Audio sermons of past services are available here.

Sermon Series: “Gift of the Dark Woods”

This series, based on the book by the same name by Eric Elnes, is about “seeing life through new eyes, recognizing that experiences of failure, emptiness, and uncertainty are as critical for finding our way through life as they are unavoidable.” We will see how experiences of life through the “dark wood” are actually clues to our “calling” or “life path.” How can the struggles of life be the seedbed of spiritual awakening to the fullness of life?

November 11: “The Gift of Uncertainty,” When we allow ourselves to accept the journey within the Dark Woods, the Holy Spirit Guide tends to shake things up a bit as we begin to awaken to nudgings toward a fuller life. But life is messy. Life is uncertain. Rather than a problem to be solved, what if we saw uncertainty as a gift helping us let go of all we cannot know so that we can live more wholeheartedly? Rev. Anastassia preaching; Greg Sanders on piano.

November 18: “The Gift of Thunderstruck,” Ancient civilizations and religions all metaphorically describe the voice of the divine coming through thunder and lightning. We often describe experiences of insight as a “sudden flash,” “seeing the light” or “rocked my world.” The storms of life can make way for moments of insight  that can offer us direction. Rev. Anastassia preaching; Thanksgiving-themed music performed by the All Souls choir and accompanied by the organ.

November 25: “The Gift of Misfits,” Sojourners in the Dark Wood do not go at it alone but are blessed with the presence of others who help us see, reflect with us, and discover together the riches of a life lived with intention. During this intergenerational service, led by Rev. Sarah Gettie McNeill, we will explore this message through the story and music of Frozen.

December 2:“The Gift of Temptation,” The idea of temptation may conjure remembrances of small or significant longings. But instead, this week we will explore the temptation we face to live by the “shoulds” dictated only by logic, outside expectations, or shiny “rewards” instead of following the path our intuition and imagination suggest is right for us—the path that helps us bring the best of our energy and joy to the world. Rev. Anastassia preaching; featuring the All Souls choir.

December 9: “The Gift of Getting Lost,” The path of life is rarely clear or straight-forward. We find ourselves lost in a Dark Wood, unclear which direction to go, perhaps having strayed from the path we thought we were on. It is at these times that the gift of getting lost is that we begin to pay more attention than we usually do. Perhaps we are looking for blatant signs when the subtle nudges from the Universe are already right there.

December 16: “The Gift of Failure”:As we conclude our series, we will consider the story of Peter’s failure as a primary spiritual gift. Peter’s story so parallels our own failures, fears, and missteps. Even towards the end, Peter fails to keep his promise to Jesus, denying any association with him three times when the going got rough. But again it is this utter failure that will guide and strengthen him for what came next. It was Peter who helped the church build and expand to include others considered “other” or “unworthy.” Where do we go from here? So too our failures beckon us into extraordinary life. Rev. Anastassia preaching; Greg Sanders on piano.