This is, in full, the prayer I prayed at 11:00 on Sunday. It includes words from the sonnet “The New Colossus” by the American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887) which was written in 1883. It also includes a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his “Letter From Birmingham Jail.”
Righteous, just, and merciful God, we gather here in your name this day to praise you for your goodness, your generosity, and your love for all of humankind, and for your affectionate, intimate love for each of us. You truly know us as we are, and still you love us. We turn away from you, yet in your grace, you pursue us.
We gather here, in the sure and certain hope of your steadfast lovingkindness, to lift up our needs before you. We pray for those who are sick and in need of your healing. We pray for those who are grieving and in need of your comfort, those who are dying and in need of your hope. We pray for sinners in need of your redeeming, and for those who doubt who are in need of your light. We pray for the anxious who are in need of your peace. We pray for men and women in the armed forces, especially those who are deployed away from loved ones, and we pray for all people who work for peace and justice throughout the world.
Well, it’s happened again. Richmond is covered with snow and we had to cancel worship. This video is the sermon that begins our new series “God’s Plan for Your Life” and is titled “Your Credentials for Ministry.” Check it out. You are more powerful than you think.
The Sermons Page has been updated, including Kelley Lane’s excellent sermon for the Sunday after the election.
The sermons page includes two new sermons. Check them out here.
Here is the full manuscript for today’s sermon, which is the first in this series. The audio will be online, probably by Wednesday. Next Sunday, May 8, we will hear perspectives from our Associate Pastor (and former Congregational Care Minister), the Rev. Stephen Coleman.
Last Sunday night, I was answering questions posed to me by members of our Youth Group when I was asked this question: “Why are we having a sermon series on death anyway?” As it turns out, this series represents our return to the Revised Common Lectionary readings for a while, and these readings just happen to include passages from the Farewell Discourse of Jesus, found in the Gospel of John, chapters 14 through 17, wherein Jesus prepares his disciples for his impending death and resurrection.
I remember that it was a about fifteen years ago, that it was a Sunday, and we were in that short period of time between Sunday School and the 11:00 service when she told us. Her name was Edith Woods, a woman in her seventies, and on that particular Sunday, she was characteristically poised and elegant.
Larry, the Senior Pastor and I were standing just inside the church office, by the mailboxes. She was wearing a silver broach and a yellow sweater when she told us that her cancer had returned, she said “I want you to know that I am doing just fine and I do not need anything, but I wanted you to know.”
Sunday night, I was answering questions posed to me by members of our Youth Group when I was asked this question: “Why are we having a sermon series on death anyway?” It is a good and fair question that I have been waiting for someone to ask me. Here is why: