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The Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring

Sermon Archives

There are transcripts available to read for most sermons. To access the transcript, select the linked sermon title; to listen to a sermon, click on the audio of sermons link near the sermon title.

Click here for access to sermons from other years.


April 27, 2014

Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

On September 9th of 1836, Ralph Waldo Emerson published a book calledNature. This book was incredibly romantic. Of course, it was. How could ithave been otherwise? It was romantic because he had us dream. He said, “Ifthe stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believeand adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city ofGod which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys ofbeauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.” Every nightand every day, the miracle is all around us. We are so consistently in thecompany of miracles that they seem quite normal to us. And, in fact, they arequite normal. That’s what makes them fascinating. Emerson was on tosomething. How can we best appreciate the normal things in life? How canwe tune our souls so that we don’t miss everyday envoys of beauty andlight?


April 20, 2014

Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay

Our theme this month is Nature - and Easter always seems to echo themessage of the season about death followed with life, and despair with newhope. Life is full of challenges and pain, any of us who has lived longenough knows this. We'll explore the Easter story, our own human nature,and the Nature all around us at this time of year, that help us renew our hopeand will and joy in living.


April 13, 2014
Blessing of the Animals

Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley, and Sarah Gonzalez, Director of Religious Education

Our beloved annual multi-generational celebration of the animals in our livesand in our world, we bless them and honor the many ways they bless us withtheir presence. All pets are welcome, appropriately crated or leashed. If youcan't bring your pet, feel free to bring a photograph or stuffed animal andwe'll bless those as well. And as always, memorial photos of pets that havedied in the past year are welcome, please place them on the pulpit table fordisplay during the service. Bring a blanket if you'd like to sit on the floorwith your pet. Make sure to invite your neighbors and friends, if they'd liketheir pets blessed, all are very welcome at this service of love and gratitude.


April 6, 2014
Yours, Mine, Ours

Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

Our congregation belongs to itself. That's the bedrock foundation of Unitarian Universalist understanding - which congregations are self-determining and self-reliant, and this is how it should be in a free faith searching for truth and meaning. And yet, belonging to itself also means we belong to each other, all of us, with a shared sense of ownership and pride in what we are and what we are becoming. Our worship this Sunday will be an exploration and celebration of what this means for us and to us. Our story, our songs, our time - come be part of this special Sunday together.


March 30, 2014
YRUU Annual Service: The Internet

Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU)

This year, the YRUU moves on from one ofhumanity's earliest inventions, fire, to one of its latest, the internet.We'll discuss pressing issues such as net neutrality and NSA spying,as well as why the internet is so important to us.


March 23, 2014
Healing a Brokenness

Rev. Liz and UU/Muslim Women's Book Group members

For two years now, some women from UUCSS have been meeting everymonth with Muslim and Ahmadiyyan women from the area to read anddiscuss books together. This relationship was a deliberate choice foreveryone, to push against the trends and prejudices that divide and isolateus, that had undermined earlier efforts to build relationship betweencommunities. We spent a year just on preparing to begin. Now that oneevening every month, the relationships and care and joy that have beenfostered there, are precious to us all. Come hear Rev. Liz, Muslim and UUmembers of the book club reflect on their experience of joy in beginning toheal a brokenness.


March 16, 2014
Pain Management

Rev. Liz

Pain Management is an album recently released by southern hip hop artistBubba Sparxxx. It's about the pain he's been through in recent years, theways he's broken and not yet healed, the hope he's carrying along with thepain as he moves through his days. We all know what it's like to movethrough pain like that, having to carry it through our days, struggling withour demons and unsure how to get out to the other side. This morning we'lllook at the ways we try to manage pain, including some of those techniquesthat ultimately only make it worse, how we can carry hope, and try to movecloser to fine.


March 9, 2014
Broken and Free

Rev. Liz

Rumi said "The wound is the place where the Light enters you."Brokenness is our theme for March. This Sunday we'll explore what it is tobe human, what it is to be 'whole', what it is to be 'broken', whether it'spossible to be live without being broken, and what does broken meananyhow? In the New Testament, the same word for broken also meansunbound, released, destroyed, overthrown, ended and freed. A joyful heartis good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones, as it says, believeit or not, in the Bible (Proverbs 17:22). Let's look at what it's like to livebroken and free.


February 23, 2014
John Donne and Love

Revs. Liz and Leon

In a world that generally thinks of clergy as celibate, passionless andboring, hopefully a lot of us know it ain't so! Unitarian Universalismhas long believed that being a spiritual person, even a spiritual leader,doesn't require living in this world apart from the ordinary humanblessings of life and love. But that wisdom didn't start with us - norwith The DaVinci Code! One of the best examples living and lovingwith passion and integrity and spirit is John Donne. Do you know 'no man is an island'? That's him. He offers other deep truths about loveand faith.


February 16, 2014
Serious Love

Rev. Liz, David Buskin and Robin Batteau

Having only imagined this opportunity for many years, Rev. Liz is trulythrilled to be partnering with contemporary folk legends Buskin and Batteauand UUCSS' wonderful choir for services this morning. This Valentine's Dayweekend our worship will look at some of the classic romance stories ofwestern civilization (Helen of Troy, Lancelot and Guinevere) to explore whatthese old legends of infatuation, heartbreak, destiny and coincidence have totell us in the 21st century about love - real, serious love.


February 9, 2014
Joyful, Healthy and Wise

Rev. Leon and Jake Ryder

"On a crisp and clear day," she said, "if I go to the edge of the world, can Ilook out over the horizon? If I stand up on my tippy-toes and keep my backnice and straight, what do you think that I might see. Hers was a youthfulquestion. I was full of joy and possibility. I almost answered her like a forty-eight year old man. Then I realized what she was really asking. She wasasking questions about the limits of her imagination. I almost answered herfrom the limits of my own. Come join Jake Ryder, Rev. Leon and the coremembers of the Lay Ministry Team as we explore the limits of humanpossibility when we are joyful and healthy and wise.


January 26, 2014
So Much is in the Bud

Rev. Liz Lerner-Maclay and Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

This service caps a weekend of UUCSS activities on the calling of Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley to our congregation.

The Start Up is the beginning of a direction in ministry that will flower in unknown ways. No one of us can yet see over the horizon but let's look there. Let's set our sights. There is so very much in bud.


January 19, 2014
MLK Service

UUCSS Diversity Team, Rev. Liz Lerner-Maclay and Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

This special service celebrates the life of Martin Luther King in words and music, and challenges the congregation to engage in a conversation about striving toward his ideals.


January 12, 2014
Walking With a Mason Jar of Fireflies

Rev. Dr. Leon Dunkley

How do you carry on against the odds and against the tide? What do you do when you just can't seem to find the light within?

It's such a bummer to be saddled with the awesome responsibility of joy when so much keeps going wrong. What strength is it that allows us to continue when our fires have all burned out? Come find out... and bring a little kindling.


January 5, 2014
Justice Begins

Rev. Liz Lerner-Maclay

This sermon begins our month focusing on the theme of Justice.

Where does justice begin? In truly seeing another person as a human being-- as human and individual and important as you are yourself.


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