Path logoThe story of the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah and their subversion is one of my favourite bible stories. A story that is being played out all across the world today, where those who love God are finding ways to resist abuse of power.
As ever, our texts speak right into our contemporary world. When we need more than ever to hear the call to resistance, to hear the voice of God in the midst of chaos, calling us to declare Christ as Messiah with all our heart, soul and mind. When we are reminded that, today, our bodies are Christ’s body, we are called to be a subversive movement that resists the Pharaohs of today in the name of the one who asks us: “Who do you say I am?” In word and action, we are called and equipped to bring light into darkness, and hope into despair, calling out whatever quenches the image of God in all creation.

So, where are you going with the texts this week? Discussion on the RCL texts can be found here. And we look forward to hearing what texts you will be using.
Please share, in the comments, whatever you and the Holy Spirit have planned for worship this week and what/where you feel called to resist or subvert for the sake of the Kingdom.

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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42 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher’s Party: Always another way

  1. Hi Liz and other RevGals and RevGuys,

    Right now I am sitting with a blank page and 7 web commentary/sermon starter tabs open [inc this one]. We have been doing the semi-continuous Genesis / Exodus stories but I have paired it with Matthew and am not quite sure where the Spirit is leading. I think it is something to do with names – the women being named which is unusual…why are they named?? and Moses given a dual cultural name [out of water/Son] and Jesus asking who do you say I am ? Simon/Peter etc. I also kinda want to address the whole ‘son of God’ thing – Jesus IS God…fully God, not just a ‘son’ of, or ‘diluted version’ or ‘not the same as’. How does our naming of Jesus alter how we see Him and live out our faith. Hmmmm.

    Anyway – it is 11am and I have nothing. I have, however, procrastinated by tidying, sorting DD, showering, washing dishes, making pots of coffee, walking the pup by the loch and picking blackberries so I have an apple and bramble crumble as well as a table of brunch treats – breads, cold meats and fruit…help yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Am I first ? Wow.

    Our congregation doesn’t officially use the lectionary, though I often do (and enjoyed preaching a couple of years back on the subversive midwives). Anyhow, our pastor is on vacation and the person preaching last week and next decided to do a 2 parter on Abraham – leading me to decide to talk about Sarah. I admit, right now I’m struggling a little so I’m using this comment to try to get my thoughts in order (maybe “thinking aloud” to you gals will help).

    I’m going with the encounter between Sarah and the Lord in Genesis 18 – where she denys laughing and he says “oh yes you did”. (hadn’t noticed before this week that God speaks directly to Sarah in this incident, it doesn’t all come through Abraham.) My idea is to hop from Sarah’s laugh of derision, to Sarah’s fear-filled denial to Sarah’s laughter of joy when the promise is fulfilled by the birth of Isaac in chapter 21. I want to say something about how God’s plans can sometimes seem too ridiculous (when God told abraham the plan in chapter 17, he fell over he laughed so much), and then totally scary but that ultimately they can bring joy – but I don’t want to do a “just trust God and everything will be hunky-dory straight away” kind of sermon as I don’t think that that would be faithful to the story either (or to folk’s experience of the world we live in). I also want to work in the idea that going with God’s plans for us isn’t always miserable, even if it sometimes requires a suspension of disbelief – after all, God called Abraham and Sarah to make a baby. Presumably they did it the traditional way and had a good time doing so. (I heard a Rabbi on the radio the other week saying that in Judaism it doesn’t really matter if you don’t believe in God as long as you obey Him – which I kind of liked.)

    Anyway, plenty of hot tea and some pears if you got this far. I feel like I have something that ought to preach but I need to get it down in some coherent structure.

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    1. Sounds good! I like your thoughts.

      BTW – I did Sarah earlier this summer but I used the occasion to speak out about infertility and how not all of us are blessed like Sarah [an issue for some in my congregation]- for some the laughter or the joking response is a means of covering up the pain and hurt of yet another comment about ‘you next’ or ‘if you just stop trying’ or whatever else.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for the tip – definately need to avoid implying that all faithful women are blessed with babies ! One thing i find interesting in Sarah’s story is that although in some sense she is “defined” by her infertility (in that its mentioned as part of her introduction) in another sense, we don’t really get any feeling that she is suffering because of it. She is apparently a beautiful and desirable woman in her own right, regardless of the absence of children.

