2018 SERMON ARCHIVES

Albert Einstein said of intuition, “The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you, and you don’t know how or why.” We just need to listen and then make the leap real.

 

 

 

 

I look at the various winter religious holidays; Hanukkah for Jews; Christmas for Christians; Winter Solstice for pagans; Kwanzaa for African-Americans. Each one reflects the history and culture of a particular group. But what I long for is a message of peace that all people can hear.

 

 

 

 

Hanukkah marks the culmination of a miraculous military victory, and so it may seem an odd introduction to our theme this month of peace. But Hanukkah also commemorates a seemingly much smaller miracle of one day’s worth of lamp oil lasting for eight days. Maybe in that smaller miracle lies a spiritual victory for peace.

 

 

 

 

In October, ghosts lurk and scare. In December, the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future warn those devoid of holiday cheer. In November, Thanksgiving offers a bridge from fear to accepting gifts. On this Sunday, we will explore our own ghosts and what they mean for our spiritual community.

 

 

 

 

I think all of us have cause for concern about the state of our nation and our world. But gratitude for what has been and for what remains can rouse us to act, to preserve, to restore, and to participate fully in the divine, ongoing process of creation. So concern is not all there is. There is hope, too

 

 

 

 

Doree Conner was a very social person who loved getting to know new members and writing their biography for our newsletter. She also worked with our church administrator coordinating office volunteers. Our church was very dear to Doree. She made it her home and then made it a home for us and others. We will very much miss our friend Doree’s cheerful presence among us.

 

 

 

 

Human life is a vessel. It will be filled with many experiences and emotions. When gratitude is experienced and felt, it not only fills us up, it overflows into how we engage with others and the remainder of our lives.

 

 

 

 

“The truth is this: If there is no justice, there will be no peace…If we cannot bring justice into the small circle of our own individual lives, we cannot hope to bring justice to the world.” How might we build relationships that bring justice to our localities and our state?

 

 

 

 

What do we really know?  And how does that information form us, shape our lives?  I have long believed that traditional religions do not adequately answer the deep, spiritual questions.  It is time for a new approach.

 

 

 

 

As individuals, it is the experiences, the process of life that forms us.  The sobering, perhaps terrifying truth is that we become someone with every moment, every event, every choice.  And within that truth also lies our hope.

 

 

 

 

Creation stories do their best to tell us how the wide universe and humanity came to be. But science and all our other activities are still forming humanity in our continuing evolution. Collectively, are human beings a blight or a blessing?

 

 

 

 

In his poem, the late Leonard Cohen, balladeer and musical philosopher, sang “Ring the bell that still can ring. There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Let’s contemplate how the prayers of gratitude and forgiveness might be a vocation that allows the light to get in to “the darkness of our world.”

 

 

 

 

What did Jesus spend most of his time doing? What was the Buddha’s occupation? How did Socrates earn a living in later life, or Lao Tzu? True vocation may not fit a job description or garner a paycheck, but maybe that’s because vocation, in one sense, is the same for all of us – to find our own way to improve the world.

 

 

 

 

If you are reading this, it is at least somewhat likely that you have a basic belief system that aligns with UUism, but attendance…that is a whole different question. Why do some people choose to attend a religious service and others don’t? We gather together…but why? Listen to this sermon as we explore the value of attendance?

 

 

 

 

Vocation is anything that takes up a significant quantity of time, but a vocation is a calling for which one has a feeling of deep affinity, attraction, and/or talent. As Parker Palmer reminds us, our vocation is not something we come to by an act of will. It comes to us when we accept the gift of our true self. And that is a religious quest.

 

 

 

 

Both before and after what we may consider our working lives, vocation, our “calling”, is present. Vocation has a spiritual dimension that occupations may lack. On this Sunday before Labor Day, I want us to pay attention to the balance vocation can bring to whatever we do, at whatever stage of life we’re in.

 

 

 

 

Usually when we think of the Golden Rule, we think of Judaism and Christianity, but it goes way beyond that. This sermon will explain the main ideas of ten major world religions and their versions of the Golden Rule.

 

 

 

 

It is amazing the number and variety of things that I don’t know.

 

 

 

 

We left the month of May in gladness; we had a balanced budget at last, and there is a positive feeling among us, but we face a very sick world and a nation that is seriously divided. Where do we go from here?

 

 

 

 

Loving oneself and others takes on a myriad of forms and implications. In a spiritual community, how are we called to love one another?

 

 

 

 

A story from the “eco-confessional”.

 

 

 

 

Before we can bring change to the world to make it more just, loving, and beautiful, we need to be able to envision that new world. That vision lies within, and is limited only by our imagination.

 

 

 

 

The World is Not as Bad Off as You Think.

by Pat Lindgren, President, Board of Trustees | July 15, 2018

Let’s look at the world with “Factfulness” instead of opinion.

 

 

 

 

Despite all our beautiful differences, we share a common beginning; we are all born. As we move through this life, some of us give birth to children. All of us give birth to ideas and dreams. We will explore what we give birth to in our shared spiritual community and what this means for our individual journeys.

