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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 Year B March 28, 2021

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
Mark 14:32—15:39

Our reading from Isaiah dates back to the end of the Babylonian Exile, 539 B.C.E. The people of God had been in exile for fifty to sixty years. Scholars tell us that they really don’t know the exact identity of this prophet. We call him the Second Isaiah. He writes,“The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may  know how to sustain the weary with a word.” Whatever message God gave this person to share with God’s people, things did not go well. He suffered. Biblical scholar Gene M. Tucker of Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta writes that this courageous prophet offered “a new understanding that seems to have arisen out of the painful experience of the Exile. Through the darkness of the Exile, Second Isaiah could see a light. He and other faithful ones also realized that the suffering of some, or even of one, could benefit others, perhaps even the whole world.” (Tucker, Preaching through the Christian Year B, pp.169-170.)

Paul wrote the Letter to the Philippians while he was in prison. Both he and the followers of Jesus in Philippi were suffering persecution. Paul writes, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus….” He tells us that our Lord, “emptied himself taking the form of a slave.” 

We are nearing the end of our Exile. In Christ, we have a teacher and a leader who can “sustain the weary with a word.” If we are called to “be of one mind with our Lord,” of what do we need to empty ourselves? What do we need to let go of? How can we serve others more fully, more lovingly? If we empty ourselves, with what are we going to fill ourselves? I would suggest that we fill ourselves with the presence and love of God. That we let God sustain us with God’s word, God’s presence, God’s Holy Spirit.

I think that we, like our brothers and sisters who went through the Exile, have learned some things about suffering. Over five hundred forty-eight thousand people have died of Covid-19 in our country alone; 2.77 million fellow human beings in our world; 224 of our fellow Vermonters have died of this disease. Through our exile and especially our fast, we have learned what a gift it is to gather together and share Holy Eucharist, exchange the Peace, hug each other, sing together, pray together, and receive together the Body and Blood of Christ, the heavenly food which sustains us. We have also learned that we can adapt, call on those among us who have the gifts to work with virtual media, and stay connected during a time of pandemic.

“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” In St. Paul’s time, the mind meant not only logical thought, but the will, intentions, intuition, and imagination. Our Lord emptied himself of all pride and earthly power and became a loving servant to others. Charles Cousar writes, “[Our] entire identity—our intuitions, sensitivities, imaginations—[are] to be shaped by the self-giving activity of Christ.” (Cousar, Texts for Preaching Year B, p, 246.) During this Exile, I have seen all of you caring about and serving others in many ways. I have also felt the deep love you have for God and for each other.

Let us continue to walk the Way of Love this Holy Week. Like the Second Isaiah toward the end of the Exile, we are looking beyond the suffering and we are seeing light.  As we see this marvelous light, I also ask that we continue to follow the guidance of our medical experts. 

Blessed Lord Jesus, our Savior and our Good Shepherd, thank you for leading and guiding us though this especially tragic and challenging time. Give us the grace to keep following you, to walk the Way of the Cross, to be faithful to you, to stay awake with you, to stand at the foot of the cross to be with you, and to be there on Easter morning as you burst forth from that tomb to defeat even death itself. Amen. 

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