• 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:…

Lent 3B March 7, 2021

Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

Here is a slightly edited version of our opening reading from The Message by Eugene Peterson, a retired seminary professor and pastor.

I am God. your God, who  brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of a life of slavery. No other Gods, only me. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God….

No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name. 

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, not your son, nor your daughter nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest residing in your town.

Honor your father and your mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you. 

No murder. No adultery. No stealing. No lies about your neighbor. No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s. 

Sometimes reading something familiar in a new translation helps us to see the power and meaning even more clearly. God loves us and has brought us out of all kinds of slavery, whether it be addiction or any number of other things that can imprison us. God loves us and wants us to love God and each other. Our loving God knows us intimately because our God created us, and God knows our tendency to make idols. Nowadays, it probably wouldn’t be a golden calf. Today’s idols are things like money, power, and the acquisition of things to the point where we have trouble trying to figure out the difference between what we want and what we really need. 

Sometimes all of this makes it difficult for us to take sabbath time. There is so much we have to do. And, for many people, sabbath time is not an option, since they have to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. Lying, cheating, and stealing have become more and more common these days, even among our leaders. Coveting is really easy to fall into when our society promotes the drive to acquire more and more things and more and more power.

Some of us are doing the Social Justice Bible Challenge. We are going through the Bible and reading passages that relate to social justice. This week we have ben reading from Isaiah, who wrote, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the  brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor….” (Isaiah 61:1-2.)

The prophets took the essence of the law given to God’s people and, with prayer and discernment, both deepened and expanded our understanding of the law.

Prophets such as Isaiah and Micah and Amos help us to understand that, if we truly follow God’s will, everyone will be able to live together and we will share the things we need so that everyone will have enough. Sister Mary Scullion and Will O’Brien write that this passage from Isaiah represents “a restoration of community, in which every one of us has what we need in a shared abundance, and therefore every person can more readily affirm each other’s dignity as a member of a community.” (The Social Justice Bible Challenge, p. 64.)

This passage from Isaiah is the one Jesus read when he went into the synagogue in Nazareth at the beginning of his ministry. In many ways, this passage about freedom, dignity, and justice describes his ministry. When he enters the temple at the time of the Passover, at the feast celebrating the freeing of God’s people from slavery, he might reasonably expect to see a proper atmosphere of reverence and worship.

But, in those days, you had to sacrifice an animal at the Passover. If you were wealthy, it would be a lamb, if you were poor, a pigeon. But to buy that pigeon,  you had to get the official temple coinage. And the moneychangers would charge a fee for their service. The rules of the temple worship put barriers between the people and God. And this made Jesus hopping mad. So he turned over their tables and spilled the coins on the floor. This is his message to us: do not put barriers between me and my beloved children. Let them come and worship. Extend hospitality to them. And then he talked about the temple of his body, which would rise in three days.

The Ten Commandments, the writings of the prophets, and the ministry of Jesus all offer us guidance on how to live our lives. Our mission is to help to build God’s shalom of peace and harmony. The building blocks are loving God with all our heart and mind and soul and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

In our reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul says, “We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” Jewish people thought that having a leader who was crucified was impossible because crucifixion was a punishment reserved for criminals, so that meant your leader was a criminal. Greek thinkers were concerned with gaining wisdom, and they felt that the cross was not relevant to that pursuit.

But we who are following Jesus know that his example of emptying himself and becoming a servant to all, his example of surrendering to God and letting God bring the life that only God can bring, is why our Lord said that he is the way and the truth and the life. In following Jesus, and in walking the Way of Love, we are set free from all that holds us in bondage. We grow more and more into his image, and we help him to build his shalom of peace, harmony, and justice. Amen.

%d bloggers like this: