so my brain is stretching. And my body is ready for a nap. I had coffee…. but I drank it all. There’s still Dove chocolate to share!

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  14. A beautiful video of God’s amazing creation. “I believe”. If you’re ready for a break to sermonating, enjoy this gift for your soul. I’m trying to figure out where I can include it in worship tomorrow….. Earth day.

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  15. Well. That whole preaching ahead of yourself thing.

    I was at church from 11-8. There was a noon meeting which went waaaay beyond productive time. There was a long afternoon meeting which was frustrating, but ultimately very productive. There was a funeral and many words of appreciation were expressed. And then was a reception . . . at which something was said to me which caused my husband to say later, when he heard about it, “Why do you do this?”

    Well, at least the sermon shorts are finished. And short.

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    1. Oh, man. Welcome to this ministry my friend. Happy about the sermon shorts! And really interested to hear about it after you’ve preached it. Blessings, Robin. As soon as my book arrived today I read your piece on leadership…. so, so wonderful. And look at you today. Peace and sweet dreams, and may the Spirit flow tomorrow!

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  16. well, the spirit sure turned up this morning!

    last night I wasn’t all that happy with what I had written, but had no other ideas, and no time; this morning I cut out a few sentences, and felt better about it. Then as I preached, I read and ad-libbed, and I could feel me actually speaking to these people with an enthusiasm I haven’t felt for a while. maybe spending less time on preparation works???

    for childrens time, I read the story book ‘I’m not cute!’ about a Baby Owl – it is published in Great Britain and Australia, so you may not heard of it. but basically I talked about how people will tell us we are too fat, or skinny, or ugly, or stupid, but Baptism tells us that we are Gods, and as God knows us best, we should listen for what God says about us, and that is that we are loved.

    the Baptism family, including 3 year old being baptised, were beautiful, and I got lots of hugs from Mum as she was leaving, They live in Tasmania, so I am unlikely to see them again.
    off for a night away with my husband, then a meeting some people tomorrow. after a very full week 115% rather than 80%, I am hoping for a quieter week this week.

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  17. Since 1 John 3:1 is one of my very favorite verses in the entire Bible, I was happy to see it pop up in this week’s reading. Then I got to verse 6 and thought, “you idiot – this ain’t gonna be fun after all.” Of course, I could have just stayed with sweetness and light in the first three verses, but no. So here’s my take on sin and sinlessness, for what it’s worth. http://pastorsings.com/2015/04/18/and-that-is-what-we-are-sermon-on-1-john-31-7/ I really like Howard Marshall’s thought: “Become what you already are” so I gave him the last word on this text. Now it’s off to bed. Preach well, friends!

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  18. I came in at the 13th or maybe it was the 15th hour. I read through the thread. Loved the quotes-such as not being able to count on the dead being dead, and concerns about the resurrection. It was comforting to read through the words of sisters at work sharing, hoping, praying together that the Spirit would be so kind as to enter in and shape the words we craft to bring newness of life to those who hear what we proclaim. Thank you for your hard work to keep, we who work so long and late, sane and sensible as we write and prepare. 🙂
    Here is the sermon that came: http://revmonicagould.blogspot.com/2015/04/you-are-witnesses.html

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