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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:…

Easter 7 June 5, 2011

Easter 7A RCL June 5, 2011

Acts 1: 6-14

Psalm 68:1-10; 33-36
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5: 6-11
John 17: 1-11

In our reading from the Book of Acts, Jesus is with the   apostles for the last time. They ask him if he is going to throw out the Roman Empire and restore the royal dynasty which goes back to King David. Of course, his shalom is a kingdom of a different kind. His shalom of wholeness within each of us and among all humans is a restoration of the wholeness of the entire creation. And he commissions them to spread that shalom.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” With these words, Jesus ascends to be with God and leaves his followers, the original band of centuries ago, and us, to be his Body on earth.

Let’s stop and think about this for a moment.

The original followers, the twelve, now eleven because of Judas’ betrayal, some additional folks, we really don’t know how many, the mother of Jesus and several other women who seemed to stay very close throughout his time with the apostles, all these people had lived with Jesus. They had eaten, slept, studied and discussed the scriptures, wrestled with questions of theology and life, traveled the countryside, lived very closely together with him, and over the one and a half to three years of his ministry, depending on which gospel we read, these people had come to realize that Jesus represented humanity on its highest level and they began to feel that Jesus was God walking the face of the earth. They found his words and actions compelling, and, through all the process of getting to know him, they came to love him very deeply.

In a way that goes far beyond our understanding, though I think we keep trying to understand it—you and I, by reading the gospels, by gathering in community as they did, by praying, individually and together, by being fed by his presence in the sacraments, you and I have become part of that band, so that, as they receive the commission, we, too, receive it.

And the wonder is that he would count so heavily upon all of us, that original band and this community gathered here today, and Christians all over the world. We are so, well, human. We are flawed. The very fact that there are only eleven of them in those final moments before he leaves reminds us that Judas had betrayed him. Peter denied him three times. Most of them fled in terror after he was crucified. Yes here he is, entrusting the mission to them and to us.

How can he do this? The record is hardly sterling. Though Jesus prayed that we might be one as he and the Father are one, we Christians have divided into many denominations. We have committed violence in the name of God. Think of the Crusades, the Inquisition. The Salem witch trials. Many things have been done in the name of God which, in my opinion, have probably made God cringe in shock.

If we expand the field of vision to include the entire human race, God’s beloved family, the record has many noble chapters and events, but there is profound brokenness and violence—genocide, wars upon wars, and now we are at the point where we have the power to destroy the planet which God has entrusted to our care—“this fragile earth, our island home.”

Herbert O’Driscoll writes, “We find the actuality of what each of us is, and the actuality of what the church seems to be, too flawed and stained for us to believe that we and the church can really now be the body of Christ!  Can our all too obvious humanity be that body? Can our ordinariness be the repository of divine glory? Can we be the instruments of God’s divine will? (A Year of the Lord, p. 107.)

And yet, because Jesus has cared about us so deeply and has come to live with us, we know that we have within us something of the spark of the divine. He told us that the Holy Spirit lives within us. Because of that love, we know that, frail though we are, we can do God’s work with the help of God’s grace.

Jesus instructed his followers to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. While they waited, they did two things: they stayed together and they prayed. Although waiting and praying are very difficult things to do in our rushed and hectic culture, they are wonderful and wise things to do as we prepare for the Feast of Pentecost.

I ask that we all take time this week, just as they did so many years ago, to pray for the coming of the Spirit in great power and great love this coming Sunday at Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost, as you know, is the third great feast, after Christmas and Easter.  May we wait and pray for the coming of the Spirit, with all the gifts we need to carry out our ministry.

                            Amen

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