This has been a rough week of bad weather and power outages for the church and house I live in. I have a lot of catching up to do and only now read the lessons for this Sunday. I’ll continue preaching in the extemporaneous process that I started on Ash Wednesday – praying and thinking about the readings and how they connect to the congregation or what questions they raise in me (that also connect to the congregation and the world we live in) – but I have no manuscript, and thus I end up saying whatever comes to me in the moment. This is highly risky and it takes a huge toll on me, I end up thoroughly exhausted afterward. But its working for the congregation, they tell me they are getting so much more out of what I offer. Which means all those years of laboring over words and writing a sermon, ACK! Not exactly wasted time, since all of that work now resides in me and informs what I end up saying…but still.

So, that’s a long way into getting to these lessons. I wonder where the Spirit will lead me? I’m thinking of the years I taught and encouraged Godly Play and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd and how integral this story was. I loved telling it in the Catechesis method, with the gate and the sheep and the shepherd, full of wondering questions. So maybe I’ll just spend the morning asking wondering questions and inviting the congregation to wonder with me?

If you’d like more insight into discussions on these texts please check out this blog from the Tuesday’s Lectionary discussion and Narrative text discussion

I’ll be here tonight and through tomorrow to facilitate the party, our discussions, concerns, and ideas.

 

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 seekingauthenticvoice.blogspot.com

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.

58 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party

  1. This week in my “top ten” series I’m preaching on Acts 10 and Galatians 3.26-28. I love the story of Peter’s vision and its outcome…I titled the sermon “unbelievable” because one of my favourite moments in seminary was when my friend Amy didn’t believe me that this story was in the Bible. And that’s pretty much the response of the church leaders in Jerusalem, too—and still today, even—they can’t believe that God would act outside their own comfort zone or assumptions or boundaries.
    I was planning to write tonight so I can play tomorrow, but we’ll see how the rest of the evening goes!

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    1. I hope you were able to get a sermon written and that you can play on Saturday. After weeks and weeks of over the top busyness I am looking forward to this Friday night and tomorrow being slower. Alas, Sunday is jam-packed from beginning to end….but you know, it is always a little unbelievable when God acts outside of my comfort zone, but it always ends up for the better.

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  2. Still Friday night for me…almost Saturday…no sermon yet. Don’t even have my scripture. Still trying to decide if I want to do Earth Day or Good Shepherd or somehow relate the two. Are others doing Earth Day or a combo?

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  3. 4:15pm on Saturday here, but not really much sermon yet. At one of our services we will be baptising, and that means almost 50 extras who for the most part won’t have been in any church in this post-Easter season and may not be especially familiar with church at all. I’m using Psalm 23 ‘chased down by goodness, pursued by mercy’ as my idea but it still needs quite a bit of development.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well, I went to bed because I procrastinated a touch too long and then I was tired. Lol! Saturday, 10am here now. I’ve managed some breakfast (look up Gordon Ramsay scrambled eggs—they will change your life), and now I need to write! I’m sitting in the east-facing study with the sun shining in, noting that today is likely the last sunny day for weeks, and hoping to be quick so I can at least play for the afternoon and into the evening when Nikki arrives!

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  5. Ok, so I was on facebook instead of writing….when I saw someone post in the group for my town that there were Orcas! So I ran to the window and watched a pod of orcas swim by! OMG!

    I’m going to write faster now so I can sit by the window all day until they swim by again.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. It’s Saturday afternoon for me now… I know I want to talk Good Shepherd – we hosted a wonderful commissioning service for Street Pastors last night – three from our congregation. It was a lovely service, which I had been over anxious about as we were hosting, and I’d only been asked to provide a prayer and given a reading (from the Message – not my favourite)
    But, my anxieties came to naught and it was a blessed evening.

    I have procrastinated long….
    Now I need to get going. my thoughts centre on listening, caring, helping, which are the strap line of Street Pastors and fit really well with the Good Shepherd too.
    My folks love when I go off/ without script, but as you say, it’s exhausting, and requires more preparation than I feel I have… so, maybe not this week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is ironic that going without a manuscript requires more work and, at least for me, is more exhausting than writing a sermon and using it. I so hear you on that. I love the idea of Street Pastors and the idea of focusing on listening, caring, helping…..not sure that will make it into where I am headed, but who knows! I end up saying what the Spirit sends to me…lol

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  7. Ok, I have borrowed a few paragraphs from a previous sermon, and now I’m calling it done enough! I can edit in the morning. Time to have a late lunch and then keep my eyes glued to the window for the rest of the afternoon! Or maybe go for a walk along the water?
    I need to clean up the house before Nikki arrives, but…… #whales

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      1. I went out to enjoy the sun and keep my eyes peeled…it sounds like the whales are still upriver though. So I managed to hoover as well…now I’m back at the window with a book, hoping the whales come back before sunset (about 90 minutes from now) or else not until tomorrow after church! Lol!

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  8. Mostly Psalm 23 for me. I have something on paper and I am going to look at it and see if I can make the transitions better. In other news…life keeps happening and it is taking a lot of mental and emotional energy right now.

