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Showing posts from February, 2014

3-D Holiness

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18 February 23, 2014 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
Scripture for this sermon was presented as a Readers' Theater, the script of which is below. The readers read the parts and the congregation responded by singing, "Change My Heart, O God." You can hear the music here:
Lev 19:1,2, 9-18                                            Speaker 1: The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.
Speaker 2: But how can I be holy? Only God is holy! Speaker 1: When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. Speaker 2: God asks me to care for others,…

Saying Yes to Life

Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 February 16, 2013 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
Today’s scripture reading comes from the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 30, verses 15-20. These verses are near the end of the book, which is the last of the five books of law, the Torah. Moses has been giving a farewell sermon, which must have lasted about five hours. He has been recounting the mighty works of God and the importance of God’s covenant. He has reminded the people of God’s law, and the call to obedience. Now, he’s winding down.
In sermon-speak, Moses is about to “land the plane”, with this challenge and call to decision. Moses is about to die, and the people of Israel, freed from slavery in Egypt and wandering in the desert for 40 years, are now about to cross the river Jordan and enter the promised land. Moses will not be going with them, and these are his last words. Let’s listen for God’s word to us today in Deuteronomy 30:15-20: 
See, I have set before you today life and …

A Grain of Salt

A Grain of Salt Matthew 5:13-20 February 9, 2014 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
As we prepare our hearts for God’s word from the gospel today, I want to set it in context for us. We’ll be spending a lot of time in this gospel during Lent, but until then, this will be our last focus on the gospel until the first Sunday in March. Matthew’s gospel is written for a community that is Jewish at its heart, located probably in what is now Syria, during the last quarter of the first century. The Scriptures on which they rely are what we would call the “Old Testament” – for them, that is “The Bible.” But there are more Gentiles joining them, so they are, like us, living in the tensions of transition – fully rooted in the faith of the past, and looking toward the future. They are excited, but apprehensive, about what this new way of living will bring. They are followers of Jesus, ready to go but unsure of where they will be led. The author of the gospel of Matthew sees …