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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 7A RCL June 1, 2014

Acts 1:6-14

Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36

1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11

John 17:1-11

This past Thursday, forty days after Easter, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Ascension. Our first reading today describes that event.

Jesus takes the apostles to Mount Olivet, a short distance outside Jerusalem.  They ask him whether he is now going to bring in his kingdom. He tells them it is not for them to know the timing of that. It will happen in God’s timing.We can image that they might have felt embarrassed, or scolded. They probably wished they had not asked that question.

I don’t think Jesus is trying to scold them. He is asking them to trust God for the timing of things, and he is letting them know the amazing things that are going to happen. He tells them that they are going to receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. That is going to happen very soon. This coming Sunday we will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. He tells them and us that they and we will be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. And indeed the Spirit did come upon them, dancing like flames of fire over their heads, blowing like the desert wind–ruach and giving them the gift to speak in all the known languages of the world.

At this point, standing on Mount Olivet with Jesus, they had no idea that this was going to happen. But somehow we can imagine that they realized that he was conferring upon them something very important. In fact, he was passing on his ministry to them. He was telling them that they would receive power from God so that they could go forth and share the good news about Jesus.

Abruptly, he is lifted into the heavens. They gaze up as he disappears into the clouds. Two men in white robes appear and ask the apostles why they are staring. Imagine how the apostles felt, Jesus, who has been with them for so long, day in and day out, eating meals with them, teaching them about the scriptures, giving them such a powerful example of healing and forgiving people. He has been their leader, their mentor, their friend, and suddenly he is gone.

The apostles go back to Jerusalem, back to the room where they have been gathering. And they focus on praying. Waiting and praying. Waiting for Jesus to come again. Waiting for the Spirit. Not a passive kind of waiting, but an active, alive, faithful kind of waiting, .Jesus had gone to the Father. There was an ending, But there was also a new beginning.

In our epistle for today, the theme of persecution and suffering is continued. They and we are actually called to rejoice in our suffering because, when we suffer, we are sharing our Lord’s suffering. We are called to cast all our anxiety on God because God cares for us so much. What a thought, to give all our fears and anxieties to God, knowing that God loves us so much and God will carry them for us. We are also called to discipline ourselves, to be alert, to resist evil, to hang on to our faith, and to remember that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, our brothers and sisters in the faith all over the world, and their faith sustains us. God will “restore, support, strengthen, and establish us.” What a powerful promise.

Our gospel is from Jesus’ final prayer for his followers before he goes out and is arrested in the garden. Jesus says, “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world.” Jesus has made God’s name known to us. Jesus has made God known to us. We can now call God Daddy or Papa or Dad or Mom or Mama. Jesus has allowed us to realize how much God loves us. Jesus calls us to abide in God’s love.

And then Jesus asks God to protect this little flock, his apostles, and us, so that we may be one as Jesus and God are one. Jesus asks God’s protection for us, Think of what that means. We do not need to be afraid, No matter what may happen, God is with us, Jesus is with us, and the Holy Spirit is with us.

After Jesus ascended into heaven, the apostles went back to the upper room where they had been gathering.  Mary and some of the other women were with them.  He had just left them but the two men told them that Jesus would return. He had left, but he had assured them that they would receive the power of the Spirit.

They knew what to do. They gathered and they prayed without ceasing. And they waited patiently with great discipline and focus until God would take the next action. And, as they prayed, I think Jesus, though physically absent, became more and more present to them. He was in their midst. They remembered things he had said and done. They felt his love, his faith, his grace. They were strengthened. So that, when Pentecost came, they were ready. In the power of the Spirit, they burst forth speaking the love and grace of Christ and touching people’s hearts.

This week, let us pray for the gifts of the Spirit. Let us think of our Lord and his love. Let us prepare ourselves for the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost. If you have something red, please wear it. Let us open our minds and hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of our Lord. Amen.

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