Our daughters got Legos for Christmas, two different kinds.

One set similar to the one on the left, with an intricate plan and a step-by-step ilego friendsnstruction booklet. (A person considerably older than 6-12 was challenged to put it together successfully).

 

 

And one set like the one on the right, with no instructions and perfect freedom.lego classic

Guess which one they have played with more?

Preaching, my friends, is like the second set of legos. So many options, so much freedom (though restricted by internal and external factors). How are you going to construct your sermon this week?

This Sunday, there are lots of Revised Common Lectionary options (read about them here) and Narrative Lectionary options (a post about that here). Are you working on a children’s time? Something creative for remembering baptism? Chime in here with ideas and/or ask for help!

93 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Building Blocks Edition

  1. This week I am in Luke [2:21-51] looking at Anna and Simeon, and Jesus aged twelve in the temple. I am wondering about doing a monologue from Mary’s perspective, but only ever written one before.
    Looking forward to lots of creative ideas for when I look at the Baptism of Jesus next Sunday.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ooh, I love the idea of a monologue from Mary’s perspective. That chilling line from Simeon about a sword piercing her own soul…can you imagine what she thought?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Monica, thank you for hosting this week.
    Early in the week I was thinking of talking about our expectations of Jesus, but ended up writing a monologue from an older Mary about Jesus. I have included some comments about expectations of Jesus earlier in the service, just before the prayers of confession [these are on the blog as well] .
    hopefully I can pull off being Mary for two morning services.
    then only one more week before I have 2 Sundays off for annual leave and study leave.

    Mary Remembers

    Like

    1. Oh yay! I’m glad you went with the monologue. Thanks for sharing it, and I hope you can get through this last week before vacation.

      Like

  3. I use the narrative lectionary, but have not been feeling the flow especially. Last week I did Epiphany and Starwords; and have decided to make a leap into the call of the disciples which should have been last week’s NL readings… extended to be extracts from the first three chapters that tell the story of calling the twelve… it seemed like a good idea at the time. But I’m not really feeling it this morning.

    Also I have to dedicate a flag which is to be hung in the church; it’s the Royal British Legion standard, and it will hang in the church through the year. There are some who think this is a glorifying of war; which it isn’t. so I have to tread a delicate line which will impress the memorial aspect… ugh. It also means there will be folks in church who aren’t usually there, which adds its own dimension.

    Oh – and it is COLD!!!!

    Like

    1. I like the idea of pulling together different pieces about the calling of the twelve, because I think we forget it wasn’t a generic invitation, but to individual people. Interesting. I hope it works out. And navigating the flag business does seem tricky. Blessings to you.

      Like

  4. Good morning! I’m attempting that thing where you get up early and work on the sermon before the day’s activities intrude. I’m not optimistic, but I’ll let you know how it goes

    I’m going to use the Isaiah RCL text for the Baptism of Christ. Title is “You Are Mine,” and I’m going to use the Toy Story movies, where Woody has Andy’s name on his boot. This supply congregation doesn’t have projection capabilities, so I’ll just have to tell them about it and hope they’ve seen at least one of the movies.

    I’m here for a bit, then out for a (hopefully short) called Presbytery meeting and a quick run to the pottery studio. I’m suspicious that I’ll be back to entertain the Night Owls, too.

    Like

  5. I have some reading to do this morning, a little exegesis if you will, which I hope will give me some perspective on what I want or need to say tomorrow. I must admit I am not finding the readings to be particularly inspiring – back to John the Baptist, again, and baptism – which took up two weeks in Advent and we had a baptism last week. sigh. I have also pulled up a sermon from 2008 which might be reusable if nothing else arises.

    Thanks for hosting, Monica.

    Like

    1. Yeah. Yet another reason I’m not fond of the RCL in Advent. I hope your reading will prove inspirational and give you a new direction. I was really wishing I had a sustainable sermon for tomorrow, as the week has been draining, but alas, no such luck. I’ve preached on the Baptism of Christ plenty of times, but always for officer installation Sundays, so very context-specific.

      Anyway, blessings on your reading, and I’m glad you have something suitable in your back pocket.

