Princeton University Religious Life

Love Thy Roommate

Love Thy Roommate

It’s an exciting time at Princeton University. The future great class of 2013 is arriving and the campus is alive with new students eagerly finding their way around campus, trailed by parents, some of whom are slightly less than eager to leave their children behind. I wish I could say that it reminded me of when I first headed off to college, but when the time came for me to leave for school, my parents, who had already shepherded three older siblings to schools from Washington State to Massachusetts casually suggested I catch a ride with a friend. But putting my

Crowned With Glory and Honor

Crowned With Glory and Honor

On Friday morning, as I was procrastinating about writing this sermon, a funny coincidence happened (or maybe a nudge from God to just start writing!) The Arts section of the New York Times was on the top of the newspaper pile on the kitchen table and its lead article was a review of a new movie based on… the Book of Job! The main character’s name isn’t Job; it’s Larry, Larry Gopnik, and he’s living in Minnesota in 1967, teaching physics, when his life falls completely apart, even though he’s a totally great guy about whom not a negative word could be said. The movie is called, “A Serious Guy,” and it is by the Coen brothers. I wonder if Larry, like his biblical counterpart, will reject the idea that being a good person is any kind of protection from the awful things of life.

Clothed with Strength and Dignity

Clothed with Strength and Dignity

Our appointed text for the day from the Book of Proverbs is something of a lightning rod! There are folks who think it’s wonderful, others who find it harmful, some who think they should be discomfited by it and others who are determined not to be. The passage was, of course, written in a certain context. As one (appreciative) biblical scholar has noted, the Book of Proverbs was written as a primer for elite young men in ancient Israelite society – a practical and moral guide to living ethically and well. Our passage for today is a poe

All Saints Day

All Saints Day

On Thursday night I went to a haunted house in New York City. Loser that I am, I couldn’t convince anyone to go with me, so I went on my own, determined to have an experience of the Halloween spirit. Well, it was exactly as you imagine – silly, not particularly scary, but with a lot of actors dressed as vampires and crazy people popping out from around corners to startle the patrons - but still, I was happy to have gone.

To keep the Halloween spirit going I walked in the Halloween day parade in Greenwich Village last night as part of a puppet representation of Terra Incognita. The concept was taken from old maps of the wide unknown ocean.

A Gift Prepared for Us

A Gift Prepared for Us

As an undergraduate, I was an active Chapel Deacon. There had not been crucifers prior to my day, and I got to be the first of those. I have been able to fill that role at a few of my reunions as well, and it is always a great thrill. Certainly, however, I never thought that I would have the opportunity to occupy this distinguished pulpit. It is a delight to get to do so. I am honored and humbled to be here this morning, and I thank Dean Boden for her gracious invitation.

Will you pray with me.

Wasting the Soil

Wasting the Soil

When I first consulted my Bible to see the texts appointed for today’s sermon, I was taken aback. My Bible has headings – brief titles – before each section. The title for this morning’s Gospel passage is “Repent or Perish.” As a preacher, I’ve been described in many ways, but “Prophet of Doom” has never been one of them. Fortunately for me (but most of all for you!) our Gospel text is so much more subtle, so much more grace-filled, than one modern-day editor’s three word inserted heading.

Emperor Of All The World

Emperor Of All The World

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.” All the world! Wow – this one man, Augustus, has power over all the world! Well – not quite. He was Caesar, the ruler of the Roman Empire; it was massive, and it must have encompassed all of the world known to the Evangelist Luke, who wrote these words. All around the Mediterranean and spreading through Europe went the power of this man, this Caesar. He was Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, given the honorific of Augustus, meani

Sticking With It

Sticking With It

The last year has brought hardship to many people, as we all are aware, because of the financial meltdown. In the last several weeks employees of this University have learned the details about staff reductions here, and it has been painful for everyone, especially those affected directly by layoffs, time and salary reductions, and office reorganizations. Last Sunday during this service we announced a program we were offering the next day for staff called “Space for Grace,” a time to reflect, pray, share feelings, and be strengthened by community. I hope th

True Kingship

True Kingship

During the summer of 2004, I had the privilege, as I think did some others in this sanctuary, of attending the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Barcelona. After that conference ended, I took a little day trip; I took the train about an hour or so to the city of Tarragona. I had read in a guide book that it had a beautiful, ancient, original section. I had a wonderful day there – walking, exploring, eating. The old section of town had narrow, cobbled streets whose buildings seemed to lean towards one another across the road, second story to second story. The

Mark 10:46-52

Mark 10:46-52

A number of years ago I was living in New York City, going through the motions of finding work as an actress by day and proofreading documents at a major corporate law firm by night. I was involved in a church. I had a lot of friends. Manhattan was a great place to enjoy food and theater, adventure and life. As time went on, I felt an urgeto get a little more involved in my church. I felt a pull to be of service, particularly to foreign students at Columbia University there in the neighborhood, so I began to be a volunteer conversation