Jim McDonald's blog

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.

Finding Your Voice

This week things were quiet at church as many staff, youth and adults made their way to Wesley Woods for our annual Church Camp. We had such a great turnout this year, we needed three buses to get everyone there! The campers spent the week. Branching Out as they learned that they are always connected to one another and to God by Christ through Bible study, games and music. We were excited to welcome everyone back home safely this morning.

Watch While Weeding

Did your father ever try to teach you a lesson by telling you a story that maybe wasn't quite clear at the time, but sooner or later you realized how it spoke to your life? Parables are often like that; a simple story that reveals an unexpected truth. Jesus often used parables to communicate his message. Sometimes his parables were fairly straightforward and other times they were more allegorical.

The Walls Come a Tumbling Down

This week marks the start of Pentecost, the season in which the spirit of God broke down the walls that create misunderstanding. Whereas there are those who want to build walls, Pentecost runs counter to that seeking to promote understanding and acceptance amid diversity. On Sunday morning, I will preach on the Pentecost Story found in Acts chapter 2.  We often read this story in truncated form focusing on the spirit that created understanding, but forget to mention the economic dimensions to Pentecost, how the sharing of gifts created a new community.

Random

Typically, when I read through a scripture passage for preaching, I get bored. Not because I'm a rebellious type, though I guess I am of sorts, but more because I'm always looking for fresh ways to explore meaning. So after reading Matthew 13:1-9, The Parable of the Sower, for this week's sermon, "Random," I wondered what would happen if I lopped off the interpretation of this parable and just focused on the story, hence the term random. And there came a sermon.

A New Heaven and a New Earth

This Sunday, we'll be rejoicing in God's creation with an Environmental Stewardship focus, "A New Heaven and a New Earth." Our scripture, Luke 24:34-48, gives us a glimpse of the Risen Christ empowering his disciples to be bearers of forgiveness and new life for the whole world.

At the 8:15 service, the message will look at that passage in the light of caring for God's gift of the earth; and how the dedication of individuals, like Rachel Carson, author of the ground-breaking 1960 book "Silent Spring" opened the way for us all to join in that important work of environmental care.

Confirmation Sunday

Wow! Thank you to all who made our Easter celebration such a success - from our ushers who welcomed both members and visitors while trying to find seats for everyone, to those working the parking lot trying to park cars, to all the musicians who prepared long and hard for this special day. Also a very special thank you to the Worship work area for getting all of the lilies to face forward and blow their trumpets high, and generally making the sanctuary look beautiful.

A Question of Truth

It's been somewhat of a quiet week here at church with Spring Break in full swing. Greta and I have enjoyed some free weeknights, but know that everything will pick up again as families return to town and we get ready for Easter.

To help us prepare for Easter, this Sunday I will preach on part of the story from John 18, which tells of the arrest, betrayal and sentencing of Jesus. We will listen to Pontius Pilate ask Jesus, "What is Truth?" and we will explore just what truth may be. At the 9:30 service, we will welcome back our Chapel Choir from their Spring Break tour.

Trust

As I look out my window this morning, I can see a lawn maintenance truck cleaning up the park across the street, taking advantage of the nice, spring-like weather. It reminded me that the weatherman is, once again, predicting snow in a few days time. The problem with predicting the weather is that it's becoming much like the evening news - a lot of sound and flurry without any significance.

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