This rose bloomed on the morning the moving van arrived, a morning full of constant motion and a flurry of activity. As our children and I left the house for the last time, I stopped to smell the rose and invited them to do so, too. The moving crew–five men–all came over to smell it too. I didn’t plant the rose, nor did I tend it particularly well. It’s not my favorite color. But it smells heavenly, and I was glad we all took the time to smell the roses.

Photo by Monica Smith, 2019, Buda, TX

I hope you can take some time to smell a rose, or something equally “unproductive,” even as you prepare your sermon this week.

Revised Common Lectionary preachers can be measured by Amos’s plumb line or ponder the Good Samaritan. Maybe you’re doing something else: a series, or a special occasion, or something the Spirit whispered in your heart this week. Whatever your plans, we are here for mutual support and encouragement, sharing of ideas, and prayers.

Peace be with you, preachers.


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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26 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Take Time

  1. We are celebrating the Lord’s Supper this Sunday, and I had my sermon outlined in my head, talking about what Presbyterians have to say about who may come to the table. But then Tropical Storm Barry (may eventually be a hurricane for a short time) came to visit. In New Orleans on Friday afternoon the sun is out and we are having some strong breezes. The Florida Panhandle, a four-hour drive east of us, is getting more rain right now than we are. But I have no idea how many or how few people are going to turn up in church on Sunday — Barry should have moved on by then — so I may write a different sermon than I had planned. And the church is in a neighborhood that floods in a heavy rain, as it did on Wednesday morning, so there’s that. Stay tuned.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am in Acts all summer and had hoped to use a sustainable sermon with tweaks since this is the first week after study leave and vacation. That first week is always brutal for me. But alas, it seems I will be writing a new sermon. It’s about half done but a few early morning errands before the crowds hit is first up.


    1. Sometimes those sustainable sermons just don’t adapt like we wish they would. And congratulations on your early errands–I was somewhat later and wished I had gotten out first thing this morning.


  3. I’m here for the Enneagram folks! I pulled out “Parables and the Enneagram” by Clarence Thomson, and found this little gem. This is a good parable for 8s, who, according to the author, want justice, but settle for revenge. Jesus confounds the lawyer by undermining the expected good/ bad dichotomy, and forcing him to put himself in the place of the victim. Who will we help? People who deserve it, of course. But from whom will we accept help? ANYONE, if we’re lying in a ditch and dying. “If the good guy/ bad guy game thinking creeps into life as well, it can create havoc or Bosnia” (book published in ’96).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m preaching in a congregation where I haven’t been before, hours before the memorial service of my cousin who suffered from severe depression and subsequently died of alcohol poisoning at the end of a week that has been complicated by the sudden scheduling of his service once the word came in that he would (finally) be cremated three weeks plus after his death, my son-in-law’s grandmother’s passing requiring help with the youngest granddaughter, and my pregnant daughter-in-law and three grandchildren in another state being in a car accident. I’m exhausted, and preaching Amos for the first time ever. Ever. Plumb lines. Lord, have mercy. The good news that came this week is that I am once again officially a pastor, having been commissioned to my ministry (now validated by the Presbytery) on Tuesday afternoon. I’m not sure if I feel like one at all or if I’m REALLY feeling like one, but once again, it’s Saturday and I’m starting from scratch. Lord, in your mercy …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “… hear the prayer of your daughter. Send your Spirit upon her for strength, grace, and the right Word that will radiate your love, both to her congregation and to her hurting family. We pray in the name of Jesus, who is our Healer and our Hope. Amen.”

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m going with The Good Samaritan, even though it’s a tricky one to preach when the congregation goes so above and beyond in helping others. I think the second half of the sermon is going to be along the lines of, “How do we help everyone, when there’s so many people and causes out there that need us,” and moving to doing what the Samaritan did: Helping who we can, who the Spirit leads us to, whenever we can. It’s so easy to get overloaded by compassion fatigue… I think that’s where the sermon will go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is something to be aware of– how are we preaching something other than, “take care of everyone all the time!”? I like your second half idea for its applicability.
      I’ve also encouraged helpers to hear the story from the perspective of the beat-up traveler, noticing that the one who cares isn’t at all who you’d expect. Recognizing Christ in the Other by accepting care from them.
      (I haven’t figured out where my sermon is going at all, so this is helping me as I face a similar congregation)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks for that line of thinking. I confess that I have too many ideas and need to narrow it down. You’re helping me pull together some of those thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sermon is done and it’s titled Holy Good Trouble. Acts 6: 1-8 is the text and using it to remind the people the church is ‘the called out’ disciples. There is a sense that this congregation wants a professional or staff person to do all the planning etc so they can just come and enjoy. I am challenging them to be ‘the called out’. Annie Dillard’s quote about ushers issuing life preservers, crash helmets and seat belts makes an appearance.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve taken the recycling and trash to the center (this is a new thing for us in this new place), visited the secondhand store as a donator and shopper, got a few things from the stragglers at the farmer’s market (the basil, oh my goodness, the basil!), and am now happily sitting on my back porch with my drink on the new-to-me side table.

    The Good Samaritan and Amy-Jill Levine’s “Short Stories by Jesus” and a fitful breeze are my companions. Surely I can come up with a sermon soon, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is 10:08 and I don’t have my sermon written. I’ve written a Saturday sermon many a time in the past, but not this late. I have a pile of scraps of notes, several ideas swirling in my head and having a hard time pinning things down. It’s been a week—my father-in-law died Thursday, had a wedding rehearsal Friday, and the wedding today. I just want to be done, but I want to share the message God wants me to preach. Ok, back to it…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just wanted to let you know you’re not alone in Saturday night preaching. Also as one who writes on Saturday nights most of the time, remember to rely on the Holy Spirit…she will be there in the morning even if you’re not sure about what you wrote 🙂


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