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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:…

Lent 1 Year B RCL February 22, 2015

Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-9
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

Noah and his family have kept the faith and are saved from the flood to make a new beginning. We have been made children of God and inheritors of the kingdom through the waters of baptism. Now, we begin our Lenten journey in the wilderness with our Lord.

Whenever we take a journey, it is usually helpful to have maps and compasses, guidelines, GPS, something to go by. This year, I thought it might be useful to reflect on the seven root sins and the theological and cardinal virtues. This framework was first suggested to me by David Brown, rector of Christ Church, Montpelier, now retired, who was one of my major mentors.

The Seven Root Sins are pride, wrath, envy, greed, gluttony, lust and sloth. The Theological Virtues are faith, hope, and love. The Cardinal Virtues are prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.

Pride. Doing it our own way instead of seeking God’s will. This is not the same thing as feeling pride at a job well done. The sin of pride has nothing to do with healthy self-esteem. Pride is the thing that says, “I’ll do it my way.” Pride does not even ask for God’s help. Pride is the opposite of humility and obedience. Humility is openness. It comes from the root word for humus, good, rich open earth ready for planting.

If we have humility, it does not mean that we are groveling or that we think we are worms in God’s sight. It means that we are open to God’s guidance and grace. It is a really good idea to ask for God’s help often.

Here at Grace, I think all of us sincerely want to seek and do God’s will. But we may not want to “bother” God by asking for help when God has so many huge issues to deal with. Please don’t let that stop you. God wants us to ask for guidance and help. That’s how we strengthen our relationship with God. It is impossible to bother God.

Wrath. Wrath is not the same thing as anger. Anger is a normal, human emotion. Anger happens when something is wrong in a situation, when someone is not treating someone else with respect, when someone is oppressing someone else, or dismissing, or not hearing. Wrath is nursing anger, breeding resentment, focussing on a person or a situation until we are consumed with wrath. It destroys us. It eats us alive. If there is wrong in a situation, we need to take steps to set it right, get help if needed, or, if the situation continues to be unhealthy and it cannot be changed, we need to get out of it.

Envy is the inability to rejoice in the blessings which others receive.

Greed is wanting more than we need. Gluttony is taking more than we need. This is something we in the developed nations need to think about. Lust is using other people. Someone once said, We are called to love people and use things, not to use people and love things.”

Sloth (Acedie) has nothing to do with taking sabbath time, enjoying times of rest and leisure. We need sabbath time to renew our bodies and spirits. Sloth is not caring, giving up. Sloth is not to be confused with depression, which is a clinical lack of energy. When we are severely depressed, we do not have the energy to care, but that is not a sin. It is a clinical condition.

The Theological Virtues—Faith, hope, and love. Faith is trust in God. As we noted earlier, the more we ask for God’s help in doing God’s will, the stronger our faith grows

When we are open to God’s help, when we ask for God’s will and seek to do God’s will, we begin to realize the depth of God’s love. That is, we develop a deeper and deeper relationship with God. We realize more and more that God is always there for us, and this strengthens our faith. Faith is that trust in God which comes out of our relationship with God, that give and take with God that happens on a daily, even a moment-by-moment basis.

Hope is the ability to look at a situation in all its complexity, accurately seeing the darkness and brokenness in that situation, and still perceiving the potential for wholeness in that situation.

Love. The ultimate meaning of love is God’s unconditional love for us. That is what we are aiming for. We will never reach it, but it is a good goal.

Prudence. Kenneth Kirk says that prudence is “The habit of referring all questions to God.” Constant communication with God, seeking God’s will. Dear Lord, what do you want me to do in this situation? What perspective do you want me to have on this situation?

Justice—Giving each person his or her just due. Treating everyone with respect, no matter what their social status, education, wealth, power, or any other consideration.

Temperance—balance, humor, flexibility. Fortitude. Hanging in there on the side of the shalom of God.

Perhaps it is because we are having such a cold winter, but this year, it is important to me that Lent comes from the Middle English word for “Springtime.” During Lent, we examine our lives, confess our sins, and ask God’s forgiveness and grace to move away from the brokenness of sin toward the wholeness of God.

Lent is a time for growth. We are called to grow more and more like our Lord as we follow him to the cross and into new life. He is with us, to lead us and guide us. May we turn to him with all our heart. Amen.