Last Saturday, I spent the day at an all-day meeting for my Presbytery. But, to make the best of it, I left home early enough to enjoy an hour at the beach nearby! (Incidentally, this portion of our coast was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. They are still in recovery from physical damage and spiritual grief. Continue to pray, please).

Rockport Beach, Rockport, TX. Photo by Monica Smith, 2020

How are you making the best of what the lectionaries have to offer this week? The Revised Common Lectionary and Narrative Lectionary posts at RevGalBlogPals can offer some sermon-starting ideas. Or maybe you’re undertaking a series or something different this week. In any of those cases, we’re here to help! Share ideas, pleas for assistance, children’s time ideas, and/or snacks.

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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18 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Making the Best of It

  1. Hi Monica! I’ll jump in. I decided to talk only about Anger, in the Matthew passage. (So transparently what I need, personally). The Nadia Bolz-Weber piece I mentioned in the RCL post forms, essentially, the last third of the sermon.

    Asking for external validation, because I hate reading something and then saying NOTHING on it.

    I suppose I could just not read the rest.

    That feels cowardly.

    Ack! Anyone ever faced this before? How’d you handle it?


    1. Sounds like you’re well on your way. I had this very conversation with our ecumenical clergy lectionary group this week. I think our consensus was, don’t read the divorce part if you’re not going to explain it. (I’m guessing that’s the part you’re talking about?)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never dared to preach on the adultery/divorce passages. After seven times around the lectionary cycle, I am going for it. Probably never will again! Not expecting more than a handful in church on Sunday as this is the first big weekend of Mardi Gras parades. A number of folks in my congregation are riding on floats or marching with groups, and the rest of them are watching…or live too close to a parade route to be able to get out of their neighborhoods to come to church.

    So…my opening is, let’s take a trip in the WayBack Machine to a time when a Georgia peanut farmer and born-again Christian was running for President, and he gave an interview to Playboy Magazine where he talked about lusting in his heart. And compare it, obliquely, to the day and time we now live in, where a politician openly and rather brazenly committing adultery is apparently “not a problem” for many voters. And what would Jesus say? And what did he mean by what he did say?

    The handful of people who will be in church on Sunday will be able to handle this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kathy, I remember that magazine, because I bought a copy of it with Lira at a news stand in Italy! It was Penthouse; not Playboy. One of my study-abroad classmates pasted fig leaves over the women’s private parts as I circulated the article for others on the bus to read.

      I like the way you use this story to compare the norms and scandal of each era. It was the time that I learned that journalists were hired to write particular assignments. That writer knew scripture well enough to engage Carter, who was exceptionally honest, about the subtleties of faithful living. And if we are all honest, who hasn’t had a crush or lusted after someone?


  3. I’m definitely planning to begin by explaining those two terror verses (as a correction of the abuse of women), but then segue into the idea that the whole thing needs to be seen in the light of the Deuteronomy text: Jesus is taking the law back to its root (radical!) which had the sole purpose of bringing us all, i.e. the community, into a fuller, deeper life together.


    1. Yes! I think that’s exactly it, for both the Matthew and the Deuteronomy. I repeated “the law is a gift” a lot last week, but didn’t do a good job explaining how. I think you get at it well.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am feeling like this is a very uninspiring sermon, with lots of information, but maybe that is what God wants people to hear tomorrow – i hope so. otherwise I am wasting our time and my energy.
    Now I see that in writing it sounds a bit pathetic.
    God called me, and this sermon keeps changing direction, so i trust it is where the spirit is moving it.
    at 10 pm Saturday evening, i would like it finished, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.


  5. I am in serious tweaking mode this morning with the Moses story. I wrote on Thursday be the last third needs to be totally reworked and helping them see this is a not only an individual thing but something the church does as a whole in choosing life with God, choosing life with humanity, and choosing life with all of creation.


  6. I used the psalm for inspiration, sure those who follow perfectly God’s commands are blessed, but I am still persevering, ark trying, still learning everyday.
    I still need baby food, as per Paul, but I have received a gift from Jesus – who desires us to live in love and trust with each other- a gift of forgiveness.
    So, my message was to make good broken relationships where it is possible, remembering that words cut and last longer than we might plan.
    I tackled divorce in line with our diocese policy on prevention of violence against women. For JC adultery broke the trust of the marriage contract, but these days we would add violence, addiction and abuse. No one should feel shame when a marriage falls due to these things, but instead consider three and their family’s safety. Ugh, it sounds garbled, but worked when I wrote it! I had better sick to the careful script!


  7. I’m using the Deuteronomy and Matthew readings. I’m tackling the whole thing as a reinterpretation of the law – and linking it to love – and toletance- and how we all treat each other . Somewhere in there I got to not judging others just because we may think they are doing wrong, because that, too, causes us not to treat each other in a spirit of love.
    Like some others here I’m going to have to be careful not to wander too far from my script. Now that I’ve typed this, I’m beginning to wonder if any of this makes sense from those passages


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