gradI don’t know about you all, but we are celebrating high school and college graduations on Sunday ~ which will shorten the sermon somewhat.  And guess what I’ve purchased for our graduates?  Copies of MaryAnn McKibben Dana’s God, Improv, and the Art of Living!  Deciding to give a RevGals book was easy ~ which one was a challenge!  But I figured that improv is what life after graduation is all about.

Anyway, yeah, Sunday . . .  back to the sermon.  What are you up to?  Here’s some help on the RCL passages.  And here are the Narrative Lectionary passages; looks like Exodus is the name of the game at the moment.

Some encouragement for you:  My congregation is pretty much, which is to say 99.9%, unresponsive where sermons are concerned.  But today after a discussion group which three people attended (up from 0 last week!), one woman hung around to talk, and told me that she and her husband discuss the sermon every Sunday as they drive home.  So we never do know, do we?

I’m setting this post to publish Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. EDT, and I’ll be in and out that evening and Saturday.  Please check in and let us know what you’re working on and how it’s going!

The Rev. Mary Robin Craig is a Presbyterian pastor in Independence OH, a spiritual director, and a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.  She blogs at

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21 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party . . . Graduation Edition!

  1. Saturday evening here, and i am writing a sermon for a funeral on Tuesday morning. I figure if i can get the funeral service organised and fully prepped tonight, i still get to have tomorrow afternoon and Monday off 🙂
    another guest preacher tomorrow, a recently retired Minister who has taught theology and been the National Consultant on Christian Unity, Doctrine & Worship. Leading worship, but not preaching, sets a different rhythm for the week.


  2. My first sermon at my first call and I have been sick ever since moving. Still don’t have the sermon ready. As a Thursday sermon writer, this is concerning but I simply have to trust that it will all work out.
    I find this week’s lectionary also challenging for a first sermon. Maybe because I am not feeling well.


  3. Oh, Suzanne! Congrats on call and sermon! But so sorry you are not feeling well. A chance for your congregation to minister to you and to see how much you already tend to them — but not your plan, I know! Prayer for a good rest tonight.


  4. Summer is going to be “mostly Mark” from the RCL. I have five Sundays where members have submitted texts to preach and/or theological questions. This Sunday, it is a part of Mark not in the RCL. The first four verses and then in Chapter 4…hiding your light. We are surprising our choral director on this thirty years of employment. For his 20th they did a sit down catered dinner, all the kids came, and all the hoopla. I am not into “topping” what we did in the past. So this will be a simple, but grateful thank you, for sharing his light with the congregation. One of the choir members is gifted at writing so she was written a humorous poem for him and we have asked the congregation to either send cards or bring them tomorrow. Hope it is “still” a surprise for him.


  5. Congratulation to your Choral Director in three decades of service! What an interesting choice of text from your congregation, Elaine.


    1. That one was my pick since we were honoring the choir director. The ones from the congregation are Romans 5: 1-5; 2nd Peter faith and character (I can’t remember exactly which chapter, verse), the hemorrhaging woman, what causes people not to believe in God, and the fifth one is how to be authentic in our own faith when it differs so greatly from our friends and co-workers.


  6. I promised my congregation on Pentecost that I would follow up on the Reclaiming Jesus Confession of Faith launched on May 24th. The RCL readings are perfect for this! “We have the same spirit of faith as is recorded in scripture…we, too, believe and therefore we, too, speak.” My sermon concludes with this statement: I believe it is time for us to reclaim Jesus. I believe it is time for us to see the world and all its peoples through the eyes of a man named Jesus who many deemed crazy for loving people with wild abandonment. Let us pray that we may have the courage to join St. Laurence, St. Francis and all the saints who spoke and did seemingly crazy things for the love of God and their neighbours.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for hosting, Robin!

    I’m on a quick turnaround from a Presbytery meeting (to which our 10 and 8 year old accompanied me–they were great, but it made for an extra-tiring trip) into a week of chaplain-ing at our Presbytery’s summer camp. (The kids will also accompany me and go to day camp for part of each day). To facilitate said turnaround, I’m recycling a sermon from a few years ago on the I Samuel 3 passage from last week’s RCL.

    On the upside, I bought peaches from an orchard with a roadside stand. I got plenty, so help yourselves!


    1. I think peaches are our first snack today – cobbler,anyone?

      I hope that camp chaplaincy is both meaningful and something of a respite for youQ


  8. After being away on vacation for most of the last week, I’m pulling a “sustainable” but still apropos sermon out on the Mark RCL passage. This coming week is Annual Conference and it seems relevant to bring up both Jesus’s assertions that a house divided against itself cannot stand and his widening of the concept of family beyond those we’ve always counted as such. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s not at all what I intended when I sat down to write (starting a few hours before preaching at the funeral of a dear friend I’d known for 30+ years and continuing after the emotionally exhausting service), but I’m preaching about suicide; it will be at our earliest service, which is almost always a small group of adults. I’m aware I run the risk of triggering someone, and I’ve let one person for whom I know this is a particularly painful topic know in advance. I’m struggling with the psalmist’s words about God answering when called and offering safety in the midst of trouble, when that seems not to be the case for some people, try as they might to hear; I don’t try and solve that, just acknowledge it. But mostly I’m calling for compassion and listening, rather than judgement and shame, which have so often been the default responses, and I’m hoping this may open the door for conversation. The church needs not to be silent.


    1. I too am preaching about suicide. The story I know best is not mine to tell, but the statistics tell me that in my congregation of mostly senior adults, there are people hurting in the pews. (highest rate in US is ages 45-64, second highest rate in US is among 85+) The Mark passage shows Jesus speaking openly about the evil and demonic powers that inhabit our world, that tell us lies, and have us “othering” people. Importantly, I am not demonizing mental illness, but naming the strong man and the lies it tells us and others that prevent us from hearing that we are loved and have worth. Howard Thurman quotes Mark 1 and says the gospel is only Good News if it is Good News for those whose backs are against the wall so I challenge us to see the ways that people whose mental health is affected are the ones who are against the wall.


  10. I don’t know if you’ll see this, Betsy, but prayer for you this morning as you navigate this difficult topic. There is a RevGal who has recently written a book about the church and addressing suicide — all details escape me at the moment, of course — and I’ve written about it in The Huffington Post, and can supply other resource if your congregation is interested.


    1. Thanks, Robin. I have some of your writing bookmarked and have pointed many a person to those pieces. And you got credit, unnamed but described briefly, for my explanation of why I no longer use the term “committed suicide.” Numerous people commented on how helpful that is. And then I got a message from a church member who is out of town doing a presentation on teen stressors; she sent me a photo of her slide to show me that after we’d had a similar conversation, she’d changed the wording. Discussion matters, and I give you thanks for helping me to be bolder in my conviction that faith communities need to talk about suicide intentionally.


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