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Category Archives: Sermons

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


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


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


Holy Ground

Genesis 28:10-19 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC July 23, 2017          Old Testament scholar Renita Weems says Jacob is the first “real human” in the Bible.[1]  Before Jacob, she notes, the characters of the scriptures are fairly one-dimensional.  They are generally obedient; they offer no real protest when confronted by divine commands.  Noah asks not a question when God


Of Shepherds and Kings

John 10:22-33 Preached at University Presbyterian Church Reverend Elizabeth Michael July 9, 2017   From the time Jesus crawls out of the manger and tumbles into the lives of some peasants in Galilee and the political and religious authorities who rule over them, there is one question that follows him urgently, doggedly, refusing to be put to rest no matter how many times he tries


Welcome Home

July 2, 2017 Matthew 10:40-42 When I reflect on the word welcome, I think about my Grandma Hollie and her gifts of hospitality.  Every summer, my family traveled to visit the grandparents.  Grandma Hollie lived deep in the country, off the Chesapeake Bay—the Rivah they called it.  Once the car wove around the corn fields and hit the long gravel driveway, my heart would start


Fire in the Bones

Jeremiah 20:7-13 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC June 25, 2017 During the year of seminary I spent working as a chaplain in a public psychiatric hospital, I would lead worship on Sunday mornings and then walk to the units to make my rounds.  There was a nurse on one of the units—his name was Darryl.  He was a gregarious


Love’s Triple Play

Love’s Triple Play June 11, 2017 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Matthew 28:16-20 I watch a lot of baseball, but I have never witnessed a triple play. Triple plays rarely occur; it’s a combination of circumstances and action that doesn’t happen often.  In fact, during the ten years from 2000-2009, only 35 triple plays were recorded throughout all the games in Major League Baseball.[1]  The thrill of


A Church Ignited

Acts 1:1-24, 37-47 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC June 4, 2017             A brief history of barbed wire, as chronicled by Dutch journalist Dick Wittenburg[1]:  Barbed wire had its origin in Joseph Glidden’s devotion to his wife Lucinda.  The Gliddens lived in the late nineteenth century in Dekalb, Illinois, a farming community, and Lucinda’s problem was that the cows


Posture of Faith

Matthew 14:22-33 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill May 28, 2017             One ordinary Sunday morning during worship in my last congregation, the liturgy was moving smoothly and predictably…we’d sung a hymn, recited the prayer of confession together, passed some peace, made it through the children’s sermon with a minimal amount of orthodoxy still intact…and then it came time for the