Princeton University Religious Life

Sermon Archive

2009-10 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.

Sermon
May 30, 2010

“I never saw it coming!” Those are the words with which I opened my remarks for my biography for the 50th reunion of the class of 1960 – to be added to other people’s remarks and memories and reflections. “I never saw it coming!” That summed up the last 50 years for me. So much has happened in my life that I never would have dreamed would happen, never guessed.

Freshman year, 1956, I sat over there, having just joined the Chapel Choir. But I was singing in the choir only because I...

Sermon
April 18, 2010

A woman sits quietly at the back of a church. She’s come a few times before. Her heart and spirit are agitated. She fights back tears for a while, then gives in to them and lets them run down her cheeks. Maybe she feels loved for the first time. Maybe what she’s hearing at last makes spiritual sense. Maybe she feels forgiven. Maybe she feels she can forgive herself. When the pastor later invites forward all people who want to commit themselves to Christ, she comes...

Sermon
April 11, 2010

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...

Sermon
April 4, 2010

It is the Day of Resurrection. God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The power of death is blasted away. Heaven is opened; new life is opened to us all. No longer will the fear of death keep us from living life to the fullest. The life that really is life is ours for the grasping. The love of God is the strongest force in the universe. What have we left to worry about? At the end of our days is an eternity of blessing - enjoyed right now by the ones we love...

Sermon
March 7, 2010

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,...

Sermon
February 21, 2010

The weeks and months of our lives move forward. Inexorably they move ; there is nothing we can do to make time literally go faster or to slow it down. I think back with regret over periods of my life that were too, too busy and very stressed, times in which I was prompted to wish time away – to want to fast-forward, times when I paid lip service to what was going on around me in order to keep my eye on the harried line, hold out for the end of the...

Sermon
February 7, 2010

I find that the writer Fred Buechner is often able to describe Biblical stories with such freshness that I get a new understanding and a new feeling for the text after reading his interpretation. So I begin by sharing with you his telling of the call of Isaiah:

“There were banks of candles flickering in the distance and clouds of incense thickening the air with holiness, and stinging his eyes, and high above him, as if it had always been there but was only now seen for what it was (...

Sermon
January 10, 2010

What a glorious outpouring of holy love do we read about in our Bible passages for today – God’s bottomless love for Israel, God’s claiming of the newly baptized Jesus as beloved. I read each of these texts as a reminder of God’s bottomless love for all humanity. I could preach multiple sermons on why I believe this to be true, but let me get back to that briefly at the end of this sermon, and more substantively on other mornings. I’d like to reflect now on Israel...

Sermon
December 24, 2009

“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...

Sermon
November 8, 2009

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...