Sermons


A Sacramental Commons (preached at University Baptist Church)

These days, it’s easy to find recipes on Google. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m attached to my cookbooks. There’s a tattered volume, What’s Cooking in the Coulee, published by the church I grew up in. The recipes aren’t brilliant, but the names beneath each entry call to mind the faces and voices of… Read More

No One Shall Make Them Afraid

As far as I know, the Lord’s Prayer is universal among followers of Jesus. Yes, there different versions and translations. But, in the end, we are all praying the same prayer—across time zones, languages, and cultures. Amid diverse lives and experiences, clashing biblical interpretations and diverging theologies, we are all praying the same prayer. We… Read More

We Do Not Know How

My friends, God’s new world is growing among us, we do not know how. On a Saturday afternoon a few months ago, I traveled to the Dar al Farooq Mosque in Bloomington for a faith delegate training. I sat down next to a Muslim woman and we began to get to know each other. We… Read More

In the Struggle and the Power

On Easter weekend, NBC released a remake of the 1970s musical, Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice. I appreciate many things about Superstar, including the way it brings to the forefront the political conflict that is essential for understanding and interpreting the Jesus story. The show makes it clear that the… Read More

Death Becomes You

This sermon was inspired by several people: Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Valarie Bridgeman, Academic Dean at Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio, and Lois Malcolm at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Just a few days ago, there was a gathering of 2,500 people at the National City Christian Church in Washington, DC. Another 700 filled… Read More

Holy, holy, holy

This past week I attended a conference on preaching and politics in Washington, D.C. Rev. Otis Moss III, of Trinity UCC in Chicago, defines politics as “how power is distributed among people for the common good.” Our scripture passage from Isaiah recounts the prophet’s dramatic call into politics.  “I saw the Lord!” he exclaims. Well… Read More

Reflection

On the day of Pentecost, also known as the birthday of the church, Jesus’ followers received a new gift: the Holy Spirit. “Come, Holy Spirit” This is the ancient prayer of Pentecost. This is not a prayer to pray lightly. The Spirit we urge to come among us is a loud, violent rush of wind,… Read More

Abide. Prune. Fruit.

Jesus’ teachings are often centered around green and growing things. Sowers, soil and seeds; fig trees that need compost, and little more time; other fig trees that deserve to wither suddenly under a curse; giant, invasive, bird-sheltering mustard bushes; weeds that grow entangled with the wheat (argh those weeds!). Then there is today’s picture of… Read More

Acts of Kindness

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be invited to talk with Sky Li’s World Religions class at her school. At the end of the class I asked them to help me choose the scripture that I would focus on in this sermon and they chose the text from Acts 10 that Jean read…. Read More

Shepherding Community

My shepherd is the living God; I therefore nothing need. I love the hymn-writer’s elegant take on the first line of Psalm 23.             My shepherd is the living God; I therefore nothing need.             I’m still thinking about a few sharp words someone spoke years ago in a study group. “I don’t need a… Read More