About “Markingsmass: a Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation”

Dag Hammarskjold was Secretary General of the United Nations when he died in a plane crash in Africa in 1961 while on a peace-keeping mission. Widely admired for his performance in that role, he was rewarded posthumously with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Distinguished as his diplomatic career was, it has been equaled remarkably in public interest in a very different sphere—that of Christian spirituality–by the publication of Markings, a sort of diary or journal published after his death. It has remained in print since the 1960’s and is generally considered one of the great Christian devotional classics of the twentieth century, frequently compared with the works of St. Augustine, Pascal, Merton and other important Christian writers.

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MARKINGSMASS – A Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation

Based on excerpts from Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings

Our work of peace must begin with the private world of each one of us. To build for man a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice we must be just. And how can we fight for liberty if we are not free in our own minds? Dag Hammarskjold

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While Preachers Dutifully Ponder the Doctrine of the Trinity, Our Congregations Shrink???

On Trinity Sundays, mindful of the fact that trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity usually leads to heresy: dusty theological books that have not seen the light of day since last Trinity Sunday have been poured over to ensure that the formula’s learned in seminary are repeated correctly and heresy scrupulously avoided.

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What term of endearment do you use when you whisper sweet nothings in the ear of this God that you love?

a sermon on John 3:1-17 – Lent 2A

If you find yourself, where I have been so many times, wondering, questioning, doubting, do not be afraid to go into the darkness and gestate. In the womb-like love of our Creator re-birth happens over and over and over again. Whether it’s El Shaddai, the Breasted ONE, El Shekinah, God the all powerful, God Beyond Knowing, God the MYSTERY that Allures, Jesus who walks with us, and talks with us, along life’s narrow ways, LOVER of us ALL, God Almighty, the ONE who IS, Was, and EVER more shall be, LOVE, Beloved, and LOVE itself, all our terms of endearment pale in comparison to the reality that is BEYOND words.

May the ONE who continues to beckon us with the steadfast dedication of a lover, continue inspire passion in you. NOW and ALWAYS, Amen.

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Easter? It’s Up to You!

Think for a minute about what you admire most about the life of Jesus. He was a person of profound compassion, bringing good news to the poor and healing to the brokenhearted. He reached out to everyone who had been wounded by life, including those who had been wounded by organized religion. He transcended ethnicity, race, religion, gender and status in society. Instead of judgment, he brought understanding. Instead of revenge, he brought forgiveness. And in the face of power, he brought courage for justice and fairness and respect for all people. Most of all, he brought a profound sense of hope, believing that betrayal and violence do not have the last word. Nor do our personal disappointments and heartaches. As long as love beats inside the human heart, then a new humanity is possible. That’s the Easter message we celebrate today.

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A Buddhist fascinated with Christianity and a Christian fascinated with Buddhism meet on the bonnie banks: a sermon on the Road to Emmaus

We were a strange lot, gathered together by chance. Each of us backpacking our way through Europe in search of adventure. “By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes, Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond.” We met on the train to Fort William and we were headed on foot to the Youth Hostel at Rowardennan on the shores of Loch Lomond.

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Resistance

  Ok, first thing: would all the perfect people here please raise your hands – ok, you’re excused. You’ve earned your automatic A; and you certainly don’t need to sit here listening to someone try to explain …

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Humpty Dumpty, Doubting Thomas, and Resurrection – John 20:19-31 – Easter 2A

Do I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life ever lasting? The truth is, that like Saint Thomas, I too have questions. Do I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life ever lasting? I have experienced the Risen Christ in the body of Christ that is the church. I believe that Christ has no hands but our hands, for we are the body of Christ. Christ lives through us, just as surely as Christ lived through those who first believed in things not yet seen. So, in the presence of such a great crowd of witnesses, with all the saints of every time and place, I can say, “Yes, I believe!”

