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In Scotland this week the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) has been meeting in General Assembly. Although some would claim that, as a church, we haven’t progressed much, there did seem to be a new willingness to work together. Many of the Councils reported on similar themes and priorities and there are real possibilities for more collaborative and cohesive work in the future. Those who attended the Assembly have much to share with congregations this week and the themes of faith and forgiveness are wonderful starting places.

There are helpful discussions, as ever, on the RCL and on the NL summer series from earlier in the week.

Where are you in your preparations this week? Do you have something to share or do you need some help. Whatever stage you’re at, we welcome you and invite you to introduce yourself. With a little faith and collaboration we can discern God’s word for our contexts today.

The worship theme for our General Assembly was People of the Way. We journey, with God and with each other, on the road in which God leads. There is always room for more, so welcome as we journey with our texts this week.

 

Liz Crumlish is a Church of Scotland Minister currently working on a National Renewal Project. A Board Member of RevGalBlogPals and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, Liz blogs at journalling.

 

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54 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher’s Party: Faith and Forgiveness

  1. morning Liz! and everyone else
    I started my sermon on Thursday – so now back to see if what I wrote then still works!

    2 Corinthians for me – and the theme is forgiveness. I’ve given it a subtitle “Letting go, Moving on” because that seems to be what Paul is trying to say; and because eternally forgiveness really only works if we are able to move on and leave behind whatever it was that needed forgiven in the first place.

    If I can find it I’ll be using a wee illustration I wrote some years back about forgiveness and toffee – pretty sure it’s in my blog archive

    My life is fully of puppy shaped distractions – little Tabitha arrived here on Wednesday! She is currently curled up at my feet

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  2. I have a wedding today and then tomorrow is my first Sunday back in church after four Sundays off for a study leave. My little wedding homily is written (I almost always say about the same thing to the couple). Today I’ll write the sermon for Sunday, probably on the text from Kings in the RCL, with a nod toward the gospel, maybe a comment on Galatians, if they all have a logic connecting point in what I write. I am thinking of talking about Memorial Day, its history beginning as an effort to remember soldiers who died in the Civil War of the United States, in part to try and reconcile the two broken sides of this country, north and south. Its the reconciling piece that will be the connecting point between Memorial Day and the scripture as I ponder who we are and how is God calling us to be a people of God in this day? Perhaps a grand plan, we’ll see how it unfolds. In other news, gorgeous weather here, summer has arrived!

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  3. Preaching on Luke 7, but searching for words. The centurion’s elders and peers speak of “worthiness” in terms of works and Jesus listens and responds to the testimony of faith but I need more than that two dozen words for Sunday morning.

    And I’m wrestling with questions too. Why is faith sufficient for healing here and not in other circumstances? (Our congregation experienced the accidental death of an 18 year old earlier this month) “Knowing God” here is knowing God’s authority and power, as in Mike Breen/3D Ministries’ “Kingdom” triangle. (I’m more comfortable with the covenant language and that’s not the focus here) Looks like I have lots to think about yet, while I drive up to my daughter’s school to bring her home for the summer. Coffee’s on for anyone else who’s at work today.

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    1. I’m also planning to talk about the great miracles that God can do – which naturally leads to questions about why God doesn’t always do them. Why isn’t everyone healed who asks for it? Not sure what I’ll say about it, but that will almost certainly be the question on many folks’ minds.

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    2. But sometimes questions can be good. Is it ok to not know. How does that stretch our faith and spiritual journey growth edges.

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  4. I’m about to face one of the gaps in my Year C history: I’ve never preached this lectionary week. But I did write adult curriculum about the gospel lesson for The Present Word, so I’m looking at my own work for a starting point this morning.
    The other preacher at my house is doing the 2 Corinthians series, so we are not much help to each other.
    Once church is over tomorrow, we’re looking at a 1-and-a-half day holiday weekend with our two younger children, so I am trying to get some other things done today, too, including writing up the Church of Scotland Study Leave material related to REVive Iona!

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    1. Seems we all – or at least everyone I know has this gap. Must be the early Pentecost and annual meetings. In all my year of ministry I have never preached on these lections. Going to be a busy Saturday.

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      1. For me it was a mixture of an anniversary service (off-lectionary), working as an Associate, doing a sermon series, and having a combined picnic service, which takes me all the way back to my first lectionary cycle. At least this gap will now be filled!

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  5. This is the second of two weekends off, just over a weeks annual leave.
    Lots of cooking today, so I have something to share this week- there are choc nut muffins, jam and coconut slice, pear crumble and meat and vegetable pie.
    Prayers for those leading and preaching this weekend.

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  6. Checking in here, from the chaos that is our house. The movers come on Tuesday. Silly me has agreed to preach both this Sunday and next, with fair warning to next Sunday’s church that it will be a “classic” from the file cabinet. This week’s is sustainable, as well, with some re-working.

    I’m preaching on the Elijah text. So much weirdness in there. I’m basically re-telling the story, with a few points where we can identify.

    I’ve promised the kids that we will go swimming at 3:30. It is 8:30 and they’re already wearing their swimsuits.

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  7. I haven’t. even. started. O.k., I have got a title. However, I am happy to be home today. This is the first Saturday in four weeks that I haven’t had a church event or a funeral. That gives me so much more to post on Facebook, and other amazing sermon procrastinating things. We go on vacation on Tuesday. Yippee! I can’t wait!

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  8. got up at 4:30 CDT this morning to help make donuts at the local farmer’s market (the donuts are an outreach fund-sharing program of the church that houses the market in the parking lot), so there are plenty of fresh donuts (plain, powdered sugar, and cinnamon sugar) to share.

    Wrestling with the 1 Kings text – where does God show up for us with such power? And why/how do we keep choosing God over the Baals of our time (busy-ness, work, social media, etc.)? Or at least that’s where I’m starting. We’ll see where it ends up.

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  9. Galatians – perhaps a series; we’ll see — because a few weeks ago I read that it was Martin Luther’s favorite, so I thought it would help me learn some more about the Lutheran church since that’s where I find myself these days.

    I am challenging myself to preach without notes this summer, which involves what I would call a much more holistic sermon prep than usual, reading a lot, making an outline, letting the sermon unfold over the week, and practicing it in parts to myself when walking or driving – to try to remember most of it, maybe even in order.

    I got my hair permed today, and then it seemed that I needed a cut, so someone else did that. We got onto the subject of cancer and hair and wigs, and I mentioned that I had had BC. She asked if I had lost my hair, and I said no, that I didn’t have chemo, and she said, “Lucky you!” I’m thinking that she doesn’t know that women who didn’t have chemo have usually lost a body part or two along the way. There’s probably another sermon in there somewhere. She definitely reminded me of a couple of careless and really stupid things I’ve said myself.

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    1. Robin, Luther’s Commentary on the 6 or 7 page book of Galatians is over 500 pages. He called Galatians “my little letter to whom I have entrusted myself. It is my Kate von Bora.” (the nun who became Luther’s wife) Luther’s reference to “entrusting himself” is a pun based on the similarity in German of the words meaning “to marry” and to “entrust something to someone.” (quoted in part from Edgar Krentz, Emeitus Lutheran professor, pastor, archaeologist and writer)

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  10. I’m a little more stressed than normal as I’m preaching in a Lutheran Church this week and have never done that before as a Moravian Pastor. So on top of preaching for the first time since I had a church member at my church tell I couldn’t preach I’m supply preaching at a different denominations church. So deep breathes have all I’ve gotten this week….well and the fact I’m going to preach on Galatians. I’m able to preach at another church because my husband and I work together and preaching at a Lutheran church is appropriate as I’m the chair of the ELCA Moravian Coordinating Committee for full communion.

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    1. Kelly, as an ELCA pastor, I am praying for you to feel peace and assurance that the Spirit is working through you to share the good news with us goofy Lutherans πŸ™‚ I’m sorry to hear that someone in your congregation told you that you can’t preach–I love when people are just oh so helpful with feedback. I was recently told that a member has been complaining about my bad preaching style, and it hurts. But God is good and you are called to serve the whole Church, and I’m so excited for that ELCA congregation to experience someone from the Moravian church. We have a fascinating past history, and I think that will be good for them to learn! Peace and blessings to you sister. God is with you πŸ™‚

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  11. Unexpected addition to my day: a trip to the dentist to have a temporary crown replaced after the first one cracked this morning. I’m home again and all in one piece, albeit temporarily, still. But that’s all of us, I guess. πŸ™‚

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  12. I think I’ll be one of the late-night party guests this week. I’ve briefly looked at the RCL texts, but have no clear concept or outline. I’ve just now finished a funeral, am about to rush across town to high school commencement, and may feel the need to stop at a couple of graduation parties before I finally will be able to sit down and focus on my sermon.

    I led worship at the nursing home this week, and as I read the lessons, I was struck by how quickly the Galatians had drifted away from their early passion for the Gospel, compared with the strong and humble faith of the centurion. I don’t normally like to throw several texts into a blender and preach on the scripture smoothie that results. So perhaps I’ll stick with the Gospel and play with the idea of God coming to meet us at the point where our faith can’t stretch any more.

    I do have some fair trade chocolate bars to contribute to the food table. Help yourself, and enjoy.

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      1. Thank you, Liz. It feels like it might be the word that is needed right now for this community. And it has to be the Holy Spirit’s doing; because I didn’t actually have those words in my mind until my hands were on the keyboard and I saw them on the screen. Now to see if I can affix some padding to that skeleton…

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  13. I’m going with Luke and the centurion. I’d like to tie it to our theme of hospitality that will run through the next few weeks, but I am singularly uninspired. Here’s the nugget that keeps twirling in my brain: the centurion showed true hospitality to Jesus by preventing him from coming into the house (where Jesus would have become ritually unclean) – so the centurion’s hospitality was in refusing hospitality! And Jesus is amazed. So mightn’t we be amazed to see who around us is offering true hospitality, while we are stuck in our assumptions of who is acceptable and who is not? And shouldn’t we get down to the business of offering true hospitality to others, with no strings attached?
    On a side note, I discovered this week that I have been figuring my vacation time incorrectly, and I need to take the rest of “this” year’s vacation before the end of June or lose it. And I get a week more than I thought I had. O, blessedness! I found pulpit supply for two weeks in a row!
    With all the rain we’ve had this week, the herb garden is going gangbusters, so help yourself to a bunch of thyme, parsley, chives, mint, or sage, before they go to seed.

