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Dan Harper | Selected sermons

The following three sermons of mine from the past half dozen years seem to me to be of widest interest.

Why Do We Do What We Do in our Sunday Services? In 2017, the Committee on Ministry raised the interesting point that not many people understood why the worship services are the way they are. So Castor Fu, chairperson of the committee, and I came up with a complete service where we asked the question: Why do we do this? Castor has a full-time job, so we agreed I would do most of the writing and preaching, but I wouldn't have been able to do this service without Castor so I feel it was a truly collaborative effort. (While Castor’s daughter was the worship associate, sadly her school schedule did not allow her to be part of our collaborative effort.)

Labor of Love Can you love your job? What if you don’t love your job? In this sermon, I retell an old story attributed to Jesus, the radical rabbi of Nazareth. (Trust me, this Jesus doesn’t sound a bit like the Jesus of the right-wing evangelicals.) But this is really a sermon about the Web of Life.

Our Buildings Before you say you don’t want to read a sermon about some other Unitarian Universalist congregation’s buildings, you should realize that what this sermon is really about is how our Unitarian Universalist communities sometimes build buildings that truly reflect our deepest values. This raises an interesting question: To what extent do our buildings shape our spiritual lives? A more difficult question is: Do we actually want our buildings to shape our spiritual life? (And no, I don’t actually answer either of these questions in the sermon — but you won’t mind, because you know Unitarian Universaist sermons aren’t supposed to give answers, they’re supposed to raise questions.)

 

Recordings:

Our Congregation And Its Ministers, 1947-2000 Back in 2018, I preached a sermon about the ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto. But this isn’t the usual ministerial hagiography: I look at both their strengths and their flaws.

Helen Kreps, Remarkable Palo Alto Unitarian In 2020, I spoke about the short remarkable life, and tragic death, of Helen Kreps, an early Unitarian feminist. Her words and her example still have something to offer us today.

Dan standing at a pulpit, gesturing with his right hand, and looking out at the congregation as he speaks

Me preaching at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto.