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The Power of Persistence

By |2019-10-20T14:25:20-04:00October 20th, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

Rev. Sarah Buteux October 20, 2019 Luke 18:1-8 ProperYear C A few weeks ago we had a half day planning retreat here at the church and Todd and I thought it would be a good idea to have us all begin by talking about where we were at spiritually.  So he led off with the question: “Where are you growing in your faith?” And the people at my table all looked a little bit stunned. And I thought, O gosh, what were we thinking. Who asks a question like that to a group of mainline protestants on a Saturday morning.  “Where are you growing in your faith?”  I think half the people in the room would have felt more comfortable talking about their net worth or using a group-on for simultaneous root canals. New Englanders just aren’t the sort of [...]

What Stops Our Gratitude?

By |2019-10-16T13:33:37-04:00October 16th, 2019|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir October 13, 2019 Luke 17:11-19   -  The Parable of the 10 Lepers https://www.facebook.com/firstchurches/videos/542021496627905/ You already know how this sermon will end.  It must end extolling the virtue of gratitude.  No matter what interesting stories, or social research, or exegesis of the biblical setting or Greek word translations, the point is - gratitude is essential to faith. Gratitude is currently having a moment of popularity.  New social research proves the benefits of gratitude. Scientists performed an experiment in which they asked one group of people to write down the things that they were grateful for on a weekly basis, while the other group recorded hassles or neutral life events. The folks who kept gratitude journals exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were generally more optimistic about the [...]

Notes from All-Church Planning Retreat – September 29

By |2019-10-10T16:55:26-04:00October 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Growing Together at First Churches As another busy Fall unfolds, it is helpful to pull back and see the big picture, so we can clarify our mission and actions for the coming year.  About 25 people gathered Saturday, September 28 to join together in this work. By the end of our time together we had identified a need for 3 new teams: Stewardship Team – This team will 1) work to create a spirit of generosity and giving in the life of the church, 2) keep the congregation informed about our mission and budget. 3) Work with the congregation to cultivate a healthy culture around money. Vision and Strategic Planning Team – This team will explore ways to expand our capacity for ministry, including developing stronger financial, human and spiritual resources to carry out our work. Welcome Team – Develop [...]

Mind the Gap: the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

By |2019-10-03T07:30:33-04:00October 3rd, 2019|Uncategorized|

  September 29, 2019 Luke 16:19-31 Proper 21 Year C To listen via Facebook live, click here I like the difficult passages in the Bible. I like delving deep into the texts of terror that seem so out of place in a book that is supposed to teach us how to be good. I like hunting for hidden details in the seemingly boring genealogies and long lists of rules and regulations.  I’m all about the stones in the road and the sticky wickets, revelatory etymologies, and uncovering that one little nugget of historical context that makes an old passage come alive with new relevance.  I’m not afraid to preach on the book of Revelation and I love the parables of Jesus - the more inscrutable the better. Which is why I was jealous, actually jealous, that Todd got to preach on [...]

All the Small Things

By |2019-09-25T11:55:17-04:00September 25th, 2019|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Luke 16:1-13                                                                          September 22, 2019 Click here to watch This is a core value: “Whoever is faithful in very little is faithful in much, and whoever is dishonest in little is dishonest in much.”  I believe the divine is seen and experienced in the small and ordinary spaces of life. The daily habits, the random acts of kindness, the quality of relationships, integrity, helping the one person in front of me.  We discover the Holy Spirit in the small decisions and practices.  As Mother Teresa put it, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  Jesus often talked about the power of small things.  Mustard seeds, the leaven in dough, the widow’s mite, all these bring forth what God desires.   But this parable also brings a [...]

“Slaves No Longer:” Philemon, Onesimus, and a New Kind of Kin-dom”

By |2019-09-09T10:21:09-04:00September 9th, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

The Rev. Sarah Buteux      September 8, 2019  Luke 14:25-33, Philemon 1 Proper 18 Year C Everyone says, this love will change you.  Well, I ask, isn’t that what loves supposed to do.  - The Weepies   Friends, our first reading this morning is all about the cost of discipleship. Jesus doesn’t just come into the world to save the world, he comes to change it, disrupt, and upend it.  He comes to give sight to the blind, set the captives free, and provide the poor with the good things they need by emptying the rich of those things they don’t really need at all.  And Jesus knows that as happy as that will make people on the outside and underside of the empire, it is going to greatly upset those in positions of privilege and power. Which is [...]

Sermon: Taking the Low Seat

By |2019-09-03T11:41:30-04:00September 3rd, 2019|Sermons|

Rev. Todd Weir September 1, 2019 Luke 14:1, 7-13        Click here to watch on Facebook If you want to understand life as it really is, do you start at the top or the bottom?  Our cultural world view is to look upward.  Emulate those at the top, who are successful.  Strive and you too may make it to the top.  In the Gospels, Jesus’s reveals that if you want to be his disciple, you start at the bottom.  You sit in the low place.  Blessed are the poor, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who mourn.   To follow Jesus is to be turned upside down and identify downward rather than upward.  As we explore our Gospel reading (Luke 14) we will see it is more than a lesson in social etiquette, or how to behave at [...]

Sermon: Through the Fire

By |2019-08-19T16:07:23-04:00August 19th, 2019|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir                                           August 18, 2019 (Click play below to hear the sermon)   Luke 12:49-56 49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” 54 He also said to [...]

Enough Already: Reflections on Mary and Martha

By |2019-07-28T20:42:33-04:00July 28th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Rev. Sarah Buteux July 21, 2019 Proper 11, Year C.        Luke 10:38-42 What to wear?  It’s the quintessential question of summer. Not simply because we need to navigate our way from the blistering heat of the out doors to the artic tundras of our offices and grocery stores on a daily basis, but because summer brings on a rash of social engagements - everything from your neighbor’s pool party to the company picnic - and you don’t want to overdress for the one any more than you want to under dress for the other. Am I right? But perhaps no event of the season brings on as much sartorial angst as the outdoor wedding.  High heels and lawns, extreme humidity and wool suits, heat waves and thunderstorms - I don’t care if you’re male or female, picking [...]

The Role of Evangelism and the Progressive Church

By |2019-07-20T09:24:26-04:00July 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|

by Rev. Sarah Buteux preached at Common Ground Luke 10:1-12 A few Sunday’s ago Julie and Mary took me to Iconica Social Club for brunch. Have you been to Iconic yet? Imagine if Harry Potter and a unicorn had a steampunk baby.  It’s got that sort fo vibe and teh menu is to die for. They have those Japanese shuffle pancakes, amazing juices, lotus root salad?! It was awesome. So the following Sunday, when new friends moved to town, I took them to Iconica. Why? Because it was wonderful and I wanted to share the goodness of Iconic with them. Evangelism is a loaded word, but all it really means is “sharing the good news.”  It was a Greek word (evangelion) that the Romans used. Whenever the emperor wanted to send a message out to the people, it was called [...]