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Showing posts from February, 2015

I AM...Bread

John 6: 35-40, 44-51
March 1, 2015
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

As we turn to scripture this second Sunday of Lent, we shift a bit from last week’s focus. If you remember, last Sunday we joined Moses as he spoke to a burning bush in the desert. God spoke to Moses and called him to go to Pharoah and tell him to set the Israelites free from slavery in Egypt. When Moses asked how to name God to the Israelites, God said, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh – I AM that I AM. I will be what I will be.” Now we jump forward to the New Testament, to John’s gospel, to continue to hear those words, “I AM.” Except now the words are spoken by Jesus, and they are in Greek – “ego eime” – I AM.

As we enter the story here in the 6th chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus has just fed 5000 people, so they’ve decided to make him their king. He fed them, so they want to make him king, so he’ll keep feeding them. It’s a first century reversal of the politician’s promise of “ a chicken in every pot.” Bu…

Hineni! Here I Am!

Hineni! Here I Am Exodus 3:1-15 February 18, 2015 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
Exodus 3:1-15

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."

5 Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 6 He said further, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at…

Ash Wednesday Meditation

The I AM Ash Wednesday Meditation February 18, 2015 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry
Ashes. Everybody knows what ashes are. They’re what is left after the fire burns, what remains after destruction, the leftovers of death. We don’t think of ashes much, unless we have to clean out the fireplace, or if we are at a funeral. You all know the words: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust All of us go down to the grave.”
Ashes are what is left after everything else is destroyed. Not a very happy thought, really. Not the kind of symbol most of us care to have in front of us. Not the kind of thing we want marked on our foreheads. Not the image we want to see in the mirror.
You can wash them off, of course, and people do that. But symbols are not the reality, and getting rid of that cross of ashes doesn’t make the reality behind it go away. The reality is that we are someday going to die. The hard truth of Ash Wednesday is that it reminds us of limitations, that each one of us has an expiratio…

A Chariot of Fire

2 Kings 2:1-12 February 15, 2015 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL Christina Berry

2 Kings 2:1-12
Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" And he said, "Yes, I know; keep silent."

Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your maste…