Pastors' Blog

Feb 22, 2018 - Kent French

For our Sundays in Lent, we are following scripture readings from the Narrative Lectionary, a liturgical guide to help us in planning worship. Interestingly, it has us reading parts of John's Gospel that we might not normally get to until Holy Week: Jesus' trial before the high priests, Peter's denial, his trial before Pilate, and for this Sunday, Jesus washing the feet of his disciples (...

Feb 15, 2018 - Amy Norton

Welcome to the beginning of Lent!

I often find myself caught between conflicting impulses in Lent, both wanting to use it as a time to kick bad habits or start new ones, and yet cautious about treating it as a second chance at tackling my New Year's resolutions, instead of a chance to really think about how to let go of what has distanced me from God and live into ways of being that can bring me closer to God.

And perhaps that's the difference: New Year's resolutions focus on...

Feb 08, 2018 - Kent French

The season of Lent is upon us. I'm excited.

It may seem weird to be excited about Lent. It's a penitential season, right? You're supposed to confess more, wear ashes and sackcloth, give up stuff you really like, correct? Maybe.

I like Lent, because in the cold, enduring days of northern hemispheric winter, as the days lengthen (Old English -- lencten), Lent is an invitation to dig in, to find something new, to remember our souls in deeper, more intentional ways. It means it's...

Feb 01, 2018 - Kent French

This Sunday we will look at the classic story of Jesus meeting the "woman at the well." (John 4:1-42).

I grew up singing a sweet (and slightly hokey) Evangelical hymn that contemporized this story:

Like the woman at the well, I was seeking for things that could not satisfy. And then I heard my Savior speaking, “Draw from My well that never shall run dry.”

Fill my cup, Lord; I lift it up Lord; come...

Jan 25, 2018 - Anna Burnham

Most of us are probably familiar with John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." It's a verse held aloft on posters at sporting events and posted on billboards around the world. This week, for my first sermon at United Parish, I'm asking the question...

Jan 18, 2018 - Amy Norton

In the Bible, the one topic that Jesus talks the most about is the Kingdom of God. The next most frequently-mentioned topic is money. I think this is because, as theologian William Sloane Coffin, Jr. said, “Jesus saw the demonic side when he saw money as a rival god capable of inspiring great devotion: ‘you cannot serve God and Money.’ Only money is put on par with God, not knowledge, not family nobility, not...

Jan 11, 2018 - Kent French

Some of you are familiar with the well-known poem of Langston Hughes, "Harlem," published in 1951:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry uplike a raisin in the sun?Or fester like a sore—And then run?Does it stink like rotten meat?Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sagslike a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

It inspired Lorraine Hansberry to write the play, "...

Jan 05, 2018 - Kent French

This Sunday we'll look at the second chapter of Matthew, and re-tell the story of the Magi (wise ones) coming to visit Mary, Joseph and Jesus and bringing their well-known gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We like this story. We tell it on Christmas Eve. We re-enact it in our Christmas pageant. We sing "We Three Kings." This part of the story is sweet and slightly weird and exotic.

At verse 13, however, it...

Dec 21, 2017 - Kent French

Throughout Advent, we speak in worship of waiting and watching for the Christ child. We light candles for Hope, Love, Joy and Peace on the Advent wreath. We pray for and preach about some renewed insurgence of God into our everyday lives.

It is a spiritual, seasonal exercise, reminding us that life is often about waiting and watching for good things to come. In starting the liturgical year again and speaking and retracing the words of the prophets and the angels' announcements, we...

Dec 14, 2017 - Kent French

The news of women speaking out about how they've been assaulted, de-legitimized and silenced keep on coming. I have been particularly inspired by the accounts of actresses Lupita N'yongo and Salma Hayek about how they fought to stay true to themselves,...