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    2. Alison – it may be too late for you to include, but I firmly believe that Sarah was the original/intended person of the promise, rather than Abraham. He had several other children, Ishmael by Hagar, and others by different wives after Sarah died. Sarah is the one who truly was a single person and became the mother of many nations. As you mentioned, God spoke directly to her! And she was able to resist/question God and still be blessed and used for a divine purpose, as with many of the major prophets throughout Judaism (like Moses).

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  3. i am looking at the Matthew passage, and wondering who do we say Jesus is. this is my fourth time preaching through the lectionary, and the other three times i have paired Matthew with Exodus, and mainly preached on the midwives. here is the 2014 sermon “civil disobedience or divine obedience” in case it is helpful.

    Tomorrow we are using liturgy put out by Frontier Services, a part of the Uniting Church which works in remote areas of Australia. in preaching on Matthew, I am thinking about our experience of Jesus as Lord/Saviour/…. and how that is known and shown by actions as much or more than by words.
    today i went to an ordination, and am including some memories of preparing for when i was ordained.
    as it is 10 pm on Saturday evening, i had better stop talking with you, and get this things finished.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As I continue to marinate …. and just finished reading your comments …

    All week I have been wondering about posing the question to those present in our community ,,, the one posed to Peter. Who do you say I am? And asking them to answer in six words or less (okay maybe eight). Giving people practice to articulate what they believe. Have them share with others … and put the post-its on the walls. In the 18 months I have been there … I have done a few interactive … one several weeks ago … and each time I am blown away by what folks share.

    Guess I best shake up that marinade one more time and make sure I have the key ingredients are included.

    Thanks so much for this … It is part of my Saturday ritual … and spice for the marinade!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. On the Narrative Lectionary summer ideas, so picking up the Mark 14 Last Supper reading. Over the summer we did the Ephesians passages and thought about what it means to be church despite our diversity.
    Tomorrow I am picking this up again to explore how Holy Communion unites us all, that we are all invited, that Jesus friends were a mixed much and so are we.
    Taking opportunity to teach a wee bit about what exactly the Passover and Passover Meal are and how Jesus timing was deliberate. He sat down to a very traditional meal with his friends and instituted a new one.
    Looking forward to preaching it and then starting a two week holiday.

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  6. I’m not sure if I’m preaching tomorrow or not. We have an unexpected guest in the form of Harvey the Hurricane. We’re on the edges at the moment, receiving wind and rain, but expecting some flooding. My congregation is about 45 minutes away, and I’m not the only one who travels a distance to come. So the “cancel or not to cancel” question is floating through my brain, not to mention much fretting about friends and other folks with more severe weather conditions. The radar is a huge distraction! The Session and I have decided to make the call this evening, so I’m afraid I need to come up with something; I can always save it till next week.

    It’s the Gospel reading, and I’m not at all sure where to go with it. I’m actually considering just having a prayer service for Harvey. But on the other hand, maybe people would find the regular routine comforting. Ack.

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  7. Just finished up making funeral rolls (King’s Hawaiian ham/cheese sliders). Very distracted today as my hubby just came home from a seven month deployment and we leave on Monday for New York City…celebrating our youngest’s 16th bday. Come, Holy Spirit!

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  8. And I’m done ! Don’t think its my best ever, but it will preach. Still think the Spirit is trying to tell me something, in which case I’ll adapt tomorrow morning. Prayers for those in the path of Harvey.

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  9. It’s almost supper time, and I’m still struggling. I’m preaching from John tomorrow, the 14th chapter, the beginning of the end. My colleague will open the preaching with a “tiny sermon” on John 1. So we have the beginning and the beginning of the end. We’re on a college campus, and we often have lots of new students in worship (and some of their parents). I’m considering Charlottesville (still reeling from having been there) and the ensuing white supremacist rhetoric leading to the pardon of Joe Arpaio, the eclipse, and the beginning of the journey of self-knowledge.

    Just a small bite, as usual.

    I’m using poets David Whyte and Nikki Giovanni to make sense of it all.

    But there’s beef stew on the stove (it was a surprisingly cool-ish day, only 80 degrees fahrenheit), and a loaf of french bread in the oven. Y’all are welcome to join us!

