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The readings this week for the RCL have given me an ear worm:

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be….
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
(Paul McCartney, Leonard Dillon, John Lennon)

So much broken heartedness in the world, such a great need for wisdom. One might be motivated to preach from Proverbs, if one could move through the imagery of the “perfect” wife to see that wisdom is really about acting with integrity, compassion, insight, and humility in order to bring forth justice – to do that which will serve the greater good. And it isn’t about just one person acting from these virtues, it is all people working together.

James continues provoking us to consider what wisdom means. James seems to be all about having an active faith life, about doing something. However James is pointing us to consider wisely what we are to do, to act with and through wisdom.

The Gospel of Mark is like a wise old sage pushing past the standard understandings of life into a deeper perspective. Jesus is not really asking us to consider our ministry to children. Or, is he? Jesus is asking us to remember that Jesus, and therefore God, come to us like children – they come to us through the fringes of society. They come to us through the marginalized, the small, the forgotten. They come to us through the brokenhearted in the world.

For more conversation on the RCL go here or the NL go here.

I have a baptism on Sunday, therefore regardless of where the texts take me I will be talking about baptism. I think I am going to talk about baptism as the way one becomes part of community and the formation that one can acquire from being part of community – perhaps that will connect with the disciples arguing over who will be greatest by suggesting that God calls us to be community of equals not people arguing over who is the greatest? I’ll say something about what Christian community is – how it contributes to our “salvation” and our “redemption” and the way in which we are formed and informed as Christians through community. Perhaps I’ll be able to connect all that to wisdom. Or not. Perhaps it will just be a sermon on baptism. That’s always good, right, regardless of the texts?

How about you? Where are the texts calling you this week?

This is the 11th Hour Preacher Party. We’re here to share our individual and corporate wisdom, supporting one another as we write, worry, and/or whine about the readings.

77 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Speaking Words of Wisdom….

  1. Thanks for hosting Terri! Prayers for all of us preparing to bring God’s word to God’s people.
    I have very little to share other than some white wine, which any and all are welcome to partake.
    I am preaching on Mark Sunday. I have a draft written that speaks about what it means to welcome. I’m not 100% sure about it and will let it marinade for a bit. I have posted it on my blog. http://randomrevhd.blogspot.com/2015/09/whoever-welcomes.html
    If anyone has any helpful comments or suggestions I’d be glad to receive them.

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  2. morning all! It is now late morning here in sunny Scotland and I am staring at a blank screen…
    I am in the NL, and when I finally got my service sheet together yesterday ( just one of those weeks) I gave the sermon the title The Ridiculousness of Faith – and that’s it.
    It has been a hard, long week, and I am running pretty much on empty

    I’m gong to catch up with reading things discussed on Tuesday, and hope for some inspiration which will speak into our context

    I have some yummy squash soup on the hob… ready when you are

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    1. YUM – squash soup! Yuck – the long hard week and blank screen….I do hope inspiration strikes and the words flow. Alas, I often find that when I am most fatigued and in need of words to flow easily, they evade me. sigh. I also hope you have some rest today. I do love the title of sermon. Where thinking about laying out some of the stereotypes of faith, the ridiculous things some people may think but never say? Or the ridiculous ways faith is being flung around as an excuse for bad behavior? What ideas for ridiculousness were you pondering?

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      1. I have an image of Sarah and her response to the ridiculous situation – what???
        I have thoughts about laughter – how good it feels; how sometimes it is so inappropriate; how sometimes, even in the depth of despair, or horror or fear, laughter is our (in)appropriate and only response…
        there was a great link in Mary’s post on Tuesday to a wonderful sermon by a Rabbi on this passage – he points out that this is the first instance of laughter in the bible, and that seems to resonate…

        I have a phrase that keeps coming to mind – when I draw a funeral to an end, I say “if you laugh or smile as you remember be happy, if you shed a tear be glad – these are the things which made her the person you loved so well”
        and that feel relevant too – but haven’t worked out if it’s just a distraction…

        and, underlining it all – every time I have stepped out in faith it has felt more or less ridiculous to do what seems to be the thing to do… so there is something there too…
        so I have more threads now than I thought I did an hour ago!

