Princeton University Religious Life

Sermon Archive

2014-15 Sermons

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.

November 30, 2014

Perhaps you remember the old, joke bumper sticker: “Jesus is coming—look busy!” It was a snarky retort to another, very serious bumper sticker about Christ’s imminent return. On this first Sunday of Advent, I would like both to commend, and amend, the jokey message: “Jesus is coming: get busy!” Don’t look busy—Jesus isn’t some distracted boss who could walk towards your cubicle at any minute so you’d better...

November 16, 2014

            This last week saw the death of John Doar, a member of the great Princeton class of 1944.  He was, as you may know, an attorney from Wisconsin who became the chief lawyer for the Justice Department’s civil rights division.  He rode with the Freedom Riders in 1961.  He escorted James Meredith as Meredith integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962; he then lived in Mr.

October 19, 2014

           A few years ago, a student group here at Princeton came to me to seek co-sponsorship for a program they were organizing on campus.  It was a speaker whose topic would be hurtful to many students, reifying their oppression, and the prejudice and misunderstanding that they face on campus (particularly from this student group) and in society.  The students who wanted the Office of Religious Life to co-sponsor their program said to me, “Prove to us that you are fair -and...

October 12, 2014

            We’ve all had it happen to us - someone tells us they’re going to do something, and then they don’t.  We tell the kids to clean their room; they say they will, and it doesn’t happen.  We ask a colleague if they want to help produce a project; they say yes, but never lift a finger to do any work on it.  We can reach an agreement with a fellow student to partner on an assignment, but find that we’re doing it all on our own.  We enter covenants with other people - formal ones...

September 21, 2014

I almost titled this sermon, “Stop Your Whining,” because both of our texts for today involve people who think that what they’re experiencing is so much less than what they deserve.  What kind of God leads them to a supposed freedom that turns out to be a desert where they’re hungry and thirsty all the time?  How can it be okay that a landowner pays the same daily wage to a guy who starts working at 9 a.m.

September 14, 2014

Last April, during Holy Week, this Chapel hosted a performance of Hayden’s Seven Last Words of Christ, performed by the wonderful Brentano String Quartet.  Each musical rendition of Christ’s seven final utterances was preceded by a brief homily, and I offered the one on, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I used a phrase (I did not make it up) during that reflection that some people in attendance told me later was very meaningful to them: “Not...