Sermon: Lighten Up

woman-poor-laughter“Lighten Up!”

(January 22, 2017) Sometimes we take ourselves far too seriously! Although we never want to use humor to hurt or demean anyone, laughter can often heal and uplift. Even the Biblical matriarch, Sarah, demonstrates several kinds of laughter: from disbelief and laughter at the impossible or painful, to the laughter of joy and hope. (Isaiah 9:1-4; Genesis 18: 1-4, 9-15, 21: 1-6)

As if to illustrate the point, I had numerous technical problems with this recording. The source recording and volume changes a couple of times throughout. It is especially poor at the beginning and so the first minute or so is taken off a different mic and sounds really far away. Sorry about that!

Sermon: Charms to Soothe

violinist-1414501“Charms to Soothe”

(January 15, 2017) Music can lift our mood, center us or grab our attention, and convey the deep range of emotion of the human experience. Is it possible that Jesus, who embodied that full range of human experience, can be found in just about any kind of music? What music has charms to soothe your inner self? (Psalm 40, Matthew 3:13-17)


Here is the playlist of music, suggested by Lebanon UMC:

Artists/Genres: Classical music * Cello * George Winston * Leary (Irish music) * Mark Miller * Taylor Swift * DMX * Beatles * Green Day * Heart * Linda Ronstadt * David Bowie * Foo Fighters * Celtic Women * Natalie Grant * Casting Crowns * Rascal Flatts * Indigo Girls * Libana * lots of hymns! * my own songs

Specific Songs: Miserere Mei (Albioni) * Happy (Williams) * Jesus, Take the Wheel (Underwood) * All You Need is Love (Beatles) * Don’t Worry, Be Happy (McFarrin) * Faith, (Michael) * Imagine (Lennon) * You There (Aquilo) * I Will Wait (Mumford & Sons) * Summertime (Fresh Prince) * In a Gadda da Vita (Iron Butterfly) * One of Us; Crazy Baby (Osborne) * Heal the World; Man in the Mirror (Jackson) * 500 Miles (Peter, Paul & Mary) * Alleluia (Cohen, lang) * Big Bad John (Dean) * Tomorrow (Annie) * Bridge over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel) * Count My Blessings (Crosby) * Put on a Happy Face (Van Dyke) * Gathered Safely In (Taraz) * Have you Talked to the Man Upstairs (Ford) * Grand Canyon Suite * Lord I Just Had to Pray * Mary Did You Know? * Be Not Afraid * From a Distance * Somebody Bigger than You and I * Brighten Your Corner where You Are * There’s a Quiet Understanding* Give Yourself to Love * Teach Your Children Well * Baptism of Fire * Pachelbel’s Canon

Sermon: Flip the Switch

lantern-3-small“Flip the Switch”

(January 8, 2017) Just as the dark and cold of the winter season can cause our bodies to feel sluggish, isolated, and even depressed, being disconnected from God causes a kind of “spiritual affective disorder.” We are encouraged to stretch and develop our spiritual practices, to reconnect with God, and reflect and bear God’s light in the world. (Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12)

Series: Spiritual Affective Disorder

lantern-3-smallDoes the winter have you down already? Feeling in the dark?

Maybe it’s time to let in a little Light!

No laughing matter, Seasonal Affective Disorder impacts anywhere from 10-25% of the adult population in the United States, in forms ranging from mild to severe. The lack of sunlight, combined with prolonged time indoors away from the cold, can impair a person’s mood, energy level, and functioning.

Similarly, the lack of spiritual engagement and activity can leave us feeling lethargic, listless, and unhappy with ourselves and the world around us. Living lives that are overcrowded and busy, or uncertain and even disturbing, causes a kind of “Spiritual Affective Disorder.”

Now, at the turn of the year, we will explore everyday activities that can bolster our practical and spiritual lives, infusing light, hope, faith, and activity even into the midst of the cold and dark of a New England winter. By deepening our spiritual practices, perhaps we can bring a re-ordering to this dis-order, shed a little light on the situation, and navigate both the season and the life of the Spirit in ways that generate hope and health.

Each week, we will also be invited to use a take-home spiritual practice to try throughout the week. The try-this-at-home aspect of this series seeks to deepen our spiritual lives, and gives each of us the opportunity to reflect on which spiritual practices might nourish and sustain us.

Join us for worship this January and February season, and treat yourself and your Spiritual Affective Disorder to some light and love.

Sermons & Actions in this series: 
January 8 – Flip the Switch
Try at home: find time each day to light a candle and reflect (on) the Light.
January 15 – Charms to Soothe
Try at home: listen to some music that feeds your soul (some suggestions provided).
January 22 – Lighten Up!
Try at home: do something just for fun!
January 29 – Make My Day
Try at home: make someone else’s day with a random act of kindness.
February 5 – Altars, Altars Everywhere
Try at home: create an altar or sacred space in your home.
February 12 – Leave Room for Dessert
Try at home: fast from excess so you can give more– clean out a closet or buy a little extra and donate something (non-perishable offerings received at church 2/19) Pastor Becca is away on a mission exploration trip this week. 
February 19 – Walk This Way
Try at home: move your body! Dance, walk, snowshoe, or ski. Join us after church today for a group walk!
February 26 – Get Up and Do Not Be Afraid
Try at home: make or find a motivational poster, mantra, or motto for yourself. Pastor Becca is away on family vacation this week. 

Sermon: The Only Constant

tradition-main“The Only Constant”

(December 4, 2016) During the time of the Prophet Isaiah and the time of John the Baptist, the people heard a voice crying out to prepare God’s way. Maybe it’s not that this voice, this call is constant, but that the deeper longing is constant: the longing for a God who dwells with humanity. The longing for God-With-Us. (Matthew 3:1-12; Isaiah 40:1-11)

Sermon: Reclaiming Tradition

tradition-main

“Reclaiming Tradition”

(November 27, 2016) When King Josiah and his people discovered the Word of God, buried in the Temple, they knew it was time to recommit to the faith of the past. Sometime, the Word of God is hidden in the rubble of old traditions and crumbled lives, and it’s up to us to dust it off, reclaim it, and let it reclaim us. (2 Kings 22: 1-10; 23:1-3)

Series: Tradition!

tradition-mainThe seasons of Advent and Christmas are filled with tradition—the traditions of ancient peoples, the traditions of the Christian church, the traditions of our own families. In our worship and life together this season, we will dig deeply into those traditions, and explore the life and love they carry. How did the Hebrew people preserve and teach their traditions throughout a long history of yearning for God, of drawing close and falling away?  How was Jesus the fulfillment of the traditions of his people, and what does it mean when traditions are born into something completely new?

And then there are the traditions that we learn, or make, or keep. Maybe your family has a special practice or an honored prayer. Maybe you decorate with particular ornaments or sing specific songs. Maybe there’s a family recipe, a treasured heirloom, a part of the holiday or the celebration or the worship service that is everything Christmas to you. How do these traditions carry the weight and the importance of all our rich history? How are they little fulfillments of God’s promise and presence in the birth of Christ?

This season, let us explore together the gifts of our traditions, and let us look for the ways in which God is bringing something new to life in the midst of the old, old story. Let us be shaped by the stories we learn and teach, and by how they are made new again. Are we ready to see a tradition be re-born among us? How does the ancient truth find new life each generation through the passing down and the celebration of Tradition?

Sermons in this series: 
November 27 – Reclaiming Tradition
December 4 – The Only Constant
December 11 – Sacred Foundations
(December 18 will be the children’s pageant)
December 24 – Old Truth, Newly Born
January 1 – Start a New Tradition