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“This is My Body”

By |2018-08-07T12:55:29+00:00August 7th, 2018|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir August 5, 2018 Scripture text: Mark 14:12-26  Click play above to hear the sermon. Have you ever been in a situation when you were discouraged to participate in communion, or unworthy, or simply not allowed or welcome at the table?  It shouldn’t be so hard to share in a sacred meal together, without all the worry of who is in or out, how we serve, what we serve.   Let us break bread together.  Sharing bread and cup is the central act of community in the Christian faith.  The word “communion” contains all but the last two letters of the word “community” and all of the word “union.”  The Latin word communiomeans “mutual participation.”  When we share bread and cup, we don’t do it alone.  To think, “I’m going to have a little [...]

Does Baptism Make You More Than Wet?

By |2018-08-08T11:56:00+00:00August 1st, 2018|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir September 27, 2018 Scripture:  Mark 1:9-12   What happened at your baptism?  If you were an adult, was there a feeling of warmth in your heart, a special sense of God’s presence, or did you just get uncomfortably wet and couldn’t wait for some dry clothes?  If you were baptized as an infant, it’s unlikely you remember anything, so how does your baptism matter to you?  Does something happen beyond your conscious awareness in baptism?  Does the Holy Spirit literally descend and be present at the sacramental moment, entering you, infusing you with love and wisdom, doing some kind of mystical work?  Or is the sacrament a symbolic act, where we as a community affirm that you belong, and we love you on God’s behalf.   I was baptized at age 14, on Easter Sunday [...]

How Can Repentance Be Good News?

By |2018-07-24T13:54:54+00:00July 24th, 2018|Sermons|

What if Vital in Religion:  Part III How Repentance Can be Good News Preached by Rev. Todd Weir July 15, 2018 (click the play button to listen) A tourist rang the church doorbell, who was an antique Bible salesman, who also loved Jonathan Edwards.  I lead them to the meeting house for a tour, but what he really wanted was stand in the pulpit and shout “Repent!” Once is fine.  Twice is awkward.  The third time is disturbing.  He was enjoying this too much.  He explained to his wife how people would gather down front, “Right here!” and they would groan for their sins.  I thought of explaining this is the fifth meeting house and that was the third, which burned down, but that might be unkind.  Besides he was committed to the story and likely to keep telling [...]

Holy Ground

By |2018-07-24T15:34:01+00:00July 17th, 2018|Sermons|

Part II:  What is Vital in Religion? Holy Ground Exodus 3:1-15                                                                         Rev. Todd Weir -   July 15, 2018  (click above on play to listen) I you were to make a Top 10 list of stories about spiritual encounters in human history, Moses and the burning bush would be on it. You might include the Buddha experiencing enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, Mohammad meeting Gabriel in the cave of Hira, Saul being struck blind on the road to Damascus, Joan of Arc’s visions or St. Theresa of Avila’s vision of an interior castle.  Moses would have to be near the top due to the impact of this brief moment on three major world religions.  Moses and the book of Exodus are foundational for Judaism. The liberation from slavery is the fundamental act of God, that reveals who God is, God’s [...]

What is Vital in Religion? Part I: The Fruit We Bear

By |2018-07-12T13:27:59+00:00July 12th, 2018|Sermons|

Rev. Todd Weir Sunday, July 8, 2018 Click play for audio: John 15:1-5 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Jesus the True Vine 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes[a] to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed[b] by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.   I’m departing from the lectionary during the summer [...]

Do You Not Care?

By |2018-06-26T12:02:13+00:00June 26th, 2018|Sermons, Worship|

The Rev. Sarah Buteux                                                                                                                                        June 24, 2018 Proper 7 Year B Mark 4:35-41   You all know I’m kind of type A, right? Yeah, I don’t think I hide that very well. I mean, you have to be careful saying things like that because nobody is just one thing. I don’t want to be reduced to a label anymore then the next person.  But I looked on-line and read an article titled: “16 [...]

Seeds of Faith

By |2018-06-26T11:56:37+00:00June 26th, 2018|Sermons, Worship|

The Rev. Sarah Buteux June 17, 2018 Confirmation and Children’s Sunday Seeds of Faith 26He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4: 26-29 Today’s parable of the seed growing secretly, is the shortest parable Jesus ever told. Which is good since this really needs to be the shortest sermon ever preached.  But it is also one of Jesus’ most confounding parables, precisely because it is so short. It seems so simple and [...]

Jesus Confronts the Propagandists

By |2018-06-11T14:53:45+00:00June 11th, 2018|Sermons|

Sermon By Rev. Todd Weir June 10, 2018  Scripture:  Mark 3:20-35      Mark’s Gospel lesson today shows us how propaganda works.  Set the terms of a debate by labeling your opponent first, and attach them to something abhorrent.  Here is how Jesus’s opponents do it.  “You are in league with Beezlebul.”   You’re working for the devil, aren’t you, that is where your power comes from!  We see variations of this regularly.  Since 9/11, an effective smear is to say your opponent is supporting terrorism.  This works well against pro-immigration policies.  “We can’t just have terrorist flooding in from Muslim countries!  And drug dealers and murderers too.”  New NRA President Oliver North recently took this strategy to new heights,  calling Parkland student gun-control activists “terrorists.”  Imagine how North can say this with a straight face, after famously trading with a US designated terrorist state of Iran, sending anti-air and anti-tank missiles to [...]

“Who Were You Made For?”

By |2018-06-05T17:04:20+00:00June 4th, 2018|Sermons, Worship|

 June 4, 2018 Mark 2:23-3:6 Proper 4, Year B  (Photo courtesy of Emery Roth II )   Look around you, First Churches. This is our sanctuary.  This is our holy space. This is where we come together to worship God. As you look around this space, what does it say to you about what we value? What does it says to you about what we regard as important, worthy… dare I say, even, holy? Music- look at that organ. That organ is not messing around. I think those pipes might be taller than my house.   Beauty -look at those stencils, all the beautiful gold leaf crosses way up there.  Art - look at these windows. Is there any light as warm as the glow that comes through that rose window, or any greens, blues and purples as [...]

Back From the Brink

By |2018-05-30T16:10:46+00:00May 30th, 2018|Mission & Outreach, Peace and Justice|

BACK FROM THE BRINK Should  First Churches take a stand against  the looming possibility of God’s green earth being destroyed by a nuclear Armageddon?  On Sunday, Sept.23, our congregation will have a chance to vote on this agenda item:  “A Resolution Calling for the United States to ‘Pull Back from the Brink’ and Prevent Nuclear War.”  The essence of the resolution is as follows: NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that First Churches in Northampton, Massachusetts, calls upon our federal and state leaders to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and make nuclear disarmament the centerpiece of our national policy.  BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that First Churches calls upon our federal leaders and our nation to spearhead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:  Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first; Ending the president’s sole unchecked [...]