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Category Archives: Sermons

Skies Full of Love

February 18, 2018 First Sunday of Lent Genesis 9:8-17 / Mark 1:9-15  Angels were there too.  “The angels waited on him;” they were there with Jesus in the wilderness, during his forty days with Satan and the wild beasts.  These few words about the presence of angels have been a lifeline this week—they helped me to recognize the angels that have been showing up for

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Ash Wednesday Homily

Ash Wednesday Homily Joel 2: 1-2, 12-17; Mark 1:14-15 Preached at University Presbyterian Church   Fifteen years ago Duke University started paying attention to a disturbing trend among its population of female undergrads.  A study found that many young women were coming to Duke as freshmen with high levels of self-confidence, but they were graduating four years later with “eating disorders, stress-related illnesses, and an

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Struggle in the Sanctuary

Mark 1:21-28 Preached at University Presbyterian Church The Reverend Elizabeth Michael February 4, 2018   It matters how a story begins.  Ask the gospel writers, all four of whom took on the sizeable task of capturing the life of Jesus of Nazareth, each piecing together the stories and teachings of his life in a different, but intentional way.  Take, for instance, the way each gospel

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Faith Involves Not Knowing Where You Are Going Until You Get There

Text Not Available   Guest Preacher- The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins

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Rethink Everything

Background: Today’s reading consists of the second-half of the story of Jonah. Many of you, I suspect, know the outlines of the first two chapters: there is a prophet named Jonah who is sent by God to declare the impending doom of the city of Nineveh. But Jonah resists that mission. Rather than heading to Nineveh, he gets on a boat heading in the opposite

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Wake-up Call

1 Samuel 3:1-20 Preached at University Presbyterian Church January 14, 2018 Rev. Elizabeth Michael   The word of the Lord was rare in those days, and visions were not widespread.  That one short sentence paints an expansive picture of the landscape of Israel in the time of Samuel.  Once, God was palpably near—bushes burst into flame and manna fell from the sky and lightening and

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Light to Guide You

  Matthew 2:1-12 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling

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People of the Way

Introduction: Though we speak of Isaiah as though he were a single individual— the Book of Isaiah was the work of a community, responding to events that happened over more than two hundred years. As we come to the 40th chapter, we approach a profound shift in the narrative, and the emergence of a new prophetic voice. The first 39 chapters, which precede our reading,

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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

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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

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