Pastors' Blog

Mar 22, 2018 - Amy Norton

Grace to you and peace, from the One who is and was and is to come!

My friends, Holy Week is upon us! This is a roller-coaster of a week where we follow the story of Jesus’s ‘triumphal’ entry into Jerusalem, through the story of the last supper and the betrayal, to the crucifixion and Jesus’s death, finally arriving at Easter. But I’m getting ahead of myself. 

It’s an easy thing to do, though, come to think of it…to race ahead to the finish line, to leap from the...

Mar 15, 2018 - Kent French

This Sunday, we return to the narrative lectionary and our reading of texts from John's Gospel that we normally only hear during Holy Week.

We will hear about Roman Governor Pontius Pilate's questioning of Jesus and the crowds, trying to determine whether he should follow the people's pleas to send this radical self-proclaimed messiah to his death or follow his own indifference and just let him go free (...

Mar 08, 2018 - Kent French

For five years now, we have had the great blessing to share worship once a year with our friends at Temple Shir Tikva, both with shabbat services at their home in Wayland and Sunday morning worship here in Brookline. Susan, our Minister of Music, and Shir Tikva's Cantor, Hollis, have forged this...

Feb 28, 2018 - Anna Burnham

If someone were to prompt you to write a list of "Top Disciples Who Betrayed Jesus" (I can't really think of a situation in which someone would ever ask you to make this list, but humor me), Judas would probably be your easy #1, and after that...well, did anyone else betray Jesus? This week's scripture passage reminds us that others failed Jesus in His time of need, in quieter ways than in a dramatic exchange for a bag full of silver. And it's in these more quiet ways that we might see...

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...

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