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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:…

Advent 1A    December 1, 2019

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

Advent is the New Year’s season of the Church. Our vestments turn from the green of the post-Pentecost season to purple, which symbolizes royalty. Our King is coming. Purple also symbolizes penitence, sorrow for our sins. Advent is a time of self-examination, a season in which we take stock of ourselves and ask God to help us to get on track. 

We change from Lectionary Year C to year A. During the three years of the lectionary cycle, which is shared by all the major Christian denominations, we cover all the key passages in the scriptures.

We are preparing for the second coming of Christ our King. Our Lord will come to complete his work of creation and establish his kingdom. Since the ways of this world are very different from the values of his kingdom, we take this time to realign ourselves with our Lord’s vision of how the world should be.

Our opening reading from Isaiah reminds us of these values. We are called to beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks. We are called to turn from war and violence to peace and the nurturing of people and the creation. If we make our swords into plowshares, we are investing in raising food, and feeding people instead of killing people. We are putting our energy into taking care of people and all creatures instead of hurting them. We are moving toward life rather than death. Isaiah calls us to “Walk in the light of the Lord.”

Our psalm shows us a beautiful and powerful picture of people flocking to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Indeed, many people make pilgrimages to this city, which is the center of three great faiths, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. God is calling us to prepare for the day when people of all faiths will work to bring peace, not only in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land, but across the whole wide earth.

In our epistle for today, Paul wakes us up. “You know what time it is,” he writes. He tells us that “Now is the moment for [us] to wake from sleep. Advent is a time for us to pay attention, to be alert, to be present to every moment. This is a good season for cleaning out things that we no longer need, a time for lightening our load, focusing on what is essential. It is a time for making or revising wills, filling out advanced directives, telling our families about what we want done when the end of our lives comes near. In other words it is a time for getting things in order. 

We pray the  powerful words of Paul in our collect for today: “Let us lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” And Paul calls us to “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We are called to put on Christ as we would a garment. We are called to grow up into  Christ, to become more and more like him. That is the process of metanoia, transformation.

And in our gospel, our Lord tells us something he wants to make very clear. When he comes, it will be sudden. There will be no time to prepare. That is why we need to prepare for that moment all of our lives. When we look into his eyes, we will see the One Who loves us beyond all telling, and he will say, “Servant, well done.”

The shalom of God has begun, but it is not yet complete. Isaiah makes the vision very clear—a kingdom of peace, compassion, harmony, and wholeness where everyone has food and clothing and shelter and medical care, and good work to do. Even amidst all the brokenness we see on earth, there are signs of light, signs of wholeness. Each of us is doing our little bit to build that kingdom, that shalom. One little sign of that is our food shelf, and there are many others.

We have just celebrated Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday when we get together with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings God showers on us and to eat all our favorite holiday foods. We are also continuing to collect our United Thank Offering, which helps people all over the world. Another light, another ministry of love.

Advent is a paradoxical in-between time. We are looking back to the time when he came among us as a little baby, and ahead to the time when he will come aa our King. Now, at the darkest time of year, the light is shining, the light that nothing can or will extinguish. And we are walking in that light and love.

Here is a meditation by an anonymous writer: “I pray that I may lose my limitations in the immensity of God’s love. I pray that my spirit may be in harmony with God’s spirit.  Amen. (Twenty-Four Hours a Day, November 30.)

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