Princeton University Religious Life

Sermon Archive

2007-08 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.

January 21, 2008

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...

January 6, 2008

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...

December 24, 2007
Here we are again – it is Christmas Eve. Here we are again, brought to the side of the manger, whether we are ready to be here or whether we are not. Whether we have gotten everything done for work or Christmas, or whether we have not. Whether our spirits are ready to engage in the Christmas story, or whether they are not. Here we are again on Christmas Eve, no matter where the last 12 months have taken us, perhaps a great sadness, hopefully not a tragedy;...
December 16, 2007

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...

December 2, 2007

So, here we are again in the season of Advent, the season of repentance and of hope unleashed and wild – on the loose! A time to let it all hang out, in terms of our audacity, our outrageous assertion that the time is coming soon when the violent and the defenseless, the fanged and the toothless of the world, can relax together and neither need worry. Here we are again at the time of year when, as people of faith, we take inventory of all the world’s injustices,...

November 4, 2007

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...

November 2, 2007

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...

October 14, 2007

“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to God on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” This the prophet Jeremiah writes from Judah to his fellow Jews who are in exile in Babylon. They’ve been forcibly uprooted from their homes. They are many miles away. They are separated from their culture, their temple and geographical heart of their faith, they are separated from people they love – family members...

October 7, 2007

While in high school I once came across the famous quote from Archimedes, the great scientist of Syracusa in classical antiquity: “Give me a standing place and I will move the world.”  I resonated with it so strongly – if I could have a platform of some kind, if I could have the necessary conditions (health, money, the right degree or other accreditation, whatever) – I could move the world. It’s not a boastful decree at any age but the yearning of many...

September 23, 2007

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...