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The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene

  Mary Magdalene was the first person, male or female, to witness the empty tomb…the first to see angels who reported the resurrection…the first to hear the voice of, and see, the risen Christ…and the first to …

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Trading Our Palm Branches for Tomahawk Missiles or White Helmets? – a Palm Sunday sermon

  In the wake of a week that saw sarin gas released once again on the people of Sryria, followed by the firing of U.S. tomahawk missiles, parading around waving Palm Branches seems as foolish as it …

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Good Friday Sermons

Holy Week marks a sharp uptick in visitors to this blog. In comments, messages, and emails I hear from fellow preachers who, like me, are daunted by the task of preparing the Good Friday sermon. That task is even more daunting for those of us who serve progressive communities. My fellow progressive-christian-preachers tell me of the dearth of progressive-christian Good Friday sermons to be found on the internet and encourage me to re-post my own attempts to rise to the occasion. So, here are the links to some of the Good Friday sermons I have preached over the years of my journey with the progressive community that I serve.

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OMG: God Is Beyond Cause and Effect – a sermon for Lent 4A – John 9:1-41

When I was a child, the word God was one of those words that adults either used in vain or in hushed tones. Outbursts of anger always included the word God. Strange and mysterious circumstances often resulted in the word God being used in hushed tones. I remember the very first movie I was ever taken to see. Bambi may have been a Disney movie, but when the shot that killed Bambi’s mother rang out, as far as my mother was concerned, I broke one of the ten commandments when I shouted, “Oh my God.” Mom warned me that when we got home there would be dire consequences for this offence which confused me to no end, because before the movie began, they did what they always did in back in the 1960’s, they played, “God save the Queen” as we all stood to attention. God’s name being sung out incurred no dire consequences.

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Courage in a Dark Time

Dear God, help us to welcome our fears and respond with caring and courage as individuals and as a community. Dear Jesus, we would like to be a community you would be proud of as we struggle to live up to your inspiration and follow your guidance. Dear Spirit, help us build the heart to heart bonds so that we can trust our way into being in this together.

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What a Joke: These Stories Never Actually Happened! – a sermon for the First Sunday in Lent

Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Matthew 4:1-11

Each year as Lent approaches, I find myself flirting with the idea of giving up Lent for Lent. Lent is just too much work. For centuries, during Lent the church has emphasized so many concepts that seem alien to the 21st century mind. Each year during Lent preachers are required to undertake the unenviable task of unpacking unpopular, seemingly antiquated concepts in an effort to encourage the contemporary churchgoer to entertain the equally antiquated rituals of Lent. I mean Christmas and Easter might attract a few more people to our sanctuary, but how do you attract people with talk about repentance or fasting? Just look at our readings for this morning. Temptation is the order for toady. Eve and Adam succumbing to temptation, the Apostle Paul prattling on, heaping condemnation upon the first parents for having given in to temptation, and then Jesus himself resisting temptation from non-other than the Devil. Not exactly cheery stuff designed to bring comfort on a cold damp winter morning, where apart from the time change, there are very few signs of a longed for spring.

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On Ash Wednesday, Let Us Revel in the Knowledge that We are Dust and to Dust We Shall Return

On Ash Wednesday, we dare to speak the truth. We speak the truth not in the refreshing light of the morning but in the cold darkness of a winter’s night. We are dust and to dust we shall return. We will die. We are mortal beings and so our lives will end. Our culture has taught us to deny death. Even our funerals have become celebrations of life. But life without the reality of death is lived cheaply, shallowly, in a half-sleep always pushing away and denying reality. So, on Ash Wednesday let us revel in the knowledge that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Revel in this knowledge because it liberates us!

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Christian Faith and Political Governance of Economy

  Sermon for Seekers Church for November 6th, 2016   The Call Statement of Seekers says that citizenship matters. This is a sermon concerning Christian faith grounding for citizenship. This is the worst presidential campaign I remember …

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Jesus, Gandhi, and MLK – A Very Salty Trio: a sermon for Epiphany 5A

  Rereading this sermon from 2014, I am struck by the power of Jesus, Gandhi, and MLK’s saltiness to address our current need for seasoning! In the wake of the tragedy at the Islamic Cultural Centre in …

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It’s not about a messiah, it is about each one of us working together to overcome the things that separate us! – a sermon on the birthday of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

It’s not about a messiah, it is about each one of us working together to overcome the things that separate us! – a sermon on the birthday of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

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