1311834C-9713-4791-8DBC-4950AAD4C170Come early or late, God is there.
However circuitous our route, God is there. Going before us, holding out grace, welcoming us in no matter how we’ve tarried or travelled.
God in all our meanderings, embracing us with love.
Thanks be to God.

Our readings this week in both the Narrative and RCL seem to point us to a God who delights when we show up or when we wake up to the presence of God in everyday life.

Mary Austin shares her thoughts on the NL and Katya Ouchakof shares thoughts on the RCL.  in blog posts from earlier in the week – and there is good discussion in the comments on both. Please add to those or comment here on where your preaching is taking you this week. What has inspired you and where are you finding contemporary illustrations for the texts?

And, if you’re looking for something in particular, do ask,  as, together, we bring God’s word to God’s people today.

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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28 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher’s Party: God always shows up

  1. On Sunday, I am starting a series on the five core tenets/solas of the Reformation that will end with a big “Reformation 500th Anniversary” worship service on the last Sunday in October. The first sermon is on “Grace Alone”. I’m struggling a bit to come up with examples that convey what it means to be “saved by grace” while residing in a world that is not fully God’s realm. (Especially since I still wrestle with the balance between being saved by grace and being called to good works.) In the sermon, I hope to offer “glimpses of grace” in the here and now and would appreciate suggestions or examples that come to mind for folks – particularly in the US, particularly in light of some much that feels ungracious.

    And, for those who are inclined to pray for me, I have been suffering from an unexplained neck and upper back soreness for nearly four weeks. Seeing the doctor on Monday. It is a bit worrisome and the discomfort makes it difficult to sit a the computer for very long. I’m praying for some answers…soon.

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  2. I don’t know when I would have found time to write a sermon this week, so I am grateful for a sustainable one, slightly revised for next context, and unimaginatively still entitled Bread from Heaven. Presbytery meeting for much of tomorrow, so I am going to be satisfied, and know that the Spirit will do her thing.

    I am working on the Reformation, too, via an adult ed series. Last week: An intro to Acts; this weeks, highlights of the church 500-1500. Thankfully we are watching some of the Luther movie the next two weeks, and I’ve previewed and prepared a discussion on that, so maybe there will be time for sermon writing NEXT week.

    Meanwhile, my college students have been working on the First Amendment religion clauses, and today they kept going back to Mormons and polygamy and Sister Wives. Go figure.

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  3. I have a draft up and hopefully will be able to return to fix it up a bit tomorrow. It is on my blog, if anyone wants to check it out. http://randomrevhd.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-fallacy-of-bootstrap-gospel.html?m=1
    I am scheduled to test for my advanced yellow belt in Aikido around 10:30 central time Saturday morning. I am so nervous! I love martial arts, the meditative quality, the physical movement, the ability to shut down my mind and focus on my body- but I hate the stress of a test!

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      1. I did not test today. The people who I was to work with in testing were ill. Instead I got a very good detailed review for when I am finally able to test. Not ideal, but it is what it is.

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    1. I used to practice Shotokan karate, and I will remember the stress of the test. I pray you will be at peace, and that your mind and muscles remember all that you have learned. You’ll do great!

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  4. Saturday evening, and i was out all afternoon, leading a zone meeting [about 15 congregations or worshipping communities] and attending a seminar. now time to write a sermon on Jacob. each week i am showing a timeline of the Old Testament, to show where we are up to, and this week i am adding in a map. After some background of where this story fits in our journey through the OT, i am focusing on this verse: Surely the LORD is in this place–and I did not know it!”. I am reading, very slowly, Richard Foster’s book: Life with God. he writes of how in the Bible, many stories are God saying “I am with you”, the question then being, are you willing to be with God.

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  5. finished, and it is only 10.30 pm. As often happens, i am not sure how well it all hangs together, but usually it works out on the day – even when I don’t get it, others do.
    NL4.3 God with us?
    and a baptism at the first service tomorrow, so i have borrowed the duplo from playgroup for the expected ten children 🙂 usually there are none.
    blessings

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  6. Anyone have a simple blessing to teach kids? I am not thinking of a meal blessing but maybe something I can teach them and then they can, in turn, offer the blessing to the congregation.

    thanks

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    1. Spouse and daughter off at a weekend wedding, so it’s the 8-year-old boy and me here today. So far I’ve put together a crockpot of ham and beans (fall-ish weather), made pumpkin cake mix muffins, and am helping create a Lego American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. So… I have lots of ideas, but nothing on screen yet (and even writing this comment caused sudden need and constant interruption).

      I am intrigued by the 5:00 workers who take their place in the field without promise of anything, and what that says to us about taking up the task even if we are late or feel insignificant or were left until last for whatever reason. But I’m not sure how to get there or exactly what point I am making, so…is Antonio Banderas still bringing sermons?

      I asked to preach tomorrow because I am preaching for the Committee on Preparation for Ministry on Tuesday, and preferred to write a “real” sermon rather than go through an exercise. It worked out nicely because my colleague was on study leave this week, but right at this moment I am wondering what I was thinking.
      –Wendy

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    2. Sorry. I lost track of what I was doing. The above was supposed to be a comment–not a reply. The reply was going to be this: Can you do something as simple as, “Remember, you are a beloved child of God” or, for a group, “remember, you are beloved children of God.” –Wendy

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    3. I don’t know what age of kids you’re thinking of, but the blessing/benediction I offer every week in our preschool chapel (and used to do every week at my last church) is “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” and then everyone raises their hands and shouts “Yay!” The older kids know the introductory words by now and say it with me, while the younger ones just do the “yay!” The adults also love to “yay!” We don’t get enough “yay!” in our lives these days.

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  7. Happened on a Richard Rohr quote this week about how we never choose to preach on the 10th commandment–on coveting. It occurs to me that both the Exodus and Matthew passages are about this. But, those complaining are coveting what those less fortunate have–the remaining slaves in Egypt have food and water; the workers last hired (and understood as less desirable) are paid the same. How does that translate in our culture where those marginalized are often the ones whose resources are challenged (not those of the truly wealthy). Still working on this as I head to a wedding.

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  8. Liz, the opening words above are so beautiful… your prayer? a found one? I would love to use them in worship, either in the sermon or the prayers. Thanks so much for creating this space.

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  9. I am struggling between wanting to preach on the whole “equality vs. justice” theme of the Gospel/dispelling the myth of pull yourself up by the bootstraps as it is a message my congregation needs to think about and the theme of comfort in “God shows up!” because we are dealing with a lot of illness and aging in our congregation. Afflict or comfort? That is my question.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m preaching Jonah and the vineyard workers tomorrow. It’s rather early in my finishing process– nothing’s written down yet– but I notice how quickly I gravitate towards identifying with Jonah and with those workers who’d been there all day. I understand Jonah’s anger at God’s mercy and the dayworkers’ resentment (fear? perhaps that there won’t be enough by the time they get paid?). But what if the healing work of the Gospel is in realizing that I, too, am a Ninevite? Or that I, too, am really, really late to getting to some of the work? Yes, there’s good work I’ve been doing for/with God for a long time. But the work of dismantling my own participation in the structural sins of racism, homo- and trans- phobia, for example? I just stepped onto that part of the field way too recently. So maybe the good news is that God is still giving us time, still calling us to get to work, still pulling us in and putting us together on the field. And we find our life in celebrating God’s abundant, patient mercy with one another– not in settling for getting what we each deserve, independent of one another.

    I think this is where I’m going…..

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    1. Oh, what a great direction! Wow! I’m using the same two readings thinking of how we, like Jonah and the first hired, want God’s grace but resent that grace being given to those we don’t think of as deserving. I’m most intrigued by your thoughts!

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      1. These two readings go together really well. That doesn’t always happen! The resentment piece in both of them is key. Thanks for naming it like that.

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  11. It’s midnight here, and I’ve just finished tweaking a sustainable sermon on the Whole Armour of God–the last day in our Ephesians series Building Up The Body. Changing some of the call to justice because the context is so different here, but keeping the ending–a quote from the Lord of the Rings, when Aragorn speaks to the armies at the Black Gate. The one with “the day may come…but it is not this day.” Gives me shivers every time, it’s so amazing! And fits perfectly, so hopefully it works here. 🙂
    I suppose I should go to bed, since the alarm goes off in six hours….but I do have salted caramel ice cream in the freezer, so y’all help yourselves!

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