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.

November 1, 2015

            It is All Saints Day, so let’s reflect together upon the saints, upon sainthood, for those officially recognized as saints, those who could or should be, those humble folks we’ve known who never will be thus recognized, and let’s even reflect upon ourselves!

October 18, 2015

I must begin this sermon with a spoiler alert.  If any of you are accompanying young (or not so young!) people to whose house the tooth fairy still visits, you may want to distract those persons for the next 30 seconds.

October 4, 2015

There are, as you may know, two very different accounts of creation in the opening chapters of Genesis.  The first is the beautiful, liturgical language that we know so well of the six days, or stages, of creation: “and there was evening and there was morning, the third day.” In that version of creation human beings are created in one act, in the image of God, “male and female” says the text.  A second account of creation begins in the middle of the fourth verse of chapter...

September 20, 2015

We are in our second week of lectionary readings from the Letter of James.  This is a letter, as you may know, that was dismissed with insults by Martin Luther, who saw it as proclaiming that good works are salvific, when Mr.

September 13, 2015

When I was a freshman in college my mother gave me a poetry textbook that she had had in college, and I’ve enjoyed it constantly since.  One of the poems I first cottoned on to is by Carl Sandburg, and it reads:

“Look out how you use proud words.

When you let proud words go, it is not easy to call them back.

They wear long boots, hard hats; they walk off proud; they can’t hear you calling –

Look out how you...

May 17, 2015

Do you want to be happy?   I hope your answer is “yes.”  The healthy answer is, “Yes.”  We should all want to be happy.  We should all pursue happiness most vigorously; it should be the goal of our lives.  “Happy,” begins the first word of the first Psalm : “Happy.”  It’s a Psalm that ancient texts don’t even give a title to.  It’s a kind of preface, an introduction into the whole of the Psalms, and it begins, “Happy.” 

May 3, 2015

Our story from the Book of Acts is from a time in the life of the apostles when they have left Jerusalem in order to bring the gospel to non-Jews as well as Jews.  They began in Samaria, and it was there that an angel told Philip simply to start walking – walking or riding an animal or anything – but to head in the direction of the far side of Jerusalem along the road that goes down to Gaza on the Mediterranean coast.  He goes.  He isn’t told why to go, but he must...

April 5, 2015

Easter begins in the dark, in the quiet, before roosters and dogs begin to make their noise – no light, not a sound.  Three women get up in the dark and assemble the collection of spices that they had bought the evening before, as soon as the Sabbath had ended.  When dawn breaks, they start to make their way to the cave where their friend’s broken corpse was placed.  Three days after his execution, their spices are not going to do any good; the stench of death and decay will overpower any...

March 15, 2015

Last week, our guest preacher, Ernesto Cortés Jr., spoke also at the lunch that followed, and those of us who were there heard him quote a writer who said, “It took one day to get the Hebrews out of Egypt; it took forty years to get Egypt out of the Hebrews.”  How true.  The text appointed for today from the First Testament shows us just one example of how the people, liberated from their slavery under Pharaoh, still had Pharaoh lodged inside them.  They are free.  They are being...

March 1, 2015

On this second Sunday in Lent, we proceed deeper and deeper into God, into Christ, and perhaps most challengingly - into ourselves.  We examine ourselves - our sinfulness, pride, our integrity and honor - and we strive to align all that is within ourselves, the worthy and the wrong, with the teachings and ethics of Christ.  It is hard work - we’ve made our peace with so many personal shortcomings rather than face them down.  We decide that they are somehow actually...