Poured Out Like A Libation
2007-10-23 by Susan Sparks

I have recently taken over as the new senior minister at Madison Avenue Baptist Church.  I love the job.  Besides being a totally cool parish, I must be honest, it offers a great parsonage.   It’s quite spacious.  (Of course, in New York City terms that only means the kitchen and bedroom are in different rooms.)   As expected with spacious apartments, I’ve had a lot of folks come out of the woodwork to visit.  Like, for example, this week.  A large LARGE contingency of folks are staying in my home.  In my home.  For a week.  Yes, seven days.  In my home.  Gulp.  And I am reminded of the verse in 2 Timothy 4:6 “As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation and the time of [their] departure has come.”  Which definition of “libation” I am contemplating is unclear: sacrifice or a stiff drink?  Whatever the definition, this image of our body/souls/spirits being poured out like a libation is one many can understand.  Whether it is demands from family, friends, work or relationships, so often in our rushed and busy lives we feel like we are being poured out drop by drop. I am reminded of the Tao Te Ching which says:

To keep on filling
is not as good as stopping.
Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,
better to stop pouring.
 

Bottom line--if your cup is full, stop pouring.  We all want to “fight the good fight and finish the race” as Paul says.  However, we have to have gas to run the race. And if we pour too much of ourselves out too quickly, then the race is over before it’s begun. 

 

These are my early thoughts on this scripture.   I welcome your thoughts!





This Week!
2007-10-22 by David Howell

Susan Sparks is our guest preaching blogger. Susan is an attorney, a standup comedian, and "Senior Pastor of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City—the first woman in its 158 year history! Her work has been featured on such networks as CNN and the Discovery Channel, in the LA Times and USA Today, and in numerous comedy clubs, including Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York City. Currently, Susan appears weekly with Naomi Judd on Naomi's New Morning airing Sunday mornings on Hallmark Channel" (from her website www.susansparks.com). "Susan has traveled from the Arctic Circle to the Cape of Good Hope, run a dog sled team, sung country music in Nashville, worked with Mother Teresa’s mission in Calcutta and trained as both a wilderness guide and a fly fisherwoman. She is also a recent cancer survivor."

We look forward to Susan's posts this week along with all the regulars...Dave, Dee Dee, Tom, and Rick.

Tom Steagald reviews The War by Ken Burns in Share It! There is a terrific homemade blue cheese dressing recipe in Divine Cuisine. I normally don't like blue cheese dressing, but I love that one.

It was a busy weekend in Sermon Feedback Cafe. Some folks are still talking to David von Schlichten about his sermon on Sunday. We had some interesting guests to drop in...a bus load of folks from Outside the Box Presbyterian Church in Roswell, New Mexico. They were on their way to the Wittenburg Castle Church in Germany to celebrate Reformation Sunday. They wanted to see if we were sufficiently "reformed" in the Cafe. We nailed them though when they saw on the menu the Calvin Crab Salad on a Bed of Ninety-Five Theses. (In addition to the material in Lectionary Homiletics this week, Reformation Sunday and All Saints' Day material can be found in Unlectionary and Back Issues/Sermons.)





In the Cafe!
2007-10-19 by David Howell

Special today is Thai Iced Coffee.

While you're sipping away, give David von Schlichten some constructive feedback on his sermon this week: What's the Use? Tom Steagald and some of the regulars are over at the corner table with David now.

And a couple of folks are sharing some strategies for handing Advent anxiety with Pastor Phil in Parish Solution Forum.

Go back to Homepage and then to Share It! for Sermon Feedback Cafe or Parish Solution Forum. There was a line, but Chef John Paul brought in some extra tables. Click Submit Your Own to offer suggestions.





Parish Solution Forum
2007-10-18 by David Howell

Pastor needs some suggestions in Parish Solution Forum. It's something we've all had to deal with and something coming up real soon!

What do you do?

Go back to Homepage and then to Share It! and Parish Solution Forum. Click Submit Your Own to offer suggestions.





A Painful Experience
2007-10-18 by Rick Brand

Four clergy from Henderson, NC, have been a week now in Iona. It has been a marvelous experience for us. The community, the liturgy, the music, and the tradition. But one of the painful questions has been "Where is the preacher?" They have worship leaders, but we have only heard one traditional sermon. It was average. But preaching does not seem to matter much. The story is told, and the intentionality of the community is lived out, but the preaching of a Festival of Homiletics is absent over here.  And I must confess, having spent most of my life trying to be a better preacher, that I have not missed it.  We worship. We pray. We sing. Oh, how we sing great contemporary music. We have liturgy.  But where is the preacher?



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