ChristmasFBCoverOptionBelieve it or not, Christmas day has come and gone. All the Advent, Christmas Eve, and Christmas morning services have been celebrated. That’s the good news. The bad news is that amidst the wrapping paper clean-up, visiting relatives or traveling home, another sermon waits. In this short season of Christmastide, neither the Narrative Lectionary nor the Revised Common Lectionary lingers overly long at the manger. We are off and running headlong into a New Year before the Wise One’s even show up.

I’ve been focusing on the gospel text in the RCL and wondering why it was so easy to for Mary and Joseph to lose track of Jesus and how it happens even more quickly today. There’s some good discussion on that here.

Maybe you’re with John the Baptist and the calling of the Disciples. There’s a bit of discussion on that here.

While it seems impossible that we need to step into the pulpit again so soon after the last time, we’ll trust that the Spirit will get us there. In the meantime, I’ve got grain and dairy free cranberry orange cookies and some herbal coffee to share. Feel free to bring your favorite leftovers and join us in sorting out where the Spirit is leading.

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26 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: You Can Do It!

  1. Rachael, thanks so much for hosting! This has been the strangest Christmas tide for me since I’m no longer in a parish and haven’t preached at all – although I did blog the NL every day of Advent.
    I know some NL preachers change things up a bit for Advent and Christmas but I love the way the gospel of Mark gets right to it – with Jesus baptism and the call of the first disciples. I think it’s something we need to hear right now – that call to discipleship immediately after th festivities – or even in the midst of th festivities.
    I’m just about to make some warm soup out of leftovers – turkey and veg. And there are lots of dessert – trifle, pecan pie, millionaires cheesecake. Please dig in.

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    1. Liz, I’m happy to host. I am having the opposite experience you are. This is my first Advent in a full-time parish in 15 years. I’m exhausted! Yes, I think the reminder of the call to discipleship in our post-holiday sleepiness is essential.

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  2. I’m following the reminder of the whole nativity story through carefully chosen carols, with some reflections of hope added in.. with the John reading in the middle

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  3. Interesting to me that the NL goes to Mark for the introduction of Jesus, because in the Episcopal lectionary we go to John 1 for the introduction of Jesus. I’m not preaching anywhere tomorrow either, but I have preached the beginning of John many times over the last ten years as the junior person on every ROTA through seminary and as an associate. Prayers for all who proclaim tomorrow.

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  4. I’ve devised two services for tomorrow, one for the church I’m serving (to be lay-led) and the other for kathrynzj’s church, where I will be preaching. The former I used to sneak in Epiphany, since we don’t get the wise ones in the Narrative Lectionary this year. The latter is all about those shepherds. I’m re-using a portion of the sermon I preached on Christmas Eve, but in between visiting with my oldest, who gets on a train back to NYC at 5, and getting the house ready for the arrival of more family sometime this afternoon, I have to make the needed adjustments and additions. Thankfully, since I’m preaching at kathrynzj’s church, she doesn’t have a sermon to write and can do a lot of the house-readying. In other words, we’re not really on a break yet. Clearly. After church tomorrow we’re both semi-vacationing until it’s time to write some sermons next Saturday for the 3rd.
    My sermon is about God using ordinary people as evangelists, starting with the shepherds, on down to us. Christmas Eve it was framed on “Go! Tell It on the Mountain!” Tomorrow is framed on “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with the title, “Do You Know What I Know?” – which is the question the shepherd boy asks the king in that song. It’s a good foundational question for sharing the Good News – or at least that’s what I’m preaching.

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    1. Wow! You live in a busy house! Sounds like you’ve got a good grip on tomorrow’s services, though. I don’t have family to worry about and my wife and I had a lovely, quiet Christmas together. However, I was up early this morning for an 8am Bible Study that I was afraid folks wouldn’t really show up for. But they did! I’m also looking forward to the semi-break that follows service tomorrow. Only a few pastoral care tasks this week before preaching again next Sunday… Blessings on your busy days!

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  5. I’m going with the NL and desperately trying to not overthink this Sunday. It’s ok that it’s “sermon lite” but still the pressure feels on. I too like the ideas presented in the NL commentary previously mentioned. I also plan to use a children’s book titled “What Do you Do with an Idea?” and will read this to the congregation in addition to reading vs 1-20 of Mark in the service. At 9:30 this morning, the “idea” is the gospel” and maybe something more will come of it by noon. oh good grief. I think I’d rather just watch Big Hero 6 for the 12th time this weekend with my toddler. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement today Rev Gals.

