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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 7A RCL May 28, 2017

Acts 1:6-14
Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
John 17:1-11

In our opening reading from the Book of Acts, it is forty days after the first Easter. Jesus has died on the cross; his followers have gone to the tomb and found it empty; word has spread that Jesus has risen, During these forty days, many of his followers have seen the risen Lord.

Imagine how they are feeling. He has died. He is risen. What is going to happen now? He has told them that he will have to return to the Father, but that he will send the Holy Spirit to be with them. They have no understanding of the Holy Spirit. What they do know is that they have spent every waking hour with Jesus for a long period of time, They have shared meals with him. He has taught them. When they have had questions or needed guidance, they have gone to him and he has helped them. He has been there, like a light in the darkness. He has been the wisest of guides when they needed advice. Now, he is going to leave them.

The apostles are gathered at the Mount of Olives, a short distance outside of Jerusalem. They ask him if the kingdom of David, our Lord’s ancestor, is going to be restored. He does not answer them directly, but he tells them and us that we humans do not always understand or know God’s timing. What we can do is to be ready at all times to do God’s will. Looking back over two thousand years, we know that the Kingdom of God has been growing all that time. They have no way of knowing that, on the Feast of Pentecost in a few short days, the growth of that Kingdom, God’s shalom, will leap forward with the outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

At the Mount of Olives, our Lord tells the apostles and us, “….You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Here they are, grieving and a bit afraid, wondering what they are going to do without him, and he gives them and us this commission. We are his witnesses to the ends of the earth. He is counting on us to continue his work. Then he is lifted up into heaven. And this beautiful window depicts that scene.

I think they felt many things. I think they felt lost and very sad. But they did not lose faith or give up. They did not run for the hills. The text tells us that they went back to Jerusalem. And what did they do? They did exactly what Jesus had instructed them to do. They gathered together, the first community of followers of our Lord, and they prayed. Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, tells us that there were certain women with these first followers, including Mary, the mother of Jesus and, most certainly Mary Magdalene, and others. They waited together and they prayed together.

In our gospel for today, Jesus is praying for the apostles and for us. In this prayer, Jesus tells us that he and God are one. He says that he has completed the work that he came to do. He has taught the apostles and us how much God loves us. He has shared with us the powerful truth and the healing power of God’s love for us and for everyone. And now, he is depending on the apostles and on us to share that love to the ends of the earth.

Jesus is going to return to heaven, but before he does that, he prays for God’s protection for the apostles and for us. Think of that, Our Lord prays for God’s protection for us.

In our reading from the First Letter of Peter, written to slaves and aliens in Asia Minor who are undergoing persecution, we hear some advice that can help us as we face challenges. Peter tells us that God’s Spirit is resting on us. He advises us to cast all our anxiety on God, because God cares for us. He tells us to discipline ourselves and stay alert. He counsels us to remain steadfast in our faith.

And then Peter concludes with this inspiring prayer,”…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.” Peter echoes Jesus’ prayer for us. God is protecting us even now.

God is always with us; Jesus is with us; the Holy Spirit is with us, to restore, support, and strengthen us. Challenges will come along, but we are not alone. God’s power and love are with us.

We are looking forward to the Feast of Pentecost this coming Sunday. We know that the Holy Spirit came down on the apostles and gave them the amazing gift to speak heart to heart to every person gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost.

The apostles and the others gathered with them did not know that, They knew that Jesus had told them to stay together and pray and to be ready for the power of the Spirit to come to them. But they had no idea what this meant until it happened to them and they began to use the gifts of the Spirit to spread the good news of God’s love and forgiveness and healing to a world ruled by a vast and powerful and ruthless empire. But they had faith. They gathered and prayed.

That is what we are called to do. We are called to take some time this week to prepare for the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. The Spirit still comes and touches people’s hearts and lives in this day and age. If you have something red, feel free to wear it to symbolize the flames that danced over the heads of the apostles.

Let us again pray the Collect for this day on page 226:

O God, the King of Glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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