• Rev. P. McDougal, first of our series of guests

    (Michael is away for a few weeks — trying to squeeze in his vacation now, because with a busy fall full of the capital campaign, it’s now or never.) During that time, he’s lined up guest E-pistle-ists and preachers. Enjoy the change in voices, and thank each one for helping out! Michael sure does!) This [...]

  • If Not in Your REAL Life, Than No Where, Old First Sermon 07.13.14

    Isaiah 55:10-13 and Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23 A day or so after worship last week, one of you said, “Michael, it’s funny: you preached on marriage last week. But you made me think about my divorce. …That my Christian faith calls me to be loving to my ex-wife.” Exactly! I was aiming for something like [...]

  • Love Is More Like Bread than a Stone, Old First Sermon 07.06.14

    Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 and Song of Solomon 2: 8-13 In hindsight, it was probably inevitable I’d choose the readings about marriage for this Sunday. We’re in wedding crush around here these days. Jillian and Michael are on their Amtrak honeymoon to the National Parks after a beautiful Quaker wedding here in the Sanctuary a [...]

  • Welcoming Oneself, Old First Sermon 06.29.14

    Jeremiah 28;5-9 and Matthew 10:40-42 The Gospel passage is pretty straight forward: Unswervingly, Jesus is giving us every reason to throw ourselves int extravagant embraces, no holding back, arms and hearts outstretched until they reach all the way around the stranger, even to include the ones we find hardest to hug. Why? Because that kind [...]

  • What Would You Call this Wind?

    It was two days before Christmas. I was mired up –making sure the donkey would walk for the Christmas Eve service and everything else that bunches up and crushes right then… But the article was too good to miss. Or to fail to save. It was written in part, I suspect, because last winter’s winds, [...]

  • The Energy of Reconciliation is the Dynamo at the Heart of the Universe.

    Ephesians 2: 4-10 and Ephesians 2:19-22 Last week, we began this sermon series on the Letter to the Ephesians. Because it’s the work in the New Testament that gives the most insight into how we might grow up or mature in Christ. I sort of spoiled the surprise. If the question is how is it [...]

  • What’s Christmas Mean to You?, Old First Sermon 12.22.13

    Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; Romans 1:1-7 The Gospel lesson for today is Matthew’s story of the birth of Jesus. But when I was choosing the readings for today, I decided, if you want to hear that story, you should come to church on Christmas Eve! So we’re left with the Isaiah prophecy, the Psalm [...]

  • Dancing in the Streets with Jesus, Old First Sermon 11.24.13

    Psalm 46 and Colossians 1:11-20. Today is Christ the King Sunday. If you aren’t sure exactly what that means, you are not alone. I’ve always known, well at least since my seminary years, that it was the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Right before we get started again with Advent. But for the first [...]

  • Change Is the Church’s Promise of Continuity, Old First Sermons 11.10.13 (preached at Lincoln Congregational Temple, UCC, Washington, D.C.)

    Proverbs 3:1-6; John 21: 1-11; Hebrews 11:1-3 A word of thanks to begin with. To your Interim Minister, Dr. Tendai, an old friend from our shared NYC days. And to his wife, Dotty who I am glad to see. I think she’d rather not be referred to as the First Lady, but I do hope [...]

  • Exiles and Locals: How Are We Supposed to be Both?, Old First Sermon 10.13.13

    Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7 and Luke 17:11-19 Last week, I asked us to think of ourselves as outsiders.  Now, I know most weeks, today’s congregation isn’t the same as last weeks. So only some of you heard last Sunday’s sermon. So then I’m asking you to begin again this week, or asking for the first time [...]