I always end up preaching to myself, and sometimes it is something that someone else needs to hear, too. So before we get to work on the sermon: on the off chance you might have a little too much on your to-do list, hear this:

“Be still, and know that I am God”                 Psalm 46:10

And look at this:

window

OK, here we go. Revised Common Lectionary preachers, you get another helping of Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the first disciples, some more Isaiah, and the beginning of a 1 Corinthians series. There is a RevGalBlogPals post about that. Narrative Lectionary friends get Jesus’ first sermon, and we also have a discussion post for that. Non lectionary folks, please let us know what you’re doing; the more ideas, the better!

Children’s moments, prayer thoughts, and other plans are also welcome here. U.S. preachers will want to remember the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this weekend, as well as the upcoming inauguration.

And when you get overwhelmed, go back to the top of the post.


Monica Thompson Smith is a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, serving as stated supply pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Luling, TX. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com

 

56 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Be Still Edition

  1. Gosh! No one commented yet! I have procrastinated all morning. stayed in bed til 9; booked a spa treatment, trawled the internet for fun places to stay in May, played the Friday Five… anything that saves me from having to look at a sermon.
    But since it is now after 11 am and I have not a word written, the time has come…. or maybe, a quick cup of tea first?!

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  2. Friday night family church started back yesterday after a Christmas break, and the children were just wanting to run around with their friends. Maybe they will calm down over the next few weeks??? Most of the craft i prepared is still there, so i am wondering if i try and reuse some next week.
    Today husband and I drove 2 hours each way to attend the 80th birthday party for someone from my previous parish. This was a family that i was involved with when their granddaughter died a few months before i left. it was lovely to see some old faces again.
    Tomorrow morning,I am including a reaffirmation of Baptism, in some ways i feel lazy for not writing a full sermon, but both sermon and reaffirmation don’t fit when i have 2 morning services. And the reaffirmation feels like the right thing to do, so put a side my perfectionist tendency. the ‘sermon’ is a very short talk on baptism and identity.

    Baptism and identity

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    1. I think every so often, actions speak louder than a sermon. Sounds like you’ve had a busy weekend. I hope Sunday morning goes well.

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  3. I decided to look through old sermons and it appears that in 17 years of preaching I have managed to avoid preaching on the 2 Sunday after the Epiphany in year A….so, well. Now I have to figure out what to say, like from scratch. I better go see what’s in the cupboard and fridge and see if I can pull off something worth feeding people….LOL

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    1. I just looked through this whole Epiphany season–it must be longer than in previous years, and there was a maternity leave in there–and have very little in the files. Good luck “cooking” something up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Preaching the last part of the John text (RCL) on “come and see”. It is ordination/installation of our officers during worship. That part of the service is lengthy, the hymns chosen by the choir director are lengthy, and so sermon needs to land in about 800 words.

    And we are in a freezing ice advisory until 9 pm on Sunday evening. It’s wet outside and temp of 24 which seems to translate already to ice.

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    1. I had a super short sermon last week to accommodate ordination and installation of officers last week. It’s surprisingly difficult to write half a sermon!

      Stay safe in the ice!

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  5. I am thinking about connections, how John the Baptizer was listening to God (he hears God speaking pointing him to the one to come), connected so to speak to God and to the disciples around him. The Spirit gave him a purpose to reveal, point to Jesus, and to connect others to the Messiah through testimony. It works in this context because we are having a prayer connection workshop following worship.

    For children’s time I am using a device I have for my Christmas lights, it plugs in and then you plug in a lot of other lights and it has a timer that controls it all—its all connected to the power source; sort of like how we hold hands and pray and are connected to the power source God.
    in my head it all makes sense! We’ll see if it does tomorrow.

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  6. I am thinking about preaching about importance of names. The names we call ourselves and others can build up or tear down. Names can unite us or separate us. I am thinking about both the political name calling and even some name calling done in “good fun.” Had a conversation with another woman recently and we were laughing about how her husband was such a baby went sick. The husband didn’t hear it, but I wonder if it diminishes their relationship.

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  7. We are celebrating MLK tomorrow. Very excited because the preacher at our main service is the Rev. James Lawson, civil rights hero and colleague of MLK. May be a bit of a shock for our Episcopal congregation, but I trust in a good way!

    I need to come up with a short sermon for an earlier service with lots of kids. We have MLK and Rosa Parks windows that I’ve preached directly about before. I’ve used the I have a dream speech. Anyone have a creative kid-friendly MLK idea for me? I just feel stumped.

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    1. Hm. That’s an excellent question. To which I can’t think of an answer right now…maybe someone else will chime in with an MLK children’s idea.

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    2. We are doing MLK focus tomorrow too. i don’t have kids anymore at the church so haven’t planned for a children’s message. However, I think, depending on the age of your kids, a very short, sweet summary of who he was and what he stood for is fine. We can tell how when some of the elders of the church were kids, they had to be separated by race. Blacks weren’t treated like whites. He stood up against that and helped the US to see that God wanted us to love one another and treat each other with respect and fairness. This was his dream. Maybe share a couple of lines from the dream speech or play a clip of the end of the I Have a Dream speech (easily available on YouTube). And you can point out the window again. Not all of the children will have heard that message before and the ones who have will be delighted that they know the answer. It will help cement it in their head. If we have church (depends on the predicted ice) and if we have children, that is what I will do. I have the MLK speech clip already loaded on the computer in the sanctuary to project for all of us.

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    3. I’ve used the children’s book “In Just One Day” that follows a little boy around and points out all the things we use every day that were invented by African Americans.

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    4. Betsy, I’ve been thinking about this a little more. I have two elementary aged children, and they learn a lot about MLK in school. However, they don’t hear beyond a brief mention, that he was a minister, and that his stance and work on civil rights was grounded in his faith. Maybe something along those lines would be good.

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  8. I have to admit that I’m struggling with Jesus’ first sermon. I want to challenge folk, but have been chastised for being “too political” and am wary. It is a good text to speak to privilege in some ways, to challenge status quo, etc. Need to sift through some things, and that hasn’t happened much yet. It’s gonna be one of those sermons, it seems.

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  9. So I have a draft of a sermon. Perhaps a tad long, but I’m going to let it sit while I go exercise – moving my body always helps me gain perspective on what I’m thinking and writing. I ended up writing about our purpose, called by God, to be agents of transformation, through hope and love, a little MLK, Jr. reference to beloved community, with a recurring refrain of “Come and see” used in different contexts. I’ll see if it still works after my workout.

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  10. I looked ahead and see that 3 Epiphany is Matthew’s call of Andrew and Peter. So, I ‘m musing on these two very different call stories in a row–one where a trusted leader testifies to who Jesus is, the other where Jesus appears on the beach and the fishermen put aside their nets. I don’t know where I am going with this.

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  11. In something of a funk, church-wise and personal wise, so yesterday I was just not feeling it. Now I have a halfway decent sermon: come and see, light to the world, James Cone, MLK. Asked for music in connection with MLK and that did not happen. I am leaving in a few weeks (interim) and all of a sudden personnel and budgetary and mission issues are popping up. Coincidence? Probably not. Time to let go . . . .

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    1. Definitely not coincidental…they’re getting stressed about the transition, however good it may turn out to be, and things will come up to show that stress. Sorry you’re the one that will be dealing with the anxiety. Hooray for a “halfway decent” sermon.

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  12. Been a while since I’ve been here. Both in the Preacher Party and on a Saturday with a half written sermon, two actually. Tomorrow (at 5 pm so I have some time): Choose Your Messiah Carefully
    “Andrew’s exclamation that he had found the messiah was subversive and treasonous.
    Choose your messiah wisely.”
    and Tuesday to open the semester: Resistance Is Not Futile from Judith.

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  13. I’m on NL. My title is “The Truth Will Make You Mad.” I’m opening with some memorable lines from previous presidents’ inaugural addresses (I hold out no particular hope for any soaring or even memorable vision from the inaugural address I probably won’t watch this Friday), like Mr. Lincoln’s “with malice toward none” in his second address. I think my point will be that if Jesus doesn’t say or do something that pisses you off, it’s probably not Jesus; and how can we let truth that makes us angry work its way into our hearts and lives, instead of silencing it/trying to throw it off a cliff?

