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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:…

Pentecost 4 Proper 7B RCL June 21, 2015

1 Samuel 17 (1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49
Psalm 9:9-20
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

Our opening reading tells us one of the unforgettable stories in the Bible. The giant, Goliath, is defeated by the little shepherd boy, David.

Goliath is big and strong and scary. He challenges the Israelites to send out one man, and Goliath will make short work of the poor fellow. David has come to the scene of battle because his father asked him to bring supplies for his brothers, who are in the army of King Saul. David arrives just as the armies are facing each other and Goliath is hurling arrogant taunts and threats.

David goes right up to King Saul and tells him he doesn’t want people’s hearts to fail because of this predatory bully, and that he, David, will fight the giant. Interestingly, Saul does not laugh at David. But he is concerned for David’s safety. David assures King Saul that he has extensive experience in killing lions and bears, and, as the Lord has saved him from the lions and bears, the Lord will save him from Goliath. This is not a battle between David and Goliath. This is a battle between God and Goliath. If the Philistines had won this battle, the Israelites would have become their slaves. God is constantly acting to free us from oppression and slavery of any kind. When the odds seem overwhelming, when we feel that all may be lost but we go forth in courage and faith, God can turn the tide. Think of England in World War Two.

Saul wants to help David in any way that he can, so he gives David his helmet, his sword, and his armor.  But military armor hampers David. It’s too big and heavy. He has to take it off. He is a courageous warrior, but he is a warrior of the spirit. His strength comes from God.

You know the rest. David chooses just the right stones, and at the crucial instant, he puts one of those smooth stones into the pouch on his sling, throws it with all his might, and hits Goliath in the forehead. Goliath falls face down on the ground. Herbert O’Driscoll writes of this encounter,”The truth of the story is that those who know clearly that their own resources are limited, but that spiritual resources are available to them, are the ones who win all the battles that matter.”

Our gospel for today is another wonderful and familiar event in Jesus’ ministry. Our Lord and his disciples are being followed by the crowds, and Jesus wants to go over to the Eastern side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the quieter side. He needs to rest. He needs to be with God. Even then, boats follow him. A storm comes up, and the boat is being swamped. The disciples are terrified, as well they should be. They could drown. Jesus is asleep. He has that much trust in God. When they shout at him, he wakes up and calms the storm.

What is this telling us? Well, before we go out in a boat, it’s a good idea to listen to the National Weather Service radio and make sure there isn’t a lake wind advisory.  If there is an advisory, it’s a good idea to stay on shore that day.

But the point is something like this. If we call on him, he can still the storms, both outside us and within us. He is always present with us. He can and will still the storms of life if we turn to him. Last Sunday he told us that, if we have faith even as small as a mustard seed, we can do great things with his help. As we grow closer to our Lord, our inner calm grows, too, and we know that he is always present and able to bring peace.

We all have battles in our lives. We all run into storms on our journeys. We all feel weak and vulnerable at times, perhaps often. We may feel as though we are looking into the face of Goliath or perishing in a storm that is about to sink the boat. Often with these struggles, there is nothing that we can do but pray and put our complete trust in God. Always, we must remember, our Lord is with us

This past Thursday, our brothers and sisters in Christ at Holy Trinity, Swanton, celebrated  a new season of ministry. Their new Rector, Rob Spainhour, comes from South Carolina, and the preacher at the service came from Charleston. This past week, nine people were killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. The shooter, Dylan Roof, believes that white people are superior to black people, that black people are taking over the world and must be stopped. He went into a bible study at a church which welcomes all people, and he has been quoted as saying that the people were so kind and caring that he almost decided not to carry out his deadly plan. Tragically, he went through with his plan and killed nine people who were all gifted and faithful ministers of Christ.

The magnitude of this hits home for us, not only because there are such connections between South Carolina and Holy Trinity, but also because some of us have gotten to know Bishop Michael Curry from South Carolina. Bishop Curry is now running for presiding Bishop.

Another connection is that both Emanuel AME Church and Grace were founded in 1816, and both are deeply committed to welcoming everyone, especially those who are vulnerable. Dylan Roof was aware of the love people were extending, and yet he committed what many experts are calling a hate crime and possibly an act of terrorism. The families of the victims are calling for forgiveness.

I ask your prayers for Clementa Pinckney, Sharonda Coleman Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Cynthia Hurd, Myra Thompson, Daniel Simmons Sr.,DePayne Middleton Doctor, and for Dylan Roof.

All through his ministry, our Lord made it clear that each and every person, regardless of color, class, national origin, sexual orientation, education, income, or any of the other things we use to divide ourselves—each and very person is precious and beloved. We are called to look at every person as if that person were Christ himself.

Our Lord is here with us to help us, and he is not asleep in the boat. May he give us the grace, as individuals and as a nation,  to work our way though to seeing all people through his eyes. Amen.

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