"The gospel comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable." Reading the Bible, especially The Gospel of Luke, is humbling. In the words of writer, Finley Peter Dunne, who observed that newspapers "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," the same could be said for the gospel. Throughout his teachings, Jesus comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. Moreover, he reminded us all to be humble. In Luke ch 18, Jesus tells a parable about two individuals, who went to the Temple and prayed. This was the extent of the similarities. One person (a Pharisee) prayed while boasting and looking down on others. "God, I thank you that I am not like other people: th


Seven funerals in three weeks. With two pastors in the family, my wife and I have had more funeral services in the last three weeks than the last three months. Several have been church members and relatives of church members. A few were services for people who lost their connection with the church. A couple have been especially difficult and draining. Earlier this week, I officiated a funeral service for a successful businessman. His success was clearly displayed in his top-of-the-line casket and exclusive grave real estate. His family received calls from the mayor and a city council member while I was on the phone with them. His funeral procession even featured a parade of tow truc

Let's Be Part of the Solution

Last Friday, I attended a peaceful "Black Lives Matter" march in Oak Forest. One of our young adults invited me a few nights before. Now that I’m out of quarantine, I wanted to show my support. There were several hundred people gathered together. People offered passionate speeches. There were loud and repeated calls for justice for George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Ahmad Arbury, as well as others who died unjustly. I didn’t go to the rally alone. I brought my older daughter because we've been talking about issues of justice and racial inequality in America. I also made sure I wore my Faith United Methodist shirt – so people knew that our church was present (and walking) with them in the mid

Let's Not Fall Backwards

This morning's devotion comes again from Bishop Sally Dyck, resident Bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference. Here's a message she offered on June 1, 2020. As it says in Jude 24-25: "To the one who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you blameless and rejoicing before (God’s) glorious presence, to the only God our savior, through Jesus our Lord, belong glory, majesty, power and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen." Jude was thought to be the brother of Jesus. He wrote to Jewish Christians living in the Gentile world. That means it was unfamiliar, uncharted territory for Jude and for those early Christians. Jude wanted people to stay in close relationship with

Who Will Be the Bridges?

Today's devotion comes from the resident Bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference, Bishop Sally Dyck. Here's a note she shared on Monday, May 31, 2020. "Yesterday into last night, hundreds of people demonstrated against the racism in our country, sparked but not confined by the recent police violence against black people. And it was good for them to be there. But last night the scene turned toward violence. The route was my daily running route every morning—along Wacker Drive and into the loop. So this morning my husband Ken and I went for a walk. I wanted to see my running route. But as soon as we got to the river, we saw that all the bridges along the Chicago River were up. There was no

Justice for our Neighbors

“love your neighbor as yourself.” - Luke 10:27 Champions for justice come in many shapes and forms. They can look like protesters, who call for justice and march in rallies across the nation. They can look like police officers, who protect people from danger and violence. They can look like parents & grandparents, who help the next generation understand the historical struggles of minority groups, especially African-Americans. They can also come wearing a red cardigan. One of my childhood mentors was Mr. Rogers. Every day, I watched him smile and laugh, play games and make-believe. I didn't realize (until many years later) that he was a follower of Jesus and champion for justice. T

Think Globally, Act Locally

"and now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13 Orientation, Disorientation, Reorientation. These are words theologian Walter Bruggemann used to describe the rhythm of life in the Bible. There was orientation - when we lived in love with God and one another. There was disorientation when this love was broken and there was chaos. Then, there was reorientation when the community worked together to realign itself - it's practices and beliefs - back to God and one another. For the last several days, we've all witnessed the destructive power of disorientation. The death of George Floyd has triggered protests and calls for ju

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Oct. 2020 Newsletter

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