Princeton University Religious Life

Sermon Archive

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
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...

Sermon
November 1, 2009

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...

Sermon
October 25, 2009

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...

Sermon
October 25, 2009

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...

Sermon
October 4, 2009

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...

Sermon
September 20, 2009

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...

Sermon
September 13, 2009

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...