Blessing Backpacks in Brooklyn!

This was 9 days before giving birth to my daughter, Vivian! So happy to be working with these kids at Greenpoint Church in Brooklyn!

Connecting to the Eternal

This was the second installment in a 3-part sermon series at Greenpoint Church exploring the meaning of Communion.

"The Courage to Pray" - The Riverside Church

Sermon delivered at The Riverside Church Space for Grace service on July 1.

Text:

Psalm 130

Evelyn Williams (1929-2012), Couple Reaching Up (1981). Painted relief. Private Collection. The Bridgeman Art Library.

Evelyn Williams (1929-2012), Couple Reaching Up (1981). Painted relief. Private Collection. The Bridgeman Art Library.

A Song of Ascents.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. 
   Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
   to the voice of my supplications! 


If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
   Lord, who could stand? 
But there is forgiveness with you,
   so that you may be revered. 


I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
   and in his word I hope; 
my soul waits for the Lord
   more than those who watch for the morning,
   more than those who watch for the morning. 


O Israel, hope in the Lord!
   For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
   and with him is great power to redeem. 
It is he who will redeem Israel
   from all its iniquities.

Hope

March 17, 2015. Extemporaneous Preaching Class at The General Theological Seminary. I was given 5 minutes of preparation time before delivering this sermon.

Topic: "Hope"

I found that practicing extemporaneous preaching did not diminish the importance of research and preparation (which are highly important to me), but improved my pastoral presence and got me more comfortable with preaching without a full manuscript.

Been Raised

March 3, 2015. Extemporaneous Preaching Class at The General Theological Seminary. I was given 5 minutes of preparation time before delivering this sermon.

TEXT: Colossians 3:1

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

I found that practicing extemporaneous preaching did not diminish the importance of research and preparation (which are highly important to me), but improved my pastoral presence and got me more comfortable with preaching without a full manuscript.

Clay Jars

February 24, 2015. Extemporaneous Preaching Class at The General Theological Seminary. I was given 10 minutes of preparation time before delivering this sermon.

2 Corinthians 4:7-10

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke” —we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

I found that practicing extemporaneous preaching did not diminish the importance of research and preparation (which are highly important to me), but improved my pastoral presence and got me more comfortable with preaching without a full manuscript.

Dominion

February 17, 2015. Extemporaneous Preaching Class at The General Theological Seminary. I was given 30 minutes of preparation time before delivering this sermon.

TEXT: Genesis 1:26-28

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ 
So God created humankind in his image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them. 
God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’

I found that practicing extemporaneous preaching did not diminish the importance of research and preparation (which are highly important to me), but improved my pastoral presence and got me more comfortable with preaching without a full manuscript.

Take Up Your Cross

February 10, 2015. Extemporaneous Preaching Class at The General Theological Seminary. I was given 1 hour of preparation time before delivering this sermon.

Text: Matthew 16:24-27

Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life? ‘For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

I found that practicing extemporaneous preaching did not diminish the importance of research and preparation (which are highly important to me), but improved my pastoral presence and got me more comfortable with preaching without a full manuscript.

Right vs. Righteous [with audio]

We don't get to prophesy simplistic visions of peace until we listen to the prophetic tongues of fire already speaking from the voices of the oppressed. We don't get to do deeds of power in God's name until we have followed the path of the one who emptied himself on the cross. First things are first. Timing matters in the Kingdom of God.

Wedding Homily for Becky & Kyle

On August 31, 2014 I officiated the wedding of a childhood friend. I did so not as a member of the clergy, but as a friend who had received a one-day designation to solemnize a marriage from the Governor of the State of Massachusetts, Deval L. Patrick. The following is the homily I gave:

Breathe Deep

John 20: 19-23

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’

Still haven't found what I'm lookin' for... [with audio]

The good news of the Gospels is not that it’s up to us to get our spectacles on straight. It’s not up to us to always get things right. We can climb the highest mountains and still not find what we’re looking for. We may not be any better than anyone else at sensing the water. But we believe in God that broke through to claim us.

Singing Our Own Meaning into the Psalms

For Intro to Preaching (P501) at Emory's Candler School of Theology.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;

though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Reflection at KUCC's Longest Night Service

That is what Christmas is - what it can be. Christmas is hard because it is like those picture projects - the same each year, the same each time - same places, same people, same look, feel, and smells... until suddenly it's not. And we can't help but painfully see what's missing.

Eulogy: Carol Jacobson

Eulogy begins at time 9:12.

‘With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt-offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with tens of thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
—Micah 6:6-8