Baby Jesus – New Year – God’s Newness

We have listened to the angels, gathered with the shepherds at the manger and anticipate the coming of the magi who continue to follow the star.  As the new year is upon us, we remember the happenings of the previous year, gaze at the present realities and look forward to the coming year with great…

Reflections on Chattanooga

Horrific.  Heinous.  Terror.  Evil.  Sin. All are words that only partially form our attempt to fully describe the shooting in Chattanooga. Fear.  Hate.  Revenge.  War.  Exterminate. All are words I’ve heard used to describe what our nation’s response should be to Chattanooga. We belong to God’s household.  We, as God’s household, are built on the…

Let The Children Come To Jesus

I have heard it said that our church is not very biblical.  Really? Jesus said: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the realm of God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the realm of God like a child shall not enter it.”  And Jesus…

Pentecost Renewal and Prayer

A Prayer at Pentecost (Use with your family, or, if you live alone, read the first aloud and the bold silently as if others are reading it aloud or singing as they surround you.) One: Creator God, who came to us as Jesus the Christ and who fills us with the Holy Spirit, breathe in…

Candlelight Vigil for Peace and Non-Violence

A silent candlelight prayer vigil for peace and non-violence will be held at 6:00 p.m. on the steps of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Columbia, IL  on the evening of the Ferguson grand jury announcement.  If the announcement is made on Wednesday, the vigil will still take place and the Community Thanksgiving Service will…

Worship. Love. Go. Do.

Churches of the United Church of Christ of southern Illinois (the Illinois South Conference) gather each fall for their annual meeting.  It is a wonderful reminder that the ministry of Jesus Christ spreads beyond the communities where our local church resides.  Yes, there are wonderful ministries we do at the local level, but there are…

Fearless in Ministry

Fearless is one of those words that people often hear differently. For some, fearless is heard as reckless.  For others, fearless means possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. Fearless, as a word of faith, is more like the second definition; or, in addition to that definition, to challenge one another or to dare one another,…

The Holy in Holy Week

From palms to teaching to eating with best friends, these are the things that make for the holy.  From betrayal to denial to keeping your distance even as your best friend dies, these are the the things that destroy holy community.  From grieving to visiting to astounding news to God’s presence when there should be…

From Mountaintop to Routine

From Mountaintop to Routine We have heard it from campers at the end of a week at DuBois Center.  We have heard it at the end of a weekend retreat.  We have heard it at the end of the best vacations.  “I wish we could just stay here forever.  This is what life is supposed…