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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 5B RCL May 6, 2012

Acts 8: 26-40
Psalm 22: 24-30
1 John 4: 7-21
John 15: 1-8

The Book of Acts tells the story of the earliest followers of Jesus. It is an exciting and dramatic story. In today’s episode, an angel tells Philip, one of the first deacons, to go to the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. This is a wilderness road and could be dangerous.

There, riding in a chariot, is an Ethiopian eunuch, a man in charge of the treasury of the Queen of Ethiopia. He had come to the temple in Jerusalem to worship and was now headed home. Scholars tell us that eunuchs were not allowed in the temple, so this man was not able to enter and worship. But he has not given up his search for God. He is reading aloud from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah.

The Spirit tells Philip to go to the chariot. Every step Philip takes is guided by God. Philip runs to the chariot and hears the man reading. Philip asks the man whether he knows what he is reading. The man says, “How can I know unless someone guides me?” How true. Over the years, we have found that the scriptures are best read and understood in community.

Philip joins the man in the chariot. The passage is about the sheep being led to the slaughter. Philip tells the man the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. They come to some water. The man asks, “What is to prevent me from being baptized?” Philip goes into the water with the man and baptizes him. Then Philip is whisked away to proclaim the good news. The Ethiopian man, newly baptized, continues on his journey, but he will never be the same. May we, like Philip, listen for the leadings of the Spirit and follow them. May we, like the Ethiopian man, study the scriptures and seek deeper and deeper faith in God. Imagine! The good news is already spreading to Ethiopia.

Our epistle today continues the discussion of love. Love is from God. We are called to love one another. God loved us and sent his Son to be with us. God is the source of all love. If we love God, we will love our brothers and sisters.

The word meno, translated live, abide, dwell, last, and endure, is a key word in John’s writings. God’s love abides with us, endures with us through everything.

In our gospel we have John’s very powerful image of the relationship between Jesus and each of us and the relationship among all of us. Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches. The branches cannot exist without the Vine. The Vine is full of God’s energy, love, and healing. Through baptism, we are grafted onto the Vine. The sap, the life-force, the love, the healing, all flow from him to us. Those energies flow throughout all the branches This includes all who have gone before us— people like Laura, whose 100th birthday we celebrated last week. It also includes all the people who are here now. And all the people who are yet to be born.

That sap, energy, life, love, and healing flow to us so that we can bear fruit. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Notice that love comes first. These are the marks of Christ’s community of faith. Our main calling is to love each other. From this community of love, we go out into the world to share the good news. Like Philip, we listen for the guidance of the Spirit and go where God leads us.

Today we will have the first of our Confirmation/Baptismal Ministry gatherings. We will share our spiritual journeys. How did we learn about Jesus and how did we decide we want to follow him? What has led us to this point? Who have been our guides, as Philip was a guide for this Ethiopian seeker?

Even if you are already confirmed, I invite you to join us for these gatherings. Sharing our journeys and learning together are important ways to strengthen our connections to the Vine and each other. These classes are designed to strengthen our faith and equip us for our ministries out in the world.

Christ is the Vine. We are the branches. We are the body of the risen Lord, doing his work in the world. We are beloved of God. May we abide in that love and share that love with others.  Amen.

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