Happy July! In my neighborhood, the strawberries and wild blackberries are ripe, and the favorite community pastimes seem to be free outdoor live music and minor league baseball. Preachers in the USA may be juggling the celebration of our nation’s independence with proclamation of the Gospel in worship this week, while preparing for a smaller-than-usual crowd thanks to the long holiday weekend. What is happening in your community?

These weeks and months after Pentecost offer many preachers a chance to delve into sermon series, whether lectionary-based (has anyone been following Elijah and Elisha?), from the Narrative Lectionary suggested series,  topical or thematic, or based on Biblical texts that we rarely hear in worship. This Sunday I am guest preaching for a congregation that is working their way through the Gospel of Matthew. I am usually an RCL preacher, but this particular passage of Matthew is never read in the RCL. So, praise God for commentaries and colleague groups and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in sermon preparations!

oTdlOgA
Oh, not that kind of 70s? 🙂 

Where do you find yourself this week? The Revised Common Lectionary invites us to travel, baggage-free, as the 70 did when Jesus sent them out to the countryside to preach and heal and rely on the hospitality of others. Some great sermon ideas were shared here earlier this week. The RCL also brings a message from Paul to the church in Galatia, and a reading from either Jeremiah or 2 Kings, depending on which OT track you’re following, along with a corresponding Psalm.

I’ve got an abundance of lettuce to share from my garden, as well as some of the aforementioned fresh berries. Help yourself! Please share your ideas and questions and virtual snacks as we prepare for worship together. Blessings in your ministry this weekend!

 

 

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canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and posts sermons on her blog, Proclamation. Katya enjoys knitting, Star Wars, board games, time with her family, and of course, canoeing.

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54 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party – 70s Edition

  1. This week I’m preaching on Matthew’s version of Jesus healing the servant (child?) of the Roman centurion (8:5-13). So far I plan to start with some empathy for the child (slave?) who is paralyzed and in terrible distress, and talk about what that means for us. Then I’ll move in to Jesus’ healing power, and the exceptional faith of the centurion. But this is my first time at this congregation, so I’m not sure how to unpack the “how this story applies to your life” piece of a sermon. Ideas? Hope your writing is going well!

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  2. I’m starting a “Beach Stories in the Bible” series with Jonah 2. I’m brainstorming how Dory is similar to Jonah… Hoping to have time to prepare the sermon during tomorrow’s 4th of July festivities at church. Best of luck to you all!

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  3. I’m pursuing 2 thoughts that I’m thinking will eventually tie together some how based on the RCL gospel lesson. One train of thought has to do with lightening the baggage we carry – both figuratively and literally so that we can be freer to do the work we are sent to do and to receive the hospitality of others. The other is more focused on how we so often focus on bringing people in, but really need to work on going out into the world and walking alongside people, wherever they are, whoever they are, eating with them, loving them, and sharing ourselves with them without expectation. We go out into the world to meet people and love them and share ourselves, not to change them and bring them home with us. Just thoughts for now. Hoping a sermon emerges soon!

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    1. Traveling light so that we can focus on the people journeying with us – sounds like you have a great direction! Hope that all your ideas come together well.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m working on a similar theme using the Galatians text, but I’ll mention the gospel text for clarity. What might we have to jettison in order to find unity in diversity?

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  4. today is a federal election, and one of our churches is a voting place. That means some people [not me] were at church at 6.30 am to set up for the Trash and treasure sale. we also had plants, Sausage sizzle and cakes. the polls are open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, but people were liners up at 7.30 am standing in the cold – it is winter here. the church stalls packed up about 1.00 pm and everyone home by 2.00 pm. it is now 4.00 pm, i may get an early start on the sermon for tomorrow.
    This is the last week looking at Galatians, so i will probably do a summary, and think about this verse:
    “May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! “

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    1. A new creation is everything indeed! Blessings on your writing! Hoping that all goes well as you wrap up your Saturday and prepare for morning worship.

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    2. Hey Pearlie… 😀
      we’ve travelled alongside one another with our series on Galatians – has been fun seeing where you’ve been going. Like you, I’m thinking of focusing on the new creation, but will do so, I think, by riffing along vv9-10 ‘let us not weary of doing good (etc)’ – the willing loving service being the ‘fruit’ that’s found in the new creation…

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      1. Nik, change of direction while i was writing, this week it is a letter to the congregation. next series i will go one week behind so i can use your insights.
        federal election today, looks like the Government will get in with a reduced majority, but still too close to call given the number of uncertain seats and minor parties.

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        1. Ah, that makes sense. Right, I shall try to actually have some insights then, mate, lol!!
          And I’ll be watching the news with interest.

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  5. I’m dancing around the idea of “What is the kingdom of God?” that is proclaimed twice in the reading from Luke, using the hints that are given in the same reading (peace, vulnerability, hospitality, community…). Lots of story-telling and some congregation participation are planned. It’s about half written, but before I finish, I want to wander down to the farmer’s market. I also need to clean my apartment and get ready for a good-bye party for friends tonight. I’ll have some fresh local strawberries to share, along with party snacks later in the day!

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    1. Thanks for the treats! Sounds like you’ll be both teaching about and experiencing the kingdom of God, both in worship tomorrow and in your activities today. Enjoy!

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  6. I’ve re-read my notes and sermons that I’ve preached on these texts since 2004…but I have no idea where I want to go with the sermon this time around. Sometimes reading what I said before inspires me, but this time it seems to have deflated me – I am not yet inspired. I hate it when that happens. Perhaps breakfast and another cup of coffee will help? 🙂

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    1. Hoping that the coffee brought you some inspiration! Blessings as you seek a new direction for preaching these texts.

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  7. Good morning, all! Finishing up the Galatians series by talking about our just-completed Vacation Bible School as Christian community. It’s been a challenging week, moderating negotiations between two church music directors for our pre-Convention service and teaching small children about the science of water (neither a forte’ of mine), but in a little while my daughter and I are headed out for a hike in preparation for our week of hiking and backpacking in August. Leaving at exactly 10:30 four weeks from tomorrow!

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    1. I’m glad you’re taking time for self-care and that you have something fun to look forward to in 4 weeks 🙂 Hoping that your Sunday preparations go well, and that your hike is invigorating.

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  8. Good morning! Busy day here today. Off to aikido and then some shopping. Not terribly exciting, but with three littles in tow you never know what adventures will pop up.
    I’m preaching on Naaman tomorrow. I have a draft up here. http://randomrevhd.blogspot.com/2016/07/hard-things.html
    I will be changing some due to current events, once more the horrors of humanity have shocked me and I don’t have the words to address them.
    I also have one from three years ago http://randomrevhd.blogspot.com/2016/06/naaman-sermon-from-2013.html

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    1. Thanks for sharing these sermons with us! Blessings on your day and on the finishing touches that you’re planning for tomorrow’s worship.

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  9. About half way through the sermon, i changed tack and decided to write a letter to the congregation along the lines of Galatians. hopefully it summarises the letter reasonably well. I will need to be disciplined tomorrow so i don’t ad-lib. The letter isn’t aimed at issues particular to this congregations
    a letter from Patty

    11.00 pm and the kettle has just boiled,
    blessings

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A letter as a sermon – so appropriate to a series on one of Paul’s letters. Thank you for sharing, and hoping that it goes over well tomorrow!

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  10. Friends, I am preaching on Interdependence (a play on the idea of Independence Day). I preached 1 Cor 12 & 13 right around Pentecost, so I’m using a couple of other community-oriented scriptures as primaries. What I could use some help with: What other stories/passages come to mind as you think about dependence on one another… I want to lift up the idea that we aren’t always meant to be the hero.

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    1. Interdependence – a great topic for this weekend. You could go the route of team sports – no one could win a basketball or baseball or football game on their own, you need the team! As for a Bible story, Moses and Aaron come to mind. Happy writing!

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  11. Okay….so. I’ve scrolled through Facebook a gazillion times. I’ve worked on the new website for the church, one that for the most part I created. I’ve had breakfast (coffee and homemade blueberry lemon bread made with whole wheat flour, you know so it’s healthy) twice! Ran on the treadmill for an hour. Went back to scrolling through FB. Next I’m going to do some laundry and clean the house, then take the dogs for a walk. By then I think I will have run out of things to procrastinate with. By then the sermon will just have to get written. But until *then* I’m doing other things. (sigh, one of those days)…I hope y’all are able to be more focused than I am…

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  12. OK – I’m being predictable; “Christ has set us free” picking up last week’s passage from Galatians. I am providing a short interim while their pastor is on sabbatical and this is only my second regular week with this congregation. A little homage to Independence Day using FDR’s 4 freedoms, then a closer look at what our four freedoms as followers of Christ are. Conclusion, as I say predictably, freedom to love our neighbor as Christ loves us. Coffee and left over cake for breakfast, and the smell of fresh rain through the open windows. It’s a good morning!

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    1. Predictable can be good, especially when you’re still getting used to a congregation. Freedom in Christ and freedom as a nation – good connection. Hoping that all goes well for you!

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  13. I’ve got three pages of notes but still haven’t put it into a sermon. Working with Luke, 2×2, accompaniment rather than recruiting, learning/eating/living with others, being uncomfortable and out of our element which allows us to identify the fear and unsettledness within ourselves, and understand the other more fully.

    I may have used it before, but I think of the story of going to a YMCA one January with the goal of getting active. The first time I went someone helped me out and introduced me to the machines and such. I felt comfortable. The next time I went I was trying to follow some stretching directions on the wall, and the guy stretching next to me said with derision, “That’s not how you do it!” Didn’t offer to help or show any compassion. Needless to say, I felt really uncomfortable and left shortly afterward. Is that how people feel coming into our space at church? If so, we need to be the vulnerable ones and go into their space more often to connect. (and make our space safer for newcomers). It is hard to travel to new spaces without our familiar stuff, but perhaps Jesus is telling us “We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God.” (CEB 2Peter 1:3a) That was my dad’s favorite verse. OK, back to work. My husband has a stash of dark chocolate mint M&M’s, but he’s gone today so I’ll share them 🙂

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    1. Thanks for sharing the M&Ms! That is a great story. Even if you’ve used it before, it sounds worth retelling. An excellent example of accompanying versus dictating or converting or any kind of relationship with power over someone (instead of power with them). Happy writing!

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  14. Terri, you ran on the treadmill for an hour! I slept in…and am still in my robe. I finished a cup of coffee!

    I love “A Letter from Patty” and may riff on that theme. I too am finishing up a series on Galatians. “A new creation” and “do not grow weary” have called out to me. This morning I just read a story “On Being” – “The Paradox of Suffering and Love – Kate Braestrup.” She is a Maine (state) game warden chaplain and shares a story of the search for the body of a young woman. Kate looks for God’s work in how people love each other.

    “So to look for where love was in this situation, the very obvious place to look would be in the hearts and the hands of the guys who did their best to find her and to make things right for her and for her family. And with all the limitation in that.”

    Her story is an example of “do not grow weary.” For me, the floods in West Virginia, the deaths just last night/yesterday in Bangladesh, the deaths earlier this week in Istanbul, following Orlando, “do not grow weary” is a challenge. A challenge we can’t meet without Christ, without being made new daily, through the Holy Spirit. A reminder that we need each other, in the Body of Christ, we need the sacraments, in order to live out that new creation.

    I still have some freshly brewed coffee, served black, and some sweet cherries…

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    1. It is a blessing when we find inspiration among this group, and when we can share our ideas with one another! Thanks for sharing that story of not growing weary. Thanks for the snacks, too 🙂 Blessings in your writing today!

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  15. Well, I spent a relaxing morning with my husband, just finished up lunch, and now I really need to finish writing this sermon! It will be a bit longer than usual. I’m trying to tie in both the personal/relatable aspects of the story (can you put yourselves in the shoes of the centurion? his servant?) and the intellectual/theological aspects (faith and doubt, centurion representing the occupying forces, was it a servant or a child?). Probably I’m trying to do too much, but it’s easier to have something that’s too long and shorten it down than the other way around! At least that’s what I’m telling myself 🙂 Back to writing!

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  16. I’m doing an introduction to the Letter of James. This is my last Sunday before a vacation that will have me away from the pulpit for two weeks, and I’ve about run out of things to say. We’re going to continue with James when I get back. I sort of feel like he’s been neglected, and we need to hear what he has to say.

