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Category Archives: Sermons

Character and Grace

(Sermon given at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, Maryland, on March 19th, 2017) As a minister serving a Unitarian Universalist congregation, you can’t just buy a car. A few years ago, before moving to Delaware to become the District Executive of the Joseph Priestley District, and now a member Read more →

On Behalf of a Grateful Nation — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 25th, 2014 As both a Unitarian Universalist Minister, and as a Reserve Military Chaplain, I have conducted over a dozen military funerals    and memorial services. They were all for veterans of WWII, of Korea, and of Vietnam… I’ve never been called upon to lead a memorial Read more →

Charge to the Congregation — Installation of Rev. Bret Lortie at the Unitarian Church of Evanston

When my colleague and dear friend in the ministry, Rev. Bret Lortie, asked me if I might participate in the service to install him as the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, I knew that there was only one role in such a service I could possibly fulfill.  Read more →

Standing Up For Mother Earth — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached February 16th, 2014 Even though this week I received Final Fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist Minister, there was a day in seminary when a professor, one of the most respected ministers in our religious movement, told me he did not think it was possible for me to ever Read more →

Institutional Resistance To Change — Homily by the Rev. David Pyle

Last Preached on January 19, 2014   The Rev. Dan Hotchkiss, fellow Unitarian Universalist Minister and the author of a book that has been an inspiration for one of our own congregation’s efforts at transformation, has observed the inherent paradox in the phrase “Organized Religion”. Religion is about transformation. It Read more →

The Silence of the Season — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last Preached on December 22nd, 2013 Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of attending a performance of a new musical, being developed right here in Ventura at the Rubicon theatre, titled “Little Miss Scrooge”.  Now, you all know how much I love theatre… I try to bring at least one Read more →

Miraculous Birth — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on December 8th, 2013   A child is born. That child grows up to change the world. Those who follow the teachings of that child look back upon the life that was lived, and see that it expanded horizons, that it changed hearts and lives, and look to Read more →

Waiting Upon One Another — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last Preached December 1st, 2013 This is the first sermon I have written in my office here at the church.  Actually, it may be the first sermon I have ever written in any church office I have ever had.  Usually, I write my sermons in the early morning hours, sitting Read more →

The World Breaks Us All — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached October 6th, 2013 This is the second time our congregation has reached the theme of Brokenness, in our cycle of monthly themes for the worship life of our congregation.  Actually, as of last month, we have completed our cycle of worship themes, and have begun now to re-explore Read more →

Only in the Creation — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on September 29th, 2013   Our theme for this past month has been creation, and through that theme we have explored imagination, creativity, the building of beloved community, and how it is a fine line between creativity and foolishness.  We explored the roots of human creativity as resting Read more →

Something New, Something Sacred — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on September 1, 2013   We human beings are pretty incredible, when you think about it. Universally, I mean. If you think about the universe, and then consider our place in it, we are actually quite amazing.   There is a Disciples of Christ minister whose work I Read more →

Conspiracy with the Future — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on July 28th, 2013   Sermon     “Conspiracy with the Future”        Rev. David Pyle One of the dangers of being a preacher is that you tend to preach. More than a few of you have been subjected to “mini-sermons” from me, either in counseling, or in meetings, or Read more →

Oneness in Transformation — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on July 21, 2013   Next month, while on vacation from the church, I will be serving the “2-weeks per year” that I owe to the United States Army as a Reserve military chaplain. Luckily this year I will not be going out to the field for those Read more →

Being a Liberal Patriot — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on July 7th, 2013   Sermon     “Being a Liberal Patriot”      Rev. David Pyle On July 2nd, two hundred and thirty seven years ago, Thomas Jefferson was drafting a document that would change the world. A few days later, the first copies of the newly approved Declaration of Read more →

Earth Needs Moms — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 12th, 2013   Sermon  “Earth Needs Moms”         Rev. David Pyle   “MOM!  I wanna build a pipeline from Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico that will carry tarsands oil across the country, so that I can have cheaper gasoline and the oil companies can Read more →

My Father, My Grandfather, and Committment — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on March 17th, 2013   As has been mentioned… today is my birthday. I was glad that Rev. Jan and I celebrated our birthday’s together last month, because it is not often I celebrate my birthday at all, or at least not for the last 20 years.   Read more →

Beginner’s Mind — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on January 20th, 2013 Meditative Reading But we have only begun to love the earth.  We have only begun to imagine the fullness of life. How could we tire of hope?  So much is in bud. How can desire fail? We have only begun to imagine justice and Read more →

What Fills Our Lives — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached January 13th, 2013   At the end of every Holiday season, I find I am left in something of a malaise. Part of it is that this is one of the busiest times of the year for most of us, and for those of us in professional ministry Read more →

Give Them Not Hell — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on December 30th, 2012 Reading        excerpt from “Bring them Hope, Not Hell” by Carl G. Seaburg This reading is from the essay “Give them Hope, Not Hell” by Rev. Carl G. Seaburg, in the book, “Salted with Fire: Unitarian Universalist Strategies for Sharing Faith and Growing Congregations”.  “Although Read more →

Born Again… and Again! — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on November 18th, 2012   Meditative Reading So the hymn comes to a close with an unsteady amen, and the organist gestures the choir to sit down. Fresh from breakfast with his wife and children and a quick run through of the Sunday papers, the preacher climbs the Read more →

Who is Calling? — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on October 21st, 2012   There is an elephant in the room. You might not be able to see it, kinda like Carl Sagan’s Dragon, but it is in the room with us. It is an elephant that is not just with us in this church, but is Read more →

By Their Groups Shall You Know Them — Rev. David Pyle

Last preached September 23rd, 2012   Sermon        “By Their Groups Shall You Know Them”       Rev. David Pyle In the late 1960’s, when the Soviet Union was at the height of its power, Unitarian professor and theologian James Luther Adams attended a meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Boston. Read more →

In the Bonds of Peace — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached September 2nd, 2012   I love church. I think most of you all know that I love church. And more than my love of any particular church, even though I do love you all, I love the idea of church as a whole. I love church in its Read more →

The Difficult Art of Doing Nothing — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on August 19th 2012   It was in the second actual week of my vacation, when my mother-in-law inspired this sermon. You see, Mitu and her husband Maurice were visiting Sandy and I for a little over a week, from their home in San Diego. As usual when Read more →

Silent Tears — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 27th, 2012 I was seven years old the only time I ever saw my father cry. I did not understand it, and though it scared me, I knew somehow that his tears were sacred. The tears that fell from his eyes were silent tears, and I Read more →

Beyond Borders — PSWD District Assembly — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on April 28th, 2012   One of my first forays into District lay-leadership after I became a Unitarian Universalist was to an event celebrating the kickoff of a campaign of billboards and radio advertisements for Unitarian Universalism, being sponsored by the UU Congregations of the Greater Houston area. Read more →

Martyrs and Easter Flowers — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on April 8th, 2012   Though both the Universalist Church of America and the American Unitarian Conference, the two denominations that merged fifty one years ago to become today’s Unitarian Universalist Association, began as Christian churches, they have certainly grown into more than just a Christian church.   Read more →

Shifting Sands — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on April 5th, 2012   Sermon     “Shifting Sands”   Rev. David Pyle I’ve said before that one of the best parts About being a Unitarian Universalist Military Chaplain Is that I often get to discuss faith and theology With minister’s who are far more conservative than myself. I love Read more →

In and Between — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on March 18th 2012.   Reading “Beneath all our diversity, behind all our differences, there is a unity of the spirit that makes us one, and binds us forever together in spite of time, and death, and the space between the stars”. Rev. David Bumbaugh Sermon     “In and Read more →

Covenant as a Spiritual Practice — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached March 11th, 2012   Sermon     “Covenant as a Spiritual Practice”   Rev. David Pyle One of the most important lessons I learned in seminary, I learned from a three year old boy.  Now, it is true that this is a pretty amazing three year old, as you might expect Read more →

Prophetic Love — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on February 26th, 2012   I have come before you this morning to confess a love. It is only appropriate that this is so, as our theme for this month has been love… It is not a common love that I confess this morning, or at least not Read more →

The Lost Meanings of Love — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on February 12th, 2012   My Great-grandparents, my mother’s grandparents, were married for a little over seventy-five years before my great-grandfather, my “Da-da”, passed away. Seventy-five years.  When they got married, he was seventeen years old, and my “Ma-maw” was only fifteen. Getting married so young was pretty Read more →

Love is Always Tough — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on February 9th, 2012   One of my experiences when I first joined this liberal faith tradition of Unitarian Universalism is that Love was often spoken of in ways I had never imagined before… and quite frankly had trouble finding credible. From Unitarian Universalist pulpits, including when I Read more →

Letting Go of What We Know — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on January 22nd, 2012.   Once someone knows that you are a Unitarian Universalist, there is an almost inevitable question… and one that is very difficult for many of us to answer. “So, what do you Unitarian Universalists believe?” Over the years, I’ve had many different answers to Read more →

Let it Be a Dance! — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

This sermon was presented at the UU Church of Ventura, on January 15th, 2011.  As a child growing up in Hawaii, I danced the hula.  This was not an abnormal thing, growing up in Hawaii.  In fact, my first encounter with the hula was in a class at school, where Read more →

The Difference Between Grace and Forgiveness — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on December 11th, 2011 For many years my family celebrated Christmas alone, for the sole reason that as a military family, we were often far from all our other relatives for most of the year.  Occasionally someone would come to visit us at Christmastime… but most Christmases were Read more →

Tilling the Fields of a Missionary Faith — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached December 4th, 2011 Unitarian Universalist Minister John C. Morgan has written about a day when, after a sermon, a member of his congregation confronted him as he left the pulpit, with a flushed face and angry eyes… “Do not ever use that word here,” she said. “What word?” Read more →

Foundations of Grief and Loss — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on November 27th, 2011   Reading    From Letters, by Emily Dickinson What shall we do, my darling, when trial grows more, and more, when the dim, lone light expires, and it’s dark, so very dark, and we wander, and know not where, and cannot get out of the Read more →

Patterns of Family and Forgiveness — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on October 30th, 2011 It was one of the most amazing experiences I have had as a minister.  It began with a phone call from a woman, now in her late forties, to tell me that the man I was caring for, her father, was not all he Read more →

The Method is the Message — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

  Last preached October 28th, 2012   One of the most common questions that my chaplain colleagues, both civilian and military, ask me about Unitarian Universalism is how in the world we all stay together in one church, one faith, one religious tradition when we all “believe such different things”. Read more →

A Practice of Atonement — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on October 23rd, 2011 I remember a particular conversation with one of my military chaplain colleagues, while I was at the U.S. Army Chaplain School in Ft. Jackson, South Carolina in 2007.  I’ve thought for awhile that all Unitarian Universalist ministers should have an experience while in seminary Read more →

Speaking Through Thatched Cottages — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last Preached September 25th, 2011 Opening to Sermon   A Sermon is not something that comes into existence in the mind of a preacher. A sermon does not begin its being when words are placed on paper. When a sermon is put onto paper, it is merely an essay. When Read more →

Must Not Fear — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on July 17th, 2011   Yogi Berra once said that “The Key is authenticity… once you can fake that, you’ve got it made!”   As I was thinking and feeling about this sermon, I kept coming back to that intentionally funny quote from the baseball legend… no, not Read more →

The Scripture of an Ever Changing Revelation — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on April 10th, 2011   I was fifteen years old when I encountered a set of verses from the Bible that caused me to leave the Southern Baptist Tradition.   Ok, that’s a bit of an overstatement. It might be more accurate to say that at fifteen, my Read more →

The Spiritual Practice of Leadership — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on April 3rd, 2011   On a rainy Boston afternoon in 1972, two weary men sat in a small room wondering whether to run for their church offices again. They were tired… tired of controversy, tired of difficult decisions, tired of fighting. Both of them had plenty of Read more →

Embedded War — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on March 27th, 2011   Reading    A Collection of Quotes on War “We say we love peace, but it doesn’t excite us. Even pacifists talk more about the horrors of war than about the glories of peace.”– Jerry Pournelle, from the novel “West of Honor”, said by the Read more →

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