September 15, 2019

A Tale of Two Cities

Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
—Hebrews 13:1-2

Next summer, we’re going to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the coming together of Chardon Christian Church and 1st Congregational Church. It’s a time when I hope we’ll all be thinking what rôle we’ll be playing in our church’s future. And at the same time, it’ll be hard not to think about the vision shared by the founders of Pilgrim Church.

And so, as we think about our own experience here on Chardon Square, let’s try to imagine what it must’ve been like for the earliest Christians who didn’t have much of a guidebook, and who had very little experience to guide them as they set out on the path of being a Christian in a world that either didn’t know who they were or—if it did—was anxious to stamp them out

September 1, 2019

Teach Us to Pray, Part 5

Today’s the last sermon in my series on the Lord’s Prayer, and in a way, I’ve saved the best for last. Not the best sermon, I don’t suppose. But the topic might be the most interesting.

We covered a lot of common questions last month:
  • Why do we pray Our Father, even when we’re alone? 
  • What’s the difference between Give us this day our daily bread? and Give us each day our daily bread
  • And—probably the most common—what’s the difference between Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, and Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
But all of those pale in comparison to the question that the final petition of the Lord’s Prayer raises, because that question strikes at the very nature of God.

Perhaps you’ve asked yourself why we ask God not to lead us into temptation, when you’ve always heard that the devil was the tempter, and not God. If so, you’re not alone. Pope Francis apparently asked himself the same question. The result? Catholics will

August 25, 2019

Teach Us to Pray, Part 4

For a few weeks now, I’ve been looking at the Lord’s Prayer in my sermons, and today we’re going to study the very important words, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” The first thing we debts, while our Methodist and Episcopal and Roman Catholic brothers and sisters say trespasses. This is mostly because the first Anglican prayer book was published before there was a widely used English Bible, and the translation that prayer book was working from used trespasses instead of debts. Once the Geneva and King James Bibles came out, those who wanted nothing to do with the prayer book began using the biblical version of the prayer. Thus, to this day, some say trespasses, and some say debts, while others simplify

August 18, 2019

Teach Us to Pray, Part 3

I’m continuing my series on prayer today. A couple of weeks ago in the park, I talked about how the Book of Psalms can help teach us to pray. Other than that, I’ve been talking about the Lord’s Prayer in this series:

For example, last week I talked about the nature of God’s Kingdom, the fact that Jesus brought heaven and earth together, and how important it was to pray first, foremost, and always, not that our own will be done, but God’s.

And then the first week, of course, I talked about how the way we begin the prayer is important, because saying “Father” tells us

August 11, 2019

Teach Us to Pray, Part 2


Last week in the park, I talked about how praying the Psalms of David can help us understand prayer and become more fluent in the language of prayer. I even talked about how praying prayers that we don’t necessarily want to pray might be good for us, because they remind us that it’s not always about us.

Two weeks ago, I opened this series on prayer with a sermon on the Lord’s Prayer. Specifically, I talked about the opening words: Our Father. It’s rare for me to preach a sermon on two words, but these words are important for three