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Some Parades Aren’t Meant to Be – A Sheltered Palm Sunday

April 5, 2020 – Palm Sunday Click Here to watch Video Rev. Todd Weir Matthew 21:1-17   I love a good parade – always have.  As a child my mother loaded me in a red wagon and took me to the humongous parades at Iowa State University.  Students put all their Springtime yearnings and creativity into the floats.  It was Spring 1968, and I remember marching bands and one group of hippies, all wearing overalls and playing “This Land is Your Land” by blowing on Coke bottles.  The PRIDE March in Northampton is my favorite parade, with its rainbow of joy, and celebration that love is love.  Parades celebrate who we are.  They can also be a protest against what is unjust, and a hope for a better future.  It is heart-breaking when it rains on our parade, or worse, [...]

By |2020-04-06T14:02:31-04:00April 6th, 2020|Sermons|0 Comments

Can Our Dry Bones Live?

Click here to watch video Rev. Todd Weir Ezekiel 37:1-14                                                                       March 29, 2020   Can you still remember what you gave up for Lent?  We have given up a lot in the past few weeks – handshakes, warm embraces, shopping, haircuts and a cup of coffee with a friend.  Worse, things have been taken away from us – Sunday gatherings, security, health, 3 million jobs.  In the midst of adapting and worrying and flattening the curve, I have forgotten what I pledged to do for Lent.  Yet I feel like I am living Lent more deeply, facing the vulnerability and uncertainty of our human condition.  Lent feels unavoidable.   A pastor on a Facebook forum raised the issue if Easter could be moved back a few weeks till we gather again.  I’m sympathetic. Virtual Easter will be weird.   But something [...]

By |2020-04-01T09:46:14-04:00March 30th, 2020|Sermons|0 Comments

We Must Work…

Click here to watch the video! Rev. Sarah Buteux March 22, 2020 Lent 4, Year A Psalm 23 John 9:1-7 “Christ is present to us, insofar as we are present to each other.”  -Herbert McCabe “Rabbi,” asked the disciples, “who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  It may have been Andrew or Philip who asked. John just says it was “the disciples.” But I bet it was Nathaniel. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth,” Nathaniel. Yeah. He always struck me as a bit judgy. “Who sinned” asked Nathaniel, “…that this man was born blind?  “Who sinned,” and caused this ostensibly bad thing to happen? I don’t know if it’s a good question, but it’s certainly an understandable one. Because if we could just figure out whose fault it is when bad things happen, we [...]

By |2020-03-23T13:57:45-04:00March 22nd, 2020|Sermons, Uncategorized, Worship|0 Comments

Faith in a Time of Fear – Click on the photo to watch video

Rev. Todd Weir Exodus 17:1-7                                                                         March 15, 2019   I was taken aback when I walked into the conference room at my first church.  The faded institutional yellow paint was peeling.  A beat up wooden table was surrounded by metal folding chairs.  A decades old stretcher in the corner on battered wooden poles, and the army green canvas was brittle and frayed.  At a council meeting I asked why the stretcher was there.  “Oh, that is an important church artifact.  During the flu epidemic of 1918, the church chapel was used as a hospital.  We have kept this stretcher ever since to remember.”  That’s great.  But why is it behind the door?  If it is important, why not mount it on the wall of the chapel and put up a plaque to remember?”   This suggestion was met with awkward [...]

By |2020-03-18T11:13:39-04:00March 15th, 2020|Sermons|1 Comment

A Little Longer

by Rev. Sarah Buteux                           March 8, 2020, Lent 2, Year A, Genesis 12:1-9   John 3:1-6 “The difficult is what takes a little time. The impossible is what takes a little longer.”  – Fridtjof Nansen I voted this past week and I wore a little sticker to prove it. Did you all vote if you were able? Good.  Like many of you, I thought long and hard over these last few months about who I would vote for when the primary finally rolled around. And like everyone else in America, I wrestled with the question of electability vs. each candidate’s ability to do the job and do it well. And until this past weekend, I still wasn’t entirely sure who I was going to vote for.  But then Tuesday came [...]

By |2020-03-08T14:17:04-04:00March 8th, 2020|Sermons, Worship|1 Comment

Be Ye Perfect!?

Rev. Sarah Buteux Epiphany 7, Year A  Matthew 5:21-48 To view sermon click here O.K. time for a little spiritual inventory. In your program this morning you will find one of those little tests like the ones you find in magazines or on buzz feed to help you determine whether or not you’re a good manager, or friend, or kisser. Only I based this one on Matthew 5, to help you determine whether or not you’re a good Christian.  You all know how these things work. So let’s run down the list and see how we do. Circle 1. if you think the statement is true all of the time, 2. most of the time, 3. some of the time, and 4. if it’s not true at all. 1 always 2 most of the time 3 some of the time  [...]

By |2020-02-16T17:05:36-05:00February 16th, 2020|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

Choose Wisely

Rev. Sarah Buteux   February 3, 2020 Epiphany 6, Year A   Deut. 30:15-20  Mat. 5:1-12   I think I can honestly say that there was a point in my life when I had parenting all figured out. I really understood the importance of discipline and consistency, obedience and tough love.  I shook my head at all the other parents out there who would count to three, not get their way, and then count to three all over again. I chuckled at the bribes and shuddered at some of the threats I overheard at the grocery store, in the parking lot, on the playground.  And I’d think to myself: come on people, it’s not that complicated. Seriously, it’s all about follow through. If you say you’re going to take the toy away when you get to three, then just take the [...]

By |2020-02-04T13:30:42-05:00February 4th, 2020|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

What Are You Looking For?

What Are You Looking For? John 1:29-42                                                                                       January 19, 2019   What are you looking for?  This is one of the best questions ever.  It is also hard to answer.  At a job interview you may be asked,” What are you looking for in a new job?”  Don’t say more money.  That will kill your interview.  You have to say, “I’m looking for a chance to use my skills to make a difference in a great organization.”   If you are single and you go to Match.com, you are asked what you are looking for in a romantic partner.  I’m so glad I don’t have to figure out an answer.  You can’t just say you want to meet someone who is attractive, kind and fun.  You have come up with stuff like, “I like pina coladas, getting caught in the [...]

By |2020-01-28T09:53:25-05:00January 28th, 2020|Sermons|0 Comments

Good News People

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Matthew 4:12-23   I preach on this text every four or five years, and each time it gets harder.  Since I began preaching in 1989, the national demographics have moved away from us, as more people adopt “none of the above” as their faith.  I regularly hear people being dismissive of religion.  In a recent op-ed in the Gazette about New Years’ resolutions, the author said, “nobody talk to me about their religion.”  A neighbor recently posted on Facebook that it is essential to end tax exempt status for churches, and churches should never talk about politics.  I was surprised because the person was a frequent renter here are First Churches, and had invited me to speak at a political rally for health care.   One big issue our strategic team wrestles with is how [...]

By |2020-01-28T09:41:54-05:00January 28th, 2020|Sermons|0 Comments

Imperfect Witnesses

Rev. Sarah Buteux January 5, 2020 John 1:1-18 Second Sunday after Christmas/Epiphany Year A It is words that brought this world into being and sometimes I fear it is words which will bring it to an end.  “Let there be light,” said God, and there was light. God said - just said - “Let the waters bring forth living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth… and let the land bring forth living creatures…and (with those words) it was so.” Playing off that great mystery, John begins his gospel with a tribute to the Word personified, claiming that the Word made flesh - the one called Jesus - “was in the beginning with God. All things - the sun, the moon, the stars, all the creepy things and the crawly things and the cuddly things (like baby Yoda) - [...]

By |2020-01-05T13:59:02-05:00January 5th, 2020|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments