Recent Blogs

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.

In a few short weeks

In a few short weeks it will begin to look a lot like Christmas. What there’s never been before is what’s revealed in Jesus: the news that God has shaped his whole life to be in relationship with us, and that he’s chosen to draw us into that relationship not by force, not by guilt,not by threat, not by necessity, but by beauty, by joy, by the winsome simplicity and vulnerability and magnetism of a tiny child.

"We Gather Together"

One of my favorite elements of the Thanksgiving story is the surprise that the Pilgrims must have felt when 90-plus Native Americans showed up to share in that “first Thanksgiving meal.” The handful of Native Americans who had worked with the Pilgrims through the spring and summer, teaching them to plant crops that would thrive in the soil of this continent, had interpreted the invitation by the Pilgrims to join in a special meal, as an invitation to a “potlatch.” They knew what that was – a time for the community to gather in fellowship, thanksgiving and feasting.

Our Journeys Together

On my night stand are still three acorns. They are momentos of an afternoon walk with our grandson, through the parsonage back yard to Fishel Park. We’d just read a board book about busy squirrels storing up food for the winter, and sure enough, as we walked we saw squirrels scurrying around the edge of the yard, and felt acorns crunching under our feet. So, of course, it became essential to collect our own little batch of acorns.

The People of a Book

It had been a full, good week. Jim and I had been at a (wonderful) preaching conference Sunday until late, late, Thursday night, and then woke up early and eagerly Friday morning to be with our daughter and son-in-law as their second child was born.

By Saturday morning, as I prepared to come to church for a portion of the special weekend adult education presentation, I was thinking, “Boy, this Ched Myers will have to be really good to even make a dent in my consciousness.”

I guess he was good – my consciousness got “dented.”

World Communion Sunday

Well, here we are in October, the month of homecomings and Halloween. Somewhat lost at times is World Communion Sunday. Unlike homecoming, where we are reminded how much older we are and hopefully wiser; or Halloween, which simply leaves empty spaces in teeth that use to have fillings; World Communion Sunday reminds us that we all belong to each other globally. In Christ the old has past, the new has come, and packaged with that newness is awareness that in Christ we all belong to each other. The old ways of defining ourselves sexually or socially are now transformed.

The many ways we can say "Yes!"

I had to admit, as I got ready for our church’s first annual Day of Service last Saturday morning, that I wasn’t quite as psyched for it as I thought I would be. Maybe it was the overcast sky and the drizzle, or the awareness in the back of my mind that I would need to get spruced up right afterward for wedding later in the day, but I was sort of hoping, deep down, that I would hear a crack of thunder to let me know our outdoor service project was canceled for the day.


Subscribe to RSS - blogs

Copyright © 2018 First United Methodist Church, Downers Grove. Please report any problems to