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  9. It’s still fairly early Saturday morning for me (9:30am), so I’m not in a panic yet, but…

    I’m working with the RCL John reading, teasing apart the metaphor of shepherd (i.e. shepherds in Jesus’ world weren’t the pretty blond-haired, blue-eyed image that decorates Sunday School classrooms across the country). What I’m getting stuck on is the putting down of the “hired hand” – in my tiny congregation (avg. attendance 15) here in ranch and oil country, we do have a hired hand. When I try to hear the reading from his perspective, it isn’t very nice. Does anyone have any suggestions for how I might be able to work around this (short of ignoring it and pretending that Jesus didn’t say it)?

    I have soup in my fridge that I’m trying to use up – please everyone, help yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I encounter phrases like this in scripture I raise up the question to the congregation and invite them to comment: I might say, this phrase causes me concern because…..what do you think? Do you hear this way? Does it cause you concern? What other way might this be said or understood?

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    2. The difference in Scripture is between the “hired hand” and the “shepherd” – but not all shepherds necessarily owned their sheep. They were the primary caregivers, but they could have been shepherding their father’s sheep (as David did) which would eventually get passed along to the elder brother by right of inheritance, or split among the brothers. Still, David would have been the shepherd in this analogy, not the hired hand, because he’s the one who cares the most.

      Not sure if that will help with your preaching and your worshippers, but perhaps a way to redeem the image a bit and remind them that we’re not comparing apples to apples?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. @canoeistpastor – that is the direction that my thoughts have been meandering today – wondering what the difference between a shepherd and a hired hand was, and wondering if, in fact, neither one was the owner of the sheep. I may link it back to Ezekiel 24 and the true/false shepherds as a way of working around the language difficulties.

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  10. Procrastinating/ looking for inspiration, and came across this shapenote version of “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need.” Spare and beautiful. Happy writing all!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. WOrking with Acts 9, Saul on the Damascus road. I am wondering who modern equivalents to Saul and Ananias might be? WHo might be the one who is breathing fire and murder but gets transformed, and who might be the one who is dubious that person A could actually be changed?

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    1. I would welcome a Damascus road conversion for Trump! If he were traveling and suddenly saw an image of Muhammed, and realized that he shouldn’t be persecuting Muslims after all, and became an advocate for them. What a different world this could be!

      But I don’t think you can preach that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. So. I have spent this entire day reading various sites to draw connections between Good Shepherd and Earth Day. What I think I’m going to do is begin by talking about Easter falling on April 1, April Fools Day – Easter being, if you will, the first day of Spring in the church and the irony of spring fooling us this year. This in light of the horrible April we have had thus far including the debilitating ice storm last Sunday and a week without power. Then I’m going to talk about Earth Day, and the interfaith initiative to pray for creation and to be mindful of our role as stewards of God’s creation. I’ll make some reference to the establishment of the church, post resurrection, through the power of the Holy Spirit acting in and through the disciples and now in and through us. I have a prayer/poem of Hildegard von Bingen that I’ll read. Then I may point out the call to love in the 1 John reading, that love is a verb, a call to action and that we are to love all of creation – from least to the greatest, from the waters to the birds in the sky to all people everywhere. I’ll probably make reference to the recent article in Popular Science about Nestle and bottling water in Michigan in contrast to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, MI and wonder what that says about stewardship of creation? Then I’ll make my way over to the Good Shepherd and wonder what it means to be known by God? How does being known “convict” us of the things we do well and the things we don’t do well?

        That’s where I am so far. Not sure how I’ll end this reflection….but I do have a few more faith/climate prayers I can tap into and that might be how I conclude.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In my context, living in an interfaith community with many Muslims, I could almost preach that. However the handful of djt supporters in my congregation get really anxious anytime politics, by which they mean any reference to djt, becomes part of the sermon. That hasn’t always stopped me, but I use those occasions very carefully.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Being in Alberta at this point in time I am pondering the role of a pipeline activist and a pipeline protester…. Thought of a political leader but given current cynicism around politicians I wounder if anyone would buy such a thing

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi everyone,

    Off lectionary for Earth Day, and turning to Psalm 65 and Matthew and birds and
    lilies instead. Psalm 23 would have worked, but it almost never does for me. Lots of earth songs. Kids singing “He’s Got the Whole World . . .” yeah, he, I know.

    Tomorrow I have adult Sunday School, where I am going to try to teach something about an environmental overture (like a motion) being made by one of our presbyteries to our General Assembly in June; then worship; then racing off to a bridal shower; then racing back to introduce a concert we are hosting. The remains of the flu remain, 4 weeks later — ears almost completely blocked and voice extremely hoarse, so all I really want to do is sleep some more.

