What is on your list today, preachers?

Church stuff, obviously: is tomorrow the choir cantata? the children’s program? the Open House at your house (hi, that’s me)? tracking down someone to light the Advent wreath (me too)? pink candle Sunday? Love Sunday? Mary Sunday? Not to mention it’s about time to get to work on that Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/Sunday after Christmas bulletin. And oh yes, tomorrow’s sermon.

Used by permission from rgbstock.com
Used by permission from rgbstock.com

Home stuff, likely: goodie making, house cleaning, gift purchasing, gift wrapping, craft projects

For now, pull up a chair. The snack table is all set with homemade candy and a veggie tray–help yourselves to either or both, we won’t judge. Your preaching sisters and brothers are gathered around, ready to discuss the children’s sermon, the other sermon, the Sunday School lesson, or whatever it is that is occupying you today.

 

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84 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Third Sunday of Advent

  1. already 11th hour-ing a day ahead of usual. I’m currently (aside from this distraction) working on a funeral meditation for tomorrow morning, knowing that the morning’s events will push my sermonating to tomorrow afternoon and evening. Once I get there, I’ll be combining Luke’s beatitudes and woes with stave 3 of Dicken’s Christmas Carol… the Spirit of Christmas Present. The image of those skeletal children under his robe (Ignorance and Want) feels all to relevant in these days…

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  2. it’s 6.45 on a cold clear Saturday morning in Scotland….by 10.30 I need to be ready for hoards
    of youngsters and their parents for Messy Church…. in between I need to find time to gather my thoughts, walk the dog (a very new thing she only moved in on Wednesday) and make sure I have remembered everything!
    Tomorrow the theme is “everyone needs a miracle” I use the NL and I’m bringing next week forward as next week will be the Nativity – so Luke 1 Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story with a hat tip to Mary… I have the outline and all the thoughts are gathering…
    thanks for hosting today Monica!

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    1. A new dog! How fun. I trust that Messy Church was, well, messy and chaotic and joyful. I hope your thoughts on Zechariah and Elizabeth have a chance to come together into a sermon.

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      1. she’s a sweetie!! She has some bad habits that’ll take a bit of working out – but generally she’s just very affectionat – and *AHEM* NOT AT ALL A DISTRACTION! πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 3 people

  3. 9.00 pm Saturday evening, so time to put a ramble of thoughts into something resembling a coherent proclamation of the gospel. yesterday i was in a meeting that went from 9.30 am to 9.00 pm. as it was 90 minutes away we stayed overnight, as the meeting was planned to meet again this morning from 9.00 am for another 4 hours. but we managed to finish all the agenda items yesterday, which meant a less rushed morning today. Getting home earlier than expected means i have a first draft of the service of scripture and song for 27th December. Now to write something for tomorrow.

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  4. Not quite 5:30am here and I’ve been awake since, oh, awhile. Our seminarian is being ordained to the transitional diaconate at 11am morning, along with 6 other’s being ordained deacon or priest. (So that means we are in for a long service). I am a presenter/vester of our ordinand as well as offering prayers and anointing for healing during the communion. After the ordination service I need rush back to church for a funeral service. I wrote both sermons on Thursday (funeral and Advent 3) and tweaked them a bit yesterday. Now I’m up with a long list of “oh crap” – I need to do’s – none of which I can do because they all require me going over to the church, which I’ll do in a couple of hours. Now I’m going to work on the Advent 3 sermon, which is all about our call to follow God and produce fruit. The newly ordained deacon will be with us so the sermon includes some thoughts about ordained ministry and lay ministry. It’s not very interesting but it is relevant to our context. Blessings on the partying today, I’ll be thinking about you all through this day. I’ll be back tonight.

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    1. You have a very full day! I hope the “oh, crap”s can get taken care of well enough for you to enjoy the ordination service and be present for the funeral. Your Advent 3 sermon sounds relevant, definitely. We’ll be here all day, so whenever you get back, check in.

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  5. 10.30am here….We held our Christmas Open House for elders last night so am only just getting to the sermon edit now. I wrote my sermon on Tuesday and it isn’t particularly ‘joyful’ as my heart just wasn’t in a place to be singing songs of rejoice….so, I am adding a little ‘joy’ to it today although hopefully retaining a little of my earlier spirit filled reflection.

    I have a dining table, extended to over 7′ long covered with all the leftover food from last night – so please help yourself…consider yourselves as guests at my Open House today – there are Christmas pies, stollen bites, lebkuchen, rum truffles, Christmas cake, florentines, and ginger biscuits….if you want something savoury then just help yourself from the fridge – there’s cheeses galore, butter, hummous, savoury eggs and pate…bread is in the basket by the kettle, the coffee is in the pot, and the serano ham is ready to carve on the sideboard. [I think it is fair to say that this is one manse family who will not starve this Christmas].

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    1. Your Open House is rather more impressive than ours! Even your leftovers sound marvelous! Thanks for sharing.

      I hope that joy is seeping in, both to you and to your sermon.

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  6. Good morning! I spent much of yesterday evening and all of the afternoon grocery shopping an making sops and pie. Our church i having its Christmas Bazaar today and the heart of that is a soup/dessert luncheon. My younger son’s basketball team is playing for the championship in a regional tournament this evening. Somewhere in the mid-afternoon or the late night, I need to come up with a sermon on Ezra. Ezra! Don’t have a sustainable sermon there. Last week there was much possibility with Isaiah but I used a sermon on peace from a few years ago, updated to reflect the most recent acts of violence and to include Isaiah. It was quite timely and worked well. At this exact moment, I wish I had kept that for this Sunday. Or maybe that I had a sermon on the themes in Ezra.

    Still thinking about including the darker part of Ezra, at least in my sermon if not the reading, the racial purity laws. Want to talk about difficulties in homecoming, the possibility of ones being left-behind
    getting pushed aside, as well as lifting up hope in the midst of fear and the possibility of coming together with the ones who were left behind in a shared future. Mostly still a bunch of gobbledy gook in my head now. Hopefully stuff will come together as I serve soup and schmooze with our neighbors.

    I am about to pull two pans of brownies out of the oven. One is for the family and you all. Please help yourself.

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    1. I’m thinking about Cyrus in this NL text. Some say his writing was the first human rights law ever. And the candor openness about people observing their own religion!

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    2. I’m imagining that the learning curve on Ezra is a little steeper than most other texts. Or at least it would be for me. Let us know how it turns out, or feel free to ask for help if you get stuck.

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  7. Morning here and clearing schedule to spend time here at home since its been a stressful couple of weeks…. No sermon today, as we are having pageant and I am (thankfully) not in charge. We (my family) all has colds, and I have little voice, but thankful that it is now and not 2 weeks from now.
    I am going to try to “capture some wonder” today– I don’t know how to express it, but I hope to find a way to lose myself in everyday moments– and not think about “What if?” or “What I need to do” or “How is this going to be accomplished?” or the future in general. Basically I am saying that I need a strong dose of Jesus today and Holy Spirit TLC and not ashamed to declare that need, as I think that we mature ourselves out of stating what our hearts and souls yearn for. This morning my son was being contrary, but came and curled up next to me– and that is what I mean– to curl up next to the Divine in all of our contrariness and pain. Why do we think that we are so sophisticated to not need this? (a rhetorical question– I am asking this morning) or that we are auto-matons to push, push, push and not play?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a challenge for me, as well, to live in–much less revel in–the current moment, without thinking of the future in all its possibilities (good and bad) and complexities. Peace to you this day, Dee. And I hope you all heal quickly.

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  8. Good morning from foggy middle Tennessee!

    I have been away from the Preacher Party for awhile because I’ve been away from preaching and pastoring for most of the year. I’ve been serving in a new (to me) congregational setting for about a month and I’m getting back into the habit of sermon prep on Saturday. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and it feels good!

    When I moved from Louisiana, I did stock up on New Orleans French roast coffee, and I’ve made a fresh pot of hot deliciousness. Please help yourselves!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Am preaching on John the Baptist’s prophetic testimony from the wilderness… “Brood of vipers” and the people’s question to him, “What would you have us do?” from Luke 3:7-18…we’re starting with welcoming “the other” and after my short reflection,will hear testimony from another wilderness… inviting up my new Muslim friends to share their refugee story as recent arrivals to CT.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clicked on this blog to see where such inspired worship would be happening – and was delighted, but not surprised, to find that it is being led by a friend from seminary. Advent blessings to you, Laura! Let’s catch up – after Christmas….

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Good morning preachers! What a great party so far! I’m stepping out for a while to enjoy my Christmas present to myself–a day at the pottery studio. Sharon (from a couple of comments above) will be hostessing for a while and responding to your comments and helping us make connections with each other. I’ll be back in the late afternoon (U.S. Central Time). Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We woke up to a sick puppy this morning, so the day’s plans are being adjusted accordingly. I need a full-length sermon, while the other preacher at my house can make do with a brief meditation appropriate to Music Sunday. I’m admittedly covetous.
    We’re both in the Narrative Lectionary, so I can’t make use of the good work I did on John the Baptist in the past, sadly. On the other hand, Ezra feels appropriate in a congregation looking at changes and adjustments, given the mixture of praise and grief with which the passage concludes.
    I dictated 900 words or so into my phone the other night; now I’m trying to figure out what I actually said! Meanwhile, I have a cookie tin full of Molasses Ginger cookies to share, and here’s the recipe for those who are interested:
    http://marthaspong.com/2015/12/09/moms-molasses-ginger-snap-cookies/

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A busy day for everyone I see. I too have been away a bit because I’ve been scheduled on Saturdays. So it is nice to be here for a minute. But alas, I need to get back to sermon edit. I’m slightly off lectionary this Advent. I’m using the Feasting Advent Companion which keeps the OT texts and switches around the NT texts. Nice change although obviously the themes are the same.
    I had an idea for christmas eve but need to follow up with some folks whom I’ve asked to write parts of it…”The Quest for Jesus” so we shall see, I have very creative folks and 2 have agreed!

    Blessings are you/we write.

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  13. Narrative Lectionary preacher just sitting down to refresh the Ezra passage before writing. I am musing about the intersection of JOY Sunday, baptism, the purity laws in the background of the text, specific issues in this congregation, current events, and a local effort to proclaim #loveoverfear in response to hateful rhetoric against Muslims. I have a cat on my lap making typing somewhat difficult at the moment. I can, however, contribute to the party some freshly baked coconut chocolate chip scones.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Preachers! I haven’t been here in ages because for the last year I’ve been writing earlier in the week. This week, however, my schedule is FUBAR, to be blunt. I”m in the midst of a complicated move that involves a whole lot of downsizing (ultimately a wonderful thing b/c I’m moving in with my husband full time after 6 months of commuter marriage) and tomorrow is my first Sunday at my new call (YAY!) and we had to fly to Florida this week for my sister’s funeral (and my family is always complicated!). So here I am trying to get my head around Advent 3 in a new parish, and so far, I’m less than inspired.

    I’m reminded that three years ago I preached on Newtown and if I weren’t in a new parish I might return to those themes in light of San Bernardino. And six years ago I used Robert Fulghum’s “Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten,” which worked nicely with JtB. But I need something fresh this week.

    Come, Holy Spirit, come!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to see you, Kris, and welcome back!

      What a time you have had going through loss and grief, travel, family, and some new things, too. Wow. Sending you lots of love and prayers for God’s peace and blessings upon you.

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    2. I got a call on Wednesday afternoon to give the homily on Thursday for a memorial service the local nursing home puts on every other month. The organizer had meant to call me earlier, but, you know … so I threw together something from Isaiah 12 (the psalm for Advent 3, Gaudete Sunday!) about joy in the midst of sorrow. Let me know if you’d like me to send it to you. It might give you a start to speak from your own recent experience of grief. And this reminds me I still need to put together our Longest Night service for the 20th…

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  15. Ezra and love for me tomorrow. Heavily using the Spill the Beans bible notes and story. Building up on getting our relationships right before worrying about the buildings….and how we often get that the wrong way round. And yet we have a Christ Child to get ready for……
    No food to offer I am afraid….too busy to fill the cupboards. Evening meal may end up as cheese & biscuits as off out early to play with the brass band I am a member of…a Christmas Concert…..

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  16. Returned from vacation early (1:00 am) Thursday morning to two funerals scheduled for yesterday (Friday) and Monday and a sermon to prepare on Luke 3. Still in a fog from a day of airports and crowded airplanes but pressing on.
    Tomorrow is our Sunday school program but I will also offer a short message that includes the children. Struggling with this at the moment. How does one preach “you brood of vipers” to 75 children and the rest of the congregation at the same time?

