It’s the first Sunday of Lent, so for Revised Common Lectionary preachers, that means Temptation, every year. Narrative Lectionary preachers are working through forgiveness and reconciliation in Matthew. Maybe you’ve planned a Lent series? Catching up from too many snowy Sundays? Whatever the case, you’re welcome at the 11th Hour Preacher Party!

My sermon feels just as tangled up as this cardinal in the branches. Photo by Monica Smith, 2019, McKinney Falls State Park, Austin, TX

Share ideas, ask for help, noodle an idea around. That’s what we’re here for!


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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24 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Find the Sermon Edition

  1. Tomorrow is a parish service, which means one service instead of two, and a later start. There is a lot in the service : the beginning of Lent, Lent Event [an overseas mission project], an invitation to affirm the covenant [Wesley style, though i have found updated words], and i decided we would share communion. All of which means i was thinking a shorter sermon would be fine. i had one from 4 years ago, but with a few changes, it is as long as usual. Oh well, at least i don’t have to rush to another service.
    I am working on the NL, and only including the parable on forgiveness, or the unforgiving servant. Strange Stories – Forgiveness and Prison
    Good night from down under

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was struck this week by commentators talking about Jesus’ temptations being about how he will live into his role as Son of God, more identity issues than anything else. Pairing that with the Deuteronomy text brings up the issue of the stories we tell ourselves that impact our sense of identity. As I consider what to say this weekend, I’m also grieving the loss of my mother yesterday and making plans to attend her memorial service in a couple of weeks. My congregation is already beginning to offer support.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Insightful — you’ve concisely summed up the connection I’ve been struggling to articulate between this idea of identity with Jesus’ temptations and the stories retold in the Deuteronomy reading — thank you!
      So sorry to hear about your mother; I pray that God will comfort you and support you through whatever you need to get through, and I hope you will be able to take the time you need to grieve. Glad your congregation is supportive!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I too am consider ideas of identity in these readings, an appropriate Lenten theme…I began Lent by leaning into the Ash Wed reading from Joel which said, Rend open your heart and not your clothes…and pondered what it means to rend open one’s heart? To be open and vulnerable, to access to one’s deepest self, to do a scan of one’s soul, to look at the broken places that keep me from God and wonder how I can heal those places? Building off of that for tomorrow I am considering what it means to be so open in my heart that I find myself because I find God there too, in the ripped open raw place of my heart….

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I’m so sorry about your loss, Aimee. Hugs.

      I preached the temptations a few weeks ago in the NL and definitely went down the identity route. I’d be happy to share if that would help…though I’m about to go to bed so the time zones may not be in our favour, I’ll check back when I wake up in 8 hours or so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been following the RCL for the most part so tempations abound on Sunday. I came up with a title early on in the week: “Holy Chocolate”. It doesn’t show here but the chocolate is lined out. I am to the tweaking stage but went an unusual route of wondering if the devil was a devil’s advocate???


    1. I’ve been pondering Luke’s emphasis on the role of the Spirit in the whole episode. And maybe approaching your devil’s advocate idea. Glad I’m not the only one!


  4. It’s the beginning of spring break for the college and the school district here, so probably a smaller group tomorrow. We cancelled last week because of snow, so we’re having communion this week. I’m following the RCL for Lent, doing Luke 4 this week, and struggling to write this sermon. I was out of the office a lot this week, so spent most of yesterday reading instead of writing and today I’m greatly distracted…somewhat ironically, given the subject. I’ve got my coffee and I’m trusting that I’ll get there, by God’s grace.


    1. God’s grace is the only way any of us get there! But I understand. I had a quiet week because I’m nursing a cold, so I had lots of time to read and think. But today, when it comes to writing time, I’m distracted, too. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sick, barely have a voice. Had a big funeral today. Have a few thoughts for tomorrow which I left in a comment above. Still preaching extemporaneously…so I wonder what I will actually say versus what I am thinking about. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am thinking about Jesus being tempted by the devil to use his power for his own good. That being fully human means that he truly was tempted. Being fully divine he sees this trap and avoids it. And how people with power today so often give in to temptation to use power for their own ends and convenience.


  7. I am using the RCL and preaching on the gospel passage. My former pastor used to say when he baptized people, “You are a child of God and God takes great delight in you. God has given you everything you need to live the life God is calling you to live.” I’ll be taking about how Jesus knew scripture and had it available to him when he needed it. Of course, God does not pre-equip us with knowledge or life experience. We can’t become who God has called us to be against our will; but if we trust God to give us everything we need, we can face life’s temptation better able to overcome them. One of the gifts God has given us is scripture. It doesn’t make sense these days to memorize scripture when we have it at our fingertips on our phones at any minute. But God has called us to write the Word on our hearts.

    Anyway, that’s where I’m heading. I have these kids who love Harry Potter so I try to find connections when possible in the series. This week (non potter fans, never mind this part) I’m leading with Dumbledore’s bequest to Harry And friends. They did not understand why they were given these items but in the fullness of time, the gift proved invaluable. And then to the gift of scripture, etc.


  8. I committed to Old Testament scriptures through the RCL at the beginning of Year A in 2016, which makes these days more challenging, but I’ll do a shared focus on Dt. and Luke talking about Remembering Who We Are. Moses’ farewell speech at the end of his ministry where he reminds them to remember what God has done for them as they take their offerings is a good reminder for us as we enter the transitional time of Lent to remember what God has done for us and to come to worship with our hearts and hands full of the blessings we have received. Juxtaposed with the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, where he is exploring who God is calling him to be and calling to mind the things he has been taught, we are reminded to trust in God’s promises and God’s commands as we wander through our own wilderness experiences toward the promise of new life. It feels fitting that we should have an end and then a beginning, rather than the other way around, as we make our way toward Good Friday and Easter. Also fitting for a congregation dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on a new yoking agreement since they can no longer afford to be independent due to decreasing membership and funds. Hoping for words to come quickly and effortlessly, so I can go to bed before the time change has a chance to completely mess with my sleep. Peace to all who are laboring still ….


    1. So you are committed to preaching from the OT text for an entire three year cycle? Impressive! I like your “end and beginning” thought. Thanks for sharing, and prayers for your congregation in transition.


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