Jesus Confronts the Propagandists

Sermon By Rev. Todd Weir June 10, 2018  Scripture:  Mark 3:20-35      Mark’s Gospel lesson today shows us how propaganda works.  Set the terms of a debate by labeling your opponent first, and attach them to something abhorrent.  Here is how Jesus’s opponents do it.  “You are in league with Beezlebul.”   You’re working for the devil, aren’t you, that is where your power comes from!  We see variations of this regularly.  Since 9/11, an effective smear is to say your opponent is supporting terrorism.  This works well against pro-immigration policies.  “We can’t just have terrorist flooding in from Muslim countries!  And drug dealers and murderers too.”  New NRA President Oliver North recently took this strategy to new heights,  calling Parkland student gun-control activists “terrorists.”  Imagine how North can say this with a straight face, after famously trading with a US designated terrorist state of Iran, sending anti-air and anti-tank missiles to [...]

By | 2018-06-11T14:53:45+00:00 June 11th, 2018|Sermons|0 Comments

“Who Were You Made For?”

 June 4, 2018 Mark 2:23-3:6 Proper 4, Year B  (Photo courtesy of Emery Roth II )   Look around you, First Churches. This is our sanctuary.  This is our holy space. This is where we come together to worship God. As you look around this space, what does it say to you about what we value? What does it says to you about what we regard as important, worthy… dare I say, even, holy? Music- look at that organ. That organ is not messing around. I think those pipes might be taller than my house.   Beauty -look at those stencils, all the beautiful gold leaf crosses way up there.  Art - look at these windows. Is there any light as warm as the glow that comes through that rose window, or any greens, blues and purples as [...]

By | 2018-06-05T17:04:20+00:00 June 4th, 2018|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

Trinity Sunday: “God is Love in Alignment”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir May 27, 2018 Scripture:  Isaiah 6:1-8 (click above to listen) Today is known as Trinity Sunday.  In talking about God as three persons in one substance, we can get lost in the intellectual challenge of defining how the creator, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are inter-related.  A neglected topic is how more images of God creates a depth and balance to our understanding of God.  Our imagination of God has implications for how we live, our ethics, self-understanding and purpose.  Religious dreams, like Isaiah’s vision of God and flying seraphs, are strange and wondrous things, that shape our view of God.   St. Theresa had a vision of the soul as a diamond in the shape of a castle, with seven mansions, which were symbolic of seven stages of spiritual development. This vision became a [...]

By | 2018-05-29T16:50:34+00:00 May 29th, 2018|Sermons|0 Comments

“Where the Spirit Meets Us”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir May 20, 2018 - Pentecost Sunday Scripture:  Romans 8:22-27 The Pentecost story is supercharged with rushing wind, tongues of flames, ecstatic speaking in many languages as a mass phenomenon.  Pentecost is described like a mass rally, charged with energy, a great outburst.  It’s the Pride March on Holy Spirit steroids. Its tempting to preach this story, especially in this time of rallies, in a small city where we have weekly rallies for something.  But the lectionary text of Paul’s epistle to the Romans compels me.  I live more of my life outside the supercharged environment, in that space where I experience a groaning, hoping, not knowing, needing help to pray and a spirit that will be with me when the words don’t come.   My morning news reading is full of the groanings, of all creation, waiting [...]

By | 2018-05-21T14:28:52+00:00 May 21st, 2018|Music, Sermons|0 Comments

Sing a New Song

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Cantata Sunday, May 13, 2018 Scripture:  Psalm 96   My mornings have changed dramatically the last few days.  Since November, the house has been shut tight against the cold, and therefore the sounds of the outdoors.  Now we open our windows a crack for the fresh air, and very early with the rosy, fingered dawn, the birds begin to chirp and sing.  (figure out who is first, and what calls) Mornings now begin with music.   Imagine for a moment if the writer of John’s Gospel had thought to write, “In the beginning was the tone, the note, and then the cord, the scale, (play these on the piano as you say them.)  I wonder which came first, the words or the music?   What if the writer of Genesis had thought about music, on [...]

By | 2018-05-16T15:01:08+00:00 May 16th, 2018|Sermons|0 Comments

Fruit That Will Last

The Rev. Sarah Buteux May 6, 2018 John 15:9-7, Acts 10:44-48  Easter 6B "Fruit That Will Last" “You did not choose me but I chose you.  And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…” When I think back to the church of my youth, a church I attended pretty much every week from the time I was born, I don’t remember a whole lot of specifics. I can recall maybe 4 sermons out of the thousands I must have sat through. I don’t remember a whole lot from Sunday school, except being told I needed to stop talking so much about dinosaurs.  I do remember that one infamous youth group lesson about the dangers of dating that could lead to hand holding, or maybe it was hand holding that could lead to dating. I’m not [...]

By | 2018-05-06T15:09:36+00:00 May 6th, 2018|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments

Where the Welcome Meets the Road

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir April 29, 2018 Scripture:  Acts 8:26-40   How did Christianity spread to become the dominant religion of the Roman Empire in the 4thcentury after Jesus?  At this weekend’s Awakening Conference, Bart Erman, author of “The Triumph of Christianity, tried to answer the question.  One school of thought is that Christianity prospered because of its exclusivist and missionary nature, and after the conversion of Constantine, the power of the Roman State was used to crush all the pagan religions as the emperor used religion to consolidate power.   School number two holds that Christianity was a more egalitarian religion that grew gradually among the lower classes.  There was more room for women and slaves to participate.  And early Christianity had a system of care for widows and orphans, the most vulnerable people in society.  When two [...]

By | 2018-05-01T16:47:09+00:00 May 1st, 2018|Sermons|0 Comments

“Joyful Disbelief and Still Wondering”

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir April 15, 2017 Easter 3B  Luke 24:36-48 (In Eastertide, we have 40 days to reflect on the challenges of understanding the resurrection, and the whatever doubts and complications arrive theologically as we think about if we believe in miracles, are open to mystery, and want to have faith along with our questions.  Consider this part to of dealing with doubt, while living in faith. I believe, help me with my unbelief!)   The first Easter did not have any good music yet, no trumpets or handbells or “Hallelujah Chorus.”  Jesus arose without a sound track, no “selfies,” no PR firm coordinating Youtube videos, showing Jesus smiling with the common people of demographic significance.  (Also no Cambridge Analytica or Facebook fake news add placement to give you the Pro-Pilate point of view!)  So obviously there would be [...]

By | 2018-04-15T15:49:22+00:00 April 15th, 2018|Sermons|0 Comments

What Are You Waiting For?

Sermon from April 8, 2018 Rev. Todd Weir Scripture:  John 20:19-31 Jesus Appears to the Disciples and Doubting Thomas                                                            “I will believe it when I see it.”  How often have you spoken these words?  When I was a supervisor for housing case managers, my job was to check up on their work through their case notes.  My constant refrain was “If you did not write it down, it did not happen.”  I’m at the age where I trust paper trails more than my memory!  People often promise things, but when we have been through several disappointments, we might say, “We will see.”   When the disciple Thomas hears the other disciples [...]

By | 2018-04-09T08:43:26+00:00 April 9th, 2018|Sermons|0 Comments

“Who’s Afraid of the Resurrection?”

Rev. Sarah Buteux Mark 16:1-8, Easter Sunday, Year B   This story I am about to share with you is a mystery. Year’s ago, I worked as a dorm parent in a girl’s private high school in Connecticut. Andrew and I had an apartment on the third floor where we lived with the juniors and seniors. My primary job was to be around in the evenings: to be a presence on the corridor between dinner and bedtime, oversee 2 hours of quiet study, and then relax and catch up with the girls before putting them to bed at a reasonable hour. Well one night, between dinner and study hall, while my door was open and girls were flitting in and out of my apartment, the phone rang. It was the school nurse calling to tell me that a [...]

By | 2018-04-02T08:50:07+00:00 April 2nd, 2018|Sermons, Worship|0 Comments