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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:…

Last Sunday after Pentecost  Proper 29 Christ the King November 24, 2019

Jeremiah 23:1-6
Canticle 4, p. 50 BCP
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 12:33-43

Today is Christ the King Sunday. The season after Pentecost is coming to an end, and we are looking forward to the season of Advent.

In our reading from the prophet Jeremiah, God is speaking to the people. There have been many unfaithful leaders. God is now going to be the shepherd of the people. God will lead God’s people home from exile. And, especially significant for us, God will raise up a Righteous Branch, a good and wise king who rules with justice. In these words we as Christians see a description of our King, Jesus Christ.

Our canticle for today is the song of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist. Zechariah is looking forward to the coming of our Lord, and he is addressing his own infant son, who is going to be the forerunner, telling everyone that the Savior is coming.

In our reading from Colossians, Paul prays that we may “be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power,” that is the power of Jesus. He has “rescued us from the powers of darkness.” He is the head of the Church, which is the Body of Christ here on earth, and we are members of that Body. We are as close to each other as the cells in a human body. We depend on each other. We support each other. We are his hands to reach out in love, his eyes to look on others with compassion, his feet to bring help to those in need.

In our gospel for this day, we are at the feet of our Lord as he is being crucified. He asks God to forgive the people who are doing this because they do not understand what they are doing. People taunt him, yelling at him to save himself if he is so powerful.

There are two prisoners, one on each side of him, One joins the cries to Jesus to save himself—and the two criminals. But the other sees who Jesus really is. He sees that Jesus has done nothing to deserve this punishment. He asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. And Jesus tells him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

The crowd sees Jesus as an earthly king, an earthly leader who will do anything he can to save himself. But Jesus is not an earthly king. He has come to save others. We are following him. He is our Good Shepherd. He is our king, a king like no other.

Jesus is the eternal Word who called the whole creation into being, and he will come again to complete his work of creation and reconciliation. Jesus is God walking the face of the earth. As we read and learn about the ministry of our Lord here on earth, we see how God feels about us.

God loves us with a love that nothing can stop. God gives us gifts so that we can live our lives in joy and do our ministries. Gifts of listening, healing, growing things, rescuing dogs, singing, playing instruments, keeping the books, caring for the creation, making places and experiences accessible, and on and on the list goes.

For the next two or three weeks, we will be making our offerings to the United Thank Offering, also know as UTO. Every time we are thankful for something, we put a coin in our box or other container and at the end of the year, we put it all together and give it to UTO to help people all around our country and the world. The UTO is an outgrowth of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Episcopal Church. Grace Church has a long and active history of participation in this ministry. 

Also, we will be making our pledges to God for the coming year. Our pledge is also a result of thanksgiving to God for all of God’s gifts to us. For me,  the main gift is God’s amazing love. Each of us can spend our whole life just learning to absorb that love. God knows us, knows our flaws and our gifts and our foibles. Even though God knows our weaknesses, God loves us. As Paul says, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

God gives us gifts of time, talent, and treasure. Every moment we have is a gift from God. Out of all the gifts of time, talent, and treasure that God gives us, we return a worthy portion to God in our pledge. If we are giving contributions to groups like the Red Cross or the American Cancer Society, those are part of God’s gifts to us that we are sharing with others. When we give time and energy to help others, that is part of our pledge. We do this because we are so grateful to God for all of God’s blessings,

This Thursday is that very special feast of Thanksgiving—a day set apart for us to be with family and friends and to be grateful for all the many gifts God bestows on us. 

This Sunday we have two very important themes. One is the theme of  giving thanks. The attitude of gratitude is a powerful force for good. And the other theme is that Christ is our King, a very different kind of king. He is not focused on power—he has all the power in the world. He is focused on love, and he is focused on loving us. He is leading us into life in a new dimension. He is leading us in a process of transformation. He is calling us to become more like him. He is calling us to help him build his kingdom, his shalom of peace and harmony where everyone treats others as he or she wants to be treated.

This week, let us take time to thank God for the many blessings God is giving us. And let us also take some time to meditate on our King, Jesus, the Lord of Life, and, to quote Richard of Chichester, let us ask our Lord to give us the grace “to see him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly day by day.”

Let us turn to page 246 and pray together the collect for Thanksgiving.

 Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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