      Like

  6. I’m leaning into the Narrative Lectionary stories–with a focus on (as Ched Myers tells it) the Pharisaic table verses Jesus’ table. Pharasaic table is filled with important people, the rich, the powerful, and all keeping the Law in the way they’re supposed to (the muckety-mucks), while Jesus’ table is filled with the working class “ochlos: (the masses, used in classical Greek to mean the non-leaders), sinners, tax collectors, and people who don’t do the law very well. We’re calling these the “salt of the earth” types.

    Of course, there will be the question–who are the ochlos today? Could they be our Muslim friends? Our LGBTQ neighbors? Those impacted by racism and gun violence? Could they even be those who are the working class today? Those who Joe Bageant wrote of in Deer Hunting with Jesus? In other words, those who are afraid we’ll take their guns, who will vote for Donald Trump?

    Anyway. I’ve spent the week with my family, with my deer hunting brother who is in the hospital, and I’m driving home today. So I’ll stop and pick us up some coffee on the way…

    Like

    1. Some provocative thoughts there. Prayers for your brother’s healing and for your safe travel today. And thanks for the coffee!

      Like

  7. I’m preaching the baptism from Luke and had some exciting thoughts when I first started thinking about this text right before Christmas. But I’ve been battling illness since before the new year (a bad cold that morphed into a sinus infection; antibiotics are helping but are messing with my GI system) and my mind has not been as sharp and clear as I’d like. My energy has also been busted, too. I’m getting ready to get started writing for real now, and I’m very hopeful that I can dig in and find what I need to get this thing written. I have three other church things on the docket after worship tomorrow, so I really do need to find some energy and inspiration – STAT.

    Happy to be partying with you gals and pals.

    Like

    1. Oh I hear you! I cannot think when I have a head cold and sinus infection….and, yes, antibiotics, wonderful as they are, can be brutal on our bodies. I always dose myself with yogurt, or better yet, Keifer, and I usually take a probiotic supplement and metamucil capsules, all of which help my GI tract – but I have to time these with the pill taking, need to be several hours apart. Anyway, I hope you feel better, or at least well enough to write and preach this sermon.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, goodness. It is hard to get energy when your body is using all of it to fight illness! I hope some energy and energizing thoughts will come your way soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Hope you feel better soon. And thanks for the kind words on the sermon. I’m in bed now as its late, but sleep is eluding me! Sigh…
      Hope the energy and inspiration are where and when you need them!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Just stopping by to say, “hello” and to wish people well on their sermon prep and discernment. I have a very busy day today– but want to extricate that word from my vocab– ! Today I have a baptism at the church for a child whose family has all been baptized, but they are desirous of his receiving the sacrament, but without standing before the whole community given his shyness. The family is also joining the church next week but doesn’t want to put the child on the spot in worship. So– we have worked out a compromise which includes members of the church and also immediate family (a small intimate gathering). It will be a first for me. Then, tomorrow, we have an annual renewal of the baptismal covenant for the congregation. I have always been a strong advocate for baptisms occurring within the context of worship and the larger community– but I must admit that there were several contributing factors in this case that changed my approach. I just pray that all goes well.

    Tomorrow– I am preaching on Isaiah. The sermon title is “Precious.” I am weary though due to the approach of annual meeting. We’ve been holding steady, but this church must make more radical changes if it wants to grow spiritually and numerically. And I am trying to find my place in that when there are growing pastoral needs, multiple building issues, and pressing social justice issues. In two years, we had a major flood at the church, two staff changes, a loss of a coordinator (children’s), and major hits to our building heating/plumbing.

    So– my brain needs to regroup and focus on worship and strengthening what I can. But I am questioning longevity. And I want very much to hearten souls who are grappling with the loss of health, wealth (such as it is), communal stability, and beloved members who have died or moved away.

    Renewing the covenant and resting in the music and prayers of tomorrow will be needed by this particular pastor, for certain. Signing off for now…

    Like

  9. I’m thinking of focusing on both Isaiah and Luke, considering the nature of identity – who am I? And unpacking that through the notion that God loves everyone, but the assurance of God’s love is not a “divine license” to behave with arrogance, certainty, bigotry, judgment.

    I think I will refer to my sermon from last week, wherein I mentioned that I had unsubscribed from every move on dot org group, political group and social justice group because I was tired of their constant doom and gloom emails asking for just one dollar to advance the cause. I think I will go on this week to say that while I will still support the people and causes I believe in, I will do so from a different perspective.

