“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

“Help” (sermon on Luke 18:1-8)

October 16th, 2022 Sermon Luke 18:1-8 Michael was one of the most effective fundraisers and service providers I’ve ever known. I met him when I was living in Boulder, Colorado. To get by, I was working three different jobs that all had some sort of interaction with Michael. During the week, I was on a Parks and Recreation Crew that had the task of maintaining a street that had been closed, bricked up, landscaped, and turned into a beautiful outdoor mall area. On the weekends, I worked as the custodian for a downtown church, and, finally, off and on, I … Continue reading “Help” (sermon on Luke 18:1-8)

“Tenous and Tedious” (Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15)

September 25th, 2022 Sermon @ South Congregational Church UCC Pittsfield, MA Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 (I started by placing a brick on the pulpit. Yep. A plain old brick.) On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest and ten being the highest), how would you rate how exciting this brick is? Hold that thought…. The book of Jeremiah is filled with a lot of prophetic poetry and wisdom, but it all emerges from a horrifying time. One of the reasons Jeremiah is sometimes lifted is because he saw a clear connection between the structural violence against those who were poor … Continue reading “Tenous and Tedious” (Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15)

What Are You Doing Here?

(This was my candidating sermon [6-19-22] for South Congregational Church in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Following the sermon, they invited me to be their pastor! I’ll leave my position with the Pacific Northwest Conference in the middle of September and join South Church soon afterward.) 1 Kings 19:1-15 (NRSVUE)  I always appreciate the legal disclaimer at the beginning of a video or book that says something like, “This story is based on actual events. In certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters may be composites, or entirely fictitious.” It gives you a fair heads up … Continue reading What Are You Doing Here?

Unpossessed

(Sermon shared with Taiwanese Christian Church 5/29/22) Acts 16:16-34 (NRSV)  Today’s text from Acts is an odd one. Paul and Silas are followed by a slave girl possessed by a spirit that allows her to tell the future and see hidden things that others cannot see. During this time and place, being possessed by such a spirit wasn’t seen in the same way as being possessed by a demon. A demon was an entity motivated to spiritual destruction and harm for the one who possessed and those the demon-possessed person encountered. The kind of spirit that possessed this girl was more … Continue reading Unpossessed

Hope Is Built

(I’m catching up on some posts, today. This is my April ’22 address to the Pacific Northwest Conference of the UCC’s Annual Meeting) I’ve struggled more with this particular message than any other I’ve ever shared with you. When developing the theme for this meeting, the idea that emerged was around hope, recognizing the exhaustion of almost everyone.  It’s entirely the right theme, and I was looking forward to hearing from someone else about it. I’m struggling with staying hopeful, too. On the one hand, the idea that I might have anything to say about hope feels almost ludicrous when … Continue reading Hope Is Built

Among these Lenten ashes…

Dear Siblings in Christ:I’ve been struggling with this letter for a while now. We’re figuring out who will continue on our committees, who is stepping down, and what positions we need to fill. This was supposed to be a letter encouraging you to consider being part of our committees or nominating someone else. That’s still going to be a part of this note, but I can’t go forward with acknowledging something else.These times are hard, and we’re all feeling it. There isn’t one organization I’m part of or one congregation I’m in conversation with that isn’t struggling at least a … Continue reading Among these Lenten ashes…

3/15/22 PNC COVID-19 Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath, then let that one out slowly, too. This week’s text from Isaiah is a beautiful one. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a message of courage, compassion, grace, and persistence. It’s a message to those on the edge of losing hope that also invites a rootedness in faithfulness. The idea of listening is central to this text’s invitation. It’s an invitation to focus, pay attention, and discern what we hear with an open mind and heart. It’s an invitation to connect the experience of … Continue reading 3/15/22 PNC COVID-19 Update

2/16/22 PNC COVID-19 Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: This week’s text from Genesis tells the story of Joseph being willing to forgive and help his brothers even though they tried to kill him. It’s a heck of a plot twist. However, this time, what stood out was why the brothers needed help in the first place When we meet Joseph and his brothers, there had already been a famine for two years, but it wasn’t even half done. I’m sure they were all tired of it and exhausted, at this point. Their suffering had to have been immense. I’m sure they were hoping things … Continue reading 2/16/22 PNC COVID-19 Update