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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 2B RCL April 15, 2012

Acts 4: 32-35
Psalm 133
1 John 1: 1-2:2
John 20: 19-31

In our collect for today, we pray, “Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in our lives what we profess by our faith. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

 Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “to reconcile” as “to restore to friendship or harmony.” Our ministry of reconciliation widens this meaning to include the vision of God’s shalom, in which the whole creation is in harmony. There is no war, only peace. Everyone’s basic needs are met. No one goes hungry. All are clothed. All receive basic medical care. Everyone has constructive work to do. Our planet is cherished and cared for. A tall order.

In today’s gospel, Mary Magdalene has told the apostles, “I have seen the Lord.” But they don’t quite believe that Jesus could be alive. Jesus comes through walls of fear and doubt. They see him and believe. They tell Thomas that he is risen, but Thomas can’t quite believe. He says he has to touch the wounds of Jesus before he will believe. Jesus returns. He is always more than willing to help us to increase our faith. Thomas doesn’t even have to touch the wounds. His prayer of recognition and adoration, “My Lord and my God,  says it all.

 Jesus breathes on them the spirit of his shalom, his kingdom of harmony and wholeness. That is the spirit they and we are called to share with others.

In our reading from the Book of Acts, we see an awe-inspiring picture of the early church community in Jerusalem. “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul.” We can assume that they did not agree on everything, but they “were of one heart and soul.” That is, they were together because they wanted to follow Jesus. Following him was the thing that brought them together. It was their main focal point. The text tells us that they did not own anything as individuals. They shared everything. Right after this passage, in Acts 4: 36-37, Barnabas sells a field and places the proceeds at the feet of the apostles to distribute among the members of the community. No one among them is needy. They are of one heart and soul, and that is the heart and soul of Christ. This spiritual focus governs their actions. They take care of each other.

Theologian Ira Brent Driggers writes, “Our conviction that we have new life in the risen Jesus does not eliminate our differences, but it outshines them. As that conviction shapes and guides us, we open ourselves to the ‘great grace’ of unity of heart and soul.” (New Proclamation 2012, p. 23.)

Our reading from the First Letter of John builds on these thoughts. We are called to walk in the light. Yes, we are going to make mistakes; yes, we are going to sin. Then we confess our faults and errors, and, with God’s grace, we get back on track. The beautiful hymn, “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” expresses this so well.

Jesus breathes on the apostles and on us and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This is reminiscent of God’s breathing the breath of life into Adam at the creation. Jesus is breathing his Spirit, his life, and his heart and soul into us. He is calling us to follow him, not just intellectually, but in our hearts and spirits. He is calling us to carry his vision of shalom within us and to live into and out of that vision.

When we walk in the light, there is a certain lightness about us in the sense of illumination and in the sense of inner joy. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. No darkness can conquer that light. Nothing can discourage us. Nothing can keep us from caring for each other and extending that care to all we meet. Our Lord has breathed it into us.

That is the energy that animated the community we read about today, and I believe that is still a good model for us to follow. With Mary Magdalene and Thomas and the others, we have seen the Lord. He is risen, and we are here because we feel called to follow him.

May he bless and guide us every step of the way.   Amen.

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