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  17. Friends, thank you for this fun opportunity to sub for Monica for a while today. She will be back soon, and I am on the way out to go Christmas caroling with some church folk. May God bless you and the Good News you preach.

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  18. Brood of vipers to children? That’s like telling the intern they have to do a children’s story on the “You Lie – You Die” passage in Acts… but don’t kids like creepy snake-things????

    I will shortly have roasted beet salad with goat cheese and pistachios to share… as long as there is enough left for tomorrow’s Churches’ Community Christmas Dinner.

    Editing my sermon – and praying..
    Several of us are going to the Vigil at the NRA building in Fairfax Monday morning for the 3rd anniversary of Sandy Hook shooting. And look at all the shootings have been since.

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  19. I’ve had a couple weeks off from preaching, and I’m having a hard time getting my thoughts together. How can this already be Gaudete Sunday? I haven’t even begun Advent myself! To make things worse, we aren’t following either lectionary this year, but a through-the-Bible plan that puts us in the middle of Solomon’s court this week. So the bulletin says I’m preaching about kingly prayers (Solomon’s dedication of the temple), but I just can’t get excited about it, or figure out how to tie it all to Advent joy. On the plus side, I found a huge unopened bag of leftover Halloween candy in the pantry, so help yourself to some chocolate!

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  20. I’m back from the day of pottery. Six hours is a long time, and my muscles are quivering. But it was loads of fun, with fun people. Thank you, Sharon!

    I’ve looked at my sermon and discovered a whole section that needs to be revised, as I think I’ve used this story at this congregation already. Rats.

    My spouse is headed out for some take-out, so place your orders! (Unless you already have an elaborate ham, like Martha)

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  21. Today is the Feast of Guadalupe. Tomorrow we celebrate Guadalupe. Using the Guadalupe story and the Magnificat. Have scads of notes, lots of ideas and very little focus. Having trouble finding light in all the darkness, hope in the weariness and despair around me. Looking for hope in ordinary things and ordinary people and longing for some concrete examples.

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  22. One more little question which I’d ask on Facebook if I hadn’t sworn off Facebook for advent and christmas. What is the recipe for molten chocolate cake in a mug? Was it Marci Glas who shared this recipe last year? I have two mugs I’d like to fill with cake. If you have it, please send to sahcdsp@yahoo.com

    I will be sure to share at the next Preacher’s Party.

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  23. Well, I am back. Have been for about two hours. I’ve meditated, tried to rest my brain, so I can finish the sermon. But I’m wiped. The ordination was every bit as lovely and long as I anticipated. The funeral went well, so no complaints about the day as it was. Just a very tired brain. I mean, my sermon is okay enough if only I could find a final sentence. Really. I only need one sentence to end it. And so far I have reordered the last few paragraphs and rewritten everything about five times and its still meh. I think I’ll eat dinner (tacos and homemade guacamole – Monica – ) and take a shower. Maybe then I can finish this thing. If not, I may have to do what I NEVER do – and wait until the morning…

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    1. ha! Guacamole is the snack of choice for the 8 year old around here! We only do homemade. I think waiting till morning if you only need one sentence is probably ok, unless it’s going to keep you awake all night. It sounds like your brain and the rest of you could use some more rest.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. This is my very first time at the preacher party – and i fell immediately in love! Tomorrow is pageant day for us so I’m not writing a sermon, just trying to create a children’s moment that won’t preempt the kids’ play – “An Unexpected Christmas”. Also, personally, I am waiting for results from a medical test and I am in more of a dither than it feels faithful to be in. But there it is. 😦

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  25. Having discarded a story that I’ve already told in this congregation, I have thought of something to put in its place. The search function tells me that I have also already told this story, in this congregation. Less than a year ago. Back to thinking…

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    1. if it is a good story, retell it. some people will have missed the first time, and a good story always has something new to say to us.

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  26. Funeral went well this morning, followed by a little down time and shopping and enjoying a beautiful drive in my convertible (the fresh air helped make up for not getting to ride this week). Home to laundry, dinner, and other random chores, so NOW I am sitting down to put words together. We are celebrating communion a week later than usual, so this one may be short and punchy (like me!)

