Two weeks to Easter and the pace is quickening.

There have been some interesting discussions already both on the blog and the Facebook Group.

Are you in the Revised Common Lectionary? Considering the fragrance of anointing; the role of Mary of Bethany; the dreams of new things? See the conversation HERE that took place earlier in the week.

I am contemplating the End of All Things… as the Narrative takes us to Jesus warning of the misinterpretation of the signs and warnings. Jesus was fast approaching his own end, and the Mark reading leans heavily on dire warnings, death and destruction. The blog discussion is HERE

In the US the clocks are Springing forward tonight; is the missing hour going to impact your preparing? What are you working on today? Which Scriptures and themes speak to you? Please share your ideas, your virtual snacks, and the support of this community! Blessings on your writing and your preaching this week.

 

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60 thoughts on “Preacher Party – Spring Forward!

  1. Good morning all!
    It’s a cool dry morning here in the Scottish Borders.
    My ideas are flowing fast and free, but so far with too many threads and ideas to rein in!
    I’m looking forward to joining and encouraging the conversation and grazing through your offerings today!

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  2. Hi Julie, thanks for hosting. it is 8.30 Saturday evening, and I am just sitting down to start writing. lots of ideas. I had hoped the hour drive to Presbytery meeting and back would give me thinking time, but no clarity. hopefully the strands will weave as I write. just made organic free trade decaf coffee. help yourself to a cup.

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    1. Hi Patty – my first time hosting!
      Sympathy with the need to weave those threads… I am ever thankful we do not have Saturday Presbytery meetings!
      Blessings as you work on through the evening.

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  3. Usually a Narrative Gal, but it’s our Fairtrade Service combined with Annual Stated Meeting tomorrow so have hoped over the RCL for a much more helpful passage! So service, love and doing the right thing! A few things to link together and some shoots of thought and not a whole lot of time! Will be back here no doubt on and off all day!
    Thanks Julie for hosting. The only yummyness I can offer is some cheesy bread but guessing you won’t want any?

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    1. oh but virtual cheese has no lactose in it!!
      We have put off our annual meeting until the week after Easter (with permission) as we just couldn’t get our heads around it so early!
      service, love and doing the right thing… yes, that sounds right for the annual meeting.
      Will look forward to hearing how it goes through the day

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      1. I got there with a weaving of needing Marys and Marthas in our church but Judas was of his time but still with a purpose. I suggest that maybe we can be hypocritical like Judas seemingly worried about the poor when we proclaim our Fairtrade credentials as a church but as individuals carry on buying the non fair traded stuff.
        The rest is a thankyou to everyone for the way they contribute to the church. Short and hopefully sweet.

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  4. Extravagant Love
    service prep finished for now. time for some tea and sleep, though it feels like another warm night. Good thing the church has air conditioning as we are expecting another warm humid day tomorrow – it is a record at the moment for the number of days in a row over 26 C [about 80 F] of 37 days, with 21 nights over 20 C [68 F]Sydney’s record stretch of hot weather set to continue if you are interested.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Now that I’ve been doing this preaching gig for a little while (4.5 years), I find myself struggling with these very familiar RCL passages, knowing that for some people it will be the umpteenth sermon on a text and for others it will be brand new. I guess it’s a matter of finding the balance between the little kid in us who loves to hear the same story over and over and over again, and the same child delighting in the discovery of something fresh and new. I finally went with the title “Extravagant Love” — a Thursday bulletin requirement — so that the sermon could be about anything. In the end it is about Mary mirroring Jesus as prophet, healer, and priest.

    We have Wednesday evening services at this (interim for me) church and I am feeling run down and utterly relieved that someone else is taking the lead in this week’s healing service. A number of complicated death-related matters in the congregation and three big projects in my outside-church life. March seems like an endless month!

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    1. I’m glad you are getting some relief on the Wednesday evening service, and I hope you can find a few moments to breathe.

      I like the idea of Mary “mirroring” Jesus. We are to do the same, I suppose, though what a tall order!

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    2. I think March is the hump month… winter not quite over, spring not quite here. busy, busy run up to Easter; and although there are other 31 day months, March always (to me at least!) seems so very long!
      I love the mirroring idea – and I think our own hang ups about familiar stories are greater than our congregations. This new congregation may have heard it before – but not from you!
      Take what help you can, and remember to find time for yourself too – in amongst all the busyness

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      1. When I first started two months ago, I asked the 7th and 8th grade confirmation class why they come to church (besides their parents’ insistence). One of the boys said that he has really enjoyed the different styles and expressions in preaching and has learned a lot form the different approaches — longtime pastor retired in October, 2 month-long supply preachers, and now me. So I try to remember him.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good morning everyone! Julie was kind enough to get the party going. As the UK and points east wind down their day, I’ll be sitting in the hosting chair. What can I get you? Snacks? Beverages?

