Click on a title listed below to view the full sermon text.

5/28/05

Patriotism and Nationalism

 

Especially in this time of war, it is the business of every moral nation to ask itself, "What is the difference between patriotism and nationalism?" With love and respect for our war dead, we walk this ground together today. 

5/16/05

Honoring Our Grand-elders

 

Seeking the wisdom of the grand-elders, our minister interviewed all of the members of our congregation who have reached, or passed, the impressive age of 90 years. 

5/8/05

Really Desperate Housewives

 

What shadow lurks beneath the shiny, happy, efficient exterior of Donna Reed's immaculately aproned self? Do you think Mother Mary ever smacked teenage Jesus upside the head for sassing her? Sure she did. Bring Mom and come away with a deep respect for the inner volcanic goddess she keeps tamed for the sake of the happy family and the civil society. Whoa, Mama.

4/24/05

It Matters Most What We Love

 

We are thrilled to have in ourpulpit this morning the esteemed and retired Reverend Alice BlairWesley of Washington state, who served Unitarian Universalist congregations in ministry forseveral decades, and who authored the highly-regarded Minns Lectures on the subject of covenant.

4/3/05

Elegy for Terri Schiavo: The Culture of Life?

 

Rest eternal grant to her, Spirit of Compassion,
And let light perpetual shine upon her.
And may the peace which passeth understanding
come to the hearts of all who made her struggle their own.
Amen.

3/27/05

It Matters To This One

 

"Oh day of light and gladness!" More than ever, in the midst of this relentlessly snowy and frigid winter, we need the resurrection hope and faith.

3/20/05

The Uses of Violence and Non-Violence

 

Palm Sunday calls us to deeply reflect on the use of violence as a means of acheiving power-over, and to consider the ethic of power-with as lived and taught by Jesus of Nazareth.

3/13/05

Friendship: The Compassionate Mirror

 

We hope you will bring a friend to this Sunday Service, which celebrates the spiritual virtue of friendship.

3/6/05

Seek Not Afar for Beauty

 

I went off to New York City last week to see "The Gates." You might have heard about them: "The Gates" was an installation by the artist Christo and his wife Jean-Claude, who spent $23 million dollars of their own money to festoon Central Park with about 7500 sixteen-foot-high gates -- which actually looked like orange goal posts – fluttering with saffron-colored panels.

2/20/05

The Broken Places

 

I wrote in my newsletter column to you all in January that it seems as though there has been an unusually high level of stress among us lately, and in fact in the community at large. This impression was borne out the other day by my colleague over at the United Church of Christ, the Rev. Tanya Rasmussen, who said that she's noticed a stress spike lately, too, and that a doctor member of her congregation confirms that people are just more sick lately with stress-related, psychosomatic illness.

2/6/05

For What Thou Art Preparing Us

 

Membership Sunday 2005. In being part of a church we are preparing ourselves, in an intentional way, for whatever may come. By being part of a church community, we are preparing ourselves to meet the unknown challenges of the coming hour in a dignified and gracious manner. We are preparing our hearts to be pure and our spirits to be resilient, and our minds to be open. We practice, not so we may be made perfect, but so we may be made better. 83k Pdf

1/16/05

The Souls of Poor Folk

 

Borrowing a title fromW.E.B. DuBois's great work, The Souls of Black Folk, we are inspired by the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to reflect on personhood of the world's poor; those often considered radically "other" by people of privilege.

 

 

1/9/05

Being a Real Nobody

 

"I'm Nobody, Who Are You?" Rev. Victoria Weinstein. Launching off of these lines by poet Emily Dickinson, we will contemplate the rather insane cult of celebrity that fuels so much of our news and our pop culture. What would Emily D. have to say to Paris Hilton? 104k Pdf

1/2/05

The Good News in the Year of Religion

 

A folk singer whose name I’ll probably never learn recently said something like this: "Religion is a healing and powerful force for good in a world damaged and torn apart by… religion." How heart-breaking and how true! Join us for some of the good news of the year 2004 in religion as we step in 2005 together, and observe our Burning Bowl ritual. 77k Pdf

12/12/04

The Other Martha

 

MEDITATION/PRAYER Inspired by Hebrews 13
"Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing, some have entertained angels unawares."

12/5/04

Life in the Fat Lane: Living a Joyous Incarnation Anyway

 

Advent is a season which invites us to reflect on the blessings of our bodies, even as we enter the guilt-inducing, very "high carb" holiday season. Is your body a blessing, a curse, a machine you're trying to master, or a little human spaceship for your temporary sojourn through this life? Come, and bring your body (and perhaps some "body" else!) with you.69k Pdf

11/21/04

Thanksgiving Homily For All Ages

 

"Because they were grateful." Come ye thankful people come for our traditional Thanksgiving service. 75k Pdf

11/14/04

Jesus Was a Humanist

 

Liberal Christians often say that we are trying to follow the religion of Jesus rather than the religion about Jesus. Today we'll look at what that religion was, as seen through the lens of the classical Unitarian tradition. 109k Pdf

11/7/04

No Less Holiness- All Soul's Sunday 2004

 

Today we honor the memory of those recently gone from us, and share our Circle of Remembrance. Sermon includes our minister's perspective on the presidential election results. 91k Pdf

10/31/04

Witches Among Us

 

Welcome to New England, a place that has never completely overcome its origins as a land of magic and superstition. You saw the signs held by Sox fans – "we believe" – and "Reverse the curse" –some of you may have even engaged in a slightly superstitious practice or two to bring about a win, am I right? Not one of you?

10/17/04

The Uses and Abuses of the Scriptures

 

You' ve heard the stereotypes: The Koran supposedly teaches violence, the Hebrew Scriptures feature a vengeful, punishing Daddy God, and the Christian Scriptures promise a fiery end to it all. In our call to be responsible religious citizens, we need a better understanding of the three religions of "the Book." Today we will attempt to get one.

10/10/04

O Brave New World: Our Ambiguous Heroes

 

The first chapter of Howard Zinn' s book is called "Columbus, The Indians and Human Progress." It' s a painful read, describing Columbus' s arrival to the Bahamas and his first thought about the remarkably friendly natives there, which was, "These people would make fine servants."

10/3/04

Practicing Right Speech: The Very Mixed Blessings of Gossip

 

It's just talk! Or is it? Talking is what keeps communities together. And what tears communities apart. We' ll look at "right speech" and how it differs from gossip.

9/19/04

The Politics of Love

 

"The politics of love" sounds so naïve, so ineffectual, sentimental and perhaps dated, like those old commercials that show people holding candles and swaying together in a circle, singing about how they' d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony (or was it that they wanted to buy the world a Coke?).

9/12/04

They Shout for Joy

 

In-gathering Sunday. It's a lovely coincidence that our Homecoming Sunday is held at about the same time of year as the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. It gives us such a good excuse to deeply claim this new beginning, to align ourselves in spirit with those ancient ones who began to turn their wheel of the year at September's new moon.

5/23/04

A Reflection on Religion and Science

 

At one time, centuries ago, theology was called "the queen of the sciences". Today, religion and science appear to be polar opposites when it comes to our understanding of the mysteries of creation. What do these two great traditions of seeking truth have in common and how do they differ? Can the differences be reconciled?

5/16/04

The Mexican Phoenix

 

Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, a seventeenth century Mexican nun, was also a prolific poet and writer, a scientist, a composer and the first woman theologian of the Americas. We'll learn why she is one of the most beloved figures in Mexico to this day, and why there is a renewed interest in her work all over the world

5/9/04

Baby Mine - Disney's Missing Mothers

 

In a continuing examination of our culture's prevailing myths and myth-makers, we will look at that great purveyor of fantasies and dreams, Walt Disney. The question that occupies us on this Mother's Day is: Hey Walt, where are all the moms?

5/2/04

Whatever Happened to Simplify, Simplify?

 

Today we explore some of the major themes of the great literary work Walden, and look at some of the reasons modern Americans are having such a hard time following Henry Thoreau' s advice to simplify, simplify, simplify!

4/25/04

The Demanding Tree

 

In honor of Earth Day, I will share my re-telling of Shel Silverstein's classic, The Giving Tree. In this version, The Demanding Tree has a few lessons for her human firends! Fun for all ages.

4/11/04

Life More Abundant

 

Easter Sunday - Thank you, Mel Gibson, for giving us so much to think about and re-examine about the disturbing and astonishing events at the center of the Christian story.

4/4/04

Abwoon d'bwashmaya: Hearing Old Prayers With New Ears

 

On Palm Sunday, we take a very close look at the prayer traditionally attributed to Jesus; the one about daily bread and trespasses.

3/21/04

Working From Red to Gray

 

I often get emails or letters from you sharing your struggle to respond civilly to family members or close friends whose political or religious opinions you find abhorrent. Your struggles lead to this sermon, where we think together about righteous anger, knee-jerk reactionism, polarizing arguments, and how to move beyond ticked-off to tuned in.