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  3. fortunately I am finished at a reasonable hour this week, not quite 9pm . Tomorrow is the first time preaching in a new placement, and the services start earlier than what I am used to. I ma hoping the sore throat I have had today will disappear overnight.
    chocolates to share, a gift to my husband from a committee which he chaired in my previous placement,
    preaching on Mark Greatness

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  4. Good morning preacher friends! I have a draft written, but I am tempted to toss it, not what I want to say….sigh. But I may not have it in me to write another one. Last week people said my sermon was “riveting” – and I do think I kind of hit a nerve in the congregation with it, one that really spoke to them. Which means this week I long to live into that energy but may not. Those Holy Spirit preaching moments don’t happen every week. sigh. I also have a busy afternoon – baptism prep at 1:30, Holiday Market meeting at 2:30, home communion at 3:30 – give or take the timing of all the other meetings.

    Anyway, its a rainy day here, which is good for me and for sermon writing – fewer distractions! I’m happy to be with you all today. I have coffee to share and some homemade banana peanut butter bread (its a little weird, but tasty).

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  5. Good morning! I have a couple of loaves of pumpkin bread in the oven. Should be ready soon. Last night at 10:30, it was 82 degrees and very humid. I didn’t turn my air conditioning back on when the heat/humidity came back. I went to sleep in a sheen of sweat. I woke up this morning at 5:07 (thanks to JJ the beagle pup) and it was 62 degrees! Yay! Now I am ready for fall – baking, apples, pumpkins, and some of Julie’s delicious squash soup.

    Today is my day to preach the evening service at a UCC church 72 miles away. I normally make the bulletin whatever I did the week before or from another sermon in the past. THis time I foolishly picked this Sunday’s text. Foolish because I often write on Saturday. I did block out large segment of time to write but one of our members is now dying. Being with her and talking with the family as they work to get back to the US (2 of the children work in Peru and Germany). That has been a sad and holy place. Yet the sermon remains.

    Last night, I wrote my NL sermon on Sarah’s birth. I used the theme of laughter and borrowed parts of the rabbi’s sermon, with attribution. The introduction is my own, with a joke from the NL facebook group. Then some of the rabbi’s thoughts from the middle of his sermon. I need an actual ending. I have talked of laughter and tears together, I have talked of the healing nature of laughter. I tied in our need to stand together and be agents of peace (observing Just Peace Sunday and talking of the Day of Peace on the 21st earlier in the service). How laughter is necessary to keep us going. I love Terri’s way of saying all the brokenheartedness of the world. I would like to end with another joke, a small one. So, in the last 15 mnutes of bake time for the banana bread, I am surfing for an appropriate joke or pun.

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    1. I often wish that I were a funny person, clever with jokes and puns. But, that is not me. I have to search for them….sigh. I do hope you find just the right one to end your sermon – which sounds like it will be brilliant! I hope you share it with us. And, prayers for you and your community during this sweet, holy, sad time.

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      1. Just have to pop in here with ‘JJ the beagle pup!!!!!!!’ what fun! We have Ralph the beagle who is now 3 1/2 – they are the bestest bestest dogs – full of character AND naughtiness! Ralph stole a bar of homemade candy (we call it tablet) from my hand bag at lunchtime – I keep expecting a sugar rush moment but instead he is snoring at my feet!

        Anyway enough procrastination….NL here and so far I have the monologue from Spill the Beans down but off to search out this Rabbi’s sermon sounds helpful!

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        1. We have Molly, a 3.5 year beagle. Got her from the local animal control when she was about a year old. She had been tossed out because hunting season was over. She was a wild thing. She jumped onto counters and opened the cabinets, stealing whatever she wanted. She almost overdosed on a senior dog’s arthritis medicine (liver flavored) because she got it off the top shelf. She figured out how to pull off the sealed off cat door to the pantry and ate almost everything on the bottom shelf while we were at a concert. She was something else. Sweet, mischievous, adorable. She is still all of those things but not as ornery or desperate about food. I love beagles!

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        2. We have a Vizsla – a Hungarian bird dog, who hates to get her feet wet even though she has web like paws. Silly thing. She too has been a handful – stealing food off counters and out of my brief case and purse. She once pulled open my suitcase and managed to get and eat an entire bag of dark chocolate – foil wrappers and all. I thought for sure we’d lose her. But we were told to give her hydrogen peroxide on white bread to make her throw it up -which she did – but sadly she was eliminating foil wrappers from the other end for a week. No permanent harm done, but we keep dark chocolate tucked far away from her reach. She also once ate four corn cobs – pulled them off the back corner of the counter, pulled off most of the husk and ate them cob and all. Very bad for a dog. Not much can be done for that unless a blockage occurs, then its surgery. I walked her round and round for days trying to keep her system moving. Eventually she passed them all, but not without a lot of worry on my part. Oh, dogs!! Gotta love ’em.

