• 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:…

Advent 3 Year B December 17, 2017

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Canticle 3
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me….” These are the stirring words of our first reading this morning. Herbert O’Driscoll writes, “Every time I read or hear these words, I have a strange sense of being in the immediate presence of Jesus.” O’Driscoll reminds us that these are the words Jesus read when he was handed the scroll in his home synagogue in Nazareth early in his ministry. As Christians, we feel that these words describe Jesus and his ministry.

Isaiah had returned from exile In Babylon, and God was speaking these inspiring words to the people as they prepared to begin the daunting task of rebuilding everything. God’s people then and God’s people now are called to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.” God assures the people that they will rebuild.

And God tells them and us what God’s values are. “For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing,” And God tells us, “For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”

In other words, Advent is a time to think about God’s kingdom of peace, harmony, justice, and compassion. And Advent is a time to renew our commitment to help God to bring in hat kingdom, that shalom.

In our reading from Paul’s First letter to the Thessalonians, we receive good counsel: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.”  We have so much to rejoice about, because we are following Jesus into his kingdom.

To pray without ceasing, to pray constantly, is a life’s journey. Not an easy thing to do.  The nineteenth century writer of The Way of a Pilgrim devoted an entire book to this. He had heard this passage and was trying to live this command from Paul.  This is the book that tells us about the Jesus Prayer. As we breathe in, we say or think, “Lord Jesus Christ,” and as we breathe out, we think, or say, “Have mercy upon me, a sinner.” This is a prayer much used in the Eastern Orthodox Church. It can be condensed, On the in breath say or think, “Jesus;” on the out breath, think “Mercy.”

“Give thanks in all circumstances.” This advice is coming from someone who was able to give thanks even when he was in prison, which happened several times in his life. But there is always something to give thanks for. Paul encourages us to “Hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.” And Paul prays that our spirit and soul may be kept blameless until Jesus comes to complete the creation. A powerful reading from a person who had walked the journey of prayer and faithfulness.

In our gospel for today, we hear John’s account of John the Baptist. Last Sunday we heard the account from Mark. But John the Evangelist begins, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.”

The days are so short and the nights so long, we yearn for the light, And our Light, Jesus Christ, is coming into the world. We will celebrate his presence on Christmas.

As in Mark’s gospel, John makes it very clear that he is not the Messiah. He says, “Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” John knows exactly who he is, He is the forerunner, the one who calls us to “Prepare the way of the Lord.”

Although he has a very large following and people are flowing out of Jerusalem to come out into the wilderness and hear him, none of this goes to his head. He is here to prepare the way, and that is his ministry.

The light is coming into the world. We are moving ever closer to Christmas. Yet we know that he has already come into the world and that his kingdom is growing even now. We are all doing as much we we can to help his shalom grow.

Yes, we are aware of the darkness; we are aware of our sin, and we are asking his help in growing more and more like him as we prepare to celebrate his first coming among us, his loving and healing presence among us, and his second coming to complete the work of creation.

Dear Lord, thank you for your light and love and healing. Give us grace to prepare room for you in our hearts and lives. In Your holy Name, Amen.

%d bloggers like this: