DSCN6887How is your summer worship? Are you in a place  where visitors join you for summer services? Or do most of your congregation go out of town? Or both? I recently spoke to a minister whose congregation trebles in the summer and the membership is involved in lots of extra mid week activity to welcome tourists. That sounds like hard work to me just in the season when I’d be expecting to take things a bit slower. And yet – hospitality seems important – as does sowing seeds even when folks are only passing through…

So, where is you’re preaching taking you this summer – are you taking the opportunity to go with a series, deal with folks requests, focussing on all age, or something else?
There are some good pointers for the RCL mentioned in our Tuesday Lectionary blog post here

I look forward to hearing your ideas  and perhaps using them another summer as well as sharing in your struggle as, together, we keep on confronting and wrestling with the texts in all our different contexts.

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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18 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Summer Worship Edition

  1. Thanks for hosting, Liz! I’m working on a sermon about finding our place in the parable of the wheat and the weeds, remembering that it’s not our job to judge, simply to grow where we’re planted and let others do the same. That’s a pretty good summary, but I don’t have the sermon to go with it yet. Hoping to finish by Saturday morning as we have a houseguest arriving in time for lunch. Looking forward to hearing other people’s ideas as well!

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  2. We’ve planned an outdoor service, all about creation and nature, and heavy on the music while light on the preaching, so I am doing a short sermon on last week’s Psalm 65. After a funeral today in our non-AC sanctuary followed by a graveside service not under a shade tree (90+ degrees today), I’m hoping it’s not actually too hot to be out in the lovely courtyard!

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  3. Back to the lectionary, Matthew text, after sharing and reporting on our denominations General Assembly last week. Using kudzu, an extremely invasive vine here in the American south as illustration – hard to kill Kudzu without destroying the host. Now to transition into Jesus message about the kingdom.

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  4. Our sermon request for this week was: “how do we reconcile our Protestant work ethic with the idea that we are saved by grace?” So, you know, just a lighthearted theological romp through the Epistles should do the trick. I have the theology clear in my head, but nothing on paper, and nothing to make it lively yet.

    The kids and I will also be doing laundry and packing up for a week with the grandparents: a doctor’s appointment, traveling to a cousin’s house (swimming! horses!), and other fun. We’ll leave straight after worship, so I have a lot to accomplish today. And I’m trying to find some energy after a week of VBS and unanticipated happenings.

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  5. I’m at the Church of Scotland’s National Youth Assembly this weekend, leading the pastoral team for this annual gathering for 17-25 year olds. Thinking about discipleship in all sorts of fun and challenging ways. Well all invade the local parish church tomorrow. Looking forward to whatever is on offer.

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  6. I am working with the wheat and the tares. However, after reading a blog by Drew Downs on the downside of being a centrist, I am feeling compelled to point out the dangers in stretching a parable too far. The wheat and tares looked enough alike that pulling one up could damage the other. Are there not weeds, though, that kill and strangle good growth if left in place? When is it best to “live and let live” and when must we act on behalf of the vulnerable?

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    1. This is an excellent question. It’s important for us to be able to preach both (live & let live/don’t judge along with speaking out against injustice) without being inconsistent in our interpretation of Scripture. So many folks err on one side or the other. I really hope that you are able to come up with a meaningful way to walk the line so that your people will be able to hear it! And if you feel like sharing when you’re done, that would be great too 🙂

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    2. OK, still thinking about your questions here! I think you’re right – the parable addresses weeds that won’t choke out the good crops, so they can both be allowed to grow together and get sorted out at the harvest. But some weeds do choke out the good crops – some would destroy anything else that’s in the field. And those weeds would have to be pulled, even if a some of the wheat was lost in the process, otherwise the entire crop would be lost. I think this is making its way into my sermon. Thank you for the thought-provoking post today!

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  7. I’m leaning toward preaching Genesis. What is troubling me about the Matthew parable is that, although the weeds can “stay” during the growing season, they are nonetheless cast into the fire in the end. I’m having difficulty reconciling that with a “learn to live with the weeds” theology. Curious how others are addressing that.

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  8. Last week I preached on the sower and the seed. I find myself drawn to the Romans 8 lesson this week, instead of another garden themed sermon. I’m normally a full time hospice chaplain, but have agreed to supply preach some weeks this summer. The verse 18 that talks about the “sufferings of the present time” and the following verses call to me. Suffering at end of life seems to be a spiritual practice in many religions…the Catholics, the Muslims, and even in Judaism. A practice many of those I care for take seriously as they prepare to die. The nurses I work with describe it as being stoic, “an Ole Yankee”, and “fanatical”. We even have one patient who keeps a poker face, even as she clenches her fists. The idea of suffering has got me wondering about its theological validity. The purpose of hospice is to relieve suffering and provide an opportunity to live as fully as possible for as long as possible. So when I hear St. Paul say, “I consider the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” I struggle to understand it. I see so much suffering in the world through injustice, oppressions and and by what we allow ourselves to experience. In my older years I have come to hear God call me to live as a daughter of the Most High God without shame, with no sense of unworthiness and with my head held high. This is important to me as a woman because I think the message we have received through so much of our lives is that we should accept that we must suffer for the greater good and that we are evil from our mother’s womb (psalm 51). Don’t get me wrong! I do see suffering as helpful. I just don’t see it has a requisite for a good dying or living. Perhaps what I sense is that we are called to authentic-ness, not to putting on the appearance of in order to be redeemed. Thanks for letting me think out loud with you.

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  9. working through my “What’s Your Story” series and continuing with the semicontinuous Hebrew scripture texts. This week, Jacob and the pillow of stone and “Beth-El” the house of God in the middle of the desert and talking to each of my two congregations about ideas of place and God’s presence and where we find God. I’m using some stuff from a sermon I preached to a similar congregation back in 2002, when I was still in seminary and my daughter who turned 16 yesterday was one year old. Ah, the memories are bittersweet, especially since she spent today in her room with issues of anxiety and depression. I wish I could still hug her fears away. Thankfully she came out for dinner and we enjoyed some ice cream cake and laughter, and now her girlfriend is here for a visit. Life and preaching intertwined today. Have some ice cream cake!

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  10. Extremely dense and heavy sermon on grace and works and faith and righteousness and justification and sanctification. It’s shorter than usual, which I think is fine, given how heavy it is.

    Packing is about halfway done. Some of it can’t be finished until morning, but I have some more things to get together now. Someone remind me next time that leaving straight after church is not the best idea.

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  11. I am going with Matthew, but only the parable itself. I am not using the explanation provided as was suggested in the “…in the Meantime” blog. The sermon is leaning towards “don’t judge” with “don’t create a dichotomy” and “don’t use it as an excuse to do nothing” inspired by the three commentaries. It will end with a message of hope…about it being our responsibility to bear good fruit and must grow and work together to create the kingdom of Heaven here on earth. Of course all of this will be related to the larger summer theme of exploring what it means to be church in today’s world. We have a congregational meeting afterwards where we will be discussing a known beggar in our church and I want to help them be in the frame of mind to understand that while we are allowed to be good stewards of our money, we don’t have the right to completely judge her and bring in gossip from the community. We can still do God’s will for her, love her, and say no to giving cash without judging her to be a “weed” in the community.

    In regards to food I have fresh tomatoes from the garden.

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