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Is it just me – or does this preaching gig just get harder and harder? Every single week, our world seems to throw up yet another challenge into which we are called to allow God’s word to ring a note of hope, comfort and life.

Into what are you being invited to speak this week?

For me, a Scottish RevGal, this week it is the confounding news that political scaremongering and xenophobia (I’m doing my best to play nicely here) has resulted in a UK vote to leave the EU.

It is tempting to lose hope in the face of world events and to despair when confronted with local and global inhumanity. Love is a casualty everywhere. And yet… And yet, God who is love and might and power, the God of all hope, the God of all our yesterdays and all our tomorrows, invites us – that’s you and I – to speak into this day, the word of life. So let’s do this awesome thing to which we are called with confidence and with courage.

In the RCL, we are encouraged to look forward, with Elisha, with Jesus and with the fruits of the Spirit. And in the NL summer series, we’re with the generous Macedonians in 2 Corinthians.

Here is the place to share, in love with one another, the issues taxing us as we prepare to speak God’s word in season. You are welcome. Ask for what you need, share what you have and, together, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Β we will preach God’s word for God’s world today.

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

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51 thoughts on “11th Hour Preachers Party:A way forward

  1. Somehow, harder to preach this week than it was in the heat of Pulse shooting tragedy. How do we move forward as we celebrate the founding of the UCC? That post-War vision of unity, of moving forward together, seems lost in this bitterly divided world. I am working from Galatians, but searching still for connections between the Word and the world. But I have coffee – that might help!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We certainly live in interesting times, and the temptation to be guided by fear is strong. I am not sure, exactly, where I am going with my sermon this week but I think I’m going to tap into both the Elijah/Elisha story and Luke. I plan to open with a story about a traumatic dog attack that I witnessed years ago and the residual impact of it that triggers reactivity in me whenever I encounter a lose dog. That intense reactive fear takes over and I have to work hard to get to a more rational state. Fear and trauma do that to us, cause us to be irrational and reactive. Some threats are very real, but others are just imagined, built on a sense of change as the world we once knew becomes different. How might we connect more fully with God’s love for all the world, all human beings, and let that be our guide instead of fear and reactivity? How might God’s love rest on us like the mantle on the shoulders of Elijah/Elisha? Like the love God reveals in Jesus, who refutes violence and promotes love?

    Or something like that.

    Thank you for hosting, Liz. No doubt I hold in my heart the people of the UK, Scotland, all – in these troubled times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Terri, you reminded me of an exercise I was invited to do at an informational event by “Bikers for Peace” raising awareness about the Christian Peacemaker Teams. Michael divided us into groups of 3 and 1 was supposed to be kicking a dog, the other 2 intervene on behalf of the dog. An exercise in interrupting the violence. But you reminded me that we don’t always know what is behind the violence, what experiences and trauma we bring to the event.
      my best to you!

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  3. tomorrow we are celebrating the 39th anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia. using a liturgy, written by Dorothy McRae-McMahon that recognises the contribution of the three denominations that came into union, and others who have joined along the way. The President of the Assembly has put out a video that i will show tomorrow; we have a visitor from one of the church agencies speaking about what they do; we are hearing the Statement to the Nation from the inauguration in 1977; and some UCA people have recently received awards. so i think that means my sermon will be tying it all together with a minimum of words. we will be hearing the Galatians reading and John 15:1-8 the vine and the branches.
    and showing this cartoon on Galatians
    as well.
    we are free to bless others, we are not free to abuse others.

    all in all it will be a busy morning.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. sermon is less than 400 words, but with everything else it will be enough to tie it all together.
    i have vanilla slices from a church fundraiser, and homemade fruit slice and chocolate gingerbread slice. please eat some as i am eating far too much of all three πŸ™‚

    blessings

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Jan,
        a vanilla slice is puff pastry topped with a thick [set] custard, another layer of puff pastry and then icing – in this case pink which is traditional. very yummy, and the pack i got has six in it, and we shared one after lunch today.
        you will see a picture of one here
        I have never tried to make one. the custard on the ones we bought is so thick it stays in place when you eat it.

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  5. Well. I have a draft that has gone in a whole other direction. Because we have a big planning session with a large number of parish leaders I realized I needed to be more hopeful and creative with this sermon. And besides, I’ve been kind of morose for weeks, time to switch it up a bit. So the ultimate point is basically the same, but how I get there has changed. Now to let it percolate for awhile. In the meantime I’m going to do some house cleaning and laundry. Yay me. πŸ™‚

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  6. This is my first Saturday off in ages. Making the most of it enjoying our new garden (we just moved last autumn) sermon has been percolating all week so I’m hoping it all comes together this evening.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Does anyone have a great sermon illustration about freedom? I’m thinking in particular about “freedom from” vs. “freedom for” in Galatians 5. I am looking for a story that describes “freedom from” – about wanting to be free from/of something – whether it be high school, prison, a marriage, something – that sense of “I’d just turn around and give it the finger as I walked away”… I desperately need stories/illustrations. Hit me with your best shot!

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  8. I’m finishing up a series on Philippians today. It was mainly filler, because I’m going to be gone two Sundays in July and didn’t want to have a two-week break in the middle of a series on James. I can do the intro to James and then be gone two weeks, but I couldn’t see stopping in the middle. So I did a short look at Philippians. Today it’s 4:10-14, which isn’t in the RCL. This morning what occurred to me is that there could be different punctuation leading into verse 13, which is a favorite of Christian athletes, but unlike in a lot of cases with Paul, he isn’t using athletic imagery here. He says, “I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.” I think there should be a colon rather than a period at the end of that sentence, because the next verse tells us the secret, which is a radical trust in “him who strengthens me.” If I’m going hungry, God is giving me strength to get through; if I’m well-fed, God is giving me the strength to get through. The trick, I think, is not to let anybody understand that as excusing us from caring for people in need. Paul might say he can endure anything with God’s strength upholding him, but he is still grateful that the Philippians have given him some help.

    Would have liked to have gotten this done yesterday, but yesterday was rough. Two of my members have two sons who belong to the Methodist church. Since we do youth group together I’ve had my members’ grandkids in youth group, and I’ve been here long enough that I’ve known most of them since they were really little. One of my members’ sons has been fighting cancer for six years, and he lost the fight last night. His pastor has been taking good care of him and his immediate family, but I have been involved as well because of my members. I was there before I went to work yesterday, and went back out yesterday evening when I learned he’d died. He was my age, and his youngest son just graduated from high school. So I really couldn’t get my head into the game yesterday, and I have to figure out how to preach radical trust in the face of such an untimely death.

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  9. Will this Galatians series never end???? I am doing fruit of the spirit and the gospel — fruit has seeds and the gospel is about looking forward, not back — so there you have it.

    Staying away from current events this week, except in the prayers. Last week what I suspected was confirmed — previous pastor of 38 years almost never preached about what was going on outside the doors of the church building. The person who told me that also mentioned that a certain lady probably about had her eyes popping out of her head after last week’s sermon. “Actually,” I said, “she hugged me during the passing of the peace and thanked me for that wonderful sermon.”

    Anyway, I thought I would give them a brief respite from the world out there!

    Second funeral of the week on this beautiful afternoon, so I have had a long walk and written that short homily. I did have eggs and bacon to share, but I’m afraid that I ate them all. Shall we move on to ice cream?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Robin, it’s a privilege to help folk make connections between the church and the world and the many ways scripture speaks into current events. I’m sure it will be refreshing to most even and especially if they are not used to,it.

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  10. Tomorrow is the annual Community Worship at Memorial Park service provided by the local Disciples of Christ and PC(USA) congregations. It is the “kick off” event for the week long celebration of the 4th of July (big deal in this small town). Traditionally, DOC pastor and I offer dialogue sermon to the worshipping community. This year we are using Psalm 77 as a launching place to openly acknowledge fear and doubt and angst in our lives, our community and our world and to invite the community to remember the “stories of old” that give us hope. If all goes well, we will share stories form scripture as well as from our own lives, where we remember God’s faithfulness in the midst of these heart wrenching things. (And with the holiday and events in the news, there will be a nod to historical events that are heart-wrenching…but not to much politicizing). Our goal is not to sugar coat the pain but to remember that bringing God’s love and light into the pain provides hope and healing. When we do this dialogue, we have an outline, but mostly we speak from our hearts. I look forward to it every year. First, though, today I join my family for a small reunion with the grandparents.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am thinking about the Freedom riders – the young people who rode buses through the South during the Civil Rights movement in the US, staging sit ins at whites only locales. In conjunction, I am thinking about summer vacationing and traveling in the car and how we focus on the destination but most often the journeying is where the tricky stuff happens – arguing over directions and stops and seat space, song selection; sing alongs and family stories, arguments and settlements. Stuck together, we are forced to work it out. I imagine that some of the most powerful, strengthening of spirit, transformative conversations for the freedom riders happened “on the way”

    Liked by 2 people

  12. well, it’s been quite a day/ week for me too.
    death of friend
    referendum
    wedding
    chaos at Messy Church

    all in all – I’m exhausted
    I have a sermon – of sorts – though it feels more like a ramble than anything particularly coherent.last week of 2 Corinthians (at last!)
    Next week celebrating our village and the start of summer season

    this is the sermon – if anyone would care to read and check it isn’t a wild ramble of incoherence I’d be glad!
    http://julie-acountrygirl.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/2-corinthians-81-15-well-what.html

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  13. On a summer break from pulpit supply, so I’m popping in to say hello and offer encouragement. I have bacon/potato/egg/cheese tacos to share (er, this may be a regional specialty; but they are really good! I made them myself!).

    Liked by 4 people

  14. We are reading the Bible in 90 Days this summer and we are in Chronicles, so tomorrow I’m preaching on David’s prayer of dedication in 1 Chronicles 29. Because of this text, it’s also a summer stewardship sunday, where someone from the team will give a brief talk and encourage people to keep up their giving through the summer, and perhaps to consider giving extra when there is a fifth week.

    I titled the sermon “Direct Our Hearts” (a quote from the last line of the reading) and I think the idea was that I was planning to preach about how giving of our resources is something we do in response to God’s grace, offering freely and giving joyously because we know all that God has done. That feels like such a boring sermon though, so I’m not sure.

    It turns out I have to write now, because I have an anniversary party to go to tonight (a couple who has been married 50 years!) which I had forgotten about…

    I do have strawberries and raspberries that I picked yesterday, and they are sweet and delicious. Enjoy. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Teri, can’t you just share stories of generosity at GA – there seemed to be plenty around?
      I’ve just had strawberries and cream for dessert – delicious.

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      1. We did that a few years ago. People really enjoyed it. I did pretty much the same thing, preaching something from the week’s reading. We took a closer look at the readings in Sunday school. Afterward I asked people to share with me questions they had that weren’t answered over the time we were all reading, and I preached on those through the summer. If you search on Google you can find all kinds of stuff for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. It’s lovely. And positive. I thought of you on Friday and posted wedding prayers for you. I recognise the table and windowsill in the photo! So pleased for you and Alastair.

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  16. This Sunday is my last in this position. As a bivocational pastor, I’m looking forward to a break. This is also LGBTQ Pride Sunday in the Chicago area, so we are having a Pride service. I’m preaching on 2Kings – Elijah and Elisha – looking at this through a lens of straight privilege in the church. Elijah keeps telling Elisha to stay in the closet, but Elisha comes back with “As God lives and the church still lives I will not leave.” We’ll see how it goes. I’m just fixing lunch of burger and fries – help yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks to everyone praying for those of us in the UK. Preaching tomorrow felt like such a challenge earlier in the week that I wrote my sermon on Wednesday so that I could be sure I was trying to engage with text and context, and not just my own emotions. In my city the vote was almost exactly 50/50 stay in EU vs leave. Rarely has ‘a ministry of reconciliation’ weighed so heavy for me. Thanks be to God for the lectionary and liturgy to hold us.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Tomorrow is my first day in my new call – I preach and celebrate at the 8am, then celebrate at a combined 10 am service that will cap off VBS week. Nothing like jumping right in. I had a Big Anxiety Dream that woke me up yesterday, so I am hoping for a peaceful rest tonight.

    Preaching on Galatians at the 8am tomorrow and the plumb line I see Paul setting for us. It will be short and simple, because I know I will be nervous in a new space – and no one has ever complained to me about a sermon being too short.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Prayers for a ‘wide space’ of blessing in your new call, and prayers that there will be a moment (or two) of confirmation that this is the right place!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Working on my sermon after a hard week at our General Assembly (CPC) I am using the scripture from Luke 7:36-8:3 from a few weeks back. Our GA just (FINALLY) passed a resolution of repentance, apology, and resolve concerning our lack of love and support shown to our African American brothers and sisters, especially in our sister denomination the CPCA. The sermon as is can be found here http://randomrevhd.blogspot.com/2016/06/sacrifice-of-thanksgiving.html
    I’m hoping it will evolve more as I re-read and process.
    Prayers for all others writing still, and tons of goo-goo clusters to share!

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  20. I’m not actually sure it’s coherent… but will have a quick look in the morning. Today involved a funeral conversation on the phone, before the getting organised and being in the midst of the annual manse garden party… shattered.com, lol! But the sun shone, which was great, and folk enjoyed themselves, which was even better!
    Here’s the link to the sermon, based on Galatians
    http://apilgrimsprocess.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/sermon-26-june-wk-4-galatians-series.html

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your sermon. I’d never heard the story of the monks before, and love it! What a perfect illustration.

      It ties with the benediction I use during “ordinary time.”

      May the Christ who walks with wounded feet teach you to walk in his ways.
      May the Christ who serves with wounded hands teach you how to serve.
      May you see the face of Christ in all whom you meet,
      and may all whom you meet see the face of Christ in you.

      I’ve had so many people tell me this benediction sticks with them during the week, esp seeing the face of Christ in others.

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  21. Tomorrow will be my first time in the pulpit for a year! We moved here last June and I spend most my time working as a hospice chaplain.

    I’m a little daunted by the size of this church (500) and the subsequent number of people will be in the pews. (I am a small church gal by preference.) Oh well. The word but be spoken and I trust God to speak through me.

    I’m focused on the hand on the plow and looking back in Luke 9:62. I also had some fun wrestling with what was meant by that flip statement: “go back again; for what have I done to you?” (Elijah to Elisha). 1 Kings 19:20)

    Hubs and I will have a peach pie in a little while. Join us and let me know if you want your slice hot or cold and with or without ice cream. πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I wrote something while the dough for communion bagels was rising. it’s terrible. hoping that once I get these in the oven, and then go to bed, I will wake up in 4 hours with a bolt of inspiration. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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