• 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 26  Proper 28B November 18, 2018

1 Samuel 1:4-20
1 Samuel 2:1-8  Hannah’s Song
Hebrews 10:11-14 (15-18)19-25
Mark 13:1-8

One theme for today’s readings might be beginnings and endings. God creates new beginnings.

In our first reading, we meet Hannah, one of the  great heroines of the faith. She lived in an age when women were judged on their ability to produce large numbers of children, and she felt terrible about the fact that she couldn’t even give birth to one child. Her husband, Elkanah, loved her very much and tried to console her about this.

When they went to the temple to worship, Hannah asked God for help with this problem. Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk, and she had to reassure him that wasn’t the case. Eli realized that he had been mistaken, gave Hannah a blessing, and asked God to grant Hannah’s request. She promised that, if God gave her a son, she would offer that son in God’s service. She and Elkanah went home, made love, and nine months later, one of God’s great priests and prophets, Samuel, was born. Hannah’s Song, which we read today as our psalm, is a wonderful song of praise and thanksgiving which bears many similarities to the Song of Mary, the Magnificat.

In our reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, the writer tells us that the animal sacrifices offered in the temple “can never take away sins.” By his offering of himself, our Lord brings us very close to God and to God’s love. In that love, we are called to gather together, strengthen each other’s faith, and encourage one another on the journey. 

In our gospel, Jesus and his followers are coming out of the temple in Jerusalem.  One of the disciples is commenting on how large and impressive the temple is, and indeed it was huge. Jesus tells them the temple will be destroyed, and indeed it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.  

Later on, Jesus and the disciples are sitting on the Mount of Olives, opposite the temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew ask him privately when this destruction will take place and what the signs will be that this is going to happen.  

Jesus answers, “Beware that no one leads you astray.”  He tells them and us that people will actually come and pretend to be Jesus, or say that they come in his name. He tells us that when we hear of wars and rumors of wars, when we see or hear of conflict, we should not be alarmed. We should stay grounded in him and in our faith.  And he says that all of this is part of the birth pangs of his kingdom, his shalom.

Herbert O’Driscoll writes, “I think that our Lord is not so much describing any one particular time in history, as offering his people in any age an approach, an attitude, for living through great upheaval and change. Ours is such a time. Our lord is saying that we must see in the turmoil the possibility that God is bringing new realities to birth.” (O’Driscoll, The Word Among Us Year B, Vol, 3, p. 157.)

The kingdom of God is growing even now. We can see many signs of upheaval in our world, and our Lord is reminding us that, as his shalom grows, there will be turmoil, but we should always go out into the world, look for the places where God is at work, and do all we can to support that work. Wherever the fruits of the Spirit are present-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, wherever God’s love and compassion are being shared, God’s shalom is growing.

Hannah’s song is full of praise and thanksgiving to God, and this is a season of thanksgiving and praise for us as well.

This is the month when we make our outreach contributions to groups who are sharing God’s caring and compassion. These include Martha’s Kitchen, Samaritan House, Abenaki CIrcle of Courage, Sheldon Methodist Church Food Shelf, Rock Point School, Oglala Lakota College, and Brookhaven Treatment Center.

During this month of thanksgiving, we also give our contributions to the United Thank Offering, and we will be doing this for the next two Sundays. The  Church Women’s Auxiliary evolved into the United Thank Offering, and thus we continue all kinds of ministries both in the United States and all over the world. As you know, the Women’s Auxiliary of Grace Church had a very strong ministry.

Finally, at this time of year, we prayerfully make our pledges  for the following year. We make these pledges in gratitude for God’s love and care for us, for our families, and for all people.  We will never be able to grasp the depth and breadth of God’s love. It is beyond our imagining, but we can sense it. We can sense God’s loving presence every moment of our lives and God’s guidance as we take each step of our journey. We will have the pledge cards out on the table next Sunday, and I would ask that you try to make your pledge by December 9.

Thanksgiving is coming up this Thursday, and we have so much for which to be thankful—family, friends, many blessings, this beautiful place in which we live, and, most of all, our loving God who has come to be one of us, our God who is leading and guiding us, our God who is bringing new things to birth.  Amen.

%d bloggers like this: