Sermons (Page 10)

When is Fire Good News?

We gather to celebrate Pentecost, a great sending, the sending out of the disciples, closest students of Jesus previously sequestered in fear, whose mouths are suddenly opened by the coming of Holy Spirit in wind and flame. With fires raging in our cities, it is crucial that we hear the truth pouring from the open throats, raw with smoke. We must question whatever is comfortable for us and us alone, and yet again turn our hands and hearts to the tasks of justice. Let’s come together to sing and pray, lament and renew God’s direction in us.

Going Home to Where You’ve Never Been

We come together in the name of our Creating God, who calls us to be a blessing to one another and to the whole wide world. On this Sunday particularly, we remember and commemorate – we recall and honor; memorialize. We open ourselves to reminders from our past, memories and the lessons of the people and events of our history. Our collective memories are long – memories of war and peace, sacrifice and loss, and homecoming. Our personal memories embroider them all. Together, we will work to remember well and carefully, so that we may find a fruitful way forward.

Little Altars Everywhere

There is nowhere and nothing that can keep us from God. “God is in the house!” we say happily in the sanctuary. Yes! And God is in the condo, the apartment, the duplex, camper, the tent, and under the overpass. God is in the house and under the sky and flowing in the river and out of your kitchen tap and down in the dirt where the roots are stirring. God is in our breath and bones. In God we live and move and have our being! Holy, holy, holy. Let’s sing. And pray. And talk together. Let us give our hearts, again and again and consider how our lives are marked by “Little Altars Everywhere.” This is a particularly wonderful time to create a worship area in your home. We will weave them together…

Hens, Heroes & Another Mother’s Sermon

Like the mother hen of Luke 13:34 Jesus shakes out his feathers, spreads his wings, and faces the foxes. Mothers and mother-ers are both warm AND fierce. The wisdom of children demands it. We are all nesting in the branches of the same Tree of Life. This Sunday we will celebrate the many forms of “mothering” in our lives: mothers, mother figures, and those filling a mothering role. We do this even as we also remember those grieving the loss of a mother, those with challenging relationships with a mother, and those who long to be mothers. Together, we will sing and talk and pray. We will encounter the Holy.

Supper with a Stranger/Savior

The first Sunday in May is renowned for its splendor! Under usual circumstances we can’t wait to go out and celebrate May Day and warm up for Cinco de Mayo! We revel in the Festival of Nations and generally, allow ourselves the intoxication of inhaling SPRING! Only this year isn’t usual. This year is unsettling – to put it mildly. And our story for the morning took place on another unusual, unsettled spring day. It happened on a road heading away from confusion and chaos and toward the revelation of a whole new way of living. We will walk the road to Emmaus.

The Seventh Day

Shhhhhh. Shall we hum a lullaby? The earth is resting. This Sunday is the third Sunday of Easter and we remember the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. We celebrate LIFE when we realize the blessing of rest, the holy, healing power of Sabbath. You may want to vest your home worship space. If you like, anchor the 4 corners of you tabletop with the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water or other emblems of Creation. (A stone, a feather, a candle; a bowl of water….are simple ideas.) We will remember together and sing and pray.

Laughing Jesus

Risus Paschalis (the Easter Laugh) and the Sorrow Jar

For centuries in Eastern Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant countries, the week following Easter Sunday, culminated in “Bright Sunday” (the 2nd Sunday of the Easter season). It was observed by the faithful as “days of joy and laughter” with parties and picnics to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. The custom was rooted in the musings of early church theologians (like Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, and John Chrysostom) that God played a practical joke on the devil by raising Jesus from the dead. Early theologians called it “Risus paschalis – the Easter laugh.” Lately we call it Holy Humor or Holy Hilarity Sunday.

Palm Sunday: An Expression of Deepening Devotion

It is Palm Sunday! We open the gates wide and enter Holy Week. We may think of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem as a measured walk down the sanctuary aisle adorned with palm branches and orderly singing. BUT in reality the procession undoubtedly looked more like a pack of sports fans jostling for position to get through the gates and into the stadium for the main event. Palm branches waving? Of course! There were palm trees everywhere.

This service follows a pattern of scripture, characters, candle lighting and sung response in this service of deepening devotion.

1. A scripture passage introduces one of six characters close to Jesus.
2. A short, first-person reflection – in the words of that character – follows.
3. We pause to light a candle, in love, hope and faith.
4. Then, we sing, and move on.

We often remember Holy Week with a Tenebrae service of descending darkness. This year we choose to create a service of ascending devotion.

Hamlet’s Walnut Shell: Dry Bones and Lazarus

Sunday is the 5th and final Sunday of Lent. Lent is typically a season of pilgrimage, of journeying with Jesus, and this year we are in the midst of an extraordinary journey! For most of us, every familiar pattern has been altered or disrupted. There are moments this “social distancing,” let alone, “sheltering at home,” can seem a little like being entombed, or at the very least, en-wombed, hibernating; developing. There’s a story for that! We may find nurture in our ancient literature, the lectionary stories for this week: Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones awakening to walk again – a vision of life reconstructing amidst desolation. From the Newer Testament, comes the story of the resurrection of Lazarus – new life exiting a tomb.