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  6. Good morning, friends. Sitter arrived earlier, and we’ve all just had breakfast. The presence of sitters during this healing time has been a God-send, since I have more time to think and be. The children tried on their dinosaur costumes earlier, and we had a short dinosaur parade around the apartment, then freshly baked almond poppy-seed muffins for breakfast with instant waffles. But one little one is cranky due to a nightmare… alas. Today will be busy– there is an anti-racism listening/learning event at another church today which some of our people are involved with and I will be going to– plus we have a community mini-picnic practically in the parking lot next to our apartment, and I need to gather a bunch of tax info for the accountant, and then, sometime, a sermon on “What is Great” –the Mark passage. Everything is hopping this weekend, so I have decided to modify a sustainable sermon, in part to allow time to process the anti-racism event, which I imagine will be evocative and reflective. So there is that– and the fact that I am still trying to process unfinished tax stuff, and a larger financial pic for our little family as a widow living in one of the most expensive areas in the country, which is near larger family…but still. Affordable housing is a HUGE issue here and intersects with multiple other issues. So there is a lot on my mind…and disciples trying to figure out who is great among them seems altogether petty and irrelevant, small-minded to me.
    I have hot muffins for anyone who wants one… best wishes to all who are writing today.

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    1. Holding you in prayer, Dee, and sending thoughts of love and peace….very many mixed up complicated aspects of life converging for you during this time. A sustainable sermon seems just the right answer, especially if it gives you the freedom to be present for the other things going on – children, anti-racism, community, and (ACK!!) taxes. sigh.

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  7. I have brownies to share, made for me by a parish member; save me from eating them all myself!

    I am searching for an all-ages sermon that includes some portion of the gospel, Homecoming, and acolyte blessing, is accessible for the little ones and thought-provoking for the adults, all in 5 minutes. Anyone happen to have one of those on hand? 😉 Lacking that, I’d be happy with some ideas for a good children’s sermon on the Mark or James text…

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    1. well….since James, like Proverbs, is pointing us to wisdom and since the Gospel is kind of “riddle” like, how about telling a few riddles that point to wisdom? And then talking a bit about what wisdom is – even Jesus was employing wisdom when he addressed the disciples argument over who was greatest by picking up a little child…??

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  8. Here is my sermon for NL:
    Our texts for today’s sermon, comes from the first places in Scripture where the word “laughter” appears, Genesis 18 & 21:
    “The guests visiting Abraham said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he replied, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will return to you next year, and your wife Sarah shall have a son!” Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years; Sarah had stopped having the periods of women. And Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “Now that I am withered, am I to have enjoyment with my husband so old?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘”Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I in truth bear child, old as I am?’” Is anything too wondrous for the Lord? I will return to you at the same season next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” (Gen 18:9-14) The Lord took note of Sarah as He had promised, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken. Abraham gave his newborn son, whom Sarah had borne him [at age 90], the name of Isaac. And when Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded him. Now Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter; everyone who hears will laugh with me.”
    In other words, God tells Sarah she is going to have a baby. Sarah says “surely, you are not serious?! And God says, “I am. And stop calling me Shirley.”
    When Sarah heard the promise of God from the angels, she laughed…(just as Abraham did in the previous chapter when God told him the same thing!). Her laugh wasn’t a laugh of joy or hope. Sarah laughed at God’s promise – I’ve done it and I am willing to be each one of us has, too. Sarah laughed at the thought that God’s upside down blessings can really happen
    What happens next is instructive: God asked why Sarah laughed. I believe that God wants to help us beyond ourselves and our difficulty with faith “Why did you laugh? Do you really believe that anything is too hard for the God of Creation?” To which Sarah lied in her fear saying, “Oh, I didn’t laugh, Lord.” Denial is everywhere, within us and among us – but peace can’t be built on a lie – so God keeps up the challenge: “Yes, there is no question about it; you laughed and doubted.”
    But the story doesn’t end with the laughter of fear and denial: A few chapters later we read, “The LORD was gracious to Sarah just as he had said and the LORD did for Sarah what was promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him….And Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
    And what was the name of the child born of God’s humor and Abraham and Sarah’s humanity? Isaac – Yitzhak – which means: the one who laughs! What began as a laugh of doubt and even fearful sarcasm, became a holy prayer bringing new life and hope to humans through their laughter.
    Rabbi Micah Goldstein, of Temple Emmanuel in Memphis, makes this observation about the text: “What is clear in the bible … is that with Isaac, the age of laughter begins. And as we are in seasons of our lives or our culture that are solemn or overwhelming, God forbid we close the age of laughter which began with Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac. We need laughter in our lives. It is God’s gift to us.”
    Rabbi Goldstein shares this story:
    A priest, Pentecostal preacher, and rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop. One day someone made the comment that preaching to people isn’t really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another they decided to do a seven-day experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it. Seven days later, they’re all together to discuss the experience.
    Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first. “Well,” he says, “I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quick grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give the bear first communion and confirmation.”
    Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory, he proclaimed, ‘Well brothers, you know that we don’t sprinkle, so I went out and found me a bear. And then I began to read from God’s Holy Word! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took hold of him and we began to rassle. We rassled down one hill, up another, and down another until we came to a crick. So I quick dunked him and baptized his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the week in fellowship, feasting on God’s Holy Word, and praising Jesus.”
    They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IVs and monitors running in and out of him. He was in bad shape. The rabbi looks up and says, “You fellows don’t what trouble is until you try to circumcise one of those devils!”
    According to Rabbi Goldstein, there is more Jewish humor on circumcision than any other subject, and yet in no way does that take away from the centrality and seriousness of the covenant of circumcision. Part of the backstory of Abraham and Sarah is that God instructs Abram, “At the age of eight days, every male among you through the generations shall be circumcised. This shall be my everlasting covenant with you.” After the circumcision God changes Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations.” Circumcision is central to the Jewish faih as a sign of God’s covenant with the people. That is one reason that Paul and the other early church leaders clashed so voraciously over whether non-Jewish converts tto the way of Jesus needed to be circumcised.
    Rabbi Goldstein points out that whenever rulers wished to destroy Judaism, their common tactic was to go after the childrens. If you stop the kids from being Jewish, then there will be no Jewish future. Rulers who wished to destroy Jewish loyalties and put an end to Judaism ordered that any parent who arranged for their son to be circumcised would be put to death. As horrible s the treatment and persecution of the Jewish people has been over the millennia, it may be surprising that circumcision has provided so much laughter. Yet “if God can help us bear our tragedies, Judaism teaches, then God can also take our humor!” I would add that that is true for Christians too! Every death leaves a scar, Elie Wiesel has written, and every time a child laughs, it starts healing. Laughter is healing.
    Laughter and humor are gifts from God. This is true not only in times of joy but also at life’s most painful moments or seasons. God has created us with minds to think and wonder and hearts to love and hope. God has also given us a sense of humor. We all know that God has a sense of humor, right? Then we, too, bearing the image of God have that gift too. And if we are to utilize all the positive gifts that God has given us in this lifetime, then we, in our lives and in our faith and in the way that our faith moves us to engage with the world beyond ourselves, in all those arenas, we may embrace laughter and its power to transform and to heal.
    God is the creator of laughter that is good, not laughter that mocks, scorns, and shows contempt. Healthy laughter is a universal bond that draws all people closer.
    Laughter is healing. Our need for laughter, like love, is limitless, and it does not diminish even when someone we love is sick or dying or has already passed. I cannot tell you of the many times that there has been laughter mixed in with tears around the bedside of one who is dying as people share stories. [Share a story from CPE?]Sometimes even now, 3 years after my mom died, I think of something she would have found funny or ridiculous, and I can see her smile or roll her eyes or laugh. And I smile and feel great sorrow, both at the same time, but I try to hold on to the smile part more. Smiling, laughing does honor the one we loved.
    When we laugh with each other, not at each other, but with each other, we are reminded how deeply connected we are to one another even in our world filled with heartbreak. We are united as beloved children of God; we are united in our belief that every person, every man, woman, and child is precious in God’s eyes.
    These days are moments for us to stand together to see the suffering of humanity and the need for God’s guidance to right the wrongs of society as best we can, to be agents and voices of peace, for peace as best we can.. We share the same Creator. We share the hopes for peace, for dignity, for abundant life.

