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Sermons

Talk Less, Smile More

Words from Burr to Hamilton might have made sense to both Peter and Paul in the early days of Christianity - with a slight twist. Today's texts: 1 Peter 3: 13-22 and Acts 17: 22-31 Early in the hit musical Hamilton, the two central characters meet for the first time. One, of course, is Alexander Hamilton, the orphaned immigrant you see on the $10 bill who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the American Revolution, whose writings helped shape the U.S. Constitution and then who became the nation’s first secretary of the Treasury. The other is Aaron Burr, also an orp...
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Room to Spare

I want to stay with the images, because I think they open some windows for us to look into the world and become part of its transformation – even as we are transforming ourselves. Today's texts - 1 Peter 2:2-10 and John 14:1-14  I am wondering what you are feeling like this morning. Are you feeling like a newborn baby, nourished by your mother’s milk? Are you feeling like a stone on the road? Or maybe like a stone kicked aside? Are you feeling a bit homeless, wandering the world and wondering if there is a room for you somewhere? Or are you feeling like part of a royal pr...
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Back on the Road

The story of meeting Jesus on the road to Emmaus reflects disappointments and hopes, misunderstandings and then understandings, loneliness and community, distrust and renewed trust, a time of hunger and a meal shared. Today's texts - Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19 and Luke 24: 13-35 And Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast. Have you ever been in a situation like this? You encounter someone who seems really distressed. Or you are the one feeling distressed and someone asks you what’s wrong. From either side of the conver...
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Resurrection Stories

These are stories that might give us hope at a time when hope can seem in short supply. Today's texts - John 20: 1-18 and Acts 10: 34-43 For Morgan William, new life came on a basketball court. For Billie Moore, new life came on death row. For Garry Civitello, it came in conversation with a woman named Heather McGhee. I’m going to tell you a bit about their stories today because I think that in a variety of ways, they illustrate some of the central themes of Jesus’ resurrection story: life emerging out of death, goodness overcoming evil. I think their stories might give us h...
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Words of hope in a time of transition

By Jacy Boldebuck and Sonjia Short Jacy: We join a church not to be served but to serve. Joining a congregation is like joining a family, and like with any relationship you get out of it what you put into it….and MUCC happens to be a hard working family. I know some of you are worried about what happens next when Phil retires in June…I understand….I get nervous about it too…I love predictable…I love comfortable.. …and some of you have only experienced memorial with Phil as our pastor so I imagine it is especially difficult for you.  I want you to know that it is normal to feel a bit of a...
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I Can See Clearly Now

Noel Paul Stookey's story also offers us an opportunity to reflect on the blind spots in our lives and where the impact of Jesus’ message, God’s love and the care of those around us can bring light into our world. Today's text - John 9: 1-41 A man who could not see. Another man who invited him to open his eyes. People amazed and divided by the transformation that had taken place. And a new way of seeing the world and living in it. Those are some of the elements of that story of Jesus giving sight to the man born blind. They are also some of the elements of the story of Noel Pau...
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Still Thirsty

These stories are about more than the politics of water and the failures of leadership, though. They are also very personal stories about despair and hope, about deception and honesty, about living water – we might call it grace – that provides life in moments when it is least expected. Today's texts - Exodus 17: 1-7 and John 4: 5-34; 39-42 May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O God, who sent your word to live among us. Amen. We just heard about the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, having fled from slavery in Egypt. The journ...
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Quest for God

I’d like to take a little time to explore the story of Abraham, to enter into Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus and then ponder a bit how these stories might be guideposts on our quest for God. Today's texts - Genesis 12: 1-4a and John 3: 1-17 Sometimes I feel like Abraham. Sometimes I feel like Nicodemus. Or as singer/songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter once put it, “Sometimes you're the windshield / Sometimes you're the bug.” Sometimes I am trying to understand what God wants of me – I am looking through the windshield of our sacred writings trying to make sense of God. Sometim...
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Entitlement Meets Vulnerability

Entitlement and vulnerability are characteristics we need to pay attention to in so many phases of our lives. Both can cause us lots of trouble. Today's texts - Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 and Matthew 4:1-11 Two stories. Two really familiar stories. Adam and Eve decide they are entitled to be like God. Jesus decides that he is not entitled to act like God, that he can be vulnerable in a harsh world. Two more stories, less familiar, also about entitlement and vulnerability. Two women met with a group of guys – including me - this past week at Domestic Abuse Intervention Service...
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Making Connections

This morning I want to explore where our food comes from, because it matters, and because that journey has been both exciting and rewarding for me. Today's texts: 1 Corinthians 11:17-29 and Matthew 14:13-21 By Marty Smith Food is essential for life, so it’s not surprising that the Bible is full of references to food, both actual and metaphoric. Jesus often used the sharing of food in a communal setting as a means of connecting people from all walks of life and social classes. After his death the common meal became an important way for early Christian communities to share their lives, ...
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