    I’ll address doing so from a place of prayer that aims to help me stay as peaceful as possible. That my identity in baptism is found in the peace of Christ which offers me solace even when I am filled with despair, offers me encouragement even when I hanging on by a thread, because after many years of following Jesus I have the confidence that he is with me and I have the experience of knowing that the only way to truly sustain myself in times like these is to stay in community, with others like me who are seeking to do the same: know who we are and whose we are as a people of God. – all making reference to Jesus in the wilderness and Jesus praying – which is not part of the text for today, but is what follows his baptism.

    I am practicing preaching from my own perspective, instead saying “us” or “we” or “you” because doing so invites people to hear me without feeling like they have to feel the same way, or if they do feel similarly they are invited to do so from their perspective. Its worked quite well, but of course I am always careful to not really make it about “me” but about the human condition of which I am a part of.

    Like

  10. I am in the NL but behind a couple of weeks. I haven’t been on track since Christmas Eve. Tomorrow we will do Mark’s baptism of Jesus and we will have a renewal of baptismal vows, while taking in two new members. I am using a modified version of the Christmas renewal that Marci Auld posted because I love Howard Thurman’s poem. I had worried about it not still being Christmas but figured it would be okay as it is so close to Epiphany. It looks like how US often portrays Christmas: snow drifting, cold temperatures coming. As we still have our trees up, it works better than expected.

    Not feeling the sermon writing mojo yet but with Thurman’s poem/prayer being read, what I want to say will be said more beautifully than I would write.

    Because I have been procrastinating, there are two pots of soup simmering: beef barley and a vegetarian acorn squash with a touch of curry. Please help yourself!

    Like

  11. I’m doing Luke’s Baptism… about half done, got history and theology, talking about Jesus, John the Baptist, the meaning of Apocalypse, Repentance, etc…. but now I’m struggling with how to bring the message into our own lives, and connect it with what’s happening in the world today. It’s not that I can’t come up with anything, it’s that I have too many places I could go! I feel like I’m in danger of writing a chapter for a book rather than a sermon. Part of the problem is that I haven’t preached in months, and I have too much to say. Plus, this is a neutral pulpit, so it’s an IMPORTANT sermon! Yikes!

    Also, the children’s message is very important to this search committee, so I’m struggling with how to do that effectively with kids who are strangers to me (and I to them). I’m thinking of talking with them about Baptism and then having them participate in helping remind the congregation of their own baptisms. Perhaps talking about how every time we wash we can remember our baptism (per Martin Luther), and having a bowl of water with me so they can each wash their hands and say “I am God’s Beloved child, called and sent to make a difference in the world!” I like this idea, I just hope these particular kids are not too shy for it.

    Like

    1. Blessings on your neutral pulpit! Your idea sounds great.
      I’ve walked through what we do at an infant baptism with children while using a doll. Everybody who wanted got to touch the water and the “baby,” so it allowed the kids to interact without putting any of them on the spot to answer a question, something that might be a factor with kids who don’t know you.

      Like

    2. Many prayers for the neutral pulpit! Children’s sermons are so tricky with kids who are strangers. I like Martha’s suggestion, by way of keeping things more in your control rather than trusting in kids who might be shy/overly energetic/who knows what.

      Like

    3. Your children’s sermon idea reminded me of what we did at the Congregation of St. Martin’s (a congregation of people experiencing homelessness and those recently housed) a year ago. At the end of the very brief homily, I asked people to turn to the person next to them and say the words, “You are God’s child, God’s beloved, with you God is well pleased.” As they were saying those words to one another, I sprinkled them with water to remind them of their baptism. It was a very powerful experience for everyone. About six weeks later, one of the women who was there that Sunday returned with a banner she had made. It carried the words people had spoken that Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve got a start on a sermon based on the Isaiah text, hoping to make the overall message be one of hope and love and belonging. Both my colleague and I can preach a great sermon on “God wants you to help create justice in this world, so get on it!” but I’m thinking this week needs to be a little more straight-up good news, with less of a guilt trip. I’m stuck on the part where God loves Israel more than many other nations. How is that good news for Egypt or Ethiopia or Seba (wherever that is)? I know there’s a way to emphasize God’s love for all nations, that God wouldn’t really kill all the precious created-in-God’s-image people from another country just to save one of the chosen people… but how to make that point well and in a way that’s faithful to the text?

