SER-MONS

Recent Sermons

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"Anything is Possible"

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Matthew 3:1-12

I want to begin this evening with a story by the late Brian Doyle, about his days growing up in a Catholic School in New York:

One day when I was in grade school at Our Lady of Perpetual Social Awkwardness -he writes - there was a (pop) quiz, sort of, when our stern (priest) suddenly visited our class and asked us about the saints for whom we were named.

Inasmuch as this was a Catholic school, and almost all of us were Irish … or Italian …, nearly all of us were indeed named for saints, …Indeed nearly all the girls in class had Mary in their names somehow, … or they were named for Mary’s cousin Elizabeth or her mother Anne; one girl, MaryAnne Elizabeth, was named for all three, which we assumed meant she had no choice in life but to be a nun, though she was a brawler of a girl.

The good sweet Lord alone knows what the (priest) was thinking when he stepped into our classroom abruptly and began to pepper us with questions about our names...

December 4, 2022

Keep Awake!

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Isaiah 2:1-5  & Matthew 24:36-44

And so it begins.  A new liturgical year; another Advent. The wreath is out, the first candle has been lit, we’ve hung the greens, and if you haven’t started preparing for Christmas  - and by preparing I don’t mean the deep spiritual work of repentance we here in the church associate with Advent; I really just mean shopping - then you’re probably already feeling a little stressed out. Am I right? Yeah.

Well, relax.  Advent is not Christmas. Advent is not about “parties for hosting and chestnuts for roasting and caroling out in the square.” Advent is about slowing down.  Advent is a time for dreams, introspection, and quiet anticipation. Advent is about waiting… patiently - without knowing the how or the when - waiting patiently for ...

November 27, 2022

When God doesn't Open a Window

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Philippians 4:1-13

“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.
Do not worry …about anything!…
Just pray.
For you, my friends, can do all things through Christ who strengthens you” (Philippians 4:4,6,13).

I don’t know about all of you, but encouraging verses like these always give me pause. Growing up in the church I have observed how easy it is to pass them on to the hurting as if they are medicine.

Life got you down? Well, just remember my friend that “God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).”

Just got laid off? Well don’t you forget that God “Knows the plans he has for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Been knocked down by a difficult diagnosis, laid low by grief, hit by hurricane? Not to worry my friend. “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).

But if verses like these really were medicine, I think they’d have to come with one of those rapid disclaimers that conclude ads for pharmaceuticals...

November 20, 2022

Messy Metamorphosis

Rev. Chris Mereshuk

Isaiah 65:17-25

Today's service included two baptisms and a wonderful sermon by the Rev. Chris Mereschuk. Enjoy!

November 13, 2022

Blessed Are Those Who Weep

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Luke 6:20-31

Preaching on this passage in one of the richest nations in the world often leads to a lot of handwringing. Far too many of us hear Jesus’ words of woe to the rich and well fed and find ourselves squirming.

Many of us have worked hard, and rightly so, to not be counted among the poor, the hungry, the despised; and the truth is, we’re not about to stop. So it’s quite disconcerting to have Jesus, of all people, calling all of our efforts into question.

If you’ve been around First Churches for awhile then you know I’ve preached many a sermon on how to wend our way through Jesus’ blessings and woes, and if that’s where your mind and heart are stuck this morning, I can send you an alternate sermon that makes some sense of these challenging words.

But as today is All Saints, there is really only one verse I want to focus in on with you this morning: vs. 21b “Blessed are you who weep…” because Church, I know that is where so many of you are right now. And as for the rest of you, you might want to pay attention because even if you are laughing now, your time will come.

November 6, 2022

Zacchaeus and the Key to Our Salvation

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Luke 19:1-10

NOTE: Our apologies but the live stream failed today. The video to the right is from last Sunday, but this morning's sermon is below.

“When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.”  ― Desmond Tutu
 
Our story for today is fairly brief, but it is packed with a whole lot of detail. We actually know more about Zacchaeus from these 10 short verses than we know about most of Jesus’ disciples from all four gospels.
 
For example, you probably can’t tell me a whole lot about Nathaniel or the other James or even the other Judas.  In fact you might not even know that amongst Jesus’ disciples there were two named James and two named Judas. Did anybody know that? But if you grew up in church you can probably tell me a lot about Zacchaeus.
 

October 30, 2022

"Nobody's Perfect"

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Luke 18:9-14

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, “said Jesus, “one a Pharisee and one a tax collector.”

How many of you, whether you have heard this parable before or not, would have been able to tell me from the very first line, who the good guy and the bad guy would turn out to be in this story?

Before you even heard their prayers, were you team Pharisee (anyone?) or team Tax Collector?

Yeah. I’m not surprised.

October 23, 2022

Don't Lose Heart

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Luke 18:1-8

“All I know is that when I pray coincidences happen;
and when I don’t, they don’t.”
~ William Temple, the Archbishop of Canterbury during World War II,

This past Tuesday night, in the midst of boiling potatoes and frying up kielbasa, my phone rang with the sort of news every pastor dreads. Within minutes, I transferred dinner from stove to table, bid my family goodbye, and found myself in the car on my way to the pediatric ICU at Bay State.
All I knew as I drove down was that there was a boy in critical condition and a family gathered around him in need of love and support.
And so as I drove, I prayed.

October 16, 2022

Remembering Who We Are

Rev. Marisa Brown Ludwig

Jeremiah 29:1,4-7 and Luke 17:11-19

Growing up, I often found myself on the margins of the social groups at school - because I was a girl, or because I wore glasses, or because I answered too many questions in school, or because I wore the wrong clothes that weren’t in fashion. I got made fun of because I played an instrument in church. You may know this kind of exile from your childhood, whatever groups you “weren’t” allowed in.

October 9, 2022

It Takes Faith to Forgive

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Luke 17:1-10

There is a phrase pastor’s throw around when we get to talking amongst ourselves. Whenever we hear a good joke or a particularly incisive comment - something illuminating, surprising, or undeniably true - we turn to each other and say: “That’ll preach!”

October 2, 2022

"You Must be Joking, Jesus"

Rev. Joanne Graves

Luke 16: 19-31

Join us for worship and hear the Rev. Joanne Graves preach about "The Rich Man and Lazarus"

September 25, 2022

As We Forgive Our Debtors

Rev. Sarah Buteux

Luke 16:1-10

We apologize that the sound quality on our video was compromised this week. But here at least is a copy of the sermon. Click below where it says "read more."

September 18, 2022

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