Susan Butterworth, M.A., M.Div, is a writer, teacher, singer, and lay minister. She leads Song & Stillness: Taizé @ MIT, a weekly ecumenical service of contemplative Taizé prayer at the interfaith chapel at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She teaches writing and literature to college undergraduates and writes book reviews, essays, and literary reference articles.
Sermons and Bible Studies
The Paradox of Judas: ultimate betrayer or player in the cosmic drama of salvation? Today’s gospel passage begins, “After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’” Looking back to what Jesus has just said, we hear these words, spoken after he has […]
[RCL]: Joel 2:1-2,12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 103 or 103:8-14; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6,16-21 Dear People of God: I invite you to the observance of a holy Lent, a time to renew our repentance and faith, by prayer, fasting, and self-denial, and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word (paraphrased from the Book […]
Acts 11:1-18 The Acts of the Apostles depicts Jesus’ early followers as observant Jews and the beginnings of the church as rooted within Judaism, yet is concerned with the expansion of the church from those origins to a movement spread throughout the Roman Empire. In the first part of today’s passage, verses 1-3, Peter’s fellow […]
In today’s gospel passage, we encounter the Bethany family: siblings Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. We have met Martha and Mary before, in the well-known passage from Luke’s gospel (Luke 10:38-42) when Jesus and his disciples rest on the road to Jerusalem in the home of sisters Mary and Martha. Remember that Martha, doing all the […]
“After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” – Luke 2:21 January 1, the Feast of the Holy Name, is a day when we encounter an interweaving of spiritual traditions: a mystical attachment […]
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my redeemer. Today we have heard some of the most beautiful, painful, heart-wrenching passages of scripture, juxtaposed with one of the holiest, most beautiful, painful, heart-wrenching moments of the Christian story. Jesus, our […]
Come, Holy Spirit, let us go up to the mountain. Open our ears to hear God’s voice in the clouds. Open our eyes to see God’s glory shine through the veil. Open our hearts to trust that God is always with us on the journey, so that when we come down from the mountain, we […]
This week we continue our Pentecost tour through Genesis, Romans, and the parables and stories of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. We have two unsettling encounters: the meeting of Joseph and his brothers, and the meeting of Jesus and the Canaanite woman. The Genesis stories of our founding fathers and mothers are often perplexing. […]
Today’s readings offer us a wonderful opportunity to focus on stories. The stories we tell both illuminate and teach the virtues that our communities respect. Stories transmit culture, values, and ethics. Stories often include images and actions that raise questions and confirm values. In our church communities, we tell concrete stories that illustrate our beliefs, […]
Today we commemorate, and celebrate, the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. Last Sunday, we heard in the fourth chapter of Matthew that Jesus has gathered disciples and gone throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing the sick. The Sermon on the Mount, which occurs early in […]
God, our strength and our hope, grant us the courage of John the Baptist, constantly to speak the truth and boldly to rebuke injustice, with eyes open to recognize God among us. We are in the season of Epiphany, the season of growing light, the season of the Magi and the revelation of Christ to […]
Trouble and distress have come upon me, yet your commandments are my delight. The righteousness of your decrees is everlasting; grant me understanding, that I may live. Amen. Today’s scripture lessons present a unified whole, in lovely, surprising connections. The prophet Habakkuk is notable because he questions God. He asks, “O Lord, how long shall I […]
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