I write for all those parish pastors and priests who want to preach well, who long to speak with authority, clarity, and humility, and yet who feel, as I do, that there is simply never enough time in the week to do justice to the task. I write for those who feel at times overwhelmed by the responsibilities of our work, who wonder if it is possible, in parish ministry, to live a balanced life. I write from that same place of struggle myself. -- from the Foreword For many pastors and congregations, the pulpit is the focal point of weekly worship. But preaching is not only a spiritual practice, it's also a practice of leadership - the most effective means for most ministers of inspiring and guiding their flocks as well as engaging with the society in which they live. Gathering Up the Fragments was written for pastors who struggle with the weight of this heavy responsibility, endeavoring to preach relevant sermons that stay true to the word of God. Mariann Edgar Budde shows how pastors can create a solid foundation for preaching by taking the fragments of their own life and ministry - their studies, personal life experiences, and relationships with their congregations - and weaving them together in a homiletic mosaic that will bring glory to God and illumination for themselves and their listeners. This book offers an approach to preaching that enables pastors to integrate the many competing claims of their lives, reflect deeply on the nature of their work, and sustain their intimacy with God. Budde believes that preaching is a form of art - a profoundly satisfying creative expression with intrinsic value, a gift from God that ministers offer back to the congregations they serve. Each chapter in Gathering Up the Fragments describes a particular dimension of preaching as a spiritual practice and suggests a rule of life for preachers. Budde challenges pastors to be observant of those under their charge, prayerfully considering what God is saying to them individually and communally. A collection of sermons from throughout the church year is also included, demonstrating how to apply the techniques illustrated in this volume.