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The Rest of the Story

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Sunday, June 8, 2014


“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
– Mary Oliver, from her poem “Evidence”


READINGS:

1. Our first reading is a prayer written by the Most Reverend Kenneth Untener, a Roman Catholic bishop
who spoke out strongly for the poor and for a more diverse, accepting state of mind in the Catholic
church. He wrote this prayer in memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. It’s called:

MINISTERS TO THE FUTURE

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.

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Reverence

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on June 1, 2014


“By practicing reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relationship with the world –
we become good, deep, and alive.”
– Albert Schweitzer


READINGS:

1. Our first reading is a poem by Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), who was born in Leningrad and was expelled from the Soviet Union for writing what Moscow called “anti-Soviet poems.” He came to America where he taught at the University of Michigan and then at Yale. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987 and was our Poet Laureate in 1991. Here’s one of his poems, written before he left Russia – it’s called “In Villages God Does Not Live in Corners.”

In Villages God Does Not Live in Corners
by Joseph Brodsky

In villages God does not live in corners
as skeptics think, but everywhere.
He sanctifies the roof, he blesses the dishes,
he holds his half of the double doors.
He’s plentiful. In the iron pot there.
Cooking the lentils on Saturday.
He dances sleepily over the fire
and waves at me, as to a witness.

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We

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Memorial Day Sunday, May 25, 2014


“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.”
– Cicero


READINGS:
1. Our first reading is from a talk by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain given one day before the battle of Gettysburg. You’ll find it in Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, The Killer Angels, or you can hear actor Jeff Daniels, as Colonel Chamberlain, give this talk in the film, Gettysburg, which is based on the book.

Colonel Chamberlain was the commanding officer of the 20th Maine Regiment. Before the war he was a professor at Bowdoin. The day before Gettysburg, a ragged group of 120 soldiers in union blue uniforms was handed over to him – they are prisoners, under guard, who have been marched up from Virginia at bayonet point. They are all that’s left of the 2nd Maine Regiment. They’ve fought in eleven bloody battles, they were the last regiment to leave the field at the Battle of Bull Run, and these survivors have refused to fight again because they feel they’ve done their part, and they’ve lost confidence in their generals. The Union captain who turns them over to Chamberlain tells him: “You’re authorized to use whatever force necessary, colonel. You want to shoot ‘em, go right ahead. Won’t nobody say nothin’.”

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Moral Imagination

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014


“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
~ Jewish Proverb


READINGS:
1. Our first reading is from the 8th chapter of the book of Proverbs. The word for “wisdom” in both Hebrew and Greek is a feminine noun – the Greek word is “sophia.” Scholars often use the name Sophia to personify wisdom, and in this reading from Proverbs, Sophia is speaking to us:

“To you, O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live. Listen, for I will speak noble things, and from my mouth will come what is true. I was formed in ancient times, at the beginning. When God marked out the foundations of the earth, I was there, I was beside God as the master worker. And now, my children, listen to me:

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The Sound of Silence

A sermon given by Rebecca Hinds on Sunday, April 27, 2014


Here in New England we are blessed with an intimate relationship with the four seasons. We know in our bones, at all times, that one season follows the other. We know that spring comes to triumph over the dark of winter. We know that summer will find us all rejoicing and exuberant- full of life. We know we will tumble into fall with more wisdom and thanksgiving than we had the year before. And we know that winter will give us time for reserve and rest. We are well practiced at moving through the ups and downs of the seasons and we are comfortable knowing exactly what to expect when.

And so maybe New Englanders have an advantage when it comes to living through the seasons of the soul. Like the four seasons, our spiritual beings go through ups and downs, from periods of warmth and abundance to periods of distance and lack; through fluctuating, ever moving, spiritual highs and lows. These seasons of the soul take us from great profound moments when we are caught up in the ecstasy and fullness of life, through heightened awareness and longing for more spiritual insights, to long periods of silence.

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Unfinished

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014


“Let us give ourselves, I beg you, to the future of the world.”
– Miguel Otero Silva


READINGS:

1. Our first reading is from the 20th chapter of the Gospel of John – this is my favorite Easter resurrection story. Mary Magdalene was one of a number of women who traveled with Jesus and his disciples as they went from town to town in Galilee, and then on the trip to Jerusalem for Passover. She seemed to understand what Jesus was trying to say better than any of his other followers, and it’s clear they were very close. She was among the women who, from a distance, watched Jesus die on the cross, and she saw where he was buried, so very early on the first Easter morning she goes to the tomb to anoint his body with spices. Here is John’s account of what happened:

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She stood outside near the tomb, crying, and as she cried she bent down to look into the tomb. She saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the feet. The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

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Joy and Sorrow

A sermon given by Rebecca Hinds on Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014


READINGS:

1. Luke 19:28-44 (NIV)

28 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,
30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”
32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them.
33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”
35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.
36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

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Prayer

A sermon given by Rev. Roger Paine on Sunday, April 6, 2014


“To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.”
– Karl Barth


READINGS:

1. In our first reading, Jesus finds himself in the midst of a self-righteous group of people, and he tells this parable – it’s in the Gospel of Luke, 18:9-14:

Two people went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed about himself with these words, “God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else – crooks, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give a tenth of everything I receive.”

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He wouldn’t even lift his eyes to look toward heaven. Rather, he beat his breast and said, “God, show mercy on me, a sinner.” I tell you that this person, rather than the other, went home justified before God.

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The Other View From Mount Nebo

A sermon given by Dwight Gertz on Sunday, March 29, 2014


READINGS:
1. Our first reading is from chapter 34 of the book of Deuteronomy it tells the story of the last days in the life of Moses.

We were traveling in the fall and came home to find The Parish News in the mail with this reading, selected by Roger, from the Sunday service on September 15th. I am not exactly a biblical scholar but I thought that I saw some kind of message from Roger hidden not too deep beneath the surface of this passage.

Moses hiked up Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab, climbing to the peak, which is across from Jericho. And the Lord showed him the whole land, extending to the Mediterranean Sea. Then the Lord said to Moses, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have allowed you to see it with your own eyes, but you will not cross over into the land.”

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