Sam’s Sermons 2008

Making Peace with Our Spirituality PDF MP3   December 7, 2008
There are many approaches to developing one’s spiritual life. Some people pray, some sing or chant, others meditate, do Tai Chi and Yoga, some journal, some memorize poetry and contemplate it. All stimulate an inner journey to plumb the depths of our being. Part of the inner journey is making peace with what we find that will assist us in making peace in our outer journey through life.
Radical Gratitude PDF MP3   November 23, 2008
The heart of religious life is gratitude. A wonderful spiritual practice is to write down every morning five things you are grateful for. As I ponder all the things I am grateful for, my heart swells. Yet how much do we focus on what we have, rather than what we don’t have? How much of our lives do we focus on how much better life would be if (fill in the blank)? In this time of uncertainty, let us count our blessings first. Rev. Trumbore will be serving his famous organic, lactose free (and some gluten free) corn muffins as part of our yearly ritual of thanksgiving.
The Evolution of Forgiveness PDF    November 16, 2008
The rejection of traditional atonement theology has always been central to Unitarianism and Universalism. We do not look at Jesus’ death as other than an act of state terrorism with no redeeming qualities. It does not and cannot save us. Yet as social animals, we need to have a method to forgive and reconcile with each other. This need not be done in a theological framework but rather in a humanistic framework informed by evolution. Come find out how.
Making Peace with Our Politics PDF MP3   November 2, 2008
With the election just days away, rather than telling you who you should vote for as some foolish evangelical ministers have told their churches, I’d like to speak about what I see as one of the most important issues in the political campaign that doesn’t get much press. As we obsess about the economy, a much bigger world problem needs our attention. How do we use our political institutions to move the world closer to peace? Which candidate is more likely to do this?
Making Peace with Each Other MP3   October 12, 2008
Advocating for peace in the world is one thing. Making peace with our family and neighbors is yet another. Creating the reality of peace is much, much harder than thinking about making the world a more peaceful place. Thankfully there are some very effective peacemaking tools to promote more compassionate communication created by Marshall Rosenberg called, Nonviolent Communication.
Attending to Unfinished Business PDF MP3 October 5, 2008
The High Holy Days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, are a time of penitence and prayer for Jews to repent for their sins and ask God’s forgiveness. It is an auspicious time to attend to one’s unfinished business, particularly repairing relationships. Rather than bargaining one’s way into the Book of Life for another year, could attending to unfinished business prepare us for a good death? Forrest Church thinks so.
What’s Right with Islam PDF  MP3 September 28, 2008
The focus on Islamic fundamentalism has tainted our view of what is good about the Islamic religious tradition. While we may have many differences in the way we worship or the way we believe, there is much to value and affirm. As Ramadan comes to a close at the end of the month, let us honor what is right with Islam.
Making Peace with Our Planet PDF MP3 September 21, 2008
This will be the first service in a four part series on different aspects of peacemaking. One of the first and most difficult places for us to make peace is in our relationship with our natural environment. Following this service, we will dedicate our new Peace Pole to be planted by our front door.
Catching Dreams PDF MP3 September 14, 2008
Originating with the Ojibwa Nation, dream catchers were designed to protect sleeping children from nightmares by filtering out bad dreams and letting good dreams pass through. During October, our strategic planning committee will be organizing many “Dream Catcher Circles” to help collect your dreams for our congregation. What dreams will you bring?
Many Waters, One Sea MP3 September 7, 2008
The Rev.’s Kendall Gibbons and Jason Shelton wrote and put to music these words as part of Sources: A Unitarian Universalist Cantata performed at UUA General Assembly in June. If all goes as planned, we will bring the magic of that amazing performance to our service as we gather our many waters together into our one congregation after our summer adventures.
Always a Learner, Always a Teacher PDF MP3 June 1, 2008
The title of this service captures the spirit of what lifespan religious education is trying to accomplish. At every age and stage of life we can be both learners and teachers. What would our religious exploration programming look like if we tried to give everyone the opportunity to be both a learner and a teacher?
Spreading Democracy … Right Here! PDF MP3 May 18, 2008
The Bush administration has been keen to spread democracy around the world. How are we doing right here at home? How are we doing at promoting participation in the processes of government in the city and county of Albany and the State of New York? ARISE has some exciting opportunities to participate in advocating for democracy in Albany neighborhoods in the next few months. And remember members can exercise their democratic muscles by coming to our Annual Meeting after the service.
Mothers for Peace PDF MP3 May 11, 2008
What do mothers want on this holiday inspired by Unitarian Julia Ward Howe in the 1870’s? They want to end the death and destruction of their children in war. Peacemaking is a deeply religious activity all mothers appreciate. How can we return to the original peacemaking purpose for Mother’s Day?
Love Never Dies PDF MP3 March 23, 2008
Our Easter service will attempt to blend the insights and traditions of Paganism and Christianity in a joyful intergenerational service that will inspire new hope.
On Being Betrayed PDF MP3 March 16, 2008
While Judas’betrayal was likely a fabrication, as a folktale, it has tremendous power and significance. The story of the loyal disciple betraying the leader repeats itself again and again. Examining how Jesus deals with betrayal may have meaning and a message for us that is still fresh and relevant.
Living with Failure PDF MP3 March 2, 2008
Who doesn’t have to deal with failure in their lives? Yet so many of us strive to put forward a fault-free appearance. We all want to look good in the eyes of our peers. Yet in the back, in the anxiety closet, or under the bed, the failure monsters lurk. Can an appreciation of tragedy help us live with failure?
Plunging PDF  MP3 February 17, 2008
Leaping off a diving board for the first time, head and arms extended in front hoping they penetrate the water first is a powerful metaphor for being fully awake in the present moment. Zen master Roshi Bernie Glassman and his wife Sensei Eve Marko used this metaphor during a presentation for the Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fellowship Convocation in the spring of 2007. They used it to describe an unconventional yet powerful spiritual practice that can stimulate a moment of satori, or a sudden experience of enlightenment.
Negotiating Expectations PDF MP3 February 10, 2008
The promise of courtship often stumbles on the rocky reality of marriage. One of the key reasons is the expectations we bring into our relationships and then project onto our partners. Few of us negotiate those expectations before we get married because we may not even know what they are. Only when our partners fall short of them do they become glaringly obvious. It doesn’t have to be this way. Love can conquer our expectations through skillful communication.
Articulating our Unitarian Universalist Faith PDF(notes) MP3 January 27, 2008
Traditional religion has a goal of getting to heaven, nirvana, union with God, or escape from rebirth. They’re trying to escape this world of woe, to escape the reality of death. What if eternal peace wasn’t the goal of humanity but rather bringing our capacity for consciousness to the evolutionary process of life?
The Silence of Good People PDF  MP3 January 20, 2008
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from the Birmingham jail, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. ” “Non-cooperation with evil,” said Gandhi, “is as much a duty as is cooperation with good.” As we remember Dr. King let us reflect on our own silence and the exciting and powerful opportunities to speak facilitated through our congregation.
Evolutionary Enlightenment MP3 January 13, 2008
Traditional religion has a goal of getting to heaven, nirvana, union with God, or escape from rebirth. They’re trying to escape this world of woe, to escape the reality of death. What if eternal peace wasn’t the goal of humanity but rather bringing our capacity for consciousness to the evolutionary process of life?