Send Me Your One-Sentence Sermon

This is not the age of information. . . This is the time of loaves and fishes. People are hungry and one good word is bread for a thousand. David Whyte

I’ve set aside a few days this week and next for sermon planning, as I prepare to preach in pulpits around the diocese this fall. I’d love to hear from you before I speak to you.

In light of national and global events, the escalating political rhetoric of the presidential election, and your personal concerns and dreams, what do you hope to hear from the pulpit when you come to church? What do you think Jesus is saying to us now?

A sermon is a sacred moment when one person, having studied our sacred texts and prayed for inspiration, speaks to the real life circumstances of those listening. But a sermon is also one half of a sustained conversation between preacher and congregation. Given that I can’t be with you each week, that conversation is harder to sustain, and I miss it.

And so I invite all those who are not preachers to take a moment in prayer and then write the one sentence you most need to hear from the pulpit, what you believe Jesus is saying to us all.  

You can post your sentence by commenting on this blog post, by commenting on this Facebook post, by tweeting to @washdio, or by sending an email to

On September 1, I’ll be preaching at a gathering of teachers, administrators and clergy on the Cathedral Close, an annual service of rededication before the students arrive. Discussing possible themes, Chaplain Eva Cavaleri wrote:

We’re preparing ourselves to be present this fall to our communities in the face of the intense political atmosphere and general sense of anxiety that surrounds us. We’re planning conversations with faculty about how  engage with students and families, reminding all how  to have civil discourse, with careful listening and respect for difference; and how to be present to the sense of anxiety and fear that the political rhetoric is causing both children and parents.

Earlier in the summer I received an email from another school leader:

We are very concerned about the current political situation and the heightened intensity of race and police relations – never before has the world seemed so very unsettled in my lifetime. A group of us met recently, including our parent diversity group leaders – and there is concern about how this will seep into our school life when we return – worries, fears, anger, etc. … The parent leaders are wishful that you would help us in gathering together and talking through what it means to parent through these difficult times.  

Many in our diocesan family and the communities we serve in Christ’s name have good reasons to be afraid for themselves and their children. For others, the fear may be less immediate but no less real. And surely we all wonder how to live and respond to the events of our time.

How we, as Christian community, speak among ourselves and to the broader culture matters, especially in times such as these. So please, if you will, take a moment to compose your one-sentence sermon. If you post it in the comments on this blog or on social media, together we’ll create a fuller sermon from the collection of sentences. If you’d prefer to write me confidentially, you can respond via email.

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15 Responses to Send Me Your One-Sentence Sermon

  1. Mary Kercher says:

    Keep an open heart towards those with whom you disagree whether it is politics, religion, culture, etc. Chances are there will be something you need to hear from them that will help you better understand where they are coming from. Listening with an open heart is really what each one of us wants even if we cannot find agreement. It is how God listens to us.


  2. reserve7 says:

    No wonder God loves you… you’re beautiful.


  3. Be kind; in all ways, be kind.


  4. Brenda Poss says:

    Love one another.


  5. Curtis Hamilton says:

    God is love, and where true love is God himself is there. (Hymnal 1982, #576) While not a member of your diocese, this refrain came to mind when I read your post. I think if we acted like this was true (which it is), our relationships with others would be what God intends.


  6. Judy says:

    Love one another with a pure heart fervently.


  7. Jacki coyle says:

    In the darkest of moments there is ALWAYS a flicker of LIGHT.


  8. Sherman Hesselgrave says:

    Never resist a generous impulse.


  9. Steve Schewe says:

    The Way teaches that when we open our hands to others, sometimes nails will be driven through them; send us the courage, Lord, to keep opening our hands in faith and trust, assuming positive intent to those who might wound us.


  10. Jerry King says:

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


  11. Tracy Dieter says:

    Fear not, for God, our merciful and abundant Creator has enough for them and us, more than enough.


  12. Dierdre Walsh says:

    The impact we leave upon others is not always proportionate to the “size” of the good deed done; we may never know the how the smallest of gestures has changed someone’s heart.


  13. mariannbudde says:

    Thank you all for these thoughtful responses. Like you, I am listening for God’s wisdom and guidance, and for what God would have us do as followers of Jesus. Your insights will surely inform my writing and preaching this fall.


  14. Caroline Klam says:

    “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

    ― John Lennon

    I saw this on a poster while walking around Rehoboth Beach on vacation with my grandchildren last week and it has stuck with me. It is often easy to see our current situation as alarming, threatening, hopeless, but the good news from Jesus is that he is making all things new and that God is more powerful than any temporal situation and in the true end, it will be okay and the world, situation, crisis will be redeemed.


  15. Randy Marks says:

    I am sorry I am late to the “sermon writing party.” I would like Bishop Mariann to explore the following topic: how can we get over the tendency to view ourselves as victims and use that view as an excuse to harm others. I saw that in Sanders and Trump supporters and in other parts of the world (e.g., the Brexit vote, far right parties). Jesus was a victim of a political assassination and yet he asked for forgiveness for his tormenters. People are hurting all over the world. How can we create a culture of mercy and hope rather than victimhood and revenge?


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