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.

February 21, 2015

Good afternoon.

Dean Boden and President Eisgruber, thank you for your welcome to my husband Home and myself.

February 15, 2015

Are you a person who has had a religious experience?  Have you, perhaps, seen an angel, heard the voice of God or Christ, woken in the night certain that the Holy Spirit was hovering, lovingly, next to your bed?  Have you had some kind of experience that, it is clear to you, was a holy sign?  Was it something you saw, or that was said to you?  Was it a near-death experience?

February 8, 2015

Do you talk to different people about the same thing in different ways?  I do.  To a colleague who has asked my opinion on something, I might say, “The resources and potential of both budget and audience mean that your programmatic idea is probably untenable.”   To a child who is trying to wrap a present with a too-small piece of paper (this is a true example from the recent holidays), I might say the exact same thing, although in different words: “I don’t think that’s going to work...

December 24, 2014

J. Robert Oppenheimer once said, “The best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.” I don’t know if that theoretical physicist, leader of the Manhattan Project and, later, director of our Institute for Advanced Study would ever dream that words of his would headline a Christmas Eve sermon, but there you go!
December 14, 2014

Almost 3,000 years ago, a bedraggled group of refugees returned to their war-torn home. Today, millions wish that they could have that good luck - that they could go home even to rubble, to ruins - that they could simply go home to what remains of neighborhoods in Syria, Israel, and Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rakhine state in Burma, Tibet, North Korea, tribal lands in the United States, villages in Somalia, South Sudan, Congo, parts of Finland that now are...

November 30, 2014

Perhaps you remember the old, joke bumper sticker: “Jesus is coming—look busy!” It was a snarky retort to another, very serious bumper sticker about Christ’s imminent return. On this first Sunday of Advent, I would like both to commend, and amend, the jokey message: “Jesus is coming: get busy!” Don’t look busy—Jesus isn’t some distracted boss who could walk towards your cubicle at any minute so you’d better...

November 16, 2014

            This last week saw the death of John Doar, a member of the great Princeton class of 1944.  He was, as you may know, an attorney from Wisconsin who became the chief lawyer for the Justice Department’s civil rights division.  He rode with the Freedom Riders in 1961.  He escorted James Meredith as Meredith integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962; he then lived in Mr.

October 19, 2014

           A few years ago, a student group here at Princeton came to me to seek co-sponsorship for a program they were organizing on campus.  It was a speaker whose topic would be hurtful to many students, reifying their oppression, and the prejudice and misunderstanding that they face on campus (particularly from this student group) and in society.  The students who wanted the Office of Religious Life to co-sponsor their program said to me, “Prove to us that you are fair -and...

October 12, 2014

            We’ve all had it happen to us - someone tells us they’re going to do something, and then they don’t.  We tell the kids to clean their room; they say they will, and it doesn’t happen.  We ask a colleague if they want to help produce a project; they say yes, but never lift a finger to do any work on it.  We can reach an agreement with a fellow student to partner on an assignment, but find that we’re doing it all on our own.  We enter covenants with other people - formal ones...

September 21, 2014

I almost titled this sermon, “Stop Your Whining,” because both of our texts for today involve people who think that what they’re experiencing is so much less than what they deserve.  What kind of God leads them to a supposed freedom that turns out to be a desert where they’re hungry and thirsty all the time?  How can it be okay that a landowner pays the same daily wage to a guy who starts working at 9 a.m.