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This summer my congregation and I have been engaging a sermon dialogue time. We are doing this to help us all listen more deeply for God. To do this I ask them to listen for three things in the readings:

What word, image, or phrase stands out for them. I ask them to pay attention because I believe that the Holy Spirit activates in us just below the surface of our consciousness. A word, phrase, or image in scripture that stands out for us may be an indication of how God is seeking to act in and through us. We have to practice listening to hear the Holy Spirit.

We are also following the summer series, Unraveled, from A Sanctified Art. The second question I ask them to consider is, What or who is being unraveled. And, how do we find God in the unraveling?

The third question comes from the Kaleidoscope Institute’s Bible Sharing, and it is, What is God asking you to do, be, or change through these readings.

Yes, this is a lot to ask people to think about in a few minutes on Sunday morning. But we are doing it, and having thoughtful conversations.

If you are following the RCL, our readings for Sunday are provocative. Divisions in families, hypocrisy and a failure to see the times for what they are. Sounds familiar to us even now.

I’m curious to see where these texts take us.

What about you? What text speaks to you, whether you are following the RCL or another source?

This is the 11th Hour Preacher Party, and we’re here to walk this journey together.

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

12 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: What is God asking

  1. One more ‘preach’ before vacation…need I say more. We have been traveling through Acts all summer and so tomorrow is basically the equivalent of having a bunch of people over to see pictures from your latest trip. (That actually just spurred an idea for future use…to show contemporary photos to pair with the texts I preached. Our sanctuary has so much ambient lighting that projected images well is difficult.)

    The title is Holy Three Taverns. Yes, there was a place called Three Taverns outside of Rome where a couple of major traffic ways converged.

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    1. Tomorrow is my last Sunday before two weeks off, so I feel you! I’m starting the NL Sabbath series … and then stepping away from my duties, LOL. I’m noting significant internal resistance to, I don’t know, writing? And part of that is that it will be an emotional day for me, as it’s our musician’s last Sunday ~ he who is my younger son, who has been playing for/with us for four years, and is leaving for college. Oof. I feel as if, if I delay the writing of the sermon, perhaps the day won’t come, and he’ll stick around a bit longer.

      That said, I’m feeling very conscious of the deep fatigue of not just my congregation, but our village, as we all have felt so buffeted by the nastiness of politics, etc. I’m hoping that by morning, I’ll have found a way to express why this matters to us all.

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      1. Ah, I’m with you on the kid leaving for college thing. Prayers for your rest tonight and for an awareness of God’s enveloping tenderness to hold you and your people tomorrow in worship. Spirit will come and minister to you all.

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    1. It’s been interesting to use. The KI model of Bible Sharing always uses the first and third question and the second question is created to engage the current context, in this case, what is unraveling.

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  2. I’ve been preaching on the prophets in Track 1 (semi-continuous); this week Isaiah 5, the Song of the Vineyard. Brings back powerful scent-memories of living near vineyards in Western NY, sweet concord & niagara grapes. Didn’t like the sweet wine, but loved the grapes. Hmm, is that a sermon??

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  3. The gospel is a tough text anyway, but it’s compounded because I have to preach to a congregation that doesn’t want to hear about anything “political,” which translates to anything going on in the world except natural disasters. I’m going to try to relate the first-century divisions to current divisions without naming any of them (thinking of referring to what Family Systems says about disruption of homeostasis)–maybe some silence for them to pay attention to what Spirit brings up, then lift up the Hebrews passage as assurance that we’re not alone, and can look to the cloud of witnesses as proof that God’s love is stronger than anything life throws at them.

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    1. Family Systems would encourage you to use yourself, so for example I would say: Jesus is talking about….and for me that means…and for you it might mean something else. Or it might be meaningful to you in another way. I enter into politics by saying what I think, feel, believe (ie Self-differentiation) without asking others to think, feel, or believe as I do and instead encouraging them to think for themselves what it means. Then I might say something like, none of us has the whole truth on what God is doing in creation through Jesus, but together we come to understand some of the complex ways that humans struggle to understand and act….

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      1. That way you are not disrupting homeostasis but rather encouraging healthy self-differentiation and clarity, allowing for differences without the need to argue or debate who’s right or wrong. Because this is what I think and I honor that you may think differently, and that’s okay.

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  4. this morning i am preaching on the angels and shepherds . last Sunday woke to a prickly throat, it improved during the week, until Friday night, I have other people leading the service, and I will attempt to preach a very short sermon. moving from fear to experience to praise. Now lots of tea to ease my throat.

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