Special Music: Jazz Worship Service Special Guests: Musicians from the Central Illinois Jazz Society House Band ~ Larry Harms, bandleader, Andy Crawford, bass, Scott Anderson, guitar, and Jeremy Clark, drums.
There is no problem with questioning God, lots of people in the Bible did it, the church has done it for centuries, but when questions turn to doubt we often forget what God has already done for us. Just as God freed the Israelites from slavery, God has freed us too. The slavery from which we have been freed isn’t so much a physical thing, although it can be, as much as it is a freedom from sin. We are no longer bound to it. Those chains have been broken. In God, we are a new people. The old life has gone and the new life has begun. God has freed us.
Today, it seems as though the word of God is rare too. It also seems that when God does call us it’s hard to distinguish God’s voice from every other voice trying to get out attention. Is God calling to us? Or, is it just our desires playing tricks on us? Things would be so much simpler if we had some sort of Caller ID for God. If we could look at a screen and know the call is important because the Caller ID reads “God is calling.” That would make life much easier.
At some point in our lives, we have told a secret. Maybe you told one this week. Or even this morning. At some point in our lives, we’ve heard secrets, some big, some small. Secrets aren’t necessarily bad, but secrets don’t make friends. Secrets leave people out, making them feel excluded and alone.
With Pentecost a new chapter is dawning; a new chapter is being penned in our lives. Are we up to the challenge of tearing down walls, of being color blind, and to see the face of God in the faces of the least, the last, the lost and the lonely?
Spring Cantata: Missa Brevis in d Composer: Mozart KV65 Performed by: The FFC Chancel Choir and Morgan Koehler, Lauren Smagacz, Joseph Maubach, and Greg Etzel; Katie Ross for helping in the alto section; and our string trio: Andrei Gabor, Ellyn Liu, and Felix Yang;
It has been said that there are two lasting things that we give our children; one is roots and the other is wings. Good deep roots make a good foundation upon which they build their lives. Wings give freedom and the courage to fly, to soar on the winds of life.
Jesus transformed the way society functions and in Jesus there are not cliques. Jesus calls you a friend because of who he is not who you are. Being called “friend” by Jesus charges us to love one another with a sacrificial love. The type of love that seeks justice, peace, and unity.
This sermon was delivered at the 8 am service, no audio file is available.
We all know that pain and discomfort are part of life. So, too, is joy and comfort. We are confronted with that reality in the Gospel of John. The 15th chapter begins with a word of pain and discomfort “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes… .”
Prelude to Prayer By: David Justice Performed by: The FFC Chancel Bells
Trouble! By: Sally K. Albrecht Performed by: The FFC Chancel Choir with the Illini Bluffs High School Chamber Singers
In Remembrance*By:Eleanor Daley Performed by: The Illini Bluffs High School Chamber Singers
* “Our ensemble has recognized the void of the innocent lives that this world has lost. In Remembrance is our small, but hopefully meaningful contribution to wishing condolences to the family members of those lost, both in the recent present and past. Through music, there is an opportunity to make the world a better place by how moving and beautiful it is and can be. Using the love we have for arts, we can be the people who will make a positive impact to other generations in hopes that things change for the better.”
If you walk the Appalachian Trail where hikers cross from Pennsylvania into New Jersey, you will see The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain, a small country church seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Through this ministry to the hikers of the Appalachian Trail, a once dying church experienced a resurrection. In 1976 they had 15 worshipers. Facing death they experienced Resurrection. They could have done one of two things; they could have circled the wagons and looked inward, or throw caution to the wind and take “a flyer”. The chose the latter course. They chose, in the words of Jesus, too willing lay their lives down for God’s sheep that lay outside of their fold. They knew that God has planted them there and sustained them through the years to be a blessing and an outpost of the world and their community. They asked themselves how they could live out their “call”, their baptism. How could they show God’s love to the world?