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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:…

Epiphany 2, January 16, 2011

Epiphany 2 Year A RCL January 16, 2011

Isaiah 49:1-7
Psalm 40: 1-12
1 Corinthians 1: 1-9
John 1: 29-42

What does it mean to be called by God? Today’s lessons give us insight into this question. In our lesson from Isaiah, the Servant is discouraged. He knows he is called; he knows that God has called him from even before the time he was born, as indeed God has called you and me. The Servant is trying to call the people Israel back from their exile in Babylon, back to Zion, back to community with each other and with God. But the message is falling on deaf ears.

The Servant complains to God about this. “I have labored in vain. I have spent my strength for nothing.” This is an excellent example for us. When we are trying to do God’s work and things are going poorly, we need to talk to God about it. It may sound like complaining, but it is really praying.

God hears, but what does God do? In the case of the Servant, God expands the mission. The Servant’s mission is not just to the people Israel, but to everyone. “I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Watch out. Sometimes when things are not going that well, God expands the vision and the mission by a few quantum leaps!

In today’s gospel, John the Baptist has a two-fold calling. First, he has to know who he is not. He is not the Messiah. Secondly, he has to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lamb of God. This phrase has so many meanings. If we were to try to sum them up, we might say that Jesus is the One, who, by offering himself, heals all the brokenness of the world. As John continues to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah, two of John’s disciples follow Jesus. Jesus asks them, “What are you looking for?” He knows they are seekers of spiritual truth. They ask him, “Where are you staying?” This is more than a request for his address. This is a question about what he is about, how they can hear more. He says, “Come and see.” Ultimately maybe he is saying, “It’s a hands-on thing. You have to live it.” They go with him and they remain with him that day. This is all it takes for Andrew, one of the men, to go home and tell his brother, Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah.” How the word spreads after that!

Today we read the opening portion of Paul’s letter to the Church in Corinth, a bustling port city with all sorts of temples to various gods and goddesses, all kinds of philosophies being discussed. The congregation in Corinth is blessed with many gifts. Lack of gifts is not their problem. The people in Corinth tend to divide into factions. They have many controversies over which gifts are better and which teachers are superior. Is it Paul, or Apollos or someone else who is best?

Today, Paul begins to build the foundation for a letter full of teaching. He tells the people that they are not lacking in any spiritual gift. Later on, as you know, he will tell them that the greatest gift of all is agape—unconditional love, the kind of love that mirrors, as best we can, God’s love for us. He also emphasizes this matter of being called by God. He, Paul, is called to be an apostle, and he tells the people that they, too, are called into the fellowship of God’s Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul will spell out later in this letter the idea that gifts are given to build up the Body of Christ rather than to divide the Body.

What is all this saying to us, here in the twenty-first century in Sheldon, Vermont? One thing is that, in the Church in Corinth and in the Church in Sheldon, we are called into the fellowship of Jesus Christ, the community of Christ. The Greek word for this is koinonia. And in Corinth, and in Sheldon, in every Church, there are plenty of gifts to get the job done.

In Grace Church, Sheldon, Vermont, we have all the gifts we need to do the ministry to which we are called. We are not too small or too poor or too weak or too anything else to be the light of Christ. We have all the gifts we need. We have an overflowing of gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are the Body of Christ here in this place; we have everything we need to do God’s work, and God is going to give us the strength to do that work. God is at this very moment strengthening us.

We are called. God has called us since before we were born, when we were still in our mother’s womb. We are called into koinonia, fellowship, community. And we have all the gifts we need to do a beautiful job of carrying out our ministry together.

This past week, we have all been keeping the situation in Tucson in our thoughts and prayers. We remember those who were killed—Christina Taylor Green, a nine year old girl who had just been elected to her student council and wanted to meet her Congresswoman; Dorothy Morris, a retired homemaker and secretary, who died in the shooting while her hospital, George, a retired airline pilot, remains in the hospital recovering; John Roll, a highly respected federal judge who lived his faith; Phyllis Schneck, who, after raising her children, devoted her time to volunteering at her church; Dorwin Stoddard, who threw himself on top of his wife to save her life; and Gabe Zimmerman, Director of Community Outreach for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Gabe had a degree in social work and cared deeply about helping others. He was engaged and planned to be married in 2012. Rest eternal grant them, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine upon them.

We give thanks for the vibrant spunk of Gabrielle Giffords, who opened her eyes and gave, not only a thumbs up, but a raised arm. Her doctors are saying that her whole journey of recovery is a miracle. We thank God and good physicians for miracles like that. And we pray for the others who are continuing to heal, and for their families and all who love them, and for all who are affected by this event. That probably includes our whole country, perhaps even our whole planet.

I would not attempt to try to explain this event. But what I would say is that, in the face of brokenness, we are called to continue to build God’s shalom of wholeness. You are all doing this in your lives. Every one of the people we lost was someone who lived to help others. Let us do the same. Let us be a community of love, compassion, healing, and transformation.

Amen.

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