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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 25 Proper 28B RCL November 15, 2015

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-10 (Hannah’s Song)
Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25
Mark 13:1-8

As our first reading begins, all is not well with the people of God. The preceding book the Book of Judges, ends with this statement: “In those days there was no king in Israel. All the people did what was right in their own eyes.” The sons of the priest, Eli, the religious leader of the people, are corrupt, and there is moral slippage everywhere.

Something is about to happen. The people of God are on a threshold. God is about to give them a great gift, and that gift is given to Hannah.

In those days, a woman’s worth was based on her ability to bear children, especially male children. Hannah is barren, and Peninnah never lets her forget it. Hannah and her husband, Elkanah, go to the temple at Shiloh to worship, and Hannah reaches the end of her rope. She goes into the temple to pray to God, and the floodgates let loose.

She is sobbing and praying soundlessly. The priest, Eli, at first thinks she is drunk, but, when he confronts her, she explains her deep grief, and Eli understands and blesses her.

Hannah becomes pregnant. In those times, this would be considered a miracle. Samuel, one of the great priests and prophets of God’s people, is born. So often, just when we need it, God gives us a great gift.

In our gospel for today, the disciples are awed by the size of the massive temple in Jerusalem. Indeed, it was huge and impressive. But Jesus tells them the temple is going to be destroyed, and, indeed, that great building was leveled by the Romans in 70 A. D.

Then Jesus talks about birth pangs and says false messiahs will come and that there are going to be wars and earthquakes and famines. The disciples want to know when this will happen, but Jesus just talks about birth pangs. In other places, he clearly tells us not to worry about the signs, just be ready for him to come and complete his kingdom.

The kingdom, the shalom of Christ is growing. As it grows, the old empires of power and wealth and oppression will be overthrown. In her talks at convention, the Rev. Gay Jennings, the President of the House of Deputies at General Convention, spoke about going over new thresholds and being open to new possibilities as Jesus brings in his kingdom.

When King Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 314, Christianity became the state religion. Over the centuries, Christianity became part of the empire, the seat of power in the world. Gay Jennings reminded us that, until very recently, the majority of our presidents, congress persons, judges, and other leaders were Episcopalians.

That is no longer true. We are no longer a part of the empire, God is doing a new thing, just as God did in giving Hannah the gift of Samuel, the leader who would lead the people back to the right path.

God is always with us to give us the gifts we need when we arrive at scary points in our individual and corporate life. Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is out ahead of the flock, leading and guiding us. As his shalom comes in, there will be birth pangs. In the midst of this turmoil, we are called to be rooted and grounded in our Lord and to follow where he leads.

Today, we will gather at Frank and Priscilla’s for our harvest dinner. We are entering the season of thanksgiving, the time when we give to the United Thank Offering our gift, which represents all the times in the past year when we have given thanks to God for God’s infinite gifts to us.

It is also the time when we will be thinking about our pledge to Grace Church, which is also a return of a worthy portion of the time, talent, and treasure God has given us.

When we give to UTO, they take those offerings and help people all over the world. Our neighbors at St, Luke’s, Alburgh, have a composting toilet which they installed with the help of a grant from UTO. Over the years, over three hundred thousand dollars in UTO grants have been given to folks in Vermont.

We will be doing our UTO ingathering until the end of November, and, if you need us to wait into December so that you can give your offering, please let me know. We will need to have our pledges in so that we can make the budget for 2016, something we will be doing in December.

It is all about gratitude. Everything we have comes from God. Our time, talent. and treasure are not our own. They are gifts from God, so we return a portion in thanksgiving.

Our psalm for this morning, Hannah’s Song, captures the attitude of gratitude. She was deeply grateful for the gift of Samuel, and she gave him to God so that the people could have the leader they needed,

Hannah’s song is much like the song of another grateful mother, Mary, who sang the Magnificat. She already knew that her son was not her own, that he had come to be the Savior of the world, but she walked with him every step of the way with incredible courage and resilience.

Resilience is another thing we talked about at convention. We are called to be a thankful and resilient people, ready to cross new thresholds, ready to be part of the birth of our Lord’s kingdom.

May we pray and reflect on all the reasons we have to be thankful. May we thank God with all our hearts.

I thank God for each and every one of you, and for our life together in Christ.  Amen.

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