    Like

    1. I think historical context is vital here. It’s not the Egyptians to whom Isaiah is preaching, it’s to exiled Israelites, but we can read it differently in our own context (God is still speaking…). Can you expand that notion to God loving all those who are exiled? Those who aren’t in exile may not need the same protection…

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thanks for raising this question. I’m struggling with the same question and the same issue. Think I’ll save that upsetting question for a Bible Study and go with words of comfort and reassurance carrying us through the darkness that is a part of every life.

      Like

  13. I am on the Baptism of Jesus and basing it on David Lose’s theme of expectations as well as looking at how faith can grow in action. I had ordered modelling balloons for last week – which arrived while I was at church so they obviously didn’t get used! So this week I am using balloon animals, asking the children if they recognise them and then talking about recognising the Holy Spirit coming into our lives in ways we don’t expect (and like a dove at Jesus’ baptism) I think we are then going to try to make crosses out of balloons but I am not sure if that is a bit ambitious!! The sermon is done – now I am just practicing making balloon animals and crosses. That’s much more in my comfort zone!

    Like

  14. I’m also on Baptism of Jesus. I looked back at previous sermons I’ve preached on the text and decided I liked parts of three different sermons, going back in my files to 2007. I’ve pieced them together fairly well (I think) and it occurs to me I’ve created a Frankenstein Sermon – I’ve taken parts of sermons buried in my files and jolted some life back into the new creation.

    It lives!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Like Terri, I am focusing on Luke and Isaiah. A jumble of thoughts, impressions and questions right now. Thinking about the things we carry with us, the talismans the comfort and support. Jesus carrying with him throughout his ministry those words that pierced the clouds “You are my son, my beloved, with you I am well-pleased[” and the people of the exile carrying with them the words of God spoken through Isaiah; and the words that have carried me through the hard times of my life–“He brought me out into an open place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

    But I’ve also been brought up short by the scripture today–I think of God loving Israel and Judah through their travails, but then I remember Egypt and Seba and all the other peoples and lands and am discomfited. And then there’s the gap in the story of Jesus’ baptism that I’ve just realized–he hears the words AFTER he’s been baptized, when he is in prayer–who knows how long afterwards. An affirmation of who he is? A confirmation of his identity? And how does this affirmation/confirmation fit into the context of Epiphany season and the stories we will hear in the next four weeks? Does Jesus experience a dawning awareness of who he is? Do we?

    And finally there is the world of the hearers–a lovely young family riddled with tragedy linked to cancer just discovering that their young daughter has childhood leukemia(two of her uncles are undergoing treatment for cancer); the riots taking place in Cologne, Germany today; the violence in our own country; the Korean explosion of a hydrogen bomb; the pictures of Ramadi following its recapture….

    But I’m close to the end of Mother Terese’s biography. I’m struck by what she carried with her through the darkness that enveloped her throughout most of her ministry. She carried with her into that darkness the voice of Jesus saying “I thirst” and her commitment to smile because she knew that Jesus was calling her to quench his thirst in the poorest of God’s children and to bring them Christ’s light through her smile.

    What a jumble and the clock just struck noon. Yikes. Time to get to work.

    Like

    1. It is a lot. Every week, I think, “maybe the news from the world won’t be so dire by next Sunday,” but there’s always more. Blessings to you!

      Like

  16. I’m popping in to check on everyone. The meeting was well done and over quickly. I lunched at a favorite spot, and now I’m heading to the pottery studio for an hour or so.

    Anyone need anything while I’m out?

    Like

  17. I’m a bit behind in the NL. Went off it for Advent, and then had a Sunday of vacation the Sunday after Christmas. So I started with Mark last week. This week I’m doing a catch-up, looking at the various healing stories from 1:21 through 2:12. It seems like just about every time healing stories come up in the Lectionary, somebody notes how problematic they are, since there are bound to be people in our congregations who have disabilities or illnesses–maybe even the ones Jesus dispatches in the healing stories–but who have not experienced the kind of healing described in the stories, and who are not likely to experience it. The question inevitably comes up, How can we preach on the healing stories without being hurtful?

