Monday, December 20, 2010

Beatles Mass

For the 4th Sunday in Advent I created a Beatles Mass for the Community of Travelers (an emerging service that meets at 5pm at St. Aidan's Episcopal Church in San Francisco). The scripture reading is about how God is born into the world, the Beatles Mass, reminds us that God is continually born into the world and that ordinary things can become spiritual when we use them in worship together.

In the spirit of Martin Luther who changed the words of pub tunes for use in church, this Beatles Mass seeks to get people excited (we had at least 8 people who don't typically attend who came to sing Beatles tunes), and enable those who don't read music to participate.

I'll be adding audio and video of the service, so you can hear how the songs sound as I get a chance.

PERFORMmusic License#6400

Beatles Mass

Lyrics by Rev. Megan Rohrer, Advent 2010

for the Community of Travelers service at St. Aidan’s Episcopal in San Francisco, CA

"God has preached the Gospel through music."

- Martin Luther

“We sing because in singing we join together in common breath and melody in a manner that no other medium can duplicate. Public corporate reading simply cannot match what occurs when people sing together. And when we sing, our song is joined to the saints and angels of all times and places. We become an assembly unified in purpose and thought. And by our singing, we hear God’s Word for us, and the world hears it loud and clear.”

– Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Call to Worship

[to the tune of Blackbird – capo 1]

Welcome to worship this Sunday night
God is here and the time is right
breathe the breath of life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

Welcome to worship this Sunday night
Breathing as one, together we will sing
Let the church bells ring
You were only waiting for this moment to free.

Prepare your hearts
Prepare your hearts
For the words of God bring change


The prayer of the day is read.


[to the tune of Yellow Submarine – capo 1]

Hallelujah and praise be to Christ
praise be to Christ, praise be to Christ
Hallelujah and praise be to Christ
praise be to Christ, praise be to Christ

The Gospel of the day is read.

Hallelujah and praise be to Christ
praise be to Christ, praise be to Christ
Hallelujah and praise be to Christ
praise be to Christ, praise be to Christ


A few words from the pastor, followed by group reflection on the reading.

Prayers of the People

[to the tune of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE –capo 2]

let prayers raise like incense through the church while we repent
spread forgiveness, unbind made-up-minds and wallets across the universe
bless our leaders, of all kinds, bishops, pastors, civic minds
Families, pets, all human kind across the universe

And so we pray together
God is gonna change the world
God is gonna change the world
God is gonna change the world
God is gonna change the world

we pray for those who are pain, and those who bring back health again
prayers to end poverty and war across the universe
end destruction waste and greed, so we can help out those in need
restore peace and prosperity across the universe


protect all children, save the earth help us understand the true worth
of all who live and breathe across the universe
help us remember we are loved by the holy trinity above
who calls us to be stewards of, all the universe

Passing of the Peace

[to the tune of “I wanna hold your hand” – no capo]

Oh please, say to me -
We are all kin in Christ
And please, say to me -
I wanna shake your hand
I wanna shake your hand.
I wanna shake your hand.
The peace, of Christ is with you
And also with you,

So please, get off your seat
Share a sign of God’s peace
Share a sign of God’s peace.
Share a sign of God’s peace.
Oh please, say to me -
We are all kin in Christ
And please, say to me -
I wanna shake your hand
I wanna shake your hand.
I wanna shake your hand.


The offering is collected at the table is prepared.

The Meal

[To the tune of “Hey Jude” Capo 3]

Na na na na-na na na, na-na na na,

Je- sus (repeat)

Je-sus, he took the bread
Gave thanks and said: take and eat
this is my body, I’m giving to you
Yes this is true, bead of heaven

Je-sus, he blessed the cup
his blood creates for us holy kinship
so we remember God’s promises to us all
despite the fall, we are all God’s children

And every time you drink this cup

Think of Christ and remember

All your sins are forgiven

Na na na na-na na na, na-na na na,

Je- sus (repeat)

Holy one, hosannas to you

Blessed are all who come to your table

we remember the Saints from other times

In this bread and wine, pour out your Spirit

Creator God, who lives among us
we lift your name, above all others

and we remember your sacrifice for our sins
let your reign begin and continue forever, and ever and ever

[silence for the breaking of the bread]

Na na na na-na na na, na-na na na,

Je- sus (repeat)


Eucharistic blessing is spoken.


