Sermons


Release to the Captives

In today’s video, [1] Candace Montgomery of Black Visions Collective calls for the abolition of policing. For those who call themselves “abolitionists” there is a fundamental, fatal flaw in the system of policing. Yes, there are good people within the police force, and yes, there are many who seek to reform the work of policing… Read More

For Such a Time as This

Today’s sermon, strangely enough, is organized in four distinct sections: The King, Esther, God and us. Let’s begin with The King. The Book of Esther is a work of historical fiction. It’s also a scathing satire, mocking King Xerxes, and critiquing the whole enterprise of empire. The King is portrayed as a ridiculous, inept and… Read More

Acts 9–10

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found. ‘Twas blind but now I see.” This ancient trope of being able to see after a time of blindness suffuses our own spiritual experiences. “Amazing Grace” is one hymn Americans, regardless of belief, all still… Read More

The People Who Know How to Say Thank You

In Braiding Sweetgrass, indigenous author and ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer describes her father’s ceremony of gratitude. Each year when she was growing up, their family camped in the Adirondacks for the whole summer. “I can picture my father,” she recalls, in his red-checked wool shirt, standing atop the rocks above the lake. When he lifts… Read More

Another World Is Possible

All week I have been trying to piece together three sermons into one. I finally gave up. Don’t worry – the total is still about one sermon long. Sermon One: “Abundance and Scarcity” I don’t remember much from the Economics class I took in college. What has stayed with me is the definition that the… Read More

Every Step We Take

Corn is a sacred food for the Pawnee people. Over almost 1,000 years, the Pawnee cultivated many unique varieties of corn—among them blue speckled corn, white sweet corn, and eagle corn, with markings on the kernels that look like an eagle in flight. Traditionally, this corn bound the Pawnee to their land and gave them… Read More

The Water Is Wide

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.” I felt the timeliness and truth of these words in my gut as we read them together this past week… Read More

The Water Is Wide

“Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.” I felt the timeliness and truth of these words in my gut as we read them together this past week… Read More

Draw the Circle Wide

With Alice (our six-year-old) I have been reading Beverly Cleary’s books about Ramona and her co-conspirators. One of those characters is Henry Huggins. What Henry wanted most, at age 10, was to have his own paper route. Unfortunately, he could not get a job delivering The Journal until he turned 11. As Henry’s birthday finally… Read More

Dreams and Visions

My Grandma, Marguerite Unwin Voelkel and my mom, Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, preached this sermon at Lyndale UCC in May of this year. The words I’m about to share are my mom’s and then my Grandma will share her own words. – Shannon Voelkel As one who was born and raised in the United Church of… Read More