Jack Day's Worlds: Religion .................

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Doing Justice, Loving Mercy
Sermons and Services



What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? -- Micah 6:8

** "Memorial Service". (April 19, 1971) Memorial Service outside the locked gates of Arlington Cemetery as part of the anti-war protests by Vietnam Veterans Against the War called "Dewey Canyon III".

** The Care and Feeding of Clergy. First preached at Christ UMC, Columbia, on June 25, 1989. The previous week had been the former pastor's last; the following week would be the new pastor's first. This was written for the transitional Sunday in between. Substantially revised and preached at St. James UMC, West Friendship, on March 18, 2001. The care and feeding of clergy means making sure they have enough truth, relationships, privacy, and accomplishment. And to ensure that congregations themselves are not unfed, they need to have and share the grace of God.

** "The Shape of Worship, The Dance of Life". (April, 1990, Columbia, MD) This sermon concluded a Lenten series of worship services focused on Holy Communion and outlines the four actions of the Eucharist: Taken, Blessed, Broken, Shared.

** "In Honor of Ancestors". (July 8, 1990, Three Churches, WV) Written for a large family reunion in Three Churches, West Virginia, this was an opportunity to build a sermon around 300 years of American forebears.

** "Valley of the Shadow". On January 20, 1991 I was scheduled to preach on what turned out to be the day we began Desert Storm. Here is a presentation on the ambivalence of war--and the need to not abandon those who fight them for us. -

** The Bible Looks at Poverty is a letter to the editor that pulls together a very supportive Biblical perspective on poverty.

** A Passover Seder for Maundy Thursday (1991, 1994, 2003, Christ United Methodist Church, Columbia, MD, and 2001, St. James United Methodist Church, West Friendship, MD ) is a complete seder Haggadah (service) which I adapted for a Christian congregation by adding two commentators--one, who could be a Rabbi, explaining certain parts of the service from a Jewish perspective, and the other a Christian, who points out what may have happened during Jesus' last supper.

** "An Evil Spirit of the Lord" (12 June, 1994) shows Saul, the first King of ancient Israel, as a victim of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. For the Maryland State Council Convention, Vietnam Veterans of America

** "Courage, Humanity, Growth" (August 1996, Columbia, MD) looks at the courage of a Canaanite woman and was submitted to the Christian Ministry magazine as part of the Alfred P. Klausler Sermon Award program and was selected as one of 11 semi-finalists. It may be published at a future date.

** Litany for Memorial Day (May, 1997) was first used in a worship service in Columbia, MD and then, thanks to email, almost immediately thereafter was used at a service at the Wall in Washington. On Memorial Day, 2000, it was used in a worship service of the First Congregatinal United Church of Christ in Santa Rosa, California.

** Basic Training (July 27, 1997, Columbia, MD) compares what the early church did in retelling the story of the loaves and fishes, with military basic training.

** Mary's Three Challenges (December 28, 1997, Columbia, MD) delves into the Christmas narratives to look at the challenges Mary had to face -- poverty, evil, and the demands of God -- and how they impact us today. The internet text of this sermon contains links to other internet sites wherever appropriate.

** A Woman with Ointment (June 14, 1998, Columbia, MD) compares four different accounts of the woman who poured ointment on Jesus' feet (or was it his head?) in order to reconstruct the original story, and conflicts in the early Christian church which lead to the different stories, and ways God is present for us in the process.

** The Samaritan Woman (March 7, 1999, Columbia, MD) looks at the context of enmity between Samaritans and Jews as Jesus asked a Samaritan woman for a drink at Jacob's well, and asks why this woman, when Jesus told her "everything she had ever done," was so excited she left her water jar behind and ran to town to tell everyone her experience.

** Statement (March 26, 1999) made to the Christ United Methodist Church congregation when I added my name to the list of those who have signed a Statement of Commitment to perform services honoring covenants of love and commitment between two persons regardless of gender.

** Darkness and Light (May 28, 1999, Baltimore, MD), a meditation at a candlelight service in memory of 1046 Marylanders who lost their lives in Vietnam, looks at how the Vietnam experience required making friends with darkness -- yet the dream of returning to the light was never lost.

** Let Them Grow Together (July 18, 1999, Columbia, MD) looks at why Jesus would tell a parable in which the householder tells his servents to let wheat and weeds grow together.

** Creator, Companion, Challenger presents new developments in science from three Christian perspectives of God. Submitted to the John Templeton Foundation in connection with their program "Expanding Humanity's Vision of God," this sermon has been awarded a prize as an "Exemplary Submission." Preached at Christ United Methodist Church , Columbia, Maryland, January 23, 2000; St. Paul's United Methodist Church , Laytonsville, Maryland, February 20, 2000; and Dumbarton United Methodist Church, Washington, D. C., February 27, 2000.

** Discovering the Covenant (June 11, 2000, Ocean City, MD) looks at what was behind the explosive birth of the Church at Pentecost and finds some very interesting answers for veterans.

** Styles of Pastors, Styles of Congregations (June 18, 2000, Columbia, MD) uses Transactional Analysis theory to give a congregation tools for its transition between pastors.

** Skeletons and Dry Bones (July 2, 2000, Three Churches, WV) helps a family gathering to look at the ways we need to avoid turning our ancestors into dry bones or their stories into "skeletons in the closet" by accepting them as full, flesh and blood humans, warts and all.

** In Search of a Song (July 16, 2000, Fort Collins, CO) These reflections were addressed to alumni of Woodstock School in Mussoorie, India, an international Christian boarding school attended primarily by children of missionaries until the last two decades.

** I Have Seen the Future (August 20, 2000, Columbia, MD) describes the WOW2000 (Welcome our Witness) Conference in Dekalb, Illinois, and its implications for a local congregation becoming a truly welcoming and diverse expression of the Body of Christ. This sermon was republished in the September-October Issue of Whosoever on-line magazine.

** Health Care Justice: October 15, 2000 (West Friendship, MD), and October 22, 2000, Columbia, MD), provides a simple tool for decisionmaking and uses it to outline the Biblical basis for seeking an overhaul in the health care delivery system.

** A Gift of Respect (October 29, 2000, West Friendship, MD) takes a detailed look at how Jesus' respect affected the outcome of his encounter with Blind Bartimaeus. First of a series of four sermons on "The Healing Church."

** Information that Heals (November 12, 2000, West Friendship, MD) looks at ways that information can be healing. Second of a series of four sermons on "The Healing Church."

** Risking Connection (December 10, 2000, West Friendship, MD) focuses onour connection with others, community and God, and the risk taking involved. Third of a series of four sermons on "The Healing Church."

** Holders of Hope (December 17, 2000, West Friendship, MD) portrays a conversation in which one person is holder of hope for another. Fourth of a series of four sermons on "The Healing Church."

** A Celebration of Gifts (December 24, 2000, West Friendship, MD) celebrates all the gifts associated with Christmas, but concludes that most importantly, "you are the gift."

** A Gift of the Early Church (December 31, 2000, West Friendship, MD) looks at the Christmas Stories in Matthew and Luke as a gift to us from the church in the year 85 A. D

** Three Short Sermons (January 28, 2001, West Friendship, MD) looks at the lectionary readings for the Third Sunday after Epiphany as supporting fitness training, teamwork, and focusing on the game. (Superbowl Sunday)

** Joseph's Story (Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, February 18, 2001, West Friendship, MD) is the story of a trauma survivor who finds a new meaning for his trauma and is able to reconcile with his brother when they come seeking food twenty years later.

** Ashes (Ash Wednesday, February 28, 2001, West Friendship, MD) looks at the ashes of Ash Wednesday from various perspectives.

** Jesus and the Fine Print (First Sunday in Lent, March 4, 2001, West Friendship, MD) presents Jesus' three temptations as affecting food, focus, and faith.

** The Care and Feeding of Clergy (Third Sunday in Lent, March 18, 2001, West Friendship, MD). The care and feeding of clergy means making sure they have enough truth, relationships, privacy, and accomplishment. And to ensure that congregations themselves are not unfed, they need to have and share the grace of God.

** Memorial Day 2001 (May 30, 2001, Washington, D. C.) On Memorial Day it is hard to memorialize the dead, but even harder to hear and accept the stories of the living.

** You Will Be Shared (June 23, 2001, Connecticut) A communion meditation at the ordination of a good friend into the ministry of the United Church of Christ.

** A Living Memorial (July 22, 2001, Crystal City, Virginia) is an address to the HMM-262 Vietnam Veteran Association (the alumni of a Medium Marine Helicopter Squadron of the U. S. Marines) showing how we can best memorialize those who gave their lives.

