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Tearing Down Walls

Jeremiah 1:4-10 This scripture was read at my service of ordination. My path to ordination was not an easy one. I had the misfortune to be part of an association that, at that time, had a resolution banning the ordination of “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals.” After graduating from seminary, I spent a year—at the request of […]

Free at Last

Luke 4:14-21 Jesus was in his hometown—his small hometown—which means that everybody there knew him. They knew Mary and Joseph and all his cousins. Many of them probably were his cousins. The older folks remembered watching him grow up, remembered how clumsy he was when he was ten, how his voice cracked when he was […]

Turning Wine into Water

John 2:1-11 Although our annual Diversity Sunday had to be postponed due to scheduling conflicts for our speaker, this is, of course, the weekend that our country honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That’s why we began our worship today with some paraphrased lines of his famous “I have a […]

Baptism of Why

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 [Spoken word poetry is a style of entertainment involving performance-based poetry —which means poetry that is written to be performed rather than to be read on the page. It focuses on word play and story-telling . Here in the United States it has roots in the Harlem Renaissance and civil rights movement of the 1960s and […]

Shelter in Merciful Arms

Before we read our story, I want to remind you that it is unusual in many ways, not the least of which is that it features two women, front and center, who actually get both names and voices. This is not common in scripture. Mary and Martha are the only ones who come to mind […]

Shelter in the Dawn

Luke 1:68-79 Before reading the passage for today I want to put it in context. Zechariah, a priest, and his wife Elizabeth were devout and faithful Jews. But they were unable to have children, and by the time of our story, they were “Both getting on in years.” So Zechariah was of course surprised when […]

Shelter in the Promise

Jeremiah 33:14-16 I have long believed that Advent is counter-cultural. In a world where Christmas decorations are sold in October and Christmas sales start on Thanksgiving and Christmas carols are chiming from every sound system every day, the church is woefully out of touch. I sometimes feel like you come to church every week during […]

Why I Still Go

Psalm 84 Hebrews 10:19-25 Sermon by Rev. J. Barrie Shepherd Before we pray, let me say a word of thanks to Cindy for the privilege of this distinguished pulpit. I must confess that, as a Presbyterian moving to Maine a couple of years ago, I have felt quite at home here. I was actually baptized […]

A la carte

  Mark 12:38-44 As most of you know, the lectionary is a three-year cycle of readings used in many churches. So this passage, often referred to as the story of “the widow’s mite” comes up every three years, always during November, which means that, for many churches, it’s smack dab in the middle of stewardship […]

Determined Willing

Ruth 1:1-8   As I read the scripture, I am guessing that two things came to mind: weddings and Oprah Winfrey. Oprah Winfrey was allegedly named for the other daughter-in-law in our story, Ruth’s counterpart. But a mistake on the birth certificate resulted in the name of Oprah rather than Orpah. Setting aside that little […]

Gifts from the Margins

Mark 10:46-52 Whenever a Bible story includes someone being healed from a disability, progressive preachers get a wee bit antsy. We have to be careful because we don’t want to imply that being blind or deaf or lame makes someone “less than” others who are not. We don’t want to imply that people with disabilities […]

Be Bold

Hebrews 4:12-16 One of the beautiful things about our holy text is the variety of names for God, the diversity of metaphors for our relationship with the Divine. Some of us can relate to God as father and some cannot. That’s one of the reasons we use inclusive language. Some of us find the Good […]

Who am I?

Mark 8:27-26 One of the reasons I enjoy teaching Confirmation class is that I like kids that age. Oh, I love the little ones, and especially the hugs I get from them on Sunday mornings. But I also love the conversations I can have with the older ones. Thirteen and fourteen year-olds are starting to […]

A Sermon in Two Voices

  by Rev. Cindy Maddox & Jackie McNeil — July 12, 2015 C: When I was five years old, I thought I was going to hell. J: When I was five years old, I had already been there. C: I thought I was going to hell because I hadn’t gotten saved yet, and my Heavenly […]

A Land of Giants

1 Samuel 17:37-49 Our passage for today is an excerpt from a long story so let me summarize a bit before I read part of it. The Israelites and the Philistines were at battle. Each army was camped in the mountains, with a valley between them. But neither could approach the other without crossing the […]

Don’t You Care?

Mark 4:35-41   It was hard to know what to preach this week. On Mother’s Day I spoke about the difficulty of such holidays. People came to worship today with different needs, with both positive and negative experiences of their own father, and with both positive and negative experiences as a parent (or lack thereof). […]

  • A Christian Family: Loving, Welcoming, Serving

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