Seasons are changing! Lent is drawing to a close (well, closer to a close, anyway). Spring is coming in the Northern Hemisphere, and Fall arrives in the Southern.

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Texas redbud and Bradford pear, Arlington, TX, 2018. Photo by Monica Smith

At our church, we’re journeying through Holy Week for all the Sundays of Lent, and this week brings Thursday (Mark’s account includes a Last Supper, Jesus’ arrest, and trial before the Temple council). Revised Common Lectionary preachers are turning to John and Jeremiah, and Narrative Lectionary preachers are investigating Jesus’ trial before Pilate.

What else is on your plate? Children’s time? Lenten studies? A mountain of laundry? (Maybe that’s just me). Come and share the joys and frustrations of the preacher.

 


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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41 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Changing Seasons

  1. This week marks my return to preaching after 11 weeks – the last time I was in church leading worship was Christmas Day.
    I’ve been off work after my mum’s sudden and unexpected death on December 28th.
    Using the RCL, and knowing that last week’s guest preacher did not use the lectionary I am using last week’s reading as I really want to focus on light and grace, and John 3:16 is such a hope filled message it felt right for my return to my church and people.
    I awoke from a dream in which I arrived at church with no sermon, prayers or communion liturgy; there was a scout troup in attendance expecting a special service and I couldn’t find my cassock!
    Did not think I was anxious until I woke up!!

    All that said, I’ve sat in the congregation the last couple of weeks and spent time with my people who have poured so much love my way – so, I’m looking forward with hope, light and grace.

    On my stove is a big pan of vegetable soup, warm sunflower bread and fresh coffee to hand.

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  2. Julie, Christ’s peace and light be with you as your prepare for tomorrow and as you enter in to all that tomorrow will bring.

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  3. I am here at Starbuck’s staring at a blank screen and hoping for quick inspiration! It’s been a heck of a two weeks with two deaths/funerals for very beloved members of my congregation and I am TIRED.

    But, onward and upward, as my mentoring pastor used to say. So, on Thursday I had a bit of time to look at these texts and I was taken by Jeremiah, and from a variety of angels.

    “But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

    But, honestly, this morning, I don’t know where this will land for the people in my context in semi-rural Pennsylvania. I can’t wait to see where the Preacher Party goes today!

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    1. Wow, you need a nap, too. Two funerals in a week is a lot of pastoral energy. I love that Jeremiah passage, which usually means (for me), that I have a tough time preaching on a beloved passage.

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  4. almost 11.30 pm Saturday here, and i have finished writing. tonight was one of those nights where nothing much seemed to come and i have no enthusiasm for the sermon. hopefully it will be meaningful to someone – i know it often is when i see nothing much in it. If like me you are preaching on John 19, I recommend you listen to the working preacher podcast.
    sermon is here

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  5. Have being using the NL but been away for two weeks so playing catch up. Last week’s preacher stole my thunder by using Pilate & Jesus (despite me saying I would be using that text this week!) Was able to listen to what she said online and it was actually very good! So I revised my plan and am taking a step back in the timeline to Peter’s denial.

    Talking about how choreographed the Passion Story is and how John’s Gospel has all the clues we need to see how things will work out. And so we shouldn’t be hard on Peter – indeed WE are Peter. Have linked in the ‘I am’ statements.

    Looking forward to preaching tomorrow and to trying a bit of movement during the service and getting out from behind the lectern.

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    1. I will keep my grumbling about last week’s preacher to myself.

      We are working our way through “The Last Week,” by Borg & Crossan. Though they follow Mark’s gospel, one thing they say might be helpful: The failures of the disciples (especially Peter, here) are the gospel writers’ gift of grace for us. For if even they can be forgiven and called disciples and remembered faithfully, then so can we.

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  6. I am struggling with preaching lately. Its been a tumultuous few months for me following my sister’s death in January. I was not wise enough to take a big block of time off like Julie so I feel like I’m hanging on till my vacation after Easter.

    Today I am starting to think about the Greeks wanting to see Jesus and how when people come to our church to find Jesus we are so eager to show them our best – our great programs, our inspiring worship, etc. but when Philip tells Jesus about these seeking folks, Jesus doesn’t show them his greatest miracle, instead he talks about the grain of wheat that has to fall in the earth and die. What does that mean for how we as a community point to Jesus and where we as individuals are most likely to find Jesus? I’d like to keep this on a lighter note and am remembering my campus pastor who taught me with humor and grace about how Jesus meets us in the midst of the messiness of our lives. There is real power in a community of people who come together as they are, able to rejoice not because they have it together but because they know that in the midst of their imperfections and brokenness Jesus meets them.

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  7. 9pm Saturday night…my first day preaching in my new congregation tomorrow morning. I struggled with choosing a text, since they’ve been off any discernible lectionary, so I’ve gone with the RCL’s Jeremiah 31, but paired with the part of Mark 9 where the disciples argue about who is the best, and Jesus brings a child in. We’ll see what turns up when I write, though, as I don’t actually have a good grasp on direction yet. Hopefully something will appear soon. 🙂

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    1. I think I see the connection between the two passages, but not sure that I’m helpful at articulating it! Prayers for your first Sunday!

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      1. I titled the sermon “Inside Job”…So far I have noted that “arguing who is the greatest” is something that we still do, even though it is patently ridiculous.

