The Hardest Commandment

Matthew 5:38-48 This week the senior staff spent a day and a half in intensive staff development.  This is notable, because we rarely have occasion to spend this much time all together in one place, and honestly most of us came into the experience pretty sure it would be a waste of time and definitely [Read More…]

Praying in Dark Days

The following is a pastoral prayer written and delivered in Sunday worship by my excellent colleague, Rev. Michael Livingston.  Michael has a way of capturing the collective yearnings of our hearts in ways that help our community pray together.  In these days, when finding the right words for even the most simple conversation is difficult, Michael’s [Read More…]

Magical Thinking

Matthew 5:13-20 2017 is bound to be a tough year for folks who are superstitious.  Beginning with the month of January, there are two Friday the 13ths in this year.  I wouldn’t generally think of myself as superstitious, but when I was talking to a friend this week about choosing her wedding date in October—a [Read More…]

Taking Jesus Seriously

If your church follows the Revised Common Lectionary you will know that in these weeks after the Epiphany we are hearing parts of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ famous teachings from the gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7.  Last Sunday in worship, instead of preaching a sermon I had written, I decided to “preach” the [Read More…]

Executive Order

  Matthew 25:35-40   My name is Max Wolff. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Auschwitz. My name is Siegfried Wilmersdörfer. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Belgium. My name is Regina Blumenstein. The US turned me away at [Read More…]

Pink Hats, Posters, and The Choice We Make Now

I ran into someone the other day who had just returned from the women’s march in Washington and she had with her a poster from the march.  As she unrolled it to show me she said, “I’m so glad I was there.  I’m going to put this poster in a safe place so my granddaughter [Read More…]

Together

Exodus 1:8-20; Matthew 4:12-23 Here’s what I learned this week: sometimes being nasty is the same as being holy…and protest can be prayer. I returned late last night from a long day at the women’s march in Washington, D.C.  If you’re surprised to know I went, you should be.  This past week here at church has [Read More…]

Dawn Is Breaking

Isaiah 49:1-7 I was trying to think where I was on this night eight years ago. I remember.  I lived in DC, where it was very cold weather on the eve of the inauguration of America’s first African American president.  Around the church where I was pastor, which was located just four blocks from the [Read More…]

Brave

John 1:29-42 For these weeks on Sunday mornings we’re doing the work of worship: hoping to try to demystify different parts of the worship service.  You’ll notice your annotated bulletin; you heard the exegetical summary of the gospel text.  It only seems fair that at least one of these weeks you get a little bit [Read More…]

The Work of Worship, Matthew 3:13-17

When they teach us to plan worship and preach in seminary one of the first skills we learn is how to use the historical-critical method to exegete the text we’re working with.  That sounds very complicated, but what it essentially means is this: before creating liturgy and proclamation we look at the biblical text from several [Read More…]