• Content

  • Pages

  • Upcoming Events

    • 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 11 August 28, 2011

Pentecost 11 Proper 17A RCL August 28, 2011

Exodus 3: 1-15
Psalm 105: 1-6. 23-26. 45c
Romans 12; 9-21
Matthew 16: 21-28

Last Sunday, our first lesson ended with the Pharaoh’s daughter adopting Moses. Much has happened between last Sunday’s reading and what we heard this morning. Moses had been living in the palace. One day, he went out to see what was going on with his people. Even though he had been adopted by the king’s daughter. He still identified with his own people, the Hebrews. He saw the hard labor his people were forced to do. He also saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew man, and he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. The upshot of this is that the Pharaoh finds out and is looking for Moses to kill him, so Moses runs away to Midian.

Reuel, the priest of Midian, places Moses under his protection. Moses marries Zipporah, Reuel’s daughter, and keeps the flocks. One day, while he is at work as a shepherd, he sees a bush which is burning but is not consumed by the flames. He turns aside. God usually calls us right in the midst of our usual activities, but we need to make ourselves available to God. We need to turn aside, as Moses did, so that God can speak to us.

God calls to Moses, and Moses says, “Here I am.” Herbert O’Driscoll wisely asks how many of us can say that we are fully present, fully in this moment. So often we are thinking of what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow. How important it is for us to be fully focused in this moment.

God calls Moses to set God’s people free. We can’t help but think of our modern hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who set his people and all of us free. We are still working on our internalized racism. Moses asks the usual question, “Who am I to do this amazing thing?” And God tells Moses that all-important thing that we need to remember: God will be with us to help us do what God is calling us to do, no matter how inadequate we may feel to carry out God’s call.

In the section of Romans which we read for today, Paul does a wonderful job of reminding us how to be a true Christian community. “Let love be genuine. Hold fast to what is good. Love one another with mutual affection. Rejoice in hope Be patient in suffering. Persevere in prayer. All of us have been through various kinds of suffering. The cross and Easter teach us that new life can come out of death and suffering. Help those in need in the community. Extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you. Echoes of the Beatitudes  Don’t be arrogant. Associate with the lowly. Live peaceably with all, If your enemies are hungry, feed them.. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, for by doing so you will heap burning coals upon their heads.

Returning good for evil can have amazing results. Treating those who have injured us with respect, being generous to those who wish us ill, giving food and water to our enemies, all these things can transform people and situations.

As we turn to the gospel, we recall that last week, Jesus asked the disciples who they thought he was, and Peter said, “You are the messiah, the son of the living God.  But now, Jesus is talking about the fact that he is going to suffer and die. And Peter can’t accept that, “God forbid it, Lord, This must never happen to you!” And Jesus says that very difficult thing, “Get behind me, Satan.” He tells Peter that Peter is putting a stumbling block in his way, an obstacle. We have to remember that Jesus is fully human. He has thought about this. He  Has asked that old question, “Why me?” The question Moses asked, the question we all ask when we know we have to face something we would give anything not to have to face. But he knows he has to do this. And the fact that Peter doesn’t get it means that he is alone in his understanding of this and that Peter is making it harder for him.

And then he says that haunting thing: “If any want to become my followers,   let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. “  If we want to follow him, our hearts and lives have to become Christ-shaped. His values and his vision have to become our values and our vision. We have to let him live in us and we have to live in him. We have to let go of the controls and let him take over.

This reminds me of a story which you may have heard before, If so, I apologize, but I love this story. A man falls over a cliff, and, as he whizzes down the precipice, he manages to grab a little shrub. He is holding on for dear life and he yells, “Help!” My favorite prayer. Anyway, a voice answers, “Yes, my son.” And the poor guy is petrified and he says, “Who are you?” And the voice says, “ I am God.” And the fellow says, “Oh, thank you, I’m so glad you answered. Please help me. I can’t hold on to this shrub forever.” And God says, “I will help you, my son. But first, you have to let go,” And, after a bit of silence, the fellow shouts out, “Is there anybody else up there?”

Let go and let God. Not any easy thing to do. Being a Christian can be costly in various ways. Following Jesus has a price. We don’t like to talk about those things, but it’s true. That’s what Jesus is talking about today.

We are dealing with a very loving God, and, when we do let go and let God lead us and guide us, truly amazing things happen. God guides Moses and Martin Luther King, Jr., and the people are set free. Whenever we let go and let God, we become free from whatever binds us. When we let go and let God, vengeance and hatred can evolve into God’s shalom.

One small but powerful thing we can do, something that is in the spirit of today’s lessons, is to think of someone who is a problem to us, someone we are mad at or someone we think is going down the wrong path, or someone who has injured us or has hurt someone we love, and just pray this simple prayer, “God, surround _______ with your love” That’s all. Just that. No prescriptions for what God should do. Just, “God, surround ____with your love.”

We can also pray this prayer for those we love the most. It places everything in God’s healing hands.

                    Amen.

%d bloggers like this: