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Is My I-Phone the Devil? Some Thoughts on Technology, Temptation, and Jesus’ Sojourn in the Wilderness

By |2019-03-10T14:15:22-04:00March 10th, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

Rev. Sarah Buteux March 10, 2019 Lent 1, Year C Luke 4:1-13,   Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. Forty days.  Forty days out in the wilderness with nothing to do…without anything to eat…with no one to talk to.  When’s the last time you found yourself with nothing to do, without anything to eat, with no one to talk to?  It’s almost impossible to imagine, isn’t it?  I’m not saying that we’re never bored, hungry, or lonely. Boredom, hunger, and loneliness are part and parcel of the human condition. They dog us at every step.  But do any of us ever allow ourselves to truly feel those things anymore? Or do we pick up our [...]

Shame vs. Guilt: a sermon for Lent

By |2019-03-10T14:05:19-04:00March 10th, 2019|Common Ground, Sermons, Worship|

Rev. Sarah Buteux Preached at Common Ground on March 7, 2019 Psalm 51   There is a song by Kelley McRae where she sings:  Break us by the power of your grace O Lord, won’t break us, by the power of your grace  Break us Remake us Don’t let the sorrow take us Oh Break us, by the power of your grace  I love this song, and in my own spiritual walk, there are times when I need to hear those words, when that is my prayer…break me God, break me down, break me open, break in and break up the lies and the patterns and the habits that are hurting me and the those around me.  Break me, O God and then re-make me into someone whose life is pleasing to you. Re-make me into someone who is living [...]

Mixed Blessing

By |2019-02-21T11:26:08-04:00February 21st, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

By Rev. Sarah Buteux February17, 2018 Epiphany 6, Year C Luke 6:17-26 Before we begin, there is a confession I need to make.  In the interest of full disclosure, there is something you need to know before I even pretend I can help interpret this morning’s scripture reading, and it is this:.  I am blessed…like seriously blessed…and apparently not in a good way.  You need to know that I ate breakfast this morning - two eggs with cheese, washed down with my favorite tea, all of which I cooked in my beautiful new kitchen while laughing with my precious daughter. In this very moment, standing here in front of you I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I am rich, I am full, and I am happy.  I love my family. I love my house. I love my church. I [...]

Moving Deeper

By |2019-02-11T15:48:16-04:00February 11th, 2019|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir February 10, 2019 Text: Luke 5:1-11 If you were a reporter covering this story, what would be your headline? “Preacher’s Fishing Miracle Has Better Ratings Than Super Bowl.”   Or- “Local Fishermen Retire, Leave Lucrative Business to Join Cult.”  We bring our perspectives to the story.  We might ask, “Is this story true?”  Did Jesus really create a fishing miracle? How did he do it?  Preacher Fred Craddock said, “Is this true?”  is the most disrespectful question we can ask. We wonder if the writer is a fabricator, and we may miss the point.  Here is a better place to start.  What is the story trying to tell us?  What truth does it offer for our life? Let’s go with the story and see where it takes us scene by scene.  Scene One.  It is [...]

Miracles on the Margins

By |2019-02-05T08:33:21-04:00February 5th, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

by Rev. Sarah Buteux John 2:1-11 (Painting above by Morgan Weistling)   I’ve got two words for you this morning: Pecha kucha.  Has anyone here ever experienced a pecha kucha?  Does anyone here know what a pecha kucha is? Isn’t that a south American herb that can be steeped into a hot beverage?  No, that’s Yerbe Matte?  Is it a pre-Columbian Inca site in Peru?  No, you’re thinking of Machu Pichu.  Is it a little yellow Japanese monster?  Nope, I’m pretty sure that’s Pokemon, but hey now we’re getting close, because Pecha Kucha is a Japanese concept.  Pecha Kucha, which is actually the Japanese word for chit-chat, is a method someone devised to re-invigorate the good old power-point presentation we all don’t love so much.  When someone presents a pecha kucha, they can’t read slowly through bullet points as they [...]

Pastor Todd’s Upcoming Sabbatical

By |2019-01-31T16:38:18-04:00January 31st, 2019|News|

I’m writing this note to update you on my summer Sabbatical from May 1 through July 31.  This July will mark my seventh year at First Churches. Seven years is often a significant psychological time marker.  (Think 7 days of creation, the 7 Years War, 7 Year Itch!) A wise person told me long-term pastors need to reinvent themselves every seven years.  Otherwise either the pastor or the congregation get bored with the other. While I don’t yet think of myself as a long-term pastor at First Churches, since Solomon Stoddard served here for 55 years, seven years does mark longer term commitment in the modern era.   After spending some time thinking about what would benefit my growth as a pastor, I concluded what I really need is a pilgrimage.  Pilgrimages are a way of physically and spiritually being [...]

Sermon: “How Do I Know God is Pleased With Me?”

By |2019-01-16T15:33:02-04:00January 16th, 2019|Uncategorized|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir January 13, 2019 Scripture:  Luke 3:15-22     (The Baptism of Jesus) (click below to listen)       “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”  How many people long to hear this blessing from the humans who brought them into the world?  “You turned out well.”  There is no equivocating in this blessing, no “buts,” nothing else to do.  Not, “I am well pleased, now if you could only get married…then we could have a grandchild.”  Or “I am well pleased, it almost makes up for those teenage years.” I am well pleased, almost as much as with your older brother.”  “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”  Period. Or better yet, exclamation point!  A little blessing goes a long ways, “Great job….You are such [...]

I Wonder as I Wander

By |2019-01-07T13:58:06-04:00January 7th, 2019|Sermons, Worship|

Rev. Sarah Buteux January 6, 2019 Matthew 2:1-12   Epiphany 1, Year C  Do you all know what “go to gifts” are? If you’re the one who buys gifts in your household, you probably do. Not to be confused with “safety gifts,” which are the completely generic gifts you keep stashed away in case of emergencies - like uncle Phil showing up unannounced for Christmas dinner -  “Go to gifts,” are kind of like the hacks of the gift giving world.  They’re the gifts that take the stress out of gift giving during major life events because they are so perfectly suited to the occasion. Popular “go to gifts” are things like a copy of Dr. Suess’, “All the Places You’ll Go,” for the recent graduate or pots and pans for newly weds, a plant for the couple who just bought [...]

Sermon: Let’s Put Mary Back Into Christmas

By |2018-12-24T09:47:13-04:00December 24th, 2018|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir December 23, 2018 Scripture:  Luke 1:39-57 (Click to listen) When you think of Mary the Mother of Jesus, what is the first word that comes to your mind.  I’ll bet that many of you the word was “virgin.”  As Protestants we do not speak much of Mary, we feel awkward with all this blessed virgin language and she can seem lost to us in the mythology of the perpetual virgin who has given birth.   For some this is essential article of faith, proving that Christ is truly the Son of God. For others, it sounds absurd and archaic, or even a patriarchal plot to keep women subservient.   Episcopal preacher Barbara Brown Taylor said, how we talk about the Virgin Birth limits our understanding of Mary role and importance. Taylor writes, “Mary is the perpetual [...]

Sermon: “With Joy, Draw Water”

By |2018-12-18T16:30:15-04:00December 18th, 2018|Sermons|

Sermon by Rev. Todd Weir December 16, 2018 Scripture:     Isaiah 12 :2-6   Today we lit the candle of joy, and in this season, we do many things to attempt creating joy.  We decorate our homes and bring greenery inside, while outside the trees are bare and dormant.  We light candles to push back the darkness that settles in before our evening commute. Fires burn to ward off the cold.  Carolers sing in the streets, Christmas music everywhere, joy to the world.  Gifts are given and received, charities are supported.  In busy stores, profits are made, savings depleted.  Oh well, joy to the world.  From Holiday Stroll, the Hot Chocolate Run and First Night, it is a month of celebration that cushions us against the beginning of winter, the darkest time of the year.  Without this enormous effort to [...]