Living Generously: Time and Talents Matthew 25:14-30 We continue our consideration today of the invitation to live generously, with all we have and all we are.  We know that a generosity of spirit, possessions, our lives even, is fundamental to the work of following Jesus in the world, as he is the one who came to show us the lavish generosity of God as a model for our relationships with each other…. Read More

Last Sunday I stood at the front of the church, as I do most weeks, to welcome the community to worship. After I finished my remarks, I made my way to my seat on the side of the chancel to await the beginning of the opening hymn. The organ began to play and I stood with the congregation to sing the opening hymn: Baptized in one confession, One church in all the earth…. Read More

Living Generously: Relationships Matthew 23:1-12 Every Lent I try to take on some practice or give up something, the sacrifice of which might help me think about God a little more. Perhaps some of you try to do this as well. Over the years the practice has become, for me, an exercise in failure. For example, there was the Lent I tried to give up Diet Coke, which lasted only one week;… Read More

Living Generously: Systems Matthew 22:34-46 Today we begin a few weeks where we’ll be talking about living generously in worship.  As we’re watching the leaves begin to turn the most beautiful colors outside, as Thanksgiving approaches, as we’re thinking about the stewardship of our community…it seems we have an invitation to do some spiritual work, to think about all we have and what we do with all we have. So, for the… Read More

I recall an elderly congregation member telling me the story of moving to the big city from a small town in the Midwest more than 70 years ago. She came to town a young, single woman, choosing career and adventure over a more traditional course. I knew her to be a longtime and deeply dedicated member of my congregation, and I was curious: “How did you come to be part of this… Read More

No Jacket Required Matthew 22:1-14 This sermon was preached at The Riverside Church in the city of New York on October 12, 2014; listen here. I’ll tell you a little secret about ministers that you might not know.  Most ministers will tell you without hesitation that, given the choice between performing a wedding and performing a funeral, they will choose a funeral every time. Does this surprise you? If the only wedding… Read More

Yesterday I shared this beautiful invitation with my new church family at The Riverside Church–these are words worth hearing again. Today was World Communion Sunday.  As an invitation to the table I used Jan Richardson‘s beautiful poem, And the Table Will Be Wide. I loved it so much I am thinking we should use it every communion Sunday. And the Table Will Be Wide A Blessing for World Communion Sunday And the table… Read More

Invited to Freedom Matthew 21:33-46 Exodus 20:1-14; 7-9; 12-17 It’s good to be together in worship this morning. Today is a special day!  84 years ago on this day the very first worship service of The Riverside Church was celebrated in this beautiful space; later this afternoon we’ll gather again right here, to celebrate our covenant as we mark the beginning of our life together as pastor and congregation; and, today is… Read More

We have a busy installation weekend here at The Riverside Church, so the fine folks over at ABP/RH gave me a break and reposted a column I wrote last year around church budget season.  I believe this now even more than I did before! This is, hands down, the least favorite time of year for pastors everywhere: church budget planning season. Nobody likes budget planning, from the tedious work it entails to… Read More

Learning to Say Thank You Matthew 20:1-16 A sermon delivered at The Riverside Church September 21, 2014.  Watch or listen here.   Over the next several weeks in worship, we’ll be taking a tour through some of the parables of Jesus found in the gospel of Matthew. As you know, Jesus often told stories to try to illustrate what he called the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven.  What he… Read More

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