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What Would the World Be Like Without Forgiveness?

By | 2017-09-19T15:40:57+00:00 September 19th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon preached on September 17 Rev. Todd Weir Scripture:  Matthew 18:21-35 In theory, we think forgiveness is one of the Best. Spiritual. Ideas. Ever.  In practice, we have our reservations.  Second chances are something we all hope to get.  I have gone through divorce and remarriage, so my happiness is dependent on a second chance.  Second chances, even third, are built into the national pastime-baseball.  Imagine baseball if you were out after one strike.  The pitcher throws a fastball.  “Strike one, you’re out!”  Next batter, and the pitcher tries his slider.  “Swing and a miss.  You’re out.”  What will the pitcher throw now?  Here it comes and the batter makes contact and the ball rockets to right field and it drifts foul.  You know what a foul ball is?  It’s a strike, and that is it for the inning.  Baseball [...]

You Will Never Be Successful in Community Unless You Do Thi

By | 2017-09-11T09:04:32+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Sermons|

Preached by Rev. Todd Weir Sunday, September 10, 2017 Scripture:  Matthew 18:15-20   Since you are sitting in a pew this morning, I know community matters to you.  You could do spirituality by yourself, meditating or reading good books, but people seldom stick with anything without a community.  Most of you are going to coffee hour after this service, and it is not because we have the best coffee.  (There is nothing wrong with our coffee!  Its Fair Trade and strong!)  But you are going to coffee hour to talk to people, for community.  Weight Watchers and 12 Step groups all know this truth.  Community sustains us.   What so healthy communities need?  We need a sense of purpose, resources, good organization, caring-all of these matter.  But there is the one thing healthy communities need to do or they will [...]

Feeling Powerless? Call the Midwives

By | 2017-08-29T10:57:22+00:00 August 29th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|

The Rev. Sarah Buteux August 27, 2017 Exodus 1:8 - 2:10 Proper 16 A There was a story I loved as a kid. It was the story of how a group of people in Denmark confounded the Nazis during WWII. During the occupation, when the order came down that Jewish citizens would be required to wear a yellow star of David, the Danish people thwarted the order by all electing to wear yellow stars so their Jewish neighbors could not be easily singled out. Anyone else remember hearing that story as a kid? The way I heard it, it was the mayor of a small town who went door to door under cover of darkness whispering the plan of resistance to his neighbors. No one knew who would go along with the idea, but when morning came, every townsperson stepped [...]

Margin for Error, Margin for Love

By | 2017-08-22T15:51:42+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Sermons, Worship|

The Rev. Sarah Buteux August 20, 2017 Matthew 15:10-28 Proper 15, Year A We’ve seen a lot of ugliness this past week: racist, anti-semitic, angry, fear mongering words and actions replayed over and over again on our televisions, our Facebook pages, our Twitter feeds. Images of torches, flags, and faces twisted with hate. We’ve been bombarded with feeble justifications, false equivalencies, and outright lies from the very highest office in our country right on down: words that have served to embolden the wicked, slander the good, confuse the well-intentioned, and divide our country even further. People are shocked. They are saddened. They are angry and afraid. “I thought we were over this…” I’ve heard people say, “done with this…I never expected to see this…not here… not now…not again…not ever.” We’ve seen a lot of ugliness this week both here and [...]

Charlottesville and Sunday Worship

By | 2017-08-14T13:39:15+00:00 August 14th, 2017|News, Worship|

This weekend's news of the White Supremacist rally in Charlottesville once again brought the nation's conflicts and news cycle into our Sunday.  It is always challenging to decide which events to preach about, because the current turmoil brings us a new topic every week.  Each week I try to balance the experience of worship, the integrity of the liturgical season, and the fast-breaking reality of events that impact us.  I chose to say a few words after the sermon; and you can read my  remarks, plus the pastoral prayer; graciously shared by seminarian Lauren Grubaugh.  (She was in Charlottesville and wrote an especially powerful prayer.)  Today I have begun the process of arranging Anti-Racism training for our congregation this Fall through the Massachusetts UCC Conference. Pastor Todd   "I need to add a few words about the storm of bigotry and [...]

Sermon: “Into the Storm”

By | 2017-08-14T14:06:21+00:00 August 14th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon preached on August 13, 2017 Text:  Matthew 13:22-33 For Pastor Todd's comments on the Charlottesville rally and pastoral prayer from Sunday, click here. As miracles go, walking on water is ostentatious.  Remember Herod’s song in Jesus Christ Superstar, “Turn my water into wine, walk across my swimming pool.”  Notice Herod did not say, fill the poor with good things, and cure the sick.  Those are very practical, compassionate demonstrations of the nature of God.  When we say, “He thinks he walks on water,” we mean the person is arrogant.  So, I’m not wild about this miracle at first glance.   Let’s start at the beginning and give the text its due.  Listen closely to the first line,   “Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the [...]

Sermon: “Everything We Need”

By | 2017-08-08T12:23:12+00:00 August 8th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon preached by Rev. Todd Weir August 6, 2017 Scripture: Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 Any busy, overwhelmed pastor and congregation can relate to this scripture passage.  Like many pastors - after the Lenten study series, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, the crowds and the energy output, Jesus tries to take a mini-vacation.  He rents a boat, I imagine it was a little sailboat.  Jesus spent a lot of time with fisherman boating around the Sea of Galilee, so he probably knew port from starboard.  He gets out into the water, the wind fills his sails, and he starts to relax and ponder.   If Jesus was a modern-day pastor, he might have already consulted his ministry coach by phone call to define what issues he needs to discern.  Based on Matthew 13, he has 3 big issues.  Number one, he [...]

Sermon: Who Plants Mustard?

By | 2017-07-31T16:43:05+00:00 July 31st, 2017|Sermons|

I have preached on this passage many times and I realized this week that I have often missed the real point.  This is a great passage to run out to the Indian grocer, buy some mustard seed for the children’s sermon, and talk about what a wondrous plant comes from humble beginnings.  Therefore, if the Kingdom of Heaven is like a tiny mustard seed, we can have hope when we feel our efforts are unremarkable compared to the world’s need, and trust that God is going to do great things from our small plantings, and spread the Kingdom among us.  Don’t be afraid to start small in life, because God always has a bigger plan.  Small is beautiful! That is not a bad sermon to preach.  I do believe that God can often be found in the small things and [...]

Sermon: Jesus Knows His Weeds

By | 2017-07-24T13:17:58+00:00 July 24th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir July 23, 2107 Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43 I learned more about weeds than I ever wanted to know growing up in Iowa.  I walked the soybean fields pulling weeds as my summer job from age 13.  A wise farmer taught me that all weeds were not the same and could not be destroyed in the same way.  A cockle burr had shallow but widespread roots and had to be pulled to get all the roots.  If you hacked it off at the ground level, it would be back in a week.  A milkweed had a very long tap root that could not be pulled out.  If you did try to pull it, three separate sprouts would be back.  Milkweeds had to be hacked off and would die as the sap ran out.  If you didn’t [...]

Sermon: Gardening is Harder than it Looks

By | 2017-07-18T11:48:51+00:00 July 18th, 2017|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir July 16, 2017 Scripture: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 My favorite part of gardening is putting seeds in the ground.  Planting is the time of possibility, dreaming of a bountiful harvest.  Winter is gone, warmer days beckon, and little green shoots are everywhere.  I’m the same way about most projects, I love the brainstorming, creative work, collaborative envisioning, but I always struggle to get through the last 20 percent.  So I relate to the parable of sower.  I envision the happy farmer, scattering seeds, then checking every morning to see if something is peaking above the ground.  If that is all there was to farming, I would have stayed in Iowa.  But Jesus is a realist.  The birds are going to eat some of your seeds, rocky soil does not produce, just ask all my Village Hill [...]