Every Easter I find myself preaching about the women. They stayed with Jesus through it all, from anointing him before his death, praying with him in the garden, walking the way of the cross, praying with him as he died, caring for his broken body, and even the next day, going to the tomb to mourn and weep. These brave, often times, invisible women who are the first to learn about and understand the resurrection.

I might tell a story about Mary Magdalene, the friend who was always with him, who scripture tells us first encountered Jesus in the resurrection. I love to tell the story about the red egg.

Or I might go off topic a bit before I get back to the women. Like the year I talked about jelly beans. And this year when I’m going to tell the red fox family story again. The family of fox who lived under my deck all winter and became a source of delight to my family. Until two of the babies fell into separate window wells on the night of Easter, when after a very LONG day my husband and I had to figure out how to get them out, all the while our kids were crying and our dogs were distressed. It’s a good Easter story.

Easter. Resurrection. New life. Hope. God’s love is more powerful than the evils of this world. God’s love prevails.

However you tell the story it’s one of hope, love, new life. And God knows we need this in the world today, as much as ever. Maybe more.

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This is the preacher party and I’ll be around most of the day to party with you. I have plenty of fresh coffee and tea and some homemade banana bread. Pull up a chair, grab a mug. Let’s share ideas, offer prayers of support, and encourage one another through our fatigue from a week well done.


The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in Dearborn, Michigan. She’s been a blogger and member of RevGals since 2006. She blogs atย Seeking Authentic Voice.


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.

71 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Easter

  1. Saturday lunchtime and I have no idea what i will be preaching on.
    We have an ecumenical Sunrise service in the morning, and i am writing the prayers of Intercession, to be shared by people from various congregations, which means I can’t just stand up and pray.
    but first some lunch. cheese, tomato and corn toasted wrap sandwiches

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I spent the daytime of Good Friday sorting through my files and beginning to pack my books….next week is my last one at this church. My car is laden with boxes that need to be brought up into the house, so Saturday I’m planning to try out system where I make a trip or two, interspersed with other household tasks (laundry, dishes, etc) and writing. I keep thinking that maybe if I can just get little bits of writing done, then each trip down the stairs to the garage and back up with a box will be a chance to get more inspiration. Like going for a walk, without having to go out in the rain. Since usually I’m the stare-at-the-screen-until-it-all-comes-out-at-once type, that could be more of a challenge than I’m up for on Holy Saturday though.

    I’m not sure where the sermon is going yet, beyond “Luke” and maybe something about remembering…or possibly something about the unbelievability of the whole thing. I heard an interview recently where the person said “we don’t have language large enough for the reality we have now entered” and that sounds a lot like what happened between the women, the disciples and their “lairos” response, and Peter’s amazement/disbelief…

    I have the traditional matzoh-mole to share…homemade guacamole, served with gluten free matzoh left over from Maundy Thursday. lol. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like that phrase: “We don’t have language for the reality we’ve now entered..” and yes, I think that is exactly what the women felt at the tomb that morning. Only then there was hope behind that reality and now hope is much more difficult to summon…?

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  3. It’s morning. Holy Saturday. Three services completed, three to go. And then a holy rest. My sermons are done, but only because I am reprising old ones that have been tweaked to work for this year. Oldies but goodies. Today will be filled with changing the church over from Good Friday to Easter. It’s HUGE project and will take several hours. Then I have a rehearsal with the kids who will be readers and acolytes for the Great Vigil tonight. With any luck I may squeeze in a dog walk since this afternoon is predicted to be warm and beautiful, although now it is dreary and rainy…

    Regardless of my day, I’ll be checking in here and holding each of you in my prayers.

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  4. calling it done: Don’t be afraid, go and tell
    i need to leave in 7 hours for the ecumenical sunrise service – led by clergy from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran, Salvation Army and Uniting Churches.
    Lots of Easter Eggs to share, i bought 150 to give out at the two congregation services, and i doubt we will have anywhere near that many people.
    blessings

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love this line: But the resurrection is not the end of the story.
      The story of Godโ€™s love did not start with the birth of Jesus and did not finish with the death, or even resurrection of Jesus.
      Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. It is mid-afternoon here in Scotland and I have some parts of the service done but quite a bit still to do (including a sermon).
    I am excited about the children’s talk where we will have a pinata for them to bash (a chicken/egg Easter pinata) but it will be empty and we will find the chocolate elsewhere.
    I also have a baptism tomorrow with 70 people coming in for that so it will be a bit different – never mind the Easter Bonnet competition I decided to hold tomorrow. Last year I made a whole lot of Easter Bonnets (for the children) with a sign saying take one if you would like to – by the time children came the adults were wearing them all and it was so lovely to see the excitement it generated in an older (often slightly cynical) congregation. This year I have challenged them to make their own and many of them are taking part.
    I am off to Malawi on Tuesday to meet churches in Malala Presbytery so I am as focussed on getting ready for that at the moment as I am on the service but I am sure both will come together. Sermon will be short with everything else going on anyway.
    Who was offering banana bread ? I would love some!

