In her book, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard tells a bit of the story of the English explorer, Sir John Franklin: “In 1845, Sir John Franklin and 138 officers and men embarked from England to find the Northwest Passage across the high Canadian Arctic to the Pacific Ocean. They sailed in two three-masted […]
This morning, I’d like to spend some time talking about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and the days in between, which all together are known as the Jewish High Holy Days. And I want to begin with an acknowledgement that although I’ve had a deep life-long respect for Judaism, and attended the bar and bat […]
On Friday, 4 million people in 140 countries took to the streets to participate in the Global Climate Strike, making it the largest climate protest in history. • 400,000 people across Australia • 1.4 million in Germany, including 270,000 in Berlin alone • 100,000 in London • 250,000 in NYC • 40,000 in San Francisco […]
There are many kinds of journeys. People journey when they leave their homes or homelands of necessity, pushed by violence or scarcity or pulled by opportunity. People journey when they feel called to explore or discover the world around them, or to go on a pilgrimage. Some of those journeys are physical and demanding, arduous […]
“Movin’ On” by Mark W. Harris
June 2, 2019 – It is time to say farewell to church and community. How do we accept the transition to retirement, and move on?
“Living With Ghosts” by Mark W. Harris – We all live with ghosts. What ghosts from your past do you live with, and how do they affect you?
“How Are the Children?” – Mark W. Harris May 19, 2019 – First Parish of Watertown Opening Words – “Beyond Borders by Rick Hoyt Go forth Because we are always going forth from somewhere Going from our homes, our childhoods Going from our cities and countries Going from innocence to experience to enlightenment Going […]
“Expressions of Ministry” by Mark W. Harris – I have spent the last many weeks discussing with students where they derive their authority as ministers. Mostly we conclude that authority is drawn from the communities we serve. We must live with people and engage with people. As I disentangle from 23 years of ministry in Watertown, we all must ask what our expressions of ministry are in a congregation where we teach that we are all ministers to each other.
“Holy Envy” by Mark W. Harris – UUs often say that we don’t believe in that resurrection story, but that we believe in science where dead people don’t come back to life. Yet do we sometimes long for one transforming belief, and have holy envy towards those who do believe?
“The Power of Ideas” by Mark W. Harris – I have long been fascinated by the power of ideas, and how certain “truths” get inside our heads and remain there as gospel, even if they only contain a kernel of truth. How much does the power of an idea have a hold on you?
Tidying Up and Sparking Joy” by Mark W. Harris – Do you ever feel overwhelmed with stuff? Getting ready to move to Maine has meant an ongoing purge of books, furniture, clothes and files. What items have I kept because they bring me joy, and what does tidying up do for my sense of balance, letting go and spiritual growth? Let’s explore the religious implications of Marie Kondo’s quest for tidiness.
“Living Your Values” by Mark W. Harris – The theme of this year’s pledge drive is “Living Your Values” – How do you make your values manifest in your life?
“Nothing Left Unsaid” by Mark W. Harris – How often do our words become a reflection of what we think others want to hear? How often are they a projection of our own fears? How often do words get in the way, or too much is said?
“Rewarding the Responsible” – Mark W. Harris – Is there any reward for being responsible? For those who answer emails promptly and are on time, what is the benefit? The responsible people often end up waiting or not hearing from someone, but there is no penalty for irresponsibility. What to do?