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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 2, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 9, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…
    • Sunday service - Holy Communion October 16, 2022 at 9:30 am – 11:00 am Grace Church 215 Pleasant Street, Sheldon, VT Website: www.gracechurchsheldon.orgTime:  09:30 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)        Every week on Sun.Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/83929911344?pwd=alZQTWZMN0ZkWFFPS1hmNjNkZkU2UT09Meeting ID: 839 2991 1344Password: Call for detailsOne tap mobile+13126266799,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (Chicago)+19294362866,,83929911344#,,1#,816603# US (New York)Dial by your location        +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)        +1 929 436 2866 US (New York)Meeting ID:…

Pentecost 29 Christ the King November 21, 2010

Pentecost 29 Christ the King Proper 29 November 21, 2010

Jeremiah 23:1-6
Canticle 4, p. 50 BCP
Colossians 1: 11-20
Luke 23: 33-43

This is Christ the King Sunday. In the gospel, we see our king hanging on the cross between two criminals. As we look upon this horrific scene, we can hear the taunts being hurled by the crowd. “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, the chosen one.” We can hear the mocking of the soldiers and of the first criminal. We can feel the scorn that surrounded our Lord, hanging there appearing to be totally helpless, allowing himself to be powerless when he could have marshaled armies upon armies.

The first criminal joins the mockery. “Are you not the Christ?” Save yourself and us!” But the second criminal–some have said his name was Dismas—sees what is going on. He sees very clearly that Jesus has done nothing wrong and does not deserve this torture. He also realizes his own guilt and his need for forgiveness. He asks Jesus to welcome him into his kingdom. And Jesus tells him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

The eternal Word, who called the creation into being, who energized the creation into life, from vast galaxies to the smallest sub atomic particle, hangs, apparently helpless, on a cross. This is our King. A King who will not force, a King who will not overpower. A King who asks God to forgive those people who do not realize what they are doing. A King who pours his life out in love and forgiveness.

Dismas gets the point. He sees how far short he has fallen. He acknowledges his need for this kind of king, and he takes a quantum leap into eternal life. This man sees that all the external power in the world is not going to bring about the kind of transformation which is needed—to restore each of us and to restore the creation to where God wants it to be—a realm of peace, harmony, and justice. But he could not have reached out and grasped the promise of this radical kingdom if he had not felt the forgiveness, the love, the profound understanding, and the courage pouring out from Jesus.

That’s where stewardship begins—with our growing awareness of how much God loves us. God is constantly and forever reaching out to us in love. As Paul said, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

Everything we have is a gift from God. These gifts fall into three categories—time, talent, and treasure. God gives us every moment of the time we have on earth. God gives us talents, the gift of teaching, helping others, making music, playing sports, building things, cooking, community organizing, making spaces accessible. As I have said before, there are many gifts which God has given us here at Grace. And God gives us treasure—money and all the things money can buy. Time, talent, and treasure are all gifts from God.

God calls us to be stewards. A steward is someone who manages property for someone else. We are stewards of God’s creation. We are called to take care of the earth. And we are stewards of the time, talent, and treasure which God has given us.

Now we can say, wait a minute, I earned the money I have, I worked hard. And this is true. But where did the abilities and energy to earn that money come from? They came from God.

Out of gratitude to God for all the gifts God has given us, we return a worthy portion to God. This is the pledge we put on our pledge card. The biblical proportion is the tithe, or ten per cent. The amount is not the important thing. We need to be aware of the percentage we are returning to God. That is between God and ourselves. And we need to feel that we are giving back to God a worthy portion of what God has given us. It all belongs to God anyway. We are just holding it in trust for God.

The Vestry is not going to make up the budget until all the pledges are received. We are not making our pledges in order to meet a budget, We are making our pledges out of gratitude to God for all of God’s gifts to us. We are returning to God a worthy portion of what God has given us.

If you contribute to organizations which are doing God’s work of caring for the creation or helping those in need, those are all part of your stewardship. The Red Cross, Episcopal Relief and Development, the United Thank Offering, groups who work to save the environment, all these are doing God’s work.

Our culture operates on a theology of scarcity. We are taught by our culture to hang on to whatever we have because you can never really have enough to be totally secure. But Christians have a theology of abundance. There is enough for all of us to have what we need. God calls us to share with our brothers and sisters down the road and around the world.

So, we are people who are able to let go. We are people who do not have to hold on. The more we share, the more we have.

Love and gratitude are powerful forces. As we sense more and more how much God loves us and cares for us and helps us to become more and more whole, our gratitude grows. And this process of transformation is at the heart of every vibrant Christian community. This is what Anthony Robinson is writing about in his book Changing the Conversation. Robinson says that churches are called to be communities of transformation. At the heart of that transformation is our growing awareness of the depth and power of God’s love. When we allow God to come into our lives and heal our wounded places and strengthen our weak knees and empower us to share the Good News, amazing things happen.

In gratitude for God’s love and all of God’s gifts, I ask you to pray about your pledge and then return your pledge card sometime within the next month.

This is also the Sunday before Thanksgoving. When we gather with friends and family to give thanks for all the blessings God bestows upon us.

Thanks be to God for all of God’s wondrous gifts. May we be good and faithful stewards. Amen

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