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    1. Love these ideas, Tanya! Filing them away for next year; thanks so much. How did you craft “a whole lot of Easter Bonnets”??

      Blessings to all.

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      1. I find making craft type things relaxing so I just kept doing it when I felt I needed some down time and it was amazing how many developed. They were quite simple with a bit of ribbon and glue. This year people are getting much more creative.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know what you mean. Last week, when I was struggling with my Palm/Passion sermon, I found instructions online and started making palm crosses, palm crowns, palm fishes….

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    2. I love the pinata idea, Tanya. We have had Easter pinatas for years but I’ve never not filled it. This year Easter falls right in the middle of our school’s two-week spring break and I only know of six children who are even in town (it’s a very small town), but I may use your idea anyway! Thank you.

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    3. Tanya, I used your piรฑata children’s sermon idea and it was wonderful! I had adults roll easter eggs with chocolate out when the piรฑata was discovered to be empty. Children and assembly really seemed to both enjoy and see the connection to God showing up in unexpected places. THANK YOU!

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  6. During my readings off and on this past week a chance phrase cause me to go in the direction of “leftovers”. So there it is…using the gospel of John about what was leftover when MM came to the tomb. It is more of a meditation as we are also doing a reaffirmation of baptismal vows. We had planned to baptize three girls and take their mom into membership tomorrow, however a family emergency has necessitated postponing those events.

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  7. I lazed about (read: went back to bed) this morning and am just getting moving now. I’ve put two kinds of dal in to soak so I can have dinner later, and the cats are racing all around…
    The theme for the Easter season is “open” and I’m not entirely sure whether I need to work the daily theme (“open tomb”) into the sermon or if the text and hymns and liturgy are obvious enough. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    While I napped I’ve been pondering the fact that the tomb was open when the women arrived (in Luke) and they went in…they walked into the cool dim tomb and didn’t see what they expected. They were confused…and then the two dazzling men appeared and they were afraid…but then they’re told to remember, and they do, and so they go and tell the good news. But the other disciples are still in closed space–their hiding room is closed, their minds and hearts are closed, they don’t believe the women…and then Peter goes to the tomb and he looks but doesn’t go in, and so he remains closed as well.
    There’s something working its way out about the women going in to the tomb and Peter just looking in…with all that feels like betrayal/fear/death/despair in the world, the way to find truth/hope/life/good news may be to go into the tomb. Or something. It hasn’t revealed itself yet.

    I’m still pondering the “no language large enough for the reality we have entered” thing too. I feel like that fits in here someplace….maybe…

    It’s almost lunchtime, which means matzoh-mole! Dip and enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve got an opening that may be going too far with cynicism and despair. I started with a blog posting from the Washington Post, in which the writer imagines how modern journalism might handle Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion–by digging into his history to find out that he had had ‘previous run-ins with authorities’ (the post is at https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/04/12/crucified-man-had-prior-run-in-with-authorities/?tid=hybrid_mostsharedarticles_2_na&utm_term=.b84e896f1037). I’m hoping eventually to get to the question the angels ask, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

    I joined one of those subscription services where they send me five bottles of wine to try each month. Trouble is, I joined in mid-Lent when I’d given up alcohol, so I still have last month’s shipment to open and taste, and FedEx is supposed to be bringing this month’s today. So I have abundant wine to share…and I joined a similar service for cheese, and have just received this month’s installment of that, including two different kinds of goat cheese, which will be a new experience for me.

    Liked by 3 people

            1. it’s *possible* I just spent 15 minutes reading about cheese shops and possible delivery services in the town where I’m moving.
              What Easter sermon? Can’t we just revel together in how good God is, that we would receive the gift of cheese?

