photo by Terri C. Pilarski, Arizona sunset

Here we are, the end of the long season after the Pentecost. I’m always glad when this season ends and look forward to the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter which, liturgically, lead us through the story of the life of Jesus. Then again, I’m always glad when the season after Pentecost begins because I know I’m in for a long quieter time, liturgically….

As it turns out the church I am serving has a testimonial tomorrow, so I am not preaching. That’s okay, last week just about took it all out of me, preaching as I did with my heart wide open and my words bleeding out. As a preacher and priest in the United States I am still trying to find my bearings, post election, and not doing well. I’m not ready to make nice (thanks for that ear worm Dixie Chicks) even as I do not want to promote the rhetoric of name calling and verbal violence around me. I want to be working toward what Jesus claims in Matthew 22 as the summary of all the commandments, to love God and to love my neighbor as myself.

So, where are you this week? Are you preaching on the reign of Christ or on the narrative lectionary? (For more conversation on those readings check out the Tuesday RCL and NL posts). Are you finding good news, some where and some how, to share? As we in the United States head into Thanksgiving weekend, are you finding ways to give thanks even as we all hope that we are not going to “normalize” the challenges we face with the rise in violence?

I’m here all day and look forward to being with you, to lift you up in prayer as you open yourself to the Holy Spirit and let God’s words come to you.

As always, I have plenty of coffee and tea. So pull up a chair, grab a mug, and let’s spend this day together.



The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in Dearborn, MI. She’s been blogging at seekingauthenticvoice.blogspot.com and a member of the RevGalBlogPals since 2006.


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47 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Reign of….

  1. the church annual fete was today, so lots of tired people tonight, including me. tomorrow we are baptising at the second service, so I am slightly off lectionary this week. we will be hearing the Jeremiah reading and 1 John 4: 7-21. the father of the baby had a motorcycle accident about 6 weeks ago, and surgery was scheduled for next week, but it was moved forward to 10 days ago, so he needs a chair to sit down during the baptism 🙂
    i have the orders of service for the baptism family, a children’s Bible which we give as a gift, the candle ready; and the family have invited lots of people, so looking at an extra 50 people including 20 children. there are usually no children in church, so after the fete this afternoon we moved a floor rug, some small tables and chairs and books into the church, and i have printed off some colouring sheets and maze sheets for the children.
    i was wondering if reading “Guess how much I love you” and baptising would be enough, but i guess a sermon wouldn’t go astray, especially at the early service which doesn’t have a baptism this week.

    i am thinking of contrasting the leaders in Jeremiah – interested in themselves – with God’s leadership, based on love.
    and it is only 9 pm

    Liked by 1 person

  2. calling it done, for tonight anyway. This is shorter than usual, but i doubt anyone will worry, except for one person who likes my sermons and wishes they would go longer.
    Love as God loves you

    about to put the kettle on for another cup of tea, and there are lots of goodies from the fete. not only did we buy biscuits, lamingtons and a gingerbread cake, but i got second prize in the guessing competition and won a basket of home made goodies, so more biscuits and a Christmas cake, and jam and pickles and marmalade

    blessings for those still preparing,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tomorrow is Sunday marathon. Worship. All Church Thanksgiving Dinner following worship. Session meeting at 4 p.m.

    This church always observes Christ the King so I am preaching both the Luke passages, the Song of Zechariah and Jesus on the cross. It’s a short meditation on forgiveness where I used the Japanese art of Kintsukuroi as an opening to the text.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OK! (I was having password problems.)

    My sermon is short, simple, straightforward: who the king of glory is not and is, e.g., “He was not secure by birth or status or privilege. With his parents, he was a refugee in Egypt, fleeing persecution and likely murder before he could even walk or talk.”

    Some will like it — I was thanked this week for legitimizing someone’s feelings. She is going to the march the day after the inauguration. Some will not. A couple of men have stopped coming to the weekly Bible study, and I don’t think that they have been put fishing *every* week. The candidate for the called pastor position is coming to a meet and greet in a couple of weeks, and I am thinking there will be a lot of questions about whether s/he preaches politics.

    During the usual Sunday school time between services tomorrow, we are making fleece blankets for children at a Cleveland school. Hoping for intergenerational fun in mission!


    1. Robin, it sounds like you have been a terrific interim pastor for these people, challenging some and affirming others, while preparing the way for the new pastor. Well done! Blessings on your preaching, too.