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    1. Peace be with you, April! It is certainly okay that it’s “sermon lite” as it will likely be attendance lite as well 🙂 It’s all good. The Good News will come through even our tiredest moments!

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  6. I’m in the Narrative this year and am actually enjoying the jump from birth to baptism.
    Howard Thurman’s poem is helping a lot.

    “When the song of the angels is stilled,
    When the star in the sky is gone,
    When the kings and princes are home,
    When the shepherds are back with their flock,
    The work of Christmas begins:
    To find the lost,
    To heal the broken,
    To feed the hungry,
    To release the prisoner,
    To rebuild the nations,
    To bring peace among people,
    To make music in the heart.”

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  7. this morning, no sermon for me 🙂
    once again i am using Brian Wren’s service in Scripture and Song. as i am away for the last 2 weeks of January, i am trying not to slow down too much – hoping to get some ideas for Lent and planning for children’s ministry.
    time for breakfast on a cool rainy Sunday,

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  8. Finished a rough draft earlier in the week, trying to get a head start since I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to take all day today for writing! Just sitting down to get back to it, after a visit with the god-children 🙂 I’m using Nativity 3 texts (John 1 – often used on Christmas Day). We’re doing Epiphany next Sunday and baptism of our Lord the week after that, so decided not to do boy Jesus in the Temple this week, since that’s kinda confusing. Focusing on how God’s love is big, how it expands to reach whatever needs reaching, like a parent’s love expands when child #2 comes along, rather than being split between the children. Want to mention something about how God always loved the people, Jesus is a new manifestation of that love, and God continues to love people in new ways. Just need to finish writing it!

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  9. I’m preaching about light and darkness in the age of #BlackLivesMatter mindful of the conversation we had on this topic on the RGBP FB page.
    This good news is framed in the stark language of light and dark, shadow and glory. And it is far too easy for us as Americans to hear those words through our history of race and racism. Even when we are not thinking about it, it is in the back of our minds. Race is always in the room for us. But it wasn’t for John, Jesus and their world. Identity mattered, whether you were Greek or Jew, slave or free, woman or man, but not the brown of your skin – and most skin was brown in Israel then, even Roman legions were largely black and brown having been filled with conscripts from Africa and Asia.
    The mystic Howard Thurman taught us that somewhere between the light and the darkness, between the shadow and glory, there is a space that he called the luminous darkness, others have called it radiant blackness. Think of the night sky spangled with stars or the sheen on black silk or satin, or the glow of beautiful ebony skin. In the age of Black Lives Matter I invite you to take another look at the light and the darkness and see them on their own terms.
    In the beginning before God created light there was darkness.
    We are afraid of the dark but God is not. Darkness is a creative space to God. Out of darkness God created everything that is, including light. I like to think that light and dark are not in conflict, but in balance…[Cue Star Wars reference…]

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    1. Looking forward to what you put together! I wrote my January newsletter article on Epiphany, light and darkness, and included a bit about how we can’t hear these words without thinking about race, but that was not the reality in biblical times/cultures. I’d love to read what you have for this week, and then go back and edit my newsletter article before it gets printed this week 🙂

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    2. This conversation has not left me, and has in fact come back to me many times. (Incidentally, have you seen Hillary’s Twitter ads, where the “enemy” Republican position is black background with white words, and her position is on white background with black words? Wow, is it everywhere).

      If you publish your sermon, would you please share the link? I would love to see what you say and continue my pondering.

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  10. As I eat delicious milk chocolates made by our church organist, I’m downloading Martha Spong’s, Go Tell It skit for tomorrow’s “sermon” as it is interactive, lively, and will be fun for our first Pajama Sunday. This is my first Christmastide here, having moved here five months ago. The church has had a series of “interesting” pastoral leadars in the last dozen years, so adding joy to worship is a priority. The lay leader is reading the Mark passage from the NL, and I will just a very few words that this is the beginning of the good news, borrowing from Nadia Bolz Webber. Stewardship, not plagiarism, right? Pastoral prayer will be my time to lift uptake needs of the world to the Light. I admire and stand in awe of the energy many of you exhibit.

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