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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 6B RCL    May 10, 2015

Acts 10:44-48
Psalm 98
1 John 5:1-6
John 15:9-17

Our first reading today is so short that we may miss its significance. It comes after a whirlwind of events powered by the Holy Spirit. Cornelius, a Centurion in the Roman army, lives in Caesaria, gives money to the people and prays constantly, but he is a Gentile. An angel comes to Cornelius and tells him to send for Peter, who is in Joppa. So he sends some men to Joppa.

Peter is praying and has his vision of a sheet with all kinds of foods on it. God tells Peter to “Get up and eat,” and Peter, who has followed the dietary laws faithfully all his life, realizes that no foods are unclean.

Peter is trying to figure out the meaning of all this when Cornelius’ men arrive looking for him. The Spirit tells Peter to go with these strangers, so, the next morning, Peter and other followers of Jesus travel to Caesaria. When they arrive at the home of Cornelius, they find that he has gathered a group of people to hear what Peter has to say. Peter preaches his wonderful sermon which begins, “I truly understand that God shows no partiality…” Then Peter goes on to preach about the ministry of Jesus. Peter has realized that the family of God includes everyone.

Our reading today comes as Peter is still speaking about God’s big family. The Holy Spirit fills the people listening and they speak in tongues. With the gifts of the Spirit pouring out on these people, Peter realizes that they should be baptized. And so it happens. The Spirit is moving, touching and transforming peoples’ lives. Everyone is welcome in this new faith.

And what is at the center of our faith? Love. Last Sunday, we read that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We could say that the love of God and Jesus and the Spirit is the energy in the vine. God loved us first. We are called to love God and to share God’s love with everyone we meet. When we do that, we become people of joy. And our Lord makes us his friends.  Jesus tells us, “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to bear fruit, fruit that will last….” In his Letter to the Galatians, Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness. and self-control. Those are the fruits of close loving communities such as Grace Church, and those are the fruits that we bear as we go out into the world to bring the love, forgiveness, and healing of Christ to people who need it so much.

Last Sunday, Bishop Tom made his visitation to Grace Church. He offered us some of the real fruit of the vine, delicious grapes, and we reflected together on what it means that Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. We are connected with him and with each other so closely that our lives are interdependent and intertwined. His energy, his love, flows into us and nourishes us to do our ministries in the world.

Some of you shared deeply and honestly in a profoundly powerful way about your journeys with Christ and your ministries in his name. What you shared was authentic and moving. God has called us together from far and wide, and yes, we have responded. We have chosen to be here, to be together in Christ and in the Spirit,

The reflections which you shared spoke of a depth of community that only God could create. And I know that our Bishop was listening. And I was listening, too. You are such quiet people that I know it took a lot to do that sharing. You don’t blow your own horn. Perhaps to our detriment, we don’t call the newspaper every time we do something.

But the truth is that every day, you go out into the world and live your faith, and that is the fruit that lasts because that is what is building the shalom of God.

We have been given a great gift—three years of work together with annual reviews, and it wasn’t limited to three years, so who knows?

We have a time frame that is a bit longer than just a year, and I am very happy about that. Bishop Tom has been generous with us, and I believe that is because of the depth of your faith and your ministries out in the world. God is the center of our lives, and we and God have built a community of faith that supports each of us to strengthen our faith and minister in the name of Christ.

Thanks be to God for each of you and for this community! Well done, good and faithful servants, or, as Jesus has said in today’s gospel, “Well done, good and faithful friends!   Amen.

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