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Category Archives: Sermons

How shall we live?

As my older sister, Kathy, was approaching her 50th birthday she held a series of parties. I think the first gathering was billed as a book party. In preparation, she emptied her shelves and spread books all around the house. At the end of the evening, guests were free to leave with as many books as they could carry. The next party featured her pottery.

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 Discerning the Body

 If I understand the plan correctly, next week Vicki and Bart Phillips will bring their infant son, Hank, to be baptized. Always, I am moved when parents decide to bring their children to the font. It takes courage to acknowledge that your child does not, in fact, belong to you. It takes hope to ask a vast community of strangers to help raise that child.

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The Wilderness Way

I once heard someone say that you shouldn’t raise any questions in a sermon that you aren’t prepared to answer. That statement still baffles me. I wouldn’t know where to begin, if not with questions. And this is exactly where I want to bring them: to other people who are hungry for a word from God and who have come to study, pray, to wrestle

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Love’s Court

  On Tuesday the 5th I made my first hospital visit in Chapel Hill. Elizabeth and I went together. Emily Thomas had fallen, broken a hip and dislocated her shoulder. She gave me permission to share a bit of our visit with you.  In spite of her discomfort and the uncertainty about where she would be headed for rehab, one of Emily’s primary concerns was

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A Meal to Remember

Exodus 12:1-14, 26-27 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC September 10, 2017             Last week Kate preached from the third chapter of Exodus; today we pick up in chapter twelve.  I’ll ask your indulgence for a moment as I attempt to cover the ground of those nine intervening chapters before reading today’s lesson.  Last week left Moses standing barefoot beside

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A Clear Call

September 3, 2017 Exodus 3:1-15; Romans 12:9-18 “A Clear Call” Through my work in the Admissions Office at Union Seminary, I had the privilege to hear hundreds of people share their stories of sensing God’s call.  I had a lot of practice of listening to call stories while attending seminary as well.  “So…what’s your call story?” was a frequent question around the campus, often a

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Pushing the Boundaries

Matthew 15:10-28 University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC Rev. Elizabeth Michael August 20, 2017          By this point in Matthew, Jesus’ relationship with the Pharisees has been growing more polemical by the chapter.  In this latest installment, he chastises them for following tradition so blindly that they lose sight of the word of God.  He takes their fixation on clean and unclean and redirects it—focus

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Sermon on Ephesians 6 and Matthew 13

Ephesians 6:10-20, Matthew 13:31-33; 44-52 Rev. Elizabeth Michael University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill August 13, 2017             The images splashed across my screens this weekend, as they did yours.  A circle of tiki torches lifted high.  Throaty chants of “Blood and Soil” echoing through the streets.  Flags unfurled to reveal a blood red field stained with a dark black swastika.  Clergy, cloaked in stoles bearing

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The reign of heaven is near

The reign of heaven is near Isa. 11: 1 – 10 Matt. 3: 1 – 11 Rev. Dr. Jo Ella Holman Mission co-worker Regional Liaison for the Caribbean Presbyterian Church, USA When I have visitors from the U.S. to the Dominican Republic, on the island of Hispanola where I live, I always take them to see a statue that is on the sea walk of

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The Power of a Name

Genesis 32:22-32 Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill Rev. Elizabeth Michael July 30, 2017 I’ve had exactly one dream about God in my life.  It happened eleven years ago at the end of a summer I spent working as a chaplain in a hospital.  Those summers are designed to give seminary students practice building pastoral care skills but also to offer a space in

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