    This talk of creation reminds me of a story:
    There was a girl who asked her mother, “How did the human race come about?” The mother thought a minute and told her, “God made Adam and Eve and they had children and so all humans come from them.” The girl thought about it for a couple of days. She wasn’t quite sure, so she asked her father the same question. And he said, “Many years ago there were monkeys from which the human race evolved.” The confused girl wondered about this for a few days before returning to her mother saying, “Mom how is it possible that you told me the human race was created by God and Dad said they developed from monkeys?” The mother smiled and replied, “Well, honey, it is very simple: I told you about my side of the family and your father told you about his.”

    Let’s take our laughter into the world! Amen.

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    1. I love that phrase – became a holy prayer – that the laughter was transformed from something hard into something glorious – thanks for your words! They may have just pushed me on again!

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  9. I am just settling in to write….conceive, whatever. My wedding stuff is all set, except my printer has decided to run out of ink, but I can print at the office when I get there. I am just pulling out of the oven a spicy shashuka dish from Blue Apron….red bell peppers, onions, tiny fingerlings, parsley, spices and eggs. There is a TON of it, so I am dishing out plates and plates. Come and eat!

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  10. I love the dog comments. I’m pup-sitting for daughter this weekend as she and her husband attend a wedding in FLA. This guy had me up at 6:15 and I was ready for a nap an hour ago. But thought I’d better keep pounding the keys.
    I have a sermon… although it’s more a guided discussion.
    After my own pondering and reading Missional Map-making this summer AND many discussions and brain storming. I’ve decided to try a different way of “grouping”. I often ask people to turn in the pews and talk in small groups to answer a question in the sermon. This week I’m building that up to the point of inviting them to decide on a “Practice” for their group. (After defining “Wisdom Practices” in as broad a way as they want to.)

    SO I work through both James and Mark, picking up on Karoline Lewis in Christian Century. I love the “Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters!” and our avoidance (of conflict or hard conversations) fits in by way of the disciples avoiding Jesus’ hard saying about death. At least that’s how I’m tying it in, thanks to a colleague in our Lectionary Group this monday who suggested the disciples were ‘changing the subject” with a conversation about greatness.

    Here’s praying that MY discerning this path with lead to THEIR discernment of a future. We have gotten down to 30-40 on a Sunday and we need to make changes!

    Best to all, I need to walk this pup and our older dog before heading off to speak before the Planning Commission – which I really don’t want to do…

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    1. WOW – I really like how you are formulating this discussion time. I hope it goes as well as it sounds! I’m really wondering about church these days and our community life….so many very busy tired people and church is just an easy thing to give up, indulging in the temptation to have morning to do nothing…or at least less. How to reconstruct something that still meets the need people have for a place and community to help make life meaningful without the need to be there every week and without the need for their financial support? I don’t really want to talk us out of a job for me but I think its all time limited anyway…that or some BIG movement of the HOLY SPIRIT needs to come along and reinspire the church and people…sigh.

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      1. I agree, I used to be convinced God was working in the world and we just needed to join in. I still think that, but am not sure of the need for churches as currently structured…yet without them, why would we come together to form community at all? sigh…

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    2. We were dog sitters last weekend, one of the good buddies of our Lab. Alas, our friend’s dog demonstrated his anxiety by wanting to go out every 2 hours through the night, so I certainly sympathize with your early riser. He also helped himself to at least a dozen granola bars, wrappers and all! With results akin to Terri’s foil-wrapped chocolate eating pup. Even so, we love them, don’t we?

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  11. It’s 11:30am here and I’m just starting to work on this week’s sermon. Usually there’s something prepped earlier than this, but this week nothing was speaking to me and I’ve been unusually busy as I get ready to leave for a 10-day vacation! But first, I do have to come up with something for tomorrow. I love the ideas on Wisdom, and at least one of the songs for worship tomorrow pulls out that theme. But what to say? God is wise… make wise decisions… but how? Then there’s first and last, arguing about greatness, and welcoming even the least important members of our community. I guess I just need to pick a theme and get writing – need to be at church by 4pm for an event this afternoon, so hoping to have a draft by then!

