Sermons by Rev. Tom Harris

Sermons by Rev. Tom Harris

100% Responsibility: What It Is and What It Is Not

In our story today, Joseph is faced with almost impossible choices. He has no good options. Yet, in each situation he makes the best choice he can. Each time he takes 100% responsibility for his decisions, never blaming the unfairness of the situation. What does it mean for us to take 100% responsibility for our choices? And just as important, what does it not mean?

Discerning When It Is Time for One Thing to End so Another Can Begin

The Book of Genesis takes a long time to tell us how Noah decided the flood had ended and it was time to leave the ark. We hear about a mountain, a raven, a dove, and a voice from God. In this sermon, we look at how each of these apply to different ways we discern when it is time for one part of our life to end so something new can begin.

Christian Responses to War

How should Christians respond to war? We will look at the teachings of Jesus related to nonviolent resistance. These teachings call us to do the hard work of studying and practicing nonviolence in our every day lives. If we aren’t doing this foundational work we will find it impossible to discern an ethical course when war is on our doorstep.

Christian Responses to State Violence Against Its Own Citizens

How are we called to respond when the State uses violence against its own citizens? When Jesus was wrongly convicted, tortured, and executed by the State, does that inform our response? We will consider ways we as individuals can respond and ways we can advocate for meaningful change in US policing.

Compassion and Justice for Transgender People

We all seek to match who we feel like on the inside with how we express ourselves on the outside. Transgender people were assigned a gender at birth that does not match who they are on the inside. As people of faith we are called to welcome, stand with, listen to, and fight for transgender people who are seeking to answer God’s calling to be who God created them to be on the inside and out. – Pastor Tom’s sermon…

The Dangers of Idolatry and How to Avoid Them

Idolatry may sound like an old- fashioned word, but helping people avoid it is one the Bible’s core teachings. Pastor Tom offers an unflinching review of the ways we tend to exchange an unmediated relationship with the indefinable Creator God for relationships with people and things. After looking at how our personal lives and our religious lives tend toward idolatry, he then offers ways we can approach our religious practice that help us avoid the trap of idolatry. – Pastor…

Silenced No More

The enslaved young woman in our story has her gift of seeing the future taken from her without her consent. Like so many people women in the Bible she is unnamed, silenced, and discarded. In the sermon today, Pastor Tom imagines how the story might have unfolded from her perspective and in her voice.

People Change, But You Can’t Change Them

As we ready the story of the Apostle Paul’s radical change (conversion), we will reflect on how to best respond when we feel people we love need to change due to the harm they are doing to themselves or others. There is no simple answer and set of instructions, but it involves setting good boundaries, accepting them for exactly who they are, AND seeing them for who they are called to be.

Unbinding Grief, Unbinding Life: The Gift of Tears

In this short section from the story of Lazarus, Jesus comes down to earth. Breaking from his laser focus on his mission and his message, he falls apart. He break down. He weeps. In doing this, he learns what it means to be human, to be vulnerable, to be broken, and to grieve. He becomes human through his tears. We also can become truly human through ours.