Sermons


Left out in the Field

Today’s parable does not come to a tidy conclusion. Joy mingles with heartbreak as this family responds to the homecoming of the younger brother. At the end of the story, we are left standing out in the field with Dad and his elder son. It’s a mess of big feelings and hard, unanswered questions. It’s… Read More

Reflections on Access Sunday

Hikaru Peterson: I’m here, on behalf of Shari DeZelar and myself, to share about “person-first language.” What do we mean by “person-first language”? According to Wikipedia: People-first . . . [or] person-first language . . . is a type of linguistic prescription which puts a person before a diagnosis, describing what a person “has” rather… Read More

Don’t Cut Your Losses

In our house, there’s an exchange that happens a couple of times a day. One of the children says, or I say, “where is my [fill in the blank]?” The missing item might be keys or shoes, that scrap of paper with the shopping list. It might be someone’s swim googles, their mittens, or the… Read More

The Heart Matters

I’m pondering today’s parable alongside the story Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen. There’s a copy in the back on the kids’ table if anyone wants to follow along. The pictures are great! It begins like this: On a cold afternoon, in a cold little town, where everywhere you looked was either the… Read More

At God’s Table

One of the first things I noticed about you, Daniel, is that you are always setting a table. Getting out coffee and tea and all the fixings. Putting together a nice little spread from the church freezer. Bringing gourmet donuts, to-die-for pastries from Alma, or coveted Colorado peaches to a meeting. This impulse to show… Read More

Holy, Earthly Seeds

In A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard writes: When I was six or seven years old, growing up in Pittsburgh, I used to take a precious penny of my own and hide it for someone else to find. For some reason I always “hid” the penny along the same stretch of sidewalk up the… Read More

Cracked Cisterns

            Four hundred years ago, an English pirate ship named the “White Lion” landed at Point Comfort, Virginia. The ship bore twenty human beings with black skin. They had been kidnapped from their homes and torn from their families. They were chained, starved, beaten and tortured. Arriving in Jamestown, they were sold in exchange for… Read More

Fire, Baptism, Peace

Some years ago, I developed a Bible study with the intentionally provocative title, “Seven Things I Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said.” Some of these sayings are difficult, some are disturbing, some are counter-intuitive. I have used this material several times since then (including in at least a couple of sermons), and the general theme of the… Read More

Vanity of Vanities

Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes (or Qoheleth) really brings out the Bible geek in me. So let me apologize in advance if you don’t find Hebrew words as fascinating as I do! Qoheleth is an obscure book of the Bible that is, ironically, the source of three well-known proverbs: “There is nothing new under the sun.”… Read More

Winter

Our family loves the musical “A Year with Frog and Toad” based on a series of stories by Arnold Lobel. Frog is tall, green and easy-going. Toad is short, brown and more of a worrier. The story begins in the late winter. Frog and Toad, who are still hibernating, visit each other’s dreams. Once they… Read More