** A Prayer for All Seasons (Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, July 29, 2001, Columbia, MD). When we pray this prayer, we put ourselves in community, a community of others who care that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We ask God for the very most important things - not the nice to haves, but the essentials: bread to nourish our bodies, forgiveness to make our relationships whole, and, above all else, God's presence to strengthen us against temptation and evil.

** The Sacrament of Rejected Gifts (August 1, 2001, Washington, DC) looks at our experiences of rejection in the context of God's words to Cain and looks at how God too has experienced rejected gifts.

** Unexpected Visitors (Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 12, 2001, Columbia, MD) outlines the major forms of mental illness in the context of a new United Methodist advertising campaign to attract more visitors to church; it looks at the stigma of mental illness and also the trauma of it, and the spiritual questions which come up when trauma strikes.

** Strangers (Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, September 2, 2001) identifies different ways people are experienced as strangers and highlights how a verse from Hebrews shows that hospitality to strangers is a way of meeting God.

** Spirituality Issues Where the Paths of Clergy and Therapists Intersect (December 8, 2001) was presented at a symposium during the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in New Orleans, Louisiana. Written from an interfaith perspective, it attempts to define spirituality and shows how addressing spirituality is appropriate during therapy. Roles of clergy which complement that of therapist are also presented.

** Keeping an Easter Perspective (Second Sunday after Epiphany -- Baptism of our Lord -- January 13, 2002) The most important thing about the Gospel writings of Jesus' beginnings is that they were written from an Easter perspective.

** Images of Bread and Stones (Wednesday, May 1, 2002) Even evil parents, Jesus says, know how to give their children bread, not stones. In today's world, however, so many of us seek bread and receive stones. Was Jesus wrong?

** Spiritual Connection (Trinity Sunday, May 26, 2002) With our birth, we give up a physical connection in exchange for a spiritual connection with God. God wants spiritual connection to be easy, but we make it hard by letting things get in the way, primarily fear.

** Hagar's Story (Fifth Sunday After Pentecost, June 23, 2002) Hagar -- the first woman in the Bible after Eve to talk directly with God. Hagar's Story -- a story of oppression, hopelessness -- and promise.

** The Binding of Isaac (Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, June 30, 2002) Is the story of Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac on Mt. Moriah a story of faith or a story of abuse? Or could it perhaps be a story of a dream gone astray?

** Getting to the "G" Word (Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, November 10, 2002) The United Methodist Church says health care is a right, but many Americans are suspicious of Government programs. Is there a way we can get to the "G" Word?

** Watching Disciple Making in Mali (Third Sunday after the Epiphany, January 26, 2003) After spending three weeks visiting missionary friends in Mali, West Africa, I realized I had learned six lessons worth sharing.

** Peter's Mistake (Second Sunday in Lent, March 16, 2003) Judging from Jesus' response -- "Get behind me, Satan," Peter made a big mistake. The United States is about to make the same mistake in Iraq, but there is still hope -- the future is not pre-determined, even the worst news can be framed in terms of peace, and our actions do make a difference.

** Transforming Heritage (Second Sunday of Easter - Heritage Sunday, April 27, 2003) We experience many varieties of heritage and we can respond to them in many ways -- celebrate, destroy, exercise, transform. This sermon focuses on the Methodist movement and all that it transformed.

** The Stranger from Ethiopia (Fifth Sunday of Easter - May 18, 2003) The eunuch from Ethiopia seeks Philip's help in making sense of his life's trauma. His story is a model of how all persons -- like homosexual persons -- who are sexually different are part of God's inclusive mission.

** Communication or Cacaphony (Pentecost Sunday - June 8, 2003) Look at the ways we experience the Holy Spirit! My last Sunday in the pulpit at Christ UMC in Columbia.

** Confronting the Fear (58th Anniversary of Hiroshima = August 6, 2003) 58 years after the atom bomb was dropped at Hiroshima, the US is planning "mini-nukes". Behind this is fear, a spiritual phenomenon which requires a spiritual response.

**"The Bible and Health Advocacy: Ancient Vision, Modern Imperative" Remarks at the Health Care Workshop, Ecumenical Advocacy Days, Arlington, Virginia, March 12, 2005. Revised version given at Interfaith Roundtable on Health Care for All, Arlington, Virginia, October 21, 2005.

** On July 1, 2003, I became pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Hampstead, Maryland. For sermons preached at Grace Church, click on this link: http://www.gbgm-umc.org/grace-hampstead/sermons.htm






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