Relentless Jonah 3:1-5, 10 Mark 1:14-20 Today we find ourselves making our way through the season after Epiphany, leaning toward any light we can see, trying, along with Jesus’ first disciples, to understand what it means to be people who live in a world of darkness insisting that there’s enough light for at least one more step toward wholeness, reconciliation, hope. That’s who we are; that’s what we’re called to do…which all… Read More

The following are remarks I shared at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Service at The Riverside Church on January 18, 2015.  As you will see, Dr. King had a strong connection to this congregation; it was an honor to celebrate his legacy here.  Special thanks to church archivist Ricki Moskowitz, who helped unearth historical details. Today we gather to recall Dr. King’s personal reach to this congregation and his greater reach… Read More

This post was written in January, 2006.  The second grader referenced below is now an eleventh grader.  But I still think his art is cute.  Just for a little contextual reference I’d like to tell you that I clearly remember hot controversy the fall I entered kindergarten. The parents were talking in hushed tones, I remember, about “busing” but it didn’t mean much to me–all I knew was that this very cool new… Read More

I freely admit that, along with the rest of the world, I stood in line to join the gym last week. I could offer many (valid, in my opinion) explanations for why I didn’t join the gym in, say, July of last year, but I’ll save the excuses for later in the year (when I suspect I’ll really need them). I hate to be so cliché as joining the gym the first… Read More

Spotlight Mark 1:4-11 I’ve been so moved in these past weeks by conversations I’ve had with so many of you about your personal responses to the new film, Selma. The film is a depiction of the efforts of Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many others as they undertook the history-making campaign to secure equal voting rights with an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Those of you who… Read More

The Light Moves With You Matthew 2:1-12 Happy new year, church! As we come to worship this morning, the first Sunday of 2015, we’re looking at the lectionary texts for the season of Epiphany, which begins officially this coming Wednesday with the familiar story of the star and the kings and a story of intrigue, espionage, and murder told in Matthew’s gospel. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of… Read More

Just the other day I was remembering 11 years of Christmas Eve services at my former congregation. I recall the first year I was there, trying desperately to come up with a unique idea for a service that had become a bit tired, when one of the older members of the congregation offered to build a stable in his woodshop, bring it down to church, and install it in the sanctuary. With… Read More

I am so happy I got to share this homily with The Riverside Church tonight.  This Christmas Eve homily is adapted from a story shared by friend and colleague Jim Somerville. My friend’s grandfather was a strict Calvinist preacher, a Primitive Baptist for those of you familiar with that tradition–stern, severe and, as my friend always described him, joyless. The gospel he preached was also joyless, uncompromising, and he preached it with… Read More

I’m wondering this week if we’re having enough difficult conversations. Horrible images on the news, protests in the streets, a growing awareness — if we didn’t know it before — that all is certainly not right with the world. All of this should be sparking some very difficult conversations. I don’t care who you are or where you fall in the landscape of our society, there are people on your Facebook page… Read More

Illumine Joy Luke 1: 39-56 In and among this reality of human life we come today to the third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of joy, when we read the words of Luke’s gospel, a song attributed to Mary, the mother of Jesus.  You may know it as The Magnificat, Mary’s treatise about the state of the world and her stubborn insistence that it doesn’t have to stay that way. You’ll recall,… Read More

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