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    1. Short and punchy sounds pretty good. I’ve got short and not punchy. I’m glad you got some time to do what you enjoy. That should aid in the sermonizing.

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      1. Done! Not as short as I expected, but shorter than the last few πŸ™‚ Will have to post tomorrow, as I am spent. Praying for all those still typing, whether literally or in their dreams.

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  27. okey-dokey, it’s time to do some writing! I spent my Saturday sleeping in, reading a couple of issues of the Christian Century (trying to work through my 6 month backlog), and petting the kitties.

    And then having the microwave turn into fireworks in my kitchen, significantly dampening my usual “make enough for leftovers” system.

    Nothing actually caught fire, as I turned the microwave off within 3 seconds of the sparking beginning. But still….oy.

    Working on Ezra, joy, perseverance…I have no opening ideas at all, so it could be a long night. (I’m one of those people who needs a good opening and then the rest sort of just…comes. No opening = no sermon. sigh.)

    I still have some of the best cookies I’ve ever eaten in my life, and some caramel apple tea (no caffeine) which is perfect for dipping. Help yourselves. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. They are essentially a butter cookie, but with rice krispies in them so they have this weird sweet salty crunchy chewy thing going on. The first time I had them, I thought maybe there were crushed pretzels, or salted caramel chips….but no. rice krispies.

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  28. Our local lectionary group is getting together this week for a “Christmas-sermon-writing marathon” at a local coffee shop. In theory that should allow me time for next Sunday’s and Christmas Eve. But something someone said here, made me remember there is a season beyond Advent…sigh.

    I have a sermon…such that it is and am working on a paper for the United Church of Christ Polity class I just finished as part of applying for ordination recognition in ‘your’ wonderful denomination (to those who are). We shall see if it is necessary, but at least I am prepared now. But it has been a VERY long time since I wrote a 20-page paper. So of course, I took a break and we put up more Christmas lights. A neighbor is leaving for assignment in Israel for the next two years and her children think they will “never” see Christmas lights again. A kindly neighbor went door-to-door asking our street to ‘light up!’ so we are trying to do our part. Fun, right?

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  29. Sure sign of the apocalypse: Monica is using a football example in her sermon. The Heisman. It’s what people are talking about on Twitter, and I got nothing else. So there it is.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. okay….so I still have no beginning, and I have exactly two ideas so far. I think they are related:
    1. you can’t go home again. They begin to rebuild, but as with everything else, some people remember it better.
    2. what are we building, exactly? Are we following the blueprints for the kingdom of God, or for what we remember/are nostalgic for/feel comfortable with?

    Neither of these things have anything to do with joy or perseverance. So….more cookies.

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  31. I’m turning in, preaching pals. It’s been a good, but long day. I have approximately 253 things to do at home in the morning before worship, so it will be an early morning.

    Carry on with the party. I think there are plenty of leftover snacks. I’ll check back in the morning. In the meantime, blessings to all who are still working.

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    1. I picked my Advent titles Thanksgiving wee and am wondering what possessed me… I much prefer titling AFTER I do the writing. If only bulletin production allowed for such logic.

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  32. Well…it is now Sunday morning at 8.30am here in Forfar, Scotland. I woke early with plans to revise the sermon [again] but on rereading and praying I think I am just going to stick with it. Yesterday I added a bit about the joy of celebrating a year in ministry on Friday and the call of Paul to ‘hold on’ to the joy that is deep within us. So that ‘brightens it’ a lot from the lament it was before!!! I have also taken out the Amy Grant ‘Better than a Halleluya’ at the end so that it finishes with a little more obvious ‘joy’. But a massive thank you to Kathryn Zucker Johnston for posting it earlier this week as it was entirely what my heart and soul needed to hear. It as been a week of rollercoaster emotions and I have struggled to ‘hold on’ to joy and rejoice at all times…BUT….today is a new day, a new start and a pink candle to remind me to sing out.

    Roll on next Sunday and nativity play which is already written and ready to go [reusing last year’s script as no one will notice].

    For anyone up with me, still revising, editting or writing – help yourself to coffee from the pot and bakery goodies from the big wooden bowl on the side.

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