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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:…

Lent 4A, March 22, 2020

1 Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
John 9:1-41

Our opening reading today is the account of how the faithful and courageous prophet Samuel was called by God to anoint the next King. King Saul has become unfit to serve as ruler, and God calls Samuel to go to the house of Jesse. There, God will let Samuel know which of Jesse’s sons to anoint as the new ruler of God’s people.

There is a great deal of tension and turmoil in the land, and Samuel is afraid that King Saul will kill him if he finds out that God is going to call forth a new king. God reassures Samuel and gives him a plan.

One by one, all of Jesse’s sons appear before Samuel. Samuel feels that any one of them would make a great king. But that is not God’s will. Finally, the last of Jesse’s sons, David, is called in from tending the flock. This is the one. Samuel anoints David as king.

This passage contains the wise insight into the nature of God: “…the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the lord looks on the heart.” David will turn out to have failings as all of us do, but he will also be able to face and admit his failings. He will be deeply loved by the people.

Psalm 23 is one of the most beloved psalms in the Bible. David was a shepherd, and our Lord is indeed our Good Shepherd. The past few days and weeks have been upsetting. We have been called to practice social distancing, and we have missed being together. In spite of all barriers, our Good Shepherd has been with us, leading and guiding us.

Our reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans calls us to be children of the light and tells us that the light of Christ will shine on us.

In our gospel for today, we hear the story of the healing of the blind man. The disciples wonder who sinned, that this man was born blind. Sometimes we try to explain things by trying to find something or someone to blame. We live in a world that is not operating according to Gods vision of creation. God wants all people to be well and whole. Jesus tells them and us that he is the light of the world. Any illness or brokenness of any kind is an opportunity for him to bring wholeness and healing.

Jesus sees the blind man. The man does not even have to ask for help. Our Lord makes a poultice of mud  and spit, as people did in those days, and puts it on the man’s eyes. Then he tells him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam, which means “sent.” The man does this, and immediately he is able to see. People ask him whether he is the man who used to beg, and he tells them yes, he is, but the neighbors and then the Pharisees try to cross examine him. They even find his parents and question them. How difficult it is for them to believe that, yes, this man is healed. The Pharisees and the neighbors find it so hard to believe what has happened to this man that they finally drive him out of the town.

The man knows what happened. He knows who healed him. When Jesus hears that the people have driven the man out, he finds him and tells him who he is. Immediately the man says, “Lord, I believe.”

This man has been unable to see since the day he was born. Jesus comes and puts on the poultice of mud and saliva and says, “Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam.” The man does not argue, He does not ask why. He does not question. He simply goes and washes in the pool, and the whole world opens up before him. For the first time in his life, he can see.

This man’s life has been transformed. He has had an encounter with Jesus, and he knows exactly who Jesus is. He has experienced the power of the healing love of our Lord. He has faith in Jesus. We do not know the rest of his story but we can easily believe that he might have become a disciple. He certainly proclaims the good news by repeatedly telling the people, “I was blind, now I see, and this is the One who healed me!”

Yet many of the people who have seen the before and after of the man just can’t believe the sheer fact of what has happened. He was blind. Now he sees. What is keeping them from seeing this? Sometimes our preconceptions keep us from seeing what is right in front of our eyes. The neighbors and the Pharisees are not able to see the spiritual and physical truth of what happened.

Thank God we can see. Thank God we, too, have had encounters with our Lord that let us know that he is here to spread light and love. He is here to heal our hurts, our worries, our fears in these trying times.

Epidemiologists tell us that the best way to deal with this virus at this stage is to practice social distancing. We love being together and we miss seeing each other. Keeping a distance is the last thing we want to do. Yet we really need to stay away from other people as much as we possibly can to slow the progress of this pandemic. Let us pray for all those who are affected by this situation and let us help them in any way that you can. I thank God for our food shelf volunteers.

So here we are, worshiping on Zoom. As Bishop Shannon has said, this Lent we have to fast from being with each other. When we get back together, O what joy will burst forth!

Meanwhile let’s keep in touch. Let us remember that our Good Shepherd is in our midst. Nothing, including viruses, can stop him. He comes among us offering gifts of peace, faith, hope, and love. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being right in our midst at this moment and for ever. Thank you for calling us together to share your love. Amen.

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