Princeton University Religious Life

Sermon Archive

We invite you to reflect upon these sermons, offered at the Sunday morning service at the Princeton University Chapel. We hope that you find them to be a resource to you in your own spiritual journey.

May 6, 2018

Here ends the reading!  Amen, and thank you to the many members of our community––our transnational and scholarly community––who helped us experience the xenolalia of the first apostles, the ability to speak and to understand in an actual language not one’s own.  Please join me in a spirit of prayer: “Our gracious God, on this Pentecost morning, we ask you to help us feel the power of the Holy Spirit’s presence among even us, that your Spirit may endow all of our words and...

April 22, 2018

“For God so loved the world…”

“There is no greater love than this…”

“Abide in me as I abide in you…”

Please join me in a spirit of prayer: “Gracious God, as we consider your Holy Word and its meaning for our lives, grant us the faithful, wild imagination we need to understand anew how to manifest Christ’s love in the world, Amen.”

April 1, 2018

Not too many years ago, after publishing the final installment in the Harry Potter series, its author J.K. Rowling gave an interview.  She’d given countless interviews as the books and movies were coming out, but in this particular interview, after the last volume was public, she shared with her interviewer the fact that her Christian faith is an important part of her life.  The interviewer noted to Rowling that she had actually never before mentioned this significant aspect of her life, and...

March 18, 2018

 One month ago, on the first Sunday of Lent, my sermon was focused on the “rainbow covenant” that God made with all living things in the wake (literally) of the great flood.  The ark was beached on dry ground and its inhabitants had trooped out.  In this covenant, God promised never to wipe out humanity again––never to annihilate all living things.  Fast forward through the eons of the history of Israel and we find ourselves, in our biblical passage assigned for today, learning about God’s...

March 4, 2018

On this third Sunday in this holy season of Lent, our biblical assignment is the so-called “cleansing” of the Jerusalem temple.  I say “so-called” because the language of “cleansing” has become so much more problematic than when such good scholars were instructing me in seminary, some thirty years ago, using this language.  Since then, the language of “cleansing” has been used by political and military leaders to justify their killing of people unlike themselves...

February 18, 2018

This past week, I noticed an article in the New York Times (perhaps you did, too) about the Church of England’s Lenten initiative that encourages the faithful to make plastic products the focus of their Lenten discipline of self-denial.  They have an online resource that I highly recommend, it includes a daily calendar of Bible verses related to the preservation of God’s creation paired with a proactive, small step that people can take to be better...

February 11, 2018

Several years ago, I spent an Advent Sunday as the guest preacher at the Duke University Chapel where, some six months before, their beloved Dean had left to take another job.  One of the staff who hosted me said, “I think we’re all still in mourning.”  He had been very charismatic, a big personality, very gifted, and he had brought so much energy to the place.  It was clearly a very difficult transition for the staff, one that was taking a long time to work...

January 28, 2018

How do you spell “prof-et”?  A clergy friend of mine likes to ask this of people he doesn’t know well.  Our own answers right now are probably influenced by the fact that we’ve just heard a biblical passage about people who speak God’s truth – prophets. But perhaps what did pop first into your mind was material gain – profit.  The words rhyme in English, yet they have such different meanings.

December 24, 2017

It is Christmas Eve, and here we are, together again, on this silent night, this holy night.  Much has happened in our country, and in our world, since we gathered last year.  Some things are hopeful, many are challenging, particularly for those who have always been vulnerable – the poor, the refugees, those marginalized because of their religion or race.  The baby Jesus was each of these things, born this sacred evening into the brutal occupation of the Roman...

December 17, 2017

As I thought this past week about this text for today—Mary’s visit to Elizabeth—I was also hearing and reading the news in this country.  As women (and some men) continue to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault the phrase “Me Too” is everywhere.  It occurred to me that this is what Mary needed to say to Elizabeth, because Elizabeth was the only other person in the world who would truly understand what had happened to her.