Jeremiah 1: 4-10

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  • Proper 16C (2016)

    by Doug Bratt
    A Texas high school track team had to postpone one of its meets to the following Saturday. That, however, was when one of its runners had planned to leave on a mission trip. When she told her coach about the conflict, he said, “Your teammates are counting on you. You can’t let them down.” When she went back to him the next day, he said, “You’re either here for the meet or you turn in your uniform.” So the athlete returned a third time, tearfully handed her coach her uniform and walked away. Many of the other runners’ Christian parents supported the coach. So the former member of the track team stunned them when she told them, “This is about God.” But I wonder why they were so shocked. One of their teenagers was choosing God and church over her track team. That’s the way her parents and church had raised her – to put God first in her life. Of course, she wasn’t standing up for racial justice or against a war. But, then, all prophets have to start somewhere...
  • The Education of Ruby Nell

    by Ruby Bridges
    (Story of the first African American student at a previously all white school in Alabama. Links to this text with "I am only a child".)
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 16C)(2013)

    by Scott Hoezee
    Throughout much of her life actress Helen Hayes was regularly hailed as “The First Lady of the American Theater.” Clearly this was a lofty, flattering title. Ms. Hayes must have felt honored each time she heard it. Or maybe not. Because as it turns out, Ms. Hayes is the one who came up with that title for herself! She cooked it up, stuck it into a press release, and forever after journalists made use of this sobriquet (or nickname) whenever they wrote articles about Hayes. But really the same thing happens all the time. In our age of media hype it is not at all unusual for actors, athletes, and yes, even preachers to come up with their own sobriquets or designations...
  • Epiphany 4C (2010)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Sooner or later pastors get asked about their "call to the ministry." You tell that story a lot when you are preparing to become a minister: "What let you to seminary?" people will ask. And after you've answered that question a half-dozen times in the early years of your seminary study, you get a whole new round of questions about your divine "call" as you prepare to leave seminary and enter the ordained ministry...")
  • All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

    by Beth Johnston
    30 years ago now, Unitarian Minister, Robert Fulghum, wrote All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten - a series of essays which are observations on life. I was one of 7,000,000 people to have bought a copy of the original and I now have the updated and revised edition on my tablet! I think the original copy did not survive “the cull” before I moved here. (Rick) Believe me, I once had a lot more books than I do now! Criticized by some as being overly simplistic this book touts the importance of lessons such as: play fair, share, don’t hit people, put things back where you found them, clean up your own mess, don’t take things that aren’t yours, say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody, wash your hands before you eat, flush, and my favourite, warm cookies and cold milk are good for you! While we could never get along in life with a kindergartner’s level of knowledge of most subjects it would seem that most, if not all, of the ways by which a civilized society are governed, can be boiled down to those tenets listed above...
  • Perfectly Suited

    by Heather Kirk-Davidoff
    During my second year in Divinity School, I had an internship with the Massachusetts chapter of CURE, Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, a national organization that lobbies for prison reform. The previous year, I interned in a prison chaplaincy program and had learned a lot of disturbing things about sentencing and incarceration in this country. I was passionate about the need to improve prisons so the working with CURE seemed to be logical next step. My boss was a Dominican nun named Dot. I had never met a Catholic nun like her—she wore jeans overalls and lived in an apartment in my neighborhood with another Catholic sister. Sister Dot had been a high school art teacher for many years. Messy and expressive and easily sidetracked, she fulfilled many of my stereotypes about artists. After retiring from teaching, she went to lead Massachusetts CURE, but to help pay the bills, she also worked a “Color Me Beautiful” consultant...
  • Beyond Ecumenism

    by David Martyn
    ("David Lochhead, who was a professor at the Vancouver School of Theology, wrote a book for the World Council of Churches on the need for dialogue, not simply with other churches but with other faith traditions. He suggests that there are four styles of religious ideology...")
  • Sermon Starters (Epiphany 5C)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    The mission given to Jeremiah seems harsh to modern ears. We want to hear positive words on Sunday morning. But we have all experienced the importance of tearing down and destroying. My last church was located in an area of urban blight, where nothing but homeless folks and tumbleweeds occupied the streets. While we faithfully preached the importance of caring for these needy people, we also knew that ultimately their welfare and the prosperity of our city depended on urban renewal. So nearly 30 years ago, the city and numerous construction companies began the long process of tearing down and destroying. That was necessary, in order to build a better city for all its residents. We could not build and plant until there was a good deal of uprooting and overthrowing. Now the city bustles with business, entertainment, hospitality and art. The tumbleweeds are gone, and the homeless have much better dwellings and care than they did before urban renewal began.
  • Sermon Starters (Proper 16C)(2019)

    by Stan Mast
    For years I have been blessed to be in a book group with ministers whose theological leanings might not always be my own. Recently, we read Richard Rohr’s Falling Upwards, which presents a “spirituality for the two halves of life.” He says that the second half of life, the mature phase of life, is more open, accepting, affirming than the first, in which we necessarily build boundaries in order to establish a firm identity...
  • God, The HR Director

    by David Russell
    There was a story in the Wall Street Journal about Harry Lipsig. Lipsig, at age eighty-eight, decided to leave the New York law firm he had spent most of 60 years building up. He decided to open a new firm. Eighty-eight years old. So at an age when most people have long since retired, Mr. Lipsig decided to try his first case in a long time. Here was the situation: A lady was suing the city of New York because a drunken police officer had struck and killed her 71-year-old husband with his patrol car. She argued that the city had deprived her of her husband’s future earnings potential. The city argued that at age 71, he had very little earnings potential. They thought they had a pretty clever defense until they realized that this woman’s argument about her husband’s future earning power was being advanced by a vigorous 88-year-old attorney. The city settled the case for $1.25 million. The message was, “He was only a senior citizen,” but thankfully Harry Lipsig didn’t buy that...
  • Thorns and Thistles

    Sermon Starter by Leonard Sweet
    "Who is the God revealed through this call? First, he is a God of intimacy. There are no angelic mediators here, nor is Jeremiah overwhelmed with the vision of God's transcendent glory, as was Isaiah (ch. 6). Rather God himself fashioned Jeremiah in his mother's womb, like a potter working with a lump of clay (v. 5), as he has fashioned each one of us, and he knows Jeremiah and us through and through..."
  • Not Only

    by Carl Wilton
    Apart from the paper route I had as a kid — delivering the Asbury Park Evening Press from my bicycle — my first job was working in a roadside stand selling Christmas trees. I got the job when I was just 15: younger than the usuallegalage, but the business was classified as an agricultural operation, so they could hire younger kids. That also meant the owners got to pay us at the lower agricultural minimum wage:a dollar twenty-five an hour, if I remember right (plusthe occasional tip for tying a Christmas tree on top of someone’s car).It was hard work, especially on cold, snowy days. The farm stand had a little shed with an electric space heater. My fellow teenage tree salesmen and I would duck in there whenever we could, but it seemedlike we never had enough time towarmup.I felt very young to be out there in the working world. The pair of Italian brothers who owned the stand were in their fifties. The twenty something son of one of them, whom his father and uncle had put in charge of us boys, lorded his age and experience over us. He took every opportunity to shoo us out of the toasty-warm shed so we could sell more trees. He did it even if there were no customers on the lot. I think Charles Dickens could have done something with his character...
  • Not Only (2013)

    by Carlos Wilton
    "We begin, today, with a story — a true one, from American history. It's about a boy named Christopher, who grew up in Missouri, the eleventh child in a family of fifteen. The family had moved to Missouri from Kentucky, following their good friend, Daniel Boone and his family. There they prospered — until calamity struck. Christopher was just eight years old when his father was killed by a falling tree, while clearing land..."

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