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Seriously, can’t we sleep for another week or so??

I know, I know, as Marci Auld Glass says, we welcome “the relentless return of Sunday!”

What are your plans for worship and preaching this Sunday?  Are you following the RCL, where Jesus is presented in the temple? Don’t miss RevGal Rachael Keefe’s wonderfully detailed conversation on all of the RCL readings for this week found here.  Or, are you working with the Narrative Lectionary and the story  of John the baptizer?  Marci Auld Glass asks some provocative questions in her commentary found here. My favorite is, “How does the story of John the Baptizer look in the season of Christmas, rather than the season of Advent when we often encounter him?”  How, indeed?

Besides the lectionary options, it is also the eve of the New Year.  Will you craft a different worship experience around endings and beginnings?   Or observe Epiphany early?  Or explore ways to use Star Words?   There are also great ideas on Star Words in our Facebook Group in the files or here.

Whatever you are working on,  we are here for each other.  Please share your ideas and sermon topics, children’s sermons, eggnog recipes, New Year’s Eve traditions and more in the comments and let’s keep each other company as we prepare for the “relentless return of Sunday.”


Rev. Karla Miller is Minister for Community Life at the Old North Church UCC in Marblehead, MA.  She is a contributor to the RevGal’s amazing book, “There’s a Woman in the Pulpit” .


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.

39 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: New Year’s Eve day edition!

  1. At the early service we are looking at John 1: 19-51, this week and next week’s NL readings. at the later service, we are having a service in Scripture and Song, than you Brian Wren. Next Sunday we are looking at Epiphany, then will resume NL readings.
    Saturday evening, 7.45 pm, so time to get my head around a sermon for tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Pearl, LOVE Brian Wren. Will look forward to hearing about how that went. And the John passage is so powerful. Blessings on your prep!

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  2. done for the night.
    So pleased i found the working preacher article on the John reading.
    here is an Invitation to life, probably more on next week’s NL reading than this week’s.

    Happy Saturday for those starting their day

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  3. I am delaying Sunday for one more week with Lessons and Carols on 12/31. That gave me the gift of no sermon preparation during this vacation week and let’s us start the New Year with Epiphany next Sunday. Prayers for all of you preaching whether on the slaughter of innocents or one of the other texts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you and the self care! Many of us have had the last few days off, and I think congregations love the opportunity to sing worship when they can.

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  4. I did a modified lessons and carols for this Sunday. No sermon…by design. I am using the history/context of 4 Christmas Carols. The take on new meaning when you know why/how they were written. It’s been a very busy time from September on and January is no gift to pastors, either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice! I have a book that traces the history of Christmas Spirituals that I someday hope to use in worship. It’s well done~~I can’t remember the name, though, but it is on a shelf somewhere!

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    1. Oh Cindy, brrrrrrr. Sounds like chili should be on the menu for the potluck! I love the Simeon and Anna story and the many ways it can be approached. Wisdom, yes! We need to grow together in it, especially in these times. Blessings and warmth on your worship.

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  5. I am preaching a first person sermon on Anna. She was faithful for years. We, as a church have stepped out in faith and voted to be part of the sanctuary church movement. Where is God calling you to step out in faith?

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  6. I’m blending lessons& carols with prayer stations for the first part of the liturgy at our 10:30 service, with some parts of that at the two earlier ones. It’s been detailed and complex to plan; as is so often the case with these creative ideas that seem like a good way to take a break from preaching, it would’ve been easier to write a sermon! I’m excited, though, and I’m trying not to think about the handful of folks who will be annoyed that I’ve changed “their” liturgy. I still need to do a short homily at the early service, so I’ll be thinking about that today; everything else is prepared.

    Still plenty of Christmas chocolate around my house, so help yourself!

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    1. Betsy, yes, doing the creative stuff with prayer stations does seem to take more time, and attention to details. Probably because we don’t get to do it as often, and writing sermons, while creative, we have a process down. In any case, blessings on both your services!

