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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion December 11, 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 December 18, 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 December 25, 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:…

Epiphany 2 Year B RCL January 18, 2015

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20)
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

This sermon will be brief because we have Annual Meeting today.

One of the themes running through our readings today is the idea of vocation.

In our first reading, God is calling the young man Samuel to be a prophet. Samuel thinks Eli, his teacher and mentor, is calling him. Finally, Eli realizes that God is calling, and he instructs Samuel to respond to God and obey this call.

Eli serves as a faithful spiritual guide to Samuel and accurately discerns what is going on even though Samuel is going to have the difficult job of pronouncing God’s judgment on Eli’s sons, who have fallen far away from where they should be. Eli has not been able to control them, and now there is going to be a tragic outcome.

In the midst of his own personal tragedy, Eli remains faithful and helps Samuel to respond to God’s call. Samuel grows to become one of God’s most courageous prophets.

In our gospel, Jesus calls Philip, and Philip immediately goes and tells his friend Nathanael that he has found the Savior, Nathanael is a bit dubious but Philip says, “Come and see,” What a wonderful invitation. Nathanael meets the Lord and immediately recognizes who he is. Jesus tells them and us that we will see even greater things. But what can be greater than people meeting Jesus and responding to our Lord’s call to follow him?

Our psalm tells us that, everywhere we go, God is there. Everywhere we go, Jesus is with us. We are here because we know that. We have decided to follow Jesus and help him to build his kingdom of peace and harmony.

Every day of our lives, we wake anew and we make that choice to follow Jesus. Sometimes it is not easy. The world seems to be marching to a different drummer. Sometimes it seems as though it would be a good idea to just take the easy way out. That’s what some of the folks in Corinth were doing. They were not thinking about how their selfish behavior affected other people. Paul calls the Corinthians to remember God’s love for us and to seek and do God’s will.

Thank you for answering the call of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for waking up each day and making that decision to follow him, to serve him, and to serve others in his name. Thank you for your faithfulness, and for your deep life of prayer. It makes a huge difference. Thank you for carrying our your vocations as members of the Body of Christ, bringing his love and healing to others.

You are following in the footsteps of Eli and Samuel and Philip and Nathanael. You are following in the footsteps of our Lord. It is a privilege and a joy to share the journey with you.

Amen.

Christmas II Year B RCL January 4, 2015

Jeremiah 31:7-14
Psalm 84
Ephesians 1: 3-6, 15-19a
Luke 2:41-52

Our opening reading from the prophet Jeremiah is from the so-called “Consolation” portion of Jeremiah’s book. Much of Jeremiah’s ministry took place during troubled times. There were all kinds of international intrigues and alliances, wars, corrupted leadership, and all kinds of problems.

In this passage, Jeremiah is telling the people that God is going to bring them home from exile. God is going to make the journey easy for them. Jeremiah says that the life of the people is going to become “like a watered garden,” lush and full of growth. And when they get home, there is going to be a party. The young women will dance; the men will be merry. Mourning will turn into joy.

Jeremiah begins the passage with the command to “Sing aloud with gladness.” He calls the people to celebrate their return with praise to God.  In an age when so many people are in exile or are refugees, we are blessed to be already at home. But this reading makes an important point. There is much value and grace in praising God. Maybe this is why we all love to sing.

In our epistle, Paul touches upon a theme which we heard in our epistle last Sunday—that, because of Christ, we have become children of God. Paul prays that God may give the Ephesians and us “a spirit of wisdom and revelation as we come to know him, 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.” As “the eyes of our hearts are enlightened,” we grow in faith and hope; we gain a deeper sense of God’s many gifts to us; and we grow into a more profound sense of God’s power to help us in every event and part of our lives. No matter how challenging or distressing a situation may be, God has the power to guide us through it.

On this Second Sunday after Christmas, our lectionary gives us three choices for our gospel. One is the story of the Wise Men coming to worship Jesus. Another is the story of the Flight into Egypt, when the angel warns Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt to keep the baby Jesus safe from King Herod. At various times over the past several years, we have looked at both those gospels.

The third choice is from Luke, which we have just heard. All of us who are parents, and most of us who are not literal biological parents, are well aware that, with any child, you have to do your best, try to be a good example, work hard to train them up in the way they should go and grow, and then, at one point or another, they are going to make their own choices. Sometimes they are good and healthy choices and sometimes they are not. When our children make not so great choices, and when they have to go through pain as a result of those choices, we as parents go through agony.

This gospel is not about Jesus making a bad choice. It is about Jesus being who he truly is. Mary and Joseph were faithful in the observance of their religion. They have gone to Jerusalem for the Passover. In those days, when you went to Jerusalem for a festival, you went with your extended family. Whenever you traveled, you went with a large group because it was dangerous to travel alone. There were robbers and other dangers along the way.

So it takes  time before Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus is not in the large family traveling party. He’s twelve years old. He probably likes to walk with Uncle Zechariah, who can tell one great story after another, or Aunt Rachel, who carries  the best snacks to munch as you walk along. So, they gave gone a day’s journey before Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus is not there. This is not bad parenting. It’s just that there was a big crowd of relatives among other big crowds of relatives traveling home from the Passover.

Now Mary and Joseph both know that Jesus is the Son of God. But it’s one thing to know on a theoretical level and another thing to know on this experiential level. They look for him among the crowd of relatives and friends. Then they rush back to Jerusalem, worried sick.

They search for three days. Can you imagine your twelve year old child being lost for three days? This is a parent’s nightmare. Finally, they find him in the temple learning from the teachers there. And he asks them, “Don’t you know that I must be in my father’s house?”  What a shock for them!” He does go home with them and is obedient to them. But now they know that, at any moment, he may go off to serve his heavenly Father. The text says, “His mother treasured these things in her heart.” Did she have any idea where this would lead? Did she have any idea how much strength she would have to have in order to go through life with her extraordinary son?

Jesus was fully human and fully divine. We know this. But sometimes it is good to contemplate what this meant to Mary and Joseph. What faith and grace it took for them to be such good parents to Jesus. Joseph was such a fine role model for all fathers. When God chose Mary for her amazing and challenging ministry as God-bearer, this put  Mary and Joseph in an awkward position. Joseph rose to the occasion, marrying Mary and protecting Mary and Jesus. We need a lot more fathers like Joseph on this planet. As I have said before, we have several in this congregation.

As Jesus grew, I think  both Mary and Joseph began to have some idea of how difficult things were going to get. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Jesus was a different kind of King, a king  who wasn’t going to use his divine power to hurt others in order to save or defend himself. I think the shadow of the Cross fell upon their lives quite early on. Yet they persevered.

I think that we can safely say that the eyes of their hearts were enlightened. They were able to face every situation with faith and hope. May we follow their example.  Amen.