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Showing posts from February, 2018

Secret Medicine

Mark 8:31-38, Psalm 22:23-31
February 25, 2018
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

We continue in our gospel readings from the Gospel of Mark, another brisk rendering of a crucial exchange between Jesus and Peter. Peter, you’ll remember is the name that Jesus gave to Simon, Son of Zebedee, and the literal translation of that name from the Greek is “rock.” Such a name can be taken in more than one way. Perhaps Peter is indeed “solid as a rock” but there are times when he seems so thick headed that the name could be taken as a description of his intellect – just rock headed. I think that second meaning is what applies in this reading. Jesus’ frustration with Peter in this exchange is evident. Jesus is telling his followers what is going to happen to him, and why it matters. Let’s listen for God’s word to us in Mark 8:31-38

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, an…

Paths of Steadfast Love

Mark 1:9-15, Psalm 25:1-10
February 18, 2018, First Sunday in Lent
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry


Our gospel reading today is from Mark’s gospel. Typical of this gospel, the action is brisk. In the first eight verses of the first chapter, we’ve seen John the Baptist proclaiming that the promised one is coming. Now we see Jesus in action as he begins his ministry. Let’s listen for God’s word to us in Mark 1:9-15.

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the goo…

Hallelujah, Anyway!

2 Kings 2:1-12; Mark 9:2-9
February 11, 2018, Transfiguration Sunday
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry


This first reading is from one of the books of history of the Hebrew Scriptures,
in which we see the stories of the Hebrew people as they develop
from a wandering tribal people to a nation unified by a covenant with God.

If you often mix up Elijah and Elisha, this text may make that worse,
since both of them are in it, and both of them are prophets of Israel.
I keep them straight by remembering that they appear alphabetically-
Elijah is the prophet that precedes Elisha.

Elijah is the mentor, leader, the one who called Elisha.
When Elijah him to be a prophet, Elisha was plowing in a field.
Elijah threw his cloak over Elisha’s shoulders, indicating his call,
and Elisha responded with intense commitment: killing his ox and sacrificing it on the fire that he made with his plow.  Let’s listen for the moment of glory when Elijah departs from Elijah in 2 Kings 2:1-12