desperate-2293377_1920No matter where in the world you are preaching this week, the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the US Senate Judiciary Committee will likely be somewhere in the minds of your hearers. Many pastors and counselors have spoken of receiving call after call from people with their own stories to tell, crying out to be seen and heard and believed. Perhaps some of them will be in your churches this weekend.

How will you preach to them? What good news will the Scripture bring into their pain and anxiety? Will the accounts of abuse and denial, fear and anger, find their way into your sermon? Or will you treat the week’s events in some other way?

If you’re a Narrative Lectionary preacher, you’ll join God’s people as they have just fled from Egypt; Pharaoh has a “what was I thinking?” moment and sends his armies to chase them down and bring them back. You’ll witness the parting of the waters to allow God’s people to cross the Red Sea, and those same waters rushing back in to destroy the pursuing armies. You can read Marci Auld Glass’s analysis here.

If you’re a Revised Common Lectionary preacher, you have many starting points to choose from. Perhaps you will experience Esther putting her own reputation (and perhaps her own life) on the line for her people. Or you may join Moses in the wilderness when he hears the people getting nostalgic for their days of captivity and turns to the Lord with a cry: “It’s. Too. Much.” You might join James in thinking about the power of prayer. Or perhaps Jesus’ admonition to “stay salty” will capture your attention. Rachael Keefe sees all of those as pointing toward liberation in her analysis here.

And now it’s your turn. What will you preach? What do your people need to hear this week? Please share your thoughts, or drafts of your sermons-in-progress, in the comments below.


Barbara Bruneau is a retired Lutheran pastor, living in southeastern Minnesota and currently serving in interim ministry. She is a knitter, a weaver, and a very occasional blogger at An Explosion of Texture and Color.


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23 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Is there a way?

  1. As fate would have it, I’m preaching on the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13. Sexual assault is very much on our minds in these harsh days, and Tamar’s story is a harsh story. I am actually a guest in the pulpit this week because of our church’s emphasis at the beginning of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It was difficult to decide on the Tamar story and then to create worship around it. There was some hesitation among our worship planners, but we believe we have created a moving worship experience.

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  2. At this point (always subject to change), I’m thinking that I want to make a clear statement in the announcements at the beginning of the service, directed toward anyone who has suffered (directly or indirectly) from sexual violence. “I see you. I hear you. I believe you. I will listen.” Once I’ve done that, I may let Scripture speak for itself in connection with the Senate hearings. I’m planning to preach on the RCL Gospel, looking at the things in us that need to be reined in and also looking at the gift of the chance to be salt in the world: healing, preserving, improving.

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  3. I will be preaching on the reconciliation between Esau and Jacob after Jacob wrestles with God (his holy conscience) all night long. How this ties into the weeks events, I am yet to discern. My topic is on For the Love of Family: Making Amends. Beginning with an “I see you, I hear you, I believe you” statement seems like a good way to start the service. We shall see where God leads me.

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  4. i am on the NL, the parting of the Red Sea. thinking about what it was like for the ordinary people of the time, like the two voice reading from Spill the Beans [which i am not using but now wish i was. 9 pm Saturday evening is too late to change things here] Last night at family church i used some of the story: ‘the Longest Night, A Passover story’ , which tells the story form the perspective of a young girl.
    also pondering the confusion of ‘stand firm’ and ‘move forward’
    and the grumbling of the Israelite people: why bring us out here to die?
    hopefully it will end with encouragement to move forward, rather than standing firm on tradition and ‘this is the way church should be done’.

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  5. Tomorrow, early in the service i am making a comment about a video clip i saw this week, by Lisa Gungor on leaving the church – maybe it is old news, but it connected with me. you can read my comments here

    i am preaching on the Exodus story from the NL, thinking about what it was like for the ‘ordinary’ people, and what life is like for us.
    what was it like

    11.00 pm Saturday evening here, so i am hoping to soon finish, just need to check the service one last time.

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  6. Prayers for all of you preaching on current affairs. It’s just too raw for me so I’m preaching on how God can work through those of other churches and even other faiths to bring about His Kingdom.

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  7. Tomorrow is my last Sunday in this interim call. It has been a good two years and we will see what comes next for me as I am still seeking my next interim.

    I am struggling with how to word the prayers of the people in light of events this week. If anyone wishes to share theirs I would be grateful.

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    1. I don’t have it written yet, but I think I will add a petition that asks for God’s guidance for all elected and appointed government officials, and that asks God to empower us to speak and act for the good of all God’s people, especially those who are victimized in any way. That feels pretty general now; I may make it more specific by morning.

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  8. I have just now returned from a vacation in France so was unable to watch yesterday’s hearings—though I did follow what I could. I will work with Esther and “such a time as this” (even though the actual reading comes from a different chapter).

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  9. My last Sunday with the congregation that I am handing on to Interim No. 2, whomever he or she proves to be. The sermon title is “Salt,” and in light of the past week I will probably speak more than I had planned about how we are called to bring healing into the world. I can’t do much in the way of the pastoral, since as of midnight I am no longer their pastor and am another congregation’s. Lotta self-reflection going on this week on so many levels.

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  10. I’m guest preaching from Isaiah 47, a text assigned to me a while back. It’s part of an ongoing series. Political critique is obvious in this one, but I am still trying to find a way to offer a word of peace for those who are hurting after the week’s events.

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  11. Its a 5th Sunday and we do prayers for healing on the 5th Sunday which means that people can come to receive anointing and prayer if they desire after they receive communion, I’ve started adding stations that people can use during this time as well and tomorrow I have a station with a single lit candle and people will be invited to offer prayer there for all who need healing from sexual violence or assault, especially those who for whatever reason don’t feel safe to ask for it. I will also say something at the beginning of the service to acknowledge what we have been through this week as a nation and what that has meant in particular for people who have been victims of sexual violence and not been heard or believed. My sermon is still a work in progress, but I will be using the gospel from Mark and the disciples’ desire to shut down the person who was not ‘one of them’.

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