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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion December 11, 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 December 18, 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 December 25, 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:…

All Saints’ Sunday

Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 24
Revelation 21:1-6a
John 11: 32-44

Today, we celebrate All Saints’ Sunday. The feast of All Saints happens on November 1, but we are, as the Church says, translating that feast to today. so that we can reflect on the meaning of this wonderful day in the Church calendar and carry that forth into our lives.

In our first reading, the prophet Isaiah describes a feast which God makes for all people. God will swallow up death forever and will wipe the tears from all faces. The whole human family is filled with joy. God has made us whole. There is nothing to fear.

In our reading from the Book of Revelation, the same theme is repeated, God will wipe every tear from our eyes. As John Donne said, “Death has no more dominion.” Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, is making all things new.

In our gospel for today, we read once again the powerful story of the raising of Lazarus. Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus were among Jesus’ closest friends, They lived a short distance outside of Jerusalem, and our Lord would go to their home and stay with them and share meals and discussion and prayer with these very close friends.

Jesus is so deeply moved at the death of Lazarus that he cries in front of the people gathered. This is a good example for us. There are times to grieve, and tears are the welling up of those deep feelings. Tears are a healing gift, a way to cope with emotions that are deep and powerful.

Both Mary and members of the crowd tell Jesus that he could have prevented this death. The truth is that Jesus cannot save us from death and suffering. We live in a fallen creation. The world is not operating as God would have it work. But he can free us from every bond. He can give us new life, life on an entirely different plane—richer, more full of light, more full of love.

They open the tomb, and there is a stench. Lazarus is really dead. But Jesus calls to him, and Lazarus stumbles out into the light. And then Jesus tells them to unbind him and let him go. I translate that to myself as Jesus’ command to set us free from whatever may imprison us.

The feast of all Saints reminds us that we are part of a great cloud of witnesses, faithful followers of Jesus who have gone before us, those who are here now, and those who will follow us. We are not alone. We are part of a huge community of faith, the Body of Christ, the Church.  As our Presiding Bishop would say, we are members of the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.

And today we also pray that, together with all the rest of that great cloud of witnesses, we “might rejoice in their fellowship, and run with endurance the race that is set before us, and, together with them, receive the crown of glory that never fades away.” Living the Christian in a secular age is not easy. We can certainly use every ounce of endurance that God can give us.

As we look at the world around us, we are still reeling from the terrible events of recent days. There have been several different acts of violence. As people of faith, we are especially horrified by the fact that eleven of our Jewish brothers and sisters were killed while they were in their sanctuary, which they saw as a place of safety, worshiping God.

Joyce Feinberg, 75, a research specialist at the University of Pittsburgh, Richard Gottfried, 65, a dentist, Rose Mallinger, 97, Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, a primary care physician, Cecil Rosenthal, 59, and David Rosenthal, 54, two brothers, Daniel Stein, 71, Bernice and Sylvan Stein, Bernice was 84, Sylvan 86. Irving Younger, 69, and Melvin Wax, 88, a former accountant. Each of these people was a loving member, not only of the Tree of Life synagogue, but also of the Squirrel Hill community.

Messages of love and support have come to the Tree of Life synagogue from all over the world. A neighboring Muslim community has already sent generous contributions of money and help, and stands ready to do anything needed. The Rabbi says that the community will rebuild the sanctuary.

Remember how shocked we were when a young man sat in a Bible study at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston South Carolina and then killed nine members of that group. Once again, we gather together to remember those who have died, their families and friends.

This is yet another terrible tragedy, and I ask you to keep the people of the Tree of Life synagogue in your prayers.

Even in the midst of tragedy, our readings today remind us that we are a people of faith. We are a people of joy. We are a people of hope. We are a people of endurance. Our Lord is a God of compassion who brings light and life and love to all people. That is the One we are following, as saints have followed him for over two thousand years.

May we follow him in faith, and may we continue to share his love.

Amen.