[to the tune of “Let it Be” – capo 2]


May God’s face shine upon you. And clear a path before your feet
praying for tomorrow, Go in peace

Blessed and forgiven, Children of God you’ll always be
claim your wholeness, Go in peace

Go in peace, go in peace, go in peace, go in peace

in service, love and wisdom Go in peace

And when the bay is foggy. And suffering is all we see
May joy replace our sorrows, Go in peace

May we be light in darkness.   For the whole world’s in need.
Help us bring justice, Go in peace

Go in peace, go in peace, go in peace, go in peace

in service, love and wisdom Go in peace

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jerky Saints Sunday

This sermon preached at First Congregational in San Francisco is the most I've ever been interrupted during a sermon. But you'll notice at the beginning of the sermon I say that this is a sign of God's in breaking into the world... so I guess God's a bit of a prankster.

Click hear to download the sermon (mp3)
Click hear to listen to the sermon online (play now)

Jerky Saints Sunday
Date: 11-07-2010
Description: A different take on All Saints Sunday to grasp the unjust actions that our just God has promised to prevent.
Key words: jesus,justice,suffering,saints
Pastor : Megan Rohrer
Sermon : First Congregational, San Francisco
Scripture : Job 19:23-27a; Psalm 17:1-9 ; Luke 20:27-38

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Feed Them.

Download the sermon: (mp3)
Play the sermon now: (listen now)

You Feed Them.
Date: 10-28-2010
Description: Jesus' command to feed the poor....
Key words: jesus,mark,hunger,feed
Pastor : Megan Rohrer
Sermon : SPS Synod Hunger Group
Scripture : Mark 6:23

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reformation manifesto against poverty & homelessness and for pastor self care

Times Square New York

My last night indoors before my 7 days and 7 nights on the street this year I'm spending in Times Square. It wasn't planned to be an intentionally poetic thing. I'm doing a panel talk at CUNY's Graduate Center tonight for Out History. I fly back in the early morning and then head immediately to Davis, CA to preside at the closing worship of the Sierra Pacific Hunger Network's gathering. Then, I'll head immediately to Old First Presbyterian for the Saturday Community Dinner which will feed about 300 people. Afterwards I'll be joining the group of fools (no really, that's what we call ourselves - Faithful Fools after St. Francis of Assisi) and I'll be one of the huddled masses sleeping on the concrete outside of First Unitarian Universalist Church.

This street retreat, I'll be working on and off while I sleep on the streets at night. While this is a little different from past years, I think it will be a revelatory experience. First, I always find it helpful to feel how it feels in my bones to participate in the typical activities that I regularly ask homeless volunteers to participate in. Experiencing it helps me to understand what are unhelpful rules or just make life more difficult and painful for folk.

Another purpose of my continuing to work is to highlight the struggles of the working poor. This time in our economy more than ever, there are so many people working jobs that don't pay all their bills. Even I, someone very well off compared to the lives of those living on the streets, is currently working more than one job in order to get out from under debt, to pay my exceedingly high mortgage and because I haven't had a raise in three years.

And though there are a million reasons that my working while on street retreat can be illuminating, the final one I'll give here, is that during this week before the anniversary of the Reformation I want to highlight the way that pastors that chose to serve those with the least are consistently overworked and underpaid.

Without the ability to get good self care (through vacations, time off to think, time away from crisis and time away from bill worries both at work and home.

So for all these reasons, and all those that will come to me along the way, I officially declare my street retreat (from October 23 - 30) a call for a reformation to: solve domestic poverty; to pay living wages for individuals and families; and to provide self care and support with our prayers, money and priorities for pastors, particularly those engaged in community ministry or the diaconate, to get the self care they need.

Join me on my street retreat/reformation at:

And since I will beg on the streets, and in most of these notes, you might as well get used to me begging you to support the vital work that I'm able to do at Welcome. (via the mail: 1751 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94109 or via the interwebs at:

I get the privilege of developing creative ways for folk to respond to poverty - whether they live in it or not. If you feel like my blog will entertain you as much as a movie, give $11. If it makes you think like a book would, give $25. If it feels like church, consider tithing %15 of next weeks salary. If you learn as much as a college class consider donating $255. If it changes your life, or at least your perspective, how much is that worth to you?

