• 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:…

Christmas 2 January 5, 2014

Jeremiah 31: 7-14
Psalm 84:1-8
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19a
Matthew 2:1-12

Our opening reading for today is a beautiful and powerful passage about the return of all the exiles from the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.  They had been conquered by the Assyrians and then by the Babylonians, and the people had been deported to foreign lands.

They had spent years studying the law and deepening their commitment to God and their faith. They had also learned in this time of desolation to cherish their homeland.  Now they will be returning.

God is going to gather them from the ends of the earth–the blind and the lame,  those with child and those in labor. The text says, “Their life shall become like a watered garden.” The people will live in peace and abundance. This is the vision of God’s shalom.

Psalm 84 expresses the joy of being in God’s house, the joy of returning home after a long exile.  Even though we have not been in exile in Babylon or elsewhere, we can still identify with this feeling of joy at being in God’s house and being in God’s presence.

Our epistle, from the Letter to the Ephesians, once again emphasizes that God has made us heirs of God’s kingdom. God has come close to us. God has adopted us, made us sons and daughters of God. We are able to call God Daddy or Mom. Paul gives thanks for the people of God and prays that we may receive a “spirit of wisdom as we come to know [God], so that, with the eyes of [our] hearts enlightened, we may know what is the hope to which he has called us, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.”

What does this mean? First, we have had “the eyes of our hearts enlightened” because the light of the world, Jesus, has come to live in our world, in our hearts, and in our lives. We are not alone. He is always with us. He is constantly bringing light into our hearts and minds, constantly leading us into new truths and teaching us new things. And the most important thing is how deeply he loves us.

Therefore, we have a deep hope, no matter how many challenges we may face, no matter how many tragedies we may hear about on the news, no matter how much suffering we may see around us and within our own lives and families at times. Christ is with us and with all people. Wholeness will come out of brokenness. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

So, we believe in the power of God to bring light out of darkness and to make wholeness out of brokenness.  We have the gift of faith, and it is a great gift indeed.

In our gospel for today, we read again the story of the Wise Men. They were highly respected, probably Zoroastrian priests, a combination of scientists, scholars, and spiritual leaders. They had noticed that something important was happening in the solar system. There was a star, and they had to follow it. They felt that a new king was going to be born. So they packed up gifts, made ready for a long journey and set out to follow that star.

Following the highest diplomatic protocols, they met with King Herod, but it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that he did not want their report on the new king for good purposes. They went on to Bethlehem, and when they got there, finding this little baby who was going to be the greatest king the world has ever known, but not in earthly terms, they fell on their knees and worshipped him. Many a scientist has done the same thing. We try to plumb the mysteries of creation and are led to the ultimate mystery of the Creator of all things. They gave him gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

A dream confirmed that it would be a big mistake to go back and visit King Herod. So they went home by another way.

Many people have been inspired by the story of the wise men. T. S. Eliot wrote about what a life changing experience it was for these journeyers to meet Jesus. Life was never the same after that.  All of the old points of reference were gone. A new landscape, a new world, had come.

James Taylor wrote a song called “Home by Another Way “ which explores the corrupting nature of Herod’s power and tells us to “keep a weather eye on the chart on high and go home another way.”

We have spent this Advent and Christmas moving closer and closer to the stable in Bethlehem and finally meeting our Lord Jesus as a tiny baby.   We will grow with him as he matures and carries out his ministry.

We have met Jesus and he has changed our lives forever, and is continuing to change and transform us.

May we always follow that star.  May we always follow him.

Amen.

%d bloggers like this: