Wilmington, NC, January 2005


My sermon for Sunday is in solid draft form because I will be spending a good portion of Saturday in a budget meeting. I’m continuing to ponder the idea from last week, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” along with the questions “Where is God?” “Are we following God?” and, “Can anything good come out of me, you, us, this church?” I’m starting with a story about getting lost by wandering off the path and considering how those times that we wander off or are afraid might be the very times when we are most open to God and God’s call to us. Or not. One could be like Jonah, and end up in the belly of beast. Or, one could be like the Ninievites, with transformational, life saving changes being made, changes that mean following God.

Maybe you are reflecting on one of the readings from the RCL? Or maybe you are working the NL and reflecting on John, on how Jesus is the body of God, that God dwells in and through Jesus. And, how God might dwell in and through us, too?

This is the preacher party and I’ll be around most of the day. We’re here to share some coffee, share ideas, share hope, prayer, and consolation, if that is needed.


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.

25 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Sink, Swim, or Follow

  1. i haven’t started to write yet [3 pm Saturday], but am thinking of what do we need to worship? which will tie in with Where do we worship [woman at the well] and what does worship allow/prevent [the man born blind]
    also the next 3 readings, Nicodemus, Woman at the well, and the man born blind, are all people who encounter Jesus – so i may link those readings together as well – what happens when we meet Jesus.


  2. I’ve been up for hours, tweaking my sermon, checking in here, posting on FB. Now I am heading over to the church for the budget meeting. I’ll be back when I’m able. Keep the party going, there’s plenty of coffee waiting for you.


  3. Jonah for me. We are doing an interactive telling of the story with the entire congregation which I am hoping will be fun. It takes the story to where the Ninievites accept God’s offer. I am picking the story up there to focus on Jonah not being able to see what is right under his nose, so to speak. Our search committee is up an going for the next installed pastor and part of the sermon will ask them this question, “what you willing to let go of in order for the ministry of this church to move forward.” It seems to me, Jonah, just knew he was right and knew exactly what God would do. And God changed directions…did a 180…and Jonah could accept the Ninievites were being extended grace and mercy. And in the end we don’t know if Jonah was able to accept God’s invitation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jonah is one of my very favorite stories in the bible, so, of course, I am using Jonah from the RCL selections. I picked up on something posted in a past RevGals Saturday party and it took off from there. I am not sure who posted it several years ago, but it was the idea that Jonah is the only book of the bible that ends with a “direct quote” from God. So, I have been working with the idea of “famous last words,” “God has the last word,” “Jesus is the Word incarnate,” and “the last word of the Word (Jesus) is always resurrection.”

    I have a draft, and a busy day ahead, so we will see if this evolves anymore than it already has.

    I’ve got coffee to share (always) and am making yellow cupcakes with almond buttercream icing(and chocolate buttercream—I’m an icing fanatic!) for my dear father-in-law’s birthday celebration tonight. I’m making cupcakes to share with all our preachers, here, too ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. I’m thinking about the metaphor of mending nets, imagining it as more than an allusion to the more literal “fishing for people.” What holes existed for each of the disciples that would have impeded their work? What work did they need to do to be ready to follow? All of us have holes that invite our engagement–holes in our patience, our relationship skills, our faith. Jonah had a hole in his heart and his faith, a hole that didn’t allow him to believe that the Ninevites were worth saving–a mission impossible if we don’t believe God sees what we do not. This is still a work in progress. I’m serving an intentional interim in a congregation that has many holes in their history. I plan on having short lengths of ribbon in the sanctuary along with a fishing net with many small holes. As they leave the communion table they will be invited to silently name an intention, something in their life they want to address, as they take a ribbon to close the hole. Surely the more WHOLE we are, the more we can follow Jesus. Thanks for listening as I process this idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been grabbed by the theme of repentance and conversion: the Ninevites, the called disciples, even God is said to stop what God was doing and do something brand new. Thinking about the invitation/call to change, the immediate moment of decision to change, then the lifetime of living into that change (which is really about responding to the calls that follow). I think I’m a lot more comfortable with a sense of “epiphany” that illuminates the next steps I was already moving towards than I am with the call that tells me to turn around on the moving sidewalk and begin walking the other way. Against everything that pulls me towards normality….

    Those are pre-Women’s March thoughts. We’ll see what appears by tonight.


  7. I’m preaching on Jonah and the calling of the first disciples. I’ll be talking about the hired workers who stayed behind with Zebedee. Did they hear the same call as James and John? How did they respond? Were they like Jonah, needing a bit of time to catch up with God’s call and their own gifts for ministry? I wonder if they ever heard Jesus speak later on in his ministry and whether their staying behind meant they could share his good news where they were. In other words, just because they didn’t drop everything and go with him doesn’t mean they didn’t have a ministry to share…that sort of thing. Still working on it…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. hey gals and pals! First of all, I have way too many toll house squares (if you’re from New England) or chocolate chip cookie bars (if you’re from anywhere else) so please help me eat them! Not sure why I made them yesterday, but they are TOO GOOD to keep around.
    I’m using Jonah and Mark from the RCL to talk about the theme of “Move” – I am riffing off of the UMDiscipleship post Epiphany worship series theme. Talking about how when we follow Jesus, we need to move – we can’t just stay where we are, either physically or spiritually.
    I am almost there, but I literally have no energy at all. The sun is out, and I want to take my one year old Golden for a walk, and I don’t really want to write this sermon. Spent the morning meeting with lay leaders at one of my churches to talk through the very messy financial situation. Missed the women’s march for that. Keep seeing friends there when I check my FB feed. I am the queen of procrastination this week! Best to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am coming to the end of my huge batch of Christmas cookies that have been in the freezer and slowly consumed. (YUM). And I too missed the women’s march to attend a church budget meeting. sigh. But now my sermon is done. I went along a similar route, following God, following Jesus….I hope inspiration strikes, that you get the sermon done and get that walk.


  9. HI there, I hope you all have had a great week and Saturday. I’m just sitting down to write. I’m using Psalm 62-I shall NOT be shaken. And I’m tying t to the Mark text about the nature and strength of banding together as friends of the gospel. How no matter what shakes us or seeks to destroy us. No matter how much loss we have had, no matter power of evil around us, our commitment to the love of Christ and to each other will hold us together and will keep us steadfast. Anyway, not sure about your thoughts. I rarely tie two texts together, but it seemed right with where we are in our community.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Nearly 5pm here… leaving a in a few minutes for a birthday celebration for my dad. This week began with a birthday celebration for my brother-in-law on Sunday evening. Yesterday was a family funeral for my husband’s great-aunt. Add in two church members on hospice care, two very complicated staff transitions, the annual leadership retreat at church this morning, and a co-pastor on study leave on a different continent, and I don’t have much written yet! Going with the various models of discipleship demonstrated by Jonah and Simon/Andrew/James/John, and Nathanael last week. I love these passages. Just not quite sure what I’ll be preaching yet. Thanks for the inspiration that you’ve already shared above!


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