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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:…
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Day of Pentecost Year A RCL June 8. 2014

Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:25-35, 37b
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
John 20:19-23

In our gospel for this amazing day, it is the evening of the first Easter.  Jesus’ followers are terrified. They have watched him die an agonizing and humiliating death.  Mary Magdalene has gone to the tomb and found it empty. The risen Jesus has appeared to her.  Peter and John have gone to the empty tomb.

They do not know what to think, so they have instinctively turned to prayer. They have gathered in the room where they have met so many times before. The doors are locked for fear of the authorities. Jesus comes right through all those walls. He gives them and us his peace, his shalom. Then he breathes the Holy Spirit into them. He had told them that he would have to leave them but that he would give them the Spirit.

Forty days after this time, Jesus ascends into heaven to be with God. Again he tells them that he will send the Hoy Spirit, Again, they wait and pray, probably in the same house where they have gathered.  The Spirit comes to them in tongues of fire dancing over their heads and as the desert ruach, the wind that shapes and molds the desert landscape, Suddenly, these simple Galileans, who have never taken a foreign language course at Middlebury and have never heard of Rosetta Stone, burst forth in all the know, in languages of the world, meaning all the languages of the Mediterranean basin. My way of expressing this is that the followers of Jesus are given the gift to speak heart to heart to all these people who have come to Jerusalem for the  Feast of Pentecost.

Their message is the love and healing and new life that Jesus brings to all of us.

Some people think the apostles are drunk, but Peter explains that this event has been foretold by the prophet Joel.

We speak of Pentecost as the birthday of the Church. This is the day on which the Spirit descended with many gifts as Jesus had promised.

In our epistle for today, Paul tells us why these gifts of the Spirit have been given to us. They are given to us in order that we may be one. Paul reminds us that we are members of the Body of Christ.  We are members in the sense of being arms and legs and hands and feet. Each of us depends on all the others. None of us can do ministry alone. No gift is better than another. No person is better than another. Every gift and every person is essential to the health of the body.

Paul talks about the gifts—gifts of healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, tongues, and we can add playing the organ, doing the books, paying the bills, mowing the lawn, cleaning, keeping the building in shape, teaching, mentoring, insuring accessibility, preserving our beautiful earth, raising children, being grandparents, serving our communities, helping people in all kinds of ways, gardening, community organizing, being good neighbors. The list of gifts goes on and on. Every good thing that happens in this world and in our lives is a gift from God.

As St. Paul says “We are all baptized into one Body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free.”  In other words, the Body of Christ is inclusive. People of all races and nations, male and female, gay and straight, tall and short, old and young—“and in between”, as Al Smith used to say, people of all colors, all classes, all levels of education, all kinds of jobs, from CEOs to janitors, we are all included.

Why are we here?

First, we are here in order to spread good news, the good news that there is always hope. That life has a meaning. That God is real and loving and present. That Jesus has faced every challenge, even death, and has come through it stronger, and that we can face every challenge with his help. That, sadly, we live in a fallen creation full of brokenness of all kinds, disease, famine, war and suffering, and we are called to help our brothers and sisters who are enduring these things. And, most importantly, God will bring in God’s shalom and make the creation whole, and that we are called to help in that work,

Secondly, we have received the gifts of the Spirit, and that means that, as the Body of Christ, we are called to be one with each other. Yes, we have many differences. There are many gifts, but we are never to lord it over each other. We are called to cherish each other as God cherishes us. No matter what differences we may have, we are one in Christ. We can always look to him to call us together.

Thirdly, we are called to do mission. We are called to reach out, to go out into the world and be there for people as Christ would be there. Our diocese is about to embark on a year of discernment of what we are called to do to serve Christ. There will be a meeting in Rutland on June 29 to begin this work. I hope that many of us will be able to attend. There will also be a meeting for Wardens and Treasurers to be announced at a later date.

The Holy Spirit is God at work in us, in the Church, and in the world. As I said earlier, every time a good thing happens anywhere, the Spirit is at work.

May we be one as Jesus and God are one. May we celebrate the gifts of the Spirit among us. May we spread the good news of Jesus as we go about our daily lives, in actions and attitudes as well as in words.  Amen.

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