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  • "Belonging: Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves vs. the Shepherd," Sermon by Andrew Warner, April 15, 2018 Last Friday, Friday the 13th, I found myself thinking of all the scary characters of our imagination: zombies, vampires, and werewolves.  These creatures, which populate our screens, disclose something of our fears. And yet zombies, vampires, and werewolves speak to different kinds of fears.I first encountered zombies in high school.  We’d stay up late watching one or another of the Living Dead movies, in which the zombies come after the living, hungry for their brains, and the haplass humans retreat behind barricades, safe until they realize one among them got bitten and now transforms before their eyes into a living dead person.Only much later did I start to wonder about the meaning of these movies and ...
    Posted Apr 17, 2018, 2:35 PM by Andrew Warner
  • "Undocumented Resurrection" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - April 1, 2018 Do you ever find yourself well outside your comfort zone?  I did last Sunday, as I got ready to walk the runway at a fashion show.My friend Dana - the same one who got me to try yoga (you’d think I’d learn) - organized a fashion show to raise money and awareness for the fight against human trafficking.  The show featured real couture. One designer created a dress that looked like something out of Star Wars. Two models wore versions of the dress, one in white and one in black; each dress had a large hoop raised up over their backs which they held with their arms.  Stunning and impractical; then, as they walked the runway, the women dropped ...
    Posted Apr 4, 2018, 8:58 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Cosplaying Messiah" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - March 25, 2018 Cosplay (v) - dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.A few weeks ago the results of my ancestry.com DNA test arrived.  To be honest, I took the test hoping for something interesting or unusual to show up on the family tree.  My sister-in-law had recently unraveled a family secret. Her grandmother left Germany in the 1930’s to pursue a career on the stage in London and then America.  But in the attic was a trunk the grandmother kept anyone from looking in and commanded be burned on her death. For years, my sister-in-law carted around the trunk: too curious ...
    Posted Mar 26, 2018, 11:33 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Work of Art" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - March 11, 2018 Our reading this morning contains one of the first scripture passages I memorized by heart, “You are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus, for good works prepared beforehand.”  I came across the verse while reading a Lenten devotion decades ago during a time when I struggled deeply with what it meant to be gay and Christian.  At a time when I was drowning in homophobia, this verse came like a life preserver thrown just to me. “You are God’s work of art.” The verse, which I repeated even when I didn’t believe it, came as an assurance of love and grace.  No matter what people said, I was God’s work of art. No ...
    Posted Mar 12, 2018, 2:29 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "On Empathy" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - March 4, 2018 The other day a short article appeared in the New York Times about the federal agency which issues green cards and citizenship.  President George Bush created the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services back in 2005.  The new agency reflected President Bush’s commitment to seeing our nation as a community of immigrants.As he said shortly after creating the agency, “America's welcoming society is more than a cultural tradition, it is a fundamental promise of our democracy. Our Constitution does not limit citizenship by background or birth. Instead, our nation is bound together by a shared love of liberty and a conviction that all people are created with dignity and value. Through the generations, Americans have upheld ...
    Posted Mar 6, 2018, 9:56 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "On the Wilderness" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - February 18, 2018 One day earlier this winter, my family realized our dog Duchess wasn’t well.  She didn’t greet us at the door, didn’t wag her tail; our happy lab had become lethargic.  Duchess only wanted to lay on the couch.  We figured Duchess suffered from the dog equivalent of the flu.  And so we petted her and comforted her.  And everyone felt bad to see her hurting so.The next day Jay took her on a walk; and then - quite literally - the truth came out.  A Christmas tree ornament.  What she so enjoyed eating hadn’t sat well with her.I could imagine how the tree looked from Duchess’ perspective: basically, a toy chest; laden down with plush ...
    Posted Feb 21, 2018, 3:19 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "What Do You Notice?" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - February 11, 2018 Every year I watch the Super Bowl.  Others in my house root for teams; I’m there for the wings and chips.  But also the commercials.This year one of those commercials affected how I imagined the scripture reading we heard today.  The Gospel of Mark sounded like one of those Super Bowl commercials.  The camera pans to Peter, James, and John standing on the mountain with Jesus, rugged guys in the woods.  And then, as Mark explains, “Jesus was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.” And then Peter turns to the camera, “Tide Commercial.”But another commercial caught my attention even more: the use of Martin ...
    Posted Feb 14, 2018, 2:29 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "On our Congregational Goal" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church - January 28, 2018 Every year I make a New Year’s resolution.  Mostly, it goes badly.  And soon into the year I realize I’ll never manage to achieve my goal.This year, I decided to try something different.  Instead of aiming high, with a resolution for radical change or trying some dramatically new direction in my life, I would aim low.  Forget aspirational goals, I told myself: try achievable.So as New Year’s approached, I looked around the house for a goal I could realistically achieve.  A “done in a day” project.  Even better, a “done by brunch” project.I came up with the perfect idea: cleaning out the fridge.  First, it needed to be done; one of those cleaning ...
    Posted Feb 5, 2018, 9:33 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "On Changing Lives," by Andrew Warner, January 21, 2018 The most recent Star Wars film - “The Last Jedi” - marked a new understanding in how the force works.  Spoiler alert; if you haven’t yet seen this film: cover your ears.A long time ago in that galaxy far, far away, the force operated as a divine energy, a balance of good and evil; a cosmic energy of life that gave mystical and magical powers to those who could wield it.  The Jedi learned to use the good side of the force; the Sith learned to use the evil side.  Jedi and Sith lived as yin-and-yang to each other.The power of the force became clear in the earliest Star Wars movie, a New Hope.  At one point ...
    Posted Jan 26, 2018, 1:57 PM by Andrew Warner
  • “On Martin Luther King’s Insight on Love” by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - January 14, 2018 I remember when my school system began observing Martin Luther King Day.  In Virginia, where I grew up, the state had long celebrated “Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson Day” in January.  Virginia legislators decided to merge the two holidays together, giving us “Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Martin Luther King Day.”  Need I say, this made for a confusing school assembly.In the Virginia of my youth and elsewhere people struggled with how to remember and honor Martin Luther King.  We might take guidance from the remarks of President Ronald Reagan when he signed legislation creating Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday.  Reagan had long opposed the holiday, but he decided to support it once the ...
    Posted Jan 16, 2018, 2:18 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
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