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  7. Simeon and Anna here. Looking at the usual points Luke is making in this text, but also spending some time of the fact that these were “elders” in many senses of the word. What can they teach my elder congregation about our faithfulness, and our future? And siimmering a pot of Black Eyed Peas for Hoppin’ John on Monday.

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  8. Lessons & Carols here too. Always is between Christmas and New Year. Especially grateful this year as also trying to get organised for moving Church/Manse. A few more cupboards received the cleansing treatment today….why, oh why do we keep so much stuff?
    Prayers with those writing sermons 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m fighting a cold, so staying focused on Simeon and Anna is proving difficult for me. I’m trying to ask the question “What does salvation look like to us, and how can we recognize it when it comes through the door?” Or something like that. We are also expecting below zero temperatures tomorrow, but -14F didn’t seem to deter the monthly community breakfast crowd this morning, so we will see if they show up for worship! I have lots and lots of homemade peanut butter cups to which you are welcome.

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  10. I have Simeon and Anna tomorrow….I’ve apparently never preached on them before. It’s after 9pm so time to definitely be working, but I don’t have anything particularly interesting to say at the moment. I’ve been thinking about how both of them SEE…they have their eyes open to the movement of God….but that’s about it.
    We did a series this summer that included this reading (my colleague preached it) and I noticed then that the text never says how old Simeon is. We always assume he’s old because he says, essentially, “now I can die”….but while Anna’s age is specified, Simeon’s is not. Interesting.

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  11. So–anyone but me see parallels between Simeon and Anna in the RCL text for Sunday and Luke/Leia in The Last Jedi? Luke is old, has given up on seeing what was foretold/promised. He has to be dragged back into the story under strong protest–but finally bears witness and then “departs in peace”. Leia stays strong and in the last scene assures the resistance that, in spite of all appearances to the contrary, they have everything they need to go on. Of course, many (most?) folks will not have seen the movie–but I might use this all the same….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karen – I’ve seen the movie, and I think your analogy works! But if you’ll have folks who want to see the movie and haven’t had a chance yet, they might not appreciate finding out what Luke and Leia each do at the end of the movie… I know I’ve got a few of those in my congregation, so I’m avoiding any Last Jedi references for at least another month.

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    2. Karen, I totally agree with this! I’ve been thinking along the same lines… and this article spurred me along: https://bittergertrude.com/2017/12/20/this-is-not-going-to-go-the-way-you-think-the-last-jedi-is-subversive-af-and-i-am-here-for-it/

      I have also been wondering ala Star Wars, about the things that need to die for new things to be born – I love this juxtaposition of the elders giving space for the younger, and of Simeon and Anna seeing the Christ child as a sign that they can hand over the future to this little one…

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  12. Working on Simeon and Anna here. I’m drawn by the almost instinctive responses of Simeon and Anna – reminds me of Monty Python, where that one guy just keeps wanting to break out in song, and his cranky dad jumps in – no more singing! But Simeon and Anna get to fully express their emotions and their reactions! So how do we respond to the presence of God in our midst? My sermon basically begins with a guided meditation, inviting the congregation to place themselves in Anna’s shoes. But I’m not sure what comes next. It’s 5:20pm and I’m hoping that inspiration hits soon!

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  13. My Star Wars connection to Simeon and Anna harkens bak to the original movie. Rather than these are not the droids you’ve been looking for, it’s This IS the savior you’ve been looking for. I probably won’t use it. My focus shifted from the faithfulness of Simeon and Anna after the bulletin was printed. That means I’m going to preach the sermon I was going to preach on my way to the one I need to preach. I’ll make my points about faithfulness as “what I would have said if I was preaching the plan a sermon, then move to what Simeon and Anna both point to, the presence of the savior. This is my first sermon in 6 months so I have to be careful about trying to preach everything all at once. However, I get to just show up and preach while the Pastor handles the rest of worship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Watching, blessings on your first sermon in months. Simeon and Anna~pointing to the presence of salvation is indeed what we all need to hear in the ending of this year. Who else points to the presence of salvation in our living?

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