Princeton University Religious Life

Acts 1: 6-14

Acts 1: 6-14

He had been with them for forty days - forty days since he had been executed, that is. How stunned they had been (to put it mildly) when he appeared to them after that, having risen from the dead. Forty more days he was with them, but it was nothing like the years they’d had with him before. Things were very different now. Before, there had been miracles – demons cast out of sick people, withered hands restored, a girl brought back to life, thousands fed with a little bread and fish. Now he didn’t do these things, and he didn’t show himself in publi

Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed

We have for our lectionary readings for today two passages about financial honesty. They would seem to be completely at odds with one another. The prophet Amos excoriates the businessmen of his day for nickel and diming the people. These proprietors are not honest in their accountings. Meanwhile, Jesus approvingly tells the story of a steward – an accountant – who fleeces his boss, passing on unearned profits to those who’ve borrowed from the man. Amos’ message is a lot easier to digest, and to understand. We don’t want to be cheated – cheating can’t be ok. We mi

Mary, Mary

Mary, Mary

On the third Sunday in Advent many Christian communities, including this one, light a pink candle rather than a purple one. The purple, also prominent in Lent, is a symbol of this season of repentance. The pink candle refers to the fact that the biblical texts for the third Sunday in Advent are about Mary. Pink – girls, you get it. Mary must figure prominently in Advent if we are to tell the story of the coming of the Messiah; she is, after all, his mother. Hers is a beautiful story, and her character is one that so many of us, perhaps women more than men, have b

Martin Luther King, Jr. Service

Martin Luther King, Jr. Service

Well, here we are on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a day like those that honor Washington and Lincoln, situated around their birthdays, to honor a great American. King was a great American – not because he outdid himself in flag-waving or in whatever passes for patriotism, not because he affirmed his government’s actions no matter what it said or did, not because he told other people they could “love it or leave it”, but because, like Washington and Lincoln before him, he so believed in the project of America. He believed that it is simply self-evident that all men – and now we affirm, humans – are created equal, and that all the constructed categories we make to call people different from each other can never take away from this.

It is Always the Time to Set Someone Free

It is Always the Time to Set Someone Free

First of all, I want to say how thrilled I am, and how blessed I think I am – to join you here at Princeton. I can’t wait to get to know each other personally!

August is often a slow time for hard news. Many newsmakers are vacationing, and people generally are operating at a more relaxed pace, even if they are in the office. I remember a few years ago when National Public Radio’s news hosts made quiet fun of their attempts to fill several hours of airtime. They resorted at one point to airing a long piece by the wife of one of the Morning Edition hosts on what it was like to live with a journalist who gets up for work at 2:00 A.M.

Hour of Power

Hour of Power

What would you do if Jesus Christ himself came into the town where you live, was walking down the road – your street – and was looking for a place to rest himself and do some teaching, open up the gospels to people, answer all our questions of faith? It’s easy to say that we’d do just what Martha did – she ran out into the street. She said to him, “Lord, you are welcome in our house!” Maybe she took him by the elbow and said, “Right this way!” He had a crowd following him, as always. I imagine her little living room was packed to the gills, with Jesus taking the place of honor on the most comfy chair, a few other folks getting the remaining chairs, and most people left sitting knee to knee on the dirt floor.

God is Love

God is Love

Love does not come to everyone. How fortunate are we to whom it does come. How blessed are we, how blessed are you, SJ and M, not because all will now be well, but because all – whatever becomes or befalls you – will be enriched by the love that you share, will be shared by the love that enjoins you. Love doesn’t make everything all right, but, if lived out fully, love does make everything more bearable, and that is a blessing indeed.

For those of us blessed with love comes the mandate to fulfill “works of love” (that’s Kierkegaard’s phrase) with the whole of our lives.

Give Me Understanding

Give Me Understanding

There has been one time in my own life when I was waiting to get a glimpse of someone so popular that people around me were climbing trees to get a better view. It was the summer of 1989, and I was working in Boston, while living in a Quaker boarding house on Beacon Hill. Nelson Mandela had just been released after 27 years in prison, exactly the number of years that I had been alive. I learned that he would be visiting the States and giving a talk in the public bandshell on the green in the park just down my street, along the Charles River. That Saturday morning

Epiphany

Epiphany

Star of wonder, star of light lead our minds and hearts this morning as you lead those very wise seekers so long ago that we too may arrive at a place of understanding that is simple, and holy, and with Christ. Amen.

This morning we are observing the Feast of the Epiphany, when the wise men from the east arrive at the manger. Little Jesus’ first companions are humble folk with, as our lore teaches us, clear eyes, strong faith, gentle natures and pure hearts. Last to come are the wealthy easterners – kings, as our lore teaches us – who represent the acknowledgement of Christ’s own kingship.

Easter Sermon

Easter Sermon

Did you hear it in these verses – the overwhelming part of fear in the resurrection story? I’ve only recently noticed it. Did you hear it, too? Each of the four gospels’ accounts of the resurrection of Jesus has quite a lot in common, naturally: they describe the same event! But each has, in addition, a unique perspective on that event; each lifts out for emphasis particular factual details, and these, in turn, lead to the highlighting of particular theological truths in the resurrection. My living with Matthew’s resurrec