Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sermon: “Sensing the Sacred: What’s That Smell?”, John 11:1-45 (March 29, 2020)

(This is the sixth sermon in our Lenten series, "Sensing the Sacred". 
The others can be found here, here, herehere, and here.)


In my Junior year of college, I took a course called “Art and the Bible”. I remember sitting in a large auditorium with images of classical art depicting scriptural stories projected in front of us. Most of the class time was spent with the professor explaining what we were seeing in detail. We’d have the scripture in front of us as we listened to him so that we could figure out for ourselves what aspects of the art were true to the text and which were “creative license”. It was a fascinating class (to me, anyway).

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sermon: "Sensing the Sacred: The Power of Touch", John 9:1-17 (March 22, 2020)

(This is the fifth sermon in our Lenten series, "Sensing the Sacred". 
The others can be found here, here, here, and here.)


Since I assume y’all are at home and either properly disinfecting your surroundings or at least comfortable with your own family’s germs, go ahead and touch something that’s next to you. If there’s someone watching worship with you, touch them (with their permission), or touch your own hand. Take a moment and reflect on what these sensations make you think or feel. If you touched your warm cup of coffee, did that sensation fill you with feelings of comfort or thoughts of routine? If you touched a family member or pet, did that that sensation fill you with feelings of love and reassurance or thoughts of gratitude? If you touched your own hand, did that sensation make you feel grounded, or fill you with thoughts about who you are? Really reflect for a minute…how do these sensations affect you? When you stop to think about it, the impact that a simple touch can have on our thoughts and feelings is pretty incredible.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Sermon: “Sensing the Sacred: When We Thirst”, Exodus 17:1-7/John 4:5-30 (March 15, 2020)

(This is the fourth sermon in our Lenten series, "Sensing the Sacred". 
The others can be found here, here, and here.)


This week’s sermon is a bit of an outlier in our Lenten series, in that we’ll be talking about “thirst”, and thirst isn’t considered one of the traditional senses. However, technically speaking, a sense is any faculty by which we perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body.[1] Since our thirst is a way for us to perceive a need of our body, I’d argue that it can be considered a sense just as much as smell, sight, taste, sound, or touch (also, Lent is six weeks long so I had to get creative. Cut me some slack, here).

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Sermon: "Sensing the Sacred: Do You Not Perceive It?", Numbers 21:4-9/John 3:1-17 (March 8, 2020)

(This is the third sermon in our Lenten series, "Sensing the Sacred". 
The others can be found here and here.)

Out of all of the senses that we’ll be talking about during Lent, sight is the one that we tend to rely on the most. It’s on the front lines of our perception. A very unscientific poll that I found online indicated that, if they had to choose one sense to lose, only 4% of respondents would be willing to give up their sight—the lowest percentage of all the possible responses.[1] Conventional knowledge says that “seeing is believing,” and while it may not be the ONLY path to belief, it certainly helps. This proverb even has a 21st century iteration—“Pics [pictures] or it didn’t happen.” Different words, same sentiment: if it can’t be observed with the eyes, then it’s irrelevant. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Prayer Cairn Revisited

Today was a beautiful day in Caldwell (60 degrees and sunny...sorry, Rochesterians!) so I decided to take a break from sermon writing and take care of a project I've been meaning to do for a while: neatening up the church's prayer cairn.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sermon: “Sensing the Sacred: Taste the Divine”, Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7/Matthew 4:1-11 (March 1, 2020)

(This is the second sermon in our Lenten series, "Sensing the Sacred". 
The first sermon can be found here.)


Food is DANGEROUS. Or at least, we tend to think of food as dangerous. How many of you have ever described yourself as “bad” for taking a second helping at dinner? How many of you have ever described dessert as “a temptation”? If you’re giving something up for Lent, how many of you have chosen to forgo some sort of food item? Our relationship with food isn’t all lighthearted self-deprivation, either: over 30 million Americans struggle with disordered eating;[1] for these people, any event involving food is a minefield of emotional, physical, and psychological danger. What’s more, about 32 million Americans have allergies to food, with 200,000 people being hospitalized for them in the U.S. every year.[2] For these people, the prospect of eating food at any given time can literally be a matter of life and death. Suffice it to say, even though food is the necessary fuel to sustain human life, many of us have a complicated relationship with it, for all sorts of reasons.