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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:…

The Day of Pentecost Year C June 5, 2022

Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:25-35, 37b
Romans 8:14-17

Our gospel for today is part of Jesus’ last talk with his disciples, his so-called Last Discourse. In this portion of the discourse, Jesus says that those who see him have seen God. Jesus also says, “The one who believes in me will also do the works that I do, and in fact will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Jesus also says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the father and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you,” And then Jesus gives them his peace. his shalom.

After this, Jesus is crucified, rises from the dead, appears to various disciples—He walks with two of them on the road to Emmaus. He appears to Peter and the others on the shore of the lake for a fish and bread breakfast. Twice, he moves past the locked doors and comes to them as they wait in fear of the authorities.

Forty days later, he ascends to heaven to be with God. Before he leaves, he tells them to go into Jerusalem, stay together, pray, and wait for the coming of the Spirit. That is exactly what they do. They miss him terribly. They wonder what they are going to do without him, and they keep remembering that he has told them that in seeing him they have seen God, that they are to love each other and they are to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth.

Our reading from Acts describes the coming of the Holy Spirit. They are together. They are waiting. They are grieving. missing him terribly, and wondering how they are going to do all the things he has asked them to do. It is the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover. In their calendar this is a feast at the end of the wheat harvest. People have come to Jerusalem from all over the Mediterranean basin to celebrate this feast of Weeks.

A huge wind comes up, the ruach that molds and shapes the desert sands. Flames of fire dance over their heads. And suddenly, these uneducated folk who have never studied foreign languages, burst forth in all the known languages of the world. They proclaim God’s love heart to heart in all the languages of the known world. People from all of the regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea hear about the love of God in a way that deeply touches their hearts.

People think the disciples are drunk, but Peter assures them that is not the case. God has given this group of people who are devastated at the loss of their leader the gift to share God’s love heart to heart. All barriers are dissolved. This little group of simple Galileans is going to turn the world upside down. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church, and we are here, two thousand years later, to continue to share God’s love heart to heart with everyone we meet.

In his last discourse with them, Jesus said that he would send the Spirit. And here we have a profound paradox. Jesus is not here in a physical, bodily sense. We cannot literally see him or hear him, but we can sense his call. We can feel his leading, especially when we take time to be quiet with him in prayer and ask for his direction .

Because Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to lead us into all the truth of his love, he can do something he could not do when he was physically here. He can be everywhere at once. He can be with devastated families and loved ones in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York and Laguna Woods, California, Sandy Hook, Connecticut and Parkland, Florida, people huddling in a cellar under a hospital in Ukraine because their houses have been bombed, and Ukrainian soldiers fighting valiantly to preserve their country. He can be with all people who are trying to live the Way of Love all over the world.

He is here with us now. The Rev. Michael Marsh, the Rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Uvalde, Texas, has said that, as we contemplate the events of the past few weeks, there are two things. There is sorrow and there is love. There is indeed great sorrow. We are all grieving as the disciples grieved after Jesus left them. This grief has been almost unbearable. We pray for those we have died or have been injured and for their families and loved ones. We pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us into the truth of how to make lasting change. And, as we pray, we reach deep down into that everlasting and immeasurable well of God’s love. Come, Holy Spirit. Come in the wind and the fire of your cleansing energy. Help us to speak your love heart to heart. Come, Holy Spirit. Give us your healing. Give us and our legislators the courage to make the changes we need to make in order to keep children safe in their schools, to allow people of all races and creeds and classes and identities to shop for groceries, gather in their houses of worship, and be safe in their streets and neighborhoods. Come, Holy Spirit. Help us to build the shalom of God. Amen.

Easter 3B April 18, 2021

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

This morning, we are going to look at our readings in chronological order so that we can trace the story and the meaning of our Lord’s resurrection. In terms of the events, the gospel reading is the earliest in time.

Today’s gospel follows the powerful story of the road to Emmaus.  It is later on the Day of Resurrection. That morning, at dawn, Mary Magdalene, Joanna,  Mary, the Mother of James, and some other women had gone to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away. They had gone into the tomb and found it empty. Two angels had told them that Jesus had risen. They had told the others about this, but their good news was dismissed as “idle talk.” Peter had listened carefully, had visited the tomb. and had seen that it was empty.

On the same day, Cleopas and another of Jesus’ followers were walking to Emmaus. The text tells us it was a distance of seven miles. They are talking with each other about how Jesus died on the cross and what a horror it was and how very sad they are.

Suddenly a stranger is walking with them. He asks then what they are talking about, and they tell him about what happened to Jesus. They even tell the stranger about what the women had seen and heard at the empty tomb. But they have no idea who the stranger is. It is only when they extend hospitality to the man walking with them and share a meal with him that he becomes known to them in the breaking of bread. 

He disappears, and they return to Jerusalem, marveling about how he had opened the scriptures to them. 

They join the others, bursting with their good news. But the word is already going around that the risen Lord has appeared to Peter.

Suddenly, quietly, Jesus is standing in the midst of them.saying, “Peace be with you!” They can’t believe he is real, so he invites them to touch him. They are still wondering when he asks, Have you something to eat?”

Ghosts do not eat. They realize he has risen. And then, just as he did with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he goes over the scriptures to prove to them that he is the Messiah, that he suffered as the scriptures said he would and that he is risen.

Then he gives them a commission. They are to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name.

Chronologically, our reading from the Book of Acts is the next event in historical time. In the part of the chapter preceding our reading for today. Peter and John were walking into the temple around three o’clock in the afternoon, the time of prayer, when they saw a man who had been lame from birth. Every day people would carry him to a place by the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask folks to donate money  so that he could support himself.

The man saw Peter and John walking into the temple and asked for help, Peter said that he did not have any money, but he healed the man in the name of Jesus. The man jumped up and began to walk and leap and praise God. This drew a big crowd. Our reading for today is Peter’s sermon to that crowd. Peter asks the people why they are staring as if he and John have healed this man, and he tells the people that God has glorified Jesus, the crucified Jesus. Jesus has risen from the dead, and the name of Jesus has made this formerly lame man strong. Then he tells the people that he knows they acted in ignorance. He calls upon them to repent and turn to God. All of this is happening shortly after Pentecost. The apostles are preaching and teaching about the healing and reconciling power of the risen Christ.

The epistle, from the First Letter of John, is the last writing in chronological order. Scholars tell us that it was probably written around 70 years after the death and resurrection of Christ by a disciple of John who was part of a community founded by John. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are.” Our passage today is about the central theme of the good news—love.  

Our readings today offer a reflection of our own spiritual journeys. We question; sometimes we doubt; Jesus walks with us and teaches us; suddenly we realize that he is alive and here to lead us and guide us along the way.

In these three readings, we follow the journey of his original community of disciples. They were understandably horrified by the crucifixion. Many of them lost hope. He walked through walls of fear and oppression to be with them. They realized he had risen, and they spread that good news all around the Mediterranean Basin in a very short time, given that they had no modern modes of transportation or communication.

Every Sunday in this Easter season we will be reflecting on the fact that Jesus has risen and is here with us. How do we sense the presence of our risen Lord? How do we sense the power of his healing Spirit? How do we feel him leading us as a good shepherd leads the flock or guides a lost sheep back to the fold?

When hope seems gone, do we ever feel a loving presence reassuring us that there is hope, that hope is real, that good things can be achieved no matter how many challenges lie ahead? When we are sad and grieving, almost paralyzed by a huge loss, do we ever feel him there, standing beside us, letting us know we are not alone?

In this time of pandemic, Lord, thank you for holding us together, reminding us that “This, too, shall pass,” that we are not alone, that you are in our midst, leading and guiding us. Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.

First Sunday after Christmas December 27, 2020

Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 147
Galatians 3:23-25, 4:4-7
John 1:1-18

“Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your  incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus  Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.” This is our powerful collect for today, the First Sunday after Christmas.

And then, our reading from John’s gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” We can picture in our minds the creation of the world. Christ ,the eternal Word, was there with God, and as God brought forth God’s vision of the creation, Christ, the Word, called the creation into being. Christ, the Word, the Logos, the plan for creation, the model for human life.

And then, in the next phrases of this amazing and inspiring gospel, the light is coming into the world. John the Baptist is testifying to the light. And then the true light, which enlightens everyone, is coming into the world. Jesus, the light of the world, brings light and hope to everyone in the world. We can envision a world of darkness lighting up with the light and love of Christ, We can understand that the light of Christ, the love and hope of Christ, can turn our lives from darkness and despair to light and hope. We can almost picture the whole dark world illuminated by the light of Christ, the dawn of a new day a new year, a new life for everyone.

