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Showing posts from May, 2015

Heresy and Humility

Isaiah 6:1-8, John 3:1-17 Trinity Sunday, May 31, 2015 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed a…

One Language

Genesis 11:1-9, Acts 2:1-15 Pentecost, May 24, 2015 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
Genesis 11:1-9
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” 5 The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand on…

Breath of God

Ezekiel 37:1-14 May 17, 2016 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
It is really hard to imagine the plight of the Israelites in the years nearly 600 years before the birth of Christ. Except for the poorest among them, they had been deported from their homes. They had lost everything – their houses, their children, their families; their faith, their temple, their God; their homeland, their culture, their songs, their story. How could they sing the songs of Zion in a foreign land?

They sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept. It seemed that God had abandoned them, or had been defeated by a more powerful deity. They were bitter, full of hatred and the lust for revenge. Even if they could go home, everything they cherished was gone. They might as well be dead. They were nothing but dry bones – no life, no breath, no hope. And then, the prophet Ezekiel had a vision.

Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and …


John 15: 9-17 May 10, 2015 Prairie Dell Presbyterian Church, Shannon, IL Christina Berry

John 15:9-17
9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my …


Spirit Filled Romans 8:22-31 May 3, 2015 First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL Christina Berry
For this month, as we anticipate Pentecost Sunday, we will be looking at the suggested texts for that Sunday from the Revised Common Lectionary. If you follow the devotional guide in the newsletter, that lists the texts and some suggested devotions for the week, you know that our scripture for this week is Romans 8:22-31. I think it is impossible to overstate the importance of the Book of Romans for Christians and Christian thought. Romans was the book of the Bible that moved St. Augustine to abandon his wicked ways and turn to Christ. Romans was the book of the Bible that inspired Martin Luther to write and post his 95 theses and thus begin the Reformation. Romans was the book that gave John Wesley “a heart strangely warmed” as he read it, and led him to a deeper faith that became Methodism.” And in the 20th century, Karl Barth’s commentary on Romans revolutionized theological thinking i…