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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:…

Pentecost 25 Proper 28 B RCL November 18, 2012

1 Samuel 1:4-20

Canticle—The Song of Hannah 1 Samuel 2:1-10

Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18) 19-25

Mark 13:1-8

This is one of those Sundays when the readings work together to help us understand what God may be telling us.

First, we have a reading from the First Book of Samuel. There is a man named Elkanah. He has two wives. This was not unusual in those days. Peninnah has given birth to many children. Hannah has no children. Peninnah never lets Hannah forget this. Back in those days, over a thousand years before the birth of Christ, a woman’s worth was based on how many children she could have. Even though Hannah is unable to bear children, Elkanah loves her very much.

Hannah and Elkanah go to the temple to worship. Hannah prays with great emotion to God. If God will give her a son, she will place that son in God’s service. Eli, the priest, thinks Hanna is drunk, She assures him she is not, Eli finally believes her and gives her a blessing.

Hannah and Elkanah go home and make love. God blesses them. A son, Samuel, is born. He becomes one of the great leaders of God’s people.  Our canticle for today is Hannah’s song to God after the birth of her son. It foreshadows Mary’s wonderful song, the Magnificat.

Our reading from the Letter to the Hebrews talks about how human beings gradually realized that sacrificing animals to God does nothing to transform human beings. In Jesus, God showed us the way to become new people and live a new life, The letter calls us to come to worship God with our hearts and minds free of anything negative so that we can focus completely on hope and faith in God so that we can encourage each other to channel God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love, into great deeds of caring for God’s children.

In our gospel, one of the disciples exclaims at the massive size of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus says that it’s all going to be torn down. Indeed, the temple was destroyed in 70 A. D. But that is not what Jesus is talking about. He tells the disciples that there are going to be times of upheaval. He is not referring to any particular time, but to the process of bringing God’s shalom to birth.

Herbert O’Driscoll writes, “Our God is saying that we must see in the turmoil the possibility that God is bringing new realities to birth.”

A baby is born—Samuel, who will become a great prophet and priest. People move from sacrificing animals to seeking inner transformation by God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us that a new kingdom is coming to birth.

People who write about the emerging church are telling us that we can be a part of that new birth, that new expressions of faith are coming to birth all around us.

Jesus had no patience with religious leaders who took advantage of vulnerable people or of religious institutions which did not convey the justice and mercy of God. He had no patience with religious legalism which made it impossible for people to be in touch with God or to grow spiritually, He called us to be honest, genuine, simple, straightforward followers of God’s ways.  He summed it up for us—love God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

When Jesus talks about the temple being destroyed, he is speaking again in metaphors. The old gives way to the new. We are given the gift of being able to meet God face to face as we sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to his teachings, as we walk with him and share with him and eat with him and watch how he treats people. We are given the gift of being able to follow him and become a part of him. We are given the gift of a birth in Bethlehem and a new birth in our own lives and in the life of the human family, God’s family. We are given the gift of God’s love and of God’s infinite care for us and for all people and the whole creation. God comes to be among us, to lead us and guide us.

We are indeed blessed as Hannah was blessed. We are moving into that time when we make our pledges for the coming year, and the basis for our pledge is our gratitude to God for everything God gives us.

Today we are invited to gather at Frank and Priscilla’s home for a wild game dinner. This will be our Grace Church Thanksgiving dinner. We have so much to be thankful for. I am so thankful to have the privilege of being here among you. Your love and faithfulness never cease to amaze me.

Out of gratitude to God for all of God’s gifts to us, we prayerfully return a worthy portion to God. This includes time, talent, and treasure. Most of you devote a large portion of your time and talent helping other people. You work in vocations of service to others. Even those of you who are retired naturally engage in ministry to others every day of your lives.

I ask that you prayerfully consider your pledge of treasure and that you fill out your pledge cards either this Sunday or next. The amount of your pledge is between you and God. Please consider carefully all the gifts God has given you and is giving you and make your pledge in thanksgiving to God.

May our hearts be full of thanks for all of God’s gifts.  Amen.

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