You Can Never Go Home Again

You know the saying that goes, “You can never go home again”? The phrase was running through my mind as I drove the four hours from New York to Washington, DC last weekend to attend the installation of Rev. Maria Swearingen and Rev. Sally Sarratt at Calvary Baptist Church. I’m so delighted for that amazing congregation and their two wonderful new pastors, and I felt excited about being there for such a celebration. As I drove and thought about never… Read more

Learning to Listen (Pentecost Sunday)

Genesis 11:1-11 I know that extra room in a Manhattan apartment is unusual, so I’m well aware of how fortunate I am to live in a space with a little study that turns into a guest room. Of late, this has been more of a guest room than a study.  Several friends and a sister have visited this month, and I’ve spent hours showing my guests around my amazing neighborhood.  On many of these beautiful Spring evenings my visitors and… Read more

Strong Leadership and ‘Making Straight What Has Been Crooked”

Our news feeds have been filled with depressing stories lately of leaders who demonstrate marked lack of principle in their quest to keep or regain power or popularity or position. I suppose that’s why I was so shocked to read about a tremendous act of leadership last week by New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Facing considerable controversy over the decision to remove four Confederate statues in the city, he said this: “And I knew that taking down the monuments was… Read more

Never Alone

John 14:15-21 In the summer of 1984, everyone I knew was preoccupied with the blockbuster summer movie: Ghostbusters. In addition to sporting a very catchy theme song, the movie was the hilarious story of three unemployed paranormal psychology professors starting a business to help people deal with ghosts or spirits causing problems in their lives.  Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray created the perfect comedic vehicle by which they could perform such scenes as confronting a ghost in Sigourney Weaver’s refrigerator,… Read more

Sad, Scared, and Stingy

John 14:1-14 While other girls in my elementary school wore their brownie uniforms: jumpers with tall knee socks and a wide sash across the chest with various patches affixed to it, and attended meetings with the older Girls Scouts on Tuesday afternoons, I instead went to AWANA on Thursday nights.  Those of you who grew up with an evangelical childhood similar to mine will know that AWANA stands for “Approved Workers Are Not Ashamed,” and it’s basically a Bible club… Read more

Caring for Creation: Idea or Action?

Recently The Riverside Church announced our intention to divest our $140 million endowment over the next five years from the Carbon Underground 200 — the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies. This decision was the culmination of a careful and intentional two-year process of deliberation and communal discernment. This all sounds so virtuous, but believe me, it wasn’t easy. The decision was not made lightly, or even without some disagreement. Everyone involved shared a deep commitment to climate justice… Read more

Signs of Life: Clue

Luke 24:13-35 Today is the third Sunday of Easter, a whole season celebrating resurrection.  It makes sense that this would require a whole season, not just one day, since getting our minds and our hearts around the reality of new life is rather counter-intuitive for us.  We’re used to endings and decay and death.  Some of us look around at our lives, in fact, and exclaim about the job of being human, “I didn’t know it would be so hard!”… Read more

Signs of Life

John 21:1-19 What are you supposed to do after resurrection? I mean, really. What are you supposed to do after everything you know about life changes? We’re one week away from resurrection, so it’s natural to ask the same question the disciples were asking each other. Now what? Well, they didn’t know.  They didn’t know that resurrection was just the start—just the beginning of a whole new way of living.  Their work now was to look for signs of life—resurrection—all… Read more

This is Only the Beginning of Resurrection

My Facebook feed tells me that a lot of people I know and love spent a significant part of Easter day working to capture cute pictures of their children in various Easter-related poses. Looking back through old family photo albums, in fact, it seems I have also been guilty of dressing my progeny in uncomfortable outfits, snapping pictures of them crawling through the bushes looking for plastic Easter eggs, and making them pose pretending they liked each other. While it… Read more

A Matter of Life and Death

Matthew 28:1-10 Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed! In America and Great Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, there was a little-known but thriving community of professionals known as “the resurrectionists.” With the advent of modern medical schools, the study of human anatomy and medicine required actual human bodies be available for dissection and study, but it seems nobody was interested in donating a body to science back then. Without a steady supply of bodies to study, the… Read more

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