Image Is Everything

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Text: Matthew 22:15-22 October 22, 2017   What is money really?  Did you see the front-page picture in the Hampshire Gazette throwing $389 in the air and walking away, and people scrambling to happily pick up?  He said it was a freeing thing to say it is just paper.  Any decent economist will tell you it is only worth what value we give it.  Money is a proxy for something else.  Therefore, it is important to see what we put on our money, because it shows what is the real value behind the fives, tens and zeros.   For example, the when the Euro was created, the new EU had a contest to choose a design.  The winner proposed European architectural time periods, the 5 Euro was Classical Greece, the 10 is Romanesque, the 20 [...]

By | 2017-10-23T07:08:25+00:00 October 23rd, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Wicked Tenants, Wild Grapes and a Massacre

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir October 8, 2017 Scripture:  Matthew 21:33-46, Isaiah 5:1-7 Click below to play: It’s hard to write a sermon in the eye of an emotional hurricane.  My life isn’t that difficult, but that doesn’t matter when I see angry clouds all around.  I grew up in tornado-ally, so when clouds circle, it’s time to head to the basement.  Which brings me to Monday.  I went through my morning routine of journaling and preparing myself spiritually for the day, with no news, wrote the beginning to my sermon, then the Las Vegas shooting popped on my phone alerts.  Over 50 dead, automatic weapon fire, angry white male without an apparent motive, and the ritual of prayers for the victims begins.  I slammed the door on all of it and went to my emotional basement.  No, [...]

By | 2017-10-09T13:49:42+00:00 October 9th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

To Blame or to Build?

The Rev. Sarah Buteux Preached at Common Ground on October 5, 2017 To Blame or to Build? Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?”   Jesus said, “You’re asking the wrong question. You’re looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world’s Light.”  He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man’s [...]

By | 2017-10-06T10:05:45+00:00 October 6th, 2017|Common Ground, Sermons, Uncategorized|0 Comments

“A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Change”

Rev. Sarah Buteux October 1, 2017 Matthew 21:23-32 Proper 21, Year A   I was invited to a banquet recently, and I really didn’t want to go. My sister Christin was being inducted into the Rockland County Softball Hall of Fame on a Friday night at the Doubletree Motel in Mahwah, N.J.. Yeah. Would you want to go to that? I did not want to go to that. I am not particularly fond of sports and motels in general, or of Mahwah in particular. Nor was I eager to give up precious sabbath time with my family, $37.00 for a buffet dinner, or six hours in the car at the end of a long week. But the real reason I didn’t want to go to this banquet was because it had been 6 weeks since I’d talked to my sister, [...]

By | 2017-10-01T20:12:04+00:00 October 1st, 2017|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

Sermon: The Insider’s Guide to Volunteering

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir September 24, 2017 Matthew 20:1-16   Click above to listen There is one person in every group who has mastered the art of slacking.  You have been cleaning up the kitchen for an hour, and the slacker comes near the end, “Anything I can do to help?”  They dry two glasses and say something like, “Many hands make light work!”  In your job, when a work team forms, you cringe when you get “the slacker” on your team, because you know you will have to pull their weight, but everyone gets credit.  I dreaded group projects in school, where my grade depended on someone who partied and waited till the last minute to do their part. If you have a sense of responsibility, you can be taken advantage of and resentment can build [...]

By | 2017-09-24T18:29:29+00:00 September 24th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

What Would the World Be Like Without Forgiveness?

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 [...]

By | 2017-09-19T15:40:57+00:00 September 19th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

You Will Never Be Successful in Community Unless You Do Thi

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 [...]

By | 2017-09-11T09:04:32+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Feeling Powerless? Call the Midwives

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 [...]

By | 2017-08-29T10:57:22+00:00 August 29th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|1 Comment

Margin for Error, Margin for Love

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 [...]

By | 2017-08-22T15:51:42+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

Charlottesville and Sunday 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 [...]

By | 2017-08-14T13:39:15+00:00 August 14th, 2017|News, Worship|1 Comment