    Went to hear Diana Butler Bass speak this morning, so now I am going to read these comments and then return to my sermon. I think I have reached the point at which I need to say earth is fragile, and we gotta take care of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m focusing on 1 John this week. Several sources reminded me that the letter basically reads as a sermon. So, I’m trying to actually preach 1 John. Leaving off a few verses at the beginning and end, paraphrasing some of the verses and adding in a couple of asides to make it more relevant to my folks… hoping that this idea will actually end up working and sounding coherent by the end of it! I’ve got Bible Gateway open and am comparing many translations to see which language might make the most sense, trying to be faithful to the original language and intent. Not a style I’ve tried before, but it’s interesting. Hoping that it all comes together in the next few hours!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thought I would share a portion of my Earth Day sermon, reflecting on the fragility of creation:

    I’ve told you about my love for and pursuit of birds. Back in my thirties, before I got busy with children, I used to volunteer at The Museum of Natural History, and I got to do a lot of tromping around in marshes and woods looking for birds to see and photograph. A few years earlier, when my husband and I had first moved to Cleveland, we learned that there were only four pairs of nesting bald eagles in Ohio. The Museum was involved with raising and supporting eagle chicks, so we got to see a bit of that. Somewhere there are some photos of me with a baby bald eagle chick in my lap.

    Do you know why bald eagles were in trouble, in Ohio and elsewhere? It was DDT – a chemical routinely used in agriculture, as an insecticide. DDT sprayed on fields made its way into our waters, and into the fish who lived there. Eagles fished those same waters, and the DDT they ingested in the fish they caught didn’t harm them directly, but it affected their eggshells, making them perilously thin. When the eagles sat on their clutches of eggs to warm them, the adults crushed the thin eggshells instead.

    Bald eagles usually have only two young at a time, sometimes one and sometimes three. It takes five years for a bald eagle to grow to maturity, and, as with many young wild creatures, countless are lost to weather and accidents and predators in the first year. The loss of those eggs, year after year, to DDT, was catastrophic for the eagle population.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. I’m sort of on lectionary this week. I’m using the Acts 4 passage in the RCL (Peter and John before the Council), but I backtracked and picked up Acts 3 also, the actual healing that is the occasion for getting them into trouble. Hoping to compare/contrast that with John Lewis’s “good trouble.”

    For once, it’s pretty clear in my head, but so far I have zero words on paper. The kids are cranky, the puppy is high energy. I’ve taken a nap, and the kids and I made a birthday cake for my mom (who lives 4 hours away and won’t be here to eat it, but hey–it’s a good excuse to make a cake).

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Third grader is asleep. Second grader is settled (hopefully) in bed. Puppy thinks it’s bedtime. Spouse working on his own sermon. Here I go!

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  16. Just praying for inspiration here. Nothing is connecting for me as I search for fodder for my pulpit supply tomorrow. I’m almost at the 11th hour.

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  17. Getting late on Saturday, but over the last years I, too, have turned from preaching with a manuscript to a more extemporaneous style using a rough outline and a few “crafted” phrases. I agree this really does take more energy and preparation than a manuscript did but my congregation seems to prefer it. At least there is more conversation following this type of sermon. So here I am, off lectionary and going for the earthday theme. I came across a reference to Jesus command to love our neighbors, and that doing so requires us to care for creation. The Poor Peoples’ Campaign has lifted up the issue of environmental degradation as an issue of poverty, one that effects the poor far more than the affluent. The facts and thoughts are all down, just need to polish the outline. Thinking about getting the mini-eclairs out of the freezer to help the process along. Glad to share!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We spent the season of Lent pondering poverty and it’s connection to food scarcity, the water crisis, the environment, and health care. From Lent we’re going to continue pondering environmental impacts, for which I will raise up tomorrow some of the initiatives from the Interfaith Power and Light….I have some prayers, and a handout for what we can do: here’s one of the handouts Michigan Interfaith Power and Light

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Hi, I am a new Rev Gal, ordained last May in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and I am working on 1 John. I am from Georgia, and am chaplain to a wonderful group of men with special needs and preach, plus I am filling in for my pastor friend at my home church tomorrow evening. For my guys, I have to keep sermons under about fifteen minutes (so I guess it’s a homily). I am thinking of how we can give our lives for others. Most people aren’t usually in the position of actually dying in someone else’s place-but we can give our lives in our efforts, our time, our love, putting aside our conveniences, our wants……. offer our bodies doing acts of love, as a living, breathing, serving, sacrifice, per Romans 12:1. My husband is in bed so I can’t run it past him now.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, I could. That sacrifice of conveniences would be for all people, since we all will benefit if we can breathe, grow more food, and be able to see all the beauty God has blessed us with. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much! I was a special ed teacher for 29 years, and God just continued that calling. Blessings on us all today as we do God’s work!

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  19. Wow … lots of writing and thinking this week …. I should have looked last night. I am going to talk about the shepherd that knows us and bring us together … and even when new ones join the flock …. Pose the question about who we listen to … what gets our attention …

    Even as I write this … I know I have too much in it … Come Holy Spirit … trim the excess …

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    1. I have to pray “trim the excess” a whole lot in mine. If I put too much in mine, I lose the guys’ and that is also true of any regular ed congregation. During my first couple of years preaching, my sermons sounded like oral research papers. Blessings, got to hit the showers.

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  20. Good morning! It is 6:20am here in the Eastern time zone of the USA. Some of you are finished for the day, others are still sleeping. I’m about to head out for a LONG day (sigh) but let me just let you all know that I will be holding each of you in my thoughts and prayers today. Blessings to you all.

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