13041435_1159982794033037_1825211134944730220_oOur sermons often give us things to think about throughout the week. We share here to help you reconnect with words that moved you during our services, or to help you connect with the Sunday service if you have to be away on a given weekend.

The Radical Message of John 3:16:  “We are rendered not only vulnerable, but also completely powerless by God’s love for us. Yes, we can choose to accept God’s love or not, we can try and run away from it, but we cannot influence it, we cannot manipulate it, we cannot control it. We are helpless in the face of God’s love.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from March 11, 2018.

Water stop on the marathon:  “I was for many years a long-distance runner, so I’ll draw on a running metaphor. Going to church is like the water stop during a marathon. It’s the place to catch our breath, to get renewed, rejuvenated, rehydrated, so to speak, for the remainder of the race ahead. The water stop is very important. Just as you’d be at a serious disadvantage for the remainder of the marathon if you didn’t stop for water, we’re at a disadvantage in the life of faith when we don’t take the time to make the stop at church.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from March 4, 2018. 

Speaking out in Faith:  “A follower of Jesus, as Jesus describes it in today’s gospel, is someone who acts. And in today’s gospel, it is followers, who Jesus wants with him on this journey. Not just disciples, not simply believers, but followers. People who speak openly, who act on what they say. Someone who takes up their cross and walks the path of Jesus, even if it means some suffering, some conflict, some pain. Because it is only by action that God’s kingdom becomes a reality in this world.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Feb. 25, 2018.

Life in the Wilderness:  “The truth is, the very spareness of today’s gospel actually leaves us room for listening and responding to where God calls us in the midst of the wilderness. To start, as we’ve already described, the austerity of today’s gospel actually reminds us—painfully—of the way temptations really work on us … the sense of loneliness, the isolation, the helplessness that can accompany our times in the wilderness. It would seem that God knows something of what life in the wilderness is actually like.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Feb. 18, 2018.

Transfiguration:  “The painful irony of the Transfiguration of Jesus is also what makes it so wonderful. God is in the world, in Jesus Christ, for the beautiful, the wonderful, the transcendent. And also for the difficulty, the pain, the messiness of life. God is here and with us for all of it. That is how great God is.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Feb. 11, 2018. 

Call of the Disciples:  “Perhaps, between what is historically true about Jesus and what we also believe in as people of faith… The only way to really know Jesus is to follow him. To try as best we can in the world that we live in to imitate Jesus, to do as he would do, to follow his teachings, his actions, to follow him. The only way to know Jesus is to follow Jesus.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Jan. 23, 2018. 

Coming of the Magi:  “The question this poses for us, as Christians, is whether we believe that God can and is revealed to people through Jesus Christ in ways that don’t always result in a conversation of faith? Is a conversion of life or of hope enough? Or is that ultimately the most important thing? Is God still revealed through an experience of great joy, or of great generosity, as it was for the Magi? Rather than only through religious practice and devotion? The truth is, sometimes our lives or our way of thinking and being in the world, are transformed by God, before we are even aware of it. That moment of joy when we are sad, or the feeling of belonging when we are lonely, or of giving when we have plenty or of having a full stomach when we are hungry, …sometimes that reveals God to the world, before or apart from whatever we do religiously.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Jan. 7, 2018.

Becoming of God:  “We become of God the moment we have the courage and the insight to see God in our midst. Because God has always been there, beyond earthly flesh, beyond limited human life, beyond even our will always, to see God. When we open our eyes to the reality of God’s presence, we become instantly, profoundly blessed. We need only see God to be blessed by God.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Christmas Day. 

Finding God in Vulnerability: Where have you felt God’s presence in your life? It is often in our most vulnerable places of great joy or great pain. Where have you known that God saw you, recognized you, entered into your life and experience? It is often in those moments that would otherwise go unnoticed or unremarked upon by the rest of the world,  but are nonetheless profound and transformative for us.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Dec. 24. 

Bearing Witness:  John’s gospel shows us, from the very beginning, that the call of discipleship is the call of witnessing to who God is in the world. If we are afraid to do that, we are holding back on who we truly are, as disciples of Jesus Christ. Or, worse yet, we are afraid to tell our own truth because we don’t want to upset people, to rock the boat, to disrupt the status quo. The sin of silence is a painful one. I can’t tell you how many times I have held back a truth about God from my own experience,  simply because I knew it was something that another person didn’t want to hear, or that it might be hard for them to hear. Pastor Anna’s sermon from Dec. 17, 2017. 

