The 11th Hour Preacher Party, in recognition that the 11th hour has been moved to earlier in the week for many preachers, is moving to Wednesday evening (U.S. time). As always, share your thoughts, desires, questions, needs, and snacks here at the party. Lectionary posts also moved earlier in the week, so you’ll find the Revised Common Lectionary and Narrative Lectionary posts at our blog. Also check out the brand-new feature, Worship Words, for all your liturgy needs (or at least some of them).

Live Oak tree, Fayette County, TX, 2020



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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14 thoughts on “11th Hour Preacher Party: Digital Worship Edition

  1. I am off lectionary (from the NL), so that we could spend a little more time in Acts. So this week we’re reading Acts 12, about Peter being released from prison and then Rhoda leaving him standing at the gate while she goes to tell everyone he’s out there, and they claim she’s lost her mind. lol! We are reading through the first few verses of chapter 13, to see Saul and Barnabas sent on their first missionary journey.
    I’m not entirely sure why I wanted to include this story, but now that it’s time to write (ok, past time, it’s 3:15 in the afternoon and I really wanted to be done before lunch, so I could maybe record this afternoon, but it looks like recording will have to be tomorrow instead, gah), I’m thinking about a couple of different angles.
    First, it occurred to me last night that the thing that kept the disciples locked away in fear right after the crucifixion is finally happening, like 10 years later….and they handle it so differently than they did then. But Peter’s situation is impossible. Like Luke couldn’t possibly have added any more things to make it clear that Peter was trapped….he was chained to guards, there were more guards outside, he was locked in the prison, outside the locked city gates, etc. James was already dead, Passover was going on and when it was over (in one more day), he was next. Hopeless doesn’t even begin to cover it. Yet still the church prayed. And then, when Peter had his miracle, he handed his authority to someone else and exited the scene….he didn’t go back to the way things were, everything changed when hope returned.
    Second, the whole business of Herod “being eaten by worms and he died” is hilarious to me, in a sort of horrible way. But the reason was that he sought his own glory at the expense of others, he used people’s suffering for political gain…..and wow that’ll preach, but is that the message I want on the internet for all eternity? hmm.
    Third, the discernment and then “ordination” (if you will) of Saul and Barnabas…how do we do communal discernment right now? What does it mean to be set apart for a particular task in these days of coronatide?
    So….those are three completely different sermons, not even things I can tie together in one in any way. I’m not really sure what to do about that!!

    I do, however, have butterscotch blondies, made from my grandmother’s recipe, so feel free to grab a sugary pick-me-up!


    1. That’s plenty of material! I’ve never spent much time with Acts till this year–we’re doing a Bible study, and I’m preaching the RCL Acts texts through Pentecost. It’s growing on me.

      And yes please. I’ll trade you a brownie for a blondie.


  2. Yeah, we video on Thursday afternoons now, so this new timing works well for me!

    Sermon is based on the tricky John 14:6, focusing on Jesus as “I am the way.” Title: Finding a Way. Tied it in with Isaiah 40, making a way in the wilderness. Right now it feels like a wilderness and as much as we’d like to “go back” to the way things used to be, we can only “go forward.” It will be different. How do we find a way? I live in a city that has been particularly hard hit by the virus — didn’t realize how bad it was until I started reading statistics from other places. Our mayor still has a stay-in-place order in effect. A renegade group of four guys had a Bible study in the side yard of the church last Sunday, which I did not attend because I didn’t want to make it an “official” activity of the church. But what will it be like when we do come back, officially? Not the way it used to be. But we have to find a way. And Jesus will walk with us as we find our way in this new way of being church.


    1. Some presbytery colleagues had a zoom yesterday, in which we were all trying to get our heads around this very idea: We will find a way to be different, because going back to the way we were isn’t going to work. Hope the recording goes smoothly!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We’re doing solely live right now, Saturday night and Sunday morning, but I like having this earlier too! I’d really like to do a conversation sermon with my husband, who is ordained in a different denomination, but haven’t quite figured out how that’ll work (he’s skeptical…we’ll see if we can even make something come together). I’m excited to try something different but also aware that my motivations come partially from just wanting some back-and-forth during worship again!

    Looking at the 1 Peter passage, maybe thinking through that journey of “letting yourself be built,” maybe looking what it means to be God’s people (together yet apart) in this particular time, and/or maybe looking how we proclaim Jesus risen to others right now. We really need to sit down and do some planning tomorrow.


    1. I love that 1 Peter passage. The imagery of “spiritual house” is strong. I’ll be here till Saturday night if you want to check back in!


  4. I’m back to try again. I am now considering whether maybe I should do one of those sermons where I just admit that there’s a lot I want to talk about, so I read a bit and talk about it, read a bit and talk about it, etc, rather than reading the entire text and then trying to pull together one point?


    1. That works for me! I’ve also done the “I could say this….and I could say this…but what I really am going to preach about is this.” But right now my sermons are about half-length, so I don’t have time for that kind of meandering.


  5. It took me awhile to decide. I am doing what is unusual for me – talking about Mother’s Day and preaching from John 14. The last two times through the lectionary, I chose the Epistle. I must preach on Ahmaud Arbery’s lynching. We all must be mothers (and fathers) to all children – opening relationships that create safer ways to be home in this world. We need to be about parenting and mentoring and prophetically standing for children of all colors. I got hold of our soloist and he will sing We Shall Overcome – and he comes from a family of African American social organizers – it will be powerful.


  6. ok, only 48 hours after I first insisted I was getting it done, I’m finally done. I did end up just reading a bit and saying some things, etc. It’s longer than normal, but….hopefully I can sell it on video, and since I’m also including the prayer of intercession in the video this time it’ll be ok. We’ll see. Now to put some makeup on and record!


  7. I’m am preaching Elijah in the cave this week. The previous two weeks have been lamenting with Jonah (in the belly) and Job’s lament to God. This week I am turning the corner just a bit and wondering about crawling out of the cave and standing on the edge looking to something new. Saturday’s are my Sundays as I’ll write the prayers and opening and then record it and upload to YouTube. No editing…just raw and real…and sometimes OZ makes an appearance.

    One thing that adds time is typing out all I say as we have several folks who do not have internet but are faithful folks. They worship a little later in the week but it at least keeps them connected.


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