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Showing posts from August, 2019

Menders of Broken Walls

Isaiah 58: 6- 12
August 25, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

The book of Isaiah is among better known books of the Old Testament. Isaiah, a prophetic book, might actually be better thought of as two or three books. It was written over a period of about 400 years or more, starting sometime in the 8th century BCE and ending around 400 BCE. The first half of Isaiah sets out the God of the covenant, who is judge, ruler, sovereign and savior. As we move into the second half of Isaiah, often called Isaiah two, we see the call of the prophet to obey the covenant: specifically, to be faithful in the practice of justice, righteousness, sabbath, and worship. Let’s read this scripture together responsively as we listen for God’s word to us in Isaiah 58:6-12.

Leader: Isn’t this the fast I choose: releasing wicked restraints, untying the ropes of a yoke, setting free the mistreated, and breaking every yoke?

People: Isn’t it sharing your bread with the hungry and …

Let There Be Light

Genesis 1: 1-5; 14-19
August 18, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL
Christina Berry


In this season of celebration of our 175th anniversary as a church,
we are continuing with the theme of “light.”
We are called by Jesus to let our light shine before others,
so that they may see what we do and give glory to God.

Today, we are going to think a bit about the source of that light:
God our creator, who brings order from chaos.

In the ancient world, the understanding of God’s work in creation
was that before God spoke, there was nothing but watery chaos.
It was murky darkness, swirling shadows;
the King James Bible says “the earth was void, and without form.”

Just as we humans turn on a light in a dark room
so that we can find our way and see what we could not see,
God began by bringing light into the misty obscurity of chaos.
The bringing of light begins the ordering of all things.
Let’s listen for God’s creating word in Genesis 1: 1-5; 14-19:

In the beginning when God created t…

Keeping the Candle Lit

175th Anniversary Celebration
Matthew 5:13-16
August 4, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Rev. Christina Berry



When the town of Sterling began in 1838,
its citizens immediately organized Sunday worship services.
They met initially in the home of Hezekiah Brink,
and later, they gathered wherever there was sufficient space.
John Galt’s sister, Mary Wallace, had come to the area in 1837;
she persuaded her brother to come and bring his family.
The Galts of Lancaster County were staunch Presbyterians.
Thomas Galt, the father of John and Mary,
was an abolitionist and a conductor on the underground railroad.
He founded two churches in Illinois.

So what happened that night in 1844 is understandable.
That night, the Christians of the town had gathered for worship.
Each one had brought a candle to light their way to the gathering,
and to light the room where they met.
When the visiting Universalist preacher
“happened to make a statement that went against the grain with [Galt],
he sei…