From the window of my home office, 9:15 p.m. Friday
From the window of my home office, 9:15 p.m. Friday

Hello, preachers!

As I write this, snow is falling outside my window. The forecast suggests it will go on for 24 hours or more, potentially accumulating a foot or more, all the while creating a sense of anxious anticipation: will we have regularly-scheduled worship this Sunday?

Our annual RevGals Big Event Cruise sails from Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday. That same snowstorm is snagging travel for our participants coming from across the seas as well as those right here on the East Coast of the United States, and much prayer is being applied to some worrying itinerary shifts and outright flight cancellations. (I commend to all travelers the posture of the Kindly Brontosaurus.)

Of course, no contemporary todo can match the agitation we can imagine being stirred up by Jesus in this week’s lectionary stories from the Gospels of Luke (RCL) and Mark (NL). To the surprise of a hometown crowd, he proclaims the year of God’s favor, right there and then. And on his journey through the region, he heals a woman just by *her* touch of his garment, then calls a young girl to rise from her deathbed.

How are you approaching the texts this week? What todos are brewing in your church and community? What is on your to-do list for this Saturday? Come join the party by posting in the comments. I’ll keep the coffee hot, the Diet Coke cold and the conversation going – because believe me, I’m not going anywhere.


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64 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Big Todos Edition

  1. Wish I could send the mild California weather to all who are counting on getting to BE! Stay warm, stay safe, and (she says prayerfully) stay the course to Florida if that’s where you’re headed…

    I’m preaching at the all-ages service using Nehemiah. I think I am going to bring in a couple pictures of my dad’s father that I found in a desk drawer after he died; they are of his father, who left when my dad was 2 and who I’d never seen a picture of before. When I realized who it was, I cried, I laughed, I felt in awe of this new discovery and connection. Maybe a little bit of how the people felt when they heard scripture read to them again?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thinking of all of you in the mid-Atlantic area as I am up watching CNN.

    I reworked a sermon on Luke 4 from three years ago to incorporate Nehemiah, so I could preach on the Word written, preached, and human. I’m not ready to go back and look at it yet. After eleven whole days of interim-ing in another denomination, I am tired. So much new to absorb, and so many people looking my way for reassurance. My inner hermit is trying to push her way out!

    Stay safe out there!


  3. Our snow event has ended with more snow than the expected ice, and for that I’m grateful. Preaching Luke and wishing my commentaries had come in the mail yesterday, but I’m reading other things and hoping the mail carrier stayed someplace safe in the midst of the storm. Using Sunday to dig more deeply into Luke’s Gospel’s themes, because I couldn’t do that well before now.


      1. We will; in fact we decided along with many others here to cancel tomorrow. Our four lanes are slushy but passable but most walks and driveways and many residential streets are still icy. I am already rolling this week’s text into next week and thinking about Jesus’ first sermon.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s an update from our house. I can’t put a picture here, but if you like here’s a link to a short video I posted on Instagram:
    The weather system has stalled over our area in South Central PA, so both kathrynzj and I have cancelled tomorrow’s services. I’m working on next Sunday’s service (I get back from the Big Event late Saturday night), as well as getting my ducks in a row to fly to Jacksonville tomorrow…if I can get to BWI tomorrow afternoon, that is. Flights should be fine by then; it’s the highways that are a big question mark. At the moment the National Guard has been mobilized to rescue people stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
    Meanwhile, preachers, I am still here for you, and there will be guacamole later.


    1. Choc biscuits from here as I’m linking unity and diversity with our ability to share the good news.. and the need for Christian unity right now……
      Praying for all of you who are struggling… to travel or deal with crisis.. for once I’m pretty calm…..

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Snow-free here, as always. I have exactly 253 words of a sermon introduction written. I wish I could say I would be a responsible person and sit down right now and write the rest of it this morning. Alas, it is much more likely I’ll be back at the party late tonight. In the intervening hours, we have a 6 year old’s birthday party to host. Yesterday was full of crafty projects, and I’m afraid my creativity is all done for a few days. This may be a very dull sermon.

    It’s on the Gospel reading, with a very vague idea about the words we speak vs. the words people hear (maybe along the lines of what Robin has described above? I hadn’t thought about the Word embodied, but that is a logical direction for me to go).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was one of those things…she wanted a giraffe pinata, I thought it wouldn’t be that hard to find, so I said yes…the place that makes them here in our town had a “be right back” sign on the door for a week, so then I was stuck. This week has been way more complicated and busy than I like them to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Working with the Luke passage and hearing Jesus’ inaugural address to the crowd in the synagogue. Inspired by Isaiah, photographed for us in Luke, Jesus, calls us to find our way into the year of the Lord’s favor, this leap year of mercy and grace. Who are the poor among us in this moment that we are called to accompany…? Am privileged to be drinking a tall, clean glass of water and praying for the people of Flint as well as all of those impoverished communities drinking from tainted wells. Throwing it all into the mix as snow falls and cookies bake. Snow and sermon writing makes me hungry…

    Liked by 3 people

  7. No snow here. Gingerbread tea is in the pot. Laptop on the kitchen table. Sermon is getting there… I’m focusing on identity. Jesus’ identity being revealed. How we figure out our own identity from a very young age. How that is an ongoing process with each moral, ethical, political, personal, spiritual dilemma that we have to make a decision on. Then taking that into how our faith shapes how we see ourselves. Perhaps leading that into the courage of Jesus to reveal who he is and giving us courage to be who we are. Still rough but it is 3.30pm so need to crack on!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, lots of great thoughts swirling around here. My brain is being slow to engage today. Am preaching the Luke 4 passage for the first time in 15 years (I last preached it in my very first month here) and had been looking forward to it. Love the text and want to bring a powerful word, but right now I just feel tired. My aunt (little sister and best friend to my mother) is close to death (in hospice, no food for the last 12 days, no fluids since yesterday), and my heart is with my family there, especially with my cousin, who is like a sister to me. Following so closely on the heels of my own mother’s death 4 months ago (as well as the death of my father’s sister on Christmas Day), this feels like too much to absorb or deal with, and my brain – my whole being, in fact – feels scrambled. But I’m trying to click into gear, access some other level of myself so that I can just do what needs to be done for tomorrow.

    Oh, and after worship tomorrow, we have the todo of our annual financial meeting – wheeee!


  9. I am sitting in the hospital with the oldest son having been admitted yesterday with an asthma attack. We’re not sure if he’ll go home today, and there has to be an adult in the room with him all the time. I can prepare here (more on that later) but getting out of here to do what I need to do may be problematic. Getting out of here tomorrow to lead worship if he’s not discharged will be a real trick.

    Almost two weeks ago, my computer crashed and I lost everything. I didn’t get it back until last night. I have to recreate everything while sitting in the hospital room. I will definitely buy back-up this time. Anyway, it may be that the sermon is discussion!

    I have orange juice to offer, and whales cheese crackers.


  10. The church I’m preaching at tomorrow (allegedly the one I’m a member of) always wants its liturgy by Thursday, and as I can never write liturgy until I know where the sermon is going, I am in line. Scrolls and bodies is my theme – we are talking about being part of the Body of Christ, and needing to know what God is doing. Do we recognise God? The people of Nazareth didn’t, as God didn’t do what they expected, but picked up a lad they’d known since he was knee high to a grasshopper and revealed him as His Son….. I think it makes sense. Children’s talk will be Aesop’s fable of the Belly and the Members, and I’ll be interested to see if the children understand it – they didn’t, last time. I said “What happened next?” and they looked blank…. but we now have a set of twins who are incredibly intelligent and will probably guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am in full fritter mode here – I have vacuumed, made lunch for the kids, played lego with the 3 year old, done a couple of loads of laundry – all the while avoiding this sermon – I thought it was well in hand a couple of days ago, I love the Nehemiah passage and I decided to focus on the power of the Word – yet the writing is slow and arduous and I am trying to do anything but. (I think my English teacher mother would remind me not to end a sentence with the word ‘but’)
    Now it is mid-afternoon and I want to get going – but decided to post here – I think as another distraction…at some point I will have to get at it!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Home! Yay! It was not so easy working at the hospital, so I have’t made much progress. So now it’s down to business. Boys are occupied for a while. Good internet (as opposed to the hospital), and nice work table (not at the hospital). Boy is good, playing video games with friends – a stationary endeavor. Praying for the HS to jump right in!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Working on a sermon on 1 Cor 12. So far I’ve got a start by sharing about a time that my body just didn’t let me do the things that I really wanted to do – reminding me that every part of our physical bodies is important, even if we sometimes forget how it all fits together.

