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Showing posts from January, 2019

Appendix and Spleens

1 Corinthians 12:12-31
January 20, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

This text we consider today from 1 Corinthians is not new to most of us. These verses are used often in services of ordination and installation, and we study them together as a church seeking to live together in unity.

The Apostle Paul is writing to the church at Corinth, which he founded, and which had been torn apart by arguments and competing loyalties. He uses the metaphor of the body to illustrate to the church that we are interdependent, that we literally cannot live without each other.

In this body – the body of Christ – there are different parts, and every single part of the body is indispensable, every part is needed for the body to function. Each of us has gifts to exercise on behalf of the church, and each one of us is a part of the body of Christ. Let’s listen for God’s word to us in 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of …


Isaiah 43:1-7; Luke 3: 15-17, 21-22
January 13, 2019, Baptism of the Lord
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

On this Sunday, the church traditionally celebrates the baptism of Jesus.
In our text from the Hebrew Scriptures, the prophet
calls to mind how God has been with God’s people throughout time.

The imagery of water appears throughout the Bible,
from the watery chaos of Genesis, to the deluge of the flood,
to the parting of Red Sea and the River Jordan.

Through it all, God’s salvation story remains the same:
God created you and formed you.
Do not be afraid, for God is with you.
You belong to God.

Let’s listen for God’s promise in Isaiah 43:1-7:

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be bur…

The Speed of Light

Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12
January 6, 2019, Epiphany Sunday
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas. Those of you who’ve been around this church a while know that I just love Epiphany, the celebration of the magi’s visit. Our first reading from the prophet Isaiah foresees a time when the promised glory of God will light up the world, and all people everywhere will come to that light, and will worship and praise God. Let’s listen for how God’s light shines in Isaiah 60:1-6:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples;
but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together,
they come to you; your sons shall come from far away,
and your daughters shall be carried on…