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I’ve been reading Fleming Rutledge’s book, “Advent” and finding it provocative. Rutledge is an Episcopal priest with a theology that falls into the Calvinist vein, she argues that there is nothing we human’s can do, only God can bring forth transformation. She writes that Advent is the season that points the church toward the second coming of Christ, not the incarnation. The readings in Advent support this idea, apocalyptic teachings that point to the God’s final reign in glory, when good prevails over evil.

In the meantime we have Advent and this idea:

The disappointment, brokenness, suffering, and pain that characterize life in this present world is held in dynamic tension with the promise of future glory that is yet to come. In that Advent tension, the church lives its life. (Advent, Kindle location 364)

I too am an Episcopal priest, but I am not a Calvinist. My theology is “Incarnational,” I believe that God chose to come into the world in human flesh, in the person of Jesus. And therefore I believe that God chooses to continue God’s work in the world through human beings, through us. That we, being invited by God to work with God, are capable of bearing worthy fruit.

I am finding good food for thought in her reflections on good and evil and John the Baptist and commend this book to you….

Where are you on this third Sunday of Advent? What are you finding provocative?

This is the 11th Hour Preacher Party, and I’ll be here all day.

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: Bearing Worthy Fruits

  1. i have an idea for the Isaiah reading on the NL, but finding ti hard to get excited about the reading. heat and humidity are not helping, and i keep getting ideas for next Sunday.

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  2. calling it done for the night. here is my sermon on Isaiah, though you may notice lots of quotes.
    next week Matthew, i love the prophets, but struggling to say something new.
    Storms the past few afternoons, so humid and warm. Yesterday, Friday, we cancelled Friday evening family church becasue we had no electricity.
    Tomorrow afternoon is our Hard to be Merry service, then to the Church Council Chairperson’s place for nibbles and drinks with church council and partners to celebrate Christmas. We each take something, i bought some biscuits yesterday, Had thought about cooking but really, who was I kidding thinking that i would have time to even think of what to make, let alone get it made. So packet biscuits it is.
    blessings on your writing,

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  3. We are doing a rare thing in our Episcopal church and going off-lectionary with our gospel (to go with a piece being offered by a phenomenal guest soloist); we’re using the Annunciation passage. To delay writing, I started looking at images of. Gabriel and Mary, which led to my pondering how bland the angel often appears and how meek & mild Mary often is, and how very white they both are. So I’ve been searching out alternative images and I’m going to show the contrast. I think it matters because what we see impacts how we understand what’s happening, and that affects our own response/call.

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      1. Elaine, if it would be helpful, I’d be glad to send you links to the images I’m using. While none of them are holy family ones, many of the artists have done those as well.

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        1. If you are looking for beautiful/ethnic images of Mary, you should look at the mosaics from the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. They are breathtakingly beautiful, created by artists from dozens of different countries.

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    1. Oh gosh, If I can think of where I read it I’ll pull up some interesting material I read about Mary….but yes, Oh yes. This is so important to show the fullness of who she was, her bravery. Many in the orthodox church see her as the Mother of God, not meek, but strong and courageous.

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  4. Years ago when I sang in a choir we did an anthem based on this Sunday’s passage from Zephaniah, “And the Father Will Dance over You in Joy.” I’m going with Zephaniah for the sermon. Riffing off the Christmas song “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town,” I’m wondering in the sermon if we get some of our images of God from the idea of a Santa “who knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!” Zephaniah gives us the image of a loving God who dances over us in joy (sorry about the masculine imagery — that’s how the anthem was written). Sermon title: “Jesus Christ Is Coming to Town.”

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  5. Seriously, some day I will get unpacked from this most recent move. Tomorrow we have a high school choir coming and they are doing two selections during the offertory, it’s communion and so a short sermon. I am preaching the prophets Micah and Isaiah, noting that our understanding of Christmas was not in their vocabulary but what God in coming to humanity again in the form of a baby is still as powerful and vulnerable as ever.

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      1. Terri, I am hopeful by February 1st…seriously! I am having to be very careful about space and think things through so I don’t end up moving it 17 times. (note: I am not always successful at that. LOL.)

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  6. I’m here. I’ve had internet connectivity problems, a big rehearsal at the church for a Lessons and Carols concert tomorrow night (an all female group singing), and of course ongoing family needs with the illness that has knocked us all for a loop. My 10 week old grandson is in the NICU with RSV and pneumonia, on oxygen. The rest of us have been sick with eye, ear, and or sinus infections along with colds. It’s been a challenging time since Thanksgiving. Now, my sermon tomorrow….I’m looking at Zephania and Luke – at the Good News being revealed (apocalypse) when we work with God to tend to the issues of the world.

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    1. It’s hard to find the energy and motivation for preaching when you are going through a season like that. Prayers for all of you.

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      1. It’s been very difficult, last week I went in on Sunday morning having only barely looked at the readings….but thank goodness I pulled off a reasonable sermon. And, thank goodness I’ve spent nearly a year preaching without a manuscript, so I am a little more comfortable flying with these.

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  7. Well, my Saturday evening ritual of watching Strictly Come Dancing is finished (literally, as tonight was the final!), so now it’s time to get to work. I’m off lectionary, preaching the third week in “god with us” using the first 25 verses of Jeremiah 31. It was a text that came up in our kirk session meeting where we talked about things the elders had read that struck them as being a word for this church in this time, so I’m going to try to do something with that. I don’t quite know how, or what I’m going to say, but hopefully it will all start to come together soon!

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