Abide. Prune. Fruit.

Jesus’ teachings are often centered around green and growing things. Sowers, soil and seeds; fig trees that need compost, and little more time; other fig trees that deserve to wither suddenly under a curse; giant, invasive, bird-sheltering mustard bushes; weeds that grow entangled with the wheat (argh those weeds!). Then there is today’s picture of… Read More

Acts of Kindness

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be invited to talk with Sky Li’s World Religions class at her school. At the end of the class I asked them to help me choose the scripture that I would focus on in this sermon and they chose the text from Acts 10 that Jean read…. Read More

Shepherding Community

My shepherd is the living God; I therefore nothing need. I love the hymn-writer’s elegant take on the first line of Psalm 23.             My shepherd is the living God; I therefore nothing need.             I’m still thinking about a few sharp words someone spoke years ago in a study group. “I don’t need a… Read More

Still Wondering

We all have our scars. During my college years I cross-country skied into a tree. That adventure left a permanent wrinkle in my eyebrow. And then there’s the angular bump on my hip that still aches years after the bike accident. Some scars are more inward. As a kid I was painfully shy, both bullied… Read More

At the Tomb

“At the Tomb” A sermon by Rev. Jane McBride April 1, 2018 • Easter • John 20:1-18 First Congregational Church of MN, UCC While it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. While it was still dark, Resurrection began. Last Saturday, Emma Gonzalez opened her speech at the March for Our Lives by… Read More

8-Tracks and Cassettes

  It’s important for you to know that early in this sermon I will briefly mention the topic of suicide a couple of times. The emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the heart of downtown Chicago is a 24/7 beehive of activity. It is the only Level 1 trauma center in the city center,… Read More


In fifth grade, I went to bible camp. In many ways it was like any other camp. We sang, did crafts, swam and played games. I especially remember endless hours of fun on a giant slip and slide set up on the camp lawn. The bible stories we learned were ones I had heard before…. Read More

Shut It Down

“Shut it down!” is a frequent protest chant. Often “it” is a street or highway. Turns out that on the day of the Super Bowl “it” was a light rail train. In today’s reading from the Gospel of John, “it” was the temple. People traveled to Jerusalem from far and wide at Passover time. Their… Read More

Deeply Flawed and Deeply Loved

Last week we heard Jane’s sermon based on an inspiring story from the movie, Moana. We’re going to go in an altogether different direction today. This sermon owes credit to Chicago journalist Sam Charles, author and UCC Pastor, Barbara Essex, and an acquaintance of mine named Gerardo. I’d like to tell you a part of… Read More

“Heart Space”

As the movie “Moana” begins, Moana’s grandmother is telling the children of the village an old legend. The goddess, Te Fiti, she explains, is their mother island; she is creator of all the islands. Long ago, Maui, a power hungry demi-god, stole the mother island’s heart. Without her heart, Te Fiti cannot sustain her creation…. Read More