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“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

Is There Safe Space at the Open Table?

At Thursday Night's Common Ground we began with these words of welcome: Good evening everyone and welcome to Common Ground. Tonight, as we cook and eat and pray and sing together we hope to make some thing holy together. We hope to make church together, which connects beautifully to our theme for this evening, because the truth is that church has always been something we have made together. Christianity has always been a work in progress. Contrary to popular institutional opinion, there was no blueprint handed down to a chosen few the day Jesus ascended into heaven. There was no instruction booklet left behind with all the rules and creeds and rituals and traditions of our faith laid out for all time. What was given, what was handed down to us, were stories…stories of hope and healing, stories of peace [...]

By | 2017-05-05T10:34:34+00:00 May 5th, 2017|Common Ground, Sermons, Worship|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

Change We Must Believe In

Rev. Sarah Buteux April 23, 2017 Change We Must Believe In John 20:19-23 In our church we listen for a still speaking God, a God whose voice, I believe, came through strongly when Chief Seattle spoke the words on the cover of your bulletin: “Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Let us pray: O God, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, you who are our rock and our redeemer. amen. I was looking for a birthday card for Todd the other day and came across one with big bold letters that read: “Happy Birthday: Life doesn’t get any better than this!” OK, [...]

By | 2017-04-24T11:41:41+00:00 April 24th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|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

“Save US”

Rev. Sarah Buteux April 9, 2017 Palm Sunday, Year A Matthew 21:1-11 If you’ve ever been to London then you’ve probably been to Trafalgar Square and seen the monument to Admiral Nelson, though you might not remember it all that well because when you’re in London there are so many squares full of monuments to dead people it’s kind of hard to keep track. However Trafalgar Square is special for a couple of reasons. First off, it is right in the center of the city. People tend to think of it as the heart of London, which means, if you want to protest or celebrate or show something off, Trafalgar is the place to do it. And it’s not just full of statues and fountains, it’s full of really big statues and fountains. In the middle of the square, surrounded [...]

By | 2017-04-11T12:03:16+00:00 April 11th, 2017|Sermons, Worship|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

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