    It sounds like most of you are well on your way–congratulations!

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    1. Hi Monica!! Happy to jump in – and we can share now!!
      I’ve just had lunch – yummy carrot soup… help yourself….

      AS a Spill the Beans writer I’ve been sticking with the titles we all came up with six months ago – a series of questions. This week, “what awaits?”… and for me, being prepared for any eventuality.
      We may not know when the world is ending/ Jesus is coming. But we do know that time passes and life goes on.
      I’ve had some deep, death is coming conversations this week which have informed some of my reflecting…. it’s all just a stream of thoughts on paper – but it will come together soon enough

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  7. Good Morning – it is just after nine in my part of Canada and I am trying to get motivated to re-work a sustainable sermon. I am using the Isaiah and talking about the resistance we have to ‘God doing a new thing’….I may weave in Mary’s perfume thinking it will work but not quite getting the thread as of yet gathered up.

    I have had two girls with a bad cold all week and now it appears that their younger sister is coming down with this yucky bug. I am trying to stay healthy in the midst of all the coughing and snotting.

    I have some jasmine green tea to share

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    1. Yay for sustainable sermons! and boo for kids with colds… sadly not anything we can plan for at this time of year… roll on the bright spring days!

      That allowing God’s new thing is so universal – I’m sure you will find a new way to share the message!
      Keep going with the lovely green tea!

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  8. Two hosts – talk about extravagance! Thank you both.

    On Monday, a number of us from our church attended the funeral of a former member. We stood around afterwards, both admiring the flowers piled on and around the casket, and bemoaning the waste of it all. Wouldn’t it have been better to take those hundreds of dollars and donate them to charity, use them to feed the poor, rather than spending them on something that would just wither away in that lonely place? And yet, maybe there are times when only an extravagant and impractical display can convey the depth of our love.

    That’s where the sermon is starting. Now all I need is the rest! Blessings to you all in your preparations for Sunday.

    Oatmeal, anyone? I really need to get to the supermarket….

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    1. I love the comparison between funeral flowers and the extravagance so easy to identify with that one.
      Blessings as you continue sorting through your thoughts…

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    2. One year, as our congregation was considering our usual “angel tree” sort of gifts for families in need, a church member said, “what if we just picked one family and overwhelmed them with the extravagance of grace,” and he cited this passage in support of his idea. The congregation had a hard time letting go of spreading our gifts thin and wide and instead doing so deeply and extravagantly. I’m still not sure he was right, but it is, and was, an intriguing thought.

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  9. Not sure where I’m going yet, but I have a bunch of notes (on the John passage). I have the Finger Eleven song “One Thing” stuck in my head. Maybe that’s where I’ll start.

    I’ve got a pot of coffee mixed with hot chocolate to share.

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    1. Yum! Coffee and chocolate sounds good.
      Hope the song running though your head doesn’t become an ear worm.
      Blessings as you try to find the way from notes to sermon

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  10. Good morning Friends! I will be Supplying for a friend and colleague tomorrow – at least I thought he was a friend. Now that I note the time change, I am wondering 🙂
    The church is tiny and less than a year old. I will be playing with “the poor will always be with you” and wondering how this tiny, new tribe of Christians can stand with the poor in their city. It has been a rural county seat that is recently growing toward the bigger city in the region – an outer band of suburbs. I’m thinking of how gentrification happens and who all gets displaced when developers start eying pastures for roadways and master-planned communities. I think I have the bulk of it in my head – now to get it on paper.

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    1. Morning Amy, welcome to the party!
      Sounds like you’ve got a good plan going. It’s always a challenge visiting with a new congregation. It’s also a privilege to be the guest preacher… and can be fun!
      Blessings as you work on through the day

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    2. I would love to read this, if you post it. I’ve not seen much theological reflection on suburban sprawl, and I think it’s an idea that needs addressing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I now have a sermon on paper. I will post it to my blog once I have massaged it a bit more. I’m not sure how much of a reflection of urban sprawl it is – more naming the messiness of who gains and who loses in these “growths” – and tying it back to the messiness that Judas names in how we serve others; sometimes the “smarter” way is not the way that will change our own hearts and habits or allow us all to bless each other incarnationally.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Good morning! I’m about to go for a walk because I’m hoping that it will clear my mind. Right now my apocalypse sermon is in need of a revelation. (see what I did there?)
    Here’s a poem that might make it into my sermon because reading an apocalypse text this close to Easter has led me to wonder if we don’t often see miracles because we don’t lead lives that require resurrection.

    by Mary Oliver. From her new book, “Felicity”.
    “The World I Live In” is the title.

