Recent Blogs

An Acceptable Time

The scripture lesson for Ash Wednesday is from 2 Corinthians. Paul writes to the Church at Corinth reminding them that Christ promised to help them if they just listened to him. This scripture reminds me that Christ will help even the Church at Downers Grove, that, if we listen, the obstacles will be removed and we will prevail.

A 'Special' Special Meeting

The most recent copy of our church magazine for clergy, The Circuit Rider, focused on "holy conversation." We often think of holy conversation as those moments when one person really hears another with love and respect, so that a new understanding can emerge between them. We may think of moments like sharing in prayer in a hospital room; a quiet side-conversation at a family gathering; or the welcome surprise of a phone call from a long time friend.

Stormy Weather

It was a strange week. Last Monday began with the continuing saga of the conflict in Egypt. We were bombarded with images that carried the forecast of new storms. Nightly we heard the crowds cry “O Pharaoh “let my people go”, a cry coming out of an economic malaise to ears that seemed unresponsive.

Tuesday and Wednesday you could hear the Chicago area cry “Let’s be done with winter”. It doesn’t have quite the urgency as does a confrontation with Pharaoh but feelings of oppression can get muddied. Tuesday we hardly noticed what the groundhog had to say.

2011 Budget

A Big Thank You to all who have raised their pledge for this years budget. The most difficult miracle that ever took place in scripture can be found...drum roll please...Acts chapter 2! "All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need."

God's Big Red Heart

Amid the gray cold skies of January fast appears and approaches the red hearts of Valentines Day.

The one day a year when people act like they're playing roles in a Hallmark movie. You know the stories where people fall in love with a look or a glance,and where you know he’s not the one because he didn’t get the bright eye treatment from her.. People who fall in love that fast probably leave relationship just as fast.

Atoms and Atheists

The other day in Nick’s office we were talking to a physics student and our conversation wandered over to the quest for the Higgs boson or the God particle. Scientists are intrigued by the possibility of smashing into it, especially now that we have the large (LHC) at CERN . “Where do we come from?” It’s fun to think a very long way back and ponder the nanoseconds surrounding the Big Bang. Evolutionary biologists love to go back to the beginning of life on earth and to the processes of evolution. These are gripping investigations.

An Answered Prayer

In the midst of one of our Christmas Eve services, it hit me: this was a moment I had prayed about, and wondered about, way back last June. Back then, as we were packing boxes and preparing to leave a place and a people we loved, to come to the “unknown” of Downers Grove and First Church, I was just hoping – and praying – that by Christmas of this year we would be happy, and beginning to feel at home – in short, feeling as though we were in the “right place.”

Remembering the stable

I like to read W.H. Auden’s “For the Time Being”—a powerful poem written during the dark days of the blitzkrieg in London in World War II. It contains this breathtaking stanza:

Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.

Happy Christmas Season to All of You

A Song of Joy and Hope

I was reading Luke’s telling of the song that came to Mary in Chapter 1 Verses 28- 35. It’s known by the familiar title “The Magnificat”.

I wondered as I read these words, “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” Could she possibly be talking about us?

It’s easy to feel that Mary is talking about them, that lot over there, who’ve got more money and power than we’ve got.

Christmas Lists

We’re at that time of year when we keep lists pretty close at hand – lists of gifts we’d like to buy (at the best price we can find!), lists of groceries to get for holiday treats, lists of special Advent and Christmas events we want to attend.

But there is a different kind of Christmas list someone told me about, that I’d like to pass along to you. You may already be familiar with it – it’s a Christmas list from “The Advent Conspiracy,” a resource developed by a network of local churches to help Christians find ways to weave more true meaning into their holiday observances.

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