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
Hold what you believe in. Take a breath and find it. Hold it in your mind. Hold a picture of our sanctuary, filled with people, filled with light, and know that we’re all holding you. Hold what you believe in like a chalice of light before your eyes, and travel on toward it, as you go to class or work or go to lunch or on the bus. Everywhere you go, take a breath, and with new resolve, hold what matters most.
- Rev. Victoria Safford, “Keep On Keeping On”
Download 11-13-16-sermon pdf
This is no moment to bail out and no moment for despair, because if we give up, then truly all is lost. This is a moment for people of faith (I’m talking about liberal faith – small l – the progressive, open, free-faith tradition, Unitarian Universalists and many, many others, people planted on the side of love) – this is a moment for people of faith to rise up and show up and speak out, not just on Tuesday, but on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and all the days ahead of us, the four years and more years stretching out in front of us, and in front of our children. Election Day is the beginning of the struggle, not the end. We must not be dis-couraged, must not let our courage be crushed. We need to re-gather our vision, re-collect our story, reconstitute our confidence in the country that is our country.
-Rev. Victoria Safford, “American Gospel”
Download 11-06-16-sermon pdf
I am mindful of my abject indebtedness,
my defining indebtedness,
to other people, living and dead,
who have left a trace upon me.
It’s as if we’re made not of skin and bone,
rigidly encased, but clay, just as the old Bible story said.
We’re made of soft material,
not completely hardened in the kiln,
and we are shaped and formed,
by every meaningful encounter.
People leave their marks on us.
We carry them with us therefore,
all the ones we’ve loved and lost,
and all the ones still living.
The ancient ones believed
the veil between the worlds is thin
at Samhain, Halloween;
I think it always is.
- Rev. Victoria Safford, “Carrying My Buckets”
Downloads 10-30-16-sermon pdf
There are ways of the heart
that move among humans, I believe, as water moves:
under the surface, often invisible,
connecting us to those who came before
and those who will come after, and to one another.
Covenants are lifelines that anchor us in time and space,
and bind us to each other, to the earth, and God.
These ways of the heart are woven by hand,
and we spend our whole lives checking the lines,
repairing frayed places,
braiding in new threads of wisdom when they come,
attending to loose ends.
Covenants are the lifelines that hold us steady,
hold us together and hold us accountable;
they keep us on the path we mean to travel
and remind us where we mean to go.
- Rev. Victoria Safford, “Ways of the Heart”
Download 10-23-16-sermon pdf
Is our “we” large enough
to break us out of our individual silos
to realize that our well-being is dependent
on the well-being of the whole?
And that sometimes it is important for us to name
our own complicity – our own participation in
the structures of oppression – and confess
somebody’s hurting my sibling,
and it’s gone on – far too long
yes it’s gone on – far too long
I tell you it’s gone on – far too long.
And we won’t, we can’t, be silent anymore.
- Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, “It Begins by Saying ‘We’”
Download 10-16-16-sermon pdf
There are a thousand little things
each day, if we but notice, to sing about -
because living in this ever-expanding universe
and living into those simple moments of the miraculous
called out a song from our ancestors
and made them want to sing, too –
their own song and the songs of their people -
to join hands and travel together
to over and over again
by each tiny act of compassion
and each brief moment of beauty
and each simple word of hope
flip the world
by flipping us, heart by heart,
because none of us can tell if tomorrow will be that day
where hope and history rhyme.
- Rev. Luke Stevens-Royer, “Only Music Keeps Us Here”
Download 10-09-16-sermon pdf