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Category Archives: Sermons

The Cry of Advent

Isaiah 64:1-12 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church, Chapel Hill, NC December 3, 2017             The poet Christian Wiman writes about a night that his four-year-old daughter, Eliza, crawled out of her bed and emerged into his doorway to announce, “Daddy, I can’t sleep.  Every time I close my eyes, I’m seeing terrible things.”  Wiman, immediately sympathetic to his daughter’s insomnia and its


The Lives We Spend

The spring I turned 20 I went to work as an intern in our State Attorney’s Office in Florida. I had campaigned for him when I was in high school, and when I mentioned later that I was thinking about law school, he arranged for me to spend six months touring various divisions of his office, so that I could get a feel for what


How We Wait

When our son, Nate, was three, he seemed eager for the world beyond our apartment, and so we signed him up for preschool at a Presbyterian church several miles from where we lived. I was pleased by what I saw in the classroom. I was drawn to the kind and energetic teachers. I was sure he would thrive in this place, so I happily anticipated


A Good Day

This week, in preparation for this Sunday, I wrote out a list of all the saints who have influenced me over the course of my life:  teachers, coaches, writers, roommates, rock stars, friends, neighbors, poets, babysitters, the girl who stood up to a bully on my behalf on the school bus when I was in first grade, cousins, aunts, uncles, and of course all four


God’s Child

When I am making my home near Asheville, the day of the week I am easiest to find is Wednesday. I will rearrange a lot of commitments on my calendar so that I can be on Haywood Street by the middle of the morning. The parking is lousy, but once I find a spot, I join the crowd of people coming and going from a


Fashionable Gods

Exodus 32:1-14 Rev. Elizabeth Michael Preached at University Presbyterian Church October 15, 2017             I’ve never made a golden calf, but once in my ministry I had the chance to unmake one.  I was working for a church in a small town where the annual summer entertainment was the competition to see which downtown church could put on the best Vacation Bible School.  “Best,” as


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.


 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.


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


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