large outdoor chalice with stone base and dark metal shallow bowl surrounded by garden plantings

Sermons

“Revelation is Not Sealed” – November 13, 2022

“The Book of Genesis,” Kei Miller Suppose there was a book full only of the word, let – from whose clipped sound all things began: fir and firmament, feather, the first whale — and suppose we could scroll through its pages every day to find and pronounce a Let meant only for us — we would stumble through the streets with open books, eyes crossed from too much reading; we would speak in auto-rhyme, the world would echo itself — and still we’d continue in rounds, saying let and let and let until...

“Reaching Beyond your Comfort Level” – November 6th, 2022

My name is Charlyn Bethell and my pronouns are she/her. I gratefully serve as the music director here at First Parish, with my partner, Guy Urban.  As a musician, I wear several hats, so to speak—a conductor, an oboist, and an oboe teacher. I teach oboe lessons at Phillips Andover and this summer, I worked with a student on Zoom because she was home in Singapore.  We worked on a piece for solo oboe with many technical and musical challenges.  She played it safely within what she thought of as...

The View from Here – November 4th, 2022

Greetings Church Family! I pray that you and yours are well these days. The church year is off to a wonderful start. Many newcomers are in our midst, our sanctuary feels full and vibrant on Sunday mornings, more of you are making time to gather in meaningful ways, and I am noticing a nice cohort of kids and families attending church again (and a few teens running tech too!) We are finding our way home to one another, slowly but surely, and this feels good, particularly in days such as these....

“We Remember” – October 30th, 2022

“We Remember” Where I come from, in Southern California, this weekend is a weekend of huge preparation. It actually began weeks ago–millions of Mexican-Americans, right now, building altars, decorating their dearly departed’s graves, hanging lights, and adorning their communities, streets and center squares, with flowers and food and vibrant color. As a child, it was my favorite time of year. Because the city, Los Angeles, was transformed into a place of indescribable beauty. This was, of...

“I Choose Joy” – October 23rd, 2022

READING: Don’t Hesitate BY MARY OLIVER If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love...

“To Be a Soul Friend” – October 16th, 2022

READING: This reading comes from neurologist and poet, Parker Towle, who wrote this poem, “Hooking Rugs and Ice-Fishing” after hearing a chaplain tell the story at a talk he attended.  Hooking Rugs and Ice-Fishing, Parker Towle He volunteered with a dying patient expecting to go through the five stages of grief at the first meeting. Instead she talked about hooking rugs: the needle, the thread, the cloth, the rhythmic movement of the hands. He tried other matters in conversation -- she talked...

“Digging Down” – September 18th, 2022

READING: “The House of Belonging,” by David Whyte I awoke  this morning  in the gold light  turning this way  and that thinking for  a moment  it was one  day  like any other. But  the veil had gone  from my  darkened heart  and  I thought it must have been the quiet  candlelight  that filled my room, it must have been  the first  easy rhythm  with which I breathed  myself to sleep, it must have been  the prayer I said  speaking to the otherness  of the night.   And  I thought  this is...

“Witness to the Water” – September 11th, 2022

Reading - “Praise the Rain,” by Joy harjo Praise the rain; the seagull dive The curl of plant, the raven talk— Praise the hurt, the house slack The stand of trees, the dignity— Praise the dark, the moon cradle The sky fall, the bear sleep— Praise the mist, the warrior name The earth eclipse, the fired leap— Praise the backwards, upward sky The baby cry, the spirit food— Praise canoe, the fish rush The hole for frog, the upside-down— Praise the day, the cloud cup The mind flat, forget it all—...

“To Bless the Space Between Us” – Flower Communion Sunday, June 19th, 2022

Hear these words that I offered you at our Water Ingathering back in September–the first worship service of the church year: “The thing about wells is that they are dug in community, they are tended to in community, and they are drawn from in community. When one thirsts, we pull up more water. When one is quenched and thriving, we tend to the well–because we can…Why do we do this? We do this to co-create a visible well. One that holds us, exactly as we are today. One that holds the memory of...

“Can I Get an Amen?” – June 5th, 2022

“At its heart, I think, religion is mystical…"I have seen things…that make all my writings seem like straw." Religions start, as Robert Frost said poems do, with a lump in the throat, to put it mildly, or with the bush going up in flames, the rain of flowers, or the dove coming down out of the sky.” I would venture to say that there is not one person here that hasn’t been gripped by a mystical experience–despite that word ‘mystical’ maybe scaring you off a bit. For who here has never gotten...

Sermons by our minister and homilies by lay speakers call us to reflect on our lives and spirituality, learn from the sources of our Unitarian Universalist faith, and deepen our commitment to social justice.

November 2022
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