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Laughter

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Sunday, March 16, 2014


“At the height of laughter,
the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.”
– Jean Houston


READINGS:

1. Our first reading is one of the most familiar sets of verses in the bible, probably thanks first of all to Pete Seeger, who wrote his song, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” based on these verses, and then the rock group, The Byrds, who made Pete’s song into a big hit. The words are from Eccesiastes 3:1-8:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

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Less Talk More Rock

A sermon given by Rebecca Hinds on the First Sunday in Lent, March 9, 2014


Psalm 98

1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
for she has done marvelous things;
her right hand and her holy arm
have worked salvation for her.
2 The Lord has made her salvation known
and revealed her righteousness to the nations.
3 She has remembered her love
and her faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.

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Wisdom

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Sunday, March 2, 2014


“Though it cost all you have, get wisdom. Embrace her, and she will honor you.”
Proverbs 4:7


READINGS:

1. Our first reading is from a book by Terry Tempest Williams called When Women Were Birds. She is the author of a number of books on topics ranging from the preservation of wilderness to women’s health. I know that a great many of you love her writing and some of you know her personally. Here’s a paragraph from When Women Were Birds:

I was born on the edge of the Pacific. My mother took me to the beach daily near Capistrano, home to the returning swallows. It is here, on this edge of sand and surf, where I must have developed my need to see the horizon, to look outward as far and wide as possible. My hunger for vistas has never left me. And it is here I must have fallen in love with water, recognizing its power and sublimity, where I learned to trust that what I love can kill me, knock me down, and threaten to drown me with its unexpected wave. If so, then it was also here where I came to know I can survive what hurts. I believed in my capacity to stand back up and run into the waves again and again, no matter the risk.” (pages 20-21)

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Interbeing

A sermon given by Rebecca Hinds on Sunday, February 23, 2014


1 Corinthians 12:12-26
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

13For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.

15If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body.

16And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body.

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Loss

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Sunday, February 16, 2014


“Give sorrow words.”
– Shakespeare

“It is in darkness that one finds the light,
so when we are in sorrow, this light is nearest of all to us.”
– Meister Eckhart, 14th Century mystic


READINGS:
1. My theme for this morning’s sermon is loss, and for our first reading, I have three verses from scripture and four short quotes from other sources. First, these verses from Ecclesiastes, the Gospel of Matthew, and Paul’s letter to the Romans:

“There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” – Ecclesiastes 3:4
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” – Romans 12:15

From Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: “The most beautiful people are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.”

From Meister Eckhart, who was a 14th Century mystic: “It is in darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, this light is nearest of all to us.”

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Mars and Venus

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Sunday, February 9, 2014


“All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.”
– Leo Tolstoy

“Love must be as much a light as it is a flame.”
– Henry David Thoreau


READINGS:
1. Our first reading is a duet – two verses from the first chapter of Genesis and a paragraph from John O’Donohue’s book, Anam Cara. You may know that there are two very different creation stories in Genesis. They were written hundreds of years apart, and the story we probably know best is the one in which God makes the first man out of some mud, and then later uses one of Adam’s ribs to create the first woman. That story is in chapter two. The other story is in chapter one, which imagines God creating one thing after another, day by day, and then on the sixth day, the first man and woman are created simultaneously. Here it is:

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness. So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. And God blessed them. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good.

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Hospitality

A sermon given by Rebecca Hinds on Sunday, February 2, 2014


As far back as I can remember my family of origin regularly welcomed exchange students into our home. My parents loved to receive international guests. They valued multiculturalism and travel and for years they served on the Sister Cities board of my hometown. This put my family right in the middle of welcoming visitors from all over the world. As a child I shared meals and my home with people from Japan, Sweden, and Russia and more recently with people from Iraq and Vietnam. I loved it and still do.

During these experiences I developed the sense that meeting new people was simple and enjoyable. For when people traveled halfway around the world to sit at our table for dinner it was easy to welcome them. Knowing what to expect, and knowing that someone was only a temporary visitor, it was easy to say a hearty, “Welcome!” “Tell me about your culture and I will tell you about mine. Try this dish I have thoughtfully prepared. I have been waiting for you.”

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Faith and Doubt

a sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Sunday, January 26, 2014


“Faith and doubt both are needed – not as antagonists,
but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve.”
– Lillian Smith


READINGS:

1. Our first reading is from a terrific book very simply titled “Doubt,” written by the historian and award-winning poet, Jennifer Michael Hecht. I learned about it in an interview with poet, Billy Collins, who loved this book, as did Garrison Keillor, Howard Zinn, and Publishers Weekly. Here’s an excerpt:

In nineteenth century America, much of the avant-garde expected the end of religion and the end of belief in God, and many of them hoped for it. They thought universal atheism was best because it was true and because it would force us to live better, to realize how entirely responsible we are for what we do and what we fail to do. The most striking innovation in the modern world of doubt is the translation of allegiances from religious to secular. The Romantics made art a religion; a whole range of people made politics a religion; and the practitioners of medicine and psychotherapy are often described as modern confessors.

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The Moral Future

a sermon given by Rebecca Hinds on Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday, January 19, 2014


First Reading: Excerpts from “Our God Is Marching On, ” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., March 25, 1965

Last Sunday, more than eight thousand of us started on a mighty walk from Selma, Alabama. We have walked through desolate valleys and across the trying hills. We have walked on meandering highways and rested our bodies on rocky byways. Some of our faces are burned from the outpourings of the sweltering sun. Some have literally slept in the mud. We have been drenched by the rains. Our bodies are tired and our feet are somewhat sore.

They told us we wouldn’t get here. And there were those who said that we would get here only over their dead bodies, but all the world today knows that we are here and we are standing before the forces of power in the state of Alabama saying, “We ain’t goin’ let nobody turn us around.”

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