Sermon Title: Speak, we’re listening 
Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-21
Speaker: Joel Miller

There’s a running joke in our house that if the girls really want to get my attention they call me Joel rather than Dad.  I’ll be in the living room or kitchen or wherever, doing my thing, generally aware of the rumble and buzz around me, when all of a sudden I’m called to attention at the sound of my name.  Sometimes it turns out part of that buzz included several calls for Dad that I didn’t catch.

It’s possible I’m lost in deep thought pondering the true, the good, the beautiful, and the meaning of life.  It’s also possible I can fit the description in Simon and Garfunkel’s song The Boxer: “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”

What’s most likely, I think, is that even after 17 years of being a dad, that one syllable word still hasn’t registered in my body, in my nervous system, the same way that other one...



Sermon: Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Proudly? 
Texts: Matthew 5:13-16; Micah 6:6-8
Speaker: Joel Miller

Last June, about 20 of us marched in the Stonewall Columbus Pride parade.  It’s something our congregation has done for a number of years, and, after a Covid hiatus, it was nice to be back.  Because of that time gap, or maybe just because we’re forgetful, we couldn’t find the banner we usually carry to let folks know who we are.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to start from scratch.  Stored away in the recesses of the church basement was our former Micah 6:8 banner that had hung on the parking lot side of the building, blown down by a gust of wind in some bygone storm.  Too damaged to affix back to the building, but whole enough to fashion into a banner.  Here it is.    

As the march began, we took turns holding the banner, a person on each side, at times doing our best to resist the strong winds that would have made...





Sermon | Boiling it down
Text: Micah 6:1-8
Speaker: Joel Miller

Every fall I teach an Inquirers class for folks new and new-ish to the congregation.  Part of the class is getting to know one another.  I invite participants to share briefly about their faith journey – where they’ve been, what kinds of experiences and questions they bring.  Each session begins with a couple of these before getting into the topic of the day.  One Sunday this fall, just last month, a participant said something to the effect of “Well, my faith has gotten real simple.  Basically two things.  1. Pay attention.  2. Love.  He had more to say, but after decades of being immersed in church and religious life, that pretty much summarized where he was at in his faith.  Pay attention.  Love.

It reminded me of that short but deliciously sweet poem by Mary Oliver which goes like this:   

Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it....





Sermon: Living water, living people, living world
Texts: Isaiah 42:1-9; Matthew 3:13-17
Speaker: Joel Miller

Chances are, if you had nativity sets in your home during Advent, they’re put away for the year.  Each figure carefully wrapped in newspaper, or not-so-carefully tossed in a box, placed back in the basement, or attic, or wherever might be your storage area of choice or necessity.  Our ceramic set managed to make it through another season without any further casualties to add to the broken right donkey ear and broken right angel wing from past years.  Fortunately, our wood set looks as good as the day we got it.

If you still have a nativity or ten sitting out, don’t let me rush you.  I would, actually, like to keep the nativity in mind for this one more Sunday. 

A lot of time passes between the birth of Jesus and the baptism of Jesus, about 30 years, but not a lot of text in our Bibles.  In Matthew the baptism occurs...