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Sermons

Moved to Hunger

I have learned, that in my personal faith journey, issues of hunger, feeling fed, and the community that is built around food, are important lenses through which I encounter God—and this has been revealed for me through a variety of life moments. For food is an integral part of our culture. Our identity. Our wholeness. Our survival. Our relationships. Our sacraments. Food is infused with Holiness. In the first creation story, God provides a healthy vegetarian diet for us, the human creature saying, “…every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed ...
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Touch Deeply

The story begins with: A locked room. Fear. Across the eons—how many locked rooms? People gathered in fear. Alone. In fear. Grief. Pain. Panic. Anger. Shame. Guilt.   Last week, on Easter morning, we encountered Mary Magdalene in her own moment of grief. Her need to immerse herself in the horrific loss she had witnessed. In the darkness of the early morning, she needed to be there. At the grave. With the death. There, as other disciples peaked in and saw emptiness, she wept. And then-the unexpected-Jesus shows up. There, Mary saw… Jesus. There, she talked… with Jesus....
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Something Unexpected

There is something about Easter morning. The resurrection. For while we know the story, this is something unexpected. This has to be an April Fool’s joke, right? An empty tomb. Life overcoming death. But we also know the science. We have definitions for “life,” and descriptions of “death.” God breaths into the human creature. Life emerges. The heart beats. Brainwaves pulse.   And now, today, we gather here as a people of the resurrection. That ridiculous idea of life overcoming death. The proclamation that love reigns over fear. In the mystery, theologian Marjorie Suchocki notes, “That whic...
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Were You There? Marching for Our Lives

This morning, having heard the retelling of Jesus entering Jerusalem, I have to ask you – were you there? They were marching for their lives. So many people had gathered at the gates to enter the city. Were you one of them? The dust and the colors that swirled around as people pushed in the mob to celebrate Passover. Ahhh. How I loved the excitement, the thrill of being in the midst of the crowd. The smells of so much life, so many people, animals, food, pouring together out onto the streets was penetrating. And then the singing began. People shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed by the...
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Grace and Action – For God so Love the World

For some followers of Jesus today, this passage from the Good News of John is familiar. It is comforting. All we need to do is say “John 3:16,” and many can quote the verse: “For God so loved the world…” For God so loved the world. For others of us, this text from John is unsettling. These are words that have been used to establish an exclusive, Christian, path to God. In my own faith journey, I have had to pause and prayerfully reflect on what is revealed of God for me in this passage. Scripture is one lens to the Holy for me, but not the only place of revelation. My personal relationship ...
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See and Flip Over

Last week, we took a look at the first third of the mission statement that proclaims “we are a community of faith called by God, to gather for worship and reach out in ever-widening circles.” This week our reflection shifted to the next section of our vision which states, we are witnesses "to God' all-inclusive love in Jesus Christ." Hear these words again: We are witnesses “to God’s all-inclusive love in Jesus Christ.” Now. HERE. So how do we… how are we… (or are we?)… keeping our eyes on Jesus today? For in the Gospel of John, the story is all about God coming near. From the beginning....
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Gather and Follow

The jump. The shift. The naming. The life. The living. The sacrifice. The covenant. The interconnections that shatter the boundaries between past, present and future. This is the journey we are on. Right. Now. For 3 weeks during Lent, in worship, we will be focusing on God’s covenant with us—and on our covenant with one another—in this faith community. We will use Memorial UCC’s mission statement to guide our 3-part reflection. Whether you are a covenanted partner of the congregation (i.e., a member), a friend of the church, or a visitor, you are welcome to join our prayerful reflection. ...
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#RippedOpen

I open this reflection with a cautionary note. I want to prepare you. I want to prepare you for a tearing open of the heavens. For the urgency of the Spirit driving us out into the wilderness places of our days. For the need to identify and name the devils with which we are tempted. Here. Now. I want to give you a heads up that my use of hashtags* as I share this Word with you today might be unsettling. Unnerving. In fact, I hope that it is unsettling. It should be unsettling. For a shift is urgently needed. A transformation. A tearing open. A revealing of God’s kin-dom here… God’s Word her...
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Love Entrusted: Let’s Go…

This is… a Möbius strip sermon. An endless loop immersed in love. Whether you are close, whether you are far away, whichever side you are on—God is there. There is hope. The shape of this sermon is one of my all-time favorite things: a Möbius strip. In part, I am somehow captivated by vowels that have an umlaut. And I am intrigued by this: A twisted rectangle. A shape with one continuous side. An infinite loop. This is… a sermon of refugees. The book of Isaiah is understood to have been written in 3 separate sections, over the course of hundreds of years. Today we hear from Second Is...
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The Intrusiveness of God

Last week, in the middle of the sermon, I asked a simple question. I asked each of you to pause and see if you knew Memorial UCC’s mission statement. If you are visiting us, or are new to our faith community, you might have seen the statement posted on our website. If you have been a member, or a friend, for any length of time, you might remember something about “ever-widening circles.” But, can you repeat the entire mission statement? And if you can – does it still resonate with who we are as a congregation? This year we will have an opportunity to prayerfully reflect on how we hear and re...
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