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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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Pentecost 6 Proper 9B July 5, 2015

2 Samuel 5:1-5,9-10
Psalm 48
2 Corinthians 12:2-10
Mark 6:1-13

In our opening reading, David is crowned King of Israel and Judah. We know that God had sent Samuel to anoint a King from among Jesse’s sons, and that the young shepherd boy, David, turned out to be the chosen one. A bit later, David was crowned King of the Southern Kingdom, Judah, and now the elders of Israel come to crown him as their King as well. David then takes over Jerusalem, which is on the border of the two kingdoms, as the place where the king will dwell. The most important thing is that David is the King that God has chosen and David is called to carry out God’s will. Our opening Hymn, based on Psalm 72, is a song of praise to the king. This hymn lets us know that all leaders are called to adhere to the values of God’s kingdom.

In our epistle, Paul is defending himself against people he calls “super apostles,” teachers and evangelists who have come to the faith community in Corinth and have attacked Paul. They say that Paul  says one thing and does another, this mostly because he had planned to visit Corinth and then was not able to do so. They also say that Paul does not have enough mystical experiences. According to these people, a true spiritual  leader must gave frequent mystical experiences and then brag about them.

Paul decides to play their game. He has had some powerful mystical experiences, but, when he brags, he brags about his weakness and the power of Christ. As we all know, the cross is at the center of our faith. As he showed what many might see as weakness on the cross, our Lord freed us from all that imprisons us and led us into life in a new dimension. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness,” Paul writes. What a powerful inspiration for us when we feel our own weakness and we need God’s strength.

In our gospel, Jesus goes back to his hometown. As any rabbi would do on the sabbath, he goes to teach in the synagogue. People wonder, “Where did he get all this? How did he become such a wise teacher?” They are really impressed. But then the tide turns. Isn’t this Jesus, Mary and Joseph’s son? And they take offense at him. They think he is putting on airs.

This led me to wonder, what if we lived in Nazareth back then? Here are Mary and Joseph and their family. Here the scriptures are telling us that Jesus had four brothers, James, Joses, Judas, and Simon, and that he also had several sisters, We do not know how many. Joseph was a carpenter, and we can assume that, as was the custom, he trained Jesus in that trade. So Jesus made tables and benches and all kinds of things for his neighbors in Nazareth. He was the carpenter’s son.

At some point, Jesus went away for a while. Some scholars think he studied with the Essenes, a religious community of that time. There, he would have  engaged in prayer and study of the scriptures. As we know, he was called to be baptized in the River Jordan by his cousin John, and then his ministry began.

From this account in Mark’s gospel, we can see that Jesus was a wise teacher. How would we have responded to him? The people in the synagogue asked, “What deeds of power are being done by his hands?” I think we can be quite certain that word would have been spreading about Jesus’ ministry. People would have known about his healings.

Would we have assumed that skeptical tone? Would we have thought Jesus was putting on airs?

As most of you know, I grew up in a little village in central Vermont called East Calais. It was and is a community where people worked hard, helped each other out, and were generally down to earth folks. It was a place where you could really make a deal or a contract on a handshake. Many folks had farms, and often the dads would also work a second job to supplement the family income, because these were small farms, nothing like what we see today in Vermont. One dad was a carpenter, another worked in the granite quarries in Barre, and so on. We were all just plain, ordinary people.

When I was in high school, the son of one of our farm families came home to visit, and he was featured in the local paper, the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. He was kind of a celebrity. He had gone to college and then he had decided to work with what we would now call an NGO, and he was spending his life working overseas to help people around the world have better lives.

While he was home, he gave a talk which many of us attended. He described the work he was doing in an extremely down to earth and humble way, and most of us were inspired. For us he was a local hero. He was the only member of his family who had gone to college,  and he was doing work that made the world a better place, but nobody thought he was putting on airs.  Here’s Don Luce. His Dad is a farmer. All his brothers work on the farm. His Mom is the postmistress.  We thought he was an inspiration.

If we had lived in Nazareth or Sheldon or Franklin or Montgomery or Fletcher and Jesus had grown up on a farm and left for awhile and then come back to our church to teach, how would we have reacted?

How would we react if he walked in right now? Would we have some preconceived notions about what a teacher should be, as the Corinthians and the people of Nazareth did?

If Jesus walked in here right now, what would we say to him?

I think we would want to thank him for all he has done for us, for giving us new life, for leading and guiding us each day, for protecting us and strengthening us in our weakness, and for giving us his amazing grace.  Amen.

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