3/7/04

Reflections From the Other End of the Aisle

 

Worship is only one religious service that is regularly conducted in our meetinghouse. Wedding ceremonies are another such service, whose ultimate religious meaning is often lost in the "wedding industrial complex." We'll think about that today, as well as reflect together on the mythologies around marriage, the secret lives of married people, and the fascinating historical dilemma we now face about who has the right to be married.

2/29/04

Sources of Faith

 

Continuing our conversation on faith, we explore the six sources fairly recently identified by Unitarian Universalists as being the foundations of our living tradition. Are you a Humanist-Transcendentalist? More of a Deist, with mystical leanings? A Jewishly Chrisitan goddess worshipper? Think about it.

2/22/04

Needing Proof

 

Faith is the prerequisite for miracles, not the result of them. We consider how religious life is richer when we abandon a "show me" stance before God and the universe.

2/8/04

The Seven Year Itch: Uncensored Reflections on Life in Parish Ministry

 

Having received ministerial fellowship on this day in 1997, Vicki shares some of the joys, sorrows, fears, "toils and snares" and funny stories from her seven years in parish ministry.

1/18/04

There Must Be a God Somewhere

 

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., we look at the legacy of spirituals; songs that were sung by slaves to relay forbidden information, to create solidarity, and to continue to praise a God who sets captives free.

1/11/04

The Guru's Cat

 

In this service, we look at the blessings and stumbling blocks of tradition

12/24/03

Born in a Barn

 

Christmas Eve 2003 Homily

12/14/03

Hail Mary: Girl Power in Nazareth

 

We are accustomed to seeing Mary, Mother of Jesus, as a lovely Renaissance Italian figure; a far cry from the real 1st century Jewish girl she was. With special attention to the Magnificat, we pay our respects today to the brave mother of the prince of peace.

11/16/03

Remember My Chains

 

As we gather for worship, millions of Americans are spending their morning behind bars. Does our faith require us to care about this, or about them?

11/2/03

All Souls Sunday

 

On All Saints Day, we reflect on our relationship to our dead, and honor the memory of those men and women who have gone from us in body but whose spirits continue to enrich and inform our lives today.

10/26/03

What the Devil

 

With all the talk lately about "evildoers" in the public sphere, we thought it appropriate to look at the figure who is known by many names as Evil Incarnate.

10/19/03

Straight Eyes on Queer Lives: Justice or Entertainment?

 

Landmark court cases, civil rights battles for gay marriage, and the confirmation of a gay bishop in the Episcopal Church dominated the news this summer. The smash television hit, "Queer Eye on the Straight Guy" furthered the erroneous belief that it is finally completely safe to be gay in America.This morning we take an opportunity to explore the religious and justice issues -- as well as the dangerous assumptions -- inherent in the media hoopla on gay issues.

10/12/03

Universalist Professions of Faith

 

This year marks the bicentennial of the Winchester Profession, an historic moment in Universalist history and theology. Although Unitarian Universalism is not a creedal or doctrinal tradition, we can look to the Winchester Profession and other historic professions of faith to help us understand and articulate a theology for today.

10/5/03

Blood Brothers

 

This Yom Kippur-themed sermon takes a sad look at the fratricide that begins the family drama of the book of Genesis, and considers the ongoing bloodshed between Arabs and Jews - who both claim descendancy from the patriarch Abraham.

9/21/03

Cultivating Reverence

 

Our new church covenant claims cultivating reverence as a foundational commitment in our life together. Today's sermon will examine the differences between piety and reverence and explore how we can live reverently in an irreverent world.

9/7/03

Praise, Learn, Pray

 

 Welcome back!
PRAISE, LEARN, PRAY. If you were to pick three words to nail up on a plaque, what would they be? I thought maybe "LOVE, LEARN, HELP" or "FREEDOM, REASON, TOLERANCE." Maybe you'd put your favorite bumpersticker quote up on the wall, or maybe a symbol or visual image. Whatever it is, however, whatever guiding truths you would inscribe upon the wall of this church, inscribe them now upon your heart and make your promises to live by them.

6/1/03

What Happened in Baltimore?

 

Over the years I have met with Unitarian Universalist youth groups to do an exercise that is intended to help them better understand, and claim, their religious heritage. I post up some sheets of newsprint and I ask them to answer the question "what is a Christian?"