DSCN6855I managed to see Wonder Woman this week. And, although that’s a genre of film in which I wouldn’t normally indulge, I loved it!
The down to earth, underlying themes of truth and hope and love triumphing over evil and hatred and suffering, spoke to me at a primal level as I sought to escape the reality of the world news stage for a time.

This week, the RCL offers us some difficult passages on which to preach: Jesus bringing not peace but a sword, Abraham expelling his concubine and child, Jeremiah railing at God for calling him to a life of ridicule – none of which are easy to hear for those who want some good news for a change – there is some helpful discussion on the Lectionary Post from earlier in the week.
Perhaps you’re avoiding those texts by following one of the series in the Narrative Lectionary or by taking the opportunity to do something different for the summer.

Wherever your preaching is taking you this weekend, please join the discussion here: Let us know what and how you’re doing, offer or request resources and refreshments as, together, we struggle and, by the grace of God, accomplish the vital task of bringing the good news of God for the world where we are today. 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


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.

40 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: I can’t preach that!

  1. tomorrow morning is UCA anniversary,commissioning of elders and members of Church Council, and working with the readings from Matthew and Romans. this mean i will get away with a shorter sermon than usual.
    i have one service in the morning, combined, instead of 2, and because we are having lunch afterwards, we aren’t starting until 10 am, almost 2 hours later than my usual Sunday morning.


  2. done. Following Jesus is costly

    the service is very full, but starting at 10.00 am gives me plenty of time to still be finished in time for soup lunch. speaking of soup, i have spicy sweet potato soup, made this afternoon, ready to take tomorrow. help yourself.
    it has been delightful two days with a young women joining me for Friday playgroup, kids club and family church, then today helped cook soup. she is in the process of applying to be a candidate. in UCA we apply before we go to the equivalent of seminary, and formation studies, field education and our degrees at the same time.
    the kettle is about to boil, and as well as soup we have chocolates to share, courtesy of our visitor.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On the Facebook page, Martha has posted the bibliographic info for Hagar’s Poems by Mohja Kahf. Here are some excerpts with page references: From “The First Thing” (pp.4-5) I am Hajar, mother/of a people/I stand here/straddling the end and the beginning/ Each rock cuts into the heel like God/Each step is blood,is risk:/ is prayer

    From “Hajar: First Woman on the Moon” I’m not what I was before:/Not Sarah’s Hajar,/nor Abraham’s, not/a girl of Egypt anymore/Can’t go back now(6)

    From “Professor and Mrs. Abraham” But Sarah, did you never have a thirst?Did you ever take off on a quest?/Do you have a desert in you and despair,? To make you rail against the sun and stars?/Have you found a god who will not fail?/Or do you still bow to the customary god,/God of your fathers,tethered in your heart? (9)

    From “Kin”: We did not begin with the husband we shared,/but in Egypt, with divine/intelligence arrowed fro eye to eye/across a patio of pagan strangers,/when I was royalty and you were trembling/in the house. You knew exile and I/knew exile. You suffered and I suffered/ Like matter, kinship can be changed/but not destroyed. Cruelty tarnishes,/but cannot dissolve it. We are kin/fro bread baked together,/salted,broken, eaten, sacred/……….(13)

    From “Hajar’s Ram”: Maye Hajar’s ram was the miracle/of the rest of her life. First finding/the will to live, cut off and alone,/then foraging in the desert/for a new sort of family,/one not based on lineage or ownership/or an identity foisted on you like a mask,/ but the kind of family that sticks with you/even when you become a pariah….(18)

    From “All Good”: Hajar pours water that becomes/a subtle, sweet, and heretofore unheard of wine,/Sarah laughs again, ore deeply./Abraham is radiant. Everyone, this time/around,can recognize/in the eyes of every other,/the flickering light of the Divine.”(35)

    Now I’m off to the Farmers Market on my bike before I sit down and write. Please do get the book of poems. It is marvelous.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning! Back in the pulpit tomorrow for a church at some distance and preaching most of a sustainable sermon – then several weeks in a pulpit closer to home, whose session meeting I will drive back for after the service far away in the morning. But today I am co-officiating a wedding for a friend of my daughter’s — one of a foursome of girls who have been friends since first grade and are all turning 30 this year. The ups and downs of those years have been dramatic — what a joy to see the delight in her family last night and today. We are hosting three guests from the bride’s Reed College days, so this is a VERY full week-end.


  5. I’m wrangling Romans, trying to preach Paul to a congregation in a summer Sunday stupor is proving to be a challenge. But I’ve got some coffee to share, and a willing spirit, and a deadline so I can go have fun later this afternoon.


    1. I volunteered to help with a Romans series for a friend last summer – I won’t be doing that again anytime soon! Glad you have a deadline to go and have some fun.


  6. I wrote yesterday, and now I am editing and cleaning it up before a busy day.
    We are celebrating musicians and teachers and graduates, and I went off lectionary to talk about teaching. I’m trying to balance giving people a glimpse of our children’s ministry with bringing a word from the scripture. We don’t have a specific Christian Ed or children’s ministries person, so I sometimes default to that role, and I feel like this sermon is very much from the perspective of that role. Which, for a “one off” in the summer, may not be bad, but I’m feeling unsure of myself. –Wendy


  7. Any ideas on how to do a children’s time on emotions? I’m using the Genesis stories, out of order, for a 3 -week series. It seems like emotions will be a good lead in with children and I have a series of large posters to ask them about facial expressions and body expressions. Not sure how to end it after they’ve responded. (hopefully) Ideas?


    1. I’ve also asked, after each picture, “is it ok to come to church if you feel like this?” Not sure how that might tie into the Genesis story, but in case it’s helpful, there you are.


