Prayers for Rachel

(Prayers of the People, written for the Requiem Eucharist of Rachel Held Evans, June 1, 2019, First-Centenary UMC, Chattanooga, Tennessee) God, the psalmist cried out to you: “How long, O Lord?” When it comes to our dear Rachel’s beautiful life, many of us now cry out: “Why not longer, O Lord? Why not longer?” This hurts. We can’t make sense of her death. We’re struggling to find words to explain the sadness that smothers our hearts. We feel angry. The tears won’t stop. We are afraid. Many of us don’t… read more

Some Thoughts on Compost and Worms

I rarely post sermons and talks online. But I know folks who attended the Evolving Faith conference were intrigued by this idea of the theology of the compost pile. So here’s a brief excerpt from my talk. I’m still thinking about all this, and one of my insecurities about posting it is that it isn’t as fully developed as I would like it to be. But let me walk into the risk of community and ask for your thoughts. What resonance do you feel? Where would you critique or push… read more

How the Holy Things Grow

A sermon for the Room for All worship service General Synod 2018, Reformed Church in America Grand Rapids, Michigan Mark 4:26-34 (CEB): Then Jesus said, “This is what God’s kingdom is like. It’s as though someone scatters seed on the ground,  then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. The earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full head of grain. Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s harvesttime.” He… read more

Gaudete Sunday Prayers

Old First Reformed Church Third Sunday of Advent 2016 Prayers of Intercession Dear God, we come to you with cluttered minds and wayward hearts. Some of us have forgotten how to pray. Some of us just don’t much feel like praying. Some of us have the feelings but not the words. Thank you for meeting us where we are, loving us as we are, and hearing what we can’t even speak. Turn us toward you and open us up to you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Patient God,… read more

#ImWithHer

I’ve long had a policy of not telling anyone—including Tristan—how I vote. (He badgered me about this once, so I conceded that I’d voted against a subway-bond issue.) Some friends are sure I’m a right-wing Republican. Others assume I’m a liberal. Tristan teasingly calls me an authoritarian who doesn’t believe in freedom. Never before has America felt less welcoming to me, and less like home, than during this election cycle. Fear is so contagious: Watching Donald Trump’s speeches and rallies, I’ve felt it myself. Hearing his rhetoric, I’ve wondered who… read more

Thinking of “Home”

Friends, I’ve been struggling recently with the concept of home. We hold “home” so dearly. We want “home” so badly. “Home” evokes a sense of comfort, a feeling of rootedness, the idea that this, more than any other place, is where we belong. “Home” means safety, implies security—“made it home.” Phew. In Hong Kong, the land of my ancestry, there have been tremendous fights in recent years over the “right of abode”—the legal prerogative to call that city home, with all the benefits that accompany it. In the Reformed Church… read more

Prayers of Intercession, Fifth Sunday of Easter

Old First Reformed Church, April 24, 2016 The prayers of intercession for this Sunday morning were inspired by today’s Lectionary readings. [Acts 11:17: “…If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”] God, remind us that we cannot hinder your work in the world. Bolster our trust in you, so that we can move forward in discerning boldness. Strengthen our faith in you, so that our stance would be one of… read more

For Easter Sunday

Prayers of intercession, Old First Reformed Church, Brooklyn — Sunday, March 27, 2016   God, here we are, coming before you in prayer. For some of us, it’s the continuation of a long conversation. For others, it’s not something we do often. Our minds wander. Prayer is kind of awkward. Meet us all where we are, God, in our fear and our joy and our confusion and our hope and our disbelief, just as you did on that Resurrection Day. Ignite our honesty. Accept our questions. And as we reflect in the next… read more

Let’s Talk

I’m trying to spend a little more time writing than speaking this year, but I do have a few talks coming up in 2016. Hope to see you all in person sometime soon. February 25, 5:30pm and 7:30pm Level Ground 2016—Pasadena, California I’ll be hosting Family Dinner at this awesome festival, which uses the arts to create gracious conversation about the Christian faith, gender, and sexuality. I’ll share stories of LGBTQ people of faith I gathered during my trip to Uganda last summer. And then after dinner, we’ll screen and… read more

Sunday Prayers, Ahead of Thanksgiving

Old First Reformed Church, Brooklyn, New York Twenty-Ninth Sunday after Pentecost  GOD, we approach you with the cares of our immediate lives, with the stresses of our every day. Thank you for all that you have provided. Bless the food that you have brought into this sanctuary and the families who will eat it when it goes out from this place. We pray for the worries that preoccupy us—our jobs, our finances, our grades, our families. Lift our hearts now and open them, reminding us that you hold us all… read more