    The question of why Mark puts all these healing stories together might offer a possibility. Mark makes it clear at the very beginning what he believes to be true about Jesus: he is the Son of God. There were plenty of people out there who claimed to be supernatural healers. Jesus is different: Instead of complicated incantations, circles cast out of spices, or whatever, Jesus heals with a word, or a simple touch of the hand. And the passage starts and ends with discussions about Jesus’ authority–not as the scribes had (which is pretty much what we have; we study and synthesize and stand on the shoulders of the scholars who came before us), but a direct connection to God. Initially this elicits amazement, but by 2:12, the element of controversy has crept in: Only God can forgive sins; how does this man claim that authority?

    The issue to me is whether Jesus’ healing miracles are ends in themselves, or whether they are, to Mark, evidence of Jesus’ identity as Son of God, evidence of his special relationship with his Father, and evidence of the authority he has because of his identity and relationship to God. And while they are indications of his authority, they are secondary to his God-given mission, which is to preach and teach.

    What I don’t know is whether this is going to jell into a sermon that makes any sense.

    Like

  18. I’m focusing on the Luke baptism text. I’ve got two stories in my head. The first is the Velveteen Rabbit, which, now that I re-read it, I’m guessing has probably been used in bazillions of sermons…it’s much more theological than I remembered! The rabbit is “loved into realness” by a little boy, and there’s a contrast between the well-worn love of the rabbit and some of the other toys, which initially seem to be better-loved because they have shiny, mechanical parts. Probably using that to talk about how it’s God who calls us into life as the Beloved, vs. other cultural assumptions that we earn love with our shiny, mechanical parts (or whatever those represent…).

    The other image is from the concert I attended last night, starring a pianist who is blind and has autism. He was fantastic. But what stuck in my head was his mother describing how he had to learn to talk through playing the piano, and how he learned to comb his hair by learning to play the drums. The way she said these things, I heard hints of both the struggle and of joy in this man’s growing up. Anyway, it seems like there’s some kind of parallel with baptism (and maybe prayer)…that baptism is a really unexpected, countercultural way to learn about ourselves and the world. And there’s something both really hard and really beautiful in that.

    Like

  19. Just back from a pretty amazing experience…firelight in the parlor at the church, silver baptism bowl, candle glowing, a family, a ten year old, his brother pouring water and leading the Lord’s prayer, a great ice breaker about baptism remembrances and community, questions and blessings, and one truly wet, splashed kid, anointed and celebrated. I gave the child a small necklace that is made from a piece of pottery (with a dove impressed in it) and it was made at Weston Priory in VT. (I thought the parents might also appreciate it, since it was made by the monks there). The little boy loved it and seemed to relax as we went along. He learned how baptisms were recorded in the “red book” as our clerk was there…and we had refreshment and laughed. Oh how I confess to needing the warmth of this encounter to help sustain on those days when we truly wonder what in the world is happening to our people falling away from the church.

    Meanwhile in another part of the building, the farm market was occurring and I was able to connect with the owner who has been more tangential to the community and to get some fresh veggies, which I have no idea how to cook. The owner was very helpful in offering ideas, even though I came in just as they were closing up for the day.

    Now…onto Isaiah. The second sitter will be arriving soon and the boys will be finishing their nap. They begged me not to go to work today. But I will try to explain to them why it was necessary.

    Like

  20. Today’s accomplishments: peaceful lunch with the in-laws, who I have seen far more than usual (and than desired) in the past few months; finding birthday cards for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law; looking at adorable photos of my 20-month-old nephew “reading” to his 1-month-old sister; reading bunches of articles online about preaching this week; writing a couple of pages of a sermon. Yet to do: finish the sermon (probably ⅔ of the way there at this point) and come up with something for the kids.

    Thanks to all for the comments on my earlier post – I’m addressing the question of how we can celebrate God’s love for us when it sounds like God is going to destroy nations on our behalf by basically saying, that’s the only way we can understand God’s love. God isn’t going to destroy nations, and doesn’t need to, but each one of us is as valuable to God as the entire history, culture, art, language, and all the people of Egypt. That’s how God can describe our worth in terms that we can understand.

    Have a few more minutes to write before heading out for my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner. Will likely be back after that to finish up! I’ll try to bring some leftover Japanese food to share.

    Like

  21. The peace of the pottery studio was much needed today. Children have been bathed but not fed yet. Sermon has been started but only just. If only I could write in my sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yum. That sounds delicious, and much more appealing than our supper of leftovers.

      I’ll be by to read your sermon if I finish mine. When I finish mine. Whenever that is.

      Like

      1. Monica, it might be worth stopping by the blog just to see the adorable photo in my header (my husband took the photo)…that is if you are looking for a distraction. 🙂 It makes me go, awww, every time I see it. Oh, and the soup/chili was actually pretty good.

        Like

  22. It’s time to get down to business over here, after a day of preparations for the BE that is just two weeks away!
    I’m in the NL so have almost all of Mark 2 to read. I’ve titled the sermon “full to bursting” because it seems that’s the underlying theme of all the stories in the chapter, in one way or another. The house was too full…so the house had to be dismantled. The table was full to overflowing with all the wrong people. The wineskins…well, you know.

    I’m not at all sure where that’s going. Nor how to begin. Coming up with a beginning is always the hardest part.
    (the next hardest part is coming up with a children’s time once I know what the sermon is about, lol!)
    We are doing a sort of sermon-talkback type adult ed this season, so I also have to know things. So I’ll be over here reading commentaries and the NIB and hoping to remember stuff, and maybe also have some of it find its way into a sermon.

    I have homemade mac-n-cheese, made in the crockpot! It’s a touch grainy because I used whole grain fusilli for the pasta, but it’s covered in a butterkäse/cheddar/cream cheese sauce, so I’m calling it a win. There’s a block of aged parmesan to grate on top if you desire. 🙂

    Like

    1. mmmm. Is there a linkable recipe for that, or did you just make it up? The mac & cheese, I mean, not the sermon.

      Full to bursting…trying to think of a beginning…like a little kid with a secret….or my blue jeans after the holidays….hmmm

      Sounds good, keep us updated. I’m not much ahead of you, so we can keep each other company.

      Like

        1. Thanks! I’d probably adapt your adaptation, so don’t worry about it not being exactly what you did. This is clearly what I need to be reading and considering right this minute. 🙂

          Like

  23. Having one of those days when sitting down to write morphs into cleaning up the hard drive or going to swap the Christmas manicure for something less flashy and then eating dinner… Finally going to type up the notes I’ve got scribbled. Really. Really Really.

    I’m starting Mark this week since we were off-NL for Advent through Epiphany. Using the Isaiah text from RCL in combo with Mark’s baptism account. Not going long, since we will do a baptismal remembrance and officer installation/ordination after. Aiming to intro a couple of themes in Mark, but mostly focus on the idea of being loved and being called.

    Now… FOCUS, FOCUS….

    Like

  24. Really struggling today. We have four weeks left before our sanctuary goes into major renovation, and this will be the last Sunday we will EVER use this baptismal font (we are doing a remembrance of baptism). I am feeling the need to allude to that, but at the same time know that there are some people who are really, really not excited about the renovation, and that mentioning the loss of the current font could be salt in the wound. We are just beginning the fundraising, and I am being told to “maintain a positive attitude” while at the same time dealing with the curmudgeons whose “fathers created that stained carpet with their bare hands” or the other curmudgeons who have “never taken out a dime of debt their entire life and don’t know why we need to take out a loan to do this project now.” The vote has already been cast and overwhelmingly approved, the designs are done, the fundraising is underway, but the negative voices have a way of being so loud.

    NOTHING is speaking to me about writing this sermon. Above I read the note about the Velveteen Rabbit and I am clinging to the idea about our core identity being loved into realness, and that through changes and time, good and bad, we are still loved at our core and that God’s love makes us more and more alive, and then I have been rolling around this idea about how *loved* our historical sanctuary has been, and how God is breathing new life into it. The historical sanctuary will be the same sacred space at its core, but it is the spirit moving within it that makes it real… or something…

    Can anyone help me process some of that idea? Am I on the right track? Or any track at all?

    Like

    1. I think you’re on a good track…we are loved into realness, as the sanctuary has been and will be again. And that realness is also called to share love outside the sanctuary. Blessings to you in this time of unsettledness.

      Like

  25. Still struggling. Think I’m close but am confounded by the switch from manuscript preaching to preaching without notes. It seems to take a different preparation process. Honing in on what gets us through the dark. Handholds.