  8. I am in Acts this summer and using the texts Bruce Epperly works with in his book, Transforming Acts. The first 8 verses of Chapter 6. My Saturday tweak turned into a major overhaul as I just gutted 2/3 of the sermon I wrote on Thursday.


  9. I’ve just returned from a whirlwind trip to Dallas, Tx attending/hosting a conference for the Episcopal Women’s Caucus, that included a few RevGals. I’ve been pondering the Hagar/Sarah story thinking I’d just pull up the sermon I preached in 2014. But I’m not going to do that. Instead I have been pondering just posing a variety of scenarios, the commentaries on what is going on in this story: Hagar a slave women given to Sarah by Pharaoh? Hagar an Egyptian princess who fell in love with Sarah’s God and wanted to be with Sarah in order to worship THAT God? Hagar is a victim. Sarah is cruel. Abraham is mostly silent and bizarrely complicit in cruelty. Hagar and Sarah are the “faithful” ones, each keenly aware of God’s bidding and desire, collaborating in bringing forth two great nations, a world of diversity….

    I may begin with a personal story of being separated from my birth father and his family when my parents divorced, because my mother cut us off when she remarried and that man adopted my brothers and I. I did not see my birth father nor his family for 19 years, and then was never really able to rebuild a consistent relationship with that “side” of my genetic family. The idea being that families are complicated. Cutting off families does not eliminate the complications, but only adds layers to the mess. What ever was actually going on between Sarah and Hagar, God remained in relationship with both of them, and at the end of Abraham’s life the two sons, Ishmael and Isaac reunite to bury their father. Perhaps they have stayed in touch all along? Maybe as humans we cannot always manage to build the kind of beloved family and community that God hopes for us, but regardless of our relationship challenges, God stays faithful, continues to work for wholeness, and strives to build loving relationships between all people….

    I may connect it Romans and what I said last week about circumcision being an effort to determine who belongs and who doesn’t and how Paul was working to make them one community, regardless of their differences. I may say something about the Gospel too…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Powerful and relevant personal story, Terri! If you’re willing to share that piece of yourself with your folks, it could be a great real-world example of the tensions you’re describing. Thank you for sharing it with us!


  10. I’m skipping way ahead in the lectionary to a collection of parables in Matthew 13. (It’s assigned for July 30 this year). I have other plans for July, and was intimidated? unenthusiastic? something? by this week’s texts, so I skipped ahead. The parables include the mustard seed. If we had a projector in the sanctuary, I would show this video to go with it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JCm5FY-dEY&feature=youtu.be&utm_content=buffer04c20&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
    I guess I’ll just describe it instead. I’m just sitting down to get started, as I’ve been at a Presbytery meeting yesterday and this morning.

    Glad to have some companions!


  11. About to officiate a wedding, for a wonderful young couple who are not members but strong in faith and love. They’re also laid-back about arrangements, which is wonderful 🙂

    After that, I get to start in on the Sunday sermon. I’ve done reading and brainstorming and made a few notes so far, following the Matthew passage. But I’m not sure where it’s all going. Hopefully something well come together quickly so that I’m not up all night!

    My garden spontaneously sprouted more lettuce this year than I planted, so I’ve got plenty to share! A little bit of spinach also. Check back in a couple weeks and I’ll have some carrots too, so we can make a salad 🙂


  12. Ugh. It’s 4 pm on Saturday afternoon and the sermon-writing is like walking through shoulder-deep mud. I’ve done all the other things I need to in order to prep for a busy Sunday, including the adult-ed discussion using Bill Meyers’s Genesis: A Living Conversation video. I’m preaching on Hagar, I’m leading the adult ed discussion on Hagar, and right now it just all feels so obvious and flat. I’m going to take this as my cue to push up from the table and do some knitting. I’ll be back to my writing in a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve clearly had way too much time off! I have a pulpit supply engagement tomorrow morning, and I’ve been starting-stopping-starting on my sermon for the last two days. The congregation is currently without a pastor and is at the earliest stages of the call process. So the Gospel text seems like it would be a little disconcerting. I think I will acknowledge that there will be challenging times during the call process, especially if there is not an interim pastor available to serve them. And I will point to the verses that promise God’s presence with God’s people through any rough times: Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows, and Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

    That’s it, a nugget. Now to turn it into something that resembles a sermon. About all I can offer to fuel those of us who are late-night sermonizers is some cheese and crackers; I’d be glad to share them with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheese and crackers is yummy late at night! I am kind of going the same way, except that I am a new pastor at the church (4 monthsish) and have been asked to lead the church in exploring how we need to start being the church so that we can grow. I’m going with the idea that part of being church is difficult and challenging because we are called to face God’s reality not the cultural reality. I have some Coke (pop/soda/etc) to share for those who need a caffeine kick to finish.


    2. Well, I ended up going in a different direction. I checked my prior sermons and found one on Romans. The main point is that the key verbs are in the passive voice instead of active voice. Our baptism isn’t something we do for ourselves; God is the one who acts, who drowns us to death so that God can raise us up to life. The assurance that God is in charge is also a word that this congregation may need to hear as they begin their search for their next pastor. In about 5 minutes I’ll be ready to click Print and then get some sleep.


  14. Well, after all that hemming and hawing, I cranked the sermon out in an hour and a half. We’re looking at Hagar and Ishmael, why they’re in the Hebrew scriptures in the first place (and Hagar in particular is so honored with divine blessing), who are the Hagars and Ishmaels (the cast-off people) in our community. We’ll end with renewing our baptismal covenant– to seek and serve Christ in all people and to strive for justice and peace…. It feels good. Now for a power sleep!

    Liked by 1 person

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