11th Hour Preacher Party

11th Hour Preacher Party: Holy God, Holy People

It’s not every year that we have a long season after the Epiphany and have the opportunity to preach from the words of Leviticus. Oh Leviticus, so complicated, so misused. I remember one of my classes in seminary divided the class into five groups, each one assigned a book from the Pentateuch. My group got Leviticus, lucky me. But truth be told it was lucky. At the library I found an amazing book written by anthropologist Mary Douglas, that unpacked Leviticus in a way no one else has. Although its been twenty years what I remember from Douglas is that the book of Leviticus is essentially a guide for being in relationship with God, self, and others. The  “moral” code in Leviticus may talk about blood and laws and cleanliness, but these are not the point.

The meaning of Leviticus is  to recognize what is holy and to honor the holy in one another and God. We lose the beauty of the holy relationships when we focus to literally on specific actions instead of the integrity of the self and one’s intention to live in a holy relationships.

What is a holy relationship? Well, Jesus sums that up for us in Matthew, a holy relationship is love – love God, love yourself, and love others. It’s about integrity and dignity and self worth, about being, to use a Bowen Family Systems theory phrase, “a solid self.” A solid self is clear about the values and principles that guide one’s life, is capable of introspection and self reflection, never blaming or shaming others but being accountable for one’s  own thoughts, words, and behavior, working to change one’s self, not others.

This may be pushing too much of a 21st century lens onto this ancient text, but if so, I come to it from Jesus. His life and his teachings ground me in this understanding, and the Gospel reading this week points us to where it ends up in Chapter 22 with the shema, the summary of all the law and the prophets, love God, love self, love others.

That’s kind of where my head is at with the RCL  readings this week as we draw near to Lent. What about you? What text speaks to you, perhaps the Psalm or the Epistle? Or maybe you are following the Narrative Lectionary? If so you can find a great discussion on that text if scroll down to Tuesday and the NL post.

Regardless, this is the preacher party. We’re here all day to commiserate, support, pray, inspire, share ideas, or at the very least share a cup of coffee or tea. I have plenty of both, along with some left over chocolate raspberry mousse cake (from my 60th birthday)….pull up a chair and join the party.

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The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a congregation in Dearborn, Mi. She joined RevGals in 2006 and has been blogging at  Seeking Authentic Voice ever since.

 

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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11th Hour Preacher Party: Choosing Edition

An inconsequential party game to start off:

  • Would you rather eat Valentine’s conversation hearts or marshmallows? 
  • Would you rather take a 30 minute nap in the morning or just go to bed 30 minutes earlier that night?
  • Would you rather vacuum or dust?
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These are the Valentine conversation hearts referred to in the question. 

As you may surmise, I’m pondering the Deuteronomy passage from the Revised Common Lectionary, wherein the Israelites are asked to “choose life!” The other RCL lectionary texts include a third week in the Sermon on the Mount and 1 Corinthians 3. A discussion of those text can be found at the RGBP Tuesday post. Or if you’re a Narrative Lectionary preacher, you are working on John’s question to Jesus: are you the one? Conversation about that is at this post.

What are your choices as you ponder your sermon? What do you need help with? What help can you offer? That’s what the 11th Hour Preacher Party is here for, so let’s share our ideas and resources.


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.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com

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11th Hour Preacher Party: Salt and Light

Welcome to the 5th Sunday after Epiphany! How is the season of light going for you?

salt-51973_1920This Sunday’s RCL Gospel continues the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus shares words of wisdom that are counterintuitive to the world’s values. The Isaiah reading is explicit about the requirements for a faithful life requiring housing the homeless and feeding the hungry, among other things. How can you share the good news with your worshippers through these texts? How can you do so without being accused of being “too political”? Perhaps the Psalm or the lesson from 1 Corinthians is speaking to you this week. How will you speak this word to your worshippers? Some RCL ideas were shared on the blog earlier this week.

The Narrative Lectionary has a pair of miracle stories – healing the slave of the centurion, and raising the son of the widow at Nain. Will you preach on one or both of these miracles? What do they mean for Christians today, especially for people suffering from illness or grief? What will you do with the issue of slavery, or of a woman’s need for a man in her household? See this page for some lively discussion on these stories.

Whether you’re preaching on these texts or something different, looking for children’s sermon ideas, preparing your liturgy, or working on anything else for worship, please share your ideas below!


canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is a certified canoeing instructor, occasional hospital chaplain, aunt to the best kids in the world, and a devout Star Wars fan. Katya is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and blogs periodically at Provocative Proclamations.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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11th Hour Preacher’s Party: Who are the blessed?

dscn0566As ever, our texts speak into our world today:

What does the Lord require of us? To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly…

And who are the blessed – which groups would Jesus include in the Beatitudes today?

