GA2017The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has been meeting in Edinburgh this week. In the midst of our worship and debate, we took time to pray for those caught up in the terrorism perpetrated in Manchester and in Egypt as well as all those places around the world who don’t feature in news headlines. There was also a small step forward in inclusion of all in our denomination.
It’s not always easy to connect what we do in General Assembly with the day to day life of the communities we are called to serve. But it seemed this week, as we attempted to reach for the light in order to counter the darkness of the world, that there was love and grace and abundance.

Our texts give us many options for preaching this week – The Narrative Lectionary offers Paul’s message of inclusion in Galatians and the RCL reminds us that, ultimately, authority and control does not rest in our hands but in the love and grace of God. And, of course, there is also Ascension.

Whatever this week has brought for you, wherever you are called to preach the word, you are welcome to share in this place. Bring what you have and ask for what you need as together we prepare to speak and to live out the good news for the glory of God.


Liz Crumlish is a Church of Scotland Minister currently working on a National Renewal Project in Scotland.  A Board Member of RevGalBlogPals, instigator of Spill the Beans and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, Liz blogs at journalling


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29 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher’s Party: Inclusion and Control

  1. Nice to be preaching again! – filling a pulpit for a colleague on vacation. I’m going with Acts and “you will be my witnesses” – talking about how witnessing involves noticing and interpreting and communicating. I’ve just revised it and now — muffins, if anyone would care for one, and OJ with LOTS of pulp.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s already lunchtime here in Scotland. I have some healthy options to share.
    I’ve been at choir this morning and will go dress shopping for my daughter’s prom shortly.
    Pray for me!!!
    How is the writing/revising going?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m having leftover pie for lunch, and Diet Pepsi, perfect for pondering Galatians and the balance of being a peculiar, distinct yet hospitable and open community. Thinking of how much do people have to do for us to accept them; or as Buechnet says, “the mistake some people make is being more religious than God.”

      Also, trying to figure our how to be more than a “fine” preachee.


  3. preaching on Acts and witnesses. Witnesses

    earlier in the service i will be speaking about Reconciliation Week , which remembers the referendum from 50 years ago that counted Aboriginal people in the Census, and twenty years ago a report was published on the ‘Stolen generation’. aboriginal children removed from their families.
    as in many places, we have a sad history in relations to the original inhabitants of this land.

    this is a congregation where justice issues are not discussed very often. each week we make a statement early in worship acknowledging that we meet on aboriginal land – but some people do not like this at all. hopefully me speaking about National Reconciliation Week will not cause too many rumblings.


  4. Preaching on prayer this weekend from Acts and Gospel. This is a week (like all the others) where it’s much needed. I have homemade English Muffin bread ready to be sliced and toasted. Come share a piece!


  5. Every sentence I wrote yesterday was a struggle. I will be preaching Acts all summer long and using Bruce Epperly’s book, Transforming Acts, as a guide to the chosen texts. He comes out of a process theology perspective. It was on textweek, I think, where I saw the phrase that Acts is a book of surprises. So that was the kick off title for tomorrow. I did not expect to focus on the ascension…but apparently the Spirit did. The Ascension gives us perspective and we need to ascend every so often to re-orient ourselves. And the surprise…the first thing we do when we de-scend…is wait…pray…and discern!

    Late this afternoon, a parishioner’s wife if throwing an all-out 50th birthday party gala. Seriously…it will be decked to the nines! It seems I am now offering the prayer, along with another family friend from the Cameroon, at the formal dinner this evening. Pray my dastardly cough does NOT make an appearance!


    1. Praying for you, Elaine and giving thanks for surprises. Your waiting comment has sparked something in me for a piece I need to do about discernment. Thank you.


  6. Preaching Galatians here, but before I can focus on it, I have several things to attend to. I have a graveside service this afternoon for a friend’s brother, whose family I will meet with this morning as they all just arrived! Also, a beloved member, who is the former pastor’s wife, is dying, and I was to the nursing home several times today. I will be there several times today, I expect. I don’t have much to share. How about some Cheerios and coffee?


  7. Hi Liz and all,
    it is now almost 4 pm.
    No sermon yet… have been too distracted catching up on washing while the weather is still warm and dry and I can let it blow in the garden… and catching up on a friend… and recovering from a big funeral yesterday, it was in two parts and took most of the day – a pillar of the church and session, she will be a huge miss to us all but especially her husband who has been a tremendous support and encourager to me

    All that aside – Galatians – inclusivity – reflecting on the Assembly – and Manchester – and Egypt – and how we all seem to impose conditions without even realising it. I have lots of strands – just seeking a start off to get me going.

    Lots of salads and fruit in my kitchen – and as always – tea!


  8. Preaching on “What do we do now?,” starting with the disciples staring at the place where Jesus was and moving to Jesus’s prayer for eternal life/intimacy with God/unity for his disciples.I got a new puppy a week ago– this is my first time– and my brain is all mush.Tomorrow’s responsibilities loom large but it’s so hard to focus!

    Thankfully, it’s only 8:30 on Saturday morning. Almost a full 24 hours before I preach the first service! I’ve got lady grey tea, fresh cherries, and just a smidgen of Nutella for some toast. Breakfast, anyone?


  9. Just finished (11:30 AM) first draft. Tackling way too much in the sermon, 3 Questions Who was Acts written to…is it you, Theophilus. Where were the disciples looking?…. Heaven is not ‘up there’ get busy. Eternal life John 17:3 interactive relationship not wings and a cloud. Whew! Time to mow the parsonage lawn and then revise, revise , revise.


  10. I’m pleased to report success with the prom dress shopping. Didn’t expect it to be that easy😊 Now for dinner. It’s late enough here to pour a gin to help with the cooking. Happy to share….

    Liked by 4 people

  11. It’s just past lunchtime, and I’ve made no progress with Psalm 68. It seemed like a good choice, and then the scholars are *all* in agreement (when does that ever happen?) that is it the most textually and exegetically complex psalm. I think I want to say that God uses divine power on behalf of the weak, and that is the proper use of power. I need a way in, though. We’re also having a baptism with lots of visitors. I’m not sure how or if to fit that into the sermon, and it means I want the sermon to not be so heavy as they have been lately.

    We have an abundance of sweets to share: Texas chocolate sheet cake, lemon bars, and now we’re going to go out for ice cream to celebrate the end of the school year. Please, take some.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Monica, that is a complex Psalm – but I like your focus on power, though. I’m having a real struggle just now with colleagues who are abusing power.
      On a brighter note, we’re having a weekend of celebrations – for us, schools out, not just for summer, but forever!!! Can’t believe we’ve got to that stage with our two children.
      I hope the sweets help the thought processes. Thanks for sharing.


      1. Abusing power does seem rampant. I’m also thinking about the power that the church holds (consciously or not), and how we might use it wisely and faithfully.


  12. Lunch was leftover pie and Diet Pepsi. Which fits with the Galatians passage: how does a community deal wth the call to be a distinctive community yet also be open to all. Paul’s use of scripture is very interesting to me. As a gentile I’m grateful for the work of the Spirit in opening up the community beyond the existing borders. Time to relate that to th pr sent conversations in the church. How to,say it so folks will listen? Frederick Buecher said, something like, ” sometimes people make the mistake of being more religious than God,”.

    Now my challenge, how to be more than a “fine” preacher.?.??🙏

    I’ll pop some popcorn, maybe I’ll find some kernels of truth 😀. You’re welcome to share it.


    1. Caroline, I’ve always found some comfort in the struggle the early church had in deciding who could be in or out. But you’d think we would have learned from that and appreciate that God knows no bounds nor limits grace and love and acceptance… As you say, how can we say it so that folk listen?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s 4:46 pm here, and it’s time to work on the sermon. Working on Galatians and praying for inspiration!! Except I’m tired after visit with one family and then graveside service for their loved ones, two visits to the nursing home where family are gathered to wait their mom’s transition to new life, and a trip to the grocery store. I’m sort of waiting for a call from the nursing home in the next 12 hours or so. sigh. Maybe a nap is in order??????

    Liked by 1 person

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