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

Nicodemus: a Face in the Shadows

Rev. Sarah Buteux Second Sunday of Lent, Year A, March 12, 2017 John 3:1-21 I’ve been struggling to love people lately. Not all people, mind you, just, you know, like, most people. Alright, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Maybe I shouldn’t say most people. Actually, I think what I’m finding is that it’s becoming easier and easier to love the people who are easy for me to love and harder and harder to love the people who are hard for me to love. Does that make sense? Any one else experiencing this lately? And there’s not a whole lot of middle ground anymore, is there? No. And when I say “hard,” I mean really hard. I’m talking like almost impossible hard, because loving others well entails contact - right? - and contact typically requires communication and communication often involves [...]

By | 2017-03-12T17:41:28+00:00 March 12th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

The Rev. Andrea Ayvazian Speaks at Common Ground

Common Ground MESSAGE~~February 15, 2017 · I am so happy to be here with you all at Common Ground and with my beloved sister Sarah. Thank you for inviting me, and for welcoming me so warmly to your circle of love and worship. It is my joy and honor to be here. · We are living in dire and frightening times. You know that. We are all seeking a way forward. So how do peace-and-justice-loving people of faith live through and make a difference in these times when, it seems daily, all that we love, all the values we hold dear, all the tenets that we live by are threatened and under attack, and our very democracy seems at risk. · What I would like to do in the time I have with you tonight is to share some simple [...]

By | 2017-02-25T11:28:09+00:00 February 25th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|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

Life Outside the Salt Shaker

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir February 5, 2017 Scripture:  Matthew 5:13-20 (Click on the "play" button below to hear the sermon.) Jesus said we are to be the salt of the earth.  Salt is one of the essential things for life that is often taken for granted and forgotten.  You probably did not think much about salt this week, but consider how often you unknowingly use and need it.  Salt is more than a condiment to make our food taste better.  Our body needs a certain amount for good health.  The chemical compound for salt, sodium chloride, is essential for many chemical reactions which take place in the body.  When deprived of it we become dehydrated, our blood pressure will drop and we would eventually slip into a coma and die without salt.  Of course, this must be [...]

By | 2017-02-06T10:39:27+00:00 February 6th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

The Way Through: a sermon on the beatitudes

  By the Rev. Sarah Buteux Epiphany 4, Year A, Anyone feeling especially blessed after hearing the Beatitudes this morning? Anyone wanting a little more blessing in their lives after hearing the Beatitudes this morning? Or are you feeling poor enough, thank you very much or that you’ve got all the suffering you can handle, thank you Jesus, or that meekness or mercy is precisely what got you into this mess…so a little more sure as heck isn’t going to help you find your way out? When you hear that word “blessing,” it sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to be blessed? Personally, I make it a point to count my blessings. I don’t tend to think of the good things in my life as the result of dumb luck, simple coincidence, or even hard work, [...]

By | 2017-01-29T20:38:03+00:00 January 29th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

Sermon: What is a Disciple to Do?

Sermon preached by Rev. Todd Weir January 22, 2017 Scripture: Matthew 4:12-23   What would Jesus do?  WWJD?  I never bought the bracelet, but I do think this is a foundational moral question. If we want to be followers of Jesus.  So, how do you think Jesus would have spent this inauguration weekend?  Would Jesus have attended worship at the National Cathedral on Friday, proclaiming with Franklin Graham that the rain is a sign of God’s blessing?  Robert Jeffress, pastor of a Baptist megachurch in Dallas, preaching from the Prophet Nehemiah, famous for building a wall around Jerusalem to keep the city safe.1 Would Jesus bless Trump or any President, saying that God had called them to be president?  Or would Jesus have been hanging around with Congressman John Lewis, or wearing a pink hat with kitten ears on Saturday?  [...]

By | 2017-01-23T15:32:30+00:00 January 23rd, 2017|Sermons|2 Comments

Sermon: “More Light and Truth…Stay Tuned!”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir January 15, 2017 Scripture:  Isaiah 49:1-7 Click on the play button below to listen to the sermon.   Preaching this weekend in the shadow of Martin Luther King, Jr. always fills me with a mix of hope and of fear.  Dr. King was the complete package; a gifted theologian whose thoughts and writings inspired; a second-generation black preacher formed in the passion and rythyms of the Gospel tradition, a person of immense courage speaking in the face of death threats, and a leader and strategist who could not only say, “Let justice roll down like waters,” but also build the irrigation system.  The man, the moment and the movement came together and made Martin.   I am inspired and challenged, not simply because his light shines so brightly compared to mine, but something [...]

By | 2017-01-18T20:14:56+00:00 January 16th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments

Sermon: “From Resolution to Revolution”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Sunday, January 8, 2017 Scripture: Matthew 3:13-17 (Click below on play button to hear the sermon.) It’s time to write some New Years' resolutions.  (Get out a pen.)  Where do I start?  How about some exercise?  I make that resolution every year.  (Write down "Exercise four times a week.")  That should do it.   I think it is good to start with the body, if we can't tend the body, how will we ever tend the soul?  The body is the Temple, and without being well, I can't get other stuff done.   I have two more stand-by resolutions.  Write in my daily journal.  This is my primary spiritual practice.  Things get clear to me, as I think and feel on paper.  This is the one thing I still do with pen and ink in [...]

By | 2017-01-18T20:14:56+00:00 January 9th, 2017|Sermons|0 Comments