    On the other hand, I have a perfectly good sustainable sermon that doesn’t appear anywhere on the internet and feel fine plagiarizing from myself. Oh what path shall I take?

    Like

    1. I’m a manuscript preacher, so I don’t have any wisdom to share on that score.

      I trust that the Spirit will speak through your words tomorrow, whether they are written down or not whether they were composed tonight or some other time.

      Like

    2. When I preach without a manuscript I have to write the darn thing several days in advance, like Tuesday, so I can internalize it (not memorize line for line, but I do still write it out), and then as I internalize it, it changes, it might get shorter, it might twist a phrase a new way, etc. All I make certain of is that I know my beginning, the transitions, the points in the middle parts, and how I’m going to end it. If you can make note cards or remember those pieces: beginning, middle, transitions, and the end, then you’ve got it. I do love to preach with out a manuscript, but it takes too much mental energy for me these days…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Terri, that does help. Will do an outline, then cards with the pieces I just can’t leave out. Since we have shifted to a far more intimate setting (chairs around the altar platform) a manuscript sermon feels over the top; hence, the shift for me.) BTW–your sermon is fabulous. Thanks for posting it and the picture of your dog.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, that seems like an appropriate reason to switch to no manuscript. I have been using an iPad, which also feels less formal than a manuscript on paper. Or, if your eyesight is good enough, a cell phone would work. Might be good options for those occasions when you are too brain tired to preach with only notes?

          Like

  26. I’ve been working all day … but I’ve been working on details for the Big Event and not my sermon. I leave tomorrow for a week of professional development, so packing has also been a procrastination factor, as well as tying up loose ends for church. And then we went to The Boy’s basketball game.

    Now I’ve done all the other stuff and have no choice but to work on tomorrow morning.

    I’m in the Narrative Lectionary and doing Mark 2:1-22. My approach is along the lines of “Jesus is going to mess you up.” I’m inspired in part by Marcella Marie Holloway’s poem, “The Risk.”

    But I haven’t got more than a handful of notes at this point. And this is late for me.

    Of course, last week, half of my sermon didn’t print, and I ended up winging most of the sermon, so there’s always that possibility…

    Like

    1. Oh no! (I’m back at last week, having a heart attack about the missing half of the sermon).

      I’m in the same boat…lots of productivity this week, all good things, but now I’m nowhere near as finished as I’d like to be.

      I really like “Jesus is going to mess you up.” Can’t wait to see what you come up with.

      Like

  27. Back from dinner at the Japanese restaurant – the food was delicious, so sorry, no leftovers. Still have no idea what to do for the kids’ sermon. I want it to be something baptism-based. We’ll have 3-year-olds who were baptized as infants and 11-year-olds who have not yet been baptized (and I haven’t met their parents yet so while I hope we can baptize them soon, that little step has to happen first!) – so I’m really not sure what kind of message I can do that will relate across the board. It can’t just be a remembrance of our own baptism, or baptism makes you “in” (implying that unbaptized equals “out”), but most baptism instruction/explanation ideas I’ve had are either too advanced for the 3-year-olds or too simple for the 11-year-olds. Suggestions?

    Like

      1. Thanks for the reminder – I hadn’t looked there yet, but just did, and wasn’t really inspired. Maybe we’ll just play around in the water and I’ll talk about how baptism is a sign of belonging to God’s family. Keep it short and sweet.

        Like

  28. I’ve just printed a too-short, not very well constructed, sermon using Isaiah, Psalm 23, Luke, and Toy Story. But it will be what it will be, and no one will complain if we get to leave early.

    I’ll check in with the late night partiers before I turn out the light here, which will hopefully be soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Lights out, here. Finally finished. I think that it works okay– Isaiah + radios+ Anthony Doerr (writer of All the Light We Cannot See)+ baptism + that word, “precious” and transmission.

    There is a wonderful interview about how Anthony Doerr came to write his Pulitzer Prize winning novel. His story is actually applicable to baptism and how we can take for granted the miracle. He is talking about electromagnetic waves…but you can use your imagination.

    Anyway– I think it will work. 🙂
    What a full day.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Lights out here too. Blessings and prayers for all still writing and working, and for all of us whenever worship comes. Peace be with you.

    Like

We hope you'll join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s