Well, preaching colleagues, it’s almost Sunday again. Some of us are still riding high on last week’s Hallelujahs, while others of us are wishing there was another day (or week!) between Sundays at this time of year. We are preparing to celebrate a mini-Easter as we do every Sunday, but the memories of the big-shebang-Easter last Sunday are still ringing, for better or for worse.

 

DSCF0971

The Revised Common Lectionary juxtaposes frightened disciples hiding in a locked room on Easter evening and the week after (in John 20) with those same disciples courageously preaching and healing in public to the point that they are arrested by the authorities (in Acts 5). The difference is that the Holy Spirit has come to them in the meantime (Acts 2), but we don’t actually hear that story until Pentecost Sunday on May 15. So, how do you address these various attitudes of the disciples this Sunday? Some ideas where shared here earlier this week. Please add your own thoughts to the mix!

 

The Narrative Lectionary jumps right into Acts, with the disciples (both men and women!) ordered to stay in Jerusalem to witness the ascension of Jesus, and dedicate themselves to prayer. What does this mean to you and your community? There is some discussion on this page. Please share any other insights that you have!

 

Some of our churches are celebrating Holy Humo(u)r Sunday this weekend. Please share your lighthearted plans and jokes with the community! Many of us are responsible for children’s sermons, for which ideas seem always to be in demand in this forum. Some are beginning an Easter season sermon series this week. A few years ago one of the best things I did was to invite guest preachers for our partner ministries (social services, nursing home, camp, etc) for the entire season of Easter – so I preached on Easter, and next on Pentecost. What are you doing this year? Please share any ideas with the group so that we can all prepare to celebrate the Resurrection again with joy!

 

Depending on your mood and your time zone, I can offer a glass of tea or wine, some popcorn or some fresh fruit. Pull up a chair, enjoy the virtual snacks, and blessings on your writing. Welcome to the party!

 

 

*****

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

*****

57 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party – Relentless Resurrection Edition

  1. I took a bit of a leap and focused more on the statement of “peace” and being sent out from the upper room. I’ve had too much time to read and watch movies this week (I take the week off after Easter).

    I really like the idea of having a speaker from the various ministries talk the Sundays of Easter…perhaps next year. 🙂

    Feel free to check out my sermon for Sunday at: http://therevannacarmichael@weebly.com

    Like

  2. Good morning! Full day ahead – Contemplative Cleveland Walkers meeting at a local metropark this morning, a funeral this afternoon, Cleveland Film Festival tonight.

    My sermon is kind of complicated. What leapt off the page for me two weeks ago at our lectionary group was the theme of witnessing running through all the RCL texts. In the end , I am using the Revelation description of Jesus as the witness who loves us, and makes us into a kingdom as illustrated by the other texts. Loves us – we witness by the exuberance of music (Psalm). Frees us – we witness by teaching and preaching in a variety of forms (Acts). Makes us into a kingdom, the priesthood of all believers — we question and doubt so that our faith becomes our own (John). It’s all probably more suited to a dissertation than a sermon, but I think it works.

    Like

    1. I’m sure that you’re able to put your dissertation ideas into sermon format 🙂 Great way to weave all the texts together!

      Like

  3. Finished, as usual it is almost 11.00 pm on Saturday evening, but this is the night we get an extra hour’s sleep. Hallelujah!!! looking at both the John and Acts reading form RCL. Peace and Spirit
    Friday evening at Family Church we baptised 5 people, which was awesome if tiring.
    kettle has just boiled, help yourself to Easter eggs, tea, coffee, ….

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing your sermon. I like how you restate what Jesus did (and didn’t) tell the disciples when he appeared to them. Hope you’re enjoying the extra sleep and have a wonderful Sunday!

      Like

  4. I have a funeral this morning, my second in two weeks. I leave tomorrow after church for a week in Chicago which will be three days of Advanced Clergy Clinic at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center and then a few days of vacation. I was able to get a good draft of my sermon for tomorrow written on Thursday. I am focusing on the disciples emotions post crucifixion and with dawning awareness of the reconciliation of the resurrection, moving from the possible feelings of vulnerability, anger and denial, and fear to the love and peace that Jesus shows them and concluding that when we show up and allow ourselves to move through and integrate our feelings of “failure” (instead of living in denial and self-righteousness), we end up more whole and at peace with ourselves and others. Like Jesus we will still have our wounds, our scars, but they do not need to define us, we can choose to let them shape us into a more whole and compassionate person. I use Thomas as the example, he didn’t have to show up in the upper room, he could have stayed away, absorbed himself in all kinds of emotions, but he came and so did Jesus and peace prevailed. Anyway, it might sound weird, but I think it works.

    Thanks for hosting canoeistpastor. I’ll try to stop by later, after the funeral and a home communion visit and the packing and the sermon is finished….blessings on this group as you ponder the word.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a full day and week for you. Hopefully the Lombard clinic will be rewarding! Thanks for your reflections on the experience of the disciples.

      Like

  5. I am on holiday for two weeks after church tomorrow! I am in need of a break and feeling a little demob happy today!
    A NL gal my focus tomorrow is the continued story of Christ and the church. William Barclay a professor of Bible Studies at Glasgow University said in his wee book on the book of Acts that Acts was the story of the church but a story with no ending. I am using statistics that the Church of Scotland have produced for each parish based on the last census figures. For us this shows that 1002 people in our parish identify as Church of Scotland but our roll only have 280 of them on it! Rather than being depressed about this I want us to see this as a great blessing and opportunity to build on. So that we can continue to tell the story of Jesus and to continue writing the story of His church here in our place. And that Jesus will have the last laugh!

    Going to use some Holy Humour for the ‘all age’ slot – so now off to find some funny stories……

    Like

    1. The story of the church that has no ending – or to which we can add our own story. That sounds quite relevant and meaningful! Hoping that funny stories will fall into your lap, and that your last day of work goes well before your much-deserved time away.

      Like

    2. Have a restful and renewing break, Shuna!

      I appreciate your twist on the numbers, because it is so easy to become discouraged and feel like we’re failing, rather than seeing the opportunities.

      Like

  6. I am resurrecting a Year C sermon series “signs and wonders” suggested by my ecumenical friends at the UMC in 2013 (but not preached by me). I’ll stay in the Acts readings through Pentecost. NOthing on the page yet but the series outline though, so, (please) Come, Holy Spirit!

    Like

  7. I’m doing pulpit supply here in my very own town this week. The regular pastor invited me to do something creative and/or unusual, since 30 women from the congregation are on a retreat this weekend and it’s Low Sunday anyway. I think she’s not expecting a big crowd. Not having the energy, nor the time, for creativity, I’ve opted to read a story instead of a sermon. I still have some other pieces of the service to pull together.

    First, a birthday party to attend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone loves a story! Maybe you and the pastor will both be surprised and there will be more people in worship than expected 🙂

      Like

  8. Well, we have a huge day tomorrow. Bible Sunday for our 3rd graders, (13!), communion, etc. It was a busy week, so I am resurrecting and reshaping a low Sunday sermon, because it has baseball in it. And well, the season begins tomorrow, and our opening day is Monday the 9th. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. SIL has been in the hospital this week, and pain meds have had her telling some crazy stories. I can’t help but think that my mental reaction to those is akin to Thomas’s to the disciples. “Sure, I’ll believe there are dogs in the room getting ready to perform…when I hear them woof and see them jump!” My sermon is going to start there, with how really ridiculous the resurrection story sounds. Then maybe a bit about Thomas and the frustration of being defined by one of your less stellar, though completely understandable moments; poor guy, being saddled with “doubting” for all time. And finally, the observation that Jesus didn’t try to convince him with words; he had Thomas touch him. Our proclamation of the good news is far more convincing through acts than words. Sort of like the quote attributed to Francis about “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”

    I hope it writes itself easily (hah! but a girl can dream…) because this week I counted on for a break after Easter instead has been spent in long hours at the hospital. But at least I got a sermon idea out of it, right?

    If anyone wants something a bit different, look up the idea that Thomas, not John, was the beloved disciple. There are some pretty convincing arguments for this, starting with the idea that this would explain why Thomas wasn’t with the disciples that Easter evening, because he was ritually unclean from having helped with Jesus’s body after the crucifixion.

    Like

    1. “Thomas doubted the disciples because he thought that they were high….” It works! Glad your stressful week led to a sermon idea.

