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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:…

Palm Sunday

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Matthew 27:11-54

In our opening reading from Isaiah, God’s servant says, “The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.” This word was given to the exiles in Babylon as their hope was ebbing. As Christians, we see Jesus as that servant, who “did not hide [his] face from insult and spitting, who “set [his] face like flint,”went to the cross, and, in the words of Barbara Brown Taylor, “took the man-made wreckage of the world inside himself and labored with it—a long labor, almost three days—and he did not let go of it until he could transform it and return it to us as life.” Taylor, God in Pain, p. 118.

We, too, are in exile. We are all weary with the sickness and death of this pandemic, and we are sustained with the hope of this Good News.

Our epistle for today calls us to “Let the same mind be in [us] that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” Jesus emptied himself of all power and privilege and became powerless. He was fully human.

This truth may speak to us on a deeper level than ever before, as we are confined to our homes, powerless to go about our daily routines. What do we need to empty ourselves of? In what ways are we always powerless? I find that I have control over very few things, even when there is no pandemic, no “Stay at home. Stay safe” order from the governor. Jesus allowed himself to sink to that human level.

He set his face like flint and went to Jerusalem, he who was and is fully divine and fully human. He was welcomed as a hero, given a ticker tape parade, and in the blink of an eye, thanks to power-hungry leaders, massive corruption, and a bloodthirsty mob, he was dead.

Our epistle calls us to “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” in other words, to have the mind of Christ.

So, if we are to empty ourselves, maybe God is calling us to empty ourselves of the worry, the anxiety, the pall of gray doom that is hanging over us. If we are to have the mind of Christ, once we empty ourselves of some of those anxieties that weigh us down, perhaps we can let in the love, the life, the compassion, the flinty courage that we find in the mind and heart of Christ. Perhaps we can allow our Lord to begin to fill us with the hope, the healing, the wholeness that our Lord brings to us every day, every moment. Perhaps, as we follow him on the way of the cross, the new life which he gives us every moment will begin to seep into us.

He may have appeared powerless on that cross, but he wasn’t. This year, this Holy Week, we may well come to an even more profound understanding of what he has done for us. We are relatively powerless over many things, actually, most things,  but he is not. He shows us the power of faith, hope, love, and courage. We are following him, and, like the biblical shepherd, he is out in front leading us. Amen.

 

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