• 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 12 Proper 14C RCL August 7, 2016

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
Psalm 50:1-8, 23-24
Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16
Luke 12:32-40

The prophet Isaiah had a long ministry in Judah beginning in roughly 740 B.C.E. during the reign of King Uzziah and ending in roughly 701 B.C.E. It was a turbulent time. The Northern kingdom of Israel was taken over and annexed by the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrians then began to threaten the Southern Kingdom of Judah.

In the midst of all of this upheaval, Isaiah is called to speak God’s word to the people of Judah. In today’s reading, God is telling us that our actions must be in harmony with our worship. No matter how many services we may offer; no matter how beautiful those services may be, they mean nothing if we do not “learn to do good.” Specifically, God is calling us to “seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” In other words, God wants us to be sure that we take care of the most vulnerable among us.

In a sense, all of our readings today are about faith, and in our passage from the Letter to the Hebrews, we meet that icon of faith, Abraham. This letter was written to new converts from Judaism. Theirs was not an easy journey, and the writer wanted them to think deeply about the life of this patriarch who was called to leave his home and all that he knew, take his family and whatever belongings they could bring, and go to an unknown land to which God would lead them.

Theologian Frederick Buechner lives in Southern Vermont. Here is his description of Abraham and Sarah.

“They had quite a life, the old pair. Years before, they had gotten off to a good start in Mesopotamia. They had a nice house in the suburbs with a two-car garage and color tv and a barbecue pit. They had a room all fixed up for when the babies started coming. With their health and each other, and their families behind them they had what is known as a future. Sarah got her clothes at Bonwit’s, did volunteer work at the hospital, was a member of the League of Women Voters. Abraham was pulling down a decent salary for a young man, plus generous fringe benefits and an enlightened retirement plan. And then they got religion, or religion got them, and Abraham was convinced that what God wanted them too do was pull up stakes and head out for Canaan where God had promised that he would make Abraham the father of a great nation which would in turn be a blessing to all nations, so that’s what they did, and that’s where their troubles started.”(Buechner,  Telling the Truth: the Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale,  pp.50-51.)

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” On their journey to the Promised Land, Abraham and Sarah had many adventures, some of them quite scary. Yet they never lost faith. They trusted God. They loved God, and they knew that God loved them.

God had promised that they would have descendants as numerous as the stars, and they believed God. True, there were some rather pointed conversations as they grew old and no babies arrived, but finally the day came when they found out that Sarah was actually going to have a baby, and she laughed, and they both laughed, but it happened. They did have descendants as numerous as the stars or as the grains of sand on the beach. God is calling us to have faith like that.

Jesus is calling us to be ready for the coming of his kingdom. He tells us not to be afraid, not to let fear govern our actions. We are called to pray that fear into faith. He tells them to sell their possessions and give alms, to travel light. Does this mean that we have to sell everything? No, but it does mean that we are called to live simply and to share what we have with others.

He calls us to be ready, to have our lamps lighted, so that when the master comes, we will be ready to wait on him. But then Jesus says the master will wait on the servant. In his kingdom, there is no hierarchy. We all help each other.

The main theme of our gospel today is that we are called to be ready for his coming. We are called to be alert.

What are these lessons telling us? First, that the ideals we express in our worship are the ideals that must govern our lives. The values we express in our lives must be in harmony with the values we express in our worship and in our faith.

Secondly, that we need to have the deep and strong faith of Abraham. He left everything and followed God’s leading to a new land and a new life. We do not necessarily have to go to a new land or a new place physically, but we are constantly moving to a new and a deeper place spiritually.

Finally, we are called to be alert, to be ready to put our faith into action, to serve those who are most vulnerable, for they are beloved of God.  Amen.

%d bloggers like this: