• Content

  • Pages

  • Upcoming Events

    • 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 11 Proper 13C RCL July 31. 2016

Hosea 11:1-11
Psalm 107:1-9. 43
Colossians 3:1-11
Luke 12:13-21

Our opening reading is from the Book of Hosea, an amazing prophet from 2,700 years ago. We recall that he had married a woman who was unfaithful to him. This gave him a profound insight into the way God must have felt when God’s people were unfaithful. In last week’s reading, we learned Hosea’s message that God does not stop loving us, no matter what.

This Sunday, we have the opportunity to gain even more insight into the nature of God’s love. God is speaking to God’s children. God calls Israel out of slavery in Egypt. God takes God’s children into God’s arms. God teaches God’s children to walk, leads them “with cords of  human kindness, with bands of love.  God bends down to God’s children and feeds them.

Commentator James Newsome says that God is described in terms that we could call motherly. God’s love for God’s children is described in terms of the greatest tenderness we could imagine. That is how much God loves God’s children. It is the love of any good parent. It is the love of our divine parent.

But then they and we go and worship other gods, like Baal. We lose our way. We do things we should not do and we do not do things we should do. The passage is hinting at some terrible things that will happen to God’s people. They will be conquered by the Assyrian Empire and later by the Babylonians, but, in the end, God will search for them and bring them home in safety.

There are some passages in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament that can make our hair stand on end. They portray an angry God who seems to be like the caricature of a bad, even abusive parent threatening all kinds of punishment. Through his own experience of loving his wife and children, Hosea was able to convey to the people and to us God’s unfailing and heartbreakingly tender love for us.

In the Letter to the Colossians, Paul is calling us to focus our lives on things above, not on earthly things. He calls us to put to death those earthly things, such as anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language. He cautions us not to lie to each other. He says that we have “stripped off the old self  and have clothed [ourselves] with the new self.”  And he says an astounding thing. He says that the new self “is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.”

We are in a process of transformation which began at our baptisms. We are going from an old self to a new self, and that new self is constantly and continually being renewed so that we will become more like Christ. And in that process of transformation, there are no longer any divisions of race or gender or class or anything that can be used to divide us, because we are all one in Christ Jesus. He is everything there is, and he is in all of us and in each of us.

In our gospel for today, our Lord is also cautioning us against the values of this world, including greed. A man’s farm is producing so much that he plans to tear down all his barns and build bigger ones, so that he can store his growing bounty.

As we read this, we notice that he is not taking any time to thank God for all his blessings and for the abundance of his crops. Nor does he ask God’s guidance about his plans. Also, he says nothing about sharing all of this abundance with others. As Jesus puts it, this man is “Storing up treasures for himself,” not for others, and not for God.

This is the opposite of what we are called to do. If we are in a process of transformation, growing more into the likeness of Christ, and if Christ is in us, that means that all our decisions are made in an attitude of prayer, what the great moral theologian Kenneth Kirk calls, “Referring all questions to God.”

If there is an abundant harvest, the first thing we need to do is thank God. The next thing we need to do is return a portion to God in thanks, and the next thing we need to do is share that bounty with others. This poor fellow is a striking example of what not to do, with his attitude of me, me, me.

An anonymous writer puts it this way. “Not what  you do so much as what you are, that is the miracle-working power. You can be a force for good, with the help of God. God is here to help you and to bless you, here to company with you. You can be a worker with God. Changed by God’s grace, you shed one garment of the spirit for a better one. In time, you throw that one away for a yet finer one. And so, from character to character, you are gradually transformed.”(Twenty-four Hours a Day, April 2.)

To paraphrase the wording of our Alleluia!Fund slogan, “Christ is alive in us. Christ is risen in our deeds.”

May we show forth his love. May we grow more and more like him. May we love him with all our hearts, and may we love others as he calls us to do.  Amen.

%d bloggers like this: