Sermons

Moving Forward When You Cannot See

Last week I spoke of my experience, as a sailor, of having been becalmed…that experience of having the wind, upon which I relied entirely, stop blowing…of having found myself stuck, unable to move, forced to sit still, forced to wait. I quoted Richard Bode from his book, First You Have to Row a Little Boat, who said, “It is perhaps an all-too-human frailty to suppose that a favorable wind will blow forever,” and that perhaps learning to be still, learning to be patient, is “an imperative of...

“Your Life is Precious”

I don’t know who needs to hear this this week, but your life is precious…more precious than any stock holdings…more precious than anyone’s retirement account…more precious than the economy itself. You are fearfully and wonderfully made according to the Psalms. That is what the Christian faith of my childhood taught me. Today there’s an old pseudo-religion masquerading as “Christianity” which tells us that the almighty dollar is more important than life itself. But that is a lie. Of course,...

“Becalmed” – Homily for 17 May 2020

I had the extreme good fortune of growing up with a father who loved to sail, and who instilled in me a love of sailing. As a child, I spent many weeks over the course of many summers, cruising the Chesapeake Bay, exploring its inlets and coves, sleeping in the cockpit under the stars. It was beautiful and lovely…except when it wasn’t. There were plenty of mosquitos at dusk and dawn, and many hours spent sitting still under a hot sun waiting for the wind to blow. For many years, I did not...

Mother’s Day Homily – May 10, 2020

I want to start by wishing a happy Mothers’ Day to you, who are mothers. For those mothers who are home with your children right now, and for those who long to be with their mothers, or their children, but cannot be, this time of pandemic presents new challenges. And I want you to know that I see you, and that you are in my heart. I also want to acknowledge the complexity of Mothers’ Day for some of us, even without a global pandemic. For there is a unique complexity that accompanies our...

Music Sunday Homily by Guy Urban – May 3, 2020

A couple of weeks ago, a student at Wheaton College, where I used to teach, emailed me with some questions. She was writing a senior thesis on the role of music in church, and her advisor, an old colleague of mine, told her I was a church musician and she should contact me. Being totally caught up in preparing the virtual choir for today’s Music Sunday service, I struggled to find the time to think about her questions, but even when I found some time, I discovered that our current quarantine...

Earth Day Homily – April 19, 2020

Recently I read a story in the Christian Century magazine about something that happened in September at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. It was included in a book review by Isaac S. Villegas of Mari Joerstad’s book The Hebrew Bible and Environmental Ethics: Humans, Nonhumans, and the Living Landscape. It seems that students at Union held a worship service in the chapel and decided to invite, as their special guests, some potted plants. The plants were not mere chancel decorations...

Easter Homily, April 12, 2020

There’s honey in the rock for all God’s children. Feed every child of God. What a perfect song for us to sing after the story that we heard about Jesus and the disciples feeding the 5000, sometimes known as the story of the loaves and fishes. It did not seem to the disciples like it would be possible, any more possible than finding honey in a rock, but somehow there was enough to feed them all. The first song we sang together, Lean on Me, may seem like an odd choice for Easter Sunday. But...

Church in the Time of COVID-19

This month, before our plans were changed, we were going to be focused on the theme of abundance and generosity. But now we’re having to give so much up because of this pandemic: our usual routines, the physical presence of co-workers and classmates and teachers, our visits with friends and extended family, and our peace of mind, to name a few. Some of us are so busy trying to work from home and keep our children productively occupied that we may not have had time or space to feel our...

“Community, Conflict and Covenant” by Rev. Wendy L. Bell – February 23, 2020

Two weeks ago, I talked a little bit about the difference between “true belonging” and merely “fitting in.” I quoted Brene Brown, who wrote in her book Braving the Wilderness, that… Belonging is being accepted for [who] you [are]. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else… If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit it. (160) This morning, I want to continue on our theme of “Identity and Belonging,” by reflecting a little bit on the meaning of the word...

“Longing and True Belonging” by Rev. Wendy L. Bell – February 9, 2020

Our two readings sum up rather well our human condition when it comes to this month’s theme of identity and belonging. Each of us is unique, and yet we are connected. All of us long to belong, and yet we all too often find ourselves feeling disconnected and lonely. Brene Brown begins her book, Braving the Wilderness, which is subtitled The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, by talking about her own longing to belong as a child. She grew up in Texas in a community where...

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.

October 2020
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