How are you preaching these texts in the light of world events? How is the Spirit shaping our teaching of the gospel?

Please share where you are heading as you prepare to share God’s word. Let’s challenge and inspire one another to be faithful and true and courageous in bringing God’s word for God’s people today.

Discussion on the Narrative Lectionary can be found here.

And discussion on the RCL can be found here.

Liz Crumlish is a Church of Scotland Minister currently working on a National Renewal Project in Scotland.  A Board Member of RevGalBlogPals, instigator of Spill the Beans and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, Liz blogs at journalling

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

 

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11th Hour Preacher Party: Spiritual Hunger

dust-storm-green-valley

Well. It’s done. In the United States, now with this new President, we’ve entered a place we haven’t been in before, or at least not for a awhile. Many of us are wondering, where do we go from here?

The readings this morning from the RCL call up questions about direction, where one is going, and why one might drop everything and, up and follow Jesus? What hunger, what deep yearning, spurs one to be that impulsive, to drop it all and go in a new direction? But more than what hunger spurs one on, perhaps the next question is what does it mean to thrive? What does it mean to “thrive” spiritually? What feeds hope? What nourishes freedom? What kind of healing satisfies our deepest cravings?

In the NL we have a different story of fish, food, and searching for spiritual nourishment, for hope.

At noon today, instead of watching the swearing in ceremony I led the opening prayer at a Peaceful Rally. A cold drizzly rain softly fell, the damp chill slowly seeping into those of gathered, freezing us to the bone. People carried signs. A diverse group of speakers talked about joining together, staying together, and the challenge of finding hope as we enter this new reality of a world with this person as the President of the USA. Hope. Hope is what we all seek. But in the words of one of the speakers, hope is not enough, we also need action.

Hope in action. That’s food for thought.

Where are your thoughts for your sermon this weekend? What is feeding you? Where are you finding hope?

 

The Rev. Terri C. Pilarski is an Episcopal priest serving a church in Dearborn, MI. She has been a member of the RevGals and blogging at seekingauthinticvoice.blogspot.com since 2006.

 

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

 

 

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11th Hour Preacher Party: Be Still Edition

I always end up preaching to myself, and sometimes it is something that someone else needs to hear, too. So before we get to work on the sermon: on the off chance you might have a little too much on your to-do list, hear this:

“Be still, and know that I am God”                 Psalm 46:10

And look at this:

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OK, here we go. Revised Common Lectionary preachers, you get another helping of Jesus’ baptism and the calling of the first disciples, some more Isaiah, and the beginning of a 1 Corinthians series. There is a RevGalBlogPals post about that. Narrative Lectionary friends get Jesus’ first sermon, and we also have a discussion post for that. Non lectionary folks, please let us know what you’re doing; the more ideas, the better!

Children’s moments, prayer thoughts, and other plans are also welcome here. U.S. preachers will want to remember the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this weekend, as well as the upcoming inauguration.

And when you get overwhelmed, go back to the top of the post.


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.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com

 

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11th Hour Preacher Party: Choose Your Own Adventure Sunday

Jesus passes through childhood in the blink of an eye this lectionary cycle, with only one Sunday in the season of Christmas before we enter Epiphany. There are so many occasions to mark, and not enough Sundays in which to do so! While the brief attention given to Jesus’ infancy and childhood is faithful to the Gospel accounts, there are many stories that people are expecting to hear every year that may be missed this time around.

John baptizes Jesus - Matthew 3:13-17Last week might have been Christmas 1, or Name of Jesus, or New Year’s Day, or honoring the Holy Innocents who died in place of Jesus. This week might be Epiphany or Baptism of Our Lord, or a chance to squeeze in one of the occasions that you had to skip last week. The Narrative Lectionary includes Luke’s account of Jesus’ baptism, with a long description of John’s ministry, but without him explicitly being the one to baptize Jesus. What are you doing this Sunday? Which stories or celebrations are important to your community? To your personal theology?

