Reflections of a poet, preacher, and contemplative activist

Author Archive: mark lloyd richardson

This Preaching Life

Every weekweek after weekI put words on a pageand I prayas I write each one outit is a wordthat in combination with other wordswill speak peace into the lives of hearers. I am a preacher –not a wild, untamed preacher like John the Baptizer,whom one might be excused for judging as harshas he roared his …

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Breaking the Bread of Abundance

There’s a Gospel story (Matthew 14:13-21) about a day when Christ’s abundant life was on full display! It begins when Jesus withdraws from the crowds, and goes by boat to a deserted place by himself. However, the crowds follow him on foot. Among them are many sick people, and Jesus is moved with compassion. The …

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People Who Live By Hope

Today’s scripture reading from Romans 8:12-25 reminds us that while what we see all around us every day – human tragedy, strife, conflict, illness, and death – are signs of this life in the flesh, as children of God we are heirs to a future we do not yet fully see. The apostle Paul never …

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What Grows in God’s Garden?

I don’t usually post entire sermons, but on Sunday, June 15, I preached my final sermon among the wonderful congregation at the First United Methodist Church of Santa Maria, California, and am being appointed now to the First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara, California, as of July 1st. So here I am including my …

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Creator, Christ, Spirit

A prayer for worship on Trinity Sunday: Creator God, in you all of nature sings of heaven. In this sacred time and space may our hearts join the chorus of praise that already resounds in the rocks and trees, the skies and seas of this amazing world. Christ our Savior, in you our eternal inheritance …

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Pentecost Sunday Liturgy

Here is some liturgy I’ve written that we will use in worship on Pentecost Sunday this week. Feel free to use or adapt the words below. CALL TO WORSHIP Today we worship in the love of God, a love that will not let us go, a love that touches the deepest parts of our lives, …

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God’s Indiscriminate Grace

The following is a Prayer of Thanksgiving for Eucharist or Holy Communion on the Third Sunday of Easter this coming weekend. Holy and Wise God, whose presence is made known in light and darkness, whose promises are made complete in reconciling love, whose power is made perfect in weakness, whose possibilities are made tangible in …

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Love Took My Hand

Twelve years ago, on the Second Sunday in Lent, at the church I was serving in Los Osos, California, I preached a sermon titled, “Love Took My Hand.” The sermon was based on the very familiar text of John 3:16, which reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so …

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A Lesson in Letting Go

Some days, even after thirty-some years of active parish ministry, I simply don’t feel that well suited to being a pastor. A disappointment tips the scale, and I am gripped by a growing sense of discouragement. A loss is felt – either because people move away, because of a death, or simply as a result …

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When the Church discriminates, who holds it accountable?

I’ve returned to The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church lately in an effort to better understand what it means to be in covenant with my ordained colleagues, and indeed with all baptized members of the Church. While I think I have a reasonably good understanding of the meaning of covenant, I am …

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