But then,  our gospel says, “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him,” That led ultimately to the Cross. And yet, even out of that, he brought new life.  But to all who were open to him and welcomed him into their lives, “he gave power to become children of God.” When we open our lives to his love, he brings us as close to God as children are to their own loving parents.

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us…full of grace and truth.” God loves us so much that God came among us as one of us, born as a little baby, just as we were born.

He did not come as a conquering warrior, though he could have. He did not come among us as an earthly king, though he could have done that too. He came into human life just as we do,  He was born in a little place called Bethlehem, in a cave used as a stable. He was born before Mary and Joseph were married, so some tongues wagged, and some folks considered him to be an illegitimate child. And then, King Herod, who  had heard from the wise men about the new king, killed all the baby boys to stamp out that  threat. Joseph, a very protective and courageous foster father, and Mary, as protective and courageous as her husband, had to take Jesus into Egypt. This meant that they were refugees, migrants. seeking asylum. Jesus knows what it is to be human and he also knows what it is to be persecuted, marginalized, and demeaned. 

When things became safer, the holy family moved back to Nazareth, where Joseph was a carpenter. Jesus grew up learning the carpenter’s trade and studied the scriptures and eventually began his earthly ministry by being baptized by his cousin John in the Jordan River.

After that, he spent somewhere between one and three years, depending on whose account we read, going from place to place telling people how much God loves us and how much God wants us to love each other. In a patriarchal culture, he had high respect for women; in a culture that saw children and women as chattel, possessions, he instructed his disciples to let the children come to him so that he could hold them in his arms. He made it crystal clear that God’s love knows no barriers. This was a threat to people who wanted to preserve their power, and he ended up dying on that horrible instrument of torture called the cross. 

And then, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found that it was empty. He was not there. She saw a man and thought he was the gardener, but he called her name, and she knew that it was Jesus. He had risen. She ran to tell the others. And then people began seeing him. He appeared to two of them on the road to Emmaus, but they didn’t even recognize him until they invited him in for supper and he interpreted the scriptures in a way that set their hearts on fire. Peter and the disciples were out fishing and, when they came ashore there he was, cooking fish and bread over a fire. He appeared to the disciples in the locked upper room and said, “Peace be with you.” And he called us to build his peace, his shalom, over the whole earth. And that’s what we are trying to do, with his grace. 

He is alive, He is in our midst, and he is calling us to walk the Way of Love. Let us follow him, our Emmanuel, God with us. Amen.

Easter 3B RCL April 15, 2018

Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48

All of our readings today show forth the Easter joy that we share because Jesus is risen. In our reading from the Book of Acts, Peter and his team have just healed a lame man, and Peter makes it very clear that this healing has been done through the power of the risen Lord. Referring to Jesus, Peter says, “And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong.” We, too have faith in the name of Jesus and in his presence.

In our epistle today, John writes, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are. Beloved, we are God’s children now.”

During the Great Fifty Days of Easter, ending with the feast of Pentecost, we are reliving with the apostles and other followers of Jesus the joy of meeting our risen Lord.

Our gospel for today comes from Luke. In order to put this passage into context, we need to realize that this portion of the gospel is preceded by the walk to Emmaus. Two of Jesus’ followers have been in Jerusalem and they have seen the crucifixion in all of its horror. They have remained with the others. The women have gone to the tomb and found it empty. Two angels have told them that Jesus is risen.

That same day, these men are walking to Emmaus, a village about seven miles from Jerusalem. While they are walking on the road and discussing all these things, a stranger appears and begins walking with them. He asks them what they are talking about, and they tell him they are discussing Jesus of Nazareth who has been crucified, and they say that some women of their group have said that Jesus is risen.

They still have no idea that the person walking with them is Jesus, but he begins to teach them the meaning of the scriptures. When they reach their destination, they invite Jesus to stay with them. When he takes the bread and breaks it, they realize who he is, and he vanishes. They rush back to Jerusalem and find the eleven and their companions gathered together, and they tell them how Jesus has become known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Today’s gospel follows these events. Once again, Jesus is with them. He extends his shalom, “Peace be with you.” They think they are seeing a ghost. The reality of the crucifixion is so strong that they cannot comprehend that he has gone through that and come out on the other side. the side of new life. He shows then his wounds and assures them that it is he. He even invites them to touch him. Their terror and doubts begin to melt away.