Since most of my time is spent finding ways to make things free that people in poverty can't afford, I won't be upset if you don't give. But, anything you do give will help me spend less time begging (and more time helping those living in poverty improving their quality of life) when my street retreat is over.

Blessings upon blessings to you and yours. May you be warm and fed, today and all the days of your life.

Pastor Megan

Location:Time Square, NY, NY,United States

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

Listen to today's sermon.

Sermon : Bethlehem Lutheran, Oakland
Scripture : 1 Kings 3:16-28; Acts 16:11-15; Matthew 26:7-13

A sermon about the fullness of women.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Servant or Sucker - Long Interfaith Version

Listen Online I Download

Sermon : Unitarian Universalist Church of Marin
Readings : Bernie Glassman - Bearing Witness

Does God want us to give it all away or to be practical, good stewards who save? What is the appropriate faith response to panhandling? Pastor Megan will addresses these questions and share insights from her eight years working with the chronically homeless and from her street retreats, where she lives on the streets in San Francisco's Tenderloin.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Matthew The Sinner/Saint

Download the Sermon I Play the Sermon

A sermon for the feast of St. Matthew that focuses on Jesus' call to minister only to sinners.

Sermon at the San Francisco Swedenborgian Church, September 19, 2010
Scripture readings: Ephesians 2:4-10 and Matthew 9:9-13

Monday, September 6, 2010

Creation, Logic and Disability

Hear my sermon preached at First United Lutheran Church. They were celebrating the first Sunday of the season of creation. This sermon is very personal. Please note that there is a bit of silent meditation after the reading of the text. It ends with the sound of a chime. This means that the silence is intentional, and not a problem with the audio.

Download the audio - or play the sermon

Monday, August 23, 2010

Are you a mushy Christian?

This recent poll about young adults and their faith was really strange to me. This silly little paragraph that stood out the most:
"Among the 65% [of young adults] who call themselves Christian, 'many are either mushy Christians or Christians in name only,' Rainer says. 'Most are just indifferent. The more precisely you try to measure their Christianity, the fewer you find committed to the faith.'"

I don't know what a mushy Christian is. I imagine from the context of the article that it's people who use avoid words like "Jesus is my Lord and Savior" or who do yoga. The author of the article concludes that because old school notions of Christianity don't work for young folk that they are in fact not very solid in their belief(s).

As a 30 year old pastor, I must confess that I am often the youngest person at most church services I preach at or lead. I often feel like I'm not actually an adult at these meetings and gatherings because of the marked age difference. Yet, I often hear that the church wants to engage young folk (read those 30 and below) and become more welcoming and diverse.

Yet, when we young folk with our full diversity of sexuality, gender expression, body art, piercings, ADHD, physical abilities and yearning to mash up some of the spiritual practices and experiences from other faith traditions that help us understand our Christian stories and rituals better show up in their pews, very few churches are willing to let us be fully who we are. Or if they do, they stare, make comments or smoother you.

In the early 60's the National Council of Churches faced a very similar reality. Young folk were not interested in church and worship that did not speak to their experiences. As a result, churches adapted, experimented and were transformed by the contributions of young folk. The sixties also brought a lot of experimentation and over-indulgence that the church still seems to be recovering from. Perhaps the boundaries got pushed too far in the 60's, but I hope that the baby boomers who got this freedom when they were young will be gracious enough to trust a new generation with the future of the church.

Like it or not, we are the future (and present) of the church.

I invite anyone interested in exploring ways we can claim the moving and meaningful parts of the ancient Christian tradition while making it fresh and relevant to our daily lives, to join me and the fabulous Tommy Dillon as a part of the Community of Travelers (starting September 12th at 5pm).

You can participate in person at St. Aidan's Episcopal or join us online via live stream. Mushy or not, all are welcome to worship with us!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sermon: Salem English Lutheran

Here are the links to my sermon this past Sunday at Salem English Lutheran. Since I don't preach with notes, each of the sermons is unique and fits not only the specific charism of the service and the participants who were there that day.

