After over 20 weeks of green paraments, we finally get a break from Ordinary Time! Some of us (including the Pope!) already took a break for red last week… but for many of us, this is the first toe in the water of the months-deep liturgical season pool. Welcome to All Saints’ Day, to white paraments, and to the beginning of a season of high holy days.

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Used by permission from rgbstock.com

If your congregation observes All Saints’ Sunday, what traditions are important? How will you be remembering those who have died or been baptized in the past year? Which Bible passages are you using as the focus of your message? The Revised Common Lectionary texts for All Saints can be found here.

Some congregations celebrated All Saints last week and are on to Luke 20 this week. Are you pairing that Gospel lesson with Job or Haggai? Or perhaps 2 Thessalonians is speaking to you this week. Texts for those RCL lessons are here and discussion from earlier this week is on this page. The Narrative Lectionary brings us to the story of Jonah, which could be tied to All Saints or examined separately. Some ideas were shared on this page earlier this week. What is your focus for this Sunday?

American preachers, this is the last Sunday before Election Day. While there are certainly many things to hold in prayer over the next few days, it is also appropriate to address the election directly in your preaching. No, you cannot endorse a political candidate – but that is the only restriction that your non-profit status imposes to your free speech. Sojourners encourages pastors to address the issues, particularly racism and misogyny, as Christian concerns. How can you faithfully address the current issues in society, encourage your folks to apply their Christian values to political choices, and preach a good word to your people this week? How will you worship and pray together next Sunday when the dust has begun to settle?

Hoping that you are able to find some good news in the readings and in the life of your congregation this week. Blessings on your worship preparations! I have fresh strawberries to share from the garden (in Wisconsin, in November!) and about a dozen types of tea. Grab a snack and join the conversation!


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, occasional hospital chaplain, freelance writer, professional canoeing instructor, and Star Wars enthusiast. She blogs and posts sermons at Provocative Proclamations.


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30 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Saints and Candidates Edition

  1. with 2 others from the congregation i was at a healthy church expo today. it was good, but more geared to people with less church experience than me 🙂
    and with travel time it was 10 hours out of the day, now to write a sermon. i have chosen both Luke readings, one for All Saints and the one set for this Sunday. So blessings and woes from the sermon on the plain, and the question of resurrection. i am telling the story of Waterbugs and Dragonflies, as i think it speaks to the different experience of life in the resurrection; that is a life we cannot now comprehend. and i would like to touch on all saints – what makes a saint?

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  2. All done. On Haggai, with a brief mention of 2 Thessalonians – nothing like the more obscure parts of Scripture, is there? Entitled “Don’t be Discouraged”, and will be published when it’s been preached.

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    1. Fun to highlight those often-overlooked books of the Bible 🙂 Hope your sermon is well received – look forward to reading it once it’s posted!

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  3. Doing the book of Jonah. I think I will basically set the context and tell the story. I plan to talk some about stewing in vomit of resentment, hatred and anger at God’s grace to those we especially don’t like or no longer respect. God calls us to love and engage in hopeful ways with our enemies, even supporters of the other candidate or the protest voters. In that vein, i will call out racism, misogony and homophobia. I will call out the anti black and anti Jewish attacks. I need a transition there. And an ending.

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    1. You’re making a wonderful connection between the Bible story and current affairs – I hope it all comes together as smoothly as it sounds in your post! Transition, ending, amen!

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  4. I’m updating a sustainable sermon because it is right on point for the congregation I’m serving as we wind down our interim time together and they prepare to vote on their future. They’ve heard plenty from me over the past two years about racism and misogyny; it’s the potential death of the congregation that is the current event for them. The ultimate message of Jesus’ word play with the Sadducees is that for God we are all alive, no matter how our form is changed. It’s a great tie-in with All Saints in this aging, dwindling congregation. However they vote on their future, the form of their life together will be changed.

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    1. Two years is long for an interim – I hope that the congregation has been able to find some direction for their life together moving forward. Blessings as you preach good news to their uncertainty!

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  5. It’s All Saints’ Day for me and the congregation’s stewardship pledge in-gathering, so I’ll preach more on
    the day than the texts…however I am making some reference to the beatitudes in Luke, considering what it means to be broken in order to become whole, and connecting it to breaking bread, our broken organ, those times when each of us may be broken….

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  6. I’m off lectionary ,by my own choice, to preach about the election. Sort of. Ecclesiastes 3 and 1 Corinthians 12. I have about half a sermon and not real sure what I’m saying yet. Hopefully it will come together soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you, Monica. I’ve done so much preaching on the times we are living in its kind of nice to just prepare a sermon about, well, sermony stuff. I hope your’s comes together well, even if it may feel, as mine have to me, a bit scary to preach. There are things that need to be said.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. There are so many ads and memes and videos and articles out there on this election… hoping that it will be good for your people to hear a faith-based perspective! Blessings to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sermon done.
    Started off naming what the text is not about, then a bit about what Jesus might be up to, the underlying fears/anxiety, and then into our fears and anxiety that any sort of death bring up. Practice Resurrection is the title…

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  8. Hello from Minnesnowta (it’s not snowing but the last time I was supposed to preach and lecture here, at another church, I was snowed out. I have been lecturing about sex, gender and identity, and Sunday here will not be All Saints. I am using the election to pursue a theme from the symposium, how do we read and interpret the scriptures in light of modernity, i.e., what we now know about sexuality and humanity and in light of unbiblical constructs like democracy and elections. Here are some excerpts:

    Elections are unbiblical. That’s all right because not everything biblical is godly. Too often I hear the adjective “biblical” used uncritically as a synonym for good, right, and the will of God. The desire to affirm what is biblical comes from a good place, love of the text and love of the One who inspired it, desire to walk with God and please God. But you don’t have to go very far into the text to discover that what is biblical includes the very worst of humanity interspersed with occasional good faith attempts at faithfulness, and sometimes some pretty horrible theology…
    Our lessons offer us two different perspectives on scripture: Job reflects on the power of the written word. Job thinks that if he just writes, actually engraves his words, they will last forever…
    The questioner in the gospel presents a different aspect of scripture, that it needs to be interpreted. The questioner knows what the Torah teaches and wants to know how to interpret and apply it. The questioner knows that world is not limited to the words on the page, even when the words, the page and the One who inspired them are holy. The questioner knows the real world is more complex than our sacred texts…
    Elections may not be biblical but questioning God and the text is. Bring your questions and be prepared to wrestle and wrangle your own answers in the company and embrace of God. Then on Tuesday as on every other day, our choices are not limited to or by the limitations of the biblical text.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is wonderful – thank you for sharing! What is biblical is not always godly, and vice versa. Timely and appropriate as the election approaches.

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  9. It’s 70 and sunny here in Wisconsin today, so I just got in from some serious yardwork. It’s nice to do something that bears visible results! Hoping that everyone’s sermon writing is going well. Prayers and blessings to each of you as you navigate whatever issues are facing your folks at this moment. Happy writing!

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  10. For reasons unclear to me, our gospel text is Luke’s Sermon on the Plain, so I’m going with continuing encouragement for the congregation’s increased focus on mission. The election appears primarily in the prayers, and we are reading names for All Saints’ Day, something they have not done before and seem pleased about. I had planned to have the sanctuary open for prayer on Tuesday, but forgot that it’s a staycation week for me. And as it turns out, I will probably be away for the first couple of days visiting my father in the hospital. Good thing I paid attention and voted early! And we may need a day of prayer next week . . . .

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    1. Encouragement for mission sounds like a good theme for just about any week! Prayers for you, your father, and our country this coming week.

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  11. I decided to preached on the Luke 20 (one bride for seven brothers) text. I’ve learned that if I stare at a blank Word page, I will for sure have writer’s block. If I open up a blog screen and start doing word association, a sermon happens. This is my first time actually writing a manuscript since August, but I am tired and feeling a little scattered. The sermon that came forward seemed pretty good for the day and the week ahead. It will post on my blog: lutheranjulia.blogspot.com tomorrow at noon here in AK. Y’all will be well into your holy naps. 🙂

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    1. Blessings in your preaching, Julia! Seems like everyone has a trick for inspiration and a trick that inspires writers block… hoping that your sermon is one of the more spirit-filled ones 🙂

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