And then, he says something that would completely dissolve any doubt that it is really Jesus. It’s such a homey, human, ordinary question, Do you have anything to eat around here? Ghosts don’t eat. Ghosts don’t need food. They give him a piece of broiled fish and he eats it.

Then Jesus sits down with them and opens their hearts to a deeper and deeper meaning of the scriptures, a deeper meaning of his life among them and us. He then calls them and us to spread the good news.

Jesus is not some historical figure of the past. Jesus is not merely a great teacher or a great prophet. Jesus is alive. He has gone through the worst that distorted power and hate can do to a human being. He is with us now to lead us and guide us.

Risen Lord, Thank you for your presence among us. Give us the grace to follow where you lead. In your holy Name, Amen.

Easter 3A RCL April 30, 2017

Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17
1 Peter 1:17-23
Luke 24:13-35

Our opening reading is a continuation from last Sunday’s passage. Peter tells the gathered crowd that Jesus is Lord and Messiah. The people are “cut to the heart” because of the death of Jesus, and they ask Peter what they can do? He tells them that they can repent, that is, confess to God that they are truly sorry and that they want to change their lives; they want to follow Jesus. The end result is that three thousand people are baptized on that Pentecost. Because of the powerful faith and witness of Peter and the other apostles, scenes like this continued to happen, and they are described in the Book of Acts.

In our second reading, from the First Letter of Peter, we remember that he is addressing people who are living under persecution. They are in exile because they are following different values and living different lives from those around them. Their lives have been transformed through meeting Jesus. Peter reminds them and us that we are now trusting in God and that our faith and hope are set on God. Peter calls them and us to love one another deeply from our hearts because we have been born anew.

Our gospel today is from Luke. As in last week’s gospel, it is the first Easter. This is one of the most beloved gospel stories, the Walk to Emmaus. Two followers of Jesus are going along the seven mile journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They know that Jesus has been crucified. That is a fact. Some of the women have been to Jesus’ tomb, have found it empty, and have had a vision of angels telling them that Jesus has risen. Some others in the group have gone to the tomb and found it empty.

We know that one of the men is named Cleopas. The other remains unnamed. We do not know for sure where they are from, but I think they probably live in Emmaus and are heading home. When we have been following a great leader and spiritual guide and he is brutally killed, sometimes our instinct is to head home, where we can be with people we love, and regroup.

They are walking along, grieving over Jesus’ death and wondering: has he really risen from the dead? They are in deep grief because they know he died on the cross. But they are also having glimmers of hope. Could it be true? Could he have risen? They did not go to see the empty tomb themselves, but people they knew and trusted saw that reality and experienced the vision of the angels. Could they trust all of that? Could they allow themselves to hope? They are talking about all these things.

Suddenly a stranger is walking along with him. They do not recognize him. In all of these post-resurrection accounts, this happens over and over again. There is something different about Jesus. He looks like himself, but he also has changed. Also, people know that he has died, and that is the reality they are dealing with.

The stranger asks them what they have been talking about and they tell him what has happened. They go over the whole story. I imagine they may be shocked when he tells them how foolish they are not to believe what the prophets have said. Then he gives them a short course in the scriptures. They still do not recognize him.

As they near the village of Emmaus, Jesus walks on as if to continue his journey. They offer hospitality to him because night is coming. He goes in to stay with them. When they sit down to eat and he breaks the bread, they recognize him. But then he vanishes.

Then they are able to tell each other how he set their hearts on fire when he was talking about the scriptures and how their eyes and hearts were opened to the truth.

They get up and head back to Jerusalem, where they find the eleven apostles and their close friends gathered. The apostles tell the two men that the Lord is risen and has appeared to Peter. The two men, in turn, share their encounter with the risen Lord on the Road to Emmaus. As time goes on, the risen Lord will appear to different people here and there until they all realize that he is alive.

When we have seen or experienced something terrible, as these two men and all of Jesus’ followers had experienced his crucifixion, the horror of the thing is so dark and overwhelming that it is almost impossible to hope. We feel paralyzed. Often after a tragic experience such as that, we feel nothing. We are numb. That is a protective mechanism the body has in order to help us keep going. It is called psychic numbing.

As time goes on, we are afraid to feel anything. Like these two men, we find it difficult to hope again. I think that is part of the reason why they don’t recognize the living Lord. They know for certain that he is dead. And they do not dare to hope for anything else.