              Liked by 3 people

  9. I’ve had a week comically full: kid home from school with a mystery fever, smoke alarm in the middle of the night, air conditioner not working, graveside service, etc. My Easter sermon is…um…well…not started yet. I’ve just caught up with reading and such, things I like to have completed by Tuesday of a regular week. I’m going with the Easter story from John, and I think I have an idea. It’s not brilliant, but passable.

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    1. I use to think that my Easter sermons had to be brilliant – that people were coming expecting something….but now I think people only really want a little something to nibble on because they really want to just enjoy the Easter festivities….and then there are the kids who are restless and anxious for Easter eggs….

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  10. I have two sermons to craft today. Sunrise I will use John and for the 10:15 I am using Matthew. I loved What Karoline Lewis had to say about earthquakes on the working preacher podcast and hope to develop that idea with Matthew. With John I’m thinking of mistaken identity. Mary mistakes Jesus for the gardener. How often do I mistake Jesus for other people/things. Example, Jesus as Genie, or Jesus as magician or Jesus as Daddy Warbucks. Right now I am in bed trying to get my fussy four year old son to nap, which he despises and desperately needs!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One of these years I am going to do it … stand up at the sermon time and say “he’s not here, go and find him among the living” and sit back down. Not this year alas.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I shared your idea with my (non-clergy) husband and he snickered. And agreed that it might be a better sermon for your last Easter before retirement or something ๐Ÿ™‚ Though, Terri’s idea makes it a much more reasonable option!

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  12. Over halfway there on an Easter sermon about awakening… starting with a story about my 3-year-old nephew refusing to wake up from a nap, continuing with a story about my text study buddy awakening from bypass surgery a week after a massive heart attack (and being revived by CPR, which rarely works outside the hospital!), then talking about all the different forms of awakening. A relationship can wake you up to the needs of others, and you can’t go on ignoring those issues any more. Need a conclusion…

    For the kids, I saved a bunch of bulbs from the Easter plants last year, and had planned to talk about how God can bring beautiful life from something that looks dead. But when I went to retrieve the bulbs today, I discovered that they were all moldy and unusable. So, deciding whether to go shopping this afternoon, or come up with a different children’s sermon idea. Any brilliant suggestions?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m here for a few minutes….grabbing a bite to eat before I run back to church for the 7pm Great Vigil….my sermon tonight is part 3 of The Mary Passions Trilogy, a reflection on the reading from the perspective of Mary Magdalene. Tomorrow my sermon is a reprisal of one I preached in 2012 using that red fox story….

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ok, if I want to go to a Vigil tonight I have to get moving. Because the latest one I can find starts at 7, and it’s now 3:30 and I haven’t showered or written a single word. (sigh)
    So…I’m thinking now of talking with the children about remembering, and remembering together some of the things Jesus did and said.
    Then in the regular sermon reflecting on the women’s willingness to enter the open tomb, and Peter/other’s unwillingness/closed-ness.
    Neither is coming together just yet, but I keep hoping…

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    1. I’m hoping to make the vigil at the Orthodox church in town where I know the priest. It begins at 11pm. Maybe there’s an Orthodox church you could visit, if you really want a vigil!

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        1. like mine. it was still light when we finished. one day I may try an early morning vigil, maybe some folks would participate in that one, but later at night, not likely. (only for the late service on Christmas Eve)…

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          1. before I was a pastor, when I lived in the city, the late vigil was my favorite service. It was like 2 or 3 hours, and ended at midnight or something, and I loved it. And it was packed. Not so out here in suburbia where everyone has to drive everywhere. It’s one thing if you can leave at midnight with hundreds of other people and get a cab or a bus…different when you have to drive home in the dark.

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  15. I have a draft for the sermon, focusing on Jesus calling Mary by name. Admittedly, the climax of the John passage, but it feels a little stale to me. I almost always have difficulty preaching on the big days: Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and the others that tell the same story every year (T-fig, I’m looking at you).

    I have looked all through the facebook thread, and all through the linked post on the RGBP page, and I still haven’t found a children’s time idea that I really like. I’m not sure that we’ll have any children, but I’d like to be prepared if we do.

    I probably am going to head home (I’ve been in my husband’s church office to get some peace and quiet) and think more about the children’s time.

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    1. Last year I did a children’s sermon with balloons. Had a bunch of them blown up and stick in black garbage bags. Asked the kids what they normally expect to see in bags like that (smelly stuff, garbage, things no one wants). Then we opened them up and there were balloons! Surprise! Just like the happy surprise of the Resurrection!

      I let each kid take a balloon back to their seat with them. And then, to no one’s surprise, we kept getting interrupted by popping balloons through the rest of worship…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Have decided pajama day is more crucial for my spiritual life than a vigil at this time….and also, I still have zero words.

    I’m now pondering how nowhere in the Luke easter story do we hear the words “do not be afraid.” The women go in the tomb, they are perplexed, two dazzling men appear, the women fall to the ground in fear, and the men just say “why do you look for the living among the dead? Remember….”

    I feel like this might be the only time in scripture I can think of where an encounter between God/a messenger and a regular person doesn’t involve “do not be afraid.”

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Right. I was thinking it was in there, until I read it carefully. Most other places, it seems like angels do a preemptive “do not be afraid.” I’ve always figured they must look very frightening, that those are the first words out of their mouths.

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  17. For what it’s worth, (re: Children) I’m doing an explanation of why we ‘dress up’ (the church) at easter. I’m leading off by telling them there is a VERY OLD song, “In Your Easter Bonnet” and show a pick of Bing, then a pic of children in wild hats. and after talking about flowering the cross, lilies and new parakeets, I’ll help them tie a streamer of crepe around their head to make their own “Bonnet”.
    My favorite Easter children’s story is taking an easter basket but pulling out of it; a candy cane, halloween something, like candy corn, etc. other seasonal stuff. Then say the women were surprised too, didn’t find what they expected.
    It works better in Year B with Mark.
    AND I learned, it pays to find out if the children GET easter baskets…. But that all takes a bit of prep. I have learned to keep old candy canes and candy corn, valentine hearts around.

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  18. I was frantically putting together something for a children’s message, when I checked the bulletin and realized I didn’t put a children’s message in the service! So I am re-using some of the photo booth props we used during Advent (we have several angel, Mary, Joseph, shepherd, and magi headpieces that can be adapted to women, guards, angel, etc.) and I will invite children to help act out the story from Matthew using these props as I read the gospel lesson. We dusted off the handbells that haven’t been played in over a decade, and I wrote some simple handbell parts for the opening and closing hymn. They didn’t sound half bad at rehearsal on Friday afternoon. We have a free breakfast tomorrow, too, so it should be a very festive day. For the past few weeks, I’ve been encouraging folks to invite someone to join them at church for breakfast and worship – we shall see who shows up! Here’s the sermon on Matthew: https://pastorsings.com/2017/04/15/who-will-you-tell-sermon-on-matthew-281-10-easter-a/
    The sun just came out after a very rainy day. I’m making some deviled eggs for tomorrow, so I will boil a few extra for you to share! May the risen Christ be very present with you as you put the finishing touches on Easter worship, friends!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. 8:15 pm local time on a Saturday and struggling to write. I chose the John scripture initially because the scripture used on Good Friday was John as well. Looking back at last Sunday I used Matthew. I took all of my notes and ideas for John, but now I’m questioning if I should change it to Matthew. Then again…maybe the questioning is just stalling. It’s my first Easter preaching and I think I’m putting way too much pressure on how “good” it should be. I’m with Susan….the scripture speaks for itself lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I use to think that Easter sermons HAD to be the best. But now I’ve changed my mind. I think the whole service speaks for itself and the words we offer need to just tell people what the resurrection means in the context of the congregation one is serving – i.e. how does the mission of the church help people come to a deeper experience of new life and transformation? And if you have squiggly kids who are restless and excited for the Easter egg hunt, keep it short. One year I preached about my love of jelly beans (symbols of Easter), for example.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I started my Easter sermon a few years back with my sister’s obsessive need to know what was in her Christmas presents. One year she found where Mom had hidden them and opened all hers, then wrapped them back up and put them back in the closet. Then on Christmas morning she had to pretend to be surprised. I think a lot of us are like that on Easter. We have opened the presents and know what’s in them. We skipped to the last page and we know whodunit.

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  20. Anyone else still partying? I’m working on my final read-through (earlier than usual!) then planning to head home for a late dinner with the spouse, then head out for an Easter vigil at the Orthodox church. Hopefully I’ll be home before 2am ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  21. The four year old napped beautifully but his sisters chose nap time to get into all the preteen drama! Now I can’t get the 4 year old to go to bed without his midnight medicine (Gatorade in a syringe) and of course hubs works until midnight. Nothing started on the 10:15 service yet. Double sigh.

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