      Thanks for the suggestion about Thomas being the beloved disciple. I hadn’t heard that one before, but I like it. Filing away for next year…

      Like

      1. Perhaps I could work in the typo our over-worked parish secretary sent out as the subject line of an e-blast on Palm Sunday: “Holy Weed.” Boy, did she get a lot of funny (all, thank goodness, with kindness and gentleness) responses to that!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Here are a few goofy jokes I used a couple of years ago. I also primed several people in the congregation to have appropriate ones of their own to share, as a way of starting my sermon.

    Knock knock!
    Who’s there?
    Doris!
    Doris who?
    Doris locked…that’s why I’m knocking!

    Where do rabbits learn to fly?
    In the Hare Force!

    Why was the broom late?
    It over swept!

    Like

    1. Here’s one I learned 20 years ago, that has since become my mom’s favorite and about the only one she can ever remember:

      Why do sea gulls fly over the sea?
      Because if they flew over the bay, they’d be bagels!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. FWIW, here’s the rest of this short sermon (minus, I think, part of the conclusion, which I may have done extemporaneously), following the jokes; anyone feel free to use whatever in it is helpful.

    Jokes are wonderful. Whether they’re groaners or knee slappers or just plain silly, they’re one of the great little free things in life. But how amazing that I can stand here and tell jokes…because just over a week ago, on Good Friday, we also gathered here, and the mood was anything but funny.

    Jesus’s friends had not done well. They’d fallen asleep when he asked them to stay awake with him, one denied knowing him and another one turned him in to the authorities, and almost all of them abandoned him as he was dying. The people in charge were scared by the influence Jesus was gaining with his message of love and justice and forgiveness for everyone, not just the VIPs. Unthinking crowds went along with the sentiments of a few. Somehow it all combined in the worst mix ever, and Jesus was put to death on the cross. The Word of Love that God sent to speak to us was silenced by a world of fear and anger and greed and insecurity. There was nothing to laugh about, nothing at all.

    And then, on that Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene came back to where Jesus’s body lay in the tomb, and marvelously, miraculously, amazingly, she encountered the Risen Christ. He’d been dead and now he was alive. She didn’t have to understand how, nor do we; it’s enough that we know why: because, nothing, not even death, can contain or constrict God’s love. Probably confused, but even so, giddy with wonder, Mary ran back to tell the disciples that their grief was ended, that hope could return to their hearts and lives once more. Joy and laughter were back!

    Good Friday had to come; Jesus had to embrace rejection and betrayal, fear and anger, evil and death—all that separates us from God—in order to conquer them. He bridged that chasm with the cross and now leads us to new life. Painful things still happen, but they no longer have the last word. Our Easter rejoicing has its greatest meaning not in spite of the crucifixion, but because of it.

    There’s an anthem we use in the Good Friday liturgy: “By virtue of the cross, joy has come into the world.” It’s a paradox that the brokenness of the cross restores us to wholeness and the fullness of life…but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is the same Jesus who told his followers that they’d lead by being servants, that in giving away everything they’d have so much more, that life’s losers will be breaking the tape at heaven’s finish line, that only by letting go of their life would they gain it. This is the Jesus who turned everything upside down when he reigned as king from the throne of the cross.

    In the end, our new beginning, the joke is on us when we think that the one with the most stuff wins, that our bank balance is a measure of our worth, that power is measured by our titles and strength by our muscle mass. How much better to be fools for Christ, to celebrate the joy of the improbable truth of the resurrection…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Tiny (really tiny) crisis – at church for this afternoon’s funeral and discovered that the cantor tomorrow is singing Psalm 118 and not 150! (How did I not know that? I guess I forgot.) The ONE Sunday, maybe ever, that I have written a sermon connecting all four texts. So I have revised before even changing clothes for tonight. It’s not as good, but it’s amazing how many generic things one can say about music as a witness to love.

    Like

    1. Of course that happens the one week you’ve connected all the texts! Glad you were able to revise and I’m sure it will be just as meaningful for your folks.

