“…of the world.” (Sermon on John 1:29-42) #Bershires #Pittsfield #Sermon

John 1:29-42 The speedometer on our family car suggests that our car could go 160 miles an hour if we wanted it to. It could save so much time if we zipped along at that speed! The 8-hour trip to my folks in Ohio could be reduced to about three hours and 15 minutes. Pittsfield to Boston? About 52 minutes. The drive from our home to Big Y World Class Market would be reduced from 6 minutes to about 50 seconds. Oh, how much time I could save! But, no. Some government officials decided that, for some reason, driving 160 … Continue reading “…of the world.” (Sermon on John 1:29-42) #Bershires #Pittsfield #Sermon

“Well Pleased…” (Sermon on Matthew 3:3-17) #berkshire #pittsfield #sermon

Biblical scholars love to debate, and when they do, for a church geek like me, it’s kind of fun to listen to. I know this isn’t true for everyone, but at some point, watching a good debate is almost more like watching sports. You can almost imagine a sports announcer: “That round goes to the Old Testament scholar from Yale. Next up, a debate about ECONOMICS IN THE BIBLICAL WORLD between the scholar from Emory University and the scholar from Chicago Theological Seminary, followed by a debate about Old Testament punctuation between the scholar from Harvard and Saint Pius the … Continue reading “Well Pleased…” (Sermon on Matthew 3:3-17) #berkshire #pittsfield #sermon

Starlight (Sermon on Psalm 148) #Berkshires #Pittsfield #Sermon

I’ve been thinking about the stars quite a bit these days. I grew up and have lived in or near cities my whole life, so the sky was almost entirely washed out with all those additional lights. I’d have to visit somewhere else to see more than a dozen stars, and even then, I would need to remember to look up. Here, I can see them. They’re just there. I find myself looking up quite a bit. Whenever I think about stars, I think about Dr. Ron Olowin. Ron was an astrophysicist. I did not understand what an astrophysicist was … Continue reading Starlight (Sermon on Psalm 148) #Berkshires #Pittsfield #Sermon

Christmas Eve Sermon 2022 #berkshires #pittsfield

The story of Christmas Eve, as we tell it in church and ritual, has order to it.  Many of us know the story and have heard it again and again. There is a calm to the repetition, the songs, and the candle lighting. I love that part, and I know that many of you are here because you love it, too. But have you ever imagined being there when it all happened? As described in the Bible, it must have seemed like a strange chaotic mess for all the people there. What we read is all of what people saw … Continue reading Christmas Eve Sermon 2022 #berkshires #pittsfield

Icicles and Stars (A Sermon on Matthew 1:18-25) #pittsfield #berkshires

Sermon for 12/18/22 Matthew 1:18-25 Last Wednesday, we were between storms. Icicles had started forming. The sky was clear. For all the wonder and excitement of this time of year, it can also be a season of rushing about. Last Wednesday night was one of those times I was going from this to that, and my mind was spinning with everything I hadn’t yet done or needed to do when someone asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks. “Do you think that stars or icicles are more beautiful?” Everything slowed down. It felt as though the question … Continue reading Icicles and Stars (A Sermon on Matthew 1:18-25) #pittsfield #berkshires

“Lifted Up” (Sermon on Luke 1:46b-55) #pittsfield #berkshires

When I read the Song of Mary from the Gospel of Luke, I can’t help but think about Malala Yousafzai. Many of you already know her story, but at some point, after the taliban took over Afghanistan, the taliban began dismantling the rights of women and girls. One way they did this was to forbid women and girls from being educated, and this approach included blowing up schools that educated girls. Imagine this here; A few blocks away, guards standing outside Conte Elementary, Pittsfield Highschool, or Berkshire Community College and preventing female teachers and students from walking through the doors … Continue reading “Lifted Up” (Sermon on Luke 1:46b-55) #pittsfield #berkshires

Season of Wonder (An Advent Reflection) #pittsfield #berkshires

There is one particular moment that I’ve come to look forward to the last few Christmases. We’re walking down the street or coming around a corner in our car when a display of lights catches our child’s eye. I might not notice it until I hear him whisper, “Oh wow….” That’s the moment the Christmas season begins for me now. That’s the moment I join our son in a season of wonder. I don’t know when calling Advent and Christmas “the Season of Wonder” began, but it makes sense. For me, feelings of wonder keep me in a moment of … Continue reading Season of Wonder (An Advent Reflection) #pittsfield #berkshires

Peace among the Pieces (Sermon reflection on Isaiah 11:1-10 and Psalm 72) #pittsfield #berkshires

In our weekly newsletter, Worshipful Thoughts, I brought up a French philosopher named René Girard. Girard expansively wrote about many things, but some of his most influential work was on how leadership functioned. Two ideas, in particular, have significantly influenced theologians and those who think about how leadership works.  In case you didn’t read this week’s newsletter, I will mention these two ideas again. First, Girard developed this idea called “memetic desire.” The word “mimetic” is related to the word mimic. It’s basically about mimicking a pattern or design. When Girard combined memetic and desire, he introduced a term that … Continue reading Peace among the Pieces (Sermon reflection on Isaiah 11:1-10 and Psalm 72) #pittsfield #berkshires

“Traditional” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 12-17

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 12-17 I need you to allow me a little bit of a church geek moment this Sunday. It’s about the lectionary. If you already know a lot about the lectionary, go ahead and take a nap for about 5 minutes but if it helps you, like me, to know a bit more or remember a few things, stay tuned for just a bit longer… For a long time, there has been a practice in the Jewish community for specific scriptural readings to be read on certain days and at certain times. Early Christian communities adopted some of … Continue reading “Traditional” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 12-17

“Vision and High Places” A sermon on Luke 19:1-10 and Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

Luke 19:1-10 and Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 I did part of my growing up in a church parsonage in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. We shared a driveway with the church next door, where my Dad was the minister. Across the street was the library where my sister and I spent many, many hours. Down the street, just a few houses away, was the elementary school my sister and I went to and where my mom eventually taught. We knew some of our neighbors better than others, but, as I remember it, few people seemed like strangers there. Even if we didn’t know … Continue reading “Vision and High Places” A sermon on Luke 19:1-10 and Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4