        I suppose now I have to get to some sort of content. 😉

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  8. I was the host pastor, worship leader and moderator at our Presbytery meeting today. I am exhausted!
    I have elected to skip out on the RCL this week and am instead preaching on John 12:1-8. The story of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume. We have recently purchased a sign with movable letters that lights up, so the session wants me to tile my sermons, something I have resisted in my preaching career. This week is the first week and I have titled this sermon “wasteful worship” Not to clever,
    but hopefully not too cheesy! http://randomrevhd.blogspot.com/2018/03/wasteful-worship.html?m=1
    Blessings on you all as you bring the Word to the people.

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    1. I preached on the Mark version of that story last week. And my titles are only good if the sermon is written before the title, which never happens, so my titles are always boring.

      I hope you get a nap tomorrow afternoon preacher/moderator/worship leader!

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  9. I’m preaching on John 12– “unless a grain of wheat falls…,” mostly because I was tasked with talking in my sermon about the in-process artwork hanging in the narthex It depicts a heart underground that has been developing into a tree over the past few weeks. During the Easter season the tree will get foliage of some sort. I’m not the artist; I haven’t even been part of the discussions planning it. It’ll come together, though.

    It’s mid-afternoon on Saturday and I’m just sitting down with my dog and my laptop after having seen the movie of A Wrinkle in Time. My thoughts are still full of the beautiful images of a girl’s love for her brother, her dad, and herself facing down the ugliest evil– and winning. Unless a grain of wheat falls….

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  10. 10 pm here…no clue what to write yet other than that I’m going with Jeremiah and thinking about what was said on the workingpreacher podcast about newness…God creates new and good out of crap. Sadly a one sentence sermon with that line won’t be enough lol. I’m a late night partier and was doing a lot of napping all day so I’m not worried about sleep…just having something in the morning. The Holy Spirit hasn’t failed me yet but I feel like she might be getting a bit frustrated with me leaving things til the very last minute (aka 10:55 am Sunday as I deliver the sermon) so I would like to have at least part of a manuscript.

    My congregations like stories so I’m thinking about the quote “fool me once…” and the “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results” quotes and about how God kind of seems like this, renewing the covenant again and again, yet doing things differently…I don’t know…again we shall see.

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    1. I am joining you–again–at the late night party. I have a title and Scripture on the screen and am just sitting down to work seriously. I have lots of excuses, but I think the Spirit is getting exasperated with me, too. If She isn’t, I am getting exasperated with myself!

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  11. I’m late—again, having finally taken a 3 day retreat, my first time in a hermitage (interrupted, unfortunately, by needing to come back for prayers with a family prior to visitation for their mother). Looking at a sustainable on Jeremiah 31.

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  12. Using Jeremiah and John from the RCL here. I’m drawing on the story of “Glass Gem” corn (link to one story: http://www.businessinsider.com/glass-gem-corn-2016-6#over-time-this-resulted-in-rainbow-colored-corn-4) and a couple of soil science lecture notes. A farmer of Cherokee heritage gathered stories–and a few precious seeds–from other Native people in an effort to reconnect with his own heritage. He saved the seeds, planting and selecting the most brightly-colored kernels, then repeating this process for many years until each cob he harvsted revealed a rainbow. In doing so, he rescued and revived many ancient seedstocks in danger of being lost forever. Each time he planted a seed, it carried so many stories of loss with it into the ground…and each time he brought in the harvest, he ensured that both the stories and the seeds would be kept alive & shared with others.

    Now I just need to work in something about the regenerative power of compost, and tie it into the Jeremiah reading as well… (is it a stretch to say that plant genetics are kind of like a law, written on your heart?) Oy. This is what happens when you let farmers into the pulpit! 😉

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    1. oh, how fascinating! When I am not–ahem–working on my own sermon, I want to check that out more closely.

      And the late night preachers are all here tonight! Welcome, everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I had a funeral this morning for a beloved member. It was a great celebration. Then I came home and changed clothes and went to two NCAA basketball games, including my hometown Gonzaga Bulldogs, who managed to win! My voice may be shot for tomorrow, but who cares.
    I have parts of a sermon. Will write for a bit, but may let it percolate overnight and get up early to finish. Pilate and Jesus. I’m ready for easter.
    (other than not even being close to actually being ready for easter…..)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m ready for Easter, too. We’ve been doing Holy Week all of Lent, so I think we’ll all be ready for Easter morning. (And not even close to being ready here either).

      Also, my voice is in solidarity with yours, but because of allergies. We’ll see how I sound in the morning.

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  14. Still struggling…anybody else out there? If not oh well. I’m going to type anyways because sometimes it just comes out (that’s the power of the RevGalsPreacherParty). I’m struggling with feeling the need to educate the congregation about the context…about supersessionism…about how the Jeremiah text is part of the reason we call the New Testament “new” but feel that if I use this I lose out on the message of the scripture itself. All of the commentaries have such great exegetical information for this text that it is overwhelming me and blocking me from seeing the connections I can make for my congregation directly. *knock knock* Holy Spirit…any time now…:)

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    1. It’s Sunday morning here, and you are describing exactly the struggle I had as well. This is why I often don’t read commentaries until I have a general direction, because they tend to lead me down rabbit holes! I hope the sermon fairy brought you some goodies….and remember, whatever you stand up there to say today, the Spirit has your back (however much we might wish she’d be a little more in front, lol!)!

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