Hello, First Church! This morning, I’m grateful. I’m grateful for the gift of time—time to breathe, time to be a pilgrim, Sabbath time. I’m grateful for the ways the Spirit has stirred and nudged you during this sabbatical time. I’m grateful for our staff and lay leaders, for Mary Kay, who gave a little extra… Read More


Parables. As we heard in the introduction to today’s text, “Parables use conventional images to disturb complacent existence. They are meant to shake up our world view.” Today we have the parable of the mustard seed. The mustard seed is very small, as evidenced by the picture on the cover of the bulletin. However, it… Read More

Wonder Woman #4: Bathsheba Temptress or Victim?

In 1951 the movie David and Bathsheba starred Gregory Peck and Susan Hayward. It was an epic movie, filled with intrigue and romance, all star cast and glitzy sets and costumes. Throughout the movie, according to an Internet site about the movie, King David wore a Star of David on all his clothes. Since David… Read More

Wonder Woman #3: Ruth—Loyal, Faithful, Subversive

First a show of hands. Raise your hand if you have checked your ethnic background on one of the websites like or 23 and Me. Was it worth it to you? Their commercials make it sound like it could be a revelation. I must confess I have not done that yet. I have two… Read More

Wonder Woman #2: Rahab

Wanting to cut down on excuses for my daughter not to send out her thank you cards for her graduation gifts, I went to the Dinkytown post office to pick up some stamps. Appropriately enough I found iconic Wonder Woman stamps. I dutifully bought a few sheets, but then noticed another stamp with a distinguished… Read More


The sermon, the service feels a bit like a crazy quilt, so I brought one made by some ancestor of mine—the date on it is 1912—105 years ago. I hope all will make sense at some point. The music we started out with may have seemed a crazy way to start. It felt appropriate given… Read More

And God Saw It Was Good

A new church started in a downtown area. They wanted to impress others with their fancy building so they spent a lot of money on a grand building. But then immigrants began to move in. They were low class—not the church’s kind of people. So the church moved further south and built a new, fancier… Read More

The Deep End

There is one word in this homily that you may not wish young children to hear, I will raise my hand just before I say it. Northwestern Memorial Hospital is a 1,000-bed, Level-1 trauma center in the heart of downtown Chicago. It sits on the Magnificent Mile, one of the priciest city shopping districts. It… Read More

Spirit of Witness

We all have clutter, boxes full of stuff. Going through one of our boxes Orv came across a button that said, “God doesn’t side with one group, religions do that.” This week I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Dear Lord, save me from your followers.” Because of the truism in the button as well… Read More

Trust Walk

On the Western Slope of Colorado lies Glenwood Springs, a beautiful town just down the road from Rifle, where I grew up. Glenwood sits at the convergence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers which means that the town sits nestled in a valley and is protected on all sides by steep mountains made of… Read More