    I have refused to live
    locked in the orderly house of
    reasons and proofs.
    The world I live in and believe in
    is wider than that. And anyway,
    what’s wrong with Maybe?

    You wouldn’t believe what once or
    twice I have seen. I’ll just
    tell you this:
    only if there are angels in your head will you
    ever, possibly, see one.

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    1. Hi Marci, I love the Mary Oliver poem (& the one you shared last week)
      I really like that thought about needing resurrection…. definitely one to play with.
      Hope the walk is inspiring

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m so excited to get to preach on this text in my Metropolitan Community Church internship site. I’ve preached on it before in Episcopal congregations and have never felt comfortable really naming the overt sensuality of Mary’s anointing. I’m about halfway through a first draft and enjoying the freedom.

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    1. That’s sounds great! Freedom is such a blessings when we get it. I know what you mean by worrying about naming sensuality… but maybe that’s more about us?
      Blessings on the next edits as you get it where you want it to be

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  13. Thanks to Julie and Monica for hosting and thanks to Marci for the poem. It’s a little after 10:00 here in the high desert. A beautiful morning on what promises to be a most windy day. Hope the wind blows in a sermon. I’m preaching the John text–all that’s going on at that dinner table and all that is brought to our communion table. Yesterday I found myself thinking about that jar of nard. I bet that was the family nard jar–used to anoint Lazarus and then put away for the next one in the family to die. Does anyone know about the burial customs in Jesus’ day? Did families keep jars of nard available? Don’t need an answer for my sermon–just very curious now.

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    1. Hi Susan. Welcome to the party. Interesting thought about a family jar. I don’t know either… but I’ll bet someone does!

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  14. Stopping by to say hello. Another full day/weekend here and I have a dinner tonight to attend and give invocation for. Double sitters given everything. Kiddos down for a nap.

    I am also doing the John passage with Mary, Martha, Laz, and Judas…The sermon title I selected earlier in the week is “Tyranny of the Shoulds” referring to the implied should in Judas’ response to Mary’s act of gratitude and joy. There are characters who serve as literary foils all thru scripture: Mary/Martha, Mary/Judas, Jesus/John, etc. What intrigues me is how Martha criticizes her sister, how Judas criticizes Mary, etc…and all the implied shoulds….”you should be helping me in the kitchen,” “you should give this money to the poor,” “you should have been here, Jesus,” “you should act X way…as a rabbi” —etc. We direct “shoulds” to ourselves and to others…to our detriment…instead of dealing with the moment that is… Of course, it’s not that all “shoulds” are wrong…It’s the implied judgment that you should do this my way, etc… And of course, “should-ing” is a kind of cognitive distortion. I can’t imagine heaven being filled with shoulds, but I can surely imagine a hell packed with shoulds….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A packed day indeed!
      Thanks for popping by…. and for those “should” thoughts… I’ve been intentionally trying choose what I want rather than should… not easy, but very freeing.
      Blessings on your busy day

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  15. Mark 13 here…the irony that was noted on the FB discussion, about preaching “Keep awake” on Daylight Saving Time Sunday, is in full force today. Complicating matters is the pot of chili I have going, which has to be checked every so often (it’s for the church bake sale tomorrow, to raise funds for our new sound system which will be installed next weekend!), as well as an injured knee that is making me pretty uncomfortable. I just took a pain pill, so the challenge now is to get the sermon done before it kicks in and knocks me out. Depending how long the sermon takes and how my knee feels after getting it done and the chili packed and in the freezer, I may make a pan of brownies this evening. I looked at the table where the baked goods are being gathered, and at this point pickings are sort of slim.

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    1. Another busy day! Chill sounds good… but not the injured knee, I can identify, popped a ligament in my knee four months ago and it still bothers me. Hope you get some relief soon.
      Hope the day pans out, and the table fills up through the day

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  16. Hello Gals and Pals… I am sitting in my study at church, on a gorgeous, sunny, warm day, with about a page of a sermon (Narrative Lectionary). We have a huge Cabaret tonight at church– our annual fundraiser for the One Great Hour of Sharing– and I’m singing five songs (a duet, a solo, as a member of a chorus, and as part of our praise band, the Scapegoats). I’ve been here since 10 for rehearsals, and I just decided to stay and write for a bit. I woke this morning from an anxiety dream in which I was conducting our women’s chorus (6) in a production of “The Magic Flute.”

    Will the sermon get done? Will my voice hold up? Who knows! Happy writing, preaching, and everything-ing, dear ones.

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  17. I’m supply preaching this week and have way too many thoughts on the John passage to get into one sermon. I read someplace online that lots of preachers avoid this passage for a variety of reasons, yet I find it rich with symbolism and prophecy and wisdom. I’m also drawing on those wonderful “StarWords.” (thanks, again, Marci). Last year (different church) one of my parishioners drew the word “extravagance” and she was literally disgusted. Said “extravagance” was the last thing she believed in. So I’m starting with that story and going on to talk about our extravagant God and the ways in which we too are called to be lavish, abundant, prodigal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So much guilt we all carry over extravagance! Yet godly extravagance is such a gift.
      I think you’ve got a great start there

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  18. Bluegrass song by Flatt and Scruggs, from way back (I couldn’t post the link, but you can access via youtube):

    In this world today while we’re living
    Some folks say the worst of us they can
    But when we are dead and in our caskets
    They always slip some lilies in our hand

    Won’t you give me my flowers while I’m living
    And let me enjoy them while I can
    Pleae don’t wait till I’m ready to be buried
    And then slip some lilies in my hand

    In this world is where we need our flowers
    A kind word to help us get along
    If you can’t give me flowers while I’m living
    Then please don’t throw them when I’m gone

    Version: Flatt and Scruggs

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hmm, as I’m writing about extravagant love I’m reminded of the woman I talked to a few weeks ago, who used somewhat similar language to justify why she should go back to her abusive husband. Now I’m trying to figure out how to more carefully give the charge to love extravagantly…

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    1. Oh goodness… the ways of our language, behaviours and the unhealthy connections we make.
      Blessings as you tread that careful path.

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  20. Soon, some of the leaders will determine how Jesus, the itinerant Rabbi, should be conducting himself before the authorities, before Caiaphas, before Pilate, and before the crowds who will shout, “If you are who you are, come down from the cross! Save yourself!” (Mark 15:30) Soon someone else’s “should” will be buried in a shroud, but God’s want and desire will rise again. Praise God for the Mary’s in this world who deafen their ears to all the internal and external “shoulds” and “oughts”– Praise God for those who recognize the moment at hand and seize the opportunity to show their gratitude, their joy, and their love, all nay-saying aside.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well, it’s bed time here in the manse. My dog wakes with the dawn chorus (around 5.20!)
    Happy partying to all you late nighters… I’ll check in in the morning.

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    1. …and we’re back from the birthday tea party (where one daughter drank from her saucer; perhaps we need to work on tea party manners). So I can assume the preacher party hosting duties now! (You all can drink out of your saucers if you’d like; I really don’t care 🙂 )

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Because we have so many different things going on this week, I decided not to do a regular sermon but instead more of an all-age talk incorporating the beginning of the Mark 13 text (disciples: “look what big stones!” Jesus: facepalm. “really? could you pay attention to what matters please?”) with both the 90th birthday of a founding member and the baptism of a 2-week old baby (and her older brother who’s 2-1/2). So no sermon to write, exactly, but I do need to still come up with something to say that will be appropriate for all ages and will lead us to the font.

    I’m just getting ready to make some vegan chili, so stop over in about an hour for dinner. 🙂

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    1. You’re early at the party! I would love some chili when it’s done, please. I’m intrigued as to how you’re getting from Mark 13 to the font.

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  23. It’s 7:18. I had a sermon all thought out. Then I heard something that completely changed the context. Instead of beginning the work of preparing folks to adopt a new vision of their life in community (a eucharistic-based sermon on that meal at the home of the Bethany sisters), I need to be preparing folks to God working through and in our community in strange, mysterious, surprising and wonderful ways. Abrupt shift from John to Isaiah. Looks like a long night ahead. But I can trust that God can work through and in me as well. Here’s hoping she’s both clear and quick.

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  24. I don’t know if anyone else is still struggling with the sermon, but I am! This one is really resisting being written. Narrative Lectionary – end of the world. It’s my turn to write the midweek message for the local paper, and I decided to write my early thoughts as my column. Now I can’t seem to find an ‘angle’ for the sermon. 9:35pm and I need to go to bed (I hate this time change!) but I’ve been sitting here for over an hour and still have nothing.

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    1. Deep breaths, Ramona! A couple of ideas to shake something loose: if you’re accustomed to writing on the computer, pull out the pen and yellow legal pad. Or vice versa. Get up and go to a different room. Walk around the block. Take a shower.

      I’ve never ever preached on Mark 13, so I don’t have any ideas to pull out of the file cabinet for you.

      Trust that the Holy Spirit has your back. Something will come. Prayers and a long distance hug.

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  25. I’m signing off, preachers. Julie will catch you when it’s morning on the other side of the pond. Blessings to all who are still working.

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  26. Good morning. The rosy glow of sunrise is breaking out. Missy dog started her barking at 5.05! But I persuaded her back to bed and now it’s a little after 6, the coffee is brewing and the day is here.
    If you’re still up and trying to get Saturday night pegged I’ll be here. The U.K. Side of this preacher tag team!

    Liked by 1 person

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