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It’s All Going to be O.K. …Really.

By |2019-11-25T12:12:16-05:00November 25th, 2019|Sermons|

Rev. Sarah Buteux Reign of Christ, Year C Colossians 1:11-20 What if you knew it was going to be ok? All of it. Whatever it is that’s troubling you right now. What if you knew it was all going to be ok? Your parents. Your kids. Our country. The planet. Thanksgiving dinner and that weird mole on your back.  What if you knew it was all going to be ok? It would make a difference, wouldn’t it? If you knew your parent’s retirement funds were sufficient, you’d worry about them a little less.  If you knew your child was going to make it into a good college, it would be a a lot easier to stay up late helping them with calculus or allowing them to take that mental health day they keep begging for. If you knew which of [...]

Tired of Living on the Edge of Apocalypse?

By |2019-11-19T10:30:38-05:00November 19th, 2019|Sermons|

Sermon By Rev. Todd Weir Scripture:  Luke 21: 5-19                                                                          November 17, 2019 Do you ever feel tired because you been walking at the edge of the apocalypse for too long?  Every week it’s either blackouts to stifle more wildfires in California, or Venice is going the way of Atlantis.  Much of Latin America and Hong Kong have been protesting in the streets for weeks, and while I promise not to talk about impeachment hearings and what feels to me like breaching all the norms of democracy and decency; it’s in the air.  I try to do my bit. I bike and walk to work, no more plastic straws, raising money for the Hot Chocolate Run and I chair the Northampton Housing Partnership, and I hope my family is good with receiving carbon offset credits for Christmas.  But on top of [...]

Blessed Are Those Who Mourn

By |2019-11-06T09:56:14-05:00November 6th, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

Rev. Sarah Buteux               November 3, 2019 To watch the sermon click here Blessed Are Those Who Mourn Luke 6:20-31 All Saints Year C Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Luke 6:21 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4   O God, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight. May they bring the comfort we long for. May they be the words we need to hear. Amen.   Barbara Parsons. Denise Karuth. Margery, Paul, Robin, Cammi,… some of these names are being read for the first time today and the pain we feel as the chime rings for them is as cold and bright as a new blade.  It is a grief so sharp, it [...]

How to Be a Good Sinner

By |2019-10-28T14:14:24-04:00October 28th, 2019|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir Scripture:  Luke 18:9-15 October 27, 2019 https://www.facebook.com/firstchurches/videos/509444006301264/ Let me say for the record, “I am a sinner.”  There, it’s out in the open now.  Let’s talk about this.  You may have a number of different reactions: Pastor Todd, what you done now? -or- That’s a relief! Maybe I belong here.   -or- I don’t like that word. Could you just say you are imperfect?  Mistakes were made.  Can you leave it at that?   Sin-ugh!  It even sounds like an ugly word.  On some lips it sounds like a curse- “Sinner!  Repent!”  It sounds judgmental.  It is close to the word “singe”, as in “singed by fire.”  Sin has a fire crackling in the background.   Jonathan Edwards looks over us, with his sermon “Sinners in the hands of an angry God,” just off stage right.   [...]

The Power of Persistence

By |2019-10-22T12:32:46-04:00October 20th, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

Rev. Sarah Buteux October 20, 2019 Luke 18:1-8 Proper Year C (Click here to watch) 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 [...]

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 [...]