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  14. Sitting by the fire has helped.
    “Every place our scriptures refer to someone as anointed, they are using the word “messiah.” Think about that for a minute. Even though you may only see the word “messiah” in the New Testament, it is all over the Hebrew Scriptures. You just may not recognize it when it is translated as “anointed.” And when those scriptures were translated into Greek after Alexander the Great left his mark upon the world—the reason our gospels are in Greek and not the Hebrew and Aramaic Jesus spoke, read and prayed in—when those scriptures are read in Greek, you hear the Greek word for messiah, anointed, christ.
    Clutch your pearls if you need to, but Jesus wasn’t the first christ, the first messiah. All of those priests and kings and a few queens, they were anointed as messiahs, christs. When Samuel was looking over Jesse’s sons, he was looking for God’s anointed, God’s christ. When David referred to Saul as God’s anointed, he was saying God’s christ. And when Samuel’s lament for David after his death called him the anointed of God, it was saying David was the christ of God. And when the prophet in Isaiah called the Gentile king, Cyrus of Persia, God’s anointed, she or he was calling Cyrus God’s christ. What they all had in common was that they were entrusted with the safety and preservation of Israel—Cyrus receives the title for returning the Jews from Babylonian exile.
    The Jewish disciples of Jesus knew this, as he did. They also knew every christ, every anointed monarch—and anointing is still a part of many coronations— wasn’t appointed by God. Kings and queens murdered their way onto the throne, and sorry sons replaced their righteous fathers. You’ve got to choose your messiahs carefully. There are a lot of self-appointed messiahs out there. Sometimes a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. That goes double when its knowledge of the bible. In 1990 a man who knew enough of the bible in Hebrew changed his name to David and Cyrus, using the Hebrew and Aramaic pronunciation, Koresh. David Koresh was a self-proclaimed messiah and good Christian folk who didn’t know enough about the bible to see that in the name he chose for himself went to their deaths because of him. You’ve got to choose your messiah carefully.
    Our gospel was written and first spoken in a world in which messiah was a word used to describe religious and political leaders who ruled Israel, and that would have included Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. Herod Antipas (I’ll call him Junior) was legitimately anointed king; he inherited the throne from his father. But some folk would never accept him as their king. His mother was a Samaritan and his father Herod Senior was from a family that was more Ishmaelite than Israelite in spite of their recent conversion, and perhaps of all, the Herods were appointed and anointed by Rome.”

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    1. “Clutch your pearls if you need to…a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. That goes double when its knowledge of the bible.”- Amen.

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    1. Terri, for some reason my comment kept getting bad error on your blog. It’s a great sermon on “bending the arc” and love the two paragraphs about how could there be a God…how could there not be a God. thanks.

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  15. I am wanting church to happen tomorrow and am a bit bummed that we will probably cancel because of round 2 of the ice storm. Last night’s/this mornings has mostly melted. Roads fine but sidewalks awful. Sometime in the early morning, we are set to get freezing rain, which will be treacherous walking for our elderly congregation. So, my desire for a cool, MLK oriented service, will probably be put on hold (put on ice?). I have a John Legend/Common video as well as a Dream video lined up, ready to play. I need a shorter sermon – NL, Luke 4 – which I am finding little motivation to write as we probably won’t meet. I think I may put a few thoughts about MLK, a few thoughts about Jesus together and just wing it if we do gather. If we don’t, I like this service so much that it will be next Sunday’s service. Maybe I will write a real sermon then. When I realized that the ice was due to come late, I decided that we could go to see Hidden Figures, if I didn’t have to write a sermon. Strangely grateful for ice!

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  16. Maybe this will help somebody else: for our children’s time tomorrow we’re going to explore the difference between “identical” [which we aren’t] and “equal” [which we are]. Depending on the ages of those gathered, we’ll use toys or siblings or snacks.

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  17. Late afternoon writing, but it’s coming together as I write about Jesus’ invitation to discipleship (Come and See) and what we’re seeking (belonging, relationship, service).

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  18. Apparently I really like this “come and see” text, because I’ve preached on it at least twice in the past three years. And as much as I like David Lose’s “notice, share, invite” reading of this story, I think this time I am going to focus on the question Jesus asks: “What are you looking for?”
    A couple of things pop up for me this time: John the Baptist had to point out Jesus as the Lamb of God two days in a row before he could get a rise out of his own disciples. And “What are you looking for?” is the very first sentence spoken by Jesus in John’s gospel.
    But the real “aha!” epiphany moment for me this time is realizing that Jesus isn’t waiting for us to invite him into our lives. Instead, Jesus invites us into his life. With his “come and see” Jesus includes us in his Lamb of God work. It isn’t about looking for something to fill the God-sized hole in our lives; it’s about filling the us-sized hole in God’s family by accepting Christ’s invitation to grace.
    My husband drove six hours yesterday to his mom’s, preparing to move her into assisted living. A parishioner is dying thirty miles away from here. All this is to say I haven’t bought groceries, so what I have to offer the virtual snack table is probably just peanut butter and crackers. But you are welcome to them!

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  19. Doing a words matter and inspire us to act, march, speak truth to power sermon using 1 Corinthians, John Lewis’ Across that Bridge, and how we are called to cross the bridges among people…presided at a funeral with 500 attending today so only on page 5.

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  20. I am preaching tomorrow for a congregation that will then vote to call me or not. I’m pretty sure it will be yes, as I have met almost half of the regulars in the call process (It’s a small congregation) and the search committee is acting as though it’s already a done deal. I decided to preach on all of Psalm 40…on the power of song in community. I was looking for a way to tie in MLK day and found a wonderful speech he gave in Berlin about Jazz and the power of music. Love when things come together. Now to finish it up…

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  21. Friends, this has been a long day that followed a very long day. So while I have the opportunity, I am going to call it a night. Prayers for each of you, and for the word you will preach, and for the people who will receive it.

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