A few weeks ago I had a homeless woman show up at church, literally in the church, crouched over the kneelers, banging her fist on them, crying. When I approached her she looked up at me and said, “I just want to pray.” And then a little later, after I gave her water and food, she looked up at the cross above the altar and asked me, “Will God show up?”

It’s a good thing, I suppose that she asked me that question, will God show up. Because if she had asked me “when will God show up?” Or “how will God show up?” I wouldn’t have had as confident of an answer. But, to the question, “Will God show up?”,  I can confidently say “Yes. ”

So somehow in the context of my homily for Sunday, as I reflect on Isaiah (God helps me), James (we all make mistakes, but do we learn?), and Mark (get behind me Satan, Peter), I’m going to reflect on God showing up. Because God does show up. Maybe not when, or how we want. But God comes.

What are you reflecting on? Are you with the RCL or pondering the Call of Abraham in NL? Scroll back to this blog from Tuesday if you’re looking for more discussion on either of these.

I’m here for the Preacher Party, so pull up a chair, grab a mug, and lets see where we go. I have plenty of coffee and tea, and chocolate….

 

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

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

 

17 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Get Behind

  1. I am still praying and begging and clamoring for inspiration. My sermon isn’t even half baked yet…it’s still rising and maybe I need some more yeast for the dough…

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    1. I hope that inspiration found its way to you. I’m not sure what you do when you’re hoping for inspiration. I am usually helped if I take a walk outside. Or better yet, walk to yoga. Whatever it is that helps you move through being stuck, I hope you can do that.

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  2. Teri, Thank you for the fact that God does show up. I need to hear that today. I’m trying to focus on the sermon after a week of hurricane prep for a hurricane that went south and didn’t touch us, and learning the loss of my lifelong close friend, and finally still trying to get feet back on dry ground two weeks after being at sea for a month.
    I think I’m going with ‘take up your cross’ and follow me. But, I also can’t shake the words of Jesus, ‘those who are ashamed of me and my words’ I wonder what that looks like today in the way we live our faith. Pondering how that fits with all that’s happened this week.
    Just finished a dinner of old fashioned American classic-meatloaf. But, now on to ice cream.
    Monica

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    1. I’ve been reading on the Gospel and much of the reflection, of course, is on the very words you are pondering. Here’s what my reading is stirring up in me: take up one’s cross has been used to reinforce oppression and suppression, so I can readily reject that interpretation. However, taking up MY cross looks different. For me it is a question of how authentically am I living my faith? And for me this means, am I working to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit? Am I working to really, fully, understand that God loves me and wants me to live a full life and to live full out? What does it mean for me to be authentic, to not be stuck in my anxieties, but to become aware of how they limit me, how I have allowed my anxieties to define me and influence how I react to complaints or criticism or problems? How can I lean fully into what I believe, that God loves me and that I am always showing up, doing my best. Not that allows me be stuck, but propels me to always keep growing in awareness of self and others. Thus, I turn being ashamed of Jesus and his words, from the notion of shaming, to the notion of accountability. Jesus calls us to be fully healthy, fully mature, fully able to be accountable but not shamed and not blaming. It means I need to speak up for my faith, grounded in my values and beliefs, not so that I can convince others, but so I can be fully who I am.

      This perspective is all grounded in family systems and some leadership training I am doing (Faithwalking) which is speaking to me these days.

      I hope that you find the way these words are speaking to you and let them guide you full on.

      And yes. God does show up. That I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, Teri, you are spot on. Thanks for your feedback. The sermon is slowly, slowly unfolding. And no what words are put to paper or spoken, God is in the midst of them. And that promise keeps me going Sunday after Sunday. Peace, sister in cross carrying.

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  3. Terri good story about the homeless woman. I have a question to ask you that was asked to me by an agnostic friend of mine… If God is a God of love who provides a beautiful place world for us to live in and is a healer then why does he allow suffering such as incureable cancers, earthquakes, droughts, floods, fires etc ?.

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    1. This is one of those tough questions, right? We think that if God is with us then God will only allow one way of being, healthy, peaceful, good. However, God is a God of relationship and of the incarnation. God shows up in and through US. God works through us. We hear that in Abraham and Sarah and all the way through to Mary (God-bearer) and Jesus and then into the disciples and now us. So God has chosen to only enable a world that works as we do…which means its messy because humans only see dimly and unevenly and it takes great work to begin to see more deeply into the human condition, to manage our anxiety in order to work for some greater good for self and others.

      John MacQuarrie, an Anglican systematic theologian, wrote about this. As I have interpreted his system, this is what I understand: in the beginning there was a swirling mass of chaos and God. God scooped into this chaos and pulled forth order: night/day, sun/moon, water/earth, people. In the process of pulling forth order a remnant of chaos also come through, which God allowed to stay. This chaos has become known as “free will.” The free will of humans and all creation. Sometimes free will enables more of God’s created order to thrive and sometimes it goes the other way and moves back toward chaos. Some chaos is always good – biologist recognize that a little chaos in creation enables ongoing creativity, our capacity to thrive and survive, adapt, and grow in new ways. Without a little chaos all of life would become stagnant.

      Chaos in creation like hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. are always tragic. They are for me, nature exhibiting free will that is a turn back toward chaos in unhealthy ways.

      However, into every example of chaos, God shows up and works to once again restore order. God works, almost always through human beings, who clean up messes, rescue people, are first responders and people who strive to help.

      In the process, God and human beings grow. We hear examples of God learning from the chaos God created after the flood and Noah, or when Abraham or Moses argue with God. God learns and changes. Jesus learns too from people like the Syrophoenician woman in our Gospel last week. And we learn. The hopeful news of the remnant of chaos in creation is its invitation to be in relationships that grow through challenges. None of us ever want to have these challenges, but they are part of life, and if we engage them (at least for me) through the lens of my faith, then I can grow more mature as a human being and as a person of faith.

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  4. almost 9 pm on Saturday night and sitting down to write about Abram and Sarai. i have a few dot points – family dynamics, God’s call asks us to change [place and name]. there will be a small lesson to outline the next few generations.

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  5. OK, trying again.

    We are doing Faith, Hope, and Life Suicide Prevention Sunday. The sermon, based on James and the Gospel, is entitled, “What Do We Say?” I saw in yesterday’s Weekly e-Reader that Rachael Keefe has broached the topic similarly in “Changing the Answers.” I am trying to address why the church, in which we are absorbed in matters of life and death, is a good place for this; offer some reminders about meeting grief and teach a little about suicide prevention; and emphasize that we are a beloved resurrection people, no matter the circumstances.

    I finished some days ago; after I experienced some self-irritation at having decided to stick with the week’s texts, the sermon suddenly appeared in a flurry. I tweaked it the next day, and am hoping that I am not plagued by despair when I take another look in a little while!

    This is probably my favorite part of an overly long sermon: “[R]emember Jesus. What does Jesus do when confronted with ill or heartbroken or grieving people? He doesn’t turn away. He doesn’t try to pretend he hasn’t seen them. Jesus always wades right in, walks toward, reaches out. Jesus is fearless! Jesus is always healing, with hands, and spit, and mud, and food, and drink, and words. Jesus models for us what to do. Walk toward, not away.”

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    1. And I would add, even in the rebuke Jesus gives to Peter in this reading, what Jesus is aiming for is deeper, more honest, more authentic, relationships. Peter has aligned with a simplistic, grandiose idea of Jesus. Jesus brings him back to reality. Life is messy, but in the messes, God shows up, reminding us to wade in, reach out, and love.

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  6. done, for tonight, looking at the NL reading from Genesis Call and Blessing
    during the NL Old Testament readings i am including some background material and a timeline each week as well as the sermon. I did this last year and it was well received, also included maps for some of the NT readings.
    time for a cuppa and bed, good night from down under.

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  7. I have spent this week in the company of Revgals as we spent four days on retreat on the Isle of Arran; it has fed my soul.
    I am trying to translate the feeling of well-being into the sermon – when Jesus asks us (me) “Who do you say I am?” what is my answer?
    Where is s/
    he (Jesus)/God/Spirit in all the things we do?
    She was ever present with us as we beach walked; prayed in colour and created beauty out of the discarded trash the eventually turns into sea glass….

    I am inspired by your comment Terri – “Jesus is aiming for is deeper, more honest, more authentic, relationships. Peter has aligned with a simplistic, grandiose idea of Jesus. Jesus brings him back to reality. Life is messy, but in the messes, God shows up, reminding us to wade in, reach out, and love.” That speaks into my thoughts… right now it’s all a bit messy – but I am hoping that in the tumbling of thoughts something beautiful will come.

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    1. Oh lucky you, on retreat with RevGals. That is inspiring. I will hold you (all of you) in prayer this day as you wade through the messiness, and I trust that something beautiful will unfold for each because, God shows up….:-)

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  8. I’m preaching “Who do you say I am” through five lenses:
    Prophets
    Mary
    Joseph
    Healed lepers
    Disciples

    And then… who do you, the congregation, say Jesus is? Who is he to you?
    I’m inviting them to write their answer on a small card that will be in their bulletins, and I’ll read them out, slowly, thoughtfully, during the postlude. (Yes, the musician loves the idea.)

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