Pictured is an American Beauty Berry plant. Its berries turn this lovely color (plum? fuchsia?) in the fall here. Its leaves are wilted, because it has been hot and dry and dry and hot, most of the summer. (I took this photo last week. Thankfully, we’ve had some rain in the past few days).

McKinney Roughs Nature Park, 2018, Photo by Monica Smith

I’ve been wrestling with Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman all week long, and I feel a little like this plant. Trying hard, doing my best, but a little wilted and weary from the effort. (RCL preachers can find a discussion of this passage and others on our Tuesday post. Narrative Lectionary preachers–we’re back from the summer hiatus, and you also have a post to reference!).

Are you energized? Weary and wilted? Starting up a new program year this week? However you are, come to the preacher party, share what you have, and ask for what you need.


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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25 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Wilted, yet Blooming Edition

  1. Saturday morning and I am watching physical culture regional competition. 2 of our Friday families have girls in the morning competition. Not sure how this will help write about Noah. Looks like it will be a late night for me.


  2. Switched to Narrative Lectionary last week – this next Sunday kicks off the 4-year cycle with Noah. First time preaching from the Hebrew scriptures, and I swear my HB prof is staring at my laptop screen over my shoulder.


    1. Tell HB prof to back off a little. You’re called to preach the Word to your congregation! (I totally get this, by the way–in my first congregation, a man who had been my NT professor in undergrad was a member there. Juuusttt a little intimidating!)


  3. Two weeks ago I preached on Lydia in Acts 16, so I thought it would be intresting to look at the next bit of the text and Paul’s encounter with the slave girl – but I admit I’ve been struggling with the passage all week. You see I desperately want Paul to have freed the girl from slavery, but if he did, Luke doesn’t mention it, which I am finding totally frustrating.

    I think I’m finding a “what empire do you serve” theme in the passage, and trying to work out how to communicate that in our context. (If I was in the UK, I would be taking more than a side-swipe in passing at the girl’s owners’ anti-semitism… As it is, I’ll probably point-out, denounce and move on.)

    On the up side, the vine we planted ‘for fun’ in our garden has produced actual grapes, which I am happy to share.


    1. I’ve read that freeing her of the spirit made her no longer valuable to the slaveholders, but I don’t suppose it necessarily follows that she was then set physically free from them. I join in your frustration.

      Grapes sound wonderful!


  4. It’s mid afternoon, Saturday.
    I have no inspiration. non. nada. nothing….
    I’ve read Spill the Beans archive… and RCL post from Tuesday. and the passage about a million times. I will be off on retreat on Monday and it cannot come soon enough.
    I’m weary.
    I decided a couple of weeks ago to use the StB (StB Issue 5) themes – which is a series of questions for each week.
    This gave me the title – “Will you help?” for this week… which is all well & good. But I kind of want to ask Jesus the question – cos, let’s face it, he wasn’t going to.
    Also – (while I’ve got you, and I’m feeling moany…) everyone says Jesus called her a dog; or referred to her as a dog. And this is where I wish I had even a smattering of Greek to look at the original – it’s no blatant – “you dog/ b***h. It’s throw it (food/ help/healing) to the dogs.
    There’s just a touch… and so much more unsaid… and my brain is nowhere near computing all of this and creating anything that feels useful…

    Sorry for the whinge….


    1. Sorry for the weariness. I don’t have anything either yet, beyond a confession to the congregation that I’ve avoided preaching this passage for over a decade. (!) Hoping for a restorative retreat.


  5. Memorial service in a little while for woman from my church that closed nearly three years ago. I should see some beloved faces from that ministry time in my life.

    Then a beach wedding – chilly and gray out there, and we may have to make tracks for a picnic shelter.

    I really needed to finish tomorrow’s sermon, but I think I got it while taking doggie to Pet People for a bath, stopping at vet for flea and heartworm stuff, and running to Target for wedding gift wrapping. Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago I was asked to speak on mission, which I had done 16x since the beginning of the year. So tomorrow: Jesus and James, with the word “mission” highlighted and explained nd illustrated many times over!


  6. So far my sermon says:
    Jesus listened to a woman and she convinced him to change his mind. So work for change, y’all! And listen to women! Amen.

    I’m leading in with a bit about how maybe Jesus was just trying to take a vacation – why else was he in the midst of Gentile territory, if he wasn’t sent for those folks? But I still need to flesh things out, because I’m pretty sure a 4-sentence sermon isn’t quite long enough.


  7. Howdy. I LOVE the story of the Syro.mom. The upshot [for me] is that while God’s essence is unchangingly love and grace, OUR understanding/theology hopefully matures and improves. And that God is a big God who can take us challenging the way things are. Maybe this helps somebody?!


  8. Musing on the idea that Jesus had to learn what James meant when it came to the Syrophoenician woman – that we make distinctions about who is worthy which impedes God’s grace being shared. Don’t quite have it put together yet.

    Liked by 2 people

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