Our Perception of God:  “… On the other hand, when we see God as gracious and generous, we are blessed and uplifted by the moments of grace and generosity that surround us. When we understand God as a God of love and acceptance and forgiveness, it is easier for us to experience God’s love in our own lives and to share that kind of love with those around us.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Nov. 19, 2017. 

The Nature of Hope: “We hope and trust in the kingdom of God, but until we ourselves actually arrive in the presence of God … what we see of God’s kingdom are glimpses. They are beautiful glimpses, powerful, but never quite the whole thing, until we stand in the presence of God.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Nov. 12. 

The Beatitudes:  “The beatitudes are true for us, because Jesus says them. Put another way, there is absolutely no way to avoid or to get out of God’s blessings. They are real, given to us freely, by virtue of Jesus Christ in the world and our faith in Christ. We are blessed by God, whether we want to be or not, whether or not we think we deserve or have earned such blessing.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Nov. 5.

Money, Politics and Religion:  “The truth is, and as Jesus says in today’s gospel, there are some parts of our life that do go to Caesar. We need to pay our mortgages, be responsible citizens, vote, and abide by the law. But who we are in our deepest selves, in whose very image we were made, is God’s.
That part of who we are will never change, and if we remember that, then the whole rest of our
lives take on greater focus and meaning.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Oct. 22, 2017. 

The Gospel is for Everyone: “To use the metaphor of today’s first reading from Exodus, that is when we worship the idol of something other than who God really is. When we call ourselves Christians because it suits our own self-interest or we seek to preserve our own power, that is worshipping an idol. And the problem with idols is not that they insult God; it’s that idols enslave us.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Oct. 15, 2017.

The Ten Commandments, a Living Framework:  “The Ten Commandments are not static rules to be interpreted in just one way for all time. They are meant to guide people in their on going relationship with God and with one another. The Ten Commandments are a living framework, they are made flesh and blood in the way we live our lives as people of faith.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Oct. 8.

The Nature of True Authority: “All people are empowered by God to live into the fullness of who they are called to be as people of faith. Which means that we can’t be hypocrites to ourselves and to others, any more than our leaders or public figures can.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Oct. 1, 2017.

Both a good person and a sinner: “Moses has broken relationships with all his identities and he is far from home. Is he an Egyptian or a Hebrew? Apparently, he’s not very good at being either. He’s not particularly welcomed by either people, that’s for sure. Is he a good person or a sinner? He is both, at the same time. Pastor Anna’s sermon from Sept. 3.

The Power of the Individual: “Oppression and destruction isn’t undone by armies, or massive acts of rebellion. It is undone by individual people being moved to love, courage, and pity… Doing things they already do, doing small things among their own families, their own neighborhoods, their own kingdoms… Small things, that still have the power to change the world.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Aug. 27, 2017. 

God’s Love:  “Here’s the wonderful and sometimes difficult truth about God: As today’s gospel shows us, not even Jesus gets to chose who God loves. God’s love extends to everyone, to all people. Not even Jesus gets to chose when God loves. God’s love is right now. There’s no taking turns, there’s no waiting, there’s no in or out, not when it comes to God’s love. God’s love is for everyone, right now.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Aug. 20, 2017.

Slavery:  “Can resentment and dysfunctional family dynamics really lead someone to literally or metaphorically enslave their own brother? Yes, it seems it can. And yet we know that the kinds of attitudes that can lead to this level of hatred are often more systemic than individual families. We live with the legacy of slavery in this country, where our brothers and sisters were indeed enslaved. And this image of brother and sisterhood isn’t just a metaphor of our shared humanity. Sometimes literal flesh and blood relatives owned one another. Thomas Jefferson’s wife Martha owned her half sister Sally Hemings as a slave. That’s just one example of brothers and sisters enslaving one another.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Aug. 13, 2017.

The Transfiguration Today:  “And so in moments of frightening uncertainty, keeping our attention fixed on the person of Jesus is a good idea. Not simply because salvation and redemption are to be found in the person of Jesus Christ, but also because, quite simply… Jesus shows us how to live, how to act, what to do in the midst of uncertainty and fear.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Aug. 6, 2017.

Love:  “The thing about Leah is, even if she is difficult to love, she is still worthy of love. And learning to love her, even when it is hard, can help us to grow as human beings.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from July 30, 2017.

The Sacrifice of Isaac: When this story is about trust, rather than blind obedience, then it changes our view of God. God is a God who keeps God’s promises. A God who loves and cares and trusts Gods people. God trusts Abraham with Isaac’s life as much as Abraham trusts God. God actually trusts us, God’s people, with God’s actions into the future; We are cherished agents of God in the world. And we become not just tools for God’s whims, but people beloved by God, who actually have a part to play in bringing about God’s kingdom in this world. That’s the difference, my friends, between blind obedience and deep trust. Which response do we choose, as people of faith? Pastor Anna’s sermon from July 2, 2017.

The Difficult Reality in following Jesus: “I don’t know about you, but I feel a little whiplash when I hear today’s gospel. On the one hand, Jesus utters comforting and assuring words that we are of more value than the sparrows… And on the other hand, apparently, we are doomed to conflict and pain as followers of Jesus Christ. Of particular difficulty for me, is when Jesus says “Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have come not to bring peace but a sword.” This statement appears to me to be at odds with most of what I believe about Jesus. Jesus comes with mercy, compassion, forgiveness and love, not with swords. Pastor Anna’s sermon from June 28, 2017. 

Never alone in our journey:  “Discipleship is about offering healing and liberation. This is what disciples of Jesus do. They offer healing and liberation. Healing from the things that keep us from living fully as God’s people. Sometimes that may include physical healing, but more often it is spiritual healing. Healing from our own sense of guilt or shame or anger. Healing from hopelessness or despair. Healing from the pain of loneliness.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from June 18, 2017. 

Going into the World:  “The mark of discipleship, it seems, in the eyes of the risen Christ, is not whether or not his disciples sometimes have doubts. Or questions, or wonderments about the life of faith. No, according to the resurrected Jesus, what matters most for his disciples is that they worship, and that they go.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from June 11.

Holy Spirit:  “A fellow pastor I know once said that the Holy Spirit functions almost like our opposite. The Holy Spirits always invites God’s people to the places where we aren’t currently dwelling, invites us into something new or different. And so if we find ourselves chronically angry, fearful, rigid or unforgiving, then the Holy Spirit invites us into a place of God’s peace, comfort, forgiveness, and assurance. And, on the other side of the equation, if we find ourselves too comfortable in our lives of faith, if our life of ministry seems rote and uninspired… If we find ourselves closed off to welcoming new people, to speaking different languages, different languages of lifestyle, race, age, wealth or even values… Then the Holy Spirit comes to us like a rushing wind of fire, opening our ears and our lips to speaking and hearing God’s presence in new ways, people and places.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from June 4.

What does Psalm 23 mean today?  “What does it mean for us, who live in a society rampant with consumerism and materialism  …  where the persistent cultural expectation is that success means only the pursuit of wealth, at all costs … what does it mean for us to say and to really mean when we say: ‘The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.’ To say to ourselves: ‘In God, I already have everything I need.’ Pastor Anna’s sermon from May 7.

Walking the Easter Journey:   “And yet, I wonder if today’s gospel is less about Eucharist and more about the fact that it is only after walking the journey, after sharing their struggles, asking questions, and really paying attention to the answers… that the disciples come to recognize the risen Christ in their midst. Perhaps it is simply because these two disciples have taken the time to walk these seven miles with a stranger … to share honestly their struggles, to pay attention to their questions and answers, … and then invite him to stay, to be a stranger no longer, that allows God to be seen. Perhaps in all the ways we walk our journey of faith, sharing our struggles, asking questions, and growing ever deeper in relationship with God and one another … we become witnesses to the resurrection.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from April 30.

Faith: “As a child, I used to hear the story of Thomas as a kind of morality tale. The story of why we need to believe in Jesus without the benefit of proof. Why we need to believe, without necessarily seeing for ourselves, the risen Christ. But now I have come to think that my childhood interpretation of today’s gospel story isn’t the full story. What if, instead of rebuking Thomas for wanting to see in order to believe, Jesus instead says that faith is about believing in a variety of ways.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from April 23, 2017. 

Transformation:  “While it may be difficult to hear about all the disruption, the turmoil that transformation can cause … in ourselves, in our relationships, in the very spheres of our existence. That’s also the profound, amazing thing about transformation. It changes everything. Everything gets turned upside down, rearranged, made new. Our perception of ourselves, other people’s perceptions of us, the very places where we live and work … everything, everyone gets touched by the power Jesus Christ, working in us. When we are transformed in Christ, it is total transformation.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from March 26, 2017.

Faith as a Verb: “We are saved, the world is saved through Jesus, not simply because we believe the right things all of the time … but because we are in an ongoing loving relationship of faith with God and the world, and that relationship is lived out in the world.  God’s love is seen, felt, and experienced every day by people in the world, living their lives, living their faith… Faith becomes embodied, it becomes real, simply by us living it. It’s not solely about what we believe. It is also about how we live.  Faith, pistouh, is both.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from March 12, 2017.

Using our gifts and power:  The life of faith is not simply a matter of believing in the right things, but it is also how we prioritize and live our lives. It’s about how we use our gifts and our power. How we spend our money, what we do with our time, how we live out our relationships with others. All of that is the life of faith too. Do we use our gifts and power for ourselves or for others and the glory of God?” Pastor Anna’s sermon from March 5, 2017.

Making Meaning:  We may not encounter God on a mountaintop in a moment of terrifying transfiguration, but we do encounter God in moments, in people, among the struggles of our daily life. These moments with God may be less dramatic than the transfiguration, but they can be no less terrifying. After all, our lives may be broken, but at least we know the territory. But when we encounter moments of the divine, or when we try to become the people God calls us to be, we will be transformed. Who we thought we were, what we thought our future would be, what we thought we were meant to do… All of it changes in an encounter with God.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Feb. 28, 2017.

Relationships:  “God keeps God’s promises to us, even if those promises are fulfilled in ways that we do not always welcome, expect or recognize. And sometimes, when we intentionally work on our own relationships in our life… When we can peacefully and lovingly work through a tough time with someone, or if we can respectfully bring a relationship that is no longer working to a dignified end … When we can still hold people accountable without attacking their character or their essential humanity … When we can gain insight from hearing another person’s side of the story, without getting defensive or angry … When we reach a point of forgiveness or reconciliation with one who has wronged us, then we get glimpses of what God’s love is like. Pastor Anna’s sermon from Feb. 12, 2017.

A Call to Active, Engaged Discipleship “It is how we live in the world, how we love and care for God’s people, how we help bring about God’s kingdom in the world that makes us disciples, not just the practices through which we do it. So yes, we do have a role to play in this world, in our time and place as people of faith, and it is to make God’s kingdom lived, tasted, seen and felt in this world. Our righteousness is a righteousness of practice and action.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Feb. 5, 2017.

The Nature of Discipleship  “Discipleship is not something we need to earn, it’s who we are. We are already blessed. Our task, as disciples, is to carry that blessedness and show it in the world.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Jan. 29, 2017.

What Makes a Disciple?  “We belong to God, we belong to each other as people of God, and it is that ongoing work that is the work of discipleship. It’s not always easy, it’s not always perfect or straightforward. More often, I would say, the work of discipleship is messy and flawed and sometimes we feel like we are literally making it up as we go along … It is no less discipleship, perhaps it is even more true discipleship, simply because we engage in it, we keep living in relationship with God and other people, difficult as it is.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Jan. 15, 2017. 

God’s Revelation in Great Joy and Generosity: “The truth is, sometimes our lives or our way of thinking and being in the world, are transformed by God, before we are even aware of it. That moment of joy when we are sad, or the feeling of belonging when we are lonely, or of giving when we have plenty or of having a full stomach when we are hungry, …sometimes that reveals God to the world, before or apart from whatever we do religiously.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Jan. 8, 2017.

What Name Does God Know Me By?  “I’d invite each of us, at the start of this New Year, to think about the different names that we bear. What are the names that we are proud of, that we want to keep, that we want the world to know us by? As a hard worker? A loving parent? A generous soul, A faithful person? And what are the names that we know are not who we truly are, or are not what how we wish to be known? As an anxious person? An angry or judgmental person? As someone who is resentful, or unhappy? Some of these names we have control over, others we do not.” A sermon by the Rev. Anna Doherty from Jan. 1, 2017.

Seeing things with a new perspective: “We can read, in John’s call to repentance, a desire to reorient our lives and behavior. To walk the “straight path” towards God.But repentance actually means something even more than simply straightening out our lives, difficult as that itself is. Repentance means more than just acknowledging our sins. The Greek word for repentance, the word that John the Baptist actually uses in today’s gospel lesson from Matthew…is metanoia. Metanoia means to have a new mind, or to suddenly see things from an entirely new perspective.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Dec. 4.

Wearing Christ on our Sleeve:  Isaiah sees a word from God about what God’s kingdom is like: “God shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” The coming of God into the world does not result in fear and devastation. It is, in fact, the coming of God into the world, God’s judgment of the nations, that allows for peace and justice for all people. Pastor Anna’s sermon from Nov. 27, 2016.

Christ the King: “We are called, to lead, as best we can, as Christ leads. With humility, forgiveness, and deep love, as Christ demonstrates through his passion and death on the cross. With a desire for justice for God’s people, and to help create a world where people shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing from the fold of God. I am reminded in this call to share in the kingship of Christ, of our baptismal promises this morning. We are asked at our baptisms, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?” We promise to do this at our baptisms, with God’s help.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Nov. 20, 2016.

God will Never Leave Us: “In today’s gospel, Jesus gives voice to the painful reality of God’s people. To the loss, the fear, the uncertainty that people experience in their lives. Today’s gospel is not a prophetic description of destruction to come. It is a pastoral response for coping with the painful loss that has already happened, and for coping with the difficult things that may yet happen.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Nov. 13, 2016.

Living in Wholeness: “Fundamentally, as children of God it is less about following the political and social establishment — especially when that establishment serve to disenfranchise and oppress people — and it is more about living in wholeness and nurturing our loving relationships with God and one another as people of God. As Jesus says, God “is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.” All of them are beloved children of God.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Nov. 6, 2016.

The Loss of those we Love:  “We will be reunited with the ones we love, as surely as we are God’s beloved people. Because of this, we do not grieve, as Paul writes, as others do who have no hope. We have hope, we have faith, and we have God’s promise to us that we will dwell together in the presence of God.” Pastor Anna’s sermon from All Soul’s Day, on Nov. 1, 2016.

Active Engagement: “We should all of us, it seems, be so desperate to see Jesus, to live lives transformed by God’s grace, that we too should be climbing trees, and serving others … whether or not other people notice what we do, or even if they are embarrassed by it.vActs of worship are acts of engaging with God and God’s people in love, however we do it. It is not just coming to church, although that is important too. But it might also be serving someone a meal, giving of your financial resources to the work of God, or praying for someone who can’t find the words or the will to do it themselves. ” Pastor Anna’s sermon from Oct. 30.

Admitting our sin, openly and honestly: “We can try to be the best people we can be, but we are still trapped in oppressive, evil, sinful, systems that keep us from living more fully as the people God calls us to be.” Learn about systemic sins like the sin of sexism, or racism, in this sermon by the Rev. Anna Doherty.

Wrestling with God: God is working in the midst of it to bring about life, not death, resurrection, not destruction. And Jesus knows this about God, which is why Jesus prays in the first place. It is a both/and. It is praying for God’s future work, and also praying about our daily longing for God’s justice. Which is really what contending with God is really about. A sermon about prayer, from our priest, the Rev. Anna Doherty.

Caring for each other: We should care for each other, using our wealth to build up communities of compassion. A sermon drawing from the prophet Isaiah and economist Adam Smith, by our priest, the Rev. Anna Doherty.

Jesus crossing boundaries: God is doing good things for us, even as we grieve, even as we step into an unknown future. As people who have been transformed by God, our job is not simply to recognize what God is doing in our midst, but also to proclaim and live out God’s presence in real ways. Like the man healed of his demons, we go forth into the world proclaiming what God does and will continue to do for us. Even as we step into an unknown future.” A sermon by our priest, Anna Doherty.

Forgiveness and gratitude: “And forgiveness is a gift that can so fill us with gratitude that we too, like the woman in today’s gospel, could weep at Jesus’ feet in relief and in love. Forgiveness can inspire such gratitude and love that it not only fills the heart, but also transforms the whole world. The woman is giving thanks to God for the forgiveness she has already experienced. This is what Jesus affirms and honors in her today.” A sermon by our priest, Anna Doherty. Sermon on Forgiveness