If you are preaching on Epiphany this Sunday, I encourage you to choose your words carefully. This week one of our musicians asked why we’re not singing “We Three Kings.” My answer is that we don’t know how many of them there were, and we do know that they were not kings. While the song is familiar to many, it perpetuates a traditional story that is only one interpretation of the biblical account of the Epiphany… and people need to hear more than just this one interpretation. Might there have been women among the magi? What if there were two wise ones, or twelve? Instead of using royal imagery for them, consider what a different impression the story might make if we described the magi as scientists. (Or, for a more humorous interpretation, see the below photo from an irreverent game I received as a Christmas gift this year, Santa v. Jesus  🙂 )

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If you are celebrating Baptism of Our Lord, there are many details to address and many questions that naturally arise. Why would Jesus need to receive a baptism of repentance? Could Jesus alone see the heavens opened and hear the voice of God, or did everyone see and hear God’s presence? What was the relationship between John and Jesus – did they know each other well before this encounter? And why does any of this matter for our faith life today? If you happen to have a baptism during worship today, perhaps that ritual can do the preaching for you – and if not, you’ll get to anticipate the questions and discover the answers as you prepare your sermon!

Additional resources can be found at TextWeek, or Vanderbilt’s lectionary resource page, or Working Preacher. If you are interested in doing Epiphany “star words” with your congregation this year, you can learn more at Marci Auld Glass’s blog. Jan Richardson’s Women’s Christmas Retreat might also be helpful either in your worship preparations or your personal spiritual journey.

Please share your ideas below, ask questions, and point us towards other places where you have found inspiration! I have tea and wine to share – join the party and join the conversation!

 


canoeistpastor is Katya Ouchakof, co-pastor at Lake Edge Lutheran Church in Madison, WI. She is a certified canoeing instructor, occasional hospital chaplain, aunt to the best kids in the world, and a devout Star Wars fan. Katya is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, and blogs periodically at Provocative Proclamation.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

Categories: 11th Hour Preacher Party, RevGalBlogPals | Tags: , , , , , | 53 Comments

Preacher Party–New Year’s Day

How are your plans going for worship on New Year’s Day?

The initial conversation for the Narrative passages is here. Narrative begins the year with blessings for Jesus by Simeon and Anna. The Revised Common Lectionary conversation was started here. Rachel weeping for her children may not be what we want to hear, but it may be what we need.

I’ve got some gingerbread and Christmas cookies galore. What I probably need is hummus and carrot sticks.

Are you doing anything to mark the new year?

We won’t be celebrating Epiphany until next week, so that is when we’re doing Star words. But giving people a new word to start the year would also be good for New Year’s.

Welcome to the party! Hope your preaching preparation is coming along well.

Share your ideas here. And welcome to the party!

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Marci Auld Glass is the pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church and lives with her husband and sons in Boise, Idaho. She is a graduate of Trinity University and Columbia Theological Seminary. She serves on the Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood and the Mission Agency Board of the Presbyterian Church USA.

Marci blogs at Glass Overflowing and is among the contributors to the RevGals book,There’s a Woman in the Pulpit (SkyLight Paths).

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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11th Hour Preacher’s Party: Immanuel – God with us

christmas-silhouette

Christmas Eve already or Christmas Eve at last! Has Advent seemed to fly past for you or has it been interminable? However you’ve found it, here we are to celebrate a promise fulfilled, to get ready to proclaim:”A child is born, a son is given…”  To celebrate light coming into the world to extinguish the darkness – and oh how we need that light today.

So, how are you going to present that message this year? How are you going to package it for your context – the annual visitors, the faithful few, the big productions or the simple gatherings? Are you putting the final touches on your Christmas sermon or are you staring at a blank sheet? What would help? Let’s pitch in and help each other proclaim the Light. Bring whatever you have and ask for what you need as together, we unwrap the gift of God for all the world.

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Liz Crumlish is a Church of Scotland Minister currently working on a National Renewal Project in Scotland.  A Board Member of RevGalBlogPals, instigator of Spill the Beans and contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit, Liz blogs at journalling

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RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

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11th Hour Preacher Party: the Home Stretch

Preachers, it’s the home stretch! Fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, then we’re finished! Until…you know…the next Sunday.

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My calendar this week is as busy as this branch on the tree. Photo by Monica Smith, 2013

In any case, we are here to party today! Maybe you’re able to work ahead, thanks to a choir cantata or children’s program today. Or maybe you’re working on a sermon for tomorrow. We’re here for any and all resource and advice sharing. Sermon starters and discussions are on the RGBP website, for Narrative Lectionary and the Revised Common Lectionary.

Christmas goodies are on the snack table: we have homemade candy to share. If you’re needing healthy food, we have some clementines.


 

Monica Thompson Smith is a Presbyterian Church (USA) minister, serving as a pulpit supply preacher in South Central Texas. She is a contributor to There’s a Woman in the Pulpit.


RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

Categories: 11th Hour Preacher Party, RevGalBlogPals | Tags: , , , | 73 Comments

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