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.

October 24, 2010

Sometimes tragedy wakes people up. Sometimes. The tragedy of 9/11 woke some Americans –slammed to our knees in despair – to notice that so many in the world are always on their knees –subjected to violence, to grief, or constant hunger and immiseration. That tragedy woke some to understanding what truly to value in their lives. I think of the first responder in Lower Manhattan who encountered a businessman who looked aimless and stunned...

October 17, 2010

What Jesus says is, of course, important! “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing,” he says. He had just emerged, according to the Evangelist Luke, just emerged from the wilderness and his temptations by the devil there. His encounter with evil had only made him stronger. He immediately goes to his hometown of Nazareth – he will commence his ministry at home – his first public utterance is to read from Isaiah, and his first unscripted/unscriptured word is “today.” [Fred...

September 26, 2010

A little over a year ago a British politician (I don’t remember who) announced that, in the morass of the global economic freefall, there were now “green shoots” beginning to appear - after many months of financial devastation, a few sprouts of new life were coming up in the economic wasteland of grey brambles. It was a phrase that was picked up by many people in a number of countries - it was an idea that all certainly wanted to be true, but more so it was...

September 12, 2010

Each summer, my family looks forward to having some weeks of vacation time, all together, in beautiful Downeast Maine. On the first Saturday of August each year, the little white clapboard Congregational church that we attend there has its annual Church Fair. It is a much anticipated event by many in the region, particularly for its renowned yard sale. Bargains galore! It opens at 8:00 a.m.

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...