New Year’s Resolutions

Dear Ones, As we mark the halfway point of Christmastide, we also straddle the year that lies behind us and the year that stands before us.  In our secular culture, New Year’s Day carries themes of renewal, hope, commitment, and change…sound familiar? The Advent season marked the renewal of the Christian year, and now we look with hope toward the newly born Christ Child to usher in the renewal and change that our world has been yearning for down the centuries. On Sunday, we will sing some carols to celebrate the 8th day of Christmas, and hear our liturgist proclaim… Read More

Christmas: We Tell This Story

For the first time in three years, we will gather in person in our sanctuary for Christmas Eve. We will hear the familiar lessons, sing the carols, take in the anthems and music that Susan and all our musicians have lovingly prepared, and re-light the candles. It will be a joyous re-gathering. One that we can no longer take for granted as par for the course. One we can savor even more deeply. I look forward to re-telling this story with you, remembering its radicalness, the ways that God and angels moved among ordinary people, startling them with a crazy… Read More

Advent 4: We See God in Each Other

This Advent, we are following the series From Generation to Generation from A Sanctified Art. Recalling Mary’s words in the Magnificat: Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  God’s mercy is for those who fear God from generation to generation. (Luke 1:48b, 50) Throughout our lives, you and I are part of many conversations: some short, some long, some perfunctory and everyday, some soul-stirring and life-changing. On Sunday, we’re going to listen in again to a conversation between two expectant mothers, women whose pregnancies and motherhood would change the course of human history (Luke 1:39-58). It’s a conversation of surprise, of joy, of… Read More

Advent 3: We Can Choose a Better Way

This Advent, we are following the series From Generation to Generation from A Sanctified Art. Recalling Mary’s words in the Magnificat: Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  God’s mercy is for those who fear God from generation to generation. (Luke 1:48b, 50) On Sunday, we’ll re-read the story of when an angel visits Joseph, encouraging him to step into his role as Jesus’ father and Mary’s husband, despite his hurt and confusion (Matthew 1:18-25). Our Advent curriculum reminds us, “As far as Joseph knows, his new wife has been unfaithful to him and broken their marriage contract. And yet, instead of punishment, he… Read More

Advent 2: God Meets Us in Our Fear

This Advent, we are following the series From Generation to Generation from A Sanctified Art. Recalling Mary’s words in the Magnificat: Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  God’s mercy is for those who fear God from generation to generation. (Luke 1:48b, 50) On Sunday we’ll re-read the story of Mary’s annunciation, from the Gospel of Luke, the announcement from the angel Gabriel about God coming into Earthly flesh and choosing her as the surrogate mother. In my first sermon with you, I want to share with you how I learned about Mary. I want to lead your imagination into my Greek Orthodox… Read More

Advent 1: There’s Room for Every Story

This Advent, we are following the series Generation to Generation from Sanctified Art. Recalling Mary’s words in the Magnificat: Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;  God’s mercy is for those who fear God from generation to generation. (Luke 1:48b, 50) On Sunday we’re going to do a little genealogical review. I know, probably not what you come seeking in worship. But apparently Matthew thought it was the best way to begin the story of Jesus. It goes through three sets of 14 generations taking us from Abraham to Jesus. We’ll read all the names out loud, with a little matrilineage thrown in… Read More

Seeking God Together: Celebrating

This autumn, our worship follows our Church School curriculum, Seeking God Together. We are learning in worship alongside the youngest members of our community. In our final Sunday before Advent, having moved through themes such as Marveling, Crying Out, Saying Thanks, and Confessing, we arrive this Sunday at Celebrating! And in some ways, this theme encompasses all that have come before, as we hear the Psalmist’s reminder that amidst the sacred work of lamentation, amidst the gratitude lists, amidst the speechlessness at the wonders of creation, we are called to celebrate and praise God. This celebration doesn’t negate our sorrow,… Read More

Confessing

This autumn, our worship follows our Church School curriculum, Seeking God Together. We are learning in worship alongside the youngest members of our community. Many of you know that the most important part of worship for me is the cycle of confession, assurance and passing the peace. Why? Because I really believe the cliché that “confession is good for soul.” We ALL mess up. We ALL get it wrong. It’s natural. It’s human. To admit it and acknowledge our humanity is important, clarifying, grounding. I also believe the cliché “to err is human, to forgive, divine.” The Words of Assurance and… Read More

Seeking God Together: Saying Thanks

This autumn, our worship follows our Church School curriculum, Seeking God Together. We are learning in worship alongside the youngest members of our community. In Sunday’s Gospel story, we hear a story of ten men with skin diseases (assumed to be leprosy) who ask Jesus for help. The story explains that “when Jesus saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ As they left, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a… Read More

Marveling

This autumn, our worship follows our Church School curriculum, Seeking God Together. We are learning in worship alongside the youngest members of our community. O God, how manifold are your works; in wisdom you have made them all. Psalm 104:24 Lately I’ve been watching lots of sunrises. And while I do, I marvel that we still speak of them as the sun rising or setting on us. Or as the French poetically say it in everyday speech, that the sun gets up and lies down. These colorful morning paeans remind me that ever since Copernicus’ 16th century celestial studies forever changed our concept of who… Read More

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