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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 6 Proper 8C RCL June 30, 2013

2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14
Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Luke 9:51-62

In our first reading, the great prophet Elijah is about to die. Elisha is called to be his successor. Herbert O’Driscoll notes that our reading this morning shows how Elisha grows into maturity so that he can take up the mantle and ministry of Elijah.

We all have had wise mentors and guides who have helped and advised us. We all have to grow into maturity and carry out our ministries. The Church itself constantly has to accept challenges and grow to meet the needs of new times and new situations, always staying true to the gospel.

In our gospel, Jesus is setting his face toward Jerusalem. He has to go. He may not want to go, but he has to. Bishop Butterfield once said that to be called means that we are compelled by God to follow a certain course of action.

Jesus sends messengers ahead to let people know he is coming. He is in Samaria.  The people do not make Jesus welcome. Scholars tell us that this might be because the Samaritans are offended that Jesus is going to Jerusalem because the Samaritans worship on Mount Gerizim in Samaria rather than at the temple in Jerusalem. Fred Craddock writes that this event “testifies to the racial tension between Samaritans and Jews.”  The disciples further illustrate this tension by offering to rain fire down on the Samaritans.  Please make a mental note of this scene. We will come back to this in a couple of weeks.

In the rest of the reading,  Jesus has encounters with three people. The first person says, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus points out to this person that following him does not offer security. Jesus is homeless at this point in his ministry. Jesus calls the second person to follow him, but the person says he has to go home to bury his father. The third says he needs to say goodbye to his family. In his responses to these people, Jesus is not telling us that we should fail to pay our respects to family members who die, nor is he telling us that we should abandon our families. He is making it clear that, in following him, we have to set our priorities very carefully. Following Jesus requires the highest level of loyalty.

Paul writes these ringing words, “For freedom Christ has set us free.” Does this mean that we can do anything we want to? No. As we have said on other occasions. Freedom is not license. Paul is walking a careful balance between freedom and license. Freedom is less an individual matter and more a community matter. Freedom does not mean unlimited autonomy for me or for you. Christ has set us free so that we can live in community, so that we can love and support each other in the life in Christ.

Here, in Galatians 5:22, Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit. Where the Spirit is, these fruits abide. Paul writes, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness. and self-control.” These are the qualities that we see in a healthy community whose members are living in the freedom which our Lord has given us, a freedom rooted in the love and grace of God.

Love. One of my mentors, David Brown, former rector of Christ Church, Montpelier, says, “Love is taking God and other people seriously.” Love is more about what we do than what we feel. Treating others with compassion and respect is not a touchy-feely thing. It takes prayer and discipline to be people of compassion.

Joy is something that goes beyond mere happiness or contentment. It is rooted in God’s love. There is true joy in knowing and realizing God’s love and responding to that love and sharing that love as we do in Christian community.

Peace, God’s shalom of health and wholeness, lives deeply and strongly within every person who is living in the Spirit. Within such a person is a deep serenity, an unruffled deep well of peace.

Another fruit of the Spirit is patience. We take life one day at a time one moment at a time. We are here in this moment. We do not have to rush about frantically. We can wait upon God. Yes, we have to do our part, but we have the patience born of peace.

Kindness. We follow the Golden Rule. We treat others as we would like to be treated. We treat everyone as a child of God.

Generosity is also a fruit of the Spirit. When we are following God to the best of our ability, we feel deeply blessed and loved by God. We grow more and more grateful for God’s blessings and love. Out of that gratitude flows generosity in sharing the gifts which God has given to us.

Faithfulness. We know that God is present in every moment. We know that God wants the best for us. We are living a new life in Christ. We are following Jesus with complete faith in his leading.

Gentleness. We who have died with Christ, we who have shared in the suffering of Christ, we who have experienced the compassion of Christ, are careful not to hurt others.

And, finally, self-control, the ninth fruit of the Spirit which St, Paul mentions in this letter. We are rooted and grounded in God. We do not need to fly off the handle. We remain in balance. With God’s grace, we try to do and say only that which God calls us to do and say.

The fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruits that grow in a Christian community. Beverly Gaventa writes of these gifts of the Spirit, “They reflect…a mind-set that is informed by the Spirit of God and the real freedom that comes in Jesus Christ.” Gaventa adds, “Paul holds that these gifts of the Spirit come about, not as the accomplishments of human knowledge or wisdom, but as gifts of the Spirit….”(Texts for Preaching, Year C, p. 408.)

I thank God that the fruits of the Spirit are so evident here at Grace Church. They are precious gifts from God which make our life together rich and full of love and joy and faith and peace. Thanks be to God for these wonderful gifts and thanks to you for nurturing and sharing them.

Amen

 

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