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.

Sermon
November 5, 2017

It has been a very full week since we met for worship last Sunday – I could say that it has been full of rest for a University community on Fall Break, full of revelation and speculation for a country experiencing the first public indictments made by Princeton Alumnus and Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller, it has been a week of the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, whose impact is still widely felt, but I really mean that it’s been a packed week of religious observances. On Tuesday was the 500th...

Sermon
October 15, 2017

Living in anxious times – I am blessed not to have any major sources of worry in my life right now, but I certainly spend lots of time in pastoral conversation with those who do. I spent time this past week with Dreamers on campus, students who enrolled long ago in DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They now fear deportation, and wonder if enrolling in DACA wasn’t a terrible mistake in the long run. They gave all their personal information to the government in order to...

Sermon
October 1, 2017

Questions about fairness start early in a person’s life, don’t they?  This past week, I watched a colleague’s toddler eat just enough of his good dinner in order to receive a piece of the cake he was fixated on in the corner of my kitchen counter.  (I still become quite aggrieved if I eat the healthy food but am somehow denied dessert.)  When I was a kid, there was great attention paid to whose turn it was to ride in the front seat, and to not crossing the imaginary line that ran down the...

Sermon
September 10, 2017

Hello Chapel Family! How good it is to be here together again. The choir is back! The clergy are back and so are those in our community of faith who’ve been travelling! Upper class and grad students are filtering back on to campus. And there are the newest members of our family, whom we welcome with wide-open arms. Wherever life has taken each of you—physically and/or spiritually—in the recent or distant past, I hope and pray that the journey was a blessing. Sometimes the most blessed...

Sermon
May 21, 2017

The news sources that I click on or listen to are saying that the American public today is entirely split in its social and political opinion, that we have never been more divided, and that the differences are so profound that we may forever be two Americas. I think, hope, and pray that this isn’t accurate, and that it is more the kind of dramatic journalism that seeks consumer loyalty with dire assessments and predictions. There would seem truly to be a tremendous difference of many...

Sermon
May 7, 2017

These lovely words that we’ve just heard from the Book of Acts are about a community that is on fire – they are passionate, they are glowing, they are unstoppable. They are, together, like a person in the throes of a great new love: they are, in every moment, their best selves. Their sense of personal ethics they now proudly proclaim and go to new lengths to live out. They are starry-eyed; they are devoted to noticing the welfare of others, to selflessness and a giving spirit. Their...

Sermon
April 30, 2017

Easter happened – it was two weeks ago. We know Easter happened because we were there, or here – we woke up that Sunday morning and came to Chapel and the whole world was here and there were kites flying and special music and even, in 2017, a few Easter hats. We might need to remind ourselves that Easter happened, though. Fourteen days later and life is pretty much the same – the people we know who are sick remain a continuing source of worry for us. The stresses of the semester are only...

Sermon
April 16, 2017

A very happy Easter to all of you! It is a glorious day in every way – warm sunshine, the earth coming alive with millions of colorful buds, and yes – the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which summons us all together in this magnificent chapel. The long winter of our disobedience, our evil towards one another and to God, it is over; Christ rises from the dead and he takes us with him. While we are yet sinners, Christ opens wide the doors of heaven today, and our lives and our universe are...

Sermon
March 26, 2017

My thanks to Zoe for that elegant reading of such a long passage – 41 verses! – the entirety of the story in John’s gospel of the man who was born blind. Those who were here last week were treated to the entire story, of equal length, of Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well. Next week we will hear the equally lengthy story of the raising of Lazarus. These are the assigned texts for these weeks – what is known as “the lectionary.” We on the Chapel staff have not simply chosen to...

Sermon
March 5, 2017

This past Wednesday we began the journey together through the holy season of Lent.  These next forty days are not a dreary obligation but a wonderful opportunity to live as we want to live.  I don’t mean that we are to indulge our every desire – I’m not talking about the “wants” in our life that conform to the world – our real yearnings for status, “success” (whatever that means), things, money.  We are human and so we want these things.  I’m...