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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.

The Day of Pentecost Year B May 23, 2021

Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:25-35. 37B
Romans 8:22-27
John 15:26-27 – 16:4b-15

Just before he ascended into heaven, Jesus told his followers to stay together and pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Earlier in chapter fifteen of John’s gospel, he told them and us that he is the vine and they and we are the branches, that we and our Lord have a bond and a relationship that is like a living organism. We depend on him and each other for life itself.

Now he is going to leave them, and he tells them that, if he does not go to be with God, the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, cannot come. And he tells them something else. He says that there are many tings he cannot tell us. And then he says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” That is one of our Lord’s statements that we can spend our whole lives thinking about and praying about. 

In a profound sense, the Holy Spirit is now, day by day, guiding us into the truth that Jesus was not able to share fully when he was here on earth.

After the Ascension of our Lord, the apostles are in deep grief. How will they get along without him? What will they do? How will they make their decisions? Who will guide them? They are very sad, but they do what he told them to do. They stay in Jerusalem, they remain together and they pray and wait for the Spirit to come.

The city is full of people who are there to observe the Feast of Weeks, the celebration of the spring harvest fifty days after the Passover. This is why there are people from all over the known world in Jerusalem at that time, from all the areas surrounding the Mediterranean sea.

The apostles are gathered there, too, saddened but faithful, missing Jesus but doing exactly what he said to do—waiting and praying.

Suddenly, there is a powerful wind shaking the house where they are staying. It is the ruach, the desert wind, the wind of the Spirit. Tongues of fire dance over their heads and they burst out speaking all the languages in the known world, sharing the good news about Jesus so that everyone can hear and understand.

People flock there from the surrounding area, and they hear these simple men from Galilee speaking their own languages, speaking God’s peace and love heart to heart.

Some people think that Jesus’ followers are drunk. Peter explains what is happening and preaches and teaches from the prophets about the coming of the Spirit and about the ministry of Jesus. As a result, three thousand people are baptized. This is the beginning of what we now call the Church. This is the birthday of the Church.

Ever since that first Pentecost, the Holy Spirit has been guiding us. In our epistle for today, Paul tells us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.”

Like Jesus’ followers two thousand years ago, we have stayed together, we have prayed together, and once again we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit, the divine energy coursing through the vine and the branches, enlivening the Body of Christ, the Church. The Holy Spirit is God at work in us and in the world, Wherever we see a spirit of love, caring, unity, and respect, the Spirit is at work.

This has not been an easy journey. Thanks be to God for the grace that has guided us to this day. Thanks to each and every one of you for your faithfulness, determination, grace, patience, flexibility, resourcefulness, humor, love, gentleness. and caring.

Today, after over two thousand years, the Church celebrates the bestowing of the gifts of the Spirit, gifts of love, gifts of healing, gifts of energy to extend God’s love to all we meet, gifts of expressing that love from one heart to another so that we and others can feel and know God’s love.

Our Lord told us that the Spirit would lead us into all truth, and each of us and all of us together are still learning more of that truth. One of the truths that Jesus was trying to tell us is that, because he has gone to be with God and because the Spirit has come to us, Jesus can be with everyone at once, all over the world, everywhere in the creation. Loving God, may your shalom touch every heart.

Come, Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Shalom of God. Amen. Alleluia!