Hello, preaching friends! It’s the middle of summer here, with the kids home from school and right next to me what feels like all the time. I’ve unadvisedly committed to a sermons-by-request series this summer, and my congregation has stepped up to the challenge. Today I’m working with two passages from Revelation, about which I know close to nothing. All this leads to my need for a thinking spot.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, TX. Photo by Monica Smith, 2017.

What are you thinking about this week? Revised Common Lectionary preachers, a reflection with discussion is at our Tuesday post. Others? What have you found helpful this week?

As always, ask for and offer help, share ideas, and bring some snacks. We have some local cantaloupe to share (from a church gardener!).

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.

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26 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: In Need of a Thinking Spot

  1. This is our annual “Mass in the Grass” service, so I need to be brief, light, and able to communicate without a sound system. Am playing with Paul’s struggle. I find this so funny–in the sense that it speaks for all of us and we can relate so well to how we try so hard and yet fall short. I might share the story of how, as a college student, I was briefly involved with a fundamentalist church. Each morning, I studied the materials I was given, but by 10 am, I had failed miserably. It was my home church’s pastor (UCC) who helped me work through it, telling me of God’s mercy.


  2. I spent yesterday doing some serious pondering of the Genesis text from the RCL…and had a basic outline. Now I need to remember what I was thinking about. Besides the fact that I will be on vacation in twelve days.


  3. I’m here. I have lots of information about Revelation all gathered and twirling in my head, but no message to convey. It may be a long day. I’d really like to be finished by 3:00, when our family has been invited to go swimming at a church family’s house.


  4. argh! I have two failed attempts at a sermon. I have a good friend staying with us this weekend and I really want to go out and spend the day with her, but I’m chained to the chair until I get something preachable on paper! 😦


  5. The ending of the Matthew text is my focus, but apart from the very brief note that how plow horses can bear not twice but four times together what they can alone, I have nothing for tomorrow’s sermon. I have been to the farmer’s market though and there is brie, if you act fast, and peaches, blueberries, blackberries and ripe tomatoes on the counter.


  6. First week in my new congregations and it’s been a busy one. Last Saturday was my first day and attended (but didn’t have to preside) at the funeral of Church 1’s organist’s husband. Yesterday I had a funeral at Church 2 in the morning and a wedding of two 21 year olds at Church 1 in the afternoon. A four week VBS Thursday nights started this week too. So today instead of a day off is sermon writing day! I am focusing on a theme of “What’s Your Story” – telling our stories to each other and using the semi- continuous Hebrew Scripture texts. Tomorrow’s theme is decision making – I was intrigued by how the servant picked Rebekah, and how quickly Rebekah made her decision to go with him. I’ll be starting with the old Eight Ball and moving on from there to talk about the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and then that “feeling” when you just know it’s right. I’m a little frustrated because I can’t bring in the “how I met my spouse” thing without people getting confused about the fact that we’re not together anymore, although he’ll probably bring two of my kids to the service.
    So, in any case, not much food here except Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lovers bar to keep me going, I am happy to share! Blessings to all on your preparations.


  7. So far today I did a bunch of email stuff around the upcoming stewardship season, wrote a draft of my sermon (which was relatively easy because I did a lot of prep yesterday – although prep work is no guarantee that the sermon writing will be “easy”), weeded my garden which had become way overgrown with weeds – all under the weed block fabric we put down, which apparently had a green house effect on the weeds, walked my dogs, ate lunch (leftover zesty cold shrimp and rice salad on a bed of lettuce from the garden), and am now tweaking the sermon. Or at least I will be tweaking it when I get off FB and this blog. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m retired now, but am doing pulpit supply every weekend in July. That is a joy, except the past couple of days I have been weighing whether or not to accept a short term interim assignment. I have not been at all interested in doing interims to date, but this one is short and it feels like a good fit in many ways. My reservations are all tangible and very real as its the fourth largest congregation in our synod and I am being asked to go it solo. Their “decreased” worship attendance is still nearly 400 – down from 600, so it seems like a very tall order. All this to say my head and heart are distracted from this Sunday’s sermon prep. I should give an answer today…


  9. I have a partial sermon/Bible study-ish thing written. Going to take a break for the swimming party and get back to it later. Hopefully I’ll be inspired while I’m gone.

    Y’all can keep the party going. I’ll be back in a few hours.


  10. Ready to focus and tie this up. My lonest sermon illustration will be ideas from a delightful podcast I listened to this week on “OpenYourHymnal.com” with David Haas speaking about the writing of “You Are Mine”. (podcast no.4) It is a wonderful illustration of ‘walking alongside’ others in their pain and what a universal human condition that is. The words in the verses echo Jesus call, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” We’ll sing ‘You Are Mine’ for the hymn of the day. (Refrain: “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine.”) The words to the verses tie in with the Matthew Gospel as well as the closing words in Matthew, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” If you’re looking for a lovely distraction, take a listen to the podcast: https://openyourhymnal.com/episodes/you-are-mine


    1. Love “You Are Mine.” I am on a project right now of trying to understand my theology of music in juxtaposition with my church where the music is “traditional” and all about “tradition” (I would say customary and custom) but the theology is secondary. This podcast seems helpful. Thanks. –Wendy

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Had most of a draft by dinner time yesterday, and spent most of today with friends from out of town… but now it’s 9:30pm and I’m trying to finish the rest of that draft! I think the sermon will come together all right – talking about the weight of something when it’s on a yoke that fits you actually feeling lighter than it it, with personal stories about portaging canoes – but I still have nothing for the kids. Hoping something will come together in the next hour or so! Happy writing to any other late-night partiers out there 🙂


    1. Maybe something with a backpack for the kids? Anyway, glad you had a fun day today, and I hope it all comes together quickly.


  12. I’m preaching for the first time at a congregation where I am beginning an interim assignment. I want to focus on the Gospel, particularly Jesus talking about God being revealed in unexpected ways, to the young and the innocent instead of to the learned. I want to encourage people to look for God showing up in unexpected ways and in unexpected places along this interim journey. I’m doing this very late at night because I took a nap this afternoon that got a little carried away. So all I have to share with any other night owls is some cheese and crackers.


    1. You *were* up late! I love where you’re going with the sermon. Praying for you and the new congregation this morning!


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