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What restores your soul, waters your spirit, keeps you sane and laughing (also crying)? What guides your feet and anchors you daily in gratitude, compassion and wonder? Do that. Whatever it is. Read that. Recite that. Pray that. Sing that. Find true north with that. Breathe that.
-Rev. Victoria Safford, “The Divine Hours”
Download 02-12-17-sermon pdf
Sometimes people ask about prayer. People (some of you) will call or write or come in and say, “I’m not religious. I don’t know what I believe about God. I don’t know who to pray to. I haven’t prayed in years, or ever. I don’t know what to say. It’s all a little embarrassing. I’m fine with meditation, yoga, journaling, silent retreats, speaking the names, but prayer feels really weird, ” – yet there they are, and asking about it, expressing interest, maybe longing, maybe desperate need, and so I’ll say, “Start really small. Make a little bit of time, make a little space. Breathe in, breathe out. If you are moved to speak and don’t know what to say, you could try four sentences:
In this moment, I am thankful for ___________________.
I am afraid of __________________________________.
I hope for _____________________________________.
I wonder ______________________________________.
And then breathe in and out again.”
-Rev. Victoria Safford, “Our Native Language”
Download 02-05-17-sermon pdf
“It matters how we choose to encounter transition.
In the waiting we have important work to do.
We must reflect, remember, recover
who we are and who we are not.
In the waiting we are given time to confess and repent,
to forgive and heal,
to gather our strength and courage for all that is yet to come.
In the waiting we prepare and plan,
queue up resources,
hone our skills,
negotiate connections and do everything – everything –
we can to ensure continued work
and the eventual success of an outcome
we cannot imagine and will never see.”
- Shay MacKay, “The Grace Within the Waiting”
Download 01-29-17-sermon pdf
We keep going,
we keep rising and growing –
in dry deserts longing for freedom
on mountaintops looking at a dream
in deepest oceans where water is life -
even when they turn our power down,
we go right on with the show –
we begin again,
we rise to each new day
in a garden we don’t always control
a garden where at times
it seems growth is impossible –
and still, in the harshest of conditions, we rise;
when you rise to greet the day,
we stumble out of bed and start the coffee
and see the simple invitation:
bloom where you are planted.
- Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, “We Rise”
Download 01-22-17-sermon pdf
We are on the threshold now of a terrifying moment in our country, in our world, when we will be called as never before to clarify, to testify, to a faith that sometimes even we cannot articulate. What do we believe in, and what do you believe? The answer comes in whispers, when we’re most afraid, confused, unsure, when someone’s story touches us, someone’s courage, their humanity, and we remember: we are saved by love.
-Rev. Victoria Safford, “Saved by Love”
Download 01-15-17-sermon pdf
Each day, in the common
ordinary miracles of this world –
our souls are being saved;
we are saving one another
and we are saved
by a larger love holding us all
and in every breath of life and spirit and love,
we are graced with glimpses of heaven
right here – right now.
Just outside your door,
you might just find your soul at the altar of life
you might just move out into this world
with heart open, soul open
and be stopped in your tracks
by the morning sun and birdsong
by crayons on paper and belly laughs
by a violin, a piano
by a smile, a voice,
you might just get up
and be saved.
- Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, “Are You Saved?”
Download 01-08-17-sermon pdf
Sweep away that which is unhealthy –
clear out that which is in our way –
and hold on to the things we have missed
and find their rightful place –
so that we might nourish joy and love
instead of clutter and obscurity.
Don’t ignore the mess –
but don’t let it clutter your spirit anymore –
you can’t breathe the toxic air
of misogyny, xenophobia, racism
that keeps filling our airwaves –
we can’t breath that air and stay healthy
and ready to face each new day
without knowing where to find the clean air
to renew and refresh the soul.
-Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, “A Swept Threshold”
Download 01-01-17-sermon pdf
At this time of year, in these darkening days, every ancient story we have ever heard whispers the same promise: the light will return, but you have to go and meet it. The light will come back, but you have got to kindle lights to guide it back. The light will return because you have kept an ember of it burning all along – your hope, your faith, your resistance, your resilience, your outrage, your tenderness, your love – these little lights, the lights within you and among you, are important. This is the light of the world – and darkness shall not, the darkness cannot, overcome it.
-Rev. Victoria Safford, “Light Within Light”
Download 12-11-16-sermon pdf
It starts, as so often it does,
when the table is set. The candles lit.
The stories told, the prayer offered, the food shared.
Here, at the table,
we hold what matters: love. justice. beauty. grace. resilience.
Here, we bless our work:
do justice, love mercy, walk humbly.
Here, at the feast,
many traditions are celebrated
many scriptures are read
many names give us glimpses of glory in our midst.
We become nourishment for each other.
We confess to each other how we have failed.
We encourage each other in the longings of our hearts.
And thread by thread,
we weave the fabric back together
until every table is an altar
and every meal shared is a sacrament
and every story told is one more stitch
toward something that can hold us all.
- Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, “Altared Stories”
Download 11-27-16-sermon pdf
What about the poor?
What about people who are hungry, homeless, mentally ill,
the ones for whom no place is set at our table of abundance?
What about those families, those children,
who flee poverty or war or gangs or rape or threat of death to come here,
who have no place else on this earth to go?
What about our Muslim neighbors?
What about our queer family,
so many beloveds so profoundly at risk?
What about our planet earth?
Spirit of life, beyond all names and naming,
help us to hold what matters most,
and help us hold together.
Bless the food to our use, this Thanksgiving,
and our lives to glad service.
- Rev. Victoria Safford, “Beyond All Naming”
Download 11-20-16-sermon pdf