• 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 11 Proper 16  August 25, 2019

Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
Hebrews 12:18-29
Luke 13:10-17

In our opening reading, we encounter the prophet Jeremiah at a crucial point in his life. God is calling this young man to be God’s prophet. Scholars tell us that Jeremiah was about eighteen years old at this time. 

Like many people before and after him, Jeremiah was terrified at the prospect of answering a call from God. Most folks know that God’s prophets are not usually the most popular people, especially with kings and others in authority, and that many of God’s prophets have been put in prison. beaten, and even killed.

So Jeremiah responds to God’s call with a statement of truth, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do to know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” God has already reminded Jeremiah that God knew Jeremiah even before Jeremiah was formed in the womb, and God had called Jeremiah before he was born. Now God reaches out and touches Jeremiah’s mouth and tells Jeremiah that God has put God’s words in the mouth of this young prophet. The rest of the story, as we know, is that Jeremiah was one of God’s most faithful and courageous prophets.

What God is saying to Jeremiah, God is also saying to us all these thousands of years later. God loved each of us from before the beginning of time. God created us, and God called us to do our ministries and to live our lives to the glory of God. From before time began, God knew and loved each of us with a love that nothing can destroy and God called us to love and serve God and to share God’s love and care with every one we meet.

Each of you responds to God’s call every day of your life. Sometimes, God calls us to a ministry that scares us. A friend receives a diagnosis of stage four cancer and shares this terrifying information with us. Or a colleague shares a complicated personal problem and asks us for advice. Or a member of our family confesses a long-held secret.

There we are, sitting listening to this beloved person. We might not pray out loud to God, but we are certainly praying silently for God’s grace and help. And when we send that silent prayer to God, a prayer that we can boil down to that famous and very brief prayer, “Help!” we can think of this description of God’s call to Jeremiah and we can remember that God is saying those words to us as well: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” 

God may not literally touch our lips and put God’s words in our mouth, but God will be with us and God will guide us to share with this other person God’s loving and healing presence. And we all have had experiences when the Holy Spirit gave us the words to say in such challenging situations. Suddenly, with the love of God deeply present, we have been given words that did not come from us but from God.

In our reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, we remember that the writer is addressing this powerful and beautiful message to Jewish people who have felt called to follow Jesus. These people are facing discrimination and persecution.

The writer first recalls a scene from their history. Moses is going up the mountain to receive the ten Commandments, and it is a very scary scene. Herbert O’Driscoll reminds us that Mount Sinai was then an active volcano. God was seen as a terrifying deity, and people believed that you could not see God and live.

But we are not with Moses on Mount Sinai with fire and thunder and terror. We are at Mount Zion. We are at the feast of Christ with all the saints and angels. God has come among us as one of us and we have become God’s children. There is no longer fear but faith. Our Lord is among us and leading us.

In our gospel, Jesus is teaching in a synagogue on the sabbath. We do not know where. All we know is that he is on his way to Jerusalem. A woman suddenly comes into the congregation in the midst of Jesus’ teaching. She does not call to him; she does not ask for help. Yet Jesus, though he must be concentrating on what he is teaching, immediately notices this woman. Jesus stops right in the middle of his lesson and calls her over. And he says, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” He lays his hands on her and right away she stands up straight for the first time in eighteen years and praises God.

The leader of the synagogue objects to Jesus’ healing on the sabbath.  But Jesus points out that everyone unties their ox or donkey and leads the animal to where the ox or donkey can get a drink of water. If we can do that for our animals, certainly this woman deserves to be freed from her illness and restored to full membership in her community.

Our loving God is constantly freeing us from things that hold us down. Healing and freeing God’s people is always in season. Yes, we need our sabbath time to rest and refresh our bodies and spirits and worship God, and at the same time, if someone needs God’s help, God is always ready and willing.

Today we have three powerful readings that remind us of how much God loves us, how God calls us to serve God and others, and how God gives us the grace and the gifts to offer that service. The human understanding of God has evolved over the centuries. At one point in our historic journey, we humans were terrified of God’s power. 

Now we humans realize that God loves us so much that God has actually come among us as one of us, and that has helped us to understand the depth of God’s love and to respond to God’s call to love God and our neighbor.

God has come among us as one of us, and that has transformed our fear into faith. We can feel our Lord in our midst; we can see him out ahead of us, leading us. We can feel his grace empowering us to follow him.  Amen.

%d bloggers like this: