Sermon Archives

suffering
February 2, 2020

Empathy, Vulnerability, and Immanuel

Empathy, Vulnerability, and Immanuel

Back when I worked as a case manager, Brene Brown came into my consciousness with her work on empathy. Empathy was talked about so much in our social work circles, in fact, that we often made jokes about it. Empathy is a learned skill, we were told. Empathy is learning another’s world view. As Brene […]

November 10, 2019

The Spirituality of the Blues

The Spirituality of the Blues

(Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out, Bessie Smith)[1] Nobody knows you when you’re down and out. That song is by Bessie Smith, nicknamed The Empress of the Blues, one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920’s and 30’s. I listened to the blues as I prepared this message. That’s because I […]

February 24, 2019

A Noble and Generous Spirit

A Noble and Generous Spirit

What is the nastiest thing that ever happened to you? What events in your life caused you the most suffering, the most pain, the most misery? What grand injustice came to you, stirring up enormous frustration and intense anger inside you?

February 11, 2018

The More of God

The More of God

In 1975, I climbed a mountain. In actuality it was probably just a big hill, and it was behind our short-term voluntary service unit in San Clemente, California. (We were there to help in the resettlement of the boat people who had escaped from Viet Nam.) That morning I’d read an article encouraging women to […]

April 9, 2017

Where Was God?

Where Was God?

We whites would like to forget about it. We would like to pretend it never happened. Nevertheless, one of the terrible truths about American history is that from approximately 1880 through 1960, white Americans lynched around 5,000 blacks in this country.[1] Most of the lynched people were men, but about 2% were women.[2] Usually lynching […]

December 18, 2016

Seeds of Hope

Seeds of Hope

A few months ago during sharing time, I spoke about the peace accords in Colombia and how they were drawing to a close. After a war of more than 50 years, a war responsible for displacing 6.4 million people (second only to Syria), the FARC guerrilla group and the government planned to cease hostilities and […]

October 9, 2016

Singing the Lord’s Songs

Singing the Lord’s Songs

Sometimes you just don’t feel like singing. I once knew a young man—a college student—who was in a car accident. At the end of the fall semester he and three other college students hopped in a car to go home for Christmas. They decided to drive all night. Around 2:00 AM, the driver fell asleep […]

May 24, 2015

Pursuing Peace, Living Hope

Pursuing Peace, Living Hope

There are so many stories and events from around the world that can leave us feeling hopeless and discouraged. These stories, which we hear and see on the news and internet, which we read in the papers, are all about what’s wrong in the world, where the latest natural disaster has happened, how many casualties […]

March 15, 2015

Responding to Loss

Responding to Loss

It is hard to know what to do with loss, whether the loss is our own, or someone else’s. We can feel overwhelmed by loss, and overwhelmed by the cumulative effect of loss. We can respond to loss in a variety of ways; we can become bitter about how life has treated us, or entrenched […]

April 23, 2014

Easter

Easter

The challenge of Easter is that we have heard this story so many times, we stop listening to it because we know what happens. We know how it ends. Jesus died, and rose again. End of story. Now what’s for dinner? That’s the challenge for all of us, preacher and listener alike. We know this […]