Jim McDonald's blog

The Foundation for Peace

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.
- Ephesians 2:17-18

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Table

"On that day let us gather in sanctuaries dedicated to worship and in homes blessed by family affection to express our gratitude for the glorious gifts of God; and let us earnestly and humbly pray that He will continue to guide and sustain us in the great unfinished tasks of achieving peace, justice, and understanding among all men and nations and of ending misery and suffering wherever they exist."

The One at the Center

This Sunday, we will be honoring members and loved ones of our congregation who have died during the past year, and who in many ways, were a window to God's creative love - whether in the ways they served the church or loved your families into being.  We know and give thanks that they are all now safe with God.

When We Transform "All" into an “Alleluia”

We have a wonderful service of joyous music planned for this Sunday morning at our Together @ 10 - 10:00 a.m. service. Seven choirs, including our four children's choirs, our youth choir, our adult choir and our bell choir, will lead us in worship as we celebrate Choir Dedication Sunday. The scripture this Sunday will be Psalm 150 and I will preach on the threefold office of Jesus Christ as described in the Old Testament and more fully developed by John Calvin. I will relate the ideas of Jesus as a prophet, priest, and king to the arts and particularly singing.

To Delight in the Child

When we begin life's journey, we ask or wonder about two questions.

The first is "who am I?" This question also gets raised at others times in the afternoon and evening of our lives, but here at the beginning, we wonder if we are wanted here in this place. Is this a safe place for me to flourish, to pay attention to my gifts?

Let up without letting go

This month Mother Nature let fly many arrows from her quiver. From multiple hurricanes, to the recent earthquake in Mexico, to the record heat in our own backyard, we continue to be reminded that life can often be unpredictable and messy.

The Evening Time of Our Lives

This month we have watched in sometimes shock and sometimes awe at how nature can inspire both fear and wonder in us. We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Due to the overwhelming response to the UMCOR donation challenge, the Mission, Justice and Community work area is once again offering a matching grant challenge of up to $2,500 for donations to disaster relief through UMCOR made starting this Sunday through the end of September. Thank you for your support of this important ministry.

Dancing with the Saints

This past week we all watched with dismay and sorrow the devastation created by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey as it hit Texas and moved across the state to Louisiana. The images of homes and towns completely covered in water were almost overwhelming. Yet among those pictures we also saw those of neighbors helping neighbors, of first responders carrying victims to safety and of strangers reaching out to save others.

When Two Worlds Collide

This Sunday, we will be reflecting on 2 Samuel, Chapter 18, where David receives word of the death of his son Absalom - a son he loved dearly, but who had become a rival against him.

This ancient story of anguish relates to life today, where we are often called to step between two worlds.  First, there is our "taken-for-granted" world of everyday expectations and responsibilities; and then there is the other world, that sometimes collides with this, when we receive word of a tragedy, or the death of someone with whom we are close, that takes our breath away. 

Trust and Esther

This week several of our youth traveled to United Church of Rogers Park in Chicago to help with their annual Summer Camp for neighborhood children. This mission ministry is a wonderful opportunity for our youth to share their faith, time and attention with a new generation.

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