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    1. An update: I’ve decided to go with the welcoming theme in Mark. Welcoming someone means giving them value in your world. So value the children, the refugees, the refugee children, the children who build clocks as a hobby, the homeless, the homebound. I think it’s starting to move in the right direction!

      Nothing for the kids’ sermon, though. Nada. I really wanted to do something on wisdom, but am coming up dry. Suggestions?

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      1. Not wisdom, but welcome…One suggestion I found was using a welcome mat…how are we welcomed? Who do we welcome, and how, not just at church but in the world? Reminded me that I did something similar a few years ago (and am contemplating a repeat version) with taking a few pieces of bright poster board and having kids and adults write words/acts of welcome on it; we then put them out the next Sunday just to the sides of the rubber mat we have at the entrance to the church. I was thinking it would be cool to do that and place them at the head of the aisle, welcoming people as they come up to communion. Or something.

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  12. Not sure if it’s too much coffee or what, but envisioning Mark 9:36 as Jesus holding the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi in the midst of the disciples and saying “when you welcome these little children you welcome God” about made me cry. The importance of this is that I am not generally a cryer. Struggling with a recent admonishment from my council that i use too many current events in my sermons (“if i wanted to hear about this stuff i’d watch the news.”). anyway, feeling an inbreaking of holy spirit while i finish my coffee and donut, and needed to share in safe space. blessings on everyone’s sermon crafting this weekend!

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    1. Robyn, a similar image kept coming to mind for me as well. To the extent that little boy–and all the people he represents–was unwelcome, so have we failed to welcome Jesus.

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    2. I’m so sorry you were admonished in that way! Surely this says more about those who admonished you than it does about you….Sounds to me like you are preaching a very relevant Gospel message and have your pulse on the broken places of the world.

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  13. I am back. Wedding was awesome, dogs are walked and thrown ball to, and I have about 2/3 of a sermon. Focusing on the vulnerability of welcome rather than how fear leads to talking about power, aka Working Preacher and David Lose’s exhortation in his blog. Not sure how it will come out, but it will be fine. We have a picnic after church, so people will be smelling the cookout, I think and not thinking about the sermon. 😉

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  14. Having a lazy day recovering from severe allergies earlier this week – coughing so hard and so often that conversation became impossible. Not a good thing for a pastor! And then the allergies got so bad they morphed into bronchial asthma – I have never been so sick in my life.!

    After a lengthy doctor visit and a variety of medications, my lung function is finally getting better, and I’m not coughing anywhere near as much (and I can breathe and sleep!) but I get winded and fatigued easily. So I’m trying to not do too much and rest – all while taking care of a spouse who just had some minor knee surgery (meniscus tear repair). And getting ready for worship tomorrow – which means a sermon needs to be written!

    I’ve on the NL and Sarah’s laugh. The impossibility of her situation, of God’s promise is what’s really stuck with me this week. And it got me thinking about how impossible God’s call to a teenaged girl in the 70’s to become an ordained minister sounded. Especially when said girl had no idea that there was such a creature as women ministers!

    My sermon is mostly done and posted: You Laughed!. I’m doing some second guessing – any comments or suggestions are appreciated!

    Now I just hope I have voice and energy for 2 worship services tomorrow!

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    1. Oh, that’s awful about the allergies. I dealt with that for about 5 days over last weekend. Important life knowledge gained: there is no counter-indication to taking Benadryl and Sudafed at the same time. Even so, my allergies were winning for at least 2 days in there! So glad you’re regaining your health.

      I didn’t ready your sermon but love your parallel between Sarah laughing and women feeling called to ministry. Need to focus on my own RCL sermon before reading anything else…

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    2. I like your sermon, Ramona. I don’t think you need the piece at the end re Tolkien, relevant though it is. And, if you are really feeling ill and want to keep it short you could stop at “And even when you turn you back on God, God stays with you. God keeps God’s promises.

      Even when you laugh at God.”…..that’s a strong ending, in my opinion.

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  15. About halfway through my sermon on welcoming. Trying to decide whether I’ll have time in the morning to buy sidewalk chalk and recruit a volunteer to go with the kids to draw a “welcome mat” by the entrance to our church… but all those pieces seem unlikely before 8am, so I might need to go a different direction for the children’s sermon, which means I’ve still got nothing there. Back to work!