But there he is, a stranger on the road. There he is, walking with us, asking us what is going on in our lives and we are telling him about these horrible things that have happened, things he knows all about because he has endured them—he is with us in all our sufferings—and then we realize. There he is. He has come through it all and is leading us. Like the biblical Good Shepherd that he is, he is out ahead of the flock, helping us to stay away from the bad water holes and leading us to good pasture, telling us that there is always hope and leading us into his vision of shalom—peace, love, and wholeness for each of us and for the entire creation. New life.

And always, always, he makes himself known to us in the breaking of the bread.  Always, no matter what, he is with us. Amen.

Easter 3A RCL May 4, 2014

Acts 2:14a. 36-41

Psalm 116:1-3, 10-17

1 Peter 1:17-23

Luke 24:13-35

The Easter season lasts for fifty days, until the feast of Pentecost. During this time, alleluias ring through our hymns and liturgies. We do not say the Confession because we focus on the fact that our sins have been forgiven and, through baptism, we are in new life. The paschal candle, symbol of that new life, burns throughout the season. And, each Sunday, we experience encounters with the risen Lord.

In our first lesson today, Peter continues his sermon to the people gathered, and, when they ask how they can respond to what has happened to Jesus,  three thousand people are baptized.

In our epistle, Peter reminds us that we have been born anew and calls us to love one another.

In our powerful and beautiful gospel from Luke, we have the unforgettable walk to Emmaus. It is the evening of the first Easter. Two followers of Jesus are going from Jerusalem to Emmaus. We don’t know exactly why. Perhaps one of them lives in Emmaus. After Jesus had been crucified, and people thought all their hopes were gone, many of them, following a very human instinct, went back home. That’s where we often go,  when everything is falling apart.

At any rate, these two people, one of whom is named Cleopas, are talking about everything that has happened. They can’t think about anything else. Jesus has been crucified, He has really died. They are completely devastated. They are probably wondering what they will do now that these terrible things have happened.  They had planned to devote their whole lives to following Jesus and now he is gone.

Jesus comes along and walks with them, but they do not recognize him. This happens often in these encounters with the risen Lord. Something about the risen Jesus is different enough so that people do not realize at first who he is. Mary Magdalene thinks he is the gardener. These two followers do not see that he is Jesus. We could wonder and speculate about what it is that has changed, but we can never know for sure.

Jesus asks an open ended question: what are they discussing. Cleopas gets a little irritated with Jesus. “Don’t you know what has been happening? Where have you been?” Jesus asks them what has been happening. And so they tell him his own story. They say that some women had been at the tomb early that morning and had seen a vision of angels who told them Jesus was alive.

This lets us know that they are wondering whether this could be true. Is Jesus indeed alive? They are hoping against hope. There he is, standing right in front of them, and they still do not recognize him.

Jesus reviews the teachings of the prophets. They reach the village and Jesus looks as though he is just going to keep walking. But, honoring the tradition of hospitality, they invite him to have supper with them.  When he takes the bread and blesses and breaks it, they finally recognize him in the breaking of the bread. He vanishes.

Then they remember how their hearts were on fire as he discussed the scriptures with them. They rush back to Jerusalem to be with the community of faith.

What a wonderful story, one of my favorites and I think one of yours as well. So often we do not recognize the risen Christ when he is standing right next to us. And how challenging it is to hold on to a realistic and hopeful stance in life. How challenging it is to hold onto faith.

We live in what is often called a scientific age. I was trained in the scientific approach through my undergraduate education, and that approach is supposed to be open to discovery through research. Much of what some people call the “scientific approach” is really just concrete thinking that rules out the spiritual. Many eminent scientists have come to faith simply because of the beauty of God’s creation, whether it be in the immensity of galaxies or the minuteness of subatomic particles.

We humans are not as logical as we sometimes think we are. We see Jesus crucified and we think that has to be the end. Then that colors our vision when he stands right before our eyes!

Jesus is alive. Jesus is continuing his ministry of love and healing every time someone gives a cup of water to a thirsty person or digs a well in a developing country.  Jesus is continuing to build his shalom through the power of the Spirit, and the Spirit is very much at work in the Church and in the world. The Spirit is not limited by walls or beliefs or prejudices.

Jesus is alive and at work whenever people love each other and treat each other with respect, wherever and whenever people build inclusive, loving communities, whenever people make peace instead of war.

Jesus is alive. May we recognize him in the breaking of the bread, in his love extended to all people, in the building of his shalom. May we recognize him in each other and in our midst. Amen.