Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Category Archives: Sermons

In Defense of Inherent Worth and Interdependence — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on March 11th, 2011   In October of 1996, I was serving as a NATO Peacekeeper in the area of the Former Yugoslavia known as Bosnia-y-Herzegovina. A young, idealistic U.S. Army Sergeant, I was serving as an intelligence analyst for the international peacekeeping force that had been created Read more →

The Origin and Nature of Good and Evil — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on February 20th, 2011.   Reading    Excerpt from “What Torture’s Taught Me,” by Rev. Bill Schultz Taken From “What Torture’s Taught me” by Rev. Bill Schulz Former President of the Unitarian Universalist Association Former Executive Director of Amnesty International So who are the torturers? Are they madmen? Deviants? Read more →

Walking in Covenant — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on February 6, 2011 It seems that, when you wander around the congregations and events that comprise the practice of Unitarian Universalism today, you cannot go very far before you run into something that is being called a Covenant.  Congregations seem to have developed multiple covenants among themselves Read more →

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

Last preached January 23rd, 2011   I have occasionally been using the sermons I am privileged to bring to this pulpit to tell some of the stories from the earliest times of my ministry, on Galveston Island, in Texas. Being among you, I am often reminded of those days, because Read more →

They Just Fade Away — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached November 14th, 2010 Two and a half years ago, I had the honor and privilege to attend the retirement ceremony of the senior military chaplain of our Unitarian Universalist faith, Chaplain Colonel, the Reverend Vernon Chandler. After over 32 years as a military Chaplain, with time in Bosnia, Read more →

The Compass and the Violin — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on October 10th, 2010 Albert Einstein told the story about the Magic Compass over and over during his life, as the moment in his life that inspired him to seek out the mystery that made his compass needle move, as the reason that he became a scientist. It Read more →

Equality in our Endings — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on August 8th, 2010   Reading   Excerpt from “Love and Death” by Rev. Forrest Church   When grandparents, parents, even children died at home, death was an inescapable presence in our lives. Today, shielded from intimacy with death by the cold, mechanically invasive and antiseptic chambers of hospitals, Read more →

Transforming Ruins into Foundations — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached July 25th, 2010 There is a lesson that I have learned as a Chaplain Resident with Rainbow Hospice.  It is a lesson that I see clearly both in the book of Lamentations and in the words of the Psalmist that we read a few minutes ago.  It is Read more →

Method, Message, and Meaning Making — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on July 18th, 2010   Reading  Excerpt from “The Method is the Message” by Angus McLean The liberal is beginning to discover that she is more in tune with natural processes than are her maligners. The liberal has been accused of not knowing where he stood, or of Read more →

Decoration Day — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 30th, 2010   Reading General Order Number 11, Washington DC, May 5, 1868                                         General John Logan General Order No. 11   Headquarters, Grand Army of the Republic Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868   I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose Read more →

What Will Be — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached April 18th, 2010   A few years ago, I was presenting a worship service at a small UU fellowship in Indiana. The church had asked for me to center the service in Unitarian Universalist history, focusing on our liberal faith movement’s commitment to social justice. For the Story Read more →

We Begin Again in Love — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

Last preached January 26th, 2010 Reading    Excerpt from “A Treatise on Atonement” by Rev. Hosea Ballou  1805 Part II, chapter 2. Necessity of Atonement, and Where Satisfaction Must Be Made I have already entered my protest against the necessity of atonement on the principles upon which christians have generally believed Read more →

Let Us Dare — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on January 24th, 2010.   “How Dare You People Bring THAT MAN Here!?!” shouted the man at the young taxi driver.  “How dare you people bring THAT MAN here without our permission!?!” Though it had been three years since “that man” had come, the young taxi driver knew Read more →

Great Lakes UU Military Ministry Easter Homily

Though I do not often post sermons to Celestial Lands, there are exceptions. On this Easter Sunday Morning, I thought I would share the homily I am preaching in our UU Worship Service at the Great Lakes Naval Station, Recruit Training Command this morning. Introduction to the Homily In our Read more →

Retracing our Steps — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on August 30th, 2008 Change has long been a constant in my life.  Growing up as a child of the military, we were always moving from post to post, from assignment to assignment.  My parents tell me I attended three different kindergartens.  To this day, I regularly have Read more →

On Doubt, Inherent Worth, and Interdependence… In the Face of Atrocity — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on August 3rd, 2008 Several years ago I was watching a news show about violence in Palestine. Specifically, the story was an interview with a young Palestinian woman who was arrested the year before by Israeli police, attempting to smuggle parts for a bomb through an Israeli checkpoint. Read more →

Living Monkey Mind — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on January 6th, 2008   When I gazed out the window on New Years morning, the overnight snows seemed like a blanket resting comfortably across the urban landscape, softening the edges of the buildings, blurring the lines between the road and the curb, and making the morning seem Read more →

The Military and Religious Freedom — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached November 3rd, 2007 This is my first Sunday morning back here at the Great Lakes Recruit Training Center in over four months.  You see, this past summer I was in Basic Training myself.  It was my second time going through basic.  My first time was in 1991, at Read more →

From Universal Salvation to Universal Faith — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

 Last preached on December 10th, 2006 I would like to tell you a few stories. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “All history is Biography”, and so behind these stories are real people. It is my hope that through these stories, we can catch a glimpse at the emergence and evolution Read more →

It Takes an Ohana — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 13th, 2006   In an interview in 2004, on Pat Robertson’s television show, “The 700 Club” Focus on the Family founder Dr. James Dobson said “I believe that the family is the ground floor, it’s the foundation. And if you redefine it, you undermine it, you Read more →

What Am I Going to Get? — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached December 18th, 2005 Every year during the Holiday season my thoughts turn to what Christmas was like for me as a child. I would wake up at about five in the morning, with a feeling of excitement, and then lay in my bed in my messy room for Read more →

Rational Miracles — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 31st, 2005 One of the most common “so-called” refutations that I have encountered to Deism and other rational religious thought is that we tend not to believe in miracles… or at least that we do not believe in them the same way many of the adherents Read more →

In God’s Name — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 15, 2005   A little over a year ago, I spent an evening working on the computer and, as I often do, I had one of the 24 hour news channels on as background noise.  Yes, I will freely admit that it was Fox News….  But Read more →

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