• 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:…

Lent 3A RCL March 23, 2014

Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
John 4:5-42

One of the themes of Lent is that we are journeying with God’s people.We are on our own journey from slavery in Egypt to a new life in the promised land. Our slavery might not have involved making bricks for the pharaoh, but it might have involved thinking that nothing we do is ever good enough, or it might involve thinking that we don’t deserve God’s love or the love of other people, or that we have not succeeded in our lives; we have not achieved enough or we have not made enough money or we have not done the right kind of work or made the right decisions. Possibly we have suffered the slavery of some kind of addiction. There are so many forms of slavery.

This morning, as we read our opening lesson, we are reminded that change is not easy and that the journey to the promised land is fraught with conflict. God’s people are complaining to Moses, “There isn’t any water.” At other times on the journey they complain that there isn’t any food, They think back to the wonderful leeks and melons and other foods that they had in Egypt and they forget that they were making bricks. But today, the issue is water. The people are desperate and they are angry, and Moses is not exactly serene in the midst of this. He calls out to God. He is probably groaning. “What shall I do with this people?” He thinks they are ready to kill him. They are so frustrated. God tells Moses to go ahead of the people. But God does not tell Moses to go alone. God advises Moses to take some of the elders with him.

Theologian Urban Holmes talks about spiritual leaders as trail guides, people who know all the good water holes out in the desert, people who know the best routes, in other words, people who have made the journey many times and can save us from falling into all the potholes. They go out in front, not in an arrogant way or a showy way. They go out in front the way Jesus did and the way all good shepherds do, to lead the sheep in the right path. There is something reassuring about having the leader out in front. But the leader does not go alone. The leader goes with a team. The elders. And the leader takes the staff, the symbol of leadership, and, at God’s command, strikes the rock and the water comes out.

In our gospel, we have an extraordinary encounter. Jesus goes into Samaria, an area usually avoided by Jewish travelers. He is tired. It is so important for us to keep in mind that Jesus was fully human. He got tired. He asks a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. Jews didn’t talk to Samaritans. Rabbis didn’t talk to women. Jesus is reaching over centuries of barriers in this encounter.

Jesus asks for a drink. He doesn’t even have a bucket to draw with. Then he begins to talk about living water, and the woman thinks how wonderful it would be to have a water supply that never ran out so that she wouldn’t have to come to this well every day.

Then Jesus asks her to call her husband, and she tells a truth which was shameful in those days. She has no husband. Jesus knows this already. He tells her that she has had five husbands and she is not married to the man she is with now. Some prophets or teachers would think that’s a disgrace. Not Jesus. He does not shrink away from her in disgust. He looks into her eyes with acceptance, love, and forgiveness. That is exactly how Jesus looks at you and me.

The woman senses something about Jesus and she asks a theological question. Should we worship in the temple in Jerusalem, as the Jews say we should, or on Mt. Gerizim, as the Samaritans say we should? Jesus tells us that it is not the place that is important; it’s the attitude with which we worship.

I think the woman has an intuitive sense of who Jesus is, and that prompts her to ask about the messiah. And Jesus gives her a great gift: he tells her who he is. He entrusts that truth to this woman who is living in what some people would call sinful circumstances, this woman who is also a seeker after truth.

The woman becomes the first preacher of the good news. She goes into the city and tells people about Jesus, and they come to see for themselves. The text tells us that “many believed because of her testimony.”

In our epistle, Paul writes something so profound that we could meditate on it for years: “…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” We have all known people who have suffered and gained endurance through that suffering, people whose characters have been shaped and strengthened by that endurance until all of their experience is tempered by fire and ice into hope. I think Jesus saw that process in this Samaritan woman, and I think that is why he entrusted the gospel to her.

What does all of this mean to us today? We are on a journey, and when we hear God’s people complaining and see Moses getting frustrated, it reminds us that we are not alone. Even God’s chosen people had difficulty. The journey is not easy.

Here at Grace, we don’t have one leader; we are a leadership team. Everyone offers his or her gifts. Jesus is our leader.

Our Lord went places that others did not go, and he reached out to people others would look down on. He saw the potential in this woman. He saw her as what she was, a precious and gifted child of God. He told her the truth about himself, and she shared that truth in a way that was convincing enough that many people came out from the city and followed Jesus.

Our Lord sees the gifts of the most unlikely people and gives them the grace to use those gifts. He can and does use us to share the good news every day.

This is our model—team ministry and compassionate ministry which sees the potential of every person. And, as we walk the Way of the Cross, we remember Paul’s profound progression: suffering leads to endurance; endurance leads to character; character leads to hope, and all because of God’s love poured out for us.

May we continue to walk the Way of the Cross, remembering God’s unfailing love for each of us and for all of us. Amen.

%d bloggers like this: