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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 19 Proper 22B RCL October 4, 2015

Job 1:1, 2:1-10
Psalm 26
Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12
Mark 10:2-16

Our opening reading is from the Book of Job. In ancient times, people believed that good things happened to good people, and bad things happened to bad people. Even today, we see vestiges of these beliefs. If something awful happens, we wonder whether we did something to cause it. If we become sick, we think about how we should have exercised more, or followed a more healthy diet. Jesus tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

When his three year old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease, Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote the wise book, When Bad things Happen to Good People. His thoughtful and prayerful struggle with this issue has helped millions of people.

In our reading, we learn that Job is a good man. But Satan, the adversary, the prosecuting attorney in the heavenly circles, is certain that, if God will allow him to afflict Job with bodily suffering, Job will lose his faith and curse God. We will be following his story for the next few weeks.

We all know how easy it is to have faith and hope and love when all is going well. But what happens to us when everything seems to go wrong? What happens to our faith? That is the question we will be looking at as we walk with Job.

The Letter to the Hebrews was written to inspire Jewish Christians in the early days of the faith. Their journey was not easy. They had left the established faith for what appeared to be a little splinter group. In our lesson for today, we read the words, speaking of Jesus, “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word.”

Jesus was fully human, and he was fully divine. To put it more simply, Jesus was God walking the face of the earth. He has told us that he will be with us always, and he will be with us every step of the way. In fact he leads us because he is our Good Shepherd. This is good news indeed. Jesus is with us at this very moment, leading us and guiding us.

In our gospel, the Pharisees are trying to trip Jesus up. They ask one of those questions which is not really seeking knowledge. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” In Jesus’ time, a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason, for example,  if he dd not like her cooking or  if he did not like the way she kept the house. Women were viewed as chattel, possessions. Like a piece of furniture or perhaps like a prized cow.

Women could not divorce their husbands, even if they were being beaten.

In this context, Jesus asks the Pharisees a question. “What does Moses say?” Moses allows a man to write a certificate of divorce. If a man wrote a certificate of divorce for his wife and her family did not take her in, she was forced to live out on the street earning her living any way that she could, often by prostitution.

And then Jesus says that Moses allowed for a certificate of divorce because marriage was not being taken seriously enough. He puts marriage on an entirely different, and higher, plane than his culture envisioned. Jesus describes marriage as a deep relationship of mutuality between two people. He is transforming marriage from a situation of a man owning property to a mutual relationship. Under the laws of his time, men were divorcing their wives just because they got tired of them and were marrying other women. In Jesus’ opinion, that amounted to adultery. Unfortunately, the Church sometimes takes things out of context, and  there was a time when people who had taken their marriages very seriously and were divorced for valid reasons were kept from receiving Communion. Thanks be to God, those days are past.

When our Lord takes the little children into his arms, he is carrying out another revolution. In those days, babies and children were not valued. Men did not spend time with children. That was considered a waste of time. By taking these little ones into his arms, and by saying what he has said about marriage, Jesus is telling us that everyone is precious. Women and children are people, too. God loves and values everyone. Everyone is of infinite value in the eyes of God.

Making the commitment of marriage and keeping it is not an easy thing. Nowadays, we know that there is such a thing as domestic violence, which can tear marriages and families to shreds. We know that there are mental illnesses which make it impossible for persons to have the ability to make and keep a commitment. These things were unknown in Jesus’ time. The fact that the Church kept people from Communion when they most needed reassurances of God’s love and the comfort of a faith community is very sad.

Though our gospel is about marriage, it also applies to other relationships, including friendships, our ties with colleagues at work, and the love that binds us together as a parish family. In all these relationships, we are called to value each other, to keep our promises, to be honest, and to support each other.

Jesus reminds us today that no one is inferior to anyone else. He calls us to approach him and each other with the openness and trust of little children.  Amen.

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