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Showing posts from October, 2019

Nevertheless, She Persisted

Jeremiah 31:31-34; Luke 18:1-18
October 20, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling IL
Christina Berry

In his commentary on the readings for this week,
Tyler Mayfield from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary writes,
“Despite all of the destruction wrought by Babylon,
despite all of God’s judgment,
despite the threat of divine punishment,
God persists in hope.” (

The prophet Jeremiah spoke to a people in exile.
His message was often bleak, reminding them of their failures,
but he also, eventually, followed that up with a word of hope.
Even though the Israelites were fickle and faithless, God remained faithful.
Let’s listen for God’s persistent hope in Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are surely coming, says the LORD,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel
and the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—
a covenant that they broke, though I was thei…

One In Ten

Luke 17:11-19
October 13, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL
Christina Berry

Back in 1981, the pop and Reggae group UB40
released a hit single in England called “One in Ten.”
It starts out like this:
“I am the one in ten, a number on a list
I am the one in ten even though I don't exist
Nobody knows me even though I'm always there
A statistic, a reminder, of a world that doesn't care
My arms enfold the dole queue, malnutrition dulls my hair
My eyes are black and lifeless with an underprivileged stare
I'm the beggar on the corner will no-one spare a dime?
I'm the child that never learns to read cause no-one spared the time..”

One in ten.
That’s how many of the ten lepers came back to Jesus to say thank you.
One in ten is an easy statistic to understand.
It’s one penny out of a dime, ten people out of one hundred.
You remember moving decimals in math class?
One tenth of 100 is 10; one tenth of a thousand is 100, and so on.

If Jesus healed a thousand lepers,

Holy Calling

2 Timothy 1:1-14; Luke 17:5-10
October 6, 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Sterling, IL
Christina Berry

The book of Second Timothy is one of what are known as the Pastoral Epistles, letters to the early church from someone writing in the name of the Apostle Paul. The letters focus on the forming of the new community from its Jewish roots, and pay particular attention to the importance of Christ as the author of our salvation, of faith, and the ethics of daily living. The book of Second Timothy takes the form of a farewell address, with reminders, warnings, a charge, and a benediction. Let’s listen for God’s gracious word to us today in Second Timothy 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace
from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I am grateful to God--whom I worship with a clear conscience,
as my ancestors did--when I remember you constantly
in m…