This is my colleagues and me recording a service for this week..

I think it’s Lent 4. What are you doing for this long sequestered Lent that we are experiencing? Are you streaming or zooming or recording? We cancelled late in the week last week and ended up not doing anything, so we recorded an abbreviated version of Lent 3 for this week and will go on from there.

If you are preparing a sermon for Lent 4, will you see Jesus and the scribe, the greatest commandment, and the widow’s mite? (Narrative lectionary discussion here)? Or will you be with the Blind Man or offer the familiar Shepherd Psalm (RCL discussion here)?

Whatever you are working on as we move forward in these strange times, this community has been virtually helping one another with sermons (and life) for many years. You are welcome here as we continue in community. I’m making chicken and dumplings, my son made peanut butter cookie dough balls (no egg), and my daughter made a cake yesterday, so I offer all of this for your (virtual) sustenance.

How can we help? What questions do you have? What experiments are you trying? Come and join the party!


Wendy Lamb works as a commissioned pastor in a Presbyterian Church (USA) in Southern California and teaches college English classes at a local community college. She occasionally blogs at Bookgirl.


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19 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: A Long Lent continues

  1. It is just after 8.30 pm on Saturday evening and I am not writing a sermon. We decided not to stream worship, but to encourage people to participate in online worship if they have internet access.
    So instead of sermon writing I am watching TV, drinking coffee and eating chocolates.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was doing Entering the Passion series off of Amy Jill Levine’s book. This week was to be the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. I am totally punting that and preaching Jesus entering the wilderness because it feels like, now, we are truly in Lent. At least for me. I am using Mark’s version as it only says Jesus was tempted, dealt with beasts and angels attended. I am using those three images to talk about what we are tempted to do during this time the beasts we encounter and to look and/or be the angel.

    I am doing an audio with a bit of music before, scripture/sermon, prayers and closing with our charge. There is a sense, and I think it will come out in the sermon, that Jesus didn’t attend synagogue during this time but he did come deeply connected to God.

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    1. This resonates, Elaine. I, too, feel like we have all entered a long Lent together. I appreciate your point about Jesus worshiping without attending synagogue during those days. –Wendy

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  3. Our Music Director and I will be streaming a service from the sanctuary of one of our churches (from opposite sides of the chancel – appropriate social distancing). I will be speaking to the RCL reading from John, with my thinking triggered by this week’s “Journey With Jesus” lectionary essay – thinking about apocalypse or revealing. What will be revealed by this pandemic? Will we remember the kindness and community that was revealed, or will we remember the fear and panic?

    I’m stuck though on our Story for All Ages (aka Children’s Time). I want to do something along the lines of pulling something back to reveal something underneath – almost like an Advent Calendar, but I don’t have any of those handy this Lent! – that will work well by video.

    Does anyone have any ideas for something that might work?

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    1. Teri made an advent calendar for her congregation last Advent that they opened each day on line (I hope I’m remembering that mostly right). You could put something together. What kind of things would you like to have inside?
      Given your themes, there is always the go-to of bringing out Mr. Rogers’ “Look for the helpers.”
      On Wednesday my colleagues and I sat together and had a tween who was helping distribute food from the office help us record. I’ve been thinking about how quickly that has changed. If we record next week, I’m sure we will be at proper distance or we will record parts separately from home.
      –Wendy

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  4. We’re worshiping by conference call, so I’m working to adapt as necessary. I hope to have zoom up and running by next week, though lots of our folks will still just have to call in by phone. I’m scripting out worship for the first time in YEARS, but since the rest of my life is currently improvisational, I’ll take this teensy bit of control where I can get it.

    I was doing a series on spiritual disciplines. This week is self-examination. Psalm 139 and Romans something or other (the “I do not do the thing I wish to do, but the very thing I hate is the thing I do”) part. Forgive my paraphrasing skills. I’m going to stick with it, but make it much shorter than usual. I want to allow lots of time for our small crew (15ish) to check in with each other and for prayers.

