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Third Sunday of Lent. C’mon, friends, we can do it! Revised Common Lectionary and Narrative Lectionary posts are ready for your perusal. Or maybe you’re doing a series for Lent. Or maybe there’s a choir program. Whatever the case, you’re welcome at the 11th Hour Preacher Party, as always!

Share ideas, concerns, and/or questions. And 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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25 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Lent 3

  1. Maybe this is off-topic, but: I suspect that many of us are facing the challenge (opportunity?) of doing “virtual church” for the first time, thanks to COVID-19. Any advice for, say, a first-time Facebook Live preacher?

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    1. Hi, are you a member of the RevGalBlogPals facebook group? There are a lot of helpful conversations there on this topic.

      And feel free to chime in here, anyone who has advice.

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  2. We’re having a careful, abbreviated service followed by conversation about why our tiny, elderly, vulnerable congregation in a county with no diagnosed cases as yet still needs to suspend gatherings and learn some rudimentary tech. The abbreviated part will be the sermon, and I’m thinking I’ll zero in on Jesus asking someone to care for his needs, and how we all need to keep the needs of others in mind, not just “Oh, I’ll be OK.”

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    1. Joanna, this is where I’m at, too. Loving our neighbors takes on all sorts of new meaning in our current situation, and that’s how I plan to preach on John 4, but I’m having trouble getting the sermon written because I’m still wondering if it would be wiser to cancel. Only 6 cases in Kansas, and we’re in a small rural town many,many miles from the city, but we have lots of 80 year olds and I don’t want to be doing their premature funerals.

      On a more positive note, I watched an episode of a new show last night, Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist, in which she hears people thoughts as music. This seems parallel to Jesus knowing so much about the Samaritan woman’s life. We aren’t Jesus or Zoe, but the Holy Spirit helps us to listen to one another with insight and empathy. In this high-stress time, we’re going to need that more and more.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. In a similar place to both of you. There are only about 15 of us, so we can definitely keep 6 feet between us, if we will. We made the decision to have worship tomorrow, but I am definitely leaning toward not holding worship in person next Sunday. We’re almost all (excepting me and two grandchildren) above the 60 age range, some of us well above.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am preaching on the Narrative Lectionary, plus a bit. Mark 11:15-18, 27-33, 12:1-17. Thinking about leadership and justice
    Tomorrow, a sad task, telling both services that a member of the church is in palliative care, at home.
    On Friday evening our family service thought about words that hurt and words that bless, and wrote on some stones, that we will put in the local park next week. We did a few on thin card to go in the pews tomorrow – not everyone will get one, but hopefully they appreciate the children’s work.
    Tomorrow afternoon an executive Council meeting to think through a COVID 19 plan – we are outside Sydney and the first confirmed case in the region was announced yesterday; then working with a committee looking for a Minister in another Parish.
    almost time for bed, the sermon , and service, is finished by 10.30 pm on Saturday. YEAH!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yesterday I had to completely reorganize everything. Our two Sunday morning worship services will now take place as an 8am conference call using Morning Prayer and the 10am will use our regular 10am worship but skip over the Holy Communion portion. For the homily time my assistant priest and I will facilitate a conversation on the Gospel readings: this week the Samaritan woman at the well, next week the blind man, and the third week of our mandated online service only, we’ll reflect on Lazarus. IF we have to hold Palm Sunday and Holy Week services online, well, we’ll figure that out next week…today I have funeral, which will also be broadcast via FB live with only the worship leaders attending and a couple of family members.

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  5. What a week. I spent M,T,W watching webinars on Zoom and online worship, gathering resources and options, reading CDC and WHO, so when our session (PCUSA) met on Tuesday they would have all the information needed to make decisions. That all changed on Thursday with the Utah govenor’s press conference. I called an emergency session meeting that night as on Friday all events and worship for our church are suspended through March 29th (and probably beyond). This now includes a baby shower for a single and a memorial service for a much beloved member of the congregation.

    I am using Amy Jill Levine’s Entering the Passion of Jesus and this week is it Jesus being tested with the question of what to give to Caesar. I was going to totally switch until I read some wonderful words in Krista Tippett’s book, Becoming Wise, on hope. My take will be ‘what did Jesus hope would happen in the encounter?’ It will be a good way to talk about what is happening right now. I am going to leave what Jesus’ hoped for fairly open and that will allow me to address what is happening now.

    For this Sunday, I am simply recording a short meditation, maybe a little music and a prayer on Podbean and will share that on Sunday through our Mail Chimp service and will post to FB page and group.

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    1. It sounds like you’ve been a strong and steady pastoral leader this week. I hope (ha! See what I did there?) you can find some time to take a deep breath.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve told our 12 people by email (one doesn’t have it; asked another to pass on the info) what extra precautions I’m planning to take tomorrow: offering plates at back instead of passing; no passing of peace in any form to keep distance; hymns printed, if I can get onto the website to print from; communion elements (prepared by person with well-scrubbed hands) on the table instead of brought down aisle; I’ll slip out to wash my hands again during the hymn before communion; no one handles the bread except for me; I and the tray servers (individual cups) will stand at arm’s length from people coming forward. Then I’ll come prepared with persuasive arguments for closing at least until Palm Sunday, and yes, we can learn to use Zoom. (The synod is providing Zoom to all churches free for 2 months.) I’ll lead a modified worship from my home (including our pianist from her home), plus our brief Wednesday evening Lenten prayer service (maybe more people will participate!). We’ll do a Zoom dry run ahead of time to practice. Choir is preparing a cantata that incorporates communion and Tenebrae for Holy Week. There are only 6 of us, so I wonder if we can actually hold our rehearsals by Zoom, with the director/pianist from her home. There’s always the creative possibility of observing Orthodox Easter instead of on the western date. The big question: how much MORE work will it be to prepare and lead worship on line?

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  7. Well . . . I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted my previous comment. Now I’m leaning toward canceling tomorrow, after three of our 10 have said they feel we shouldn’t meet, and another isn’t feeling well. Now I’ve written a 1200-word sermon in a half hour, intended for virtual presentation. Have I heard the Spirit’s whisper, without hearing from any others of my flock?

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      1. This NEVER happens with sermon writing. And I didn’t know I wasn’t writing it for the in-person pulpit until I was almost done.

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  8. So, I’m in a place that is just beginning to announce confirmed cases of Covid-19. It’s like watching a kettle build to boil. And I’m thinking of the Samaritan Woman at the well. And I’m thinking of social isolation. And I’m thinking of how isolating bears hopelessness. And I’m imagining how Jesus is sitting on the well offering living water. Offering renewal, refreshment, reassurance and hope. I’m thinking no more parched soul.

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    1. What you’re thinking sounds perfect. (Sorry for the delay; your comment was stuck in “needs to be moderated” land. You should be good from here on out on our site).

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  9. I made a tentative decision to cancel, took a nap while waiting to hear from board members. Got up when the cat insisted on dinner, and no one had replied. I found a lovely pastoral letter shared by the pastor of Summit Presbyterian in Bremerton, WA, and adapted it for us, then heard from one board member who said she’d go with the majority but was in favor of cancelling. So I’ve sent the letter, and feel deep freedom. Monday the synod will distribute and explain the Zoom accounts they’re providing for every church, then I have to train 80-year-olds to use it without being present. And record tomorrow’s sermon to send. And come up with daily prayer services to lead during the week. I think it’s going to be more work than usual!

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        1. I’m sorry about this response from your board member. But the church called you as their leader to … you know … LEAD them, so good for you for doing that, which sometimes means making the absolutely right yet still unpopular decisions. I hope she/he will come around.
          ~Susie

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          1. Thank you, Susie! My heart needed to hear that. I have another message from that board member this morning. She is probably the most deeply spiritual person in the congregation, and she’s feeling pain. Since she has a key, I gave her unofficial blessing to take her own disinfectant and sit in the sanctuary for prayer whenever she wants. And I’m also wondering: My tiny, elderly congregation only gets together for Sunday worship, except during Lent when four of them join me for evening prayer on Wednesdays. We’ll transfer that to Zoom, and may pick up some more people. What if we continue? Maybe even add Morning Prayer once or twice a week? We could actually be together (although virtually) MORE often than usual! Is the Spirit offering us a new gift?

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  10. Getting ready to Livestream worship on YouTube and do my class on Zoom. First time livestreaming from the sanctuary. I feel good about the abbreviated service I put together and the camera placement and angles we will be using but the words (welcome, sermon) are slow in coming.

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