Jim McDonald's blog

Abiding Love

Yesterday, June 21, we officially began the season of Summer. As all of us have known since childhood, summer is a season of fruitfulness in the natural world around us, as crops grow and trees and flowers come into fullness.

Our scripture reading for worship this Sunday will be John 15: 1-11, a passage in which Jesus uses an image of a vine and branches and growing fruit to illuminate the Christian life.

Figuring It Out

This Sunday, I'll be preaching on Acts 11, where Peter gets a new directive from God for food that had previously been forbidden in his Jewish heritage. Stepping across that boundary allowed Peter to enter fellowship with Gentiles, who were eager to hear about Christ. It reminds me about how we all have to put away old habits if we are to move into our tomorrows. From gun violence to getting used to people who are different from us, letting go of old understandings and welcoming what is before us will determine how we succeed in tomorrow's world.

Three Courageous Women

This Sunday is Mothers' Day, and in the church, it is a day we thank God for the gifts of all women who use their lives and talents to make a difference for others.

When God Becomes the Host

This Sunday, I will be preaching on the miracle story found in Mark 8. It concerns the feeding of the four thousand. I will be talking about how these feeding miracles often occur in the in the "in-between times"-- the times when you are glad that something is over, yet still hopeful for something else coming to make life better in the future.

A Word that Knows Your Name

This Sunday marks the greatest day of celebration in the Christian year - Easter!  We will gather to rejoice, through music, scripture, prayer and praise, in the good news that in Jesus Christ, God has overcome death with the gift of Resurrection.

In the Easter message this year, "A Word that Knows Your Name," I will focus on the Resurrection story in John 20:11-20, and on the questions that we face in the face of death. This scripture helps us to see how God is with each of us, bringing each to a new life beyond this life.

Power and Lent

This Sunday, our scripture will be John 10:17-18, and I will be using that passage to focus on how power relates to Lent, and how Jesus changes our human propensity to grab for power.

I will mention some of the "church despisers" over the years, like Marx, Freud, Michel Foucault, and Nietzsche as those who laid bare much of our contemporary understanding of Atheism. Then I will share what has come to be my view of the Cross.

It's supposed to be in the 50's this Sunday! -- but like all things Illinois, we will have to wait and see.

A Parable and Lent

This week I will be discussing the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24). This was one of my most difficult sermons, but I thought about this passage recently.  I will relate how the story of the man who had to widen the circle of those invited to his banquet might pertain to Jesus' final days.

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.

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