  5. I’m working on a sermon to give at kathrynzj’s church, where I have been invited to preach by the Presbyterian Women on their Thank Offering Sunday. I am weaving together the national PW theme text (Psalm 36:5-9, adding verse 10) with one of the Narrative Lectionary texts for the day (Jer 31:31-34), and in that I also need to say something nice about the Presbyterian Women. I’m headed in the direction of why it matters to have groups of women nowadays, when supposedly we’re all equal, only I need to make it not too political and not at all snarky. My thesis is that if your heart is right with God (“upright heart” in Psalm 36:10, God’s law written on our hearts in Jeremiah), you will respond to the call to put your beliefs, actions, and gifts together on behalf of God’s work in the world. (It’s Thank *Offering* Sunday, so there is a financial/giving piece to acknowledge.) Or something like that. One hopes that having the female Senior Pastor’s wife preach on PW Sunday will also make a point all by itself.

    It feels like a lot. But the women who are leading worship with me at both services are almost all women I know pretty well, and kzj will be right there with me to be sure the step designed for children using the pulpit is in place at the right moment for this short preacher.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m just back from a week’s retreat and should be full of inspiration. I have written a whole lot of points and they are staring blankly at me. Is Jesus king of your life? I should be able to get going so easily but there is just no life there. And it’s now evening. Oh dear.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We are having a Songs of Praise service. 16th Nov was St Margaret’s day [our patron saint] and this seemed a good way to ‘stir things up’ for Stir Up Sunday. Over the past few weeks everyone in the church has been encouraged to vote for their top 5 hymns and we’ll sing the favourite 9 tomorrow. My worship team are writing and leading the worship [incl prayers, reflections etc] so I just need to show up and deal with the many and varied pastoral issues around. I kinda wish I was preaching but I know how empowering and important it is for my worship team to do this themselves without me.

    Monday I head off on retreat for 4 days to hide away in a wee log cabin with a dear clergy colleague and we’ll relax, recoup, reflect and restore our souls for the advent ahead. Next Sunday’s worship is planned [I am taking the easy option for kids next week and we’re looking at Noah….a toy ark has been ordered from Amazon and much play will be had and the sermon is drafted -“expect something World Changing”- and I hope, with a few days to read and reflect, will be just what I and my church need to hear.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good morning Terri, blessings to you in Dearborn! I’m a graduate of ETS in Detroit and was a sub in Dearborn public schools while going to Seminary.

    Having lived in the Detroit metro area for 13 years, I can definitely feel your pain at the election outcome. It’s left me numb , for I like you know who will be most affected in the coming years!

    I finished my year long party with John’s Gospel last week. Tomorrow’s scripture focus will be Col. 1:1-23, combined Thanksgiving for the gift of grace and eternal life given to us by our loving Savior, who is King . The Cosmic Christ aspect was amazing as a find in this Pauline letter, especially as it was covered in the year of John. In the coming days, weeks and thereafter if we continue to place our hope, faith and trust in Jesus Christ who is our king placed as the head over the church and God’s kingdom, man made fiefdoms will always fail, topple and crumble. We may be uncomfortable and ache for ourselves but being thankful for our gift of eternal life will provide us some solace while struggling to make it through day by day. Praise God that Joy Comes In The Morning, 24/7. Happy thanksgiving everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. For the first time ever, I’m looking *forward* to preaching on Christ the King. It’s never really spoken to me personally before, but this year it does. If we proclaim Christ as King, then to him is where our loyalty lies. And nobody else is king. I’m feeling guilty about the short shrift I’m giving the Jeremiah text, on which I’m ostensibly preaching, in the process. So that will need some shoring up. I’m also throwing in a bit of the Theological Declaration of Barmen (from the German Confessing Church), as it seems timely and appropriate.

    I only have about half of that written, however.

    I’m ever-so-patiently waiting on the tree trimmers to arrive.


  10. Not preaching tomorrow but leading the service. Its a special service to mark the end of a 40 day long “project” in the church and is being followed by a lunch, so people will arrive and instead of finding the usual rows of chairs they will discover that the room is already set for the meal, and that they are going to sit them round the tables and worship there This involved working out how the heck to get 140 people round tables in our sanctuary ! I’m just hoping folk don’t think its too weird, and that they decide to go with it. There will also be lots of (pre-planned) participation. Right now feeling a bit daunted !

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I am utterly uninspired today. We too have a long day including a thanksgiving meal after church. I know what I’m bringing to the dinner, but no idea what to bring to the pulpit. Add in I’m solo parenting all three littles today and taking one to a ninja warrior themed birthday party.
    I’m beat, maybe a nap will help? (Of course that will have to wait until I pick the oldest up from martial arts and scrape together lunch for this crew)


  12. I too just got back late last night from a five day “Leading Well” retreat which was inspiring, restful, and encouraging. For the sermon, I am looking at singing parts of a number of old and new hymns/songs about Christ the King. I want to help people understand what it means to see Jesus Christ as the ruler, the sovereign, yet humble, giving, dying, forgiving on the cross. Still a bit sleepy, doing laundry, thinking about two more sermons coming up quickly. I have leftover travel snacks – dark chocolate mint M&Ms and red swedish fish (yes, I like my sweets). I’m sure I could scrounge up some apple slices too. Help yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Links in the e-mail all went to last week’s discussions.

    Anyway…we also have Thanksgiving dinner this week, and between that and trying to get stuff ready so I’m not working on Sunday school lessons on Thanksgiving while the turkey’s cooking (no Sunday school this week because just about everybody is going to be working on getting the dinner ready to go), I have barely even thought about the sermon. When everybody is here and smelling the good smells of Thanksgiving dinner, I doubt anybody is going to object if I preach an unusually short sermon. I’d like to be working at home, but when I turned on my laptop last night I discovered that the screen has gotten broken, and since it’s a touch screen, it doesn’t work properly. (I suspect it got stepped on; luckily I bought the extended protection plan with it that covers owner clumsiness.)

    I’m working with Jeremiah. My preparation style does not lend itself well to using more than one Scripture in a sermon, but I’m trying. Something I read this week (could have been here or on Working Precaher, or it could have been in Eugene Peterson’s book on Jeremiah, but I can’t remember for sure) has helped a little, but not near enough. It said that by burning the scroll and Jeremiah and Baruch having to re-write it, the king actually did the opposite of what he was hoping: he wanted to silence the prophet and suppress what he was saying, but in reality he caused the prophet’s words to be available not just in that time, but in times to come. Maybe by burning the scroll so it had to be rewritten, Jehoiakim started the process toward the hope of the other passage, that the Torah would be written on the people’s hearts.

    I don’t know. It feels a little forced.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The e-mail I got alerting me to the Preacher Party post. Now it seems to be fine. When I tried to go to the NL post from earlier in the week, it also took me to last week’s. Could be PIBCAC.


  14. Now I’m questioning what I’m doing. I’ve been reading the FB discussion about how people can’t hear or learn new things when they are in crisis. Maybe this is not the time to preach the old thing of who Christ is, since it will seem new to people who haven’t heard it that way before. But I really have nothing else for this time and place.


  15. I’m preaching the Reign of Christ texts from the RCL. Right now my focus is on people’s unwillingness to accept a king whose throne is a cross. In our desire for our heroes to be more heroic, we invent substitutes, giving our loyalty to sports figures, politicians, and even elevating ourselves into the role of hero. How fortunate that God loves us too much to leave us to our delusions, and continues to call us back from our wandering.

    Members of the congregation have just received a letter informing them that my call with them will end at the end of December. So I’m expecting a little anxiety… probably from me as well as from them. It will be an interesting Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have written exactly one sentence since my previous comment. Three loads of laundry, a spirited debate about where to put the Christmas tree in the new house, and a phone call postponing the tree trimmers until tomorrow. Right.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Well, it’s been a busy few days…we had a Church Fair Preview Party last night (complete with wine, beer tasting from men’s group, and all kinds of yum from a multiplicity of apps and desserts). Today, Church Fair all day (lobster rolls for lunch! yum!), and now just getting around to my sermon. I haven’t preached since SEPTEMBER because our children’s church director moved to Costa Rica at the end of September, so I have had to step in and staff that. So, I am even wondering if I remember how to preach. It’s like riding a bike, right????? Inspired by the RCL RevGal Lectionary Leanings, I was going to explore the Reign of Christ as kin-dom, rather than kingdom, but now am wondering what the heck I was thinking. Sigh. Long night ahead of me.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. It’s a rare Sunday where I’m preaching and the Sr. Pastor is in town, albeit she’s not feeling 100%. I’m preaching a Thanksgiving sermon at the end of a busy week and a full day tomorrow: Early afternoon there’s a County-led “unity” rally after a surge of hate speech and vandalism in area churches. Then afterwards is the TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance.) I will be ready for my pillow tomorrow!!

    Liked by 1 person

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