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  14. I’ve been an absent host today. I left our General Assembly in Edinburgh yesterday to drive to Berwick on Tweed, just over the border into England so that I could lead a retreat on Holy Isle today. Just home, beyond tired. And I’ve agreed to preach for a friend tomorrow – at least it’s not until the evening. I picked up takeaway Chinese food – lots to share. And I’m just about to pour some Edinburgh gin. Do join me.

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  15. Just over halfway there with a sermon on God’s power and miracles and general awesomeness. Planning to take a moment during the sermon to have ushers pass out some cards for folks to write on with examples of where they have seen God be amazing in their own lives. This one feels more like a repetition of a theme than a typical sermon. (God is awesome – like in this story. And God is awesome in this story too. Etc.) Hopefully it will work out and be meaningful for my folks.

    Need to wrap it up soon, as we have tickets to a community theater production of Jesus Christ Superstar tonight. Does that count as a continuing ed expense? πŸ˜‰

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  16. SO, I think I’m going to preach on Luke, the healing of the Centurion’s slave. It is also Memorial Day weekend here in the USA. I’m supply preaching tomorrow. I don’t have a parish but work as a hospice chaplain. I’m thinking of using as my core story my journey with a WWII veteran who was suffering from moral injury at EOL and share how God worked to help him entrust himself to God and find healing.
    Its hot here today, so I offer up some sun tea!

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    1. I’m a hospital chaplain and don’t get to preach regularly (like 3-4 years since my last actual for real sermon). I am preaching tomorrow at my own church as pulpit supply.

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  17. I am preaching on the Luke text as well, focusing on the aspect of faith from unexpected places (the Centurion) and how this points us towards who Jesus is as the messiah and Jesus’ authority. My process left me with more questions than answers. I am taking what may be a dangerous stance, and leaving some of the questions with out a good concrete answer. The idea that questions can be good, and can take us on a spiritual growth journey as we wrestle with them. I have not preached in about 3-4 years. It was a challenge getting back into my process. It is also not even a full length sermon due us doing a worship and picnic at a park. So more like a 10-15 minute meditation – in someways more challenging.

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  18. I am so grateful for this preacher party! Blessings to you all on your writing and preaching. I am late to the party, and preaching on 1 Kings 18. Thank you for the reminder of the origins of Memorial Day Terri P.. It fits in beautifully with where I think I am headed. We often find ourselves “limping along” in indecision. Why must it take a contest of gods or a civil war to bring people to their senses. And I am struggling the role violence plays in all of this. I probably should have pot of coffee on, but I have plenty of sparkling water to share.

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  19. I confess to having peeked in at the party a couple of times today but not saying hi. Things have been crazy here, but thankfully hubs got home in time for bath and bed so I could have a few minuets to write. I’m preaching on the Luke 7 passage. I’ve posted it here http://randomrevhd.blogspot.com/2016/05/drawing-lines.html in the hopes it might help another. Blessings on your writing tonight and your speaking tomorrow. May the Spirit use your voice as hers!

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  20. Oh good grief. I forgot the children’s time. Again. What about–here kids, let’s chop this bull into pieces and put it on the altar? No? Hmm…let me think some more.

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    1. Monica, do you know about the website “Dollar Store Children Sermons”? There’s a 3-4 minute video clip each week on one of the RCL texts and one of the NL texts. Each one uses an object available in a dollar store as a prop to make a point. Lots of times the item is something I have around my house or my office; but once in a while I’ll actually go purchase some item to use. This week, the RCL item feels like a bit of a stretch, but the NL one is quite nice. http://www.dskidsermons.com

      There are a couple of other sites I look at when I’m stumped; but this one is my current favorite.

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      1. Thanks. I’ll check it out. This is my last Sunday with this supply congregation, after probably 12 Sundays since the first of the year. I think I’m going to use a “goodbye” theme of some sort. That is what the hour commute will be for! Right now–bed.

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  21. Finishing out a 3-week miniseries on the Spirit at work among us… Bouncing from 1Cor 12 over to Galatians 5 with a call back to that more excellent way. This one feels preachy in the calling people out sort of way, which makes me slightly nervous.

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  22. Putting on some late-night finishing touches. Figuring out how to wrap up a message about the power and awesomeness of God. No sermon inspiration to be had at Jesus Christ Superstar, but catchy soundtrack now running through my head! Happy writing to anyone else still working.

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