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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion August 21, 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 August 28, 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 September 4, 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:…

Epiphany 2 Year C January 16, 2022

Isaiah 62:1-5
Psalm 36:5-10
1 Corinthians 12:1-11
John 2:1-11

Our first reading today is from the prophet we call the Third Isaiah. The people have returned from their exile in Babylon. They have begun rebuilding the temple and the city of Jerusalem.

It has been difficult to go through the exile, but they have kept the faith and maintained their community and now King Cyrus of Persia has conquered the Babylonian Empire and allowed them to return home.

When they arrive back in Jerusalem and begin the rebuilding, they find that it is a challenging task. The Jerusalem temple is one of the largest and most elaborate buildings of its time. The people begin to argue about how to proceed. Tempers flare. Factions develop. We can imagine that they might have thought God had forsaken them.

God reassures them that they are not forsaken. The whole world is going to see their glory. They will be a “crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord.” God has not forsaken them, God has been with them through it all and will now help them and guide them as they rebuild, not only the temple and the city, but the fabric of their life together as God’s beloved community. 

Our psalm for today continues the themes of light and love. “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, and your faithfulness to the clouds….How priceless is your love, O God! Your people take refuge under the shadow of your wings….For with you is the well of life, and in your light we see light.”

Our reading from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians is one of the most important and inspiring passages in the Bible. “There are varieties of gifts but the same spirit. and there are varieties of services but the same Lord, and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates them in everyone.” Paul envisions the Church as the living, caring, ministering Body of Christ. We all have different gifts, but we are all one in Christ, who gives us these gifts.

We are all ministers by virtue of our baptism. We are here to serve others and share the light and love of Christ. The  Corinthians tended to compare too much. Some of them thought certain gifts were better than others, so Paul is telling them and us that all these gifts and ministries are equally valuable and essential. Gifts of preaching, paying the bills, vacuuming the floors, teaching, plowing the snow in winter and mowing the lawn in summer, working at the food shelf, rescuing dogs, reading lessons, playing the organ, pulling weeds. all of these gifts and ministries are equally valuable and important to the life of the body of Christ, the Church. All of these gifts are gifts of the Spirit, and we need them all. We work together and share our gifts, Paul writes that we do this“for the common good.” God gives us these gifts, not for ourselves, but for the strengthening of the entire community, the body of Christ, and for service outside the community of faith.

In our gospel for today, Jesus performs his first miracle. He and  his mother are at a wedding. Mary notices that they have run out of wine and points this out to Jesus, thinking he can probably solve this problem. Jesus isn’t that enthusiastic about this role, but he tells them to fill the six very large jars with water, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. This water is there for the rites of purification, in other words to wash the dishes, a humble task. Without fanfare, somewhere between 120 and 130 gallons of wine reach the chief steward, who praises the bridegroom for saving the best for last.

Obviously, Jesus knows that his mission is not to go around to weddings and provide amazingly good wine, but, at his mother’s gentle urging, quietly, anonymously, he contributes to the joy and abundance of a feast. 

At the strong recommendation of the Covid Response Team, we are  returning to online services. As the Team points out, this is valid worship.

Our situation may be similar to the exiles returning home. We had some weeks of worshipping together. That felt wonderful, but now we’re facing a challenge just as God’s people did when they faced the monumental task of rebuilding. God gave them powerful reassurance of God’s love. 

The Corinthians were dividing into factions and Paul reminded them that everybody matters. We need the gifts and ministries of everyone. And in our gospel, we see Jesus and his mother at a wedding.  The wine runs out. Spirits begin to sag. What a disappointment! Suddenly, no one knows how, the best wine of all is being served.

That’s how Jesus is. When the going gets tough; when we encounter times of challenge, there he is, giving us the gifts we need. As we navigate through this time, may we realize that he has saved the best for this time— gifts of deep faith, hope, love, and joy. May he give us the grace to grow even stronger as a community of faith, love, and light, for he is the light of the world. Amen.