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.

December 1, 2013

On this frosty morning we, along with sisters and brothers in Christ around the world who follow the western calendar, enter the blessed season of Advent. And for those of us who follow the Common Lectionary, our biblical texts implore us to wake from sleep.
November 17, 2013

Our biblical texts for today are so full of good news!  “Really?” you might be thinking, “that Luke passage sounds pretty dire.”  But truly – such wonderful news is here:  although life presents the worst challenges, ones that mangle our bodies, minds, and souls, we are always resting in the loving palm of God’s hand.  Through the challenges we face, God reinvents us, un-mangling our warped selves, and setting us on paths of...

November 3, 2013

I have the impression - perhaps you do too - that there is a greatly heightened emphasis in our culture now on living well.  (Or, maybe I am simply more attuned to the current fads in an ever-present emphasis on self-improvement and quality of life.)  It does seem that, for those of us who do not have to struggle to live, a significant priority is on living well.  For growing numbers of people I know, this means “detoxing” -...

October 13, 2013

“I would write,” someone said to me recently.  “I would write if I didn’t have such challenges with my work – such preoccupations.  I could find the time to do creative writing if only my job didn’t present one issue after another, demanding my attention, my time, and whatever I have left of creativity.”  I imagine that many of us can resonate with this sentiment, even if our vocation isn’t writing.  Without various pressures – ones we are certain...

October 6, 2013

Twenty-five years ago this fall, I started seminary.  I wasn’t exactly sure why I was going – I couldn’t point to a particular professional path that would come from it.  I only knew that it was the right next step in my life.  I also felt certain that I was not “ordain-able” material – that I would not become a minister.  I was sure that I wasn’t a good enough person, and that I certainly didn’t have enough faith.  Ministers are made of much better stuff...

September 22, 2013

I attended a dinner party a few nights ago with a few couples from the neighborhood where I live in Philadelphia. One of the people there is a veteran of the Vietnam War (as is my father-in-law). He was very interested to hear of my own experiences of Vietnam, which I visited in 2005, leading a student group as I do every summer to some other country. He has not been back since he was deployed there in the ‘60s.

I told him what I found: a country whose government is holding fast...

September 8, 2013

I just got back from a wonderful three-week trip with students to Thailand and Burma.  There, we joined in with young faith-based activists from all over South and Southeast Asia who were being trained in skills that would enhance their work – empowerment through deep listening, interfaith dialogue for peace building, faith and social analysis, consumerism and faith, faithful resistance to all forms of dominations, and more.  One exercise began with making us...

June 2, 2013

It was in May of 1961 that Norman O. Brown, then a professor of classics at Wesleyan University, delivered an epoch making Phi Beta Kappa address, later published in the Atlantic. Its title: “Apocalypse: The Place of Mystery in the Life of the Mind.”  

This address may be as pertinent today as it was more than half a century ago.   Hence my willingness to plagiarize his title.


May 26, 2013

One cloudless night in 1889, Vincent Van Gogh looked out the window of his sanitarium room in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France, and saw a night sky so packed full of stars, and wonder, and beauty, and cosmic power that the next day, when there was enough light to do so, he painted from memory a picture that has become one of his best known, The Starry Night.  The moon and stars are like bursts of fireworks on a dark blue background.  The artist used oil...

May 5, 2013

Many years ago, in the month of May, my seminary classmates and I were preparing to graduate.  One of them, a dear friend, was looking forward to returning home to Michigan.  She had let her denomination know that she felt called to serve a church in inner-city Detroit, hopefully one with both a Spanish-speaking congregation as well as an English-speaking one, as she was fluent in Spanish.  She was excited to minister within the roughest neighborhoods, amongst...