Sermons

  • Hefted

    Alice and I both love fantasy stories. Right now, we are reading The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander. Alice’s favorite character is Gurgi, the loyal companion of the hero, Taran. Gurgi is covered in fur that is perpetually matted with sticks and leaves. He has extra-long arms. He’s always hungry. His speech is filled with rhymed pairs of words […]

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  • Memoir Theology

    In her book, Freeing Jesus, Diana Butler Bass begins with the story of a time she was praying in the National Cathedral. As she knelt before an icon of Jesus, she heard a voice. The voice said, not once, but three times, “Get me out of here!” No one else was around. She could only conclude that Jesus himself […]

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  • Weeping, Sowing, Rejoicing

    I said off-handedly to our nearly 13-year-old: “I need some inspiration! I don’t know where to start with this sermon!” “You know what you should preach about?” was the reply. “You should preach about what happened in Michigan.”  “Umm, what do you mean?”  “Another Black man murdered by the police.“ “It’s supposed to be an […]

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  • Coming to Ourselves

    \We work on communication a lot in our house: naming and processing feelings; asking for what we need; not leaping to conclusions; checking out our assumptions; taking responsibility for our words and actions. It’s not just the kids practice these skills! Grown-ups too! The other day, we were dealing with something that had happened between […]

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  • Bearing Fruit in a Perishing World

    I’m learning about mosses—slowly. A few paragraphs at a time, I’m studying Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Gathering Moss. Kimmerer, who is better known for her bestseller Braiding Sweetgrass. is actually a moss expert. She writes with reverence and creativity about her subject, as both a scientist and a member of the Potawatomi nation steeped in indigenous way of knowing. […]

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  • Under Her Wings

     I drove around this week delivering Lenten bags to our families with young kids. The bags included simple, kid-friendly paraphrases of each of our Lenten Psalms and supplies to help families learn these verses. The main project is a fleece blanket, because, as their version of Psalm 91 says, “When I trust in God, it’s like […]

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  • The Transfiguration: What (Really) Happened?

    When I was sixteen years old, I drove to Chesterfield, Indiana, with two of my high school buddies. We had visitor reservations at a materialization séance at a Spiritualist Church camp. Located on a modest tree-shaded campus, the meeting room for the séance seemed more like a small church or school building. I was surprised […]

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  • Today’s Gospel passage addresses the question of how we show up, for each other and in the world. This text seeks to guide us in creating human community grounded in the mercy, generosity, and abundance of divine love. In William Kent Krueger’s novel, This Tender Land, something happens that illustrates both the risks and the possibilities inherent […]

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  • Blessings and Woes

     “She’s not just rich, she’s loaded!” I was startled to overhear our daughter Alice say this about a classmate the other day. “How do you know that?” I asked. “She told me” I laughed. It was really funny to imagine an eight-year-old saying this outrageous thing. And then I had some more serious thoughts. I wondered what we grown-ups […]

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  • “The Great Deception”

    Some months ago, my laptop keyboard began to fail. It was the “e” key that gave me trouble. Only the most-used letter in the English language! For months, I put up a persistent stiffness in the key that impeded fluent typing. Then the problem reached a new level: the key would only work when pressed repeatedly. I knew I should […]

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  • “Offensive Grace”

     Jesus’ experience in his hometown synagogue reminds us: sometimes preachers offend people. In my former congregation, I quoted a passage from a hilarious book I was reading, supposedly written by a childhood pal of Christ named Biff. The author described a man who was so stern and judgmental, so cranky and out of touch, it […]

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  • Can You Be a Stone Catcher?

    by Rev. Kwame Osei Reed Today I remember words that were spoken on the eve of the first official celebration of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. My pastor, a friend of Martin King said, We need this holy day: not just to honor one man, though he is the martyred prophet whose […]

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  • Stepping In

    I want to invite you into a time of visual meditation on the art piece River by John August Swanson. First a bit about Swanson as an artist: His art reflected his strong heritage of storytelling, inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. . . . He addressed human values, cultural roots, and the […]

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  • Zoom Out, Zoom In

    I watched the IMAX film Dark Universe at the science museum with Eliza. When it was over, I said to Eliza, “Do you understand what dark matter is now? Because I have no idea!” “I think that’s the point, Mom!” E. said with perfectly pitched preteen annoyance. “No one knows what it is.” “Oh. Right.” […]

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  • Snake at the Manger

    Peace is the message of this night. Yes, peace—peace for this omicron-infected Christmas Eve; peace amid the news of Kimberly Potter’s conviction and our lament and rage, our repentance and our hope that we might end violence against black and brown bodies; peace for an evening held within an unprecedented December that brought tornadoes to […]

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  • Mother Mary Comes to Me

    by Melissa Harl The scene in the Gospel of Luke of two expectant mothers who meet to support each other is filled with remarkable poignancy. Both women are experiencing their first pregnancies. Each expectant mother needs and seeks comfort and support from the other in the unusual circumstances surrounding her pregnancy. Elizabeth is elderly and […]

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  • There’s a Voice

    Last week we talked about the fact that Advent is a time of waiting. Not waiting like tuning out and doing nothing. Waiting that involves preparing. Getting ready. So, kids, what do and your families do to prepare for Christmas? Do you light Advent candles? Get a Christmas tree, set up a manger scene, make […]

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  • Which Signs?

    Kids, welcome to Advent. This is a time of waiting. What’s something REALLY GOOD you are waiting for?Waiting is hard. Most of us don’t like to wait. But, would the thing you are waiting for be as good if you didn’t have to wait? Looking forward to something can make you happy every time you […]

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  • In Our End Is Our Beginning

    Kids, let’s talk about time. Time is a circle—have you noticed? Clocks are circles. Each day is a circle: waking up, living our day, sleeping and waking again. And then the seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. We have our own kind if time in the church, which is also a circle, as you can see […]

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  • Breathing Space

    Kids: let’s talk about money. In our house when kids or grown-ups get money, we put it into three categories: spend, save, give. Let’s say we got $10 each week, we might spend most of that, like $8. Then we might set aside $1 to save for later and $1 to give and share. It’s […]

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