Happy New Year Preacher Gals and Pals!

2017 is already off with a bang in my neck of the woods. I pray yours is going great!

Last Sunday the lectionary gave us a sobering look at the slaughter of the innocents. It was not the scripture I would have chosen to begin a new year, but it was a reminder of God’s presences even in the darkest of times.

This Sunday is a different animal! There are so many options for preachers. There are the readings for the Epiphany of the Lord or the Baptism of the Lord . Both offer amazing imagery and options for wonderful word paintings.

I personally love the Isaiah readingimage-1-6 for Epiphany, but perhaps that’s because I am a collector of camel figurines and the idea of so many camels coming along to celebrate the birth of the savior sounds amazing!! I intend to litter the sanctuary with some of my camels as a way to draw people into the Epiphany mood.


We will also be using Star Words for the fourth year in this congregation. (For a look at how star words can be used, and where I learned about them, look no further than our own Marci Glass ) I am nervous about handing them out this year because last year was just so hard, and I am tempted to remove the challenging words and leave only uplifting ones for this year. But I won’t, because I know we grow through challenge. (a little affirmation helps too!)

What are you pondering this week?

Are you following the star to wherever it may lead?

Are you looking at the baptism of Christ and renewing your baptismal covenants?

Are you praying the words of Psalm 72, asking God to again step into the lives of the needy and bring help to those without aid?

Blessings as you sermonate this week. May you find just the right words for the moment and the people you serve.

The Reverend Cardelia Howell-Diamond is a Cumberland Presbyterian Solo Pastor in Alabama. She is currently praying for tomorrow to come quickly as it is the day her three children head back to school after winter break! You can read her sermons, reviews, and ramblings at randomrevhd.
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8 thoughts on “RCL: Where will it lead?

  1. One of the interesting things for me about the star word process is that when I draw words for people, I often wonder if they will have the same reaction to the word that I did. I don’t second guess and draw another word, I just offer it. Usually, the words I’m most reluctant to offer people are the ones they love the most. The words I would have been excited to get for myself are not as enthusiastically received by others. Such an interesting process to watch unfold!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i am combining this week and last weeks readings from Matthew, thinking about various responses to the birth of Jesus, and how we respond to Jesus.


  3. We started a plan for reading a psalm a day on January 1, so this week the sermon will look at psalm 8. It seemed like a good idea back when I was doing sermon planning to tie psalm 8 to epiphany and the story of the wise guys and the star. Not sure now as I begin to unpack that how I’m pulling that together. But at least I have a title – stars. As I read your post, I wonder if maybe it’s time to try star words.


  4. Epiphany here. I am totally stealing the title from Unvirtuous Abbey (with full attribution and disclosure): What Happens in Bethlehem Does Not Stay in Bethlehem”

    I’m in an interim position and so that metaphor seems to fit well as this congregation moves forward. They have made some big changes in the last 18-24 months. Good changes. How do we takes those into the community? How do we not leave it all within the walls of the physical church. We will be doing Star-words as a part of the sermon as well…and communion…so I’m down to about 800 words for this Sunday!


  5. Epiphany kicks off a time of focus on racial justice for my congregation. My theme is that words are not enough; we must allow ourselves to be changed and challenged by the Word. Only then will we be able to continue the work that God sets before us. Anyway, I’m going with the Epiphany texts and, with any luck, offering some inspiration for what lies ahead. Here’s what I have so far: https://rachaelkeefe.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/after-the-journey/


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