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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:…

Pentecost 14 Proper 16B

1 Kings 8:(1,6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43
Psalm 84
Ephesians 6:10-20
John 6:56-69

In our opening reading today, King Solomon has completed the building of the new temple in Jerusalem. The ark is being brought from the tent in which it had been kept into the glorious temple which will be dedicated to God. Herbert O’Driscoll points out that the people of God are making a transition from a nomadic life to a settled life. (O’Driscoll, The Word Among Us,  Year B, Vol. 3, p. 86.)

After the Ark has been put in the most holy part of the temple, the presence of God is shown by the cloud that surrounds the Holy of Holies. King Solomon prays, saying that there is no God like the God who has led the people so faithfully, walking with them on their journey out of slavery into freedom. Solomon prays for the foreigners who may be called to worship in this temple, and asks that God will hear their prayers as well.

This is a most holy moment in the journey of God’s people Israel, and our response is one of the most beloved and beautiful psalms: “How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts!  My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.” As the temple in Jerusalem has been the beloved house of worship for so many, Grace has been our beloved house of worship. We humans cherish these places which have been set aside for us to praise God, places where we know that prayers have been said for centuries.   

In our gospel for today, Jesus says, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my food abide in me, and I in them” When we spend time with Jesus and share the Eucharist and study the scriptures and pray together, our bond with Jesus grows stronger and stronger. We abide in him, and he abides in us. We become his living Body. We are the Body of Christ here to do his ministry on earth.

In our reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, we are given the “whole armor of God,” so that we can stay on the path and keep following Christ.  We are not facing physical persecution as the early followers of Jesus did, but life certainly has challenges for all of us.

So what kind of armor does God give us? Well, first, we fasten the belt of truth around our waist. That is something to think about. There is such a thing as truth. There are such things as facts that can be verified. The ultimate truth for us as Christians is the life and teaching of our Lord. There are many other parts of the Bible that are interesting and instructive, but, for us, the ministry of Christ as revealed in the gospels is the core.

Then we put on the breastplate of righteousness. Righteousness means right relationship with God. Are we in harmony with God? Are we following the example of Christ? His commandment to us was to love others as he has loved us.

Then we put on the shield of faith. This is going to help us to face the forces of darkness. Our faith is like a lifeline between us and Jesus so that we can follow him through the shadow of death and the caverns of despair and darkness. As the “Footprints” poem reminds us, sometimes our Lord carries us through those times.

Then we put on the helmet of salvation. The root word of salvation is wholeness. Take the helmet of the wholeness that our Lord gives to us. Live out of the strength and health that Christ gives to us.

And we hold the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Jesus is the eternal Word. He is with us to help us when the going gets tough. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it,” says John in the prologue to his gospel.

“Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication.” Pray all the time. Stay alert and pray for all the saints. That is, pray for all our brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray for all of God’s children.

The armor of God—truth, righteousness, that is, right relationship with God, faith, salvation, that is, the wholeness and health that our Lord gives us as a gift, the Holy Spirit, who energizes us and enables us to follow Christ and build his shalom, and, last but not least, prayer—prayer at all times and in all situations.

This is how we abide in Christ and allow him to abide in us. This is how we actively live in Christ and let him live in us.

A prayer from our gospel for today—“O Lord, you have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Lead us and guide us always. In your holy Name. Amen.

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