Guest In Your Pulpit - Mark Bernstein

Guest in Your Pulpit

Mark Bernstein is a member of the UU Church of Delaware County, Media, PA.

Titles of programs/sermons and a brief statement of content on each:

  • A Night Already Devoid of Stars—Violence has been and continues to be a stain that has darkened the landscape of our country and our world. What has caused us to become such a violent society and how do we as Unitarian Universalists respond in ways that affirm our beliefs and principles?
  • Language of the Unheard—Power dynamics play as much of a role in our congregational life as joys and concerns and coffee hour (remember coffee hour?) How does power serve us and hurt us, both in our congregations and in the wider world?
  • Two Wings of the Human Spirit—Many UUs among us would have us believe that Reason and Faith are mutually exclusive. But others will argue that they are compatible, even nurturing of one another. Where does Faith begin and Reason end, and vice versa? Let’s consider how we marry these two ways of looking at the world in order to forge greater relationships and lessen conflict in our congregations.
  • Driven by Waves—New beginnings are ongoing. A chance for renewal. An opportunity to start over. How will you renew yourself? What will you create that never was? What will you leave behind?
  • Going Platinum—Showing reverence for another human being is deeply embedded in our Unitarian Universalist principles. But what does it mean to show reverence and why is important particularly during these stressful, inequitable, and polarizing times?
  • Finding Echoes—Novelist Mohsin Hamid wrote, “Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” We can only console another who is grieving, lonely, or depressed by connecting within ourselves something that knows that feeling. It requires understanding, vulnerability, a listening ear and an open heart. In this sermon, we’ll explore the nature and power of empathy.
  • Paying Attention—Our busy and often chaotic lives require that we pay attention to many things, often at once. In so doing, we find ourselves pulled in different directions, confused, exhausted and often overwhelmed. How do we know where to direct our attention and how can our Unitarian Universalist faith help us to pay attention to that which is most important to us?
  • Being in Awe—To be in awe of someone or something is to have an overwhelming amount of respect or admiration, tinged with surprise, wonder and even fear. What are you in awe of? How has our Unitarian Universalist faith helped us to recognize and appreciate such moments of awe?
  • On Moral Courage—E.E. Cummings wrote, “Courage is not living without fear.Courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway.”As we negotiate these troubling and uncertain times, how do we exercise courage in ourselves and celebrate courage in others?
  • Nothing to LoseA—candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. In the same way, we light the flame of passion and commitment in each other through our understanding, encouragement and acts of generosity. What does teamwork look like at UUCDC and how do we continue to exhibit it as our congregation grows?
  • Is Chivalry Dead or Where is Sir Walter Raleigh Now That We Need Him?—The Medieval Code of Chivalry, which flourished during the 12th and 13th centuries, faded toward the end of the middle ages. Have we Unitarian Universalists picked up the mantle? Do we conduct our lives with honor and integrity according to our principles and “codes’? This sermon will explore these issues and examine if Sir Walter Raleigh would have been happy as a Unitarian Universalist.
  • Willing to Be Little—Practicing humility in our congregation and in our lives is the way in which we live out our Unitiarian Universalist principles. Do we have the courage to live lives of humility? What would our congregation, and our world, look like if everyone did?
  • Patriotism: Vice or Virtue?—George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.” Is patriotism just a selfish, xenophobic act or does it embody the values of pride, loyalty and sacrifice and so is something to be admired? Why is patriotism defined in so many different ways in our country, particularly in this most interesting political season? And what do Unitarian Universalists have to say about patriotism? Come and celebrate the holiday with us. Fireworks to follow the service. (Just kidding)
  • Is Superman a Closet UU? and other compelling questions—Does the Man of Steel light a chalice in his Fortress of Solitude? Do the Caped Crusader and Robin the Boy Wonder secretly share joys and concerns deep in the bowels of the Bat Cave? And what about Betty and Veronica? Come explore the connection between our comic book heroes and our UU principles.
  • The Hunger to Belong—Healthy congregations do more than create a welcoming environment. They create a culture of belonging. To truly belong means to bridge the gulf between isolation and intimacy. How are we helping to create a culture of belonging in our congregation and what more do we need to do to feed the hunger to belong?
  • A Rising Tide—The word "spirituality" means different things to different UUs. Here's one interpretation of spirituality that represents a call to action consistent with our seven principles.
  • The Case Against Gratitude—Poets, novelists and self-help gurus tell us to count our blessings…to be grateful for what we have. But sometimes, gratitude doesn’t work, especially when life is hard or things aren’t going our way. If we can’t draw on gratitude when we’re not feeling grateful, what other options do we have?

  • Stealing Second Base—A meaningful life requires that we work without a net; that we take risks in order to reap rewards. Why is it so hard to let go and how can our Unitarian Universalist faith help us to journey into the unknown?

  • Through Love and In Love: Pondering Sin and Salvation—In traditional Christian theology, salvation is the deliverance from the penalty of sin. One who has sinned is saved from the wrath of God by having faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. Unitarian Universalists do not subscribe to these beliefs. What does it mean, though, in our Faith Tradition, to sin and to be saved? How do the concepts of sin and salvation impact on our lives as UUs and in our relationships with the world?

  • A Call to Selflessness—Vocation, as defined in this sermon, is the gift we bring not necessarily to ourselves but to others. It is a call to selflessness and finds its expression in the service of others...especially the service of those in need. How do we apply this concept to help strengthen our congregations and our Unitarian Universalist faith and help heal a troubled world?

Availability: Anytime, anywhere. May need home hospitality for Saturday night depending on distance.

Fee arrangements: Standard fee for your congregation.

Contact: Email Mark Bernstein,