8:30 Traditional Service
Stream Audio - Download Audio

10:30 Jazz Service

Stream Audio - Download Audio

Date: 08-15-2010
Description: Our darkness is never darkness in your sight the deepest night is clear as the day light.
Key words: darkness,rules,Lutheran,GLBT
Pastor : Megan Rohrer
Sermon : Salem English Lutheran - Minneapolis

Saturday, August 7, 2010

loving God vs. intolerant God

This week I received the above postcard in the mail with a LCMS website link and a Sioux Falls postmark. While I've been getting mail like this on and off since 2000, this postcard is undoubtedly a response to the article about me in the Argus Leader. This type of mail always leaves me with several questions:
  1. Really, does someone think I hadn't heard any of these comments before?
  2. If this was sent in response to the Argus article, I wonder if the sender thought postcards were more affective than exorcisms, or rape threats to "cure" my big gay homosexuality? If only someone had thought of it sooner.
  3. Does the sender not know that the color purple makes people gay? Remember the tinky winky scandal.
  4. What was it that Martin Lutheran meant when he said we could sin boldly?
  5. Do you really think this is a catchy slogan? Would you wear it on a shirt? Put it on the bumper of your car? Have your children hold it on a sign in front of the press?
It occurs to me that I actually preempted this postcard with last Sunday's sermon: Servant or Sucker. Listen to the sermon or download it here. What I didn't post was the children's sermon. So here it is:

The reading according to the gospel of The Little Engine that Could:

A little steam engine had a long train of cars to pull.

She went along very well till she came to a steep hill. But then, no matter how hard she tried, she could not move the long train of cars.

She pulled and she pulled. She puffed and she puffed. She backed and started off again. Choo! Choo!

But no! the cars would not go up the hill.

At last she left the train and started up the track alone. Do you think she had stopped working? No, indeed! She was going for help.

"Surely I can find someone to help me," she thought.

Over the hill and up the track went the little steam engine. Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo, choo! Choo!

Pretty soon she saw a big steam engine standing on a side track. He looked very big and strong. Running alongside, she looked up and said:

"Will you help me over the hill with my train of cars? It is so long and heavy I can't get it over."

The big steam engine looked down at the little steam engine. The he said:

"Don't you see that I am through my day's work? I have been rubbed and scoured ready for my next run. No, I cannot help you,"

Don't you think it's sad that the little engine couldn't find anyone to help and never made it up the hill?

Of course the children shouted out that that is not the way the story ends. I then talked about how sometimes when we were short stories from the Bible, Sunday after Sunday, it's easy to forget that it's just one part of the story. A story that ends with God's love, our forgiveness, an empty tomb and God's declaration that we are good.

However, the beauty of the Bible is that the stories are complex. I love them not only because they speak to me and tell me that God love's me, but also because they speak to those that I will work my whole career counteracting.

I love that this Sunday's lectionary text is almost the counter argument to everything that I've written. Jesus is not proclaiming to be the anti-war, homeless advocate that I would love him to be. Instead, he proclaims that he will be argued about, will cause division and to set the world on fire (see Luke 12: 49-56).

On the first reading, it seems like Jesus is the intolerant God proclaimed in the postcard. And yet, when I read it again it seems like Jesus is a truth teller with the self awareness to name the problem that his presence in the world created. He knows the story is headed toward a cross. The writers who wrote the text more than a hundred years after Jesus' death knew that he would continue to be a divisive character in the future.

In the face of Luke's message, I think whenever we see news talking about churches leaving the ELCA over sexuality decisions or we get mail from other Christians saying what we're doing is wrong we should let people know that fighting in the church about Christ and the gospel is old news. In fact, it's precisely what Jesus said would happen.

Yes, it's the truth that there is discord. So what do we do? Perhaps the answer is in the next text:
57“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? 58Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. 59I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”

These verses are not only call us to stay in conversation and seek reconciliation, but they also bring us back to the end of the story, when the little engine makes it to the top of the hill, when God reminds us of our baptism, when we remember that nothing - neather death, nor life, nor postcards, nor genitals, nor what we do with them can ever seperate us from the love of God in Jesus.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Sound of Evangelism

The Sound of Evangelism
Date: 07-04-2010
Description: A new look at evangelism, down falls and it's never ending call....
Key words: evangelism,outreach,homeless,preaching
Pastor : Megan Rohrer
Sermon : St. Paulus Lutheran
Scripture : Luke 10:1-11, 16-20; Galatians 6:1-16; Isaiah 66:10-14

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Little Christmas for Lent

Push the triangle above to listen to the sermon. If you have trouble hearing the sermon you can also listen to it at: