How my sermon feels right now…

Somehow it’s already the weekend. I know I was on holiday this week and just came back to work on Friday, and I know that may not have been the world’s wisest choice because OMG IT’S ALMOST SUNDAY….but better than coming back Saturday night as I usually do, I suppose!

Here in Scotland it’s Remembrance this weekend, meaning our service will start earlier than normal so that we can pause for 2 minutes of silence at 11:00, and there will be extra elements in the service as well. Plus more visitors than normal, here specifically for Remembrance. This year marks 100 years since the first Remembrance observance, as last year marked 100 years since the armistice that ended the First World War. It’s an interesting day to preach Hosea (on the Narrative Lectionary), for sure!

Whether you are working on the NL, or the RCL, it seems the picture of God we see in this weekend’s texts is of God working overtime as a divine parent. It’s the hard stuff, with toddler-questions and angsty teens and who knows what else, and yet God chooses to be God of the living, to lift us up like infants to God’s cheek, etc etc.

How are you feeling that closeness today? Is it bringing you inspiration? Or stifling your creativity like parents inevitably do at one point or another?

Do you have special remembrance-related things this week? Or are you studiously avoiding any whiff of it? Or perhaps preparing for an extended Advent, or another special occasion?

Whatever you have on this week, you are welcome here as we work together toward proclaiming the good news around the world this weekend! Bring your ideas, your half-finished phrases, your children’s sermon questions, your prayers, and your snacks. We’re ready to party!


Teri Peterson is a minister in the Church of Scotland. She lives along the beautiful Firth of Clyde with a cat who is not pulling his weight in sermon writing, but is happy to nap in exactly the place a laptop ought to be. She is co-author of Who’s Got Time: spirituality for a busy generation, a board member of RevGalBlogPals, and a contributor to There’s A Woman in the Pulpit.


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28 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: serious holy parenting edition

  1. I studiously avoid patriotic observances unless they fall directly on Sunday (which happened last year with our American version of Remembrance – Veterans Day). Instead, we are having a baptism and staying after worship for a potluck and congregational meeting to present the budget and nominating slate for 2020. Tomorrow is the Fall Bazaar, so with any luck at all, there will be leftover pie to add to the potluck bounty. I am preaching from the RCL epistle lesson (somewhat obliquely, I think) as part of a series on endurance. Last week was “Enduring Hope” and next week will be “Enduring Witness” on the gospel lesson. This one is “Enduring Faith” and I haven’t written a single word. Carpenters and painters have been in and out of my house all day, and I have been not-a-little-bit distracted. We still have some Halloween candy left, so help yourselves to a virtual Snickers or Heath bar.

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  2. Back from vacation on Thursday and full tilt pastoral care, double mastectomy, two double organ transplants (these we knew nothing about previously) and a death this afternoon. Sermon…what sermon on Hosea. I have a glimmer and it may just be a glimmer type of sermon. We get a glimpse into the inner landscape of God (how cool is that) and the wrestling God does…and in the end God cannot destroy. I think I’ll also share the wisdom of Julian of Norwich: All shall be well. All shall be well…for there is a Force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go! (Julian of Norwich c.a.1342-1416)

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    1. Omg, that’s a lot. I came back to work on Friday after three weeks off and I am glad it hasn’t been as full-tilt as yours (though Monday starts a week of crazy!).
      I love that angle on Hosea and may….borrow…it. 🙂

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  3. I am reading Luke 20:27-38 from a caregiver’s lens, as this is Caregivers Sunday on the Presbyterian Planning Calendar. Usually, when we read of the woman whose husband dies, then she marries the brother/s and they in turn die, we are thinking about the bad luck she brings or the riddle about to whom she is married in heaven. I am struck by the extended stretches of time she is a hospice caregiver over and over again! Caregiving is physically and emotionally exhausting and she repeats this faithful behavior. That is a lot of changing the sheets, washing and feeding and tending. That is a lot of preparing bodies for burial, sitting shiva, feeding a crowd, feeling alone and abandoned in the midst of the crowd.

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    1. That is an interesting angle and one I’ve never thought of before, but you’re right, the woman has likely been caregiving for some time.
      Another comment suggested that in the resurrection when she’s nobody’s husband, now she’s free instead of property—and what would the Sadducees do with all those free women running around?!?!?

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  4. I am preaching Haggai 1:1-15 (the whole first chapter) and looking at the whole book. OK, I may be waaaay out there, but here’s what I’m seeing: God says to the returnees in Jerusalem, hey, you’ve come back, you’ve got your houses, now how about building MY house? Stewardship sermon! THEN, God says, hey, you know that drought you’re dealing with? The famine? Want the rain to come? Want fertile crops again? BUILD MY HOUSE! Whoa! My daring sermon title: “God’s Quid Pro Quo”! This is going to be fun!

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  5. I returned from holiday on Thursday. I had managed an order of service and a sermon title before I left… Remembrance here. But I’m in a new charge and apparently here it is pretty low key (a total contrast to the past 14 years!) – so I am talking about being known by name (first ‘kids’ bit) and for the actual sermon, looking for hope for the future. Using Micah 4 (swords into ploughshares) and the RCL gospel text – emphasis on God being the God of the living… reminding everyone that the widow in this story had no choice about marrying the next brother in line as she was part of the estate.
    I have also put in a bit about the Sadducees asking vexatious questions on a subject which they do not believe in!
    I have words. I have my family here for extended birthday celebrations as I was on holiday when the birthday happened…
    My d-i-l made me a cake of macarons!! (OMG!!!!) If you can get here, I may share 🙂

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  6. Tomorrow is a little complicated: it is our stewardship in-gathering Sunday including a celebration lunch. We are celebrating all the ministries of the congregation. We have also been leaning into Kaleidoscope Institutes Stewardship 365 and Eric Law’s book, Holy Currencies. SOOO, I am going to reflect a bit on Haggai and the idea that rebuilding the temple was intended to reflect God’s desire in the world, a place where God’s work could thrive. I’ll connect that to the building my church resides in and all the ways (Cycle of blessing, Holy Currency) that sustainable ministries take place in and through this building. I’ll also connect this idea to the Gospel and how Jesus uses the question about Levirite law to unpack the depth of God’s imagination in the resurrection – God’s imagination is not limited to our ideas ie who’s wife is she, but to the reality that human constructs are burst open – there are no limits on life in the resurrection. I’ll use that to point to the ongoing potential of new life in this place as we continue to expand our imagination of what is possible. And, I may lean into this: Widening Circles
    Rainer Maria Rilke

    Listen
    I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
    I circle around God, around the primordial tower.
I’ve been circling for thousands of years
and I still don’t know: am I a falcon,
a storm, or a great song?
    Book of Hours, I 2

    Pray that I can keep it simple and clear, especially because I preach without a manuscript.

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  7. Questions. There are questions that invite us into relationship and questions that are meant to keep us at arm’s length. I’m going to talk about the Sadducees in Luke and remind people that for our deepest questions, God is always there and the answer isn’t a theological proclamation, but a presence and an engagement.

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  8. We are off lectionary, finishing up a six week series on parables (based on Amy-Jill Levine’s “Short Stories by Jesus”–highly recommend). It’s the (persistent) widow and the (unjust) judge. I also want to say something generally about parables at the end, but I may or may not get there.

    I also need to finish up Advent plans (currently about a third of the way done). Two children and the dog are taking turns with interruptions, so the likelihood of that getting finished today is slim.

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  9. Well, it’s 8:50pm and I have zero words written, which is not unusual for this time…but what is unusual is that I just returned to work yesterday after three weeks off so I haven’t put as much thought in as I normally have by this point. I’m on Hosea, and Remembrance, so….I don’t know. I suppose I should go spend more time looking at the text and the blank document and less time scrolling through the internet, but honestly the eight tabs I have open about Christmas Cake recipes are practically calling me….

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  10. I’m sitting here virtually with you all wearing my new RevGals shirt and trying to get caught up on 3 weeks of grading for my other job. I’m not preaching, but I still need to write a pastoral prayer. This is where we will acknowledge Veteran’s day, and I will pray by name for our congregational family who are currently serving. –Wendy

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  11. So very assuring to know Im in good company. Working a general piece on Psalms here (there were three “possibile”s in the RCL. Reminder that it is a book compiled over a great length of time, and covers most of the circumstances of our human lives and relationship with God. We have a few repeat visitors lately (thank you God) with a diverse set of prior church affiliations (and one LGBTQ couple, of whom one is an ex-catholic). Working in a theme that, while God is consistent, and so are our human challenges, the “shape” of the church has been an ever changing one. I.E., yes it might be different here than you are used to, but there is less “right and wrong” about religion and more “I feel the presence and love of God” in this place, and its ok that they don’t agree with my other church. We all need reassurance sometimes, for many diverse reasons, that we are welcome in the body of Christ!

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  12. It is “only” 6pm here on the us west coast, but I am STRUGGLING over Haggai. We have an exciting fundraising concert happening after worship tomorrow which means that is where most people’s energy will be… but it also means, if we are lucky, we will have visitors during worship. What I’ve written so far would not induce anyone to come back another time. sigh

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  13. I think I have accepted that Saturday night/Sunday morning will always be sermon writing time. I was looking forward to a month of Sundays off, and … am glad I had them, but they weren’t restful weeks with my mom in the hospital and my 95-year old, disoriented grandma in the hospital and rehab from a fractured pelvic bone and a seven hour trip to welcome our new grandson where I spent my second night as hospital patient sitter and then came home in utter exhaustion. I spent most of the week on the couch recovering and then our less-than-two-week-old grandson ended up back in the hospital with 103 fever, while our son managed patients and three sick kids in his office, so our daughter-in-law could be at the hospital with the baby. Needless to say, text messages and phone calls and check-in visits and catching up on work have brought me to here with little prep. I read the passages from multiple sources on Monday and listened to podcasts on my way to and from the Presbytery meeting today that was an hour and a half away. It’s 9:05 p.m., my left big toe is red and throbbing, which is commanding my attention, and I don’t have word one written. Pass the virtual chocolate, please. Here we go …………….

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    1. So sorry to hear of all of the sickness and injuries! Prayers to you and yours. It’s always comforting to hear of other preachers who write Sat night/Sun morning. Also as I said above, the Pulpit Fiction Podcast commentary on Haggai was really inspiring.

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      1. Isn’t it? When other ministers say they write on Saturday night/Sunday morning, I am always relieved! Thank you … I found the Pulpit Fiction podcast incredibly inspiring as well, and affirming where i already thought I was probably going in many ways. Thank you for your kind words. I gave up and went to bed last night at 9:30 after reading some commentary and getting an outline in my head, and set the alarm for early, so praying osmosis did the trick!

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