Home / Archive by category "Sermons"

Sermons

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

Set In Motion

It is set in motion. The seeds for a new vision. A new hope. There is a lot of change swirling about. And there is urgency. Urgency to proclaim the good news. Whatever THAT is. The “word of God came to Jonah a second time” (Jonah 3:1, NRSV). “Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God” (Mark 1:14). In a third reading assigned for today, Paul notes that “the present form of this world is passing away…” (1 Cor. 7:31). The thought that “the present form of this world is passing away” might unsettle us. But then we read the news. As we read headlines packed with governmental shutdo...
Read More

Boundaries Torn

(Genesis 1:1-5, Mark 1:4-11) We want to shout it out! Go tell it on a mountain! We search for the joyous good news that must still be resonating from the holiday season. The carefully wrapped gifts. The delicately decorated cookies. The thoughtfully written cards. The well-planned family get-togethers and work Christmas parties. The halls that were decked out with greenery and lights. But instead, suddenly, everything is all packed away. Instead of magi, instead of a star, instead of the silence of the night—here we are, down by the riverside. Time shifted. Boundaries torn. The story...
Read More

Gathered: Cross-Generational Hope

(Luke 2:21-40, NRSV) The presence of a newborn stirs so many emotions in those around her: love, joy, hope… uncertainty, anxiousness, worry, elation, calm, warmth, vulnerability, a sense of blessedness. A cry stirs us to respond with care. A sleeping child causes us to lower our voices and step into the quiet. A movement, a grimace, a coo, sparks smiles. THIS. This is how God reminds us of the eternal, creating, all-encompassing Divine Love, into the world. James Howell notes that, “God came down, not to thrash evildoers or crush the Romans, but as an infant, to elicit love, to nurture tend...
Read More

The Work of the Christmas Begins

Throughout Advent I have become fascinated with the many both/ands of our faith. For we have been both waiting for the birth of Jesus – and yet Jesus has already been born. As we gather here with family and friends this evening…or have come here on our own…as solitary wanderers…seeking…some connection with the Holy. We. Have. Come. We have some in part, because this is what we always do. For some, going to church on Christmas Eve is woven into the family tradition. Of course, we are going to church on Christmas Eve. For others, maybe some of you that did not grow up in the life of the churc...
Read More

Unanticipated Shifts (2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 Luke 1:26-38)

This is a day of movement. Flow. Good news erupting in a dream. A shift. The shift from unborn to born. From anticipation to alleluia. From fetal kicks to contractions, warm birth waters, and that first gasp of life. We think we know the birth Story—that narrative wrapped in swaddling clothes. In our homes, in our yards, here… in our sanctuary… we place replicas of the images etched in our minds. A stable. Worried parents. Smells. Noises. Moos. Baas. Street noises. That far away small town, Bethlehem, come to life with people who were forced to respond to the decree proclaimed by Emperor Augus...
Read More

Word. Light. Witness. (Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; John 1:6-8, 19-28)

Word. Light. Witness. THIS is something new. Something different. Something… actually… joyful. The past two weeks of Advent we found ourselves desperately seeking hope. Wondering whether or not there can be peace. As the days grow shorter in the northern hemisphere and long evenings envelop our lives, the prophet cries out: “I am the voice.” I am the voice of building. Of rising. Of repairing. Of proclaiming. I am the voice of comfort. Of good news. Of gladness. I am the voice clothed in liberation. Justice. Healing. A new creation. External. The voice of a new narrative. A new narrative, of r...
Read More

Who Is…? (Isaiah 40:1-11; Mark 1:1-8)

Today we encounter a question infused with earth shattering changes. Land masses shifting. Mountains laid flat. Lives withering. Ground scorched. There is dismay in the wastelands. Desert wastelands. Urban wastelands. Refugee camps. ICE detention centers. Drug rehabilitation centers. Prisons. Nursing homes. People seeking hope along wilderness edges. Here we find ourselves on the shores of something new. People gathering to immerse themselves in the waters of hope. Forgiveness. Turning around. People of God, can we hear and name the voices crying out in the wilderness today? I know, I know…...
Read More

Tearing Boundaries: HOPE (Isaiah 64:1-9; Mark 13:24-37)

O Come, O Come Emmanuel… Jesus declares to us today, “…what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake” (Mark 13:37). Emmanuel. It means God-With-Us. This year, 2017, has been marked by transitions and a general sense of unsettling in the world around us. Listening to the national news the past 72 hours, the endless list of issues, near and far, has shaken our sense of normalcy. Stability. Safety. Comfort. We must name it. We must keep awake. We must listen. Learn. We must ask the tough questions. How will what has done behind closed doors impact our children, families, the most vulnerable among...
Read More
Top