    I’m fighting an upset stomach (seems to be a recurring theme here lately), so I’m afraid I don’t have a lot to offer in the way of goodies beyond toast and applesauce.

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    1. James is my favorite! I wrote my MTh thesis on James 🙂 The only example of a Wisdom book in the NT (though there are some other Wisdom sayings elsewhere). It’s the letter that basically tells us – ok, you’ve made the decision to follow Jesus. Cool. So now what? How does that look, when he’s not walking among us? Hoping that you find something meaningful to say, in spite of the upset stomach.

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  17. About ¾ done with my draft! Going offline for a few hours as my husband and dad and I go to a minor league baseball game 🙂 Whoever is writing later this evening, I’ll see you online then!

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  18. It’s getting late and I’m still working, but I can’t shake the thing that struck me when I first read the 2 Kings passage – Naaman’s crack about the rivers of Damascus being so far superior to those of Israel. In our growing culture of nationalism (both here in the US and reflected across the pond in the Brexit vote), it just struck me as something that is very telling of how we view other countries. What could they possibly have to offer us? We’re awesome! Picked out the hymn to follow the sermon (This Is My Song) immediately, but honestly haven’t gotten much farther.

    I see the twin problems with grace rearing their heads here – Naaman doesn’t think he needs grace (he needs help, but he expects to work for it – or at least for somebody to work for it) and he doesn’t think someone else can offer grace (c’mon, Israel? really? the Jordan is a dump compared to the rivers back home).

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    1. I hosted 11 foreign exchange students, and they would always start the year saying everything in America was stupid and everything back home was great, (or vice versa depending on the student) but that changed as the year went on and they began to see how the two societies are just very different and what works in one land may not work in another. It was always a challenge to guide that growth toward acceptance of difference rather than a critique of differences. Hope that helps some!

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    2. Wait, you just want me to eat my vegetables? But I was ready for surgery and rehab and new medications and stuff. Are you sure this is a cure?!

      The curse of Naaman seems to be prevalent in all areas of our lives, with families or health issues or education or nationalism. Hoping that you’re able to come up with something meaningful for your folks! I love your choice for the song after the sermon 🙂

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  19. oh hurrah, I’m done, it’s done. The last in my series on Galatians, but am hugely dissatisfied with it. Given it all came together very well last week, I’m hoping the dog I’ll be walking in the morning will be forgiven! Argh. Oh well, Holy Spirit’s got our backs, eh folks?! 😀

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  20. nearly 8pm Central time, and having slept away much of my day (no comment on whether that’s about poor sleep last night or trying to read all the way through Job because I was behind in the Bible in 90 Days reading…or whether either of those contributed to the headache I am now experiencing!) it’s time to get down to work.

    Of course, that means first I’ll need to get some dinner, and probably do the dishes, and maybe check the news… 😉

    I am preaching Job 28, about where wisdom is found. I plan to tie in Finding Dory, and perhaps something of Elie Wiesel as well though I need to go look up his Nobel speech again to see if it says what I think I remember.

    The basic gist is that while we congratulate ourselves on being able to tame and mine creation for things of great value, we only find god’s wisdom–which is of greatEST value–when we act in ways we are created to. God saw wisdom in the act of creating. For us, awe and obedience, turning toward and participating in God’s will, is the action in which we will see wisdom.

    What would Dory do? 🙂

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    1. Job and Elie Wiesel and Find Dory is a partnership that no one would have thought possible before today! Hoping that all comes together well and you are able to get more sleep tonight.

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  21. I’m done, though it feels a bit long. I’m going to put it away, watch the end of the Cubs game, have a glass of wine, and then see if it needs a trim. Blessings on your writing, those of you who are still at it. And blessings on your proclamation.

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  22. Not preaching, but desperately prepping curriculum in order to chaplain (that’s a verb, right?) at camp this week. And laundry and packing the kids too.

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  23. All right preaching colleagues – it is nearly 11pm my time, and I think it’s time to be done writing for the night! My sermon on Matthew 8:5-13 is almost done – still tweaking the conclusion, but pretty satisfied with it overall. Hope that your writing and preaching and worship leadership all go smoothly! Blessings to you all.

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