Author Archive: Sandhya

About Sandhya

I was recently described as "schizophrenically talented," but I prefer "Renaissance Woman." I love to teach, preach, organize, sing, cook and write. I also really love to hang out with friends over coffee or a glass of wine. My true love is Oakland, and any man who dates me has to be comfortable with that.

“An Unexpected Peace,” a sermon for Peace Sunday of Advent, December 10, 2017

220px-Billy_Sunday_at_the_White_HouseIn which I mention an evangelical preacher from the 19th century (pictured here), modern day slavery, my father’s obsession with Advent tea, homeless encampments and where we can actually find peace right now.

The sermon was based on the lectionary passage of Mark 1:1-8.

Mark 1:1-8

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

 

“Saving Starfish when Starfish are outlawed,” a sermon at Downey Memorial Christian Church, December 3, 2017

A friend who came to hear me preach later said, “you know, these days, we could just get on social media and get like 45 people to the beach to9690a9f16724701380e2e98cca8c92a7--sea-shells-on-the-beach help us save starfish.”That would actually have strengthened my sermon. But here it is now, just in time for advent.

The scripture was Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19.

1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth

2before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!

3Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

4Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?

5You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.

6You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.

7Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

17But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself.

18Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name.

19Restore us, O Lord God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

“Jesus Christ for President,” a sermon for Reign of Christ Sunday, First Christian Church of Concord, 11/26/17

I have been in the justice movement for a long time. I do work on the hard edges. And yet until last year I never thought I would have to preach about fascism.

I am glad Woody Guthrie gave me some insight into the subject. 1140_cform_

The scripture for today was Matthew 25:31-46.

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

“Give Me Oil in my lamp,” a sermon at Broadmoore Presbyterian Church, 11/19/2017

This message was based on the gospel passage about the 10 bridesmaids, 5 of whose oil lamps burn out and they miss out on the big party.

I hope that if you’re worried about getting all the details right in order to do good, this message will be an encouragement to you.

Plus, I sing. Who doesn’t love that? And I might mention social justice a little bit.

“The Back-to-Egypt Committee,” a sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Oakland, 24 September 2017

This sermon was based on the lectionary passage Exodus 16:2-15, where the Israelites who have just been led out of enslavement in Egypt complain that Moses has brought them there to die and how good they had it back in Egypt where there was really good stew and housing. My pastor used to call these folks the Back-to-Egypt Committee, and the narrative still seems true today.

“Call In the Midwife” — a sermon on the baby Moses

This sermon, preached at United Christian Church of Lodi, CA, is based on the passage in the book of Exodus about the midwives saving baby Moses’s life.

Before I began to preach, I let the congregation know that the sermon had been shaped by our President having just pardoned a genocidal man who bragged about building concentration camps for Mexicans, white supremacists playing whack-a-mole in the city of San Francisco the day before, and the fact that my friends were gathering in Berkeley as we met to nonviolently stand up against more white supremacists. I asked for their grace in hearing a message shaped by that context.

One other thing to note: I don’t preach from a manuscript, and this morning that resulted in me using a phrase I now know not to use: “low person on the totem pole” is an unhelpful, inaccurate and hurtful phrase. I apologize for its use as I continue to work on unlearning harmful turns of phrase and ways of thinking.