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    1. Well, folks have plenty of time for self examination right now. This seems like a really good time to be doing work with spiritual disciplines. I appreciate the need for control where you have it, and I think this is a good time for many of us to not extemporize in our precious moments. Blessings to you and your people. (We’re planning to Zoom this week for Session and I’m wondering about incorporating phone people with computer people.) –Wendy

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      1. We did session by conference call yesterday. If you’ve got audio-only people, I suggest moderating the heck out of it: everyone needs to wait to speak until you call on them. More than one person speaking at a time, even to “mm hmm,” makes everyone unintelligible. Also encourage them *not* to be on speaker phone, as it really degrades the sound quality. (Can you tell I wish I’d learned a few things before doing it!). We only had a group of four people on the call and it was really frustrating till we got the hang of it.

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        1. Thanks. I had a committee meeting by conference call last Wednesday that I was not moderating and it was pretty frustrating. We have 12 on Session, so we shall see. :-/

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  5. We have used FB live and ZOOM for worship all week – beginning last Sunday with two worship services and then I added two daily offices (Morning Prayer and Compline) and Children’s Chapel every day. So loads of online worship. For sermon time on Sunday my colleague and I are have a dialogue on the aspects of the Gospel that intrigue each of us and what we are wondering. I’m finding some similarity in the metaphor of the man being blind and what it feels like to sheltering in home: too not be able to see, or to only see dimly, or to feel limited and closed, and the ever present risk of despair from being home, and the challenges of multiple family members working from home…and not knowing for how long…and the economy …and so many worries. And how Jesus comes and heals him, and one day we will be healed and this will be over, and how can we hang on to that light, that hope? It’s a contrast of asking who instead of how: how will I get through, Jesus will help, how long will this last, I don’t know but Jesus will come and heal us….

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  6. We videoed our service this afternoon (Saturday) in the sanctuary to post online so people could watch at the usual Sunday time. Game plan is to put the video on YouTube with links to it posted on our website, Facebook page, and interactive Yahoo group. It was me, the liturgist, and the musician, and we probably did not practice appropriate social distancing, but whatever. My husband videoed the service. I preached on Jesus healing the blind man, not my best sermon, focusing on Jesus as the light of the world. Light/darkness, sight/blindness, and the blindness of the Pharisees who didn’t want to see. We rearranged the worship space a bit to get better lighting and have less need to move the camera around. We did the service from behind the communion table, standing on the chancel steps. Moved the Christ candle so it was just in front of the table. Moved the piano closer.

    It is killing me that we won’t be able to do Communion, won’t be able to do Palm Sunday, Holy Week or Easter. We have decided to do the Easter service when we are able to once again, no matter when that is. A dear friend passed away in the fall and her friends made donations in her memory that we were going to spend on the children’s Easter egg hunt, because she had been the CE director and Sunday school teacher and loved Easter. Somehow we will find a way to do this — when we celebrate Easter!

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    1. I don’t have a full call to worship, but I am thinking about, Let us worship God our light and salvation; let us worship Jesus the light who shines in the darkness, let us worship the spirit who is light and truth. (The last one may be iffy.) –Wendy

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  7. I got caught up in an extended Monopoly game. My spouse and son are still fighting it out to the bitter end. Daughter and I are at. I also just spent about 20 minutes helping a woman figure out how to stream tomorrow’s worship. None of my links were going through to her. And we’re working out kinks on our sermon page regarding commenting. So… We keep going. –Wendy

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  8. Was going to preach on John 9, but decided Psalm 23 fits better with where we are now. Have never preached this psalm before, not even at a funeral! So this has been my act of worship this week, and what has fed my soul. We will do Facebook Live from my living room. We did Wednesday night from my dining room table. I am trying to be a non-anxious presence, but in reality, it is my husband who is doing that for me. God bless him! Here’s the sermon: https://pastorsings.com/2020/03/21/god-with-us-sermon-on-psalm-23-for-lent-4a/

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