If you are following the Revised Common Lectionary you are probably pondering one or more of the readings from here.

I am not preaching this Sunday, for the first time in I don’t know when….but if I were I’d ponder the plumb line in Amos and somehow connect it to the  tipping point in Mark where John get’s arrested, tried, and beheaded on the whim of the queen and her daughter, and a king who complies with such an unjust request.

I might wonder about how easy it is for us to tip one way or the other, to lose ourselves and compromise our principles and go against our values. I like to think that I strive to make better choices, but alas, I am human, too.

Maybe like me you are tired. It’s already been a long hot summer in my context, and it’s only the middle of July….

Or, maybe you are filled with inspiration and have some great ideas…

Where ever you are in your pondering, the preacher party is here to help, pray, support, commiserate, maybe inspire. Pull up a chair and let the party begin.


The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a parish in Dearborn, Michigan. She’s been a member of RevGalBlogPals since 2006 and blogs at Seeking Authentic Voice


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22 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Plumb Tried and Tired

  1. We all must be tired, tired, tired! Waving hi to Terri! I am off lectionary and sermon is done. The middle part is “meh”…I’ll look at it again later. Continue to work on getting rid of stuff. I have a younger person coming this afternoon to help me transport 15 boxes of books to the thrift store. I went through my shelves twice. Oh, so hard…but needed.


      1. Terri, there is a strong part of wanting to live more simply. The other component is knowing that my call is interim ministry and the value of helping congregations be a better congregation for their next pastor as well as planting seeds and beginning the conversations of the change needed in churches in this current time. In reality, I am looking at least at four more moves until I can “land” somewhere and retire. I am trying to make that process as simple and painless as possible.


        1. got it. there are days when i look at all the books on my shelves, books that I am still paying off via student loans for seminary, and think “I am never taking these with me when I go…”


  2. I am working on both the 1 Samuel reading and the John the Baptist beheading talking about the the dancing – and the distortion – it is also the last Sunday with a beloved congregation that has taught me so much. They are First Nation and it has been my privilege to serve in their midst for the past three years. I will conclude the sermon talking about how we dance into God’s future and then singing ‘Lord of the Dance’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a fresh cup of coffee and a sermon draft that I’m now editing about John’s beheading, but reading Heather’s comments above I’m wishing I had chosen the happier topic of dancing. Alas, I did not. My title is “Herod’s Hubris” and Terri’s words remind me of one of the reasons I chose this text: “I might wonder about how easy it is for us to tip one way or the other, to lose ourselves and compromise our principles and go against our values. I like to think that I strive to make better choices, but alas, I am human, too.” My ending is borrowed from 1 John 3:20 “Our hearts condemn us, [but] God is greater than our hearts.” Now to just get the middle to work to get us there…. Does anybody else find themselves writing backwards sometimes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely have found myself writing backwards in that I know how I want to end. However I allow myself to procrastinate and say I can’t write the end until I have a beginning and then get stuck. I love the end you have! If I was going to preach on Herod I would totally borrow this 🙂 Good luck!


  4. I have no idea what I am going to say tomorrow. The title I picked Monday is What Kingdom are you building. I think I was going to compare Jesus’ kingdom work to Herod’s. Since then, the church session and I met and made the painful decision for me to go part time, so I have spent the better part of the week finding a job that I can do and still pastor so that my family isn’t negatively impacted. I’m not sure I have the energy needed to write a sermon right now, knowing that I have to inform the rest of the congregation tomorrow.
    Add to that the increased sense of call to the LGBTQIA community here in Huntsville while serving a church that says it welcomes all, but is not officially open and affirming and has some REAL resistance to becoming O and A.
    Maybe I’ll feel better after lunch. Hope the Spirit moves for all of you bringing the word.


  5. We’re on our second of four weeks on prayer. Tomorrow is prayers of confession, and as Presbyterians, we’re pretty good at those! We’re also having a grand experiment with flash paper, so the sermon can be short. I have some thoughts, just need to get them put down in some coherent fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just getting started here. I was struck by the plumb line and how it gives us a reality check on what we are building – a reality check that sometimes we don’t want. I’ve been thinking about how God gives us those reality checks in our life and how we respond to them. There are so many things that serve as plumb lines. In the gospel lesson, just hearing the reports of Jesus gives Herod pause for his actions around John the Baptist. It could have been a plumb line calling him to justice and mercy but instead it became something he was afraid of.


    1. I’ll always remember one of my favorite priests preaching on this text, his love of the book of Amos and the metaphor of the plumb line…..sounds like it’s providing you with lots of food for thought, too.


  7. Ephesians 1 text… using it to answer the question “Why did the writer spend so much time building a painstaking theological foundation? What was so important?” My focus is from 1:13-14, living out our adoptions as God’s own. Calling it “That Family Resemblance in the Kin-dom of God”. Should have it posted eventually… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Preaching adoption as well, comparing the gifts of human and kin-dom adoption: name, status, home, nurture, and inheritance.

    I had a funeral today for which I had to do little work except write a very short homily and be there for 3 hours — but it left me feeling a little bewildered. The family from several states away planned it all, including a lengthy eulogy for me to read, and modeled it on, I believe, an uncle’s Lutheran service — which was fine; I’ve done lots of Lutheran funerals — but they did not seem to be familiar with either the liturgy or the very frequently used hymns they had selected. They wanted very much to be in their parents’ home church of decades ago, and put a lot of effort into getting here, but I guess it seemed to me more like the church was a historical remnant of their family rather than an expression of their lives today. Not a judgment; just an observation connected to how it seems to me that people often understand church.


    1. I get that. I’ve presided at a lot of funerals where the grown kids come back to the church they were raised in and they fawn over it and recall memories, but church life now is not something meaningful to them….


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