    Then I’m hoping to tack on about half of a sustainable sermon from 3 years ago at a different congregation. May be able to push a little further than I did in that setting – the folks in my current congregation would be able to hear and relate to real-life applications like “the Americans cannot say to the Syrians, I don’t need you”…

    No idea what to do with the kids. Wondering if there’s a way to make the children’s sermon focused on the Gospel, but haven’t been able to come up with anything yet. Suggestions are welcome!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. preaching bodies and body parts to a church struggling to stay afloat. will be talking about phantom limbs (like the church in its heyday, a big choir, true characters who have long been gone) and how to address them without completely erasing them. and the game “red rover” will be making an appearance at some point. there is also cookie dough for that urge for a little sweet but not too much.


  15. Corinthians here as well. I saw a piece that talked about being a nose hair in the body of the Chruch. It’s graphic, but it didn’t appeal to me. So I’m using the “funny bone” as a part we might wish to do without…..until we remember it’s purpose.


  16. I’m still trying to hammer out my sermon here. I finally started making some real headway on it about three hours ago, after sitting at my desk all day long. I’m very hopeful I can wrap up in the next hour or so. How is everyone else doing?

    By the way, I keep trying to “like” comments on this page and for some reason WordPress isn’t letting me. But consider yourselves all “liked” – and loved! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Sorry for vanishing. My flight tomorrow was cancelled, so I have been on the phone (and on hold) for a long time trying to rearrange my itinerary. My hero is an agent named William. He managed to manifest a direct flight from Philly to Jacksonville on Monday morning. Of course, we have to get to Philly first…
    Our plan is to head east as soon as our driveway is plowed; I have a hotel room for tomorrow night. I am *really* glad church is cancelled. It has been hard to focus on all the duties that are mine today.


  18. Well, here I am, late night, but feeling pretty good. I realized as I tried to begin bulletins, etc, that they had not loaded any of that kind of software onto the computer, but I ended up with a Microsoft Office 16 subscription, at least for the short term. I was very proud of myself – I thought to check email for bulletins and announcements I had emailed people, and found them. No recreating documents – yay! The bulletin I found was from last summer on the same texts when a guest preacher was here.

    Needless to say, I’m feeling much better. Now for the sermon completion…………..

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Here I am, 9 pm. Birthday party done and mostly cleaned up. (I just can’t stand leaving a dirty kitchen for the next morning). We’re going to have to start doing birthday parties earlier in the day. Whew.

    The sermon still has 253 words, though I haven’t checked on it. Maybe some new ones showed up while I was busy?

    Birthday girl is still going strong, but her sister is fast asleep. I’m partaking in some late night caffeine, of which I may repent later, but I need it now.


    1. Hoping that your sermon has birthed a few new words by now! Nearly 10pm here, and I’m about 75% there with the regular sermon. Have an idea for the kids, but not in love with it, so I’ll probably be up partying with you for a while yet 🙂


      1. Oh, good. I am glad I’m not the only one still working! 863 words here, which is definite progress. Slight complication: the almost-6 year old is still awake. Still.

        I don’t have a children’s time at my place tomorrow, so I haven’t thought that through. I hope you come up with something soon.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I typed amen! So it’s time to look back at the message for the kids and see if I can make it better. Hope that your writing is coming along well – or better yet, finished already!

          Liked by 1 person

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