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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:…

Lent 1 Year C RCL February 14, 2016

Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Psalm 91:1-2.9-16
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

We are now in the season of Lent. The Alleluias are gone from our service. The green altar hangings have been changed to purple. Purple is the color of penitence, and it is also the color which denotes royalty, and we use it to honor Christ our King. We sing the Kyrie and the Agnus Dei, and we follow disciplines of fasting and self-examination in order to become stronger in our faith.

Every Lent we are reminded that our journey is one with the journey of God’s people centuries ago. Joseph’s brothers were angry with him, so they sold him to a slave trader who sold him into slavery in Egypt. Joseph was faithful and worked hard and became the right hand man to the pharaoh. He was in charge of everything. Eventually, because of a famine, his family came to live in Egypt.

Many years passed, and a new pharaoh came into power. He made slaves of the people of God, and they toiled to make bricks for all of the king’s many construction projects. A new leader was called by God to lead the people out of slavery. That man was Moses.

In our first reading, the people are about to go into their new land. God is calling them to remember their journey from slavery into freedom, and to offer the first fruits of their harvests in thanks to God.

Our loving God has brought each of us and all of us “through many dangers, toils, and snares,” and we offer our thanks to God for leading and guiding us.

Our epistle today is reminding us that God is near us and that we are all one in God. “There is no Jew nor Greek, no slave nor free, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In our gospel, Jesus has just been baptized. He goes out into the wilderness to struggle, to battle, to go through a process of discernment.

The first temptation is to turn stones into bread. In some ways, that would be a very good thing. In those days, as in our own time, there were many people who did not have enough food. Jesus could have fed the world. That is a good thing.

So many times, we do not have a clear choice between good and evil. Often we face choices between two things that could both be seen as good. Later on, Jesus would feed thousands of people at one sitting. But his real ministry is a spiritual one. He answers, “One does not live by bread alone.” He has come to feed us spiritually. He has come to call us into a journey of spiritual transformation. He also calls us to feed the hungry and to take care of our brothers and sisters.

Then our Lord is shown all the kingdoms of the world.  If he will worship the devil, he will receive all those kingdoms and that power. First of all, this is a very strange proposition on the part of Satan. Christ, the eternal Word,  called the world into being, and he has all power. It is the height of presumption for Satan to offer worldly power to our Lord. He does not want worldly power. He is here to bring in the kingdom of God. He and we are called to worship God alone. As we all know, the values of God’s kingdom are not the values of this world.

Then the devil takes our Lord up to the pinnacle of the great temple in Jerusalem. “Go ahead. Jump off the top. The scriptures say that God’s angels will come and save you.” This is a way for Jesus to say, “Look who I am. God saved me.” It is a publicity stunt. Even in those days, word would have spread fast. Wow! Somebody jumped off the pinnacle of the temple and thousands of angels came and swooped him up.” Jesus would have had instant fame.

But that is not the point.That is not Jesus’ goal. Jesus went to great pains to work quietly. One person at a time, he touched people and made them whole.

We are all on the journey with our Lord. During Lent, we will face our own opportunities to clarify our ministries and to make choices that will help us to stay on track and grow even closer to God.

The Ten Commandments are a time-honored template for our spiritual lives. The cardinal virtues— justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude— can be very helpful as a guide, together with the theological virtues— faith, hope, and love. The fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are also excellent qualities for meditation.

During Lent, we sometimes give up some things as a spiritual discipline. Sometimes we take on additional spiritual practices. such as increased quiet times for prayer. or reading that nourishes our spirits.

Because the word “Lent” comes from the root word for “spring,” I tend to think of Lent as a time of greenness and growth, even though it is still winter. Whatever will help our spiritual growth is the thing to do in Lent.

Ascetic is the branch of theology that deals with spiritual discipline. The Greek root is askesis, and it comes from a root that means “to work, or to exercise.” Lent is a time when we practice askesis. We do our spiritual exercises. We strengthen our spiritual muscles. We become stronger in our faith, and we grow closer to our Lord. Although it is a serious season, it is not a dreary one. Undergirding all of our spiritual work in Lent is the deep joy of growing closer to our Lord.

Day by day, dear Lord three things we pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.

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