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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:…

Easter 3C RCL April 10, 2016

Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)
Psalm 30
Revelation 5:11-14
John 21:1-19

During the fifty days of the Easter season, all of our readings are from the New Testament, or Greek Scriptures. This morning, our readings tell powerful stories of how God works with us human beings. God can see in us potential that we don’t always see in ourselves.

In our opening reading from the Book of Acts, we meet Saul of Tarsus, a devout Pharisee and Roman citizen who is totally consumed with the idea of killing followers of the Way. The beginning of the passage describes Saul as “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” He has gone to the high priest to get permission to go to Damascus and capture and tie up any followers of Jesus and bring them back to Jerusalem to be punished. He has already witnessed the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.

But on the way to Damascus, something happens which transforms Saul. A light from heaven flashes around him and he falls to the ground. Jesus asks him that haunting question, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Jesus tells Saul to go into the city and he will receive further instructions. The men who are with Saul have heard the voice but they could not see Jesus. Saul gets up. His eyes are open but he cannot see. So they lead him by the hand into Damascus. What an image—this man who is destined to be a great saint being led by the hand into Damascus. There are times when we need to be led by the hand, too, times when we need the help of God and others to find the way.

Jesus calls a disciple named Ananias to go and lay hands upon Saul to help him regain his sight and to receive the Holy Spirit. Saul has been blinded by the light of Christ. When Ananias lays hands upon him, the text says that “something like scales fell from his eyes.” Saul is baptized. He stays and studies with the disciples in Damascus, and then he goes on his mission to the Gentiles. Later his name becomes Paul.

Some lines from “Amazing Grace” fit this situation. “I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” Jesus took someone who hated him and was trying to kill his disciples and made him into a great theologian and evangelist. So often we see, but we do not see. Jesus can give us vision to see and understand things that we did not see before.

In our gospel for today, Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John, and two others go fishing. They catch nothing. Just before daybreak, Jesus is standing on the shore, but they do not recognize him. He asks if they have caught any fish. They have caught nothing. So he tells them to cast the net to the right side of the boat, and there are so many fish they can hardly haul in the net. That’s how our Lord is, Just when we think there is no hope, he comes along and shows us the way.

Suddenly, John says that it is Jesus on the shore. Peter quickly puts on some clothes, jumps into the water, and swims to shore. He can’t get there fast enough. The rest of them row the boat, laden with fish. Jesus gives them a breakfast of bread and fish.

Then comes the amazing scene of forgiveness and healing. Peter has denied Jesus three times. The number three is a symbol of completeness. Peter has denied Jesus completely. This is terrible. But Jesus asks him, “Peter, do you love me more than these?”And Peter answers, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus says to him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asks a second time, and Peter answers that he loves the Lord. And Jesus says, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus asks a third time, and Peter is hurt, He says, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” And Jesus says, “Feed my sheep.” Peter has done a complete denial of Jesus. But now, Jesus is granting Peter complete forgiveness and commissioning him to go out into the world and feed his people. Peter, who denied Jesus three time, becomes the leader of the apostles.

When we have done things we should not have done or not done things we should have done. In other words, when we have sinned, we usually feel terrible about it. But our Lord is calling us to accept his forgiveness and to do the ministries he calls us to do. Peter was well aware that he had denied Jesus at a crucial moment because he was afraid. He felt awful about this failure on his part. I think Peter confessed this to God in many times of prayer following the crucifixion, and I am sure that Jesus was well aware of Peter’s sincere regret and his determination to be as faithful a disciple as he could possibly be. This is how our Lord is with us. After this powerful dialogue and exchange of love and forgiveness, Jesus says to Peter and to us, “Follow me.”

As our psalm so beautifully reminds us, “Weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

At the center of our lessons is our reading from the Book of Revelation, the prayer of adoration to our Lord, who reigns in heaven. God takes the most unlikely people and calls them to ministry. Because of the experience he had in his own life, Paul could share the powerful story of how he had met Christ and how the risen Lord showed him that he needed to change his whole attitude and purpose in life. Peter was heartbroken about his denial of Jesus. But when he realized that it was the risen Lord standing on the beach preparing breakfast for them, he jumped into the water and swam ashore, so eager was he to clasp Jesus in a bear hug full of love, faith, true repentance, and courage to do whatever he was called to do in order to serve Christ.

Jesus has the power to give us courage we didn’t know we had. Jesus has the power to help us to see the world and other people in new ways. Jesus has the power to show us gifts we never knew we had. Jesus has the power to transform us so that we can transform the world.

Alleluia! The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.

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