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  10. I am toying around with Peter’s testimony of “you are the Messiah, son of the living God” in the Gospel and “present yourself as a living sacrifice” in the Epistle. Trying to draw out the Rock(s) of our faith as the building blocks of the church. How we articulate and live out our LIVING and ACTIVE faith with the gifts we have been given. Feels like three sermons right now. But I have 18 hours for the Spirit to clarify the landing

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  11. Starting a five-sermon series on Moses (response to a request some time ago to preach about him). First sermon – preparation – how did the “rescue”, life in the Pharaoh’s palace and his time in Median prepare him to answer the call? Just heard a TED talk conversation on how childhood experience actually effects the DNA and that got me thinking about what a teach once said about it taking a generation for the Israelites to forget how to be slaves. Did Moses’ experiences give him a head start in being able to think differently? What did he learn while tending Jethro’s flocks that would equip him? And as we bless and distribute Back-to
    School back-pack tags that say BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING does that apply to Moses? I’m not going to ignore the mid-wives, and especially his mother and Miriam – they will be the center of the sermon in a few weeks reminding us that Moses didn’t do it alone.
    It’s coming together, just need a lot of polishing. Prayers for those in the path of Harvey.

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  12. It looks like I’m the only one here going with Romans 12… which I preached three years ago from a completely different vantage point. Then, I focused on the gifts. Now, I’m focusing on transformation instead of conformation. It’s the last in a series of topics suggested by the congregation that we’ve been calling “Intersections: Where Life Meets Faith.” We’ve done wrestling with God, dealing with doubt, and even weighed in last week with how science and scripture intersect in Creation. This one is “Where Sacred Meets Secular.” Here’s a link, if anyone wants to take a look. The photo is from our candlelight vigil after Charlottesville. https://pastorsings.com/2017/08/26/intersections-sacred-living-in-a-secular-world-sermon-on-romans-121-8/
    I’m cooking tomatoes from our garden into chili for supper, but there’s plenty, so help yourself! Take a few of those cherry tomatoes that we have in such abundance, too, please.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m doing Romans also! Tried to comment a while ago but lost internet connection or something. Hoping to find a way to turn “Everyone is important, but we’re not all the same, so celebrate differences and include everyone!” into a complete sermon. Not there yet… probably have several hours to go. Thanks for sharing yours, I’ll go read it soon 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I, too, am trying to weave Matthew and Romans together. I’m working with Karoline Lewis’s point (I think it was from her) that nowadays, we really must be bold in calling on our congregations to figure out their answer to Jesus’s question: Who do you say that I am? Tying that to Romans 12 is fuzzy, but it’s coming.
        It’s still before dinner here, so I’m right on track. But I’m tired. I’m near San Francisco and Berkeley, so there’s a lot of emotion and anxiety in the air, lots of people scared and angry and energized.

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      2. I’ve connected them as well …

        Who do you say that I am?
        Peter speaks up
        The church / mission field is named by (I will build my church)
        The church as a body of Christ
        With a diversity of gifts
        Always transforming and reforming

        Good night

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Late late to the party. I’m doing Romans as well and using it as a way to talk about covenant, church structure, and DOC identity all rolled into good communication. It will be a nice way to end my summer “series” using the RCL to focus on transforming and being church in 2017.

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  13. I was struck in the Exodus story how the Pharoah is basically chanting “Jews (Hebrews) will not replace us!” Thought about doing a monologue with that as an opening line. And the women of the story all defy him and his “power.” Will probably just point that “irony” out as I want more depth than I can achieve in a monologue. We just finished yummy “Bobby Flay” burgers — ground beef and chorizo – join our BBQ!

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    1. Wow – that’s a brilliant analogy between chants of hate groups today and the words of Pharaoh. Thanks! Hope it comes together as you’ve described.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Well, we’ve decided to cancel services tomorrow to stay put and be safe from Harvey. Pray for Harvey to *move* please, and for safety for all, of course. My sermon procrastination paid off. I wrote a prayer and chose some scripture to share with the congregation. Thanks, friends.

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  15. Well, after 5 false starts and cutting out about 2 whole pages of stuff I’m not going to use, I finally have a draft! 11:30pm here, so I’ll do one more read-through then have to get to bed. Hopefully it still looks decent in the morning!

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