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    1. Canoeist pastor- You could make sidewalk chalk paint. Equal parts water and cornstarch (I use I Tablespoon each) in plastic cups or a muffin tin. Mix with 6-10 drops food coloring. Does the job, and clean ups easy.

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  16. 8:30pm and it’s time to get to it. NL here, so pondering receiving guests…
    I think I’m going to begin with a story of a children’s sermon where I accidentally told the kids they should talk to strangers because they might be Jesus (still funny 8 years after it happened), and then ease into how *do* we offer hospitality to people we don’t already know? Abraham’s visitors appeared at the siesta time, and Abraham pulled out all the stops, with the fatted calf and the entire bakery worth of flour he told Sarah to work on. What happens when someone approaches our home? (I may even see if I can shift the “what are we afraid of” angle of that to the idea that seeing the image of God/hearing God’s voice in the stranger requires something of us, and what we’re really afraid of is God demanding something of us. Like, you know, working to make the world a place where we don’t need to be afraid of each other.)

    We are commissioning the volunteers who will serve in our homeless shelter this season, so I’ll be able to talk about that too.

    For those still up, there’s homemade peach bourbon ice cream in the freezer. The salted caramel sauce is in the fridge if you’d like to add it. 🙂

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  17. If I were at a different congregation, my sermon would be done. But it’s only 4 pages of a typical 6 or 7 that my folks are used to. I guess no one ever complains about a short sermon, but being less than ⅔ the usual length seems like a pretty big gap. Anyone have a fabulous story to share about welcoming people in the name of God?

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    1. … I did already reference the refugee story mentioned by someone earlier today, or was it on the Tuesday RCL post? still coming up short…

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      1. I could share with you the story of when I first attended the Episcopal Church…I was raised in the Mormon Church and the priest knew that. I attended every Sunday for months, along with my husband and 1 year old daughter. But I never went up for Communion. I was a little afraid. I wasn’t sure what to do and I wasn’t sure I could go up, having been raised in the Mormon. But then somewhere along the line I figured out that it was okay for me to go and so on Easter Day I finally did. I walked up with my husband and daughter and knelt at the rail, hands extended to receive the bread. The priest came up to me, looked at me, hesitated, and then put the bread in my hands with the words, the Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven. Then, after the service the priest came up to me and asked me about my baptism. I told him that I had been baptized by full immersion in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The priest looked relieved, clearly that was good enough! But the welcoming piece was that he served me anyway. If he had denied me that morning, after all the hesitation I had had, who knows how I would have felt. But instead he opened the door to me moving even deeper into the church and left me with a clear example of hospitality and welcoming in the church.

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    2. Possible stor- My mom told me a story today (after my sermon was done of course) about my great great grandfather Marion Alphonso Pritchard. He and his wife were farmers Near Santa Anna Tx in the Great Depression. They had ten kids and lived in a small home near the railroad. Marion would often find men riding the rails looking for a place to stay. He welcomed them into their home and they added something to stretch the stew for the night. The men would sleep in the barn, with 10 kids not any extra space. He did this faithfully for ten years! All based on his faith that God calls us to welcome the stranger and serve the least.

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      1. I think I’m using the railroad story – thanks! It fits right in with a conversation we’ve been having about how to help the homeless people in our city, given all the spare bedrooms that people in our congregation have. Even if we don’t want to invite someone in to stay, can we let them use the closet in our guest room to store their sentimental or legally important things while they look for a more permanent place?

        Terri, I do love your story – thanks for sharing. I’ll keep that one in mind the next time I’m doing a new member or first Communion class!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Good Sunday morning preacher friends! My computer was overheating last night because the Facebook “Messenger” app wouldn’t shut down, and I couldn’t “see” that it was running. Weird. Anyhow, I had to shut down and let it cool off and by that time it was bedtime for me, here in the Eastern time zone of the USA. Thanks for partying with me yesterday! I’ll keep all of you in my prayers today as we all move through our days, breaking open the word and feeding our people.

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  19. Good Sunday morning from the Left Coast (San Francisco Bay Area) I’m in a new call and as always seems to happen, many people are dying, including one dear woman yesterday. So I have no great sermon, but am going with the sign that was on the back of the door at the hospital I served as a chaplain, “children are to be seen, heard, and believed.” Prayers for all today!

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