And this was my true task, to be theFrom “Red Bird Explains Himself” by Mary Oliver
music of the body. Do you understand? for truly the body needs
a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work,
the soul has need of a body,
and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable
beauty of heaven
where I fly so easily, so welcome, yes,
and this is why I have been sent, to teach this to your heart.
Prepare To Be Transformed
In the Charge to the Congregation at my ordination, Rev. Michelle Favreault invited those gathered to “prepare to be transformed.” This is my intention when crafting worship: to hold up that which is worthy and offer the opportunity for those gathered to be transformed. Excellent worship invites us to remember that we are connected, to deepen relationships, to restore our spirits, and to return to the world renewed. I love to work collaboratively to craft worship that is powerful and beautiful, calling on the skillful artist in each of us.
I offer these sermons as examples of my preaching style and pulpit presence.
“The Summer of Knees” (audio only; text here) explores how we face the big questions of life. I delivered this sermon on October 14, 2018 at the UU Church of Vancouver, Washington on the Sunday after the congregation installed Rev. Kathryn Bert as their settled minister. Rev. Bert begins this audio recording with a pre-sermon reflection. My sermon begins at 4:15.
“Strong Back, Soft Front” explores how polarities about gender and strength do not serve us well and offers a alternative. I delivered this sermon on Mother’s Day, May 13, 2018 at First Unitarian-Portland. The text of my sermon and prayer is below the video.
“I Believe You” was a service offered by the women on staff at First Unitarian-Portland in response to the #MeToo movement on December 10, 2017. There were many who collaborated and three of us who shared our stories that day. My story begins at 17:35. The text of our homilies is below the video; mine is the last one. These homilies were also shared with the 100 Sermons Project from Sojourners.
“What Would King Do” (text only) explores the life and ministry of a figure from Unitarian history. I delivered this at the UU Congregation of Salem, Oregon on June 6, 2016.
“Resurrection” (text only) explores the six sources that we draw on for our UU identity, exploring three Spring stories. I offered this sermon to the Central Coast UU Fellowship in Newport, Oregon on Easter 2016.
“In Memoriam” (text only) explores death, remembering and being remembered. I delivered this sermon on Memorial Day, May 24, 2015 at First Unitarian-Portland.
Multi-generational services are a rich time for all ages to worship together. I worked with two skilled Directors of Family Ministries to craft these multi-generational holiday services. I’ve also included the Stories for All Ages that I offered for each service.
We extinguish this flame but not the light of truth, the warmth of community, or the fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts until we are together again.Elizabeth Selle Jones