It’s the “Too Much” edition of the 11th Hour Preacher Party. Too much to do. Too many tragedies, affecting too many people. It’s all so overwhelming. And yet, we preachers are called to speak a word of comfort and/or challenge into the too-muchness.

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I feel like this, trying to reach the top of my To-Do pile. Too much.  (Photo by Monica Smith, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Texas, 2017)

What’s on your mind for your sermon? RCL preachers have an Exodus, Romans, or Matthew option. Our Tuesday post may prove enlightening. And Narrative Lectionary preachers are easing into a new season, appropriately enough, in the beginning, Genesis, with this post to spark some insights.

Bring your questions and ideas for prayers, children’s moments, and any other concerns to the party. We’re all in this together.

I’m praying for you, as you work. Peace be with you.


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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30 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Too Much Edition

  1. I’m so grateful to have this party to check in to. It’s 9:30 on Friday night here in Oregon, and I’ve just put a pot of coffee on. I’m a Saturday sermon writer — usually until quite late on Saturday evening — but we have beloved friends coming from out of town tomorrow. Friends who have recently lost their granddaughter after having lost their daughter several years ago. I’m determined to finish writing tonight so that tomorrow I can concentrate on being prepared and ready to welcome them with my full heart and attention. I’m writing on Matt — on pain, truth and restoration in community. so far, so meh. Time for a cup of that coffee. It smells delicious!

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  2. I’ve been off lectionary. Full day tomorrow with kick-off of stewardship at the morning worship and then a dedication service for the new addition and remodel at 4 p.m. Sermon #2 still needs some work.

    Gratefulness.org shared this question this morning: What is not on your to-do list?

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  3. Ugh. I’m on week 3 of toothaches from dental work that doesn’t seem to have worked… So what else to do when awoken at 4:30am with a toothache than dig into Sunday’s sermon, right?
    I’m primarily working with Romans this week: Love. We could all use a little more of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh no! Prayers for relief from pain, and relief from dentists!

      I never think of Romans as a particularly “love” book, but last week’s reading, and this week’s, were pretty strongly loving. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tired this evening after being at the church market for election day. we are a polling booth, so we run a sausage BBQ, cake stall, plants, books, trash and treasure, children’s toys and craft stalls until about 1.00 pm. then shopping to get some things for tomorrows workshop.

    writing on Genesis 1, but so far talking mainly about when the story was written down and why, thanks Spill the Beans team. With everything else happening tomorrow, i need to be short this week [last week ended up being quite long] we have our Presbytery Mission Development Officer coming to work with us on our planning, hopefully we will come up with some areas to focus on in coming years.almost 10.00 pm Saturday and i want to be in bed in an hour.

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  5. Good morning! On Exodus, since I am back in the pulpit in a church in transition. I’m using the alleged Abraham Lincoln quote about being on God’s side to talk about the first Passover, and going on to talk about God always being on the side of liberation and justice. This morning, re-starting the Contemplative Cleveland Walks that a friend and I got going awhile back — she moved to AZ and I’m not sure that anyone will come — then cleaning house and praying for hurricane areas.

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    1. I love the Passover story, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it into a sermon. I like your approach. Cleaning and praying is a good combination.

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  6. I’m asking ” Who are we?” to follow “who do you say that I am?” and ” who am I?”. We’re looking at what makes us church – the stories, the rituals, the meals, those who reconcile and seek peace, those to whom God offers salvation and forgiveness, a flock of once lost, currently lost and will get lost sheep.

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  7. I’ve had a fun, full on week – Monday & Tuesday very heavy work days followed by three fab fun days with fellow Revgals, Marci & Kelley who are visiting – two days exploring Northern Ireland, and yesterday in Edinburgh. They are doing more fun stuff today and I am trying very hard to concentrate.
    I started with the NL a week early, so this week is next week’s text (as next week will be a fab, three women from three continents kind of Sunday!) and I cannot find anything good or positive about the binding of Isaac.
    Mostly I am thinking – “what were you thinking?!” – which is possibly where I will go, as the other track is more atonement based and I’m not comfortable with that at all… and I had a great in the car conversation with Marci – but it’s all disappeared from my cold infested brain!! I’m feeling seriously chocolate deprived and may need to go seek some sweet things….

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    1. I believe in the motivating powers of chocolate! Glad you’ve had a full and fun week, but sorry about the cold 😦 I have nothing positive to say about the binding of Isaac either…hm….

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    2. I did Isaac earlier this summer in RCL. We focussed on Sarah and Hagar who both were gifted a son, who were both promised a nation through their sons and a blessing in their lives and who both then faced God possibly taking their sons.

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      1. Thanks. I took a hot bath, which seemed to help a lot! Putting the Romans into the Gospel reading, coming out with what does it mean to be church – and quoting the old Avery & Marsh song “I Am the Church, You Are the Church, We Are the Church Together.”

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  8. Well, here we are, just after lunch, U.S. Central Time. I have been roped into helping a daughter clean her room, but we have both lost interest. I have unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, made lunch, finished my novel, prayed continuously for Irma. What have I not done? Oh yes, started this sermon.

    I trust the rest of you are more diligent than I.

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  9. I am praying for all of you who are preaching tomorrow in the midst of SO much tragedy and struggle around the world. I was scheduled to preach, but my hubby is once again filling in for me in the aftermath of my less-than-smooth healing process after eye surgery. Last week as I left worship I whispered to my hubby, “You’ve still got it!” It was good for him to lead worship and preach again after two years of retirement, and he did a great job. And I, necessarily, remain sidelined. Next surgery did get scheduled this week for mid-October. And so I wait.

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    1. I’m still trying to decide if it is better to be preaching or not to be preaching in the midst of tragedy and struggle. It’s hard either way. Prayers for a smoother recovery for the next surgery.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Using the “Seasons of Creation” alternate lectionary this month, so this is “Land Sunday.” Our part of Northern New England is an oasis compared to the regions hit by forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, yet many have ties to various areas of concentrated suffering. I plan to offer a very brief reflection of my own, but will first read the Exodus “holy ground” passage and simply invite folks to start sharing about the places they love, and the places they need us to pray for. My sense is that, this week, folks really need an opportunity to name some of the storm/fire/flood-related anxiety, and a safe place to hold their grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We (in Texas, but with only minor damage) have definitely needed time to share stories and lament. After reading your idea, I wish I had made more space in worship for that.

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