Sunday's Coming
2007-10-05 by Jim Somerville

As David Von Schlichten put it yesterday, “The sermon is slow growing this week, but there’s time.  The Holy Spirit provides.” Yes, David, the Holy Spirit does provide, but there’s less time today than there was yesterday. The old saying, “It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming!” has a whole different meaning for preachers. Thank God for Saturday, I say instead, and sometimes even that’s not enough. Too many Sunday mornings have caught me still writing and re-writing, striking out whole paragraphs of text and scribbling notes in the margins of my manuscript. I go to the pulpit whispering fervent prayers, begging the Holy Spirit to provide. And far more often than I deserve those prayers are answered. But what the Spirit usually whispers to me on the way home from church is that she doesn’t like to write the sermon all by herself and she wouldn’t mind if we got started a little earlier. “Next week,” I promise. “Next week.” 

So, here I am on Friday morning, still making promises to the Spirit, and still trying to put the pieces together. Here’s what I think might happen on October 7:

1) It is World Communion Sunday, and we’ll make a big deal out of that at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC. Our international members will carry the flags of their home countries into the sanctuary, three dozen in all, and we’ll put them up around the balcony railing to make worship even more festive and colorful than usual. When it comes time to serve communion, we will use breads from around the world. And at the end of the service we may actually move to the outer walls of the sanctuary and join hands all around as a way of representing our common union in Christ. All of that could tie in nicely with

2) the sermon, which will come from Psalm 137, and focus on the experience of exile, of being broken apart like a loaf of bread and scattered to the ends of the earth. I will probably spend some time talking about the longing for home, and how hard it is to find such a place in the world, or in this lonely city, and then talk about this place—the church—as that place where the body of Christ comes together, where his dis-membered body is re-membered, and where we have the best chance of finding our heart’s true home. That’s when I will

3) move to the table and reflect on the words of institution, talking about communion as a way of re-membering Christ, of putting the pieces of his broken and scattered body back together again. And then if we do join hands all around the church (which I’m thinking now we should), we could sing together some simple refrain like “We are one in the bond of love,” and then be dismissed with a benediction. Those are my plans for now, but hey, it’s only Friday morning.  

The Holy Spirit may have other ideas.

_______________

Jim Somerville is pastor of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, DC; adjunct professor of preaching at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies; and one-time host of the Festival of Homiletics.





Sermon Feedback Cafe!
2007-10-04 by David Howell

Wondering if the Holy Spirit really inspired that sermon manuscript? Or maybe feeling okay about the sermon but still wanting a little feedback?

Post your sermon at Sermon Feedback Cafe! And your peers will offer their suggestions to help you improve your sermon. (See Share It!)

It would be helpful to your peers to offer a brief summary for the setting/audience for the sermon.

Don't worry...we'll be gentle...we struggle too!

Have a cup of coffee and enjoy.






2007-10-04 by David Howell





Book Club
2007-10-04 by Dee Dee Haines

What makes a good book even better?  Talking about it with someone else!  Sharing thoughts, opinions, and ponderings with other readers can crack open new insights and profound concepts that may only be unearthed by reading between the lines! Interested?  Help us choose our first reading for the Book Club (See Share It!) by selecting one of the suggestions from below, all published in 2007! 

Mandate to Difference:  An Invitation to the Contemporary Church, Walter Brueggemann 

A peek inside:  1st chapter:  “The Good News of Regime Change” 

Preaching as Testimony.  Anna Carter Florence 

A peek inside:  Part One:  “Waking Up the Details: Stories of Testimony” 

The Mystery of the Child, Martin A. Marty 

A peek inside:  4th Chapter:  “The Child as Mystery” 

Choose the book that is of most interest to you! Email: Dee Dee Haines preciouscayman@yahoo.com with your choice. We will let you know on October 11 the book most requested and look for the first comments at the Book Club (See Share It!) after that!  Hope to see you there sharing your reactions and comments!

At some point, we hope to have the author visit the Book Club to interact with us. 



Divine Cuisine
2007-10-04 by David Howell

Check out the growing number of recipes in Divine Cuisine (see Share It!). Will Willimon has promised us a recipe. Check it out often.



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