Preaching colleagues, it’s that time of the week again! How is your sermon coming along? Between planning liturgy, preparing for children’s sermons, and writing something for the main preaching event, this is often the busiest time of the week! At least, it is for those who tend to procrastinate, or who had unexpected events eat into their sermon prep time this week. Are you ready to proclaim the Gospel again this weekend? What other work or family commitments are you juggling as you finish your worship preparations?

sheep-2126667_1920For those who follow the Revised Common Lectionary, the season of Easter has a predictable rhythm: resurrection, the disciples (minus Thomas) in the locked room followed by Thomas’ profession of faith, the road to Emmaus, and Good Shepherd Sunday. Though, in year A, Jesus is compared most clearly to the gate that protects and confines the sheep, rather than the shepherd. Also, we get to hear this weekend from Acts, about how the earliest communities of Jesus followers shared everything in common so that no one was needy. Is it just me, or is this topic particularly relevant in this day and age? Some discussion on the RCL texts happened here earlier this week.

The Narrative Lectionary brings us to Acts and the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. It’s a story of incredible boundary-crossing! What’s to stop the Ethiopian from being baptized? Dozens of things, really. But Philip does it anyway. How can you communicate the depth of this interaction to your worshippers? You may find additional inspiration from discussion on this page.

Wherever you are in your preparations for worship, welcome to the party! Pull up a chair and enjoy a virtual snack. I’ve still got leftover Easter candy to share. Chocolate or jellybeans? Happy writing!

canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is a certified canoeing instructor, occasional hospital chaplain, aunt to the best kids in the world, and a devout Star Wars fan.

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22 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Gates and Sheep edition

  1. Saturday evening here, dinner has been eaten, and time to write something. Working with John’s gospel and Acts,and thinking about abundant life – I think???


    1. Saturday morning here, coffee is brewing, and time to write something. Working with John’s gospel & Acts, and thinking about abundant life. Hey, “Pearl down under” you must be all done writing by now — where did you end up? I’m thinking abundant life may look a little like the spirit-filled church from Acts, where all shared what they had “as there was need” and it doesn’t look like the thieves (from John) who are in relationship for their own gain … but …


      1. Apparently abundant life is a popular theme this year! That’s where I’m headed too. Hoping to see lots of good ideas shared here throughout the day 🙂


  2. I really tried to preach 1 Peter and made it through two Sundays, but with a baptism tomorrow, I’m going with the gospel text – not sure yet where I will take it but I will pull a thread from the many possibilities for this Good Shepherd Sunday and celebration of baptism


    1. Sheep, baptism – plenty of good and familiar imagery to work with! Hoping all comes together well.


  3. I’m in week 2 of a 3-part series on 1 Corinthians called “healing the divide” – named after our March retreat by that name. It feels like the passage of the “health-care” or NO-health-care for many —act, should be mentioned. It’s so discouraging that it’s hard to find hope if I bring it up. Also just discovered intermittent high BP so am increasingly conscious of my stress levels. Any advice from others? I see my GP on Monday, had a echo stress done this past week which was ok except for my BP shooting to the stars.


    1. Re: blood pressure. If you get a strong headache, call 911, immediately.

      I like “healing the divide”…filing that away for later


    2. Not sure if this helps… a friend asked for appropriate Christian protest signs in light of the anti-health care bill that passed the House and got responses like “I was sick and you put me in a high-risk pool” or “Jesus was in favor of free health care.” Hoping you can find a way to be faithful and truthful while also healing divisions!


  4. We have planned (at my initiation) a “Children’s Sunday.” We’re a congregation with hardly any children, but several are bringing grandchildren and nieces/nephews all on the same day, so we can have a critical mass. Hopefully. I’ve planned kind of an instructed service, and I’m hoping that the kids will be willing to read some things. But I’m fully prepared to wing it, which sounds like an oxymoron.

    However, my own daughter is sick, of the tummy bug variety. She won’t be able to participate, which may suit her just fine–“But I don’t want other kids there. I like being the only kids when we go to your church!.” At this point, I guess she’s going to lay down in my office during the service.

    All that is to say that I’m not actually preaching a sermon tomorrow, just lots of explanatory bits and pieces, and hopefully a fun children’s sermon. We would appreciate prayers for a successful experiment!


    1. No oxymoron in “fully prepared to wing it” – that’s why jazz musicians and improv artists rehearse their craft! Leading worship is probably not all that different 🙂

      Hoping that your daughter recovers quickly and that your experimental worship service goes well. Let us know how it all turns out!


      1. Ah, yes! Thank you for framing it that way. Perhaps it would be better to say that I have contingency plans. If nothing else, supply preaching for so many years has taught me to improvise/go with the flow/wing it.

        Daughter is feeling somewhat better and vountarily napping.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Just did a burial a few hours ago and annual largest fundraiser (Kentucky Derby themed) begins in 2 hours…haven’t had much time to think about sermon. Yet have been praying Psalm 23… powerful, written on our hearts and minds… Martin Luther believed that PSalm 23 was a complete summary of our faith…mmmmm maybe something there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Psalm 23… creation imagery, trust in God, acknowledgment of struggle, faith in a better future. Seems like a pretty good summary to me! Let us know what you come up with.


  6. Today is turning out quite differently than expected… I wrote a letter in protest to a racist litany being used in a worship service of my denomination this weekend, so much of my day has been spent reading related comments and adding co-signers to the letter! We’ll see how it all unfolds…

    In the meantime, there is still a sermon to write! Tomorrow I plan to focus on the line about life abundant in John 10. There’s a difference between scarcity and abundance, and also between abundance and excess. I think I want to find… not the happy medium, exactly, because we’re not aiming for subsistence, but the place where the goodness of God can be most fully experienced. Not sure yet what that will look like in a sermon. So I guess I’d better get writing! Blessings to you all as you continue preparing for worship!


  7. It’s been a crazy day here where nothing happened the way it was supposed to. I’m just now sitting down to work with the Ethiopian Eunuch. I’m pondering Nadia Bolz-Weber’s sermon on this text that this story is really about the conversion of Philip rather than the conversion of the eunuch. Now off to make sure things are ready at church.


    1. It seems that many of the best miracle stories are actually about the conversion of the “insider” more than the “outsider.” Preach well!


  8. Looks like the preacher party is winding down for the night. I’m finishing up the conclusion to my sermon now! I hope that anyone who is still writing will find the inspiration that they need, and that anyone who is preparing for worship will feel the guidance of the Spirit. Blessings to all! Happy Easter season!


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