Archive for the 'Sermons' Category

September 22, 2019 - Transmogrify(ing) Church

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

In the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, Calvin invents a transmogrifier that transforms anything into anything else at the push of a button or the zap of a transmogrifying gun. Change, in the world of Calvin and Hobbes, is easy. Octavia Butler added some nuance to this, reminding us that “all that we touch we change, and all that we change, changes us. That the only constant is change, and that God is change.” If these two perspectives represent points on a (non-linear) continuum of transformation, where exactly does church fit in? Is it a vehicle for our own transmogrification? A container for that which changes us? Do we change church as we take our places in this living tradition?

Call to Worship - Rev. Stephanie Vos (:23)

Reading - We Are All Longing to Go Home, by Starhawk (:59)

Reflection - Rev. Stephanie Vos (1:57)

Sermon - Transmogrify(ing) Church, Arif Mamdani (8:29)


September 15, 2019 - Joining Our Wildernesses

Monday, September 16th, 2019

The English poet John Donne wrote, “No person is an island…we are all a part of the continent, part of the main.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “In a real sense, all life is inter-related. All people are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” While this may be true, our lived experience is often that we feel terribly alone, separate, isolated. We feel as if there are wild parts of ourselves disconnected from other human beings. This month, we continue to ask, “Why Church?” This Sunday, we explore how church might be the place where we join our wilderness (our wild places) to the wilderness and wild places of others — discovering deep joy and connection with one another.

Call to Worship - Lauren Wyeth (:31)

Reading - Excerpt from The Book of Delights by Ross Gay (4:40)

Sermon- "Joining Our Wildernesses" Rev. Justin Schroeder (7:44)

September 8, 2019 - Water Communion: Daring to be Human Together

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

Why Church? With so many options on a Sunday morning, why come to church? Why be in human community? Why wrestle with meaning and purpose? Why be unsettled and provoked and calmed and steadied? What are we doing here, anyway? Why are we at church?

This service is also Water Communion Sunday, an annual service at which we celebrate the many rivers, eddies and waterways of our life experiences, converging in our sanctuary every Sunday forming a river of faith. We embody this truth by bringing water from our homes, our travels, our walks, and our bike paths—and combine them during the service in a ritual called Water Communion.

Story for All Ages: The Journeying Stream - Rev. Jen Crow and Arif Mamdani (:32)

Homily: Daring to be Human Together - Rev. Justin Schroeder (6:40)

Water Communion Ritual - Worship Team (16:24)

September 1, 2019 - Love the Hell Out of this World

Monday, September 9th, 2019

When the culture around us doesn’t encourage us to our best selves, how do we model the kind of world we want to live in? Guest speaker and musician, Matt Meyer, will reflect on the good and bad of middle school, the time he picked the very best costume for a high-stakes 5th grade costume party, and how we find the skills for beloved community.

Matt is a musician and community organizer who has led hundreds of services for UU congregations across the country. He has a degree in hand drumming and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana and Central America. Matt serves as Director of Community Life for Sanctuary Boston, a contemporary worship community in Boston, and is a founding resident of the Lucy Stone Cooperative in Roxbury.

Welcome- Rev. Jen Crow (:22)

Call to Worship - Matt Meyer (3:11)

Story for All Ages - Matt Meyer (8:05)

Sermon - Matt Meyer (15:37)

August 25, 2019 - Backpack Blessing

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Our sixth annual Backpack Blessing and worship service is a multi-generational service that offers children, youth, and adults of all ages the opportunity to reflect upon how we might carry the love of our church community and the tools of our faith with us wherever we go. In this season of returning and restarting, we affirm the boundless worth of each and every person, and encourage one another to consciously seek a path of integrity and compassion. 

Story- Lauren Wyeth (:31)

Reading - Youth Worship Helper (6:10)

Homily - Rev. Jen Crow (7:14)

August 11, 2019 - Is Your Breath Happy Here?

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Our breath is the very essence of our lives and a doorway into presence and connection. This episode, Arif Mamdani preaches his first sermon as First Universalist’s new Director of Membership and Adult Ministries, in an exploration of breath, relationship, and hospitality.

Call to Worship - Rev. Justin Schroeder (:32)

Sermon - Arif Mamdani (1:52)

August 4, 2019 - Yes, And: A Theology of Improv

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Guest preacher Rev. Ashley Horan asks, what do improvisational comedy and religious community have to do with each other? We’ll explore the lessons improv can teach us about mutual support, shaping reality together, and being open to the possibilities of collaboration that are greater than anything we can do alone.

Call to Worship: Rev. Ruth MacKenzie (:30)

Sermon: Rev. Ashley Horan (1:29)

July 28, 2019 - Where Is the Lost and Found?

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Using a familiar parable (Luke 15), we dive into what it means to search for something in our lives. What impact does the act of searching have on what is found? What is worth searching for in our lives? Are we searching for the impossible? 

Responsive Reading and Sermon: Rev. Karen Hutt

July 21, 2019 - Squirming with Jesus

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

Unitarian Universalism is rooted in the radical reformation of Christianity. Yet, many of us seem to squirm when we consider the historical constructs and events that undergird our faith. Some of us do so because we do not know— and others would prefer not to know— because they trigger emotions about how we have experienced Christianity. Let’s set the record straight about our history and explore what it means to be a UU in 2019 rooted in the Christianity of 1519.

Call to Worship- Pastor Stephanie Vos (:31)

UU Quotes- Rev. Karen Hutt & Pastor Stephanie Vos (8:55)

Sermon- Rev. Karen Hutt (12:08)

July 14, 2019 - The Congregation is the Curriculum

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

“Faith development is all we do. Unitarian Universalism is the faith we teach. The congregation is the curriculum.” Connie Goodbread is a credentialed religious educator who consults about healthy congregations and transformation for the Unitarian Universalist Association. Her words remind us that faith development is not just for children; in fact, it is a thread woven through all our activities. What are we teaching and what are we learning at church, on purpose and by accident? How might a focus on faith development help us manifest the sweetest, most dangerous promises of our UU faith?

Call to Worship- (:30)

Reading- It's Hard Work, Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt (3:57)

Reading- Even This Is Enough, Vanessa Southern (5:17)

Sermon- The Congregation is the Curriculum, Lauren Wyeth (7:43)