      Like

  13. Thanks for the jokes…I may start with them, and then move onto….Revelation. Yep. And I’m a Lutheran (ELCA) pastor. I led a class a few years ago, in another congregation, Debunking the Rapture, using a resource by Barbara Rossing. But, I’ve never preached using Revelation. This Year C cycle of Easter is the only time (besides All Saints Day) that Revelation is offered as text. So, I’ve been doing a lot of reading commentaries, including some articles which encourage “mainline” clergy to preach Revelation.

    No start yet (maybe the jokes?) and it is almost 4 pm Sat. Time for a nap. And prayer for inspiration.

    Like

    1. Go for it! Many folks don’t ever hear from Revelation except when it’s referenced by people with sketchy theology. Way to reclaim the last book in our Bible. Hope the inspiration comes like the Alpha and Omega, on the clouds 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love the direction you go, moving to integrating our suffering, our wounds towards transformation and new wholeness.

      Like

    1. I’ve always said it “Wang” (to rhyme with bang) “er-in.” with the stress on the first syllable. Not sure if that’s correct. Were you wondering about the “g”?

      Like

          1. Also, for an interesting perspective on the Gospel story check out John 20 in Wangerin’s The Book of God, his novel version of the Bible if you happen to have on on your shelf.

            Like

            1. If you don’t have access to the book, check out the Girardian Reflections on the Lectionary for Easter 2. It is available on Textweek. Follow his links to find the excerpt from Wangerin’s book.

              Like

  14. Wasn’t feeling a Thomas sermon! Decided instead to focus on Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit onto the disciples, and made the whole service about life-giving breath. Pairing the John reading with the dry bones passage in Ezekiel. Sermon will (hopefully) get us all thinking about the choices we have in how we use our post-Resurrection breath: singing/yelling, building up/tearing down, breathing words of hope/despair, love/hate, peace/conflict, forgiveness/judgment, etc. Seems timely, what with the current political rhetoric.

    Blessings; may inspiration come to you all!

    Like

  15. I am just getting to the party today – I thought I had a sustainable sermon on Thomas. Maybe I just dreamed it as I pondered the texts this week. I am supplying in a new-to-me place tomorrow. There will be a few familiar faces there, but many other new friends to meet. I’m going with the movement of getting from afraid and locked in, to praising in the psalms, to telling others as in the Revelation reading, to actually teaching (and getting in trouble for it). How do we get from one place to the others? Where are we on the spectrum?
    I love that Jesus blesses us all explicitly in the Gospel – and that will be my ending. Now to actually get it on paper.

    Like

    1. I like how you include the full range of emotions as acceptable, from fear to fearlessness, and invite people to identify their place on that spectrum. I hope it goes well with the new-to-you congregation, and that tonight’s writing goes quickly!

      Like

        1. That’s one of the things I find helpful about the preacher party – just writing enough to check in can help get the creative juices flowing!

          Like

  16. Similar to Terri above, I’ve been noodling all week on the experience of the disciples post-crucifixion trauma. Their fear is a locked room, keeping the dangers out but also keeping them locked up, unable to move freely in the world. Jesus appears and is known to them in his words of peace and commission and in his wounds.

    In the face of Thomas’s inability to believe without tangible evidence, Jesus graciously appears again. In offering Thomas the chance to touch and the invitation to believe, Jesus reveals his full humanity (here- see my insides?) and his full divinity (peace, appearance in spite of shut doors, resurrected self).

    Finally, we’re the Body of Christ, called to “show forth in our lives what we profess by our faith,” (the Collect for the day). How do we tell and show our own stories of death and rebirth?

    I hope to end with a story of witness to new birth, but I need to figure out which one to use!

    Like

    1. Yup, I also appreciate your pointing out the collect…perfect for quoting in my sermon, and maybe a good ending,me hitch is just about where I am in my writing.

      Like

  17. So, preachers, it’s nearly 9pm in my timezone. How are your sermons coming along? Any additional ideas, insights, or links to blogs to share? Any writers block we can help you with? If you’re still looking for inspiration, I hope that the Holy Spirit comes soon! And if you’re finished or almost there, many blessings for a good night’s sleep and meaningful worship in the morning. Thanks for joining the party this week!

    Liked by 3 people

  18. both worship services are finished, i ad-libbed a little more than i do most weeks, but i think mainly some rearranging the order of points. well received in both places.

    Liked by 1 person

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