• 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 23 Proper 27A RCL November 12, 2017

Joshua 24:1-3a, 14-25
Psalm 78:1-7
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Matthew 25:1-13

In our first reading, the people of God are moving into the promised land. Joshua gathers them together and reviews their history. God brought Abraham from beyond the Euphrates River and led him to Canaan and gave him descendants as numerous as the stars. And the people review a more recent part of their history, the journey from slavery in Egypt into freedom in this new land.

But Joshua is reminding them that they are called to choose to follow God. Scholars tell us that now that the people have crossed into this new land, they are probably hearing about the local gods. In those days, it was customary to pay respect to the gods of an area where you were moving in. And Joshua is making it clear that the people are called to follow one God. He says that his family is definitely gong to remain faithful to God. Then, as now, the commitment of a leader usually means a great deal to people. The people make their commitment to be faithful to God.

In our reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, people in the congregation are dying. Many of the early Christians had expected that our Lord would return very quickly, but at the time this letter was written, about 20 years after our Lord’s death and resurrection, he still has not come to bring in his kingdom. Paul is assuring the people that  all will rise to new life.

Our gospel for today also addresses the issue of the coming of Christ. Matthew’s gospel was written about 90 A.D., sixty years after the end of our Lord’s earthly ministry. People are wondering when Jesus will come again to bring in his shalom. And so Matthew shares our Lord’s parable of the ten wise bridesmaids and the ten foolish bridesmaids.

Herbert O’Driscoll reminds us that a wedding was a feast for the whole community. If someone in the village was getting married, everyone was invited to the celebration. As dusk gathered, the bridesmaids would light their lamps and the lamps would be flickering as the day disappeared. Everyone knew that if you were a bridesmaid, you needed to make sure to buy plenty of extra oil in advance so that you could bring it with you. You never knew quite when the bridegroom would appear. It was something you could not predict. So, you had to be prepared.

We all know the story. The less than wise bridesmaids run out of oil. As the sky darkens, five of those lamps flicker out. The bridesmaids plead to their wiser companions to give then some oil. But they can’t. They have made their commitment to be prepared. The bridegroom arrives in a flurry of festivity. Five of the bridesmaids go in to the feast, and five are left at the door. Our Lord calls us to “Keep awake, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

The call to keep awake is one of the major themes of Advent, which is only a short two weeks away. But this reminder to stay alert and to be ready is wise advice in every season.

Reflecting on this call to “Keep awake,” Herbert O’Driscoll writes, “I never know when God passes by in my experience, when eternity intersects with time, and spirit with flesh. I never know when a door between the worlds opens, and I am invited to a wedding. I may be invited to taste the sweetness of God in a moment of liturgy, in a moment of friendship…in a moment of beauty discovered in art or nature. But if such things are offered, then I must be ready when the offer is made. I must assume that any moment is the potential moment, any place is the potential place, any conversation or encounter is the encounter with God.” (The Word Today, Year A, Volume 3, P. 173.)

Any moment, every moment is a potential encounter with God. We never know when it is going to happen. That is why we need to be ready at all times. We need to be awake to the presence of God in every moment. O’Driscoll mentions Brother Lawrence, who wrote a book called The Practice of the Presence of God. He was a  monk who lived in the seventeenth century. He worked in the kitchen, and as he washed dishes, scrubbed floors, and peeled potatoes, he was deeply aware of God’s presence in all of these small and mundane things.

In our readings today, we are called to follow the example of Joshua and so many others and serve the Lord. We are called to have faith and hope because we believe that we are already in eternal life and that our ultimate destination is the heavenly banquet with our Lord and the saints and angels. And we are called to be awake, to be ready to meet Christ in every moment of life, whether we are scrubbing the floor, talking with a friend, or receiving the bread of heaven, the Body of Christ at the Eucharist.

In all of these moments, in every moment, Christ is present. Christ is alive and is among us at this moment. Amen.

%d bloggers like this: