As one who uses the RCL I am thick into the stories of the Exodus, of Jesus defining himself as the fulfillment of all the law (see Exodus) and prophets, and of Paul writing to the church in Philippi. In the intense times we live in, filled with violence and the threat of violence and the deterioration of the values Jesus taught, preaching is a fine art. The art of speaking the truth in a way that it will be heard, in a way that one hopes will be transformational, in a way that can shake our habits of perception and open up new portals of insight, in a way that promotes love as Jesus taught it.

The Narrative lectionary also offers stories from Exodus, of the forming and shaping of a people of faith through trials and tribulations. How do we manage ourselves and stay faithful to God when we are struggling, when it seems like God has disappeared? How might one’s perception be cloudy?


I find that I feel so inundated with violence these days that its become normalized. I wrote my entire draft of my sermon and did not once mention violence. How can I not refer to the most recent tragedy in the USA, in Las Vegas? It’s startling that this tragedy can feel like a normal event and I have other “more important” things to say on this Sunday as we launch the stewardship season…wow. Perceptions.

Where are you going with the readings this week? What is the Spirit calling up in you?

This is the preacher party and we’re here all day to journey together. Grab a mug, I have a pot of fresh coffee and some homemade steel cut oatmeal.


The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving in Dearborn, MI. A member of the RevGalBlogPals and blogger since 2006, she blogs at


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

34 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Habits of Perception

  1. I am in NL here – and have looked to the question – “Where is the manna for me?” as a repeated refrain.
    It seems to me, particularly now, that many of us are worn down and weary, finding that refreshment is far, far away.
    God still provides: through kindness; through hope; through friends; through so many wondrous things
    Where is the manna for me? In every day, in surprise encounters; in unexpected ways – I have just finished the first draft.
    time to go heat some soup for lunch and see how it reads after food!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Julie – I love the idea of getting everyone to ponder what their “manna” is – individually and collectively. It seems like another way of asking “Where is God working in and around us?” Being able to point to an active, engaged God is such an important skill for us all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Given the events of last Sunday in LV and the gratuitous violence in the week’s parable I am going there – what allows people to assault and kill other people? I am using material from Brene Brown’s new book (Braving the Wilderness) to raise the issue of dehumanization, so it has relevance for all of us (even if you aren’t killing people, are you dehumanizing them with your words?), and then tying it into our baptismal promises (because we have a baptism) to care for all of God’s created, and to work for peace and justice in the world. When the world shocks and horrified us by our brutality, we have a calling to respond – not with more vitriol, but with the healing gospel.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Here we are beginning four weeks of Reformation Characters….I’m kicking off with Luther tomorrow, sermon title “law and gospel” with the 10 commandments and Romans 3 for texts. I have exactly zero ideas about this so far. It’s only (or already, depending on your perspective!) 3pm, so…..there’s time. But not too much, so I need to try to get my act together at some point in the not-distant future.

    I’ve been making FSTs–Fakin-Bacon, Spinach, and Tomato sandwiches today. I had them for breakfast and for lunch, they’re so delicious. Help yourself to some vegan yumminess!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find myself pondering the idea that law can both bind us and form us, can give us the boundaries for living in a civilized society, living as a body of people of faith…but can also be restrictive if we interpret the law too narrowly. In Romans, Paul is trying to convince the people to understand God more expansively even as they try to live faithfully into the laws of Moses. I had fun talking about Romans this summer and reminding people that the issue Paul took on was circumcision, and how circumcision had become idolatrous – more important than God. I might wonder how it is that the law might also become more important than God? Anyway….my mind wanders….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I tried to be first this week. A bout of sleeplessness–and, dare I say, a visit from the Spirit–got me out of bed and writing around 3 am, but the conversation wasn’t up yet. And, a read-through this morning looks like it will preach! I sure hope so. I leave shortly for the memorial service of a very dear colleague. Then the first opera of the season tonight, which means I must be up and on the road long before dawn tomorrow for the three hour drive back to my church. Oh, it is on the Gospel, with a dash of Exodus.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m fighting some gall bladder issues this morning. Hoping that going easy on my diet will settle things down, I just don’t have time for surgery! And I’m not convinced that my Dr would do surgery just yet…it may have to get worse…sigh. Anyway, I’ll see my dr and well go from there. For now I have a decent draft of a sermon, I’ve run on the treadmill for an hour (which always helps my digestive issues), had a meeting at church, and am heading home to finish the sermon and read. I have a hair cut later today, contemplating cutting it all off!


    1. sympathies for the digestive issues – such a bind. And why does it always have to get worse before they will do anything?!
      Best thing I ever did was cut my long hair right back! Love it shorter. (make sure you show us a pic!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not sure how to post a photo here. I put one up on my Facebook page. I am feeling better for now, not sure how long that will last, but trying to avoid any thing that could be a trigger for more pain.


  6. Canadian Thanksgiving weekend here, so using the RCL Thanksgiving readings. Preaching on Deuteronomy and our dependence on God for everything with giving thanks as the natural response, whether we are still in the wilderness or in a place of abundance. I have a draft but will be editing it today.

    I have lots of leftover bread pudding (with raisins and dried apricots!) from last night to share with anyone who wants some 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have been thinking about the intersection of the Feast Day of St. Francis with this week of coming to grips with the horrific violence in Las Vegas, in particular the Peace Prayer written in Francis’s name (although probably not written by him). How can we acknowledge Jesus’s authority in our lives? Clinging to the toxic individualism, and the idea that freedom doesn’t come with responsibility especially when it comes to guns, seems like a rejection of that acknowledgment, especially when paired with considering the first reading on the Ten Commandments. The Peace Prayer is certainly a counter-cultural response to our typical responses to the fear and anger that we are awash in.


  8. I’m trying to tackle the Matthew parable this week, but I don’t have a clear direction yet. I’ve hosted a small birthday party for our 10 year old and cleaned up the kitchen from said party. And I’ve struck a bargain with my spouse, in which he takes birthday girl and her sister to see “My Little Pony: the Movie,” while I mow and trim the yard. (A bargain for me, at twice the price!). Hoping the yard mowing will allow me some contemplation time, but I’m certain to be hanging out with the Night Owl Preachers later.

    Leftover pizza, watermelon, and birthday cake, if you’d like.


  9. We are celebrating the Feast of St. Francis. I’m working off the deep sense of connectedness with all creation that Francis expressed both in the Canticle of the Sun and in the living of his life. But I’m starting with the greeting St. Francis (and Pope Francis at least once) used: “Peace and all good to each and every one of you.” Have the pieces just have to work them together into a sermon.


    1. We have been using our own version of “Season of Creation” liturgy with lots of input from the New Zealand Prayer book and including St. Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures….hoping it all comes together for you.


      1. A week ago I was at Disneyland until 12:30am! My sleep schedule has been messed up all week since coming home Monday…Some nights I’ve been up until 2am, other nights collapsing at 9pm. Right now (11:20pm) I’ve finished a sermon and am feeling more alert than I should. Hoping it’s not a 2am night! I prefer to be in bed by 11 on Saturday nights if at all possible…so I’m not *too* far off, at least.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Just back from leading a retreat for nearly 40 wonderful women at a Presby church in Amish country, 1.5 hours away. It went really well, but it was like preaching 5 sermons in 20 hours, and I am wiped out. I am going to at least look at the sermon I wrote on Thursday when I was probably too angry about many things large and small and hope that it won’t require all that much tweaking to turn it into something about grace. Tomorrow we bless animals after church so I am hoping that we will end on an upbeat note.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Is that your self-assessment? I think that way sometimes too, especially when I am worn out. Maybe a sermon-light as I mentioned above would suffice for tomorrow? Regardless, rest and take good care. It is incredibly exhausting to lead a retreat, even as it can also be very fulfilling.


  11. Okay, all y’all, it’s been a party, at least for me. I’m heading to bed early to make up for two nights of not much sleep, and hoping for a healthy night of sleep. 🙂 Thanks for joining me today! I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers for Sunday.


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