 

 

 

 

Looking at the universe around us and inside us for wisdom and inspiration.

 

 

 

 

UU General Assembly at Kansas City, MO 2018

 

 

 

 

Big Daddy from “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is not my favorite character; however, Tennessee Williams wrote some powerful words for a flawed father to offer his struggling son.

 

 

 

 

We live in a world graced by beauty and marred by violence.  As a spiritual community, how do we reconcile the violence and the beauty that persist and what are we called to do?

 

 

 

 

Unitarian Universalists don’t universally agree or disagree on the existence of an afterlife. Each day, moments take us further on our path. Each day, we build a bridge to somewhere. Where are we going and how do these moments contribute?

 

 

 

 

It is a challenge to create community anywhere, especially a beloved community.  But making real our Sixth UU Principle, “world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all”, may be both humanity’s most difficult task and our most important calling.

 

 

 

 

Why do we need community?  What does it take to make communities work?  Who will teach us these things and where can we learn them?  On this Teacher Appreciation Sunday, we will consider not only our own beloved learning community at UUCS, but the promise and possibilities of public schools as places where community is built and taught.

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day was first observed in the churches of Philadelphia, PA, on May 10th, 1908, in response to a suggestion made by a Miss Anna Jarvis of that city.  In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson following a resolution by the Congress of the U. S. issued a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May to be Mother’s Day. I am not the first to point out that there is a degree of hype and hypocrisy surrounding our observance of Mother’s Day. There is, still, some ambivalence in the culture regarding the role of women and mothers. Perhaps you have noticed?

 

 

 

 

Deep within us is the need to belong to something larger than ourselves.  But in our time, it is difficult to find any community, much less the beloved one the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke so passionately about.  Today we will try to find a path to both.

 

 

 

 

Sing, talk, laugh out loud, and maybe shed a tear or two as we make this trip together with Patricia Balfour and Rev. Julian Rush.

 

 

 

 

On this Earth Day, we will consider how humanity has transformed the Earth during our brief history on the planet.  Some are looking for a new Earth-like planet to colonize.  But maybe we ought to ask ourselves first to transform the Earth again by reversing our destructive habits.

 

 

 

 

One word has the power to transform a life. As children,  we incessantly ask why as we explore the world around us.  As adults,  we ask why as we try to reconcile the world around us with the world inside us. Unitarian Universalism embraces the why and our pursuit to answer our own why.

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There are too many people who tell other people how to live their “one wild and precious life,” to quote poet Mary Oliver.  Today, celebrating Phoenix Pride, we will look at personal transformation from the perspective of our LGBTQ friends and how they offer the rest of us our own life-changing possibilities.

 

 

Having an attitude of scarcity, a feeling that there will never be enough, confines us to death’s tomb. But an attitude of abundance lets life burst open. This Easter, we will celebrate transformations that offer themselves to us continuously, both personally and as a church.

 

 

A Jewish sage once said, “Keep two truths in separate pockets always, and take them out as needed: In the first, ‘For my sake the world was created;’ and in the second, ‘I am but dust and ashes.’”  This Sunday, we will delve into this paradox to see how we might use it to guide the rest of our lives

 

 

Humility seems to be a demoted virtue in our culture at best.  But what’s so great about humility, exactly?  In the struggle between feeling that we should cultivate the virtue and questioning its utility, we might find something we want to hold onto.

 

 

I Corinthians 13:4 states that love is patient and kind; however, Congressman John Lewis believes patience is a “dirty and nasty word”. I believe there is no longer any time for a gradual movement towards freedom and equality. Our patience has run out. We cannot stop, and we will not.

 

 

In 1984, singer Tina Turner released her most successful single, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?”  I think we might ask that question about religion.  Through the ages, traditional religion lost its way, lost me, and millions like me.  Maybe the way back to religious life is to put love at its center, beyond belief.

 

 

My own life has been transformed by love, so I believe in the power of love.  But I also know that I have sometimes viewed love in an overly sentimental way.  On this Sunday before Valentine’s Day, we will look at love’s power beyond misty notions and once-a-year gifts.

 

 

For something that plays such a central role in human experience and thought, I think secular society is often unclear about what love is, confusing it with other emotions or behaviors that masquerade as love.  As religious people, it falls to us to know the love humanity needs at the most fundamental level and then to infuse the world with it.

 

 

With our tendency to group people by shared characteristics, it is not hard to identify distinct groups of people who are treated unjustly.  How can those who are given justice understand what it is like for those who are denied justice?  Are we getting closer to our principle of justice for all?

 

 

Musical sermon offering as a plea for all of us to seek ways to convince our country to set free all of our marginalized people.

 

 

There are various ways to think about justice, but I keep coming back to the idea that all forms of justice make ethical demands the privileged probably will not like.  How we respond to those demands determines whether we can honestly think of ourselves as just persons or a just society.