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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 3A RCL May 4, 2014

Acts 2:14a. 36-41

Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17

1 Peter 1:17-23

Luke 24:13-35

The Easter season lasts for fifty days, until the feast of Pentecost. During this time, alleluias ring through our hymns and liturgies. We do not say the Confession because we focus on the fact that our sins have been forgiven and, through baptism, we are in new life. The paschal candle, symbol of that new life, burns throughout the season. And, each Sunday, we experience encounters with the risen Lord.

In our first lesson today, Peter continues his sermon to the people gathered, and, when they ask how they can respond to what has happened to Jesus,  three thousand people are baptized.

In our epistle, Peter reminds us that we have been born anew and calls us to love one another.

In our powerful and beautiful gospel from Luke, we have the unforgettable walk to Emmaus. It is the evening of the first Easter. Two followers of Jesus are going from Jerusalem to Emmaus. We don’t know exactly why. Perhaps one of them lives in Emmaus. After Jesus had been crucified, and people thought all their hopes were gone, many of them, following a very human instinct, went back home. That’s where we often go,  when everything is falling apart.

At any rate, these two people, one of whom is named Cleopas, are talking about everything that has happened. They can’t think about anything else. Jesus has been crucified, He has really died. They are completely devastated. They are probably wondering what they will do now that these terrible things have happened.  They had planned to devote their whole lives to following Jesus and now he is gone.

Jesus comes along and walks with them, but they do not recognize him. This happens often in these encounters with the risen Lord. Something about the risen Jesus is different enough so that people do not realize at first who he is. Mary Magdalene thinks he is the gardener. These two followers do not see that he is Jesus. We could wonder and speculate about what it is that has changed, but we can never know for sure.

Jesus asks an open ended question: what are they discussing. Cleopas gets a little irritated with Jesus. “Don’t you know what has been happening? Where have you been?” Jesus asks them what has been happening. And so they tell him his own story. They say that some women had been at the tomb early that morning and had seen a vision of angels who told them Jesus was alive.

This lets us know that they are wondering whether this could be true. Is Jesus indeed alive? They are hoping against hope. There he is, standing right in front of them, and they still do not recognize him.

Jesus reviews the teachings of the prophets. They reach the village and Jesus looks as though he is just going to keep walking. But, honoring the tradition of hospitality, they invite him to have supper with them.  When he takes the bread and blesses and breaks it, they finally recognize him in the breaking of the bread. He vanishes.

Then they remember how their hearts were on fire as he discussed the scriptures with them. They rush back to Jerusalem to be with the community of faith.

What a wonderful story, one of my favorites and I think one of yours as well. So often we do not recognize the risen Christ when he is standing right next to us. And how challenging it is to hold on to a realistic and hopeful stance in life. How challenging it is to hold onto faith.

We live in what is often called a scientific age. I was trained in the scientific approach through my undergraduate education, and that approach is supposed to be open to discovery through research. Much of what some people call the “scientific approach” is really just concrete thinking that rules out the spiritual. Many eminent scientists have come to faith simply because of the beauty of God’s creation, whether it be in the immensity of galaxies or the minuteness of subatomic particles.

We humans are not as logical as we sometimes think we are. We see Jesus crucified and we think that has to be the end. Then that colors our vision when he stands right before our eyes!

Jesus is alive. Jesus is continuing his ministry of love and healing every time someone gives a cup of water to a thirsty person or digs a well in a developing country.  Jesus is continuing to build his shalom through the power of the Spirit, and the Spirit is very much at work in the Church and in the world. The Spirit is not limited by walls or beliefs or prejudices.

Jesus is alive and at work whenever people love each other and treat each other with respect, wherever and whenever people build inclusive, loving communities, whenever people make peace instead of war.

Jesus is alive. May we recognize him in the breaking of the bread, in his love extended to all people, in the building of his shalom. May we recognize him in each other and in our midst. Amen.

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