Sermons

Sermons

Six Degrees of Separation

One day last month, I was on my way to get new photos taken for my US passport. It was a calm, sunny day in Croydon. I was in the middle of the sidewalk looking for Snappy Snaps, when a young man on a bicycle swerved close to me—nearly hitting me. I jumped back and looked at him, expecting—I don’t know—“Excuse me” or something like that. But he turned his head in my…

Life’s Little Deaths

On February 8, 2004, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Paris was meeting at the Foyer de l’Ame on the rue du Pasteur Wagner where it had been since 1992. Donna, my wife, and I managed to slip in and out of the service almost unnoticed but Birthe did notice us. What I remember is that Bruce and Rachel Epstein sang and Dorcy Erlandson was doing a voter…

Better Living through Time Travel

Sometimes preachers like me wonder what we’re going to talk about next Sunday. Should we take a beloved UU hymn and go through the verses, or do a potted biography of one of our heroes? The first crocuses are poking their heads up in the park, so should we do a service about the joys of springtime? As dry as suuch times are, it’s possible to wish they were still here,…

The New Day

Reading: From “On Optimism and Despiar” by Zadie Smith Zadie Smith is the celebrated author of White Teeth and her new novel, Swing Time. She is bi-racial and British by citizenship. This is a quote from her remarks, entitled “On Optimism and Despair” which she delivered when she received the 2016 Welt Prize for Literature in Berlin a few weeks ago. “If novelists know…

What is home?

I was sad when I heard that the bulldozers had demolished the Eritrean church right in the heart of the so called Calais Jungle When I visited the refugee village in October I remember standing in that church – a makeshift structure of salvaged wood and tarpaulin – and it felt like one of the most peaceful and beautiful sacred spaces I had been to in my life – it had such…

Hurting Good

A year or so ago a minister of my acquaintance put up a group message on the British ministers’ chat line. I won’t mention his name. He said he was looking for a social action project for his congregation to take up, that being one area in which they were lagging behind. Something about the way he put the question made me flinch. He made it sound as if he was thinking of…

Are the Lights on?

Led by Andrea Offner I’ll be home for christmas….you can count on me….I’ll be home for Christmas…if only in my dreams. Home is where the heart is… I wish I were in Kansas, said Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Home is where our journey begins….Paul Simon says – Home where my thoughts escaping, home where the music’s playing, home where my…

Inviting Mara to Tea

READING To understand extremist religion and extremist politics, I mean to really understand the source, the motivation for being willing to die for a belief, we need to look to the roots of belief and the genetic foundation of tribalism. This sermon isn’t just about that. I confess, I am not a fan of religion. I marvel that I was able to BE a minister of any kind. Being…