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So far Todd Weir has created 178 blog entries.

Sermon: “From the Many, One”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir  May 28, 2017 Scripture:  John 17:1-11  Click here to listen on Youtube!   In our Gospel reading, Jesus has been preaching a long time, from chapters 13 to 16, fully 15% of his life story from John’s perspective.   Perhaps the disciples sighed with relief when he starts the pastoral prayer.  Like many pastoral prayers, it is a summary of what went before; a hope that the sermon might actually be taken seriously.  How do you know as a preacher?  You hope and pray that your words are relevant and inspiring and something sticks.  This is your cheat sheet to sermon listening, in case your mind wanders a bit.  We pray about the one thing that really matters, so no one misses the point.   What is the point Jesus wants the disciples to get?  God’s [...]

By | 2017-05-29T15:10:04+00:00 May 29th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

“Take a Breath”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir May 21, 2017 John 14:15-21 I don’t like notification noises on my phone.  I don’t need a train whistle with every email, or a “ka-ching” sound when someone messages me on Facebook.  I just set my phone of vibrate, and have ringtones for close family.  But this week was different.  Somehow, my “news” notifications were turned on, and my phone blew up every day.  Which raises an important question; What is the appropriate notification ring tone for news that the President has fired the FBI Director who was investigating him?  I have a tone called “update,” I think that works.  If I really were more techie I would download a song for news alerts.  When the NY Times sends out an alert, my phone could play something from the 70s like, “Stop, Hey, what’s that [...]

By | 2017-05-22T14:37:43+00:00 May 22nd, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Where Are You Going, Jesus?

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Sunday, May 14, 2017 John 14:1-14 I get a lot of questions around the times of death.  “What is heaven really like?  What will I look like?  Can I look down and see what my still living loved ones are doing?  Will I see my spouse?  Will I see my ex-wife?  Can I choose not to see certain people in heaven? Will I be worthy?”  There are so many questions we may have about death.   Clearly the disciples have questions too.  In this part of John’s Gospel, they are at the Last Supper.  Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, and then tells them the incomprehensible news that he will be betrayed and die by morning.  Here come the questions.  Suddenly the story is moving from religious ceremony to more like a town hall meeting.  Several [...]

By | 2017-05-15T11:49:03+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Sermon: What Makes the Shepherd Good?

by Rev. Todd Weir April 30. 2017 Scripture:  John 10:1-10 A shepherd’s job is to care for the sheep.  Psalm 23 gives us a good idea of the job description.  “He maketh me lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside still waters.”  Sheep need food and a place to graze.  Sheep need plenty of good clean water to survive.  So a shepherd pays attention to the wells and springs, to the land and its greenery.  They would be the first to notice the effects of climate change, because their sheep will suffer.  Job #1 for a good shepherd is to provide for the basics.   The basics go beyond food and water, because the flock also needs safety.  “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”  What kind of comfort do you expect from someone brandishing a wooden [...]

By | 2017-05-01T02:51:35+00:00 May 1st, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Sermon: Wiping Away the Tears

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017 Scripture:  John 20:1-18 I worry that I often treat the Bible like a medical student treats a cadaver.  I imagine interns make incisions with great care, exploring the anatomy, and practicing how to do real surgery, but it is very different working with the body of a living person.  Likewise, we can study the history, translations, and try to form creeds to answer our questions about God.  But will that alone get us any closer to the reality of God, or to relate to God, or deeper still, does it transform us in any way to be a disciple of Jesus?  We can be transfixed by scientific questions and theological doubts about the resurrection of a dead body, and how essential that is to our faith, or not.  [...]

By | 2017-04-17T15:22:15+00:00 April 17th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Sermon: “Where Have You Been, Jesus?”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir April 2, 2017 Scripture: John 11:17-44  (The Raising of Lazarus) Two weeks ago, while leading a workshop at Super Saturday, and I noticed someone from my past.  “Beverly?”  She didn’t recognize me, which is not surprising since I was 26 at the time and looked 18, and she must now be 90.  “You taught me how to do funerals,” I plunged ahead.  My first funeral, the Senior Minister went on vacation for a month with the assurance that everyone was fine, and four people died in ten days.  The daughter of the deceased said to me, “My mother was a difficult person.  My siblings and I called her the White Tornado, and I am the only one from the family even coming to the service.  I don’t want to hear some kind of eulogy that [...]

By | 2017-04-03T16:47:43+00:00 April 3rd, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Sermon: Stories of Hope

This week, March 19, First Churches held a joint choir cantata with Williamsburg Congregational Church with the themes "Songs of Hope and Peace."  The sermon focuses on local stories of people working together.  Our scripture text for the day was Exodus 17:1-7, and the sermon begins with a New England version of that text.  You can hear the sermon by clicking below, or you may read it following: Here is the New England version of Exodus 17.  Its March and Spring is near, and after a few warm days teasing us, we suddenly get two feet of snow just before St. Patrick’s Day.  And as we shovel out we quarrel with each other, “Why don’t we just move to Florida?”  And Moses said, “Why do you quarrel with me, just get a snow blower.”  But the people replied, [...]

By | 2017-03-20T15:04:25+00:00 March 20th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

House Church Schedule for Lent 2017

Our House Church Groups begin on Monday, February 27.  The readings for each week are listed below.  Feel free to add comments and insights to the page.  Enjoy the book and your groups!   If you are looking for a group contact the church office at (413) 584-9392 or admin@firstchurches.org. Week 1 - Feb. 27                                                                                                                                                          Introduction through Chapter 2 (A Deeper Loyalty)  p. 1-49 [...]

By | 2017-02-21T14:17:03+00:00 February 21st, 2017|Adult Education|0 Comments

“Are There Exceptions to the Golden Rule?”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir February 19,2017 Scriptures: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Matthew 5:38-48 I began the week knowing that I would be preaching on love your neighbor, love your enemies, and turn the other cheek. Since Gandhi and Martin Luther King saw our Gospel text as a strategy for nonviolent resistance to injustice, I watched for examples. Last Saturday our Church Vision and Organization meeting moved because the Sugar Shack Alliance, an environmental group, was offering nonviolent resistance training, and nearly 50 people, mostly young women, signed up. We have had space requests for more training, and groups like The Worker’s Center have dozens of millennials who are organizing a safe streets program to protect and be in solidarity with immigrants. Young people are rediscovering nonviolent action. I had coffee with Rabbi Justin David, who was recently arrested with a [...]

By | 2017-02-20T14:21:42+00:00 February 20th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Sermon: “Choosing to Live in Right Relationship”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir February 12, 2017 Scripture:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20, Matthew 5:21-35 (Click on the play button above left to listen to the sermon.) I have found a great appreciation for the book of Deuteronomy this week.  This is a very ancient law book, now nearly three millennia old.  Some of these laws feel strange and dated, such as practices for animal sacrifices, that they like lambs should not have blemishes.  Don’t use mixed fibers and shellfish are an abomination.  Others laws are remarkably relevant.  Don’t eat dead animals you find on the ground.  Appoint judges in every city who are impartial and who don’t take bribes.  Hired workers should be paid fairly.  Debts should be forgiven after seven years.  Parts of the crop should be set aside for poor people